Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Register to Vote!

A wee while ago I suggested that if you aren't already registered to vote, then it is worth doing so, especially as you may face a fine if you don't...

Well, you still have until the 20th April to register, see website... 

Council Housing and White Van, but not!

A touch of irony, or two...

The Council Offices, not so long ago and open for business...

The Council offices early today, with more recently erected scaffolding, and... this provides a whole new meaning to "Council Housing", or "Social Housing" for that matter...

Finally, there is the ever-present white van that has haunted my walks into the old town for weeks, no, wait, it's not there anymore, and hasn't been for a couple of days now! 

Monday, 30 March 2015

2015 Kings Road Street Markets start this Saturday

Street markets return to Kings Road in St Leonards from this Saturday...


As can be seen from the poster, planned markets are for: 

Saturdays, 4th April 2015
2nd May
6th June
11th July "The Festival"
1st August
5th September
3rd October
28th November "The Frost Fair" 

For more information go their facebook page.  

Saturday, 28 March 2015

2 Badger Families Moved!

2 families of badgers were moved into purpose built setts to help enable the building of the Bexhill to Hastings link road...

Wildlife 'experts' gave advice to ensure the timber chambers and plastic drainage pipe tunnels were constructed correctly. Natural England (website) monitored and approved the work too, the badgers being enticed into their new homes with peanuts coated in syrup and honey, welcome to your new homes!

See the BBC for my original source on this.    

Harold Godwinson update

In January I reported that, on the 948th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, a scan was carried out at Waltham Abbey in Essex looking for evidence to re-write the history books and help prove that Harold Godwinson (Harold II) had survived the battle.  
The Norman Story

Novelist and amateur historian Peter Burke had asserted that Harold recovered from his wounds of the battle and lived for another 40 years. This theory being based on an early 12th Century document, Vita Harold, that is stored in the British Library.
The scan was carried out by the same team who, 2 years ago, helped to locate the remains of Richard III that were buried under a car park in Leicester, and which were reburied at Leicester Cathedral on Thursday.
Peter Burke has now got back to me and, in his own words, “the scan was positive”. He is having a meeting with the head of English Heritage on Tuesday, to request permission to dig at the abbey.
Any further discovery may, or may not, support Peter's theory, or may even create further questions, we await developments...

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Sustainable Fishing: Greenpeace comes to town...

I was working elsewhere when the Greenpeace fishing boat 'Rising Tide' landed in Hastings, but got to the Fishermens' Beach well before the public meeting started to take a few photographs of their boat.

I also discovered that the public meeting was being held in the East Hastings Sea Angling Association bar, soon after I discovered that the upstairs area above the 'Classroom by the Coast' is a tad too small to hold such a meeting! Anyway, there was a very good turn-out, indeed, though my photographs don't do this justice because most people weren't in line with my images, as the camera lens was pointing directly at the politicians.

There were the General Election candidates from the Labour, LibDems, Greens and the Ukip parties all present, Sara Owen, Nick Perry, Jake Bowers and Andrew Michael, and, because she was tied up in Parliament, hopefully not literally or another scandal could emerge (he says with a wink in his eye), a recording of the Conservative candidate, and current incumbent, Amber Rudd. They all agreed with the Greenpeace 5 point action plan, of course, though the Ukip man hummed and haa-ed before agreeing to do so, presumably for dramatic effect, as I'm sure he must have already known what he was going to do, wasn't he? Better than getting lynched by the Hastings fishing community!  

I'd already signed their petition on-line a couple of weeks go, but I perused the other literature and badges that Greenpeace brought with them before the talking began; I also signed a 'pennant', all of which are to be given to the Fishing Minister by Greenpeace, together with the petition, after the tour is completed.

As you can see above, Paul Joy represented the local fishing industry and the New Under Ten Fishermens Association (website) as spokesperson, as one would expect, and provided much technical information, and less the warm fuzzy feelings candidates expressed, about the realities of small boat fishing and how the larger boats/fishing industry work. The problem is not to do with the Common Fisheries Policy of the European Union, so much, as in how British governments have divided up the British share between the small and larger fleets; ie nearly 80% of fishing boats, the smaller ones as in Hastings fleet, are only allowed 4% of the allocated catch!    

The joint mission of Greenpeace and the NUTFA is to get politicians to sign up as 'Coastal Champions', promoting their five point action plan, in the run up to the General Election:
  • Give local, sustainable boats a fair share of quota
  • Restore fish stocks by rewarding selective fishing methods
  • Protect the ocean in a way that benefits local fishermen and coastal communities
  • Give local, sustainable boats priority access to coastal waters 
  • Make sure small scale fishermen are represented at the highest level in Europe
For more information go to Greenpeace 'Coastal Champions'. 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Assault behind the fish market last night!

