Saturday, 18 November 2017

Hastings Herring Fair 2017 - This Weekend!

The Herring Fair organisers invite you to celebrate the 'silver darlings of the sea' at this free fish, food, drink and folk festival at the Stade Open Space this weekend; 11am to 4pm both days. "Meet the fishermen, learn traditional skills, and witness the blessing of the nets. With around 20 food and drink traders, non-stop live music, a ceilidh, cooking demonstrations from Billingsgate Seafood Training School and top local chefs, and plenty of entertainment for children, there's lots to do. Please note that because the site can get very busy, and there are lots of young children and very hot cooking equipment around, only assist dogs are allowed into the marquee." See website.

Herring are small tasty silver coloured fish, and can be fried, smoked or cured, and are full of healthy oils, and because they have existed in abundance they were so named; the word herring comes from the Old German for “multitude”. The Atlantic Herring (Clupea Harengus), is caught around the British coast, though in the biggest numbers in the North Sea, can reach up to 16 inches in length, but we usually see them at about 8 inches. The photograph above was taken of recently caught herring in Hastings, so this year you will be able to sample locally caught fish, not always so in previous years, but the effort was made to ensure local supplies this year, nice one.

The Fair is free, so feel free to visit The Stade in Hastings 'old town' and sample the local fare, not to mention wines, beers at the FILO bar, and much local music, enjoy!

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Crazy Golf: What's happening?

So, what is happening to the Office/Cafe/Ice Cream Shop at Hastings Adventure Golf, and why the high scaffolding? Well, thanks to information from someone very much in the know, many thanks David, I've found out what is happening... 

First, there's a temporary office so that the show goes on (see to the right and behind in the photograph above). Second, because there was little space inside to function as well as they'd have liked, more space is being produced by slightly increasing the size of the ground floor by adding to the corner cut-outs of the old building, redesigning the interior, and increasing the loft space. This means a new roof, a slightly higher building, but much more office and, more importantly, storage space, and all agreed to under planning requirements, nice one, and the show is still going on!

To find out more about the "European centre for Mini Golf" see their website.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

3 Years Ago Today and the Priscilla MacBean!

 Priscilla MacBean on The Stade

I started writing Steve on Hastings 3 years ago and, besides my introductory blog, my first blog was about the Priscilla MacBean and how a retired lifeboat had moved from a field near Eastbourne, given a makeover, and pulled up The Bourne to a new 'drydock' in Old London Road (blog), with thanks to friends from childhood Dee-Day White, 'Tush' Hamilton and Charlie Sharrod, and many more people too! A feat repeated with another retired lifeboat earlier this year (though coming over from France to Hastings, not from Eastbourne!), the Cyril and Lilian Bishop (blog).

One the move up The Bourne

The journey, when the Priscilla Macbean was pulled up the hill exactly 3 years ago today, was a wonder to behold, traffic held up for ages, but no road rage, just smiling faces, drivers making donations to the pot when they understood the history of the event, and police cooperation; more photographs on my earlier blog.

Local Coastguard on board at her final drydock

With respect and thanks to today's RNLI lifeboat crews, and to those of the past.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Hastings Foodbank: Donations Urgently Required!

The Hastings Foodbank, which receives support from the The Trussell Trust (website), provides emergency food and support to people in crisis, and is part of a nationwide network of foodbanks that work to combat hunger and poverty. An increasing number of people have to resort to emergency assistance from foodbanks, even people in work, consequently emergency food stocks are depleting very quickly! Requirements in Hastings include tinned fruit, meat, fish, tomatoes and vegetables, UHT milk, fruit juice, pasta sauce, and biscuits, tea and coffee; go to the Hastings Foodbank website for more details of requirements and donor sites, which are at: 

Tesco Extra, Church Wood Drive, St. Leonards TN38 9RB, front of store near exits;
Sainsbury’s, Station Approach, Hastings TN34 1BA;
Asda, Opposite self service points;
Tesco Express, Havelock Road, Opposite self service points;
Sainsbury’s Local, Devonshire Road, In main entrance;
The Hastings Centre, The Ridge, In reception.

Any of us could need help at some time, many thanks for donations!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Remembrance Sunday Parade and Service 2017

Today's Remembrance Day Parade began outside the Town Hall in Queens Road...

The Parade, from the back, soon to leave to head for Alexandra Park...

Where the Remembrance Service was held at the War Memorial.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Hastings Museum & Art Gallery Update

With the forecast rain, a visit to Hastings Museum & Art Gallery looks like a decent proposal today (website); admission to the museum is free and it is situated up Bohemia Road, on the right-hand side of the road, at Johns Place TN34 1ET, open 10am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday and 12 noon to 4pm on Sunday, closed Mondays.

