It’s getting a bit more spring-like for Hastings Battleaxe

Yes, the weather has improved – we have had a couple of sunny days, with walks at Rye Harbour and Winchelsea Beach. The garden is perking up nicely. I have even got my summer clothes down from the loft. The local elections happened on Thursday, and it was enouraging to see the Tories get a real thrashing, including losing Andy Street as West Midlands Mayor. Even though Street tried to distance himself from the Toxic Tories, at the end of the day he still is one, and worst of all, he is in a relationship with Michael Fabricant. Ugh. On Wednesday last week Philosopher and I went to London – lovely weather again, and enjoyed the John Singer Sargent and Fashion exhibition at Tate Britain.  However… there have been downsides….  Before I get into any of that, here is a colourful picture of the azaleas on our front steps…

So, what are the downsides? After the elections, Hastings Borough Council is in just as much of a hung-over mess as before. The Greens did very well, securing more seats, including ours in Ore Ward. As with everywhere else in the country, the Tories did badly, and Labour did OK. The so-called Hastings Independents got nothing – serve them right. But it is not at all clear who will run the Council now. A Green/Labour coalition? Who knows, least of all them, I fear. But at least we may get rid of the Independents… Nationally, Sunak is still warbling uselessly about following plans and stopping boats, and that crazed creature Braverman thinks the answer is for the party to go yet more to the right. As if. Meanwhile, everyone sighs with exasperation and waits impatiently for the General Election. The Tories have had it, run out of steam. Nothing can save them now.

The next downside is Southern Water. They have pulled yet another blinder with a burst in the pipe that carries most of our town’s  water from the Darwell reservoir. The burst was in the middle of a wood miles from anywhere. Many people have now been without water for 3 days, and although repairs are nearly done, different areas of the town are being switched off at random while they scranlet the pipes or something which seems to take ages…  And there aren’t enough water stations and traffic is grid-locked with people trying to get to them. And it is Jack in the Green and biker weekend!  You couldn’t make it up. And happenings like this below don’t help…

Oops. from Facebook

But look, Battleaxe can’t fault the front-line repair staff who have to struggle in the middle of a flooded wood in the dead of night to get the thing fixed, it is the senior managers and directors who need to be held accountable. Poor Hastings Town Centre has just about recovered from the floods – now this. And the sea is full of sewage… Still, touch wood, we have water at Battleaxe Towers…

Lady Agnes of Lochnaw. Photo taken by me.

Let’s go onto something nice – the Sargent exhibition. Battleaxe has always liked his work. In Birmingham we had a big print of the one above on the landing – it was good to see the original.  For once, the exhibition was not too crowded, so you could actually see the paintings – and indeed, some of the actual costumes the sitters wore, but the clothes are nothing, just husks, without the people inside them, bought to life by the painter.  For me, although the clothes etc are beautiful, it is the faces and personalities of the sitters that are really interesting . You get the feeling that although Sargent was an immensely successful society painter he genuinely loved people – both women and men. As ever with modern exhibitions, the captions were annoying – distracting and patronising.

Here are a couple more… two of his most famous paintings.

Carnation Lily Lily Rose. From the internet
Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau)

We travelled back from the Tate to Charing Cross on the river boat. I liked this view of the Houses of Parliament, taken as we passed by.

To finish up with, some photos taken on our walks. Look at the blue sky – the bluest it has been so far this year. It really lifts the mood. Philosopher was very lucky to catch the photo of a sky-lark in flight. You can’t see much because the bird’s wings move so quickly it is hard to focus. They must use so much energy – that frantic wing-beating and singing their heads off at the same time.

Rye Harbour
Winchelsea Beach
Winchelsea Beach

Sky-lark and avocet, Rye Harbour



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