Saturday, 22 July 2017

A Quiet(er) Weekend in Hastings...

To help fund St Michael's Hospice, a dozen private gardens are opening in the Old Town to the public today, from 10.30am to 4pm for just £5, which can be paid at any of the gardens, and maps are available too (sponsored by Crest House). Whether in the twittens or main thoroughfares, and there are some short steep walks as you would expect in the old town, you will see terraces, ponds, flowers and shrubs, rowan and olive trees, art and stunning views, and so much more! Go to the hospice website for full details, and well worth your support, as well as enjoyment.

Meanwhile, over at Hastings Pier, the National Pier of the Year has been nominated for the country's top architecture award, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize. The 49 winners of the 2017 National awards were whittled down to 6 contenders, including Hastings Pier (see website for further information), good luck to the Pier! Whilst talking about the pier, the Pavilion has still not opened for food, though drinks are being provided there, and food can be obtained from the Upper Deck and at the smaller kiosks/huts. Events this weekend include Family Workshops, and the film Grease is being shown this evening from 8.15pm (see website).

And so much more around town, museums and parks, music and pubs, the castle and aquarium, and promenading along the seafront, whatever, enjoy your weekend!

Friday, 21 July 2017

Southern Railway: Good News?!?

The three strike days at the beginning of August planned by Aslef, and their 'work to rule', and the RMT's one planned strike day, have all been called off following "constructive talks" with the Government! I've regularly said that the Southern Railway industrial action is all about political interference by the Government and it's taken over a year for this to be potentially sorted out, by the Government, maybe... See, for example, my latest blog on the subject.

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling MP, said "We're doing everything we can to resolve the situation... and get passengers the high quality rail services that they deserve." Whilst Aslef appear less positive, though did say the talks were "proactive" and that "Further talks are planned with both the company (Govia/Southern) and then the minister." So, 'monkey' first, and then talk to the 'organ grinder.' See BBC.

I'd suggest, wait and see...

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Conservation Area Consultation: Still Time, Just!

You still have until tomorrow (Friday 21st) to make your views known on the Hastings Central Conservation Area Appraisal Consultation, so,  if you want to, hurry up! 😉

Go to Council website for more details and form.

R.I.P. 'Popeye'

Sadly, local character Popeye, real name Ron Everett, died on Tuesday 18th, our thoughts are with his family and friends, R.I.P.

Many thanks to our roving photographer, Marcus, for this photograph.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Regular Tuesday Guided Walk + Music

This afternoon, Tuesday 18th July, feel free to join the Old Hastings Preservation Society (OHPS) for their regular Tuesday walking tour of Hastings Old Town, the "premier ancient Cinque Port" meeting up at 2.30pm by the top of the West Hill lift. In the old town there is a wealth of historic buildings, twittens and cat-creeps to explore; you will also find out why celