Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Bottle Alley: work to start, at last!

It will have been a year since I first reported that Bottle Alley would be restored (6th January 2015), and for the restoration work to begin, next month we are told... 

At last, I can't wait!

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Running away from West Marina Gardens again!

As I walked westwards this morning I saw what I thought must have been a delayed by a day, due to Christmas, Hastings Park Run (see website), which I wrote about some time ago now, ie the 5km Saturday morning run for health that starts at 09.00 every Saturday. Coincidentally, a couple of weeks ago, I was at the start of the equivalent run on Wimbledon Common, when visiting family for pre-Christmas drink and present swap... 

Anyway, back to Hastings... but this wasn't the Park Run, it was a run organised by Charity for Kids (website), a local charity set up in 2011 to provide help to disabled, sick and terminally ill children and their families, a good cause indeed!  

Public Library Cutbacks...

From January you can voice your opinion...

As a contribution to the £90million 'savings' that National Government is forcing on East Sussex County Council over the next 3 years, £500,000 will be cut from the running costs via cutting opening hours of public libraries across the county; a total cut of £2million is being targeted to the library service overall, during the same period.  

We will be 'consulted' in the New Year to make our own contributions to how opening hours should be cut; for more information about the consultation, and other reductions to the library service, see the website. Ensure you have your say!    

Friday, 25 December 2015

Peace on Earth...

It's that time of year, which should be every time of year really, but now I'm passing on festive best wishes to everyone, regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender or age! 

Also, my thoughts and thanks go to those who work on public holidays, or are on call, ensuring the safety of the rest of us, including staff in the caring services, eg nurses and doctors, but also other back-up and administrative staff, and, of course, the emergency services, which includes RNLI volunteers; it's a couple of years since I had to work a Christmas night shift... 

Let's keep up the goodwill into the New Year!  

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Monday, 21 December 2015

Sustainable Fishing - Good and Bad News...

Good and bad news for the Hastings fishing fleet, first, the quota for plaice caught by our local fishing fleet has increased a wee bit, good news, indeed... but then, despite the opportunity to catch a plentiful local supply of cod, a similar increase has been give to boats that fish in the North Sea only (more at the Guardian website and at the Marine Conservation Society website). 

Sadly, the MAFF and British politicians appear to fail Hastings again!  

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Road Maintenance..

East Sussex County Council have selected Costain CH2M to hold the contract for all road maintenance from May 2016 (website), to include road repair, pavements, verges, lighting, signals and gritting, should we see a winter!   

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Southern Rail Industrial Action? Latest...

I suggested a few weeks ago that there may be trouble ahead, and members of the RMT working for Southern Railway have voted for industrial action, as the RMT have announced, because of a "comprehensive breakdown" in industrial relations. See the BBC website for more information...

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Town Centre closed off due to 'bomb hoax'!

OK, it may appear to be old news, but I've been in London since Friday lunch-time, when this was still happening! I walked into the town centre from the old town about 10.30, and saw a man being arrested in the middle of the road, close by Iceland! 

Then, I couldn't walk through the centre to get to the railway station, and I'd never seen so many police officers in Hastings, EVER!! You'll be aware by now that this was a hoax of some sort, but more information can be found on the Sussex Police website. thankfully no bombs were planted! 

Friday, 11 December 2015

St Michaels: Christmas on the Coast tomorrow!

The St Michaels Hospice charity event: Christmas on the Coast is tomorrow,  Saturday 12th, and includes Santa's Wacky Sleigh Race!

The event starts at 10.00 at the Stade, with the race starting at 11.00, commencing at the Stade, then to the Pier and back, have fun!

For more details go to the hospice website.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Christmas appears to be a-coming!

I was amazed to see an ice-rink right in front of THE Tower, to the left of the main entry gate, when I was up in London a few weeks ago, and now I see the smaller Hastings version has a roof this year!  

Sunday, 6 December 2015

It's not often I eat out, but...

Strange, the different reasons we eat out... When my ex-wife and I separated, I maintained that I should carry on eating out at my favourite places, even if on my own, mostly. Consequently, I carried on eating at places where I felt comfortable to eat alone. For lunch, 4 years ago, I regularly enjoyed eating at the First in Last Out (FILO), when the kitchen space was similar to a small galley kitchen at the end of the bar, for those who remember. 