There is so much to see in this wonderful building, as I discovered on my return there yesterday, the first exhibitions you reach on entry are about Hastings itself, in three parts. The first, Before Hastings, takes you from the end of the Ice Age, via the Bronze Age and the Romans, up to the Saxons, the Haestingas Tribe, guess where the town's name comes from! Second, is the Story of Hastings in 66 Objects, the bell in my photograph comes from the early 19th century Old Town Hall in the old town High Street, and written about in my earlier blog. The third is Wish You Were Here, which looks at Hastings history as a seaside resort and includes Mods v Rockers in the 1960s!

And so much more, eg you have just this weekend to see the sculpture and ceramics exhibition Cash, Clash and Climate, and into January next year to see Beyond the Western Front, local stories of the First World War, and, just started until the 11th of March, A Sense of Place: Topographical Views from the Museum Collection, a selection of oil paintings covering 300 years, including many of Hastings (website).

The Museum & Art Gallery does so much more too, have a visit soon!

Beach Clean Cancelled!

I've just read on their website that the Beach Clean arranged for this morning by the Blue Reef Aquarium has been cancelled due to the forecast bad weather.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Southern Rail, and the Farce Goes on!

Well, the last 2 days strike by RMT union conductors is over, don't hold your breath, and you've probably already seen the drivers (Aslef union) have accepted a 28.5% pay deal, to be paid over 5 years (BBC website), that appears to include the aim of having a second 'safety-trained' person on board all trains, 'except in exceptional circumstances' - as in, when one is not available! However, trains will still be able to run with only a driver on board, except no-one else will be on board to supervise safety, eg evacuation procedures, indeed, the train will have no facility to assist disabled or older people requiring assistance, so they may well be left stranded on station platforms...

I think we haven't seen the last of this incompetent shower as we return to the inefficient rail service that Southern has provided over recent years, which, in reality, has continued even on non-strike days, and who hasn't been left stranded at Eastbourne late at night with no trains or replacement bus service available, I know I have!

Time to re-nationalise the railways, pretty please!

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Bottle Alley, Film Star!

I decided to have an early wander this morning, just before the sun rose, to find out what all the fuss was about with the new lighting in Bottle Alley (see video on earlier blog), and I was quite impressed, it certainly brightens up the place

Bottle Alley was built in the early 1930s, the 'Concrete King' Sidney Little being the designer, and forms the lower deck of the half-mile long promenade between award-winning Hastings Pier and Warrior Square Gardens, and very useful if raining heavily! The name comes from the use of recycled bottles of varying colours used within the concrete along the wall; for more information see the 1066 website.

Indeed, Bottle Alley was one of the Hastings locations for the film Byzantium (trailer, about vampires, so it is a little gory - thus, warning). It was half filmed in Hastings (remember Pelham car park was packed with large motor caravans and trucks at the time, 2011 I seem to remember) and half in Cork. Always fun to see places you know on film, eg one of the stars, Saoirse Ronan in Bottle Alley above, pre-new lighting! 

Southern Rail Strike 8th & 9th November 2017

It pains me to say it, but, more industrial action cometh this Wednesday and Thursday, just how much is this continuing farce costing the taxpayer?!? Anyway, here's a link to the Southern Railway webpage that gives details of planned changes to services, and it appears the rush hour services between Hastings and Ashford will be most hit down here, though, I wouldn't try to catch a late Southern train home from anywhere!

Monday, 6 November 2017

Fishing from Hastings Pier, plus nearby Beach Huts!

Hastings Pier 

This morning I had a few miles wander along the seafront, I saw a Red Admiral... on the 6th of November! Also a few people fishing, walking westwards earlier, I had made a detour to the end of the Pier and chatted to a few lads fishing there, and as I turned up, one of them caught a small Bass, I'd brought them luck, their first fish of the day!

On my way back later I thought I'd see if I could bring them even more luck and, as you can see, the five of them were still there when I returned just before midday. Whilst I'd been gone, they'd caught a couple more bass, couple of plaice, whiting and sole, and another fish that I can't remember what it was (I'd taken no notes). Then, there just for a few minutes chatting, they were very friendly gentlemen, and another bass succumbed to the bait, slightly larger than the earlier one I hadn't taken a photograph of!

Bass, just before being returned to the water

Anyway, details of current fishing hours from the Pier can be found on the Hastings Pier Fishing facebook page, together with other information and photographs of even more impressive fish, and are: 
8am – 5pm Sunday to Thursday 
8am – 10pm Friday & Saturday’s
If you would like to fish from the Pier, permits can be purchased from Paul's Tackle, 38 White Rock TN34 1JL (facebook page and tel no: 01424 433404), just a couple of minutes walk eastwards from the Pier, and you can also find out up to date information from him, not to mention fishing tackle and bait is available there too, you may not be surprised to discover! I had a short chat with Paul earlier too, and he said hours of fishing from the Pier may change soon, so keep a check on the facebook pages.

