Friday, 29 December 2017


And some information too...

The period in-between Christmas Eve and the New Year is always a strange old time, anticlimax for some, meaningless for some others, and many people have at least the week off work, but shops soon re-open! And this year the weather has made it even stranger, with sleet and snow (see the Stacey Marie above, facebook page)...

With gorgeous and bright days, but exceedingly chilly, eg in Warrior Square...

Yet who knows what the weekend will bring, other than more rain showers are forecast, it looks like there will be milder temperatures, with maybe some sunny periods, so it certainly will be changeable, and that's an understatement...

I've spent a while wandering the seafront, as you do, and saw a number of these notices appear, though I wonder how this will be policed, when anti-social behaviour, dogs fouling footpaths and cyclists riding on footpaths aren't policed!?!

I also see that the broken drainage water pipe on the beach below Denmark Place appears to be about to be replaced/repaired, following the backflow apparently overflowing into the road creating a mini-lake outside the Carlisle pub!

And the Hastings Adventure Golf building is back in use following some widening at the corners, and increase in loft space (see previous blog), though I have been informed that there is still plenty of work to carry out inside the building, and it will not be fully functional for the staff until about Easter, though the 3 courses are still open to the public throughout the work, well done there...

Oh, and if you haven't received the Kier/Hastings Borough Council leaflet about Waste & Recycling over the festive period and for 2018, go to the Council website to check.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Peace and Goodwill to All!

Best wishes and peace to all, and with thanks to those working to help keep us safe in the NHS, RNLI, Coastguard, Ambulance, Police, Fire & Rescue, and any Emergency and Essential Services not already mentioned!

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Hastings Weekend, 23rd/24th December...

Fed up with shopping? As already advised in a previous blog, there's plenty happening at the Blue Reef Aquarium at Rock-a-Nore, including Santa Diving at 11.00 today.

Also, the nearby Hastings Fishermen's Museum, also in Rock-a-Nore Road, is open both days too, indeed, it is only closed on the 25th! See website.

In the town centre, there is still the Ice Rink to visit at Priory Meadow, if you can either skate, or don't mind getting a cold backside... See website.

On Hastings Pier, both days, there are Christmas Movies from 11.00 (website), and a Festive Trail for children, not to mention a brisk promenade!

Then, of course, there is always shopping in St Leonards, the town centre, or in the old town, if you need to buy late gifts! For example, in the old town, at the Black Market in George Street is the POP-UP Christmas Indoor Emporium, a chance to get late gifts there, perhaps, plus much more (website).

And, no doubt festivities all over the place, notably in pubs, but we should always remember that not everyone celebrates Christmas, notably those with health problems (see my earlier blog), and that many people will be working to provide emergency and other essential services, or to provide you with facilities that you would otherwise be denied on a public holiday. 

So, my best wishes to everyone, whoever and whatever your beliefs, at this time of year, and please let us take over into 2018 the spirit of 'Peace and Goodwill' that usually exists, if only for a short time, during the festive season, indeed, let us make it a much better and ever improving world for the future of us all...

Friday, 22 December 2017

Christmas Trees...

Now I'm not making any religious remarks here at all, but Christmas Trees can be quite enthralling, and, I believe, the idea comes from a very old pagan tradition, but I'm bitterly disappointed with the public ones around town... For example, the main tree, outside Debenhams in the town centre, well, it's impressively big, but only has a few very small lights, and way up high!

The tree in Butlers gap in George Street in the old town appears to have more lights per square metre, and, presumably, it's supplied by the Old Town Traders? Anyway, please correct me if I'm wrong, but it does appear to have about 10 times as many lights per square metre as the one in the town centre!

And then, over to St Leonards, and, frankly, I couldn't notice any lights whatsoever, though a fairly impressive tree, however, as I've said elsewhere, it would be better if it was still rooted in the ground...

Apologies for the poor quality, but I took this photograph early morning with my mobile phone, but the tree in Priory Meadow does have lights and baubles, making it the most decorated public Christmas Tree of the lot, though...

This was similar, taken 5 years ago by me, a bit more impressive... oh well, we're living in a world of austerity, fair enough, Bah Humbug!

More Hastings Generosity Acknowledged!

