Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Interesting free guided walk today and event tomorrow!

This afternoon, Tuesday 30th May, join the Old Hastings Preservation Society (OHPS) for a tour of Hastings Old Town, the "premier ancient Cinque Port," meeting up at 2.30pm at the top of the West Hill lift. There is a wealth of historic buildings, twittens and cat-creeps to see around the town, and find out why the celebrities of their day did, and still do, flock to Hastings! A volunteer guide will lead the walk, which proceeds gently downhill, but there are steps to manage too. The walk lasts about 2 hours and is free, but the OHPS would be grateful for donations, many thanks, see their website.

I noticed on their facebook page that both Hastings lifeboats will be launched on their fortnightly exercise tomorrow evening, Wednesday 31st May, 6pm to 8pm (though subject to operations). They recommend the harbour arm for the best view; for more details about the RNLI Hastings Lifeboat go to their website, or facebook or twitter accounts.

Monday, 29 May 2017

St Leonards Gardens

We are, indeed, very lucky in Hastings, with beautiful countryside within easy walking distance, the seafront, and 2 excellently designed gardens; Alexandra Park (see previous blogs) and St Leonards Gardens. Pictured here is the South Lodge, Grade II listed, and divided by the doric arch with its fluted doric columns, half private residence, half home to the Burton St Leonards Society, and open to the public at these times:
Wednesdays, 11-2pm;
Saturdays, 11-4pm;
Sundays, 1-3pm.

Situated behind what was James Burton's St Leonards Hotel in 1828, but renamed the Royal Victoria Hotel following the young princess's visit. Burton bought part of Gensing Farm for his dream of a seaside resort for wealthy visitors, and so, Burton St Leonards was created. Burton was strongly influenced by John Nash for his design of the gardens, which were designed for those inhabiting, or visiting, the nearby villas or hotel that he built, consequently, the gardens were not free for public access, but could only be enjoyed by subscription payers, as they were the property of the Burton family!

They remained 'subscription' gardens until Hastings Corporation bought them in 1880, opening them up to the public, and renaming them St Leonards Gardens. Happily for me, and yourselves, they remain owned by Hastings Borough Council, were more recently renovated with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and are a pleasure to walk through, and spend time contemplating, whilst sitting on one of the many benches.

Whilst sitting by the pond, chatting with the gardener, Dennis, who was busy planting young shrubs and herbaceous plants, I spotted 2 moorhens and their 6 chicks walking across the lily pads, though they shot off every time I approached to try and take a photograph! The pond has a very interesting wildlife, and Dennis said they get a monthly visit from a heron, and every now and then a cormorant may enjoy a visit too...

So, I wandered uphill, after thanking Dennis for the information he had shared, and promising to pass on a message to a friend we have in common. When I looked back southwards towards the sea, I had to take another photograph, though the sea view is blocked by the South Lodge and Royal Victoria Hotel, whatever, such a beautiful day!

Still lovely walking uphill, so, another wee stop to enjoy the peaceful environment...

St Leonards Gardens has an interesting wildlife presence, and within the exquisitely designed beds is a mixture of exotic, and more local, trees and shrubs, herbaceous plants and flowers, indeed, you can enjoy a mixture of colours all the year round.

On leaving the gardens onto Maze Hill you come to the North Lodge, just below St Michael's Hospice. This is another building with an interesting history and list of visitors, notably with a blue plaque celebrating Sir Henry Rider Haggard, who authored King Solomon's Mines, Allan Quatermain and She: A History of Adventure, amongst others, and who lived here from 1918 to 1923.

If you want some peace, give St Leonards Gardens a visit!

For more information about the gardens and St Leonards try this website.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Hastings Pier Summer Opening Times

Just discovered that the Summer Opening Times began this weekend, that is, from 10am to 8pm throughout the summer months; staying open later for special events. Also, I see that Hastings Pier has received 3 RIBA awards, that is, awards from the Royal Institute of British Architects; see website, congratulations!

Fire in Queens Road.

Smoke alerted me to a fire in a flat in Queens Road 30-40 minutes ago, 4 or 5 fire appliances turned up very quickly, police, ambulance and paramedics too. 

I spoke to one of the fire officers present, who assured me people were safe, no worries, all was in order; and the emergency vehicles are gradually departing now. 

Thank goodness for our emergency services, I'll be thinking of them on the 8th June, when I put my cross on the ballot paper, indeed!

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Cyril & Lilian Bishop update.

Early this month, and the site for where the Cyril & Lilian Bishop will be docked, in front of All Saints Church and opposite the Stables Theatre, on The Bourne. I have written a few times about this retired lifeboat, one of the "Little Ships" that evacuated troops from Dunkirk during WW2, indeed, the only Hastings boat that brought troops off the beach then (though many others helped with other duties during the evacuation process), eg see this blog, which provides a potted history of the boat and the actions of local characters who have brought her 'home' and been restoring her since.

Work on the site started soon after the first photograph was taken, if you would like to know a bit more about the Cyril & Lilian Bishop, here is a little factsheet.

The site is getting nearer to being finished now, I took these last 2 photographs yesterday, and am now waiting eagerly for the boat to be hauled up All Saints Street on the 17th of June 2017, to her final dry dock. By the way, the boat also has a facebook page.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Weekend Fun in Hastings:

Cinema on the Pier returns this evening with Back to the Future, Titanic tomorrow, and Mamma Mia on Sunday. Tomorrow and Sunday, there are Zooquarium Music Festival auditions for 14-24 year-olds; on Sunday and Monday there are Punch & Judy shows at 11.00, 1.30 and 3.00 pm; and from Monday there are Half-term Family Workshops each day; see website for further details. Of course, there is still Fishing from the Pier, go to Paul's Tackle shop, 38 White Rock, for further details and permits.

Music is your first love? OK, plenty on... this evening (Friday), music at the Carlisle, Royal Standard, Whistle Trago, Black Cat, Dolphin Inn, Marina Fountain, Jenny Lind, and Rufus Stone at the Palace. Tomorrow evening (Saturday) sees Sam Calver & Friends (unique line-up, the drummer tells me!) at the Dolphin Inn, and music at the Palace, Printworks, Black Cat, Brass Monkey, Marina Fountain, Standard, and "Stars from the Commitments" at the White Rock Theatre. Mostly earlier starts on Sunday with music at the Black Cat, Marina Fountain, White Rock Theatre, Jenny Lind, Albion, Brass Monkey, and Cushty at the Standard from 5pm. Enough for you? 😉

Of course, you may just want to explore the old town, or walk along the seafront, indeed, promenade on Hastings Pier, explore Alexandra Park, or relax in St Leonards Gardens, or just sit back outside a seafront bar, or on the Pier, watching the world go by... Or visit the Fishermen's Museum or Hastings Museum & Art Gallery, or Castle and Smugglers' Adventure, or Monsters' Week at the Blue Reef Aquarium, from tomorrow to the 4th of June (website).

Whatever you do, slap on the factor 50, and enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, 25 May 2017

2 Hastings & St Leonards Beaches Win Awards, Again!

Marina St Leonards Beach has retained its status from last year and again been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag status of the Quality Coasts Awards by Keep Britain Tidy, and their Seaside Award. Pelham Beach has also retained the Seaside Award. Aaron Woods, resort manager for Hastings Borough Council, said “This is the second year in a row that Marina beach has been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag, a fantastic result for Hastings and it reflects the hard work and commitment given by the council and other partners to make this happen."

The Quality Coast Award is managed by Keep Britain Tidy and rewards English beaches that are maintained to high standards. This initiative provides access to funding and a framework to plan future improvements (website).

Well done Hastings & St Leonards! 😎

Dangerous Cycle Path at the Pier?

Make your own mind up... is this dangerous, or is it not? The cycle path, such as it is marked, is on the road side of the path from the Pier and to the west, and on the road side from the Pier to the east, but, immediately in front of the Pier it is up against the gates, and remember, you are not allowed to ride a cycle onto the Pier!

Methinks someone made a mistake whilst painting these signs...

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Jungle Moved to Hastings Beach?!?

If you wondered where all the tents from the Calais Jungle moved to! Yes, we appear to have our own 'jungle' on the beach in front of Debenhams... 😕

RMT Suspends Strike

Cinque Ports Flag at Half-mast

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) had planned a 24-hour walkout on Southern, Merseyrail and Northern (Arriva Rail North) on 30 May, as mentioned in a recent blog. However, the union's general secretary Mick Cash yesterday said: "Our thoughts and solidarity are with the people of Manchester." 
"In light of the horrific bombing in Manchester last night, and the heightened safety and security alerts on our transport services, RMT's executive has taken the decision to suspend the 24 hours of strike action scheduled for 30th May."

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Manchester Arena R.I.P.

Manchester 22-05-17

Doesn't seem appropriate to post anything else this morning, my thoughts are with those who died, their families, their friends, and emergency services, sad days, R.I.P. 😢

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Been walking myself, but remember to register!

We were out walking in the Chilterns yesterday, so I missed whatever weather was in Hastings, but we certainly got some weather ourselves, a wee bit damp at times! 

Anyway, you've a few hours over a day in which to register to vote, if you haven't already; go to the Government website to register by 23.59 hours, 22/05/17.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Just a few days to go...

If you haven't received one of these polling cards yet, providing the appropriate polling station for where you live, you probably aren't registered to vote... You have until 23.59 hours on Monday 22nd May 2017, just a few days now, to register if you want to vote in the general election on the 8th June 2017; go to the government website.

Hastings Pier Weekend

The Dynamic Psychic & Craft Feelgood Weekend Fayre: 

This "fayre" will offer a variety of crafts and 'psychic services' on Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st of May 2017, 11am-6pm. Stallholders will include Natural Health Products and services, Beauty products, Jewellery, Health options, Book sellers, Tarot readers, a Crystal ball, a Palmist, Curiosity sellers, and much more; see website

Of course, there will also be the usual facilities, bars, cafes/restaurants, chippy, and on Sunday, from 2pm, Hannah's Cat Morris Dancers! Seen very recently? Go to website.

Or just have a nice promenade along the People's Pier!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Is there an election soon?

First, I noticed this poster around town last week, so, not everyone in Hastings appears to approve of our MP to May 2017, and Home Secretary...

Then this rather more obvious message turned up below Pelham Crescent... 

Quickly painted out, but this level of graffiti isn't correct for Hastings, surely, we should be keeping it clean and tidy for visitors and their photographs, let alone ourselves, whatever any genuine grievances, after all, we pay enough in council tax to pay to keep it clean and tidy, despite gulls, and others, doing their best to fill the town with litter and dog mess! 

But no! Someone from the opposite end of the spectrum has joined in, it appears, so we've vandals of the 'left' and 'right' now, increasing our council tax!?! 

I also saw this image on facebook earlier, someone certainly has it in for the Labour candidate, a "cur" and a "ninny" in his/her/their opinion/s! Now, I went out to take my own photographs of the last 2, but they have either been very professionally cleaned up already, had water-based paint used which was washed away by heavy rain and winds last night, or were originally photoshopped... but who would bother going to such lengths?!? 

Anyway, we've another 3 weeks of this! 😨

No more breakfasts here... but yes there are!

Since writing this, Clare has returned, see latest blog.

In January, I wrote one of my irregular blogs about eating Full English Breakfasts, well, I'll carry on writing them (though I'm trying to lose some weight at the moment, so not too soon), and, yes, there will be more breakfasts here, soon-ish. But! I recently found out that Clare, sadly, is no longer cooking breakfasts at the Hastings & St Leonards Angling Association club, and it was such good value, missing you already! 😢

International Museum Day, today...

May the 18th 2017 is International Museum Day (website), indeed the 40th anniversary of the first International Museum Day, so what better than visiting Hastings Museum and Art Gallery in Bohemia Road; see my blog from last year and more, though I can't guarantee which paintings are on view today, I do need to visit again myself!

Of course, in the 'old town' we have Hastings Fishermen's Museum in Rock-a-Nore Road, another museum well worth visiting; see my blog and others.

Enjoy the day!

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Rail Chaos, will it ever end?!?

Now, members of the Aslef union (drivers on Southern Railway) will refuse to work overtime from the end of May. The union asserts that "Southern has refused to budge in talks on the introduction of driver-only-operated trains." This will mean more cancellations and train delays, as there are not enough drivers working on Southern, consequently, timetables are only managed by drivers working overtime...

Aslef announced the latest development in the year-long dispute after the most recent talks with Southern and its parent company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) broke down on Tuesday. If you can bear to read anymore about this, go to the BBC website

Oh dear... 

St Michael's Hospice Competition

Capture the Moment competition 2017
St Michael's Hospice competition organisers are asking that people capture special moments in life, and to take part in their photographic, poetry and short story competition; with children's and adult categories. Judges for the competition will include 'world renowned' photographer John Rankin Waddell, Oliver McNeil from Legend Photography, children's poet Brian Moses, and Hospice Celebrity Ambassador Mark Benton. 

The competition deadline is the 31st May 2017; see website.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Oh dear! More industrial action for Southern passengers to survive!

If I'm not talking about South Eastern, I'm talking about Southern Railway... I'm now (un)happy to announce that RMT on Southern, and on Merseyrail and Arriva Rail int' frozen North, are going on strike on Tuesday the 30th of May 2017, Southern and the RMT have not come to a reasonable conclusion, why am I not surprised?!?

Meanwhile, a South Eastern Railway Consultation

Whilst Southern Railway still remain in negotiation with the RMT, the Department for Transport (DfT) is asking passengers of South Eastern Railway their views on the next franchise of that rail service. Incidentally, South Eastern are bringing in a further price increase from the 21st of May 2017, that is a 3.4% increase to fares, or at least 10p.

If you wish to add your opinions to the DfT  franchise public consultation, which closes at 11.45pm on the 23rd of May 2017, go to their website.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Southern Rail Talks Resume Today


Talks between representatives of Southern Railway and the conductors' union, the RMT, resume today... Here's hoping the general election campaign ensures the omission of political interference in these talks and the end to industrial conflict, fingers crossed!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Sussex Wildlife Trust, Our Environment & Your Vote!

Filsham Reedbed (Sussex Wildlife Trust)

The decisions any government makes on funding, policy and priorities, affects the environment and our everyday lives. The Sussex Wildlife Trust asks that you please make sure that the candidates looking to obtain your vote know how much the environment means to you; go to their website for further information.
Also, in the video on this webpage, they speak about why the environment matters in the General Election, so ask the candidates what they will do to ensure the viability of our environment should they be successfully elected on the 8th of June 2017.  
Furthermore, you still have a week to go to put yourself on the register to vote if you are not already on it, that is, until 22nd May 2017; go to the Government website to register, it only takes a few minutes. 
Filsham Reedbed (in the photograph) is one of the largest reedbeds in Sussex, is a Sussex Wildlife Trust nature reserve, and I regularly walk there as it is just to the west of Hastings and always a lovely quiet site to visit. I am a member of the Sussex Wildlife Trust and, if like me you want to know more about the wildlife of Sussex, go to their website for membership details, and find out what the Trust is about!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Wasting water?

I first saw water discharging here 2 days ago, coming down from the West Hill into Old London Road, and it was still draining out today, and that's a lot of water! 

And this is where it is draining from, though it wasn't really, because I found someone working there today who explained what was going on... the reservoir uphill is being cleaned out, and the water coming out now (about 2pm) was close to the bottom of the reservoir, and pretty muddy too, so soon to be turned off!

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week 8-14th May 2017

If you weren't already aware, this is Mental Health Awareness Week 2017... 

The Mental Health Foundation has hosted Mental Health Awareness Week in the second week of May since 2000. Previously the week has focused on how mindfulness, anxiety, sleep deprivation and relationships can impact on mental health. In 2017 the theme will be ‘surviving to thriving’. Too many experience daily life as a battle, emotionally, our heads are only just above water. Holding onto jobs, managing family life, paying bills, all these factors may threaten to overwhelm us.
Increasing numbers have accepted that high levels of anxiety, stress and depression are the price we have to pay for keeping our lives on track, to survive. But this Mental Health Awareness Week is planned to set out the scale and cost of this survival, how it effects our health, relationships and futures. With a general election looming it is time to outline to policy makers, as well as individuals, the practical steps that can be taken to build a mentally healthy country. For more information go to the website.

Paperback books outsell e-books again!

Paperback book sales increased by 4% last year whilst e-book sales dropped by 4%, paperback copies now outselling digital copies again, and that's not including hardback books! It doesn't surprise me though, and shows a welcome sign of a return to reading books properly, hopefully helped by, and helping to support, local libraries. Paraphrasing Giles, the librarian in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (honest!), books have texture and smell, they are tangible, which you can't get from lines of ones and zeros! 😊 

Which reminds me, I've not popped into the library in Robertson Passage for a while, and it would be good to find out when the main library is to re-open, and borrow a book too...

Monday, 8 May 2017

New Seafront Kiosk

Well, the new seafront kiosk I recently reported was nearing completion (blog) looks to be completed, here it is earlier today, opposite the old weather station and in-between the Pier and Warrior Square. I wonder if they have had any "expressions of interest" that I'd written about back in September (blog), presumably so, or it wouldn't be built now?

Hastings Runners Annual 5 Mile Race

The start and finish at the Town Hall, Queens Road... I couldn't follow the Hastings Runners Keith Chandler 5 Mile Race itself, as I had other plans yesterday, but the provisional results can be seen at this blog site

1st - Josh Guilmant, Brighton Phoenix;
2nd - Gary Foster, Hastings AC;
3rd - Marshall Smith, Ashford AC.

Congratulations to all the runners!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Hastings Centre for Alternative Therapies?

Recently walking through St Andrews Mews, TN34 1S? (there are a few postcodes but TN34 1S is definitely correct), and I was surprised that there are four alternative therapies being provided here, in addition to the other shops, bikes, pet care, clothes, hairdresser, shirt printing, music and DVD, and cafe etc etc! Has St Andrews Mews become the Hastings centre for alternative therapies?

I found there are Podiatry and Chiropody, Brown Emmett muscle release technique, Russian alternative complementary therapy, and reflexology (which I benefited from when recuperating from fixation of a fractured vertebra a while ago now, I had lots of time, and they wanted someone happy to be used to practice on by students, so free to me too!), now this is a fair selection of alternative therapies, worth noting!