Visiting the Long Man of Wilmington and other busy things…

Finally,  The Long Man of Wilmington. Do you remember a few weeks ago Battleaxe and Philosopher set out to visit it but had to turn back because of bad traffic. Well, on Friday we finally succeeded – a lovely walk on the sunny Downs to see not very much. Then an enormous Chinese meal, not seeing the Northern Lights, a very strange business at Winchelsea, a concert in Christ Church St Leonards followed by a mercifully brief exposure to the Eurovision Song Contest… phew.  Here is Battleaxe on our walk.

Weather has been fantastic the last few days, and Friday was no exception. Only minor traffic upheavals on the way, and we started off with coffee and cake at a nice new discovery – the Wishing Well Tea Room in Wilmington, just off the main road. We must have roared past it zillions of times, never even knew it was there. There’s also an OK-looking pub in the village, the Long Man Inn.

So, we set off to walk up to the man. An easy-ish climb, but quite hot in the sun. When we arrived there wasn’t much to see. Turns out the man is relatively modern – 1700s, archeologists  now think. Philosopher reckons the man is actually a woman – she/he has quite a nipped in waist. But the figure has no sex-defining features, so who knows. Presumably non-binary. Should I call him/her They? No, grammar pedant Battleaxe just loathes that use of words. Anyway, his/her walking poles are good…

Then we went for a circular walk across the Downs, stopping for a picnic on the way. Here’s the view from our lunch spot.The view was actually quite hazy/misty, which was a pity.

The ground was carpeted in cowslips – have not seen so many growing wild since I was a child in Ireland.  Lots of blue speedwell and buttercups as well.

That evening we went for a Chinese with friends Jan and Tom. Went to You’s in St Leonards, where they have an all-you-can-eat deal. Well, show Battleaxe something like that and eating is what she does. Lots if it. Fortunately J and T also ate loads, so didn’t feel quite so bad – until it came to waking up in the middle of the night with a thoroughly over-stretched stomach. It also meant Battleaxe fell asleep almost as soon as she got to bed, so despite having an alert from the Aurora app on my phone, neither of us were awake to see the Northern Lights. Very annoying. Have always wanted to see them. Back in 2015 we took a trip up to the frozen far north with Hurtigruten. Had a good time but didn’t see the wretched lights. Here is the blog post about it.

Next day we had a very bizarre trip to Winchelsea. Philosopher had booked us places for an event that advertised itself as ‘Winchelsea to Compostela: a history of the pilgrimage of St James and its links with Winchelsea.’ Obviously this was of great interest to us given our frequent visits to Santiago. Unfortunately, the thing started very badly, with no introduction, no indication of the order of events, and then some bloke took us down to a couple of cellars, which we had already visited a few years ago, and then yarned on endlessly about the architecture of those cellars. He obviously didn’t know the first thing about pilgrims and scarcely mentioned them.  A woman, we were told, apparently ‘knew all about the pilgrimages and was organising a tour’, but when I spoke to her, she said that the tour was about following ley lines… say no more. We were not told how anything might tie in with pilgrims, let alone Santiago… He even started telling us about Winchelsea in WW2. After getting on for an hour of listening politely to this rambling, Philospher and I were very fed up and totally bored. The weather was gorgeous, the New Inn was open… Next thing we knew, we were sitting in that beautiful pub garden. Ah, that pint of Harveys… So all was not quite lost. I guess we missed the key bit of the event – down in yet another cellar with a glass of wine (which I see you had to pay for), listening to a choir and a narration about the pilgrimages, but given we had to pay £24 each for the tickets, the organisers were ‘avin a laugh….

Hot afternoon in Winchelsea

Later, we went to a Hastings Phil concert in St Leonard’s. Philosopher was not pleased because they had messed with the order of the programme, and instead of having Copeland’s Appalachian dances, which he really wanted to listen to, on first, we had to sit through a few pleasant but nothingish Bartok folk dances and then The Carnival of the Animals, followed by the interval. The Animals thing was played very well by the orchestra and the requisite two pianos, but spoilt by the narrator, who kept on dropping his voice at the end of every sentence, so it was impossible to make out what he was saying… Lots of people we knew were at the concert, so it was good to catch up with folks, but sadly, after the interval, during a performance of Debussy’s L’Apres Midi d’un Faune, I started falling asleep. Well, it is a very soothing piece, and it had been a long hot day… So, we went home, and poor Philosopher never got to hear the Copeland at all. But he was fed up anyway because the Debussy is scored for harps and the Hastings Phil had substituted piano…

Flicked the telly on just in time to catch the unedifying and unsavoury spectacle of the UK entry for Eurovision.  A sort of soft porn scenario with men writhing around suggestively but randomly in what was probably a toilet. When the singer, Olly Alexander, who was wearing what looked like a very uncomfortable leather cod-piece, stopped twerking and thrusting long enough to pant out a few bars of song, his vocals were weak, out of tune and the so-called song was meh anyway… No wonder the dire act got nul points from the public. Before I tottered off to bed I did half-see the eventual winning entry, from Switzerland, where the he/she singer performed quite skilfully on a tipping, revolving turntable… More non-binary business.

So, there we go. Another few days in the life of Battleaxe…


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