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Puntos de vista - a personal Spain blog

Musings about Spain and Spanish life by Paul Whitelock, hispanophile of 40 years and now resident of Ronda in Andalucía .

The “Battle of Hastings 2024”
Sunday, June 23, 2024 @ 9:54 AM

Not at all! No “battle” whatsoever! My son Tom, wife Susannah, and their two boys, Wilbur (4) and Buckley (1) recently came to stay with us in Ronda for a week. Tom and Su live in Hastings, East Sussex, the site of the start of the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.                                                                       

 The Austin-Whitelocks arrive at Seville Airport


There is a village near Hastings called Battle, where the 11th century conflict took place. Hence the reference in the title of this article.



Su hails from Hastings and Tom is from Warrington, Cheshire. The couple met at Rose Bruford drama college in Sidcup, Kent, where they were students. After graduation they moved to London, first Bow and then Leytonstone, so that they could pursue their careers as professional actors and musicians.


Career Moves

Tom Whitelock

Tom’s most high-profile role to date was in the hit Kinks’ musical “Sunny Afternoon” at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the West End. Tom played the role of Pete Quaife, the bass guitarist of the hit 1970s group. The musicians performed live – eight shows a week for over a year.





Tom Whitelock in "Sunny Afternoon" [Photo: Equity]


Tom has also appeared in Anthony Burgess’ controversial “A Clockwork Orange” at various venues throughout London; Lorca’s “Yerma” at the Cervantes Theatre, Southwark, south-east London; in “Romeo and Juliet” at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Bankside, London; and many other plays and pantomimes. As an amateur he performed in “The Full Monty” at the Altrincham Garrick Theatre  and Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” at Stockton Heath Playmakers.



Tom Whitelock in "A Clockwork Orange"

[Photo: East London & West Essex Guardian


Susannah Austin

Su, professional name Susannah Austin, is more of a singer/songwriter, following in the footsteps of her mother Claire Hamill*, who has just released her 15th album. Claire still performs live and does tours.

Susannah Austin released her first CD* in 2012. She has also performed in fringe productions in London and Milton Keynes.

Susannah Austin [Photo: own website]               Claire Hamill [Photo: own website]


Forgive and Forget (Let It Go) - Susannah Austin (

Claire Hamill


Covid, parenthood and a renovation project

Their burgeoning careers as performers were abruptly interrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic, when the London West End theatres went “dark”, as did all performance venues throughout the UK.

They took advantage of this “pause” to move out of London, to Hastings, and to start a family. They sold their apartment in Leytonstone and bought a Victorian house in the seaside town, which was in desperate need of a make-over. Tom, with the help of Su, old mates from school and his dad, worked hard on the uninhabitable house to turn it into a home.

As I write the family, now with two children, have been living in their “dream home” for a couple of years and all the major work has been done.

Tom and Su pick up the odd “gig” from time to time, although the industry has not yet fully recovered from the “shutdown”.



So, back to our week together in Spain. We mainly chilled out around the house, garden and pool, but we did a couple of trips. First, into Ronda to sample the delights of the Ronda Romántica festival; and a couple of days later a much looked-forward-to trip to the beach; we opted for San Luis de Sabanillas near Manilva on the western Costa del Sol.



There were also two important celebrations during their stay.

On 10 June we celebrated Tom and Su’s seventh wedding anniversary. Rita and I babysat so they could go out for a romantic meal together.

On 11 June it was Rita’s birthday. She enjoyed a relaxing and lazy day. She met her close friend Jill for breakfast and a bit of shopping. In the afternoon she debuted at a yoga class in Ronda and in the evening, at home, Su commandeered the kitchen and assumed cooking duties, ably supported by sous-chef Tom.

We enjoyed a fabulous Mexican meal of tortilla wraps and a range of spicy fillings, preceded by a Mexican apéritif and cava, before retiring relatively early to bed because …..

….. the following morning it was off to Seville airport, at 7,00 am for the Austin-Whitelocks return flight to Stansted.


We all agreed we’d had a super week – even one-year-old Buckley smiled the whole time!


© Pablo de Ronda



Claire Hamill

Dramatic “Reunion” (

Forgive and Forget (Let It Go) - Susannah Austin (

Tom Whitelock | Performers | Stage Faves



Cervantes Theatre London

East London & West Essex Guardian


Paul Whitelock (all photos, unless otherwise attributed)




“A Clockwork Orange”, “All My Sons”, Altrincham Garrick, Anthony Burgess, Arthur Miller,  Battle, Battle of Hastings, Bow, Cervantes Theatre, Claire Hamill, Costa del Sol, Globe Theatre, Harold Pinter theatre, Hastings, Leytonstone, London West End theatres, Lorca, Manilva, Mexican meal, Norman conquest, Pablo de Ronda, Playmakers, “Romeo and Juliet”, Ronda, Ronda Romántica, Rose Bruford, San Luis de Sabinillas, Shakespeare, Sidcup, Stockton Heath Playmakers, Susannah Austin, “The Full Monty”, Tom Whitelock, tortilla wraps, wedding anniversary, “Yerma”

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