Then the kitchen was moved out to the back and is much larger now, and what used to be the old 'garden' has become a restaurant area, particularly in the evening and on Saturday lunchtime, though you can still enjoy a good meal or bar snacks in the bar area. Anyway, the occasions I now eat out alone are fewer due to altered personal circumstances, and, as I hadn't eaten at the FILO for quite a while, and felt good, I decided to eat there again.
I ordered at the bar, before descending to the bright clean restaurant area, with a large glass of Merlot in my right hand, and a glass of water in my left. What did I order? Well there was a fair choice of meals on offer on the Lunch Menu, and many more on the 'Specials' Board, including vegetarian options, and so I made my request of the friendly young woman behind the bar...

I started off with 'Warm flatbread and organic houmous'. Looked to be a straight-forward choice, though not just this appeared on my wooden serving board (nice touch), but also a small pot of olives in olive oil and a lovely fresh salad of various leaves, beansprouts, grated carrot, red pepper and cherry tomatoes. Following this, I realised I wouldn't be ordering a pudding after the main meal!
My main meal was "Pan seared lambs liver, dauphinoise, buttered new carrots and fresh seasonal vegetables." The liver was tender, and served with a gorgeous port jus (there was a small jug of extra jus on the side, and the chef explained to me how it was made when I asked later, many thanks!). All the vegetables were well cooked, and I don't mean as my mother used to cook, sorry mum, but they were just right! You can take it that I enjoyed my meal, and I couldn't add a third course, as suggested, though there were tempting puddings available. Afterwards, I licked the plate, metaphorically of course... 

There is a different menu in the evenings, except on Sundays, and specialised evening menus on Mondays, 'Spanish Tapas', and Thursdays, when a rather interesting range of dishes make up the 'Indian Thali' menu. More detail and sample menus can be seen at their website and, of course, Christmas is a-coming, including  food on Sundays!
First In Last Out, 14-15 High Street, TN34 3EY.
Telephone: 01424 425079

Saturday, 5 December 2015

New Lifeboat for Hastings!

After months of concern about the continuation of the full lifeboat service in Hastings, it has been confirmed that a new Shannon class all-weather lifeboat is replacing the retiring boat, Sealink Endeavour (website). 

Good luck, best wishes, and compliments to the Hastings lifeboat crew and support! 

Friday, 4 December 2015

Saturday events in Hastings and nearby...

3 weeks to go still, but Christmas influences events! 

At the lifeboat station from 11.00 to 15.00 tomorrow (Saturday 5th December) plenty is happening. including singing, coffee and cakes and biscuits (website). 

Across at the Stade Hall, from 10.30 to 16.30, is the Animal Charities Xmas Fayre.

And up at Sedlescombe is Hastings Handicrafts Big Christmas Arts & Crafts Fair, from 10.00 to 15.00, if you fancy a short trip from Hastings (website). 

Enjoy a good weekend! 

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Albion Plays On...

No, not Brighton & Hove Albion, though they have, but I was shown round the Albion in George Street yesterday by Adam, cheers! There's still some work to be completed, but it's looking very good, indeed, eg the new fascia...

Rebuilt in the 19th century, as I wrote recently, and signs of the Victorian influence can be seen around the building, including unveiled William Morris wallpaper upstairs; to acknowledge the historical Arts & Crafts features, they have commissioned bespoke wallpaper in an appropriate style, which includes images of Hastings Castle too! This original wallpaper is in the larger room at the back/opposite the seafront, whilst the tartan and wood panels from the Youngers time here, and the newly built stage, remain in the George Street bar.

6 handpumps, for those who like their ale (like me); yesterday there were 4 different ales available, East Sussex brewed Harveys Sussex Best and Dark Star Hophead, plus Timothy Taylors Landlord and Theakstons Old Peculiar. I was assured that the availability of more local ales is being looked into, cheers!        

Friday, 27 November 2015

The Albion reopens!