Again, from Hastings Foodbank facebook page: "We're so grateful to everyone who has donated food in this last few weeks, from (among others) pupils at Saxon Mount and St Leonards C of E, to staff at Hastings Borough Council and Natwest Hastings, to customers at Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda. There are many people who will find Christmas a lot easier because of your generosity. Thank you."

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Winter Solstice

OK, I'm not a tree hugger, nor am I a pagan, though some may consider me such, but let's celebrate the Winter Solstice, for, after today, there will progressively be more hours of daylight... until the Summer Solstice, enjoy! 😉

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Santa takes the plunge at the Blue Reef Aquarium!

With thanks to Leanna of the Blue Reef Aquarium at Rock-a-Nore, I have been informed that younger visitors are being invited to help Father Christmas find his missing reindeer, now there's an interesting story! OK, not real reindeer, but hidden 'reindeer' around the aquarium, then they can write down the letter next to each one found to unscramble 'magical' festive words...

Also, on Saturday (23rd), at 11am, allegedly, Father Christmas is going to be taking the plunge in the aquarium’s main ocean display; as it's the last day before the busiest day of his year, he may just have a little time free. He will be donning scuba gear and 'making a splash' to entertain visitors.

Indeed, the 'festive season' is well worth a visit to the aquarium to escape the colder weather, with naturally-themed tropical displays, and its underwater walkthrough tunnel, the aquarium is an 'oasis of light and colour' even on cold winter days; see website.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Christmas Post...

There are problems, now there's a surprise!

Don't blame me! I just read this at the Observer... (website) - I remember when students and many other part-timers were employed at this time of year, and we received at least two posts a day at Christmas, for that matter, we did all year round in the 1980s! Thankfully, yet another 'public service' has been sold off for the Government to cash in on and give tax cuts to the wealthy, oops! I mean to promote competition in the delivery of post, so why is it worse now?!?

Southern Rail, the mail, yet another privatised service fails to deliver...

Seasons Greetings! Now that's satire... 😉

Sunday, 17 December 2017

It may be lonely this Christmas...

Time to remember that, although many will be celebrating over this coming week, some will not, and in 8 days time, many will be lonely, be stressed, and/or be isolated, whilst people with long-term or acute mental health problems may lack essential support.

Here is a link to 12 tips to help end loneliness this Christmas, and bear in mind that more than 11,000 Samaritans volunteers will be working 123,000 hours over this 'festive season' to listen to people with problems, and to provide support (website). The national Samaritans Helpline can be called free on 0800 116123, and Hastings Samaritans are available on 01424 436666 (local charges).

Here's wishing the people of Hastings have an excellent time over the next couple of weeks, and that those who do need help and support receive that help and support.

Best wishes and peace to all, and thanks to those who work to keep us safe in the NHS and Emergency Services, those working in essential services, and to the volunteers!

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Christmas Remembrance Procession

The Hastings Winkle Club Christmas Remembrance Procession 2017 will be meeting up this evening (Saturday, 16th December) at 6.30pm at the Cyril & Lilian Bishop Lifeboat, in front of All Saints Church at the top of All Saints Street, then leaving for Winkle Island at 7pm. In addition to the Act of Remembrance there will be hot soup and carols sung; see the Hastings Winkle Club facebook page.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Hastings parks win national awards!

This is a slightly edited version of Hastings Borough Council's recent press release as the Council has won two awards for innovation in parks management. "The projects that secured the awards were for bathing water quality improvement in Alexandra Park and the introduction of Belted Galloway cattle, conservation grazing and heathland restoration at Hastings Country Park.
Councillor Colin Fitzgerald, lead member for the environment said, "The country park and Alexandra Park are two of just eight inspirational parks and green spaces in the UK to achieve the award, which is presented to Green Flag Award or Green Flag Community Award winning sites that have made changes which have brought outstanding benefits to both their site and the local community."
"My thanks go to the dedicated council staff who found innovative ways of achieving their aims and then saw the projects through... In 2015 we established an innovative free roaming conservation grazing project (Hastings Country Park)We introduced a small herd of Exmoor ponies and Belted Galloway cattle to manage the wooded glens and slopes which are inaccessible for the mechanical equipment we would normally use. We opened up fencing so the cattle and ponies roam freely in the woods and steep slopes, allowing them the same freedom as walkers... Our innovative use of free roaming grazing animals to manage threatened habitats on public land successfully combines biodiversity and wildlife management with public enjoyment and getting closer to nature, especially for residents from disadvantaged communities in the town."

Regarding the award won by Alexandra Park Fitzgerald said “Waterways are a key feature in Alexandra Park. The Waterways Improvement Project started in the winter of 2014 and was completed in November 2016. The project aim was to reduce the contamination from surrounding sources and misconnections within the plumbing systems of some local houses entering into the stream flowing through the park. This involved the natural treatment of water in Alexandra Park through the creation of weirs, wetland, silt traps, planted stream channels, floating island eco-systems, pond edge treatment and an aeration system that sucks water through natural gravel and plant filtration beds. As a result of our work, stream water now travels slower through the park giving greater exposure to UV light, providing beneficial microbes and root filtration. The longer the water can be kept in the treatment areas the greater effect the power of nature will have to revitalise the quality of water discharged into the sea, resulting in improved bathing water quality at the outfall to the sea.”

Paul Todd of the Green Flag Award Scheme said "Congratulations to everyone involved in the Hastings Country Park and Alexandra Park projects, both worthy winners of the Special Innovation Awards. Research has proved that quality parks and green spaces play a vital role within their local communities. Hastings Country Park and Alexandra Park are perfect examples of this." 
We add our congratulations too, quality work Hastings Borough Council!
Photographs are mine, except the Galloway Cattle, with thanks to HBC.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Saturday 9th December...

As we all know, there's always something going on in Hastings, so I shall just pick out a few events this Saturday starting with St Michael's Hospice's Christmas on the Coast at the Stade Hall in Hastings Old Town, from 11am to 4pm. The event itself is free, though with parts that cost, eg raffle, tombola and stalls, and is mostly child-oriented, though with something for everyone so adults shouldn't be bored; further information can be found at St Michael's website.

For children aged between 4 and 8 years old, during the afternoon from 2.30 to 4.30pm, Hastings Winkle Club are hosting the Children's Christmas at East Hastings Sea Angling Association's Function Room, at the Stade opposite the Lifeboat Station. For further information go to the Winkle Club's facebook page.

Then, in the evening, from 7.30pm, is the Christmas Soul Party, featuring live bands in aid of St Michael's Hospice and 'Surviving Christmas' at St Mary in the Castle; tickets £10 on the door, but can be purchased for £8.50 at Hastings Tourist Information Centre, Muriel Matters House, beforehand (I believe it closes at 5pm). For further information go to St Michael's website.

Truly, something for everyone, have fun!

Friday, 8 December 2017

Library Service Proposals - 6 days left!

Old photograph, still not re-opened yet!

People in East Sussex now have just 6 days left in which to contribute to East Sussex County Council's consultation exercise of their proposals concerning how they can make a further £2 million savings to library services, including closing Ore Library, amongst others in East Sussex, because of Central Government cuts to their contributions to local councils; expect similar cuts from other County departments and from Hastings Borough Council thanks to Government austerity cuts.

I have just come off the online consultation (website), which was very easy to complete, and with room for your own opinions/ideas, you can also go into libraries and complete paper copies, again, you have until next Thursday, the 14th of December 2017.

East Sussex County Council also has other consultation exercises ongoing, if you ever want to see what else they are holding exercises on go to their website.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Hastings Foodbank thanks!

Further to my recent blog about the Foodbank in Hastings, from them:

"Good News! Thanks to the wonderfully generous people of Hastings and St. Leonard's, we were able to raise an incredible 3.3 tonne of food during our recent collection at Tesco Extra.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to donate, to Tesco who will top up the total by 20% and, to the volunteers from Emmaus, Optivo, Marshall Tufflex, the Foodbank and others who collected and sorted all the food ready to give out. Good job everyone. Your donations will help us make a big difference to so many this Christmas."

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Another Fisherman's Roll, well, why not?!?

Earlier today I enjoyed a Fisherman's Roll in Rock-a-Nore Road at The Net Shop...

