Saturday, 28 February 2015

Hastings Development Management Plan, the latest news.

The independent inspector has examined the Hastings Development Management Plan, issued his preliminary findings, and proposed modifications to enable the plan to be adopted as a 'sound' document (notice).    

He has also recommended that a public consultation should be made for members of the public to comment on his recommendations, this consultation is now running until Friday 27th March 2015. Details of how to make a representation are explained on-line. If you require further advice you can email or telephone 01424 451098 and ask for the Planning Policy Team.

The Inspector's Preliminary Findings, included in the consultation document, can be seen at the HBC website page, or a hard copy can be obtained at the Community Contact Centre, Hastings Town Hall, Queens Road.  

Fancy tinkling the ivories today?

If you do fancy tinkling the ivories, pop down to Priory Meadow today, where there is a free piano to play, situated outside M&S. I'm not sure, but it may be there for the week... So, what is this in aid of? Well, it's to help publicize the 11th Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, which is being held from today, and through the week, at the White Rock Theatre, with the final next Saturday, 7th March. 

The Piano Concerto Competition is held with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra accompanying, and is for 16-30 year old pianists, 30-40 of whom are competing from 30 countries. If you would like to be a member of the audience on any day, please see their website for further details and costs. Enjoy!  

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Hastings Borough Council Watch - February Part I

I attended the Council Meeting yesterday evening, the longest council meeting that I've attended so far whilst writing this bog, as in nearly two and a half hours, and it was a humdinger, honest! 

The primary purpose was to have the 'Corporate Plan', budget and 'Capital Programme' approved by the full council, which were all approved, with amendments from the 'Opposition' falling by the wayside. It would have been very entertaining, if it hadn't been so serious! I shall write a more full account very soon (other commitments have overtaken me today, sorry), which will include an assessment of the ideological battle going on at the Town Hall (which may not be as you think!), and details of another Council tax rise, sadly... 

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

4 Hastings Arrests related to 2001 Murders

4 Men were arrested early this morning in Hastings and St Leonards by officers from the Surrey & Sussex Major Crime Team in relation to the 14 year-old murders of Jimmy Millen (above) and Jason Martin-Smith. See the Sussex Police website for more information.    

Monday, 23 February 2015

Macmillan Nurses, Debbie, Paul & the FILO

The first of the acknowledgements from Macmillan Nurses for monies collected by Paul Denny, in the sum of £144.53, and in honour of Debbie McSweeney, was presented by Paul to Mike Bigg, the landlord of the First In Last Out (FILO),  nice one!   

To help build up for the big event, Paul is entered in the Hastings Half Marathon next month, and will be running again, for the charity, ie Macmillan Nurses, on the 26th April in the London Marathon, brave man! Watch out for details of how he may be sponsored... 

Don't forget, in respect of Paul's endeavours, there are still charity boxes for Macmillan Nurses at the FILO, where another batch of his spicy pickled onions are now available (and I've bought another very large jar myself/donated to Macmillan Nurses, that the tingling sensation in my mouth will attest to) and Jenny Lind pubs! 

Congratulations to the White Rock Hotel!

Congratulations to the White Rock Hotel for winning the local CAMRA LocAle (website) Pub of the Year Award!  

The LocAle tag goes to pubs and bars that sell local ales, it does what it says on the label, basically, and fully deserved for the White Rock Hotel, as I've never seen anything but Sussex brewed ales coming from their 4 handpumps! I visited yesterday, and, although only 2 of the handpumps were in use on this visit, they had Sussex brewer Dark Star's Original, and even more local, Hastings Handmade Number 5, their galaxy hopped Hop Forward Pale Ale, a lovely pale, dry and bitter ale. Hastings Brewery has to be local, as I've walked up to it a few times!  

Congratulations again! 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Shepherd Neame in Hastings

By Steve the Beermeister

There seem to be Shepherd Neame pubs all over Hastings, so I've carried out a tad more research, with this being another updated and rewritten article of mine, whose earlier version was published in the Hastings Independent last year. 

Shepherd Neame Beers at The Bull Inn

Shepherd Neame are situated in Britain’s oldest brewery, based in Faversham, Kent, recently still thought to be since 1698, but new evidence supports a brewery being established on the site by 1573, and historian, John Owen, believes it may go back many more years, at the latest since 1507. So beer at their site in Faversham will have been brewed for over 500 years, though not what is on offer in their pubs now, obviously!  