The Albion in George Street, reopens at 7pm today, according to their facebook page, with a gig by the (London band?) Congo Faith Healers: "The Congo Faith Healers are like nothing you have heard or experienced before, and combine down and dirty swamp infested gypsy blues with wild savage guitar playing voodoo vocals, latin american drum and trumpet grooves with rockabilly swing double bass and hooks that you will be singing for days..."
However, I've been advised that 8pm may be a better time to turn up... 
Tomorrow, Saturday, will be "a festival of traditional Irish Music, and Sunday afternoon the London based Dirty Spoons will play Skiffle music!

Oh yes, and they'll be selling ale...
Good luck to Bob and Adam et al, et ale even!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Yet MORE Anti-Social Behaviour!

I don't feel the need to take a photograph of an offending pile, but you know what I mean today! OK, I know I moan about anti-social behaviour every now and then, but it really is not nice... I walked out of my front door a few weeks ago, which opens directly onto the pavement, and you can guess what I just about missed stepping in, and this wasn't the first time! Indeed, a friend of mine had the misfortune to step into mess recently, and the frequency of having to dodge piles of poo isn't decreasing. Sort it out dog owners, as with most things, the vast majority are decent human beings, but...   

While I'm moaning, I'll repeat a moan about cyclists riding on pavements, notably, when a cycle path is close by... Just a thought, why doesn't it become legal for cyclists to ride on pavements instead of a cycle path if close by, then pedestrians could use the cycle path (which cyclists would be banned from), or shall we then call it a 'footpath'?!?

Further thoughts... What about licences for both dogs and cycles, could be totally self-financing and it would help to create jobs?

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Hastings Pier, November Update...

The replacement of steelwork at the Pier Head is now 85% completed. On the west side a column that had severely deteriorated has been replaced; 2 new small diameter piles were filled with reinforcement and concreted. 
Work on the Visitor Centre continues with the cladding nearly completed on the west side. On the east side, remaining deck boards from the far end of the Pier Head need to be lifted so that they can be prepared and re-used as cladding. The zinc trim around the windows and entrances is also being fitted.

Inside the Visitor Centre, the services and sprinklers have been installed and the floor and fitting is now well underway. Shortly the construction of the steps and arena seating on the north end of the building will be commenced.

The re-instatement of the old cast iron balustrade at the front of the Pier has been completed, exactly 100 years after it was originally installed!

Under the Pier the main services, gas, water, electric and drainage are being connected. The pipes and wires are fixed to the structure with access gained via the new crawl way. For more information go to the People's pier website.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Winch Road - Lights on too... at last!

So, the Winch Road project appears to be over, the lights are now connected! 

It is significantly brighter behind the fish market now, and has to be safer too, remembering the attempted mugging I reported earlier in the year (25 March).

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Lifeboats - Priscilla MacBean and Mary Stanford.

It is nearly a year since I wrote my first blog about the Priscilla MacBean, its discovery, refurbishment, and the towing of that retired lifeboat up The Bourne to its present drydock. It is just over 87 years since the lifeboat Mary Stanford capsized in Rye Harbour, sadly with the loss of her entire 17 man crew (website); Hastings Lifeboat Crew and Launchers took part in the annual memorial service on Sunday.   

Last week, I noticed that another retired fishing boat (RX273) had been cut in half and used to provide protection for a bench beside the Priscilla MacBean, so I went back to take some more photographs... 

... and there she is with her bench, a fine monument to those people who risk their lives with the RNLI to help ensure the safety of people at sea, and by the sea, respect. 

R.I.P. The crew of the Mary Stanford...

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Time to think, and not forget...

Menin Gate, Ypres

A week to remember, no doubt about that, Remembrance Sunday a week ago, Remembrance Day on Wednesday, and this weekend attacks on people in Paris, leaving many innocent men and women dead, of different creeds, races and religions... 

Our thoughts and hearts go out to those who died in World War I and all wars since, and, of course, now to those who died, and may die yet, because of the attacks on Friday, and to their families and friends... 


Saturday, 14 November 2015

Boat with a View and a New Winter Menu!

