22 October 2008

blue rinse, gold highlights

Have you ever been to Bexhill? It's the sort of south coast seaside town that people retire to for a quiet life and the sea air. In fact the air is so clear that lichens thrive - down on the beach and on the tops of houses. Golden sands, golden roofs, blue rinsed skies.

The 1930s De La Warr pavilion is the jewel in the tiara and you can take tea there looking out over the sea. While we watched from the terrace a wedding party drove up and piled out to have their photos taken against the backdrop of the sea and then disappeared just as quickly.

We visited to see the Ben Nicholson exhibition at the De La Warr. It's worth a trip if you are interested because it's the perfect space to see the work - early paintings done in the Lake District and Cornwall, some perfect, sparse little drawings, and then the scrubbed down reliefs. I rather liked his description of wanting to get his reliefs to have the something of the quality of his mother's kitchen table. Somehow the cleanness of the line and the textures fit in perfectly with sea front - the ochres of the lichens and the washed out blues of the sky and the beach.

There's something a little sad about Bexhill though. People prefer to shop at the retail park on the road to the next town. So if you go up the main street and round the block you'll find so many charity shops that you are spoilt for choice, stocked with discarded white summer Kangol hats. Only one greengrocers and a few empty gift shops. And this dusty little shop where ladies of a certain age can buy their wincyette nighties and long cotton vests for the winter.

There's a proper ironmongers too, where you can still buy hooks and nails and what not individually without having to buy a whole pack; and other sensible stuff like hormone rooting powder (John), moth killing chemicals (me), string and shovels and pudding basins.

I practised being an old lady...

...sitting on the beach thinking about when I might have more time to learn how to play bowls, make puddings and maybe go a little wild with a blue rinse and gold highlights.

1 comment:

j said...

Ironmongers...I haven't heard that word used for many years. It's funny - sad, really- how perfectly wonderful words fall out of common usage.