The Anchor and Pumphouse (just) George Street

Their pubs in Hastings are quite prolific, and who doesn't pass one, or three, of their pubs in the town every day, certainly if you walk down George Street. George Barnes, the company Property & Service Director, told me that the brewery has been trading in Hastings since the 1920s, their first 'tied house' in Hastings was the Freemasons Tavern in Wellington Place (now Jempson's CafĂ©), from 1928-1958. 

Jempson's Cafe, once The Freemasons

More recently, they bought a number of pubs in the town following the Government's 1989 "Beer Orders", which restricted the number of 'tied' pubs that could be owned by single large brewery groups. These include the Fountain in Queens Road, and the Anchor Inn and Hastings Arms in the old town, indeed, 7 of their pubs are situated in the central Hastings area.  

You may have noticed that I keep going back to the "oldest pub in Hastings" question, and most of the pubs I've been looking at are in the Shepherd Neame portfolio, eg the Stag, Anchor and Bull Inn at Bulverhythe. Still more of to come quite soon...  

The Stag, All Saints Street

Shepherd Neame beers are brewed using spring water drawn from their own artesian well, in brewer's terms 'liquor', purified and filtered in the chalk strata deep beneath the brewery. They use barley for malting grown in Kent or East Anglia, and yeast strains cultured by their own microbiologists, ensuring they remain as locally sourced as possible. 

East Kent Goldings Hops

The brewery now proudly asserts that it is "a guardian of the nation's hop-growing heritage, preserving the lifeblood of rare varieties more than a century old. We have put aside an acre of land at Queen Court Farm, near Faversham, to house part of the National Hop Collection." They certainly like to remain traditional, indeed, still using a rare oak mash tun that has been operational since 1914!

The Shepherds married into the brewing industry in 1731, when Samuel Shepherd, who, it is believed had no previous knowledge of brewing, wed Mary, the widow of the previous owner of the brewery, Richard Marsh. Whereas the Neames, well-known hop growers at the time, were relative latecomers to the brewing business in the 1860s. 

The Bishops Finger, Smithfield

Shepherd Neame brew a broad range of regular and seasonal cask ales, my favourite from their regulars is their 5% Bishops Finger, a strong full-flavoured ale. The first time I ever tasted this was in my youth at a pub called "The Bishops Finger" at Smithfield Market in London, which used to be open from the early hours to quench the thirst of market workers, and others who may fancy an early drink; thereby hangs another tale!  

Blonde Ambition

They also have a smaller 'pilot brewery' called the Faversham Steam Brewery, which was installed in 2007 to produce 'speciality' ales, notably the Whitstable Bay range. They sometimes brew in collaboration with others, eg Samuel Adams of Boston, USA (eg the excellent Blonde Ambition), and, consequently, more styles of beer are brewed... Of course, I'm always on the look out for them, cheers! 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Take Your Fish To (Common) Market...

The local fishing industry has many problems with the European Union, and justifiably so, particularly the ever decreasing fishing quotas being allocated, but I felt a wee bit concerned when I saw so many Ukip flags on the fishermen's beach yesterday. See below, where 3 flags are on show. Sorry the photograph is so poor, but it was damp, and, just when you want wind to fly the flags, it dropped, the 'law of sod' apparently! 

Anyway, my mind went back to the excellent 5 or 10 minutes of the Jamie Oliver Channel 4 television programme at the end of January, when Tush Hamilton shared his knowledge of whole fish and their culinary delights with Jamie and Jimmy. Also, Tush and Paul Joy bemoaned the fact that the UK market has become obsessed with filleted fish, which also means wastage, and Paul explained that, consequently, 90% of his catch that morning, and 90% of the Hastings catch of whole fish generally, goes to Belgium or France via the local market (Jamie and Jimmy's Friday Night Feast).

Now I'm wondering if supporting the UK leaving the EU isn't a wee bit myopic considering that amount of fish crossing the Channel? I'm sure that the French, Belgian and Dutch fishing fleets would scramble for the UK's share of fishing quotas, and that the UK's power to influence European fishing policy would be lost...

Shouldn't our MEPs and MPs be representing the interests of our fishing industry and fighting more forcefully within the EU, earning their keep, in effect, rather than sticking their heads in the sand, or, as is the habit of Ukip MEPs, not even turning up for debates (confirmed by EU records)? They then claim their salaries and allowances, paid for by the UK taxpayer, but fail to represent the people who voted them in, shame on them... 