For a retired fishing boat it is excellent to see that the pub opposite, the Dolphin in Rock-a-Nore Road, has created a new 'Winter Menu' that focuses on supporting the local fishing industry situated just behind the Stacey Marie (RX134 - facebook page). Customers are encouraged to try locally caught huss and plaice for their fish & chips, not only the ubiquitous cod, though there is plenty of local cod around at the moment (not just frozen cod brought in from Iceland by a Rye trawler), and plenty of additional locally caught fish for their specials and 'Fish Platter', including gurnard, skate, dabs, mackerel and whiting.    

The kitchen is also locally sourcing as much other menu ingredients as possible, including using a local butcher, and local ales from the bar to include in their batter and stews, worth a visit, and I think I may just do that next time I'm working on the Stacey Marie!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Still places open in Hastings!

OK, the Castle and Smugglers Caves may be closed until the Spring, but there are still many places open during the winter in Hastings, so don't stay in!

The excellent Fishermen's Museum in Rock-a-Nore Road (website) now opens at 11am until 4pm for the winter; here the red ensign is being raised outside the museum to let you know it's open... Also open in Rock-a-Nore Road are the Shipwreck Museum, from 11am to 4pm, (website) and the Blue Reef Aquarium, from 10am to 4pm (website).     

Not to mention the nearby Flamingo Amusement Park (website), one of the less celebrated location stars of the film Byzantium (see link), where the vampire character 'Clara Webb' (Gemma Arterton) first set up her illicit business activity in a seaside town (the majority of which was filmed a few years ago in Hastings, a wee bit in Cork!), plus museums and art galleries (eg Hastings Museum & Art Gallery website), other amusement arcades, cinemas, restaurants and pubs, live music galore, parks etc etc... 

So, no reasons not to enjoy Hastings during the autumn and winter!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Hastings on television yet again, it appears!

Early morning clear sky and view from the beach, a couple of days ago, and the crescent moon led up to Venus and then Jupiter; apparently, Mars is just above Venus too, but not obvious in my photograph, sorry! Anyway, what I really wanted to comment on was the recent television programme that included a significant piece about Hastings and its fishing industry (link), Gregg Wallace's 'food adventure' in Hastings, and well worth a look (one of the problems of my not having a television is that I find out about this sort of programme a bit later than its publication!). Many familiar faces here too...

I just hope our MP has seen this, she may learn something about her constituents...    

Monday, 9 November 2015

Remembrance Sunday

Bonfire Society there too!

Many younger people, which gives me hope...

All the way to the Town Hall.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Hastings Castle

I recently visited Hastings Castle, just before it closed for the Winter, anyway, here's some photographs, history, and thoughts...

In 1066, William the Bastard, later known as William the Conqueror, brought with him prefabricated sections for 'motte-and-bailey' castles to be constructed on conquered land. He is known to have constructed two of these castles before his first battle; at Pevensey and Hastings. William and his men probably spent the night before the Battle of Hastings (13-14th October) at the fortress in Hastings.
Dungeons to the left of me... 

dungeons to the right...

The photographs above are of the 2 "dungeons" discovered in the 19th century, though they are probably old storage rooms, so says the blurb! 

Nice view to the west... 

Hastings Castle was first a wooden tower on a man-made mound or 'motte' surrounded by a courtyard or 'bailey', with a wooden palisade enclosing the bailey. By 1070, William had given orders to reconstruct Hastings Castle in stone, and to build the Church of St. Mary there, in the 1070s. The keep was rebuilt in the south eastern corner of the castle in the 1170s, and further alterations were made during the reign of Henry II.  

Fearing an invasion following Normandy being lost to the French, King John ordered the destruction of all Sussex castles lest they fall into enemy hands. There appears to have been little lasting damage done to Hastings Castle though, and his son, Henry III, ordered the castle repaired in the 1220s, with additional renovations made in 1249. 

In 1287 a great storm caused serious damage to Hastings, and the soft sandstone cliffs and south wall and keep fell into the sea. In 1337 and 1339 the castle was damaged further due to attacks by the French, and, together with further erosion to the site, the structure fell into disrepair and the castle was abandoned.
View to the Old Town to the east...

A private family then purchased Hastings Castle and the land was used for farming over the next few centuries. Remnants of the castle were rediscovered and then excavated in 1824, some of it being reconstructed, and the castle became a tourist attraction. Hastings Castle later suffered further damage during World War II.  

Another view to the east, well worth a visit in the Spring!