Battleaxe visits exhibitions in Chichester and London.

Chichester is a week ago already! Forgot I hadn’t written about our little break. What else? Has been freezing cold here – our heating bill will be through the roof. Goodness knows how people are managing… Had a brief visit from daughter during the week, and yesterday we went to London for the day. Trips to London on Saturdays before Christmas are not ideal… met up with old friends of Philosopher. Saw the Franz Hals exhibition at the National Gallery and had a Chinese meal.

So, Chichester first. Lovely view of the Cathedral from the Bishop’s Palace Gardens above. Why do these people go there so often, you may ask. Well, I agree the journey from Hastings is not great – so trafficky. But we love the place we stay, the shops are fantastic, lots of good places to eat, and we also love the Pallant House Gallery. As before, we stayed at 4 Canon Lane. I’ve written lots about it on previous posts, so won’t go into detail again. Suffice it to say that in October, the old house regained its former name, George Bell House. Apparently Bishop George Bell has been cleared of historic allegations of child abuse… I make no comment, oh no not me, about the extraordinary prevalence of child abuse among clerics of all denominations… Anyway  Here’s the BBC piece about it.

Actually, the bedroom we had this time was not the best. If you follow the Battleaxe recommendation and stay there, avoid Room 7. Even so, the house’s location, tucked away in the Cathedral close, couldn’t be better, there is free parking across the road, and it is like being in another world. This time we had breakfast in the Cathedral Cloisters cafe, which you reach from a path just across the lane from the house. Better still.  Had our usual walk in the Bishop’s Palace Garden. It was looking beautiful – first frost of the year.


Shops? Oh my. It was Black Friday – all the clothes shops had the most crazy offers – up to 40% off marked prices…. I was relatively continent – a skirt and a coat… Restaurants? we went to Cote, which is just across the street from the archway entrance to the Cathedral Close. Pallant House Gallery? We saw the John Craxton Exhibition, which I quite enjoyed. Many of his paintings are of Greece – bought back a real summer holiday feeling.

John Craxton, Cretan sailors.

In addition, the Gallery has a wonderful permanent collection and the most fantastic bookshop – worth a visit on its own.

Freezing? I’ll say. We have invested in some vast, very untasteful giant fleece cover-ups from Dunelm that look dreadful but keep us very warm! You just put it on over all your other clothes.  Here is an example… Philosopher’s is black, mine is camo.

Daughter (not her above!) just for the day, but it was lovely to see her.

Yesterday we caught the train up to London – Probably the coldest day of the year so far. I wore my new coat from Chichester – a huge bright red duvet that takes up far too much room! The city was absolutely heaving… Met five old friends of Philosopher – he was at University with them. First, the Franz Hals. Can’t say I have ever liked him – the gallery visit was just a pretext for seeing the people. You may remember last time we failed to meet up with them for ‘Guys and Dolls’. See this post.  Anyway, the exhibition was not over-inspiring. All Hals seemed to paint were portraits of stiff Dutch people in black clothes.  He was excellent at what he did though. The famous Laughing Cavalier is not actually laughing – more smirking, like a well-to-do florid Tory. Anyway, here are a couple. I forget who the woman is, but she looks softer and more human than many of his subjects. The man is at least looking natural, and is not all in black.

Willem Van Heythhusen, 1638

Then, Philosopher took everyone to see ‘Mr and Mrs Andrews’ by Gainsborough. He had read that apparently she has a penis in her lap. Here is a nice photo!

Elderly persons seeking a stray penis…


Chinese meal – lots of dim sum, yum. Then back to freezing Hastings.


  1. Val
    December 10, 2023 / 9:33 pm

    Sounds like you had a very good time, despite the cold. It’s been freezing here too, and when not freezing, stormy and wet. We have discovered leaks we never knew were possible. Awful. Maybe I need your kind of day out again…oh wait, we just had one a couple of weeks ago in London, courtesy of Eurostar.

    • January 3, 2024 / 9:09 pm

      Hi Val, thanks for that. It is so wet here – I am sure we will be washed away!

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