Friday, 30 June 2017

Southern Rail Dispute Rumbles On...

Yesterday, Aslef (the drivers union) started their work to rule/overtime ban, the management estimated about 75% of Southern trains should have run, though expect that figure to become worse, especially later in the day, as the dispute continues. 

The legal case for a judicial review put by the Association of British Commuters (ABC) was rejected by the judge, though, on the understanding that the Transport Minister, Grayling, make a ruling on the case within 2 weeks; see Guardian website.

As I said recently (blog), seconds out! 

Hastings Pier Update & New Catering Plan

This is an edited version of Hastings Pier’s latest newsletter which explains that the catering and hospitality operation on the Pier will be handed back from Centerplate to the Hastings Pier Charity on Saturday the 1st of July 2017. A phased reopening is planned, with future emphasis "on quality food and drink" from local suppliers (including fresh fish from the local fishing industry), and there will be appropriate training opportunities for staff. 

The reopening begins with a "pop up" provision on the Upper Deck bar & terrace from Saturday the 1st of July, whilst the Pavilion building and fish and chip bar will be closed from Saturday the 1st to Friday the 7th of July inclusive to enable slight refurbishment and staff training. The restaurant will be unveiled to the public with a new food menu and wine and cocktail lists on Saturday the 8th of July. Weather permitting, a DJ will be playing in celebration of the new opening in the afternoon and evening on the Pavilion terrace.

In addition, a new food kiosk (also operated by the Hastings Pier Charity’s catering team) will be open from Saturday the 8th of July, and will serve "traditional seaside fare" including doughnuts and candy floss. 

In line with the new catering plan, Hastings Pier’s opening times will be extended to 10pm from Saturday the 8th of July until the end of September 2017.

Wed 28th - Friday 30th June: 10am-8pm
Saturday 1st July: 10am-4pm (early closing for Pier Jam)
Sunday 2nd – Friday 7th July: 10am-8pm
Saturday 8th July – end of September: 10am-10pm 

The new catering and hospitality offer is being spearheaded by Erika Holland, who said: “I am very excited to be joining Hastings Pier Charity for this new venture. We will be sourcing our ingredients locally where possible and sustainability is key. Going forward we will be looking to put together a training programme with the aim to provide job opportunities for local people.” Jo Stewart, CEO at Hastings Pier Charity, added “Bringing our catering offer in house is pivotal to our business plan and will bring the Pier one step closer to becoming self-funded in the future. It also opens up funding opportunities which will further bolster our business plan ensuring the Pier has a sustainable future.”

Please note that opening times may vary in the case of inclement weather and for events. Go to the Pier website for further information.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, made in Hastings!

Here's an atmospheric styled photograph of the cover of my copy of the Hastings edition of Robert Tressell's (used name Robert Noonan, born Croker) The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists. Tressell lived and worked in Hastings for nearly 10 years at the beginning of the 20th century, indeed, he wrote this book whilst living here, it was based on his work as a painter and decorator in Hastings and contemporary social conditions, and the town was renamed Mugsborough in the book, though, essentially this was Hastings.

Similar view taken yesterday

The Hastings edition is a complete unabridged version, and contains excellent photographs of both Noonan and his daughter Kathleen, and many intriguing images of contemporary Hastings from just over 100 years ago. It is still available from the Visitors Centre at Muriel Matters House, though numbers appear to be receding fast, and apparently can also be bought online for £2.99 + £2.25 p&p; go to the Famously Hastings website.

Hurry, hurry, hurry!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

CAMRA Pub of the Year 2017

By Steve the Beermeister:

Congratulations must go to Louisa and her colleagues up at The Tower, 251 London Road, for, yet again, winning the local Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) South East Sussex Pub of the Year, and who was presented with her award yesterday evening. In Hastings we are blessed with a great number of public houses and bars that sell good quality real ales, yet Lou's pub has managed to stand out with CAMRA assessors for three years in a row, and her great range of well-conditioned, good value, 6 real ales (most usually from local brewers) and a similar number of ciders and perry support this award. 

I drank at the Tower very recently and the price of ales started at £2.90 for their regular session ale, East Sussex brewer Dark Star's Hophead (3.8%) at £2.90 a pint, to £3.20 a pint for the strongest that day. Also from Dark Star is the other excellent regular ale American Pale Ale (APA 4.7%) at £3.00 a pint. Other ales came from the up and coming local brewers from Brede, the single-hopped Three Legs Columbus Pale Ale (4.9% and thus the strongest at £3.20), Yorkshire brewer Vocation Bread & Butter (3.9%), Welsh brewer VOG Dark Matters (4.4%), and the excellent Peterborough brewer Oakham, whose 4.2% Citra, another single hopped ale, I couldn't resist drinking!

Nice one Lou, cheers, again!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Old Town Walk

This afternoon, Tuesday 27th June, you can 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.

And remember to wear at least a shower-proof jacket as light rain is forecast, and I'd suggest you wear comfortable walking shoes too, enjoy the day!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Armed Forces Day & A Kraken Hunt!

Today Armed Forces Day is being celebrated from 10.30am to 4.30pm in Hastings (though it was yesterday); see website. Also, starting a wee bit later, from noon until 4pm will be The Wonders of the Deep Kraken Hunt – "A treasure hunt with a difference!" This is a Hastings Borough Bonfire Society celebration of the 100th year sine the birth of 'Oxo', Leslie Ernest Richardson (born on the 15th November 1917). 

Today, the Bonfire Society will be taking to the streets and pubs of the old town in search of 'wonders of the deep' cards, leading to the discovery of the Kraken, "the greatest sea monster of all." All competitors will be given a list of clues to the pubs, all with names connected to the sea. Once pubs have been tracked down, answering a question correctly earns points towards a chance to win The Great Kraken Hunt.

The Hastings Borough Bonfire Society invites people to go along and join in, or to just "watch the fun." Starting out from the Cinque Ports Arms, All Saints Street, 12.00-12.30pm; entry costs £5, and dress is expected to be nautical or steampunk.

Enjoy the day!

Saturday, 24 June 2017

New Hastings Lifeguard Stations

We've two new lifeguard stations on the beaches near the centre of town, the one above is opposite the Carlisle pub...

... and this one is on Pelham Beach. I need to wander further to the west to see if there are anymore new lifeguard stations, maybe later this weekend 😎 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Poly Styrene Exhibition

There is an exhibition in the crypt of St Mary in the Castle until the 30th June regarding Poly Styrene, lead singer and founder of the, primarily, 1970s punk band X-ray Spex, who wrote and sang iconic punk songs such as Identity (youtube) and Germ Free Adolescents (youtube). Now, I know about her, well, because I am of a certain age, but I was surprised to hear from 2 younger women I know that they had never heard of her!

So, who was Poly Styrene (misspelt 'Steryne' by St Mary's, not sure why)? She was born Marianne Joan Elliott-Said in Bromley in 1957, and was brought up in Brixton, London. Her links to Hastings? Well, her mother came from Hastings, though of celtic stock (Marianne's father was Somali), she was inspired to form the band X-ray Spex after seeing the Sex Pistols play on Hastings Pier in 1976, and she moved to an end of terrace house in St Leonards in her later life, enjoying riding along the promenade on her scooter.

Poly Styrene was a rebel, no doubt, she left home at 15 for two or three years visiting music festivals and hitchhiking around the country, after her first experience of punk, seeing the Sex Pistols in 1976, X-ray Spex brought out their debut single in September 1977, the anti-consumerism, anti-misogyny, anti-racist, Oh Bondage! Up Yours! I'd suggest you don't click on any video links here if you can't cope with bad language or more liberal views of life, but this was punk, after all; youtube link

Poly Styrene developed breast cancer, which spread to her spine and lungs, and died whilst in St Michael's Hospice, St Leonards, in 2011. Her daughter, Celeste Bell, herself a singer in the mode of her once classically trained mother, has been involved in the writing of the documentary Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliche, and a biography is due out next year; see her Guardian article written earlier this year.

Sadly, I missed the play Highly Inflammable, but you can still get into the exhibition at St Mary in the Castle until Friday 30th June 2017, 10am to 4pm; see website.

Poly Styrene, Marianne, 1957-2011, R.I.P. 😢 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Stolen Art from Rebel Gallery

Stolen... from the Rebel Gallery, 29 George Street (01424 425786), believed to be at least 4 or 5 limited edition prints from the browser in the gallery. If you are offered any cut-price Huldrick limited editions, or see anyone trying to sell them, please let either the gallery know, or call the police.

They believe that the prints taken include the following: 
"Red, White and Blue" Edition number 90/250
"The Stade · Hastings" Edition number 157/250
"Edward and Mary" Edition Number 106/250
"Stormy Stade" Edition Number 87/250

The works should be easy to notice as they are usually only sold direct from the gallery, or from the Tourist Information Centre at Muriel Matters House, consequently, if you see them anywhere else, they are most probably stolen!

Good luck with that Jon, trust they are found soon.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Southern Railway... Well, what can we do?

Whilst Aslef (the drivers' union) begins an overtime ban on the 29th June, the RMT (the conductors' union) considers its next steps, with plans to go on strike on the 10th of July: Mick Cash (RMT general secretary) said: "The spotlight is now well and truly back on the basket-case Southern rail franchise and their unconditional support from this minority government, regardless of the safety and service consequences." 

Meanwhile, the Association of British Commuters (ABC) will attend a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice (High Court) on 29 June seeking a 'judicial review' of the situation, declaring that ministers have acted unlawfully by failing to determine whether managers had breached franchise obligations. Summer Dean of ABC asserted that "Passengers are the only people who still don't have a voice in this fiasco, and many thousands of them support us in our efforts to reveal the truth behind the Department for Transport's involvement in Southern Rail."

ABC seem to be wanting a voice; see BBC

So, ABC, Aslef and the RMT in the red corner, Southern Railway and the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, in the blue corner, seconds out. round twelve!

Monday, 19 June 2017

The Cyril and Lilian Bishop docked.