At about midnight last night, a local man walking his dog was attacked and physically assaulted by 3 young men (late teens or 20s) dressed in the standard muggers' gear, 'hoodies' up over their heads; never trust someone with a hoodie up is a motto I believe in! This happened behind the fish market in the old town, and the Police suspect it was an attempt to steal from the man, but they may not have noticed the dog...    

The police are studying cctv footage, locally, and going along the seafront towards the centre of town, where the attackers ran towards. It is believed one of the assailants may have a dog bite on his leg and another may have a head or facial injury, obviously, if you have any information please contact the police. In addition, even the local fishing industry area isn't always a safe place to be, so be alert, especially when alone anywhere. 

Oh yes, walking nearby, I met a friend earlier, who informed me that a stolen motorcycle was set ablaze between 2 beach huts (damaging them also) on Monday night, near where the old lido was situated at West St Leonards, any information etc etc... Neither of these incidents are on the Sussex Police website yet, and the force is looking to make further cuts in the numbers of police officers as I have previously written, tut tut...

On that jolly note, I'm looking forward to the public meeting this evening! 

Don't forget the Greenpeace meeting this evening!

The Greenpeace public meeting, in support of local and sustainable fishing, is being held at the East Hastings Sea Angling Association, above 'Classroom on the Coast', at the Stade (opposite the RNLI lifeboat station), starting at 6pm this evening (website). 

I'm not sure if entry will be via the doors here, or from the Association doors at the end of the building right opposite the RNLI. The information isn't clear, so be prepared for either. Whatever, I'm looking forward to this evening! 

Why is this van there?

I can't remember when this white van wasn't sitting in this place, opposite the bottom of the High Street, by the bus stop that is on the old town side of the boating pond...

I walk past this at least twice a day, and it is always there, no tickets, no sign of change, has anyone an idea how it gets away with being parked there? If it is a secret undercover police surveillance vehicle, it isn't working, because it is obviously there all the time... 

Any ideas?  

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

White Rock Baths on the television!

I don't have a television, but have just discovered that the White Rock Baths were on BBC South East Today, yesterday, fast forward to 22 minutes into the programme, and see how the building looked and was used in the 19th century, and developments in the last 140 years, to how it looks now! Here's a link.

Congratulations to Louisa up at the Tower!

Congratulations to Louisa and her colleagues up at the Tower in Bohemia, on the corner of London Road and Tower Road, for winning the local Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) South East Sussex 2015 Pub of the Year! 6 Real ales, always in great form, and good value prices, Louisa has turned this pub into a real ale oasis, nice one!  

Work begins at White Rock Baths

Work began yesterday at White Rock Baths for its transformation into a BMX and Skateboard Park, see the BBC. Here's an image from yesteryear. 

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Half Marathon Results

Men's Results 
1st Sammy Nyokaye 
2nd Tom Payn 
3rd Jeff Pyrah 

Women's Results 
1st Mercyline Ondieki 
2nd Maria Heslop 
3rd Alice Heather-Hayes 

Congratulations to all who undertook the half marathon, I could never run that far, as I've said before, "respect!" All results are at the website

The 31st Hastings Half Marathon

This is my 100th blog for 'Steve on Hastings', hurrah for moi, but nowhere near as impressive as these folk who ran the Half Marathon! My apologies for the not so brilliant photographs either, but I'm not a photographer, and certainly not without good light! 'twas cloudy all morning, anyway, these are from today... 

As usual, the 1066 Pipes and Drums played at the start, a wee bit of Scotland in Hastings!


Half an hour before the start... the start at West Marina Gardens.

Milling around with less than half an hour to go, quite busy with 5000 runners due to start. I cheered on a few friends later, and found out a distant cousin and his wife ran too!

And they're off!

The slower runners start in a later tranche, including those in fancy dress, pushing wheelchairs, pulling barrows, etc... 

I walked down to the old town to catch the runners with just a couple of miles to go, he says, after they've already run 11 miles! Anyway, a few minutes ahead of everyone else was the Kenyan runner, Sammy Nyokaye, here quickly going past; Kenyan runners have won the previous 4 Hastings Half Marathons, mens and womens, which shows how important the event has become, with runners of such quality regularly competing here.    

Looking up All Saints Street, and down runs the lad in second place...

The leader of the women's race, Kenyan, Mercyline Ondeki, passes the Stag Inn.