Thursday, 19 February 2015

From Dawn till Dusk - The Day After

Early on the day after Fat Tuesday saw the often unrecognised heroes, the workers, clearing the streets of the debris left by those who revelled into the early hours, it also saw this gorgeous sunrise. I spoke to publicans in 2 Old Town hostelries, in 1 of which the Fat Tuesday organisers were celebrating the success of the event, enjoying lunch in the FILO, cheers to Bob et al! Here, Adam, son of Mr Bigg, said that the FILO was extremely busy on Fat Tuesday (which I can vouch for!) and the variety and quality of the music was "second to none!" As usual, many of the visitors to the pub appeared to be trawling venues, or following particular acts...    

Thanks to Fat Tuesday peeps for this photograph

Mark Little, though, found that many people settled for the evening at the Dolphin, maybe because of their good variety of real ales on the bar, as 4-5 firkins of ale were consumed in the evening, ie well over 300 pints of ale, with wine getting a good drinking of too! Or maybe just because the Old Town was heaving, people being turned away from bars in George Street in particular, due to the large numbers already filling them. Mark added that it is a "testament to the people of Hastings that they filled so many venues, that the atmosphere was electric, and there was no trouble."  

Whatever, it was a hugely successful event again and, despite the cold, it remained nice and dry. Anyway, I thought I'd add a couple of photographs obtained from Google of how people in warmer parts of the World enjoyed their Mardi Gras, the photograph above being from New Orleans, with its especially music oriented event, as in Hastings...   

Or, where it is even warmer, as obvious from the photograph above, ie in the more catholic country of Brazil; it's on my bucket list, by the way, certainly at festival time!

Oh yes, to dusk...

Looking forward to next year already!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Fat Tuesday, and more photographs.

So Fat Tuesday is here, and a gorgeous day it is too, I took this photograph, looking down Rock-a-Nore, at lunchtime, with cars still arriving; as you can see them heading towards the car park behind the Aquarium and museums. Blue sky, Mardi Gras, half-term, and it all comes together for a very busy Tuesday in Hastings!  

Also, I trawled facebook for more photographs from Sunday, so many thanks to the Hastings Old Town Traders page, Sarah Owen, Maxine Simmonds for an artistic impression of the Umbrella Parade, and Sid Saunders...

Entering St Mary in the Castle - Old Town Traders 

Walking up Pelham Crescent - Sarah Owen 

Umbrellas - Maxine Simmonds

Turning at the roundabout - Sid Saunders

Arrived at Pelham Crescent - Sid Saunders again!

Anyway, enjoy your day, whatever you end up doing, even if only pancake tossing... the Fat Tuesday music continues, and a bit more of something unconventional, apparently, is happening at St Mary in the Castle (website), cheers! 

Many thanks to Romney Point too, and early morning in Hastings.

Many thanks to Romney Point for their generous comment too, and here's a photograph I took yesterday, early in the morning, just as the sun was rising...

Though, sadly, no fair maidens singing!

Many thanks Sue... And Happy Fat Tuesday Everyone!!

Many thanks for your comment Sue, it was a busy Sunday, indeed, and I had a good chat with Tush whilst at The Stade too! 

Electronic Sign at The Stade

And, wherever you enjoy it (website), enjoy Fat Tuesday everyone! 

Sunday, 15 February 2015

A Sunday in Hastings pre-Mardi Gras!

What can I say? Even the weekend before Mardi Gras, or 'Fat Tuesday' (in English/Hastings) isn't just about dressing up, music, drinking and partying...

Hastings Runners had their annual Eastbourne Pier to Hastings Pier run today, except now it continues past the pier to East Hastings Sea Angling Club and the Lifeboat Station, circa 16 miles, with a shorter run from Cooden  Beach Hotel, for those only fancying an 8 mile jog. As seen here, I was being overtaken by runners as I walked to the Stade...

When I arrived, I noticed the lifeboat being manoeuvred back into the station as it had been out on a training exercise. This photograph includes the main lifeboat, the smaller one, their tractor and the station all in one shot, which seemed the appropriate photograph to post on this blog.

I'd come to catch the build up to the Umbrella Parade, but as I had to be at St Mary in the Castle before 12 noon, I couldn't wait for the start. However, here they are starting to form up for the parade...

As I was helping out at the Jazz festival, with its beer and cider bar, I got there before the parade turned up, above... Lots of noise, jollity, music, banter and beer and cider ensued, but that's another story, fun was had, indeed, cheers! 

Hastings Pier - Food & Beverage Update

The last few days seem to have been dominated by the 5-day Fat Tuesday events, and I shall be at St Mary in the Castle this afternoon myself, but recently an update from the Hastings Pier Charity concerning the future restaurant/bar/cafe possibilities on the pier was issued. Here it is in full, for people who have not already seen it (my photographs): 

"We spend a lot of time talking about the physical progress on the Pier but there is a lot going on in the background. Perhaps one of the trickiest is planning for and meeting the food and beverage needs of all the visitors to the new Pier.

