Monday, 29 February 2016

Two arrested following gunshots!

Devonshire Road this morning.

Yesterday, early evening, gunshots were fired at the front of a house in Devonshire Road, consequently, why the road was closed off for hours, but, as you can see, nice and quiet now, though with a number of police vehicles still present. Thankfully, no-one was hurt, two suspects have been arrested, and the Police assure us that this incident is not terrorist related. For further information, go to the Sussex Police website.  

Hastings Pier call for volunteers.

I received an email from the Hastings Pier Charity regarding volunteering, and that they are having a volunteer recruitment day on Tuesday 8th March, noon-3pm, at the White Rock Hotel (talks at noon, 1pm and 2pm). I cannot see anything on their website about this yet, but here is a link to their page concerning volunteering.   

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Hastings Social Lettings Agency

It's been a year now since Hastings Borough Council set up its Social Lettings Agency, Letstart Letting, seeing this poster aimed at landlords, reminded me. 

The purpose of the scheme, is to provide high quality affordable homes for local people struggling to find accommodation in the private rented sector, and, to help facilitate this, private landlords have been provided significant advantages. The Council leases the properties, then rents out to people needing accommodation, pretty simple really!    

The benefits to tenants are obvious, and to owners? Well, they are guaranteed an income from their properties over a fixed duration, even if the property is empty, with the Council providing a comprehensive property management service, having full responsibility to find suitable tenants, collect rents, end tenancies, and even providing some repair work, returning the property to the owner in the same condition in which it was first let.    

If you wish to see more information, go to the Council website.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Dog Mess - Meeting with Councillors

A little birdie (quite a few of them talk to me) has told me that there will be a meeting with local councillors on Monday evening, 6-8pm, at the Plough up on the West Hill. I believe that the councillors concerned represent Castle Ward, but others may be present too. Whatever, it will allow residents to bring up their concerns about dog mess on pavements and the seafront, and other issues regarding litter could well be discussed too...

The Plough Inn

So, either write to your Hastings Borough councillors, or turn up for 18.00 to 20.00 hours, Monday 29th February 2016, at The Plough Inn, 49 Priory Road TN34 3JJ, a chance to influence policy regarding fouling and litter in Hastings!    

Friday, 26 February 2016

Revisiting the Tower...

By Steve the Beermeister: 

I recently walked up to the current South East Sussex CAMRA 'Pub of the Year', the Tower on the corner of London and Tower Roads in Bohemia, and, as ever, a pleasure to see Louisa the landlady, meet up with a few friends, and drink some excellent ales at good value prices! Well, I hadn't been up there for a while...  

6 real ales (and 4 ciders), mostly local to Sussex/Kent too, including 2 excellent regulars from Dark Star, ie Hophead and American Pale Ale, both of which I've talked about at length many times before, and a refreshing pale offering from 1648, the 3.7% Hop Pocket. Also, 2 dark ales, Titanic Plum Porter (4.5%) and Arundel Smokehouse Porter (6%), and an inbetweeny, Isfield Ethelred (4.4%), which was ready!

I'll have to return very soon, cheers! 

Safer to walk up the High Street now!

I had a wander yesterday, too much travelling the day before, so needed to stretch my legs, and saw that the High Street is open again, back to normal-ish, except the new pavement, of course! There are still roadworks below this, but traffic appears to be moving freely. It'll be interesting to see if fewer people walk in the road now!  

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Sorry, I've been up int' North!

Sheffield Cathedral

I've been away and, consequently, nowhere near my laptop, so no blogs recently, sorry, I shall make amends soon!

Sunday, 21 February 2016

12th Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition

Playing the Piano at Priory Meadow this weekend. 

The 12th Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition has started up, to be held at the White Rock Theatre again, and a 'pop-up' office at the old Town Hall/Museum in the Old Town. For more details see website

High Street continued...

As you can see, the High Street has a new pavement! Still more work to come, so roadworks to continue, hopefully they'll tidy up the pavement opposite...  

Friday, 19 February 2016

The Source Park video link...

Here is a link to the opening weekend video from The Source Park, excellent! 

I trust they have an excellent First Aider...

Thursday, 18 February 2016

A walk through Alexandra Park

Yesterday, I had a nice peaceful wander through Alexandra Park, before cyclists start thundering through the quiet and ensure a less pleasing experience! Ironically, on entering through the gate in the South West corner is the peace memorial, built after the First World War. Incidentally, there is an ongoing online petition against the cycle route...   

At the moment, there is a water quality improvement project going ahead to ensure a better aquatic environment, in a park with many lakes and reservoirs.  