Look inside luv!

At 10.45, following a nice wander around the area, a Fisherman's Roll with two plaice fillets, and pepper and lemon juice for me, nice one (see the Net Shop's website).

Then, at 11.00, a pint of a lovely pale bitter at the Dolphin Inn (website), a few doors further along Rock-a-Nore Road, it's a hard life! 😉 

Friday, 1 December 2017

The Spirit of Christmas, already!

The Spirit of Christmas begins in Hastings Old Town this evening (Friday 1st December) and continues tomorrow (Saturday 2nd), from 16.30 to 20.00 both days, organised by the Hastings Old Town Traders. There will be live music, food and drink, 'late night shopping' and a Santa's Grotto, and much much more, as you can see from the poster. Go to their facebook page for further details, or just pop into the Old Town, have fun exploring, and maybe be surprised...

Of course, the 'spirit' of Christmas has already arrived elsewhere too, see my recent blog for some details for this weekend, but there will be much more soon, so enjoy!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

St Leonards Pier...

I have long been considering writing about the absent St Leonards Pier (1891-1951), thanks to regularly seeing the above when I walk along the promenade, and, I'd imagine, many people have been like me and stood below this plaque, realising you are standing under where the Pier used to be; though not so much when the beach huts are there... As the Pier was demolished in 1951, following bomb and fire damage during World War II, and storm damage earlier that year, I wasn't yet born, consequently I couldn't take any photographs of the pier, so the two below are borrowed, and suitably acknowledged, no plagiarism here!

Promenading along St Leonards Parade (image2)

The building of the 960 feet long (292.6 metres) St Leonards Pier was a response to the growing popularity of Hastings Pier, and no doubt rivalry with Hastings soon after the two had merged as a single entity in 1885. Work on building the pier began in 1888 virtually opposite the Royal Victoria Hotel, and the pier was opened by Lord and Lady Brassey on the 28th of October 1891 at a cost of £30,000. 

Looking down at St Leonards Pier (image3)

St Leonards Pier had a few owners before it was requisitioned under Defence Regulation 51 in June 1940 because of fears that a German invasion may mean enemy troops and supplies could be disembarked alongside all the piers in Sussex. They all had had demolition charges previously placed, removed and replaced in May, but now sections were cut out of the piers to hinder any German plans. St Leonards Pier had charges removed finally once an 18 foot gap had been cut using oxy-acetylene equipment between July and August 1940. Then, sadly, on the 4th of October 1940 three high explosive bombs were dropped on the beach end of the pier, 3 members of the Devonshire Regiment were wounded, and another, Private Stanley Beer, was killed.

The missing section of the pier, the bomb damage, a fire late in the war, and the previously mentioned storm damage in 1951 meant the pier never re-opened...

Acknowledgements: The first image is my own; image2 is circa 1905 and thanks to East Sussex Librariesimage3 is about 100 years old, I guess, looking at the military uniforms, and thanks to Jack Vanderwyck's website, though I have no idea who took the photograph; and information is from all over the place, many thanks to all!

Monday, 27 November 2017

Hastings Lifeboat Quiz

Join the crew, support staff and volunteers of the Hastings Lifeboat for a fun fund-raising Quiz Night tomorrow, Tuesday 28th of November, at the East Hastings Sea Angling Association (opposite the Lifeboat Station at the Stade), starting 7.30pm. Help to raise money for the Hastings Lifeboat Station, with complimentary nibbles, and a raffle, not to mention the quiz. Indeed, a charity well worth supporting; see website.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

I've had a break, but plenty coming up!

I have had a short break, if you're used to reading my blogs they're usually more frequent so you'd have noticed! Anyway, I've taken time out, visited family and had a good (ish) rest, but I'm back during a quieter weekend than many coming up as we head into the 'festive' season. So what is happening over the next week? 

On Hastings Pier tomorrow (Monday) and Friday 1st December, there will be Yoga on the Pier, in the Deck Building from 10.30, these have become very regular sessions now. At the weekend, in the Memories Room of the Deck, there will be a Vintage and Retro Market from 11.00 to 17.00 both days, with homeware, clothes, records and collectables, and free entry. For more details of events coming up see their website.

