Sunday, 31 January 2016

Charity, art to come!

Yesterday, the BBC Sussex "Give a Gift" charity event got off with a bang, ably supported by some familiar faces in Hastings, and not a few visitors either!  

Yesterday, also, and not just a song sung by the Beatle Paul McCartney, but the Jerwood Gallery (with very mixed emotional support and hatred from locals) began its John Bratby exhibition, which ends on the 17th April (website).   

Bratby (1928-92), was quite a prolific artist, primarily in the 1950s and 1960s, and moved to Hastings when he left the bright lights of London, 2 of his paintings of Paul McCartney have been lent to the Jerwood for this exhibition by the ex-Beatle. Bratby died in Hastings, on his way home from one of our numerous chippies, R.I.P. 

May be worth taking advantage of one of our first Tuesday in the month freebies (for locals), which I may well try on myself...  

Saturday, 30 January 2016

This morning: Give a Gift Appeal at the Stade!

This morning from 10 to 11.00, at the Stade, the BBC Sussex Give a Gift Appeal, and from their facebook page: 

"Come and join us for our first ever Give a Gift Appeal! We'll be selling your unwanted festive items, with all the proceeds going to Children in Need. If you have any new or unused items you'd like to donate you can bring them to the venue from 7am. We'll accept almost anything, but no homemade food, knives or electrical goods please! Or come along for the chance to bag a bargain or purchase an item you really do want!"

Have fun, and be charitable! 

Friday, 29 January 2016

Library Consultation now happening.

East Sussex Libraries are now consulting on reduced opening hours, including Hastings libraries, a direct consequence of Government cuts to local government expenditure. I have just completed a paper copy I collected at the library in Claremont, but it can also be completed online, or downloaded from, the East Sussex County Council website.  

Don't lose your voice, libraries are very important for civilisation, let alone society, however much, or little, one uses them...

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Microchipping Dogs: Compulsory from 6 April 2016.

Not quite what I fully had in mind for dog control, but from 6 April 2016, every dog of 8 weeks and over in England and Scotland will have to be microchipped (already law in Wales); a law which the Government says will help reunite people with their lost or stolen pets, and to track down the owners of vicious or illegal dogs.

Dogs will need to be microchipped and registered with their keepers’ contact details; the only exemption would be when a vet has certified that a dog is 'unfit' to be microchipped. All keepers, including breeders, will be required to keep details up to date.  

Will help reunite owners & lost pets.

The microchip, approximately the size of a grain of rice, will be officially registered within an approved microchip database, which will hold up-to-date information about the dog and its owner's contact details.

Before the new requirements come into effect, pet owners or keepers will be able to get their dogs microchipped free of charge in a number of places. Many vets are offering free microchipping, as are animal welfare organisations and some local authorities.

Once the new rules come into effect, if a dog without a microchip comes to the attention of the authorities, its keeper will be served a notice requiring the dog to be microchipped, and may face criminal prosecution and a £500 fine if they do not comply with the notice! 

I advise you refer to the Pet Owners Association's website for further advice, or go to your vet, if your dog isn't yet microchipped. 

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Arachnophobia? Look away!

Snape at the Blue Reef Aquarium... 
Welcome to “Snape”, a 6 month-old Chilean Rose Tarantula, the newest addition to the Aquarium's Jungle Room display, which features exotic reptiles, insects and spiders from around the world. Snape is being named by staff in honour of the Harry Potter character played by the late star, Alan Rickman.  

The Chilean Rose originates in the deserts of Chile, as the name on the label suggests, and is a colourful spider with a leg span of around 15 centimetres. Its colour ranges from grey, to pink, to a reddish brown colour. Males live for about five years, whilst the female of the species can live for up to 20 years or more!  

The Aquarium’s Leanna Lawson said that The Chilean Rose is one of the most colourful and impressive of the tarantulas and they thought it was the perfect name for such a spectacular spider.”  

There are approximately 900 different species of tarantula identified so far, and, despite their threatening reputation and size, no tarantula has been known to have a bite that is deadly to humans, though some bites may cause serious discomfort that might persist for several days (website).  

Many thanks to the Aquarium for sharing this information, I feel relieved! 

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Hastings Registry Office has moved!

Today I discovered that, no doubt due to cuts, from this week, the Registry Office has moved into the Town Hall in Queens Road (website), consequently, marriages will now be held in the Mayor's Parlour or Council Chamber... 

The Council Chamber

So now we have a nomadic Hastings Borough Council, and meetings will be held in various places, as you can see, on the 1st of February, the Cabinet meeting will be held at the Stade Hall, and the following Environment & Safety Committee meeting will be held at Aquila House on the 4th of February. If you want to attend any meetings, be aware! 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Hastings Lifeboat Exercise

Despite the murky weather, the Hastings Lifeboat crew are still carrying out their fortnightly exercise this morning, respect to them, and many thanks for the image!