As you can see from this photograph, twelve new beach huts have arrived on the beach east of the Pier, newly built and newly painted (I saw them being painted there, last week I think). I doubt they'll be used now until next spring/summer, but I wonder if they'll remain in situ over the winter, or will they find a place to hibernate, like the St Leonards/Azur Pavilion beach huts do? 😉

Sunday, 5 November 2017

RX60 Coming in to land yesterday (photographs)

It was wee bit dismal at times yesterday, but I noticed RX60 coming in to land, so thought a few photographs would be in order!

Hastings still has the largest beach-launched fishing fleet in Europe, and it wasn't just me watching, but a fair number of Great Black-Backed Gulls too, dwarfing our usual resident Herring Gulls in number and size!

Got there!

A Beautiful Day to visit the Old Town and eat...

It's a lovely blue sky down here in Hastings today, so what better than to walk down to the seafront, wander along to the Old Town, and enjoy one of these for lunch...

Fishermen's Rolls cost just £3 each at Johnny Swan's The Net Shop in Rock-a-Nore Road, excellent! See earlier blog, and enjoy the roll and day!

Saturday, 4 November 2017

As Socrates once said...

"You should never believe everything you read on the internet..." 

Bonfires and Fireworks this Weekend...

I'd imagine the vast majority of HBBS members will be in Lewes this evening, if not all, where one of the most famous and spectacular Sussex 'bonfire celebrations' takes place (website), but if you want to start earlier, closer to home, the Battel Bonfire Boyes are Battle equivalent is today too (website), with daylight events from 10am. 

Tomorrow, on the 5th of November, other large events close to Hastings include the Bexhill Bonfire Guys celebrations at Galley Hill from 4-7pm (facebook page), and the annual Robin Hood Bonfire Society in Icklesham (facebook page), where the gates at the pub open at 5pm, whilst the procession starts at 5.40pm by the Village Hall; the bonfire is lit at 6.20pm and fireworks should begin about 20 minutes later.

Whatever you do, be careful, and especially be safe if you're lighting your own bonfire and/or firing off your own fireworks. Also, remember to check under your bonfire for small resting animals, particularly hedgehogs who love to curl up in small protected spaces... and then you may enjoy yourselves!

Bottle Alley - New Lighting Video

OK, a daytime image, but have a look at this video on youtube, impressive!

Friday, 3 November 2017

RX134 - The Stacey Marie, mission complete, and more thanks!

The 2017 refit and re-painting of the retired fishing boat and exhibit of Hastings Fishermen's Museum (website) RX134 Stacey Marie, is now complete...

I have already thanked the volunteers from the carpentry/building aspect of her restoration, Lee and his apprentice Rikki, and Brian McDonagh (blog), cheers again!

Now it is time to thank the annual painters and virtual caretakers, Mark and Steve, and Jason, who gave up his Wednesday day off to help us, many thanks all!

As I've said before, regular readers will be aware of my involvement with this project, the preservation of RX134, the Stacey Marie, which is the first exhibit of the Fishermen's Museum you reach when walking eastwards down Rock-a-Nore Road, on the shore/south side, next to the Fish Market and opposite the Dolphin Inn; go to her facebook page for further information, or visit Hastings Fishermen's Museum, a couple of minutes walk away further down Rock-a-Nore Road and on the same side (website), where donations would be very welcome, the museum being a registered charity, and who pay for materials used on the boat, many thanks.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

More congratulations to Hastings Pier!

Congratulations to Hastings Pier, the Hastings Pier Charity, and to the people of Hastings, and others, who have supported the Pier of the Year and her regeneration, it has won another prestigious award, the 2017 RIBA Stirling Prize (website)! The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) president, Ben Derbyshire described Hastings Pier as a "stunning, flexible new pier... a masterpiece of regeneration."

For more information, have a look at the BBC website, here's hoping that this award encourages more investment in the Pier and congratulations to the architects for again putting the People's Pier of Hastings on the map!

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Trick or Treat?!?

Topical photograph taken a short while ago, drums in the town centre, something to do with the 31st of October... 😉

By the way, being of a certain age I have enjoyed Siouxsie and the Banshees albums and singles, indeed, here is a piece of topical music: link.

RX134 - Many thanks to volunteers!

Nearing completion of the physical restoration of the Stacey Marie's structure yesterday, with thanks to general carpenter, Lee of L S Carpentry, and the assistance of his apprentice Rikki, and painting has commenced too! The cost of materials was funded, of course, by the Hastings Fishermen's Museum and its donors. 

Lee volunteered to give up his time for this work, offered free, so I am happy to give a link to his email address (unsolicited, solely my decision to include this as I am grateful for his work), Lee being a very local carpenter who can be contacted at - Cheers Lee! 