OK, this is a stock photograph from a few years ago, but seasonal events have already started at Priory Meadow, notably, near the indoor entrance to M&S is the annual Santa's Grotto; from Thursday the 31st of November to the 3rd of December, then from the 7th of December every day until the 24th of December. Also, from the 1st of December until the 7th of January 2018 will be the annual Priory Meadow Ice Rink; see the Best of Hastings website for more details of these and many other events.

On Saturday the 2nd and Sunday the 3rd of December the Hastings Illustration Festival 2017 (HiFest) will be taking place from 11.00 to 18.00 each day at The Printworks in Claremont and the surrounding America Ground area. There will be an array of workshops, screenings, talks, exhibitions, gift options, cards and books, and much more; see their website for further details.

Finally, for today, here is notice of the Spirit of Christmas in Hastings Old Town, Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd of December, from 16.30 to 20.00 each day, courtesy of Hastings Old Town Traders. There will be live music, food and drink, 'late night shopping' and another Santa's Grotto as you can see from the poster! See their facebook page for further details, or just pop into the Old Town and have fun exploring.

The festive fun is already upon us, have fun!

Monday, 20 November 2017

Another Full English Breakfast!

It's a while since I've had a 'Full English' recently, but I was talked into having one by a mate, cheers Mark, many thanks for this!

Apparently, the landlord of the Anchor Inn in George Street, Dennis, had recently suggested to Mark that he come in and eat one of their breakfasts, the Anchor being 'dog friendly', so Mark, his dog Rosie, and I, enjoyed a pleasant early-ish morning there! Steve the Beermeister has already added a blog to this publication about the Anchor Inn, its history, and the argument for and against it being the oldest continuous pub in Hastings, which there should be more written soon, I hope... Anyway, we arrived, and the Full English Breakfast variations, including vegetarian options are:

The Anchor Light Breakfast at £4.95 - Includes 1 x Sausage, 1 x Rasher of Bacon, 1 x Slice of Black Pudding, 1 x Large Flat Mushroom, 1 x Hash Brown, 1 x Egg (Fried or Scrambled), Plum Tomatoes or Baked Beans, a Slice of Toast or a Fried Slice, and a Mug of Tea or Coffee.

The Anchor Gut Buster at £7.95 provides 2 of all the above, and 1 Tea or Coffee.

The Anchor Veggie Breakfast at £4.95 - Includes 1 x Hash Brown, 1 x Bubble & Squeak Sausage, 1 x Large Flat Mushroom, Halloumi, 1 x Egg (Fried or Scrambled), Plum Tomatoes or Baked Beans, A Slice of Toast or a Fried Slice, Mug of Tea or Coffee.

Unsurprisingly, the Anchor Veggie Gut Buster at £7.95 also doubles up!

Well, this is what we both had, with slightly eyes bigger than our stomachs, notably Mark's, the same version of the Anchor Gut Buster, though he had coffee and I had tea, a nice strong mug of Breakfast Tea with the tea bag left in the mug, and milk on the side, so up to you how strong to have it; I forgot to ask Mark about his coffee, but he seemed happy with it. I just made little notes, so here goes my opinion:

The sausages were cooked well, not sure if they were Lincolnshire, though not packed with herbs so I doubt it, very tasty, not bad at all, and we all know how important I place the sausage on the ingredients that often need to be improved upon, so a pass here! The bacon was again cooked well, not burnt, nice and thick rashers of Middle, though not with the extra long thin bit. The slices of black pudding, hash browns and baked beans were what you would expect, difficult to go over the top about either of those ingredients. I love mushrooms, so always happy for as many as I can get of them, and the slices of toast were perfect and well buttered, I presume you could ask for this not to be buttered, but suited me, oh yes, and you can get brown toast if you want.

Overall, a very decent breakfast, pretty good value, and nicely presented. As I suggested, Mark left a bit, though not the meat, I didn't leave any, but was well full up, and we both shared various samples with Rosie (so I didn't eat it all!), so she was happy too. It has been suggested by another friend that you can ask for different combinations too, eg if you'd prefer a slice of bacon to a sausage. Mark's final words were "next time I'll just have the "Light Breakfast" - which means he/we'll be back!

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.