The Source Park to open very soon!

The Source Park, that is, the new BMX and skateboarding park that is being built in the old swimming baths/ice rink down near the pier at the seafront, is opening on Saturday 13th February 2016; for more information and photographs, see their website

... and a reminder of what it looked like when a swimming baths! 

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Cross-Party Consensus on Cuts!


The leaders of all the political parties represented on East Sussex County Council have come together to write and sign a letter to the Prime Minister expressing their concerns over government funding cuts. Despite having already made cuts in East Sussex of £78 million since 2010, a further £70 to £90 million cuts now have to be found by April 2019! 

The letter criticises the Government's funding cuts to local government spending, which does not take account of the "varying needs" of different areas in the UK, for example, East Sussex's ageing population makes the people of the county particularly vulnerable to cuts. The Council Leader, Conservative Keith Glazier, said that the cuts the council were facing would "significantly reduce the quality of life for many people in East Sussex." 

For more on this story see the BBC website or the Eastbourne Independent website.  

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

St Mary's Restaurant new management!

Despite not being sent a copy of the press release, shame on them, I can happily announce that Laurence and Catherine from the White Rock Hotel are the new management, now it's out there, good luck to them! 

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

No, it's not Jamie Oliver!

Not this time, so no rumours to add about him looking to run the St Mary in the Castle restaurant. No, though I have been told who will be running it, but I have been sworn to secrecy until we see a press release from Sean. It is, I can say, a local couple, and well known locally too, ooh! I wish I could share now... 

Sunday, 17 January 2016

A walk or two away from Hastings...

OK, actually I've enjoyed two long walks this week, on Thursday, along the seafront to Bexhill and back, about 10 miles, and, yesterday, twice that distance, starting from Battle, then along the 1066 Country Walk to Pevensey Level... 

The magnificent 1930s fusion of art deco and modernism, the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill (website), always a pleasure to visit, and I also had a couple of pints at the Royal Air Forces Association Albatross Club nearby (website), before returning to Hastings.  

Yesterday, together with my brother, Dan, we caught an early train to Battle, with it's twee station, then walked along the 1066 Country Walk from just below Battle Abbey, using a compass and Ordnance Survey map to guide us. I shan't bore you with a mile by mile transcription of the meandering 'walk', but shall mention a few of the more exciting sights, and pubs of course! 

I've seen this before in Catsfield, but a rather old twee (word of the day) cottage, 16th century I do believe, just before you reach the 19th century White Hart (facebook page), which does some remarkable deals, as you can see from the photograph below. We have imbibed here before, but were way too early to have a drink on this visit, as in, the pub hadn't opened yet... 

It was a gorgeous day, and started getting quite warm (my turn to carry the backpack probably made it appear even warmer to me!), and we stopped to admire the beautiful East Sussex countryside every now and then. Whilst enjoying the view below, we were drinking a wee coffee and eating a topic bar, hadn't had one of those for a while!

Then we reached Brownbread Street near Ashburnham, and were still 50 minutes too early to have a pint at the 17th century Ash Tree Inn (website) sadly. We had a chat to a lass who had been walking the wee pub dog, some special breed of pug, so Dan had to take a photograph to share with his youngest daughter, who loves such wee creatures! Anyway, no pint again, though we definitely shall return when it is open in the (hopefully not too distant) future, but here is the pub... 

... and here is evidence Brownbread Street exists, amused us! 

After dragging our boots through much mud, we finally reached somewhere we could enjoy a pint of Harveys, in their first ever pub, I do believe; ie at the 16th century (buildings are getting older as we wandered back in time!) Bull's Head in Boreham Street near Herstmonceux (website). 

Not long after leaving the Bull's Head we came upon some primroses, the first I've seen this year, and usually the harbinger of Spring, a wee bit early indeed! 

Anyway, whilst near Herstmonceux, we carried along by the quite delightful Herstmonceux Castle, built between 1440-1441 of brick, indeed, one of the oldest buildings in the country built in brick, the Saxons not using such materials, I have been told! For more information visit the Sussex Castles website.  

Next we reached the even older All Saints Church (For more local history, and about this church and the castle, visit the Parish website). Parts of the church remain from the 12th century, including the Tower and West Wall (below), and the rest has been gradually rebuilt or added over the centuries since. 

Well, we carried on down to Pevensey Level, but darkness was threatening, and we still had about 5 miles to go before we would reach Pevensey itself, we thought about it, but walking through the wetlands in the dark didn't seem such a great idea, so we walked back up to Herstmonceux to catch the 98 bus back to Hastings... Next time!  