The Round Table team down near Pelham Beach.

Less than 2 miles to go, well done everyone who took part, respect!

Best wishes to all runners...

My best wishes go to all the runners taking part in the Hastings Half Marathon today!  

This map is a wee bit small, but if you go to the website, you can see this map larger, or to this page and you can get to a race information leaflet which has more details and a simpler map. Enjoy the day! 

Friday, 20 March 2015

Sadly, bye bye to the Old Town Hall Museum!

Well, the partial eclipse was a disappointment down here with the cloud cover, and more disappointing news is that the Hastings Old Town Hall Museum is closing (as I hinted earlier this year) on the 1st April 2015, and this isn't a joke, sadly...  

I dropped in and had a chat to Rebecca, who gave me the bad news earlier today. The Old Town Hall Museum (website) provides an introduction to the history of the town, with historical and interactive exhibits, and with a number of paintings adorning the walls (some now on display at the main museum), as told in my blog about Early 19th Century Watercolourists in Hastings a couple of months ago. This has happened as a result of the cut in funding from Central Government to Hastings Borough Council, and, if you haven't been for a while, hurry up and visit, because there are some great exhibits, which will need to be found a place up at Bohemia Road, who knows when... 

The building has a wonderful history too. It was built in 1823, and offices here became the earliest police station in  Hastings, when Hastings Police Force was set up in 1836; the oldest force in Sussex, I believe! The newer town hall in Queens Road replaced the old town hall in 1881; also see my blog of 18th January about that building. Since 1949, the old town hall has been a museum, more recently being reopened in 1999 following refurbishment that was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. 
We shall have to wait and see what will develop for this Grade II listed building...

Thursday, 19 March 2015

The solar eclipse tomorrow...

I'm presuming everybody knows there will be a solar eclipse tomorrow? Well, if not, I can tell you that it is due at 09.30 in Hastings, though the build up can be watched for a good 20-30 minutes preceding that...

Down here, it will be an 85% partial eclipse, not quite as much fun as up in the far north, notably the Orkneys! However, the weather forecast ain't great, though the forecast clouds do look to be thinning somewhat as the time approaches, so fingers crossed...

If you do get a chance to see the eclipse, that is, the clouds disperse earlier than expected, or you live somewhere else that is not Hastings, or you decide to travel, or have already traveled, be sure to use approved safety viewing specs, or...

Make up one of these pinhole cameras! Not great, though I saw one earlier made with a metal colander, that is, so that many images can be displayed at the same time so everyone can get a look in! Better still, watch a decent image on television... 

Whatever, do NOT look directly at the eclipse or sun at any time, do not use a lens of any sort, camera, telescope or binoculars, indeed, sunglasses offer insufficient protection, so, if not using special specs or a pinhole camera, do not look directly at the sun, EVER!  

If the weather does clear, just be careful - My advice is, watch tv, and enjoy...

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Vacancies available...

By Steve the Beermeister 

While the FILO, Dolphin, and Duke of Wellington, all report a crackin' time was enjoyed yesterday evening, many historic pubs across Hastings are currently seeking new landlords/landladies/licensees/managers, notably the Stag in the old town, the Dripping Spring up in Bohemia, and the General Havelock in the town centre! 2 pubs owned by Enterprise Inns and the other owned by Shepherd Neame...

What is going on?!?

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Paddy's Night in Hastings!

So... Where is there a celebratory Paddy's Night in Hastings this evening? 

The Dolphin, down at Rock-a-Nore, always has 'traditional' oirish music provided by the 'Tune Raiders' on a Tuesday evening, whether it's St Patrick's Day or not... Also, I was assured earlier, that the Irish landlady, Bev, at the Millers Arms in Winchelsea Road, Ore, also means there will be something special going on there this evening. There is music at the FILO in the 'Old Town' High Street and the addition of a guest to the group playing tonight, 'Stone Junction', means a wee bit of 'fiddle dee dee' is highly likely too, and Adam suggested to me there may be an Irish influence in the restaurant there this evening, and where I was served a lovely pint of the FILO Cardinal Porter by the persuasive Elina, before I took this photograph...   

Just down the road from the FILO, the Duke of Wellington is certainly looking geared up for Paddy's Night, there's music, though I'm unsure how oirish it will be, though the 'complimentary boiled bacon and cabbage' looks to be making an effort! Most Shepherd Neame pubs appear to be offering cheaper Guinness and Jamesons Whiskey, and some are giving away those silly Guinness hats; I've already seen some customers wandering around wearing them... and most of the bars in the town centre also seem to be selling Irish drinks cheaper, notably Guinness and Irish whiskey... 