Alexandra Park was laid out in 1877 by Robert Marnock, already well known for designing the Botanical Gardens in London's Regents Park, and on the site of the 1830s Shirley Gardens, it covers 109 acres, and is a Grade II designated site in the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. The eponymous Alexandra Park was opened in 1882 by the then Princess of Wales (later Edward VII's Queen Alexandra).   

Peace Garden

Miniature Railway

Dan Radcliffe, better known for the miniature railway down at the Stade in the old town, has painstakingly renovated the Park's miniature railway, which has only just reopened; great to see this resource reopen in Hastings, nice one Dan! 

Walking through some parts of the park you can imagine walking in the countryside, and not the centre of Hastings town! There are many rare and beautiful trees, and bird song filled the air as I carried on through the park. Garden birds dominate the songs, with Song Thrushes, Robins, and Blackbirds, the obvious voices, but Wrens, Tits, and even Nuthatches can be seen regularly too.

Although, ducks are seen on the various waters, this being Hastings, gulls are more prevalent, though other aquatic birds do live in the park, water fowl, such as Coots and Moorhens, for example, and you may be lucky and see a beautiful Kingfisher too; indeed, Swans, Herons, Cormorants, and even an odd Bittern or two may appear now and then! 

If you carry on Northwards, you will reach, later added, and even wilder, Coronation Wood, Little Roar Waterfall and Old Roar Ghyll, for a greater taste of nature...

I enjoyed my day! If you would like to find out more about Alexandra Park, or become involved with the Friends of Alexandra Park, have a look at their website.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Hastings Library Refurbishment

Where have all the books gone, has there been an upsurge in borrowing books from the library?!? Don't worry, after my recent blog about cutting library services, it's not as bad as it looks... But, indeed, both Hastings Library and the Children's Library will be closed for a couple of weeks whilst the main library relocates to the Children's Library in Robertson Passage, thus enabling refurbishment of the building in Claremont, the Brassey Institute.  

Both libraries, which will end up at Robertson Passage for a year, will be closed from Monday 22nd February to Saturday 5th March 2016, and the 'dual library' will reopen on 7th March; the main library in Claremont will be closed for a year into next Spring 2017. 

Books can be returned to any other East Sussex library, in the meantime, though a librarian assured me that if you borrowed from either of these 2 libraries, an extension of the loan will be enabled, if needed, to return them to Robertson Passage on 7th March.  

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

St Michael's Hospice Phoenix Appeal

Following the fatal fire at St Michael's Hospice, reported last year, since when residents have had to be cared for elsewhere, the Hospice has now announced their Phoenix Appeal to help pay for the rebuild of the hospice building at St Leonards.   

Their Chief Executive, Celia Pyke-Lees, announced that the total cost of the rebuild would be £4 million; about £1 million of that will be met by insurers, and £2 million from their own reserves, leaving a target figure of £1 million still required. 

Knowing the propensity of Hastings folk to meet challenges, notably with such important local charities, I have little doubt the target will be met; for more information, go to the St Michael's Hospice website.    

Monday, 15 February 2016

Hastings Ketchup!?!

I'd never heard of it before, but a text message from Brigitte, an old friend, had me promising to take a bottle up to her and her husband's hotel/bar next time I visit. She had seen a television programme with celebrity chef James Martin using Hastings Lemon Ketchup, so I looked into where I could find some, and it wasn't easy. Indeed, I missed about 3 'brews' worth, as hundreds were seeking out Hastings Ketchup, I was told that a couple had come down from London just to buy some, but were unlucky! It can be bought in Hastings, eg at Penbuckles in the High Street, or at Rock a Nore Fisheries, though today is announced on Amazon as being sold out! But I now have a couple of bottles...   

Graham Ainsley, the local resident behind Hastings Ketchup Company, explains why he developed the condiment in 2013, I was having local fish and chips with my sons and I really fancied lemon with it. I asked the guy in the shop if he had any lemon ketchup and he replied ‘it doesn’t exist’, and it gave me the idea that I could do it myself.”

A mixture of lemons and root ginger, blended with spices, Graham admits there can be misconceptions about the sauce. People expect it to be sweet or like a lemon curd but it isn’t as the spices add something different to it. I love lemons and wanted it to taste of lemons, but the mix of spice and ginger adds a nice taste dimension.

Apparently, it can work well with many dishes, as well as with fish & chips, including fish and chicken dishes, spinach soup, halloumi, and with vegetables as an accompaniment, but I'll let Brigitte's husband serve up my first meal with it, as he is a chef, cheers Tom!   

Hastings Ketchup Company website.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Hastings Pier - February News

Having received the Hastings Pier Charity February newsletter, I am sharing its updated news content (see their website for further information). 