A couple of images of the Cyril and Lilian Bishop taken yesterday (Sunday) without a herd of people surrounding her! If you haven't already read anything about her history read this earlier blog, though if you're a regular reader of my blogs you probably have!

So, congratulations to Tush and Dee-Day, and their wives and everyone else involved with this great project, and, if you want to get a closer look at this past Hastings' lifeboat, walk up The Bourne or All Saints Street, and she is now moored below All Saints Church. 

Nice one!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Moving the 'Ghost of Dunkirk'

Jonathan Mendenhall sharing the history of the Cyril and Lilian Bishop, the 'Ghost of Dunkirk', with us before her final journey...

Judy Rogers, Mayor of Hastings, gives her account...

Michael Foster, ex-Member of Parliament and Deputy Lieutenant of East Sussex, and Hastings' resident all his life ("I've never stayed away from Hastings for more than 2 weeks, all my life", though he did attend the University of Leicester, so I'm guessing he included that as living in Hastings...), joins in!

I was surprised that All Saints Street was actually empty of parked vehicles by 10.00, well done folks!

The stewards do a typical steward thing and push people out of the way as if we are children, give someone a high viz jacket and the think they're God!

Despite listing to starboard for a short while, there was little problem with hauling her up through the narrow early part of All Saints Street.

Then, she sat outside the Crown for 20 minutes whilst the bar was overwhelmed!

Coming up to the Cinque Ports Arms

 Sitting outside the Stag Inn

More singing - She's arrived! 

Well done Hastingers, the Cyril and Lilian Bishop docked below All Saints Church.

Friday, 16 June 2017

This weekend, and it's not just about a lifeboat...

Cyril & Lilian Bishop with Auction Items today

Indeed, this weekend isn't just about the Cyril and Lilian Bishop (see recent blog), though memories of another lifeboat, the Priscilla MacBean, being hauled up The Bourne in November 2014 do tend to prejudice which event I believe to be the most important this weekend (see blog)! It is intended to start hauling the Cyril and Lilian Bishop up All Saints Street at 11.00am tomorrow, but speeches and blessings, and no doubt some music, will occur from 10.30. In addition, this evening from 6pm, there will be an auction of donated goods, and more, from the boat, on the Stade below All Saints Street and Winkle Island.
Of course, there are also the usual places to visit and enjoy, not least Hastings Pier, where Cinema on the Pier continues this weekend, and an interesting looking Street Food Festival is being held on Saturday and Sunday (see website). Also, the Old Hastings Preservation Society (OHPS) have organised a guided walk around the Stade Fishing Quarter on Sunday morning (18th), meeting up at the Fishermen's Museum in Rock-a-Nore Road at 11am. The walk is free and lasts about 90 minutes; you are guided by an experienced volunteer so any donations to Hastings Fishermen's Museum would be most welcome, many thanks. See website for further information, you are advised to wear strong walking shoes, and the application of Factor 50 may not be entirely unwise!

Enjoy the weekend.

Sussex Day!

The flags of East and West Sussex

After the turmoil of recent months and weeks, the sad events, the anger, the general election, a day of celebration may be possible, surely, best wishes to the people of Sussex!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The Cyril and Lilian Bishop

The Cyril and Lilian Bishop being towed onto the beach this morning; I've written about this lifeboat, the "Ghost of Dunkirk" a few times now, for more information about her and her history, go to one of my previous blogs, for example here...

Tush and Dee-Day supervising her movements, thanks to the help of volunteers...

Now sited on the Stade Open Space, just below All Saints Street, and from where the annual Blessing of the Sea will be made this evening, just after 6pm.

The Cyril and Lilian Bishop will remain on the Stade until she is towed up All Saints Street on Saturday at 11.00 am to her final dry dock below All Saints Church. Tomorrow evening will see some musical events held on her, and on Friday evening there will be an auction from her deck of numerous donations, where the proceeds will go to her upkeep. 

Another important piece of Hastings history being preserved, nice one!

On today (Wednesday 14th)

The annual Blessing of the Sea will be held this evening, from 6pm, I believe it will be held from the Cyril and Lilian Bishop, due to be moved onto the Stade Open Space this morning, and to be pulled up All Saints Street to its final dry dock on Saturday.

Hastings Fringe Comedy Festival starts this evening and continue until Sunday in the Old Town, we need a good laugh these days! See their facebook page for more details.

There will be (more) trouble ahead...

Well, I've previously suggested that whilst the general election campaign was on we'd have respite from industrial action on Southern Railway, now Chris Grayling MP has been reappointed as Transport Secretary. His record over the last year has been abysmal, sadly then, I can't but predict that industrial action is soon to increase and our train service to London Victoria will go AWOL again, I just hope I'm incorrect...

See the BBC website for more information.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

This beautiful afternoon, Tuesday 13th June, you can 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. The guided walks 'season' is well under way now, and this particular walk will be available every Tuesday until the 5th September, with a few added days during August.

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.

And remember the Factor 50 and to wear a hat if, like me, you are susceptible to the sun's rays, and to wear comfortable walking shoes too, enjoy the day!