No doubt I've missed places out, but please feel free to add a comment about other 'parties', but, whatever, enjoy the 'craic' this evening and Sláinte! 

What is it about Marine Parade?

What is it about Marine Parade that makes people think it's an out and out duel carriageway, let alone a dual carriageway? 2 accidents in very recent times, 2 cars previously, car and a motorbike today! 

Drive carefully, people of Hastings...  

Traffic on Sunday, early warning!

If you weren't already aware (surely not!), it's the 31st Hastings Half Marathon on Sunday, so expect a wee bit of traffic disruption (see website), or, better still, go and support the runners, fingers crossed the weather is perfect for them!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Stacey Marie RX134 as a backdrop!

Recently, I saw one of my favourite retired boats at Rock-a-Nore, the Stacey Marie, RX134, (facebook page) being used as a backdrop for photographs, as were nearby net huts etc, so I had a chat with the 2 young women in question to see what was going on! 

They were photographing quilts designed and made by Ness Mann (website), as you can see from these photographs, since shared with me. The boat was originally built in the 1940s in Newhaven (her original registration was NN39) and is now part of the Fishermen's Museum's collection, and is tended to by a couple of local lads.

Daniela Exley (website) was the photographer, many thanks for the images! The Stacey Marie was originally called "Linda" and was built as a punt, becoming a decked boat in the 1950s, using a government grant from the White Fish Authority; the original owners were the Grant brothers, who fished out of Eastbourne. A tragic accident, when one of the brothers was swept overboard and drowned, saw the remaining brother sell the boat to Jack Edmunds, who brought the boat to Hastings in 1961.   

This photograph provides a wee hint that the boat needs a fresh coat of paint and re-varnishing, which the Stacey Marie page assures us will be happening soon. Back to the history... Jack Edmunds sold the boat to Rod Knight in 1976, who renamed her "Andrew Peter" after his 2 sons. Rod sold her on to Robert "Podgy" Ball in 1985, who then renamed her "Stacey Marie", and she was the oldest working fishing boat on Hastings beach when she was retired in 1997.

Here is the rather large anchor that is situated next to Stacey Marie, opposite the Dolphin pub, the landlord of which is one of the boat's guardians. Anyway, she was acquired by Hastings Fishermen's Museum in June 1999, and is now on display in front of the Fish Market at Rock-a-Nore.

This is a very recent photograph of Stacey Marie (and the anchor) with the market behind, and taken by a good friend, Marcus J Lamb-Bentley, cheers Marcus!

See also the Hastings Fishermen's Museum/Old Hastings Preservation Society website for more details of their exhibits and much much more.

Sustainable Fishing - A Date with Greenpeace, and more Art!

Cox: The Fish Market on the Beach at Hastings

As part of their Coastal Champions Boat Tour (a small fishing boat supporting local sustainable fishing), Greenpeace are holding a public meeting in Hastings on 25th March 2015 (See Greenpeace). I shall provide more details with a reminder nearer to the date.  

The watercolour reproduced above is by David Cox, and was painted for the 1819 annual show of the Society of Painters in Watercolours, and is now in the USA; I believe at the Chazen Museum of Art in Maddison, Wisconsin. I am grateful for the image, many thanks. 

David Cox (1783-1859), came from Birmingham and mostly painted in watercolours (also see my blog of 12 January), although he did produce oil on canvas paintings of All Saints Church in 1812, when he visited Hastings with his wife. Cox was particularly taken with the scenery of Hastings during that trip, and there are two of the All Saints paintings in the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.  

Friday, 13 March 2015

Sussex wines

Sorry if I'm a wee bit behind the times, but I just discovered that Sussex vineyards are seeking PDO status, that is, a Protected Designation of Origin, to help boost wines from Sussex, allowing producers to label their wines as "Sussex wine", thus guaranteeing authenticity and the wine's origin, in the same way as "Champagne" or "Prosecco". 

Mark Driver of the Rathfinny Estate suggests that, in the future, you may enter a bar or restaurant and be asked "Would you like a glass of Champagne or Sussex? This may sound a little far-fetched, but it's not really, as Sussex and English wines continue to win awards in competition with fine wines from all around the world. 

Indeed, the bid comes at a time of rapid growth within the English wine industry, with the number of vineyards across England and Wales now numbering more than 400 and covering 3,500 acres. Good luck to the bid I say, vineyards from neighbouring areas, such as Chapel Down, appear to be getting concerned... 

If you would like to read more of Mark Driver's opinion, see his blog.