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Railway travel delayed because of sunshine!

So, you thought trains you travel on, coming back to Hastings from London, have trouble with wet leaves on the line, or ice, but now South Eastern are complaining about sunshine, which will obviously delay your service... See BBC website.  

Just supply the drivers with quality shades!  

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Tomorrow evening at the Dolphin pub...

By Steve the Beermeister 

From tomorrow evening, 6-9pm, Wednesday, I just found out that Daisy returns to the Dolphin as guest chef, to enable a regular Wednesday 'Sausage & Mash' evening! That is...   

Locally sourced sausages (from the Arcade Butchers, plus a vegetarian option available), mash and vegetables, plus a pint of (quite possibly) award winning ale, or lager, or a glass of wine, or a soft drink, all for just £9! I think I know where I'll be eating and drinking tomorrow evening, cheers!   

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Hastings Pier Construction Update

The end of the Pier Restoration is nigh! I have recently received correspondence from the charity that reflects upon the achievements of the last two years, which goes something like this... 

Around 70% of the high-level steelwork has been replaced, which took the form of 320 trusses and 850 deck beams. Over 400 new bull rails and nearly 700 sets of cross bracing have been installed.

In all some 3,000 tonnes of new steel has been fixed. In addition, all of the timber has been completely renewed. There are 50 miles of new deck boards fixed with half a million screws. The boards are built on 18 miles of joists fixed with 12,000 bolts; all 1,000 tonnes of Ekki timber is from 100% sustainable resources.

There have been many different companies involved with the Construction; the majority of these have been local organisations. FPE steelworkers and TimberCraft carpenters have formed the backbone of the labour force throughout. The other contractors and specialists have been here as needed to give a typical labour strength of 50-60 people. In all, though, over 400 people have worked on the Pier, and each has played a valuable part in getting it to where it is today. 

As there was only limited access before work started, knowledge of the structure was limited and, therefore, a lot of assumptions had to be made about the condition of the structure. In reality, things were worse than originally assumed, and more steelwork needed to be replaced.

Furthermore, poor weather conditions had to be contended with, in particular, damage caused to the structure by storms in February 2014. Even now, the weather is very influential; the constant high winds over the past six weeks have severely restricted operations at the Pier Head. Only the last twelve trusses still need to be installed, and a couple of calmer weeks will enable this work to be completed.

The Visitor Centre is near to completion inside, and outside the cladding with old deck boards is progressing well. The arena seating on the North end is now being constructed and the glass balustrade will shortly be fixed around the roof. Fitting of the Old Bandstand Pavilion for the new restaurant is underway. Everything is now in the final stages heading towards completion with a 'gala celebration' planned for May 2016, great stuff! 

See website for more information.      

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Sussex Police searching for mother and son

Sussex Police are searching for a mother and son who went missing on New Years Eve, see Sussex Police website for more details.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Council adds Park to Dangerous Routes for Pedestrians!

So, the Council has seen fit to agree to allow a cycle route through the peaceful, excellently designed, Victorian Alexandra Park... 

The pavements of Hastings are already dangerous to walk on, due to irresponsible cyclists preferring riding at speed along them rather keeping to the law, ie by riding on designated cycle paths or the road, now the Council agrees to let cyclists bomb through this gorgeous park, previously safe to walk through, well, I shan't be walking through it as soon as the cycle routes are introduced... 

Shame such a great resource is being taken from us! 

Monday, 4 January 2016

St Mary's Restaurant

Psss! I've had some information from a wee birdie, or two, St Mary's Restaurant is apparently changing hands for sure, and who takes it over is not an unknown quantity... 

Let's trust it is an excellent development!

New Bypass floods!

Yesterday, Hastings Police reported on twitter that local roads, including the new A21 bypass, were effected by flooding, and the weather forecast for the next 2 days suggests this may get worse... 

So, as they ask, "please drive carefully." 

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Looking down at Sussex!

So, Tim Peake tweeted a photograph of us, well he does come from Sussex... 

There I am!! 

Saturday, 2 January 2016

St Mary in the Castle... Confusion?

I have been reading, elsewhere, confusing comments about St Mary in the Castle and the Restaurant. I let it be known here, last July, that the Trust now runs St Mary in the Castle, indeed, a 10 year lease was signed in June 2015 (more details, see their website). Buckswood School continued to run St Mary's Restaurant... 

It has been reported that the restaurant has been cleared out, with the removal people saying there would be a new lessee, apparently. I shall keep following the story, but nothing has been mentioned on either of their websites, or either facebook page, of any change in the arrangements. 

Watch this space! 

950th Anniversary Coin

To commemorate the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, the Royal Mint has produced a new 50p piece (see the Royal Mint website for more information).