The new fibreglass deck was added by local builder and landscaper Brian McDonagh, many thanks for his expertise and labour, and to Lee for assisting Brian. The materials were again funded by the Fishermen's Museum and its donors. Brian also volunteered to give up his time for this work, offered free, so, again, I am happy to give a link to his contact details as I am grateful for his work. Brian is also a very local businessman who undertakes all aspects of building including roofing, scaffolding and landscaping, and can be contacted at or tel 01424 430935 - Cheers Brian!

Regular readers will be aware of my involvement with this project, the first exhibit of the Fishermen's Museum you reach when walking eastwards down Rock-a-Nore Road; go to her facebook page for further information, or visit the Hastings Fishermen's Museum, further down Rock-a-Nore Road (website), where donations would be welcome, the museum being a registered charity, many thanks.

Monday, 30 October 2017

RX134 Stacey Marie update...

Most of the repair work has now been completed, though not quite all, yet, and the new fibreglass deck, which should save future expense, is in place; please note that the Stacey Marie RX134  (facebook page) is part of the Fishermen's Museum and its exhibits, the Museum being a registered charity (the work carried out on the boat is by volunteers, so far this year, Lee and his apprentice regarding the woodwork, Brian and Lee regarding the fibreglass, coming next, Mark and Steve regarding the painting, and the Museum pays for materials from donations), so any donations would be very welcome at the Fishermen's Museum, many thanks.

Watch this space for images as work carries on...

The image used above is thanks to Marcus, cheers!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

British Summertime Ends, Don't Forget!

Don't forget to put your clocks back an hour before retiring to bed tonight, British Summertime ends at 02.00 hours, 29th October 2017, potentially, another hour in bed...

Hastings Weekend

Now, we all know that Halloween isn't really until Tuesday, when, no doubt, even more ghoulish fun will be had, but, you can hardly move anywhere in Hastings and St Leonards without spotting a Halloween event over this weekend! Whether that be pumpkin carving and movies on Hastings Pier (website), Hastings Zombie Walk (website), or the myriad number of other events around town (eg, see website), not to mention the parties and live music in, and outwith, public houses! 

Also, tomorrow, at the Dolphin Inn, Rock-a-Nore Road, there is an unexpected extra one-off gig by 62 Stone, a slightly re-jigged line-up I believe, just 60 or 61 stone now? They start at 3.30pm, this, in addition to their usual 3 evenings of music; tonight The Seize (website). Of course there's music galore all round town; readers, please feel free to let me know of future extraordinary gigs in Hastings and St Leonards etc, cheers! 

And not forgetting that tasty Fishermen's Rolls are back, and now available over autumn and winter weekends at Johnny Swan's The Net Shop in Rock-a-Nore Road too, we are being spoilt! See earlier blog.

Enjoy your weekend, and look forward to Halloween on Tuesday!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Stacey Marie: Work Continues...

A gorgeous day today, and Lee and his apprentice continue with the repairs and fitting the new deck, many thanks to them!

We'll soon be starting re-painting, all being well, after the weekend, so fingers crossed for decent weather continuing too!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Yet more rail chaos!

The RMT have given notice of another 48 hour walkout on the 8th and the 9th of November 2017; see their press release for further details.

I give up! The Government, through Govia/Southern, couldn't run a booze up in a brewery or an orgy in a brothel, let alone a decent rail service!

Monday, 23 October 2017

Damage due to Brian?

First sign I've seen of damage due to Storm Brian, presumably, down by Pelham Beach this morning, though, no doubt, a few tiles flew off windows here and there, not much obvious along the seafront, where it appeared much stronger to me when I was out getting soaked on Saturday... The Pier was closed Friday and Saturday, I believe the Camera Obscura feature was blown across the pier damaging a pier lamp post. However, Hastings Pier is up and running again with a much more gentle day yesterday, and events galore this week, mostly Halloween related, eg films and workshops; have a look at their website for details of all events.

You'll notice it's a bit damp at the moment, but the weather forecast for the rest of the week looks favourable, so we should be able to get out and about and enjoy ourselves!

Snowflake Night Shelter is seeking volunteers.

The Snowflake Winter Night Shelter provides supervised overnight accommodation to homeless people who would otherwise be sleeping rough in Hastings and St Leonards from the end of November to the middle of March. Users of this service are referred by various local organisations including the Seaview Project, St John Ambulance Homeless Service, Police and Hastings Borough Council. They are now calling for volunteers to help run the service during the winter months. 

Volunteer registration meetings have been going on for a while now, but the next two evening meetings start at 7.30pm on Wednesday 25th October at Wellington Square Baptist Church and on Friday 27th October at St John the Evangelist Hall, St Leonards. The next daytime meeting will be on Saturday 28th October at 10.30am at Sussex Coast College, Hastings Station Approach. For further information and details of all meetings go to the website.

For further information about being a volunteer go to this page.