A pier is very seasonal, it must satisfy a lot of different customer needs and the offer must be popular with all visitors, locals, day tourists, holidaymakers and especially families. New restaurants are expensive to build, equip and operate and ours must pay for itself plus contribute to the financial future of the Pier.   

We began an open tender process for the food and beverage opportunities on the Pier in October last year. Tenders were invited for the bistro / bar area planned for the existing building at the front of the pier as well as for the new Visitor Centre facilities including the rooftop terrace.

An integral part of the requirements for both these tenders is that the eventual winners must support the town’s economy by supporting local suppliers, providing employment to the local area and ensuring training and apprentice schemes required by the charity will be filled from the local catering college.

Good interest was shown in both food and beverage opportunities on the new Pier and discussions are progressing with a number of possible providers.

It is projected that the new Pier will provide around 40 additional local jobs and add a further 180,000+ visitors a year to the town." 

Good to see the depth of research and analysis that has gone into this project and I offer my support with my blogging, and who knows? May the good work continue!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

The music carries on today with...

The music carries on today and tomorrow, with 'Unplugged' and over 200 smaller gigs at many venues today between 1pm and 6pm (see website) and, of course, the many other regular gigs there are in Hastings on Saturday evenings...   

Plus other events are being held, including the Grande Mardi Gras Ball this evening, and tomorrow 'Preservation Sunday', a traditional jazz and beer festival at St Mary in the Castle, and the Umbrella Parade (above) and 'Sonic Sunday' (website). 

Friday, 13 February 2015

Mardi Gras starts early!

The music and festivities surrounding Mardi Gras, or 'Fat Tuesday' in Hastings, start tonight at Pissarros (see website), Hastings does like to dress up and party, also we know how to extend any festival!

So, music starts this evening near the centre of town in Pissarros, at shortly after 8 o'clock, and moves along to the General Havelock at 9 o'clock, and music will have already started at the Jenny Lind in the Old Town by then, and at other regular gigs of course! 

Enjoy all 5 days of Hastings Fat Tuesday, party on!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Update on Debbie's Collection Boxes 2

Paul's work in seeking donations to Macmillan Nurses now includes the box that had been left in the Olde Bell Inn at The Mint in Rye, brought to Hastings. A little over £57 was counted, with some 'coppers' added to another collection box now situated on the bar of the First In Last Out (FILO), High Street, Hastings. This means that, so far, about £360 has now been sent, or about to be sent, to Macmillan Nurses.          

The Olde Bell Inn, The Mint, Rye.

There are still 2 collection boxes, the one at the FILO, and one in the Jenny Lind, also in the High Street in the old town, Hastings. Once we get closer to the London Marathon, I'll provide details should anyone want to sponsor Paul's taking part in his 11th London Marathon, this time in aid of Macmillan Nurses in memory of Debbie McSweeney R.I.P.

Many thanks for all contributions.  

East Sussex County Council...

East Sussex County Council are making cuts to the tune of £19 million this coming year, and increasing council tax by 1.95% (BBC). 

The last I heard from Hastings Borough Council was they will not be increasing council tax, but using other sources of revenue and assets to fund services, so it looks like a small overall council tax increase this year...     

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

More music at St Mary in the Castle!

Just spotted that The Fall are playing here in April!

Courtney Pine - 10th April
The Fall - 25th April
Seth Lakeman and the Full English - 9th May
The Freedom Theatre of Jenin 'the Siege' - 28th May
Fairport Convention - 30th May
The Spooky Mens Chorale - 9th August
The Unthanks - 30th October 
And more to come... Enjoy! B-) 

Harveys Dray visit 2015 - Photographs

I was out in the wilderness on Saturday, walking with my brother, so I've borrowed these from photographs posted to facebook of the visit of Monty and Winston, and the dray... 

... and in Normans Road too... With many thanks to Pam Greenstreet, Jayne Marsh, and the Dolphin for their photographs, cheers!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Good News!

2 pieces of good news locally. First, yesterday I had a chat with someone who knows the family of the young lad who fell from the West Hill last week, and he is out of danger, here's to a speedy full recovery, good luck to him! 

Second, Laura of the Dolphin, at Rock-a-Nore, had a baby girl a week ago today, she came in at 7lb 10oz, and I would have said something sooner, but was waiting to find out her name, which still hasn't been disclosed... Anyway, congratulations to Laura and Lee on the birth of their young lass, who I shall temporarily call "Wee Stockley!"