"The final works of the £14.2m refurbishment of Hastings Pier are to complete over the coming weeks and we intend that the pier will be open to the public no later than the middle of April. Over the past two and half years of rebuilding work, the pier – and the weather – have rewritten our timetable more than once but the last planking should be in place by end of February leaving most of the remaining work inside the two buildings and therefore not impacted by weather. Once construction concludes we then have to fit out the spaces to make the pier fully operational, including all of our heritage interpretation elements. Our goal is to have the pier fully operational by mid April and if it is possible to enable public access prior to that date then we will want to make that happen."

Construction Update: "We are nearing completion of the construction works. The Visitor Centre fit out is being finalised and the external cladding finished. The glass balustrade and steps will be fitted by the end of the month. We can then start installing the equipment exhibits, ready for the opening in a couple of months.

The furniture for the roof terrace has been made by Hastings and Bexhill Wood Recycling and some of this has now been delivered." 

How it looks now, you forget how big it is!

"The final trusses and beams are being installed at the far end of the Pier, quickly followed by the timber joists and decking and balustrade. Fitting out of the Pavilion restaurant is well under way.

We will shortly start removing the huts along the front, installing the wave breaks, and repairing and painting the railings. After two years, we can now see the end of what has been a very challenging project.

Thank you for your patience."

Name the latest Blue Reef arrival.

Visitors to Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium over this half term holiday will have the chance to name the aquarium's newest arrival – a giant South American lizard. The Argentine black and white tegu, which can grow up to a metre-and-a-half in length, is the latest addition to the 'Jungle Room' display area. 

In captivity tegu's have been noted to actively seek out human company! Blue Reef’s Leanna Lawson said “He is a truly magnificent looking lizard and we’re hoping our visitors can come up with a suitably impressive-sounding name.

Tegus come from South America, which might also help give people inspiration, and it has also recently been discovered this particular species is the only known type of lizard in the world to be partly warm-blooded. He enjoys eating fruit and vegetables and loves strawberries, which are definitely his absolute favourite. However he is also partial to turkey and the occasional boiled egg!” 

Visitors will be able to pick up a naming form at reception and can drop off their suggestions in a post box in the shop at the end of their visit. 

The Jungle Room display features a variety of exotic reptiles, insects and spiders from around the world; see website

Friday, 12 February 2016

The Source Park - BMX preview!

Thanks to the ITV, here is a preview film of the new underground BMX/Skateboarding Source Park (ITV website); opening tomorrow, see The Source Park website

Thursday, 11 February 2016

John Hodges R.I.P.

Life can be so cruel... Earlier today, I met up with a good friend called John, who is rehabilitating following a heart by-pass graft, and is looking so much healthier, which made me a very happy bunny... 

Not long afterwards, I found out that another friend, local Hastings Borough and East Sussex County councillor John  Hodges, has died... 

A great loss to Hastings, indeed, John Hodges R.I.P. 

East Sussex: Budget cuts and a 4% council tax rise.

Conservative-run East Sussex County Council have approved a 3.99% rise in their part of your council tax for 2016-17, and £20 million cuts, defeating opposition amendments to reduce cuts in social care and charity funding. 

The Leader of the Council, Keith Glazier, said that having "already had to save £78 million since 2010, we have cut our spending to the bone..." See the BBC website for more on this story.

So, thanks to Central Government austerity cuts, we have yet another Council Tax rise to come, but for less service...     

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Smoking Legal High School?!?

This school is in a totally different part of the country, up int' North, but there has been an increasing concern over pupils falling ill, and more serious concerns too, when smoking "legal highs". Why is it that 5, much more local, pupils have not been disciplined when found to be smoking a "legal high" then? 

Answers on a postcard please...

It's redefined "High School!" 

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, whatever, it IS today!

Whether it's in New Orleans...

... or in Brazil...

...or in Hastings...

OK, Hastings may not be quite so exotic, but it's Fat Tuesday, and music all over the place, too much for me to write here, or to give any personal preferences, so I'll lead you directly to the Fat Tuesday website for you to make up your minds where to enjoy the evening, after you've eaten your pancakes, of course, have fun!  

Monday, 8 February 2016

Umbrellas and today's Fat Tuesday offering

The Gathering 

Starting off along George Street 

Emerging onto the front 

Passing St Mary in the Castle 

Bottle Neck - the sea's looking fun! 

Going Underground 

Coming into Cambridge Street

Coming up Bohemia Road 

Entering the Observer Building

Monday's offering from the Fat Tuesday festival is Slim Monday, chatting to musicians at the Albion, and listening to music from King Size Slim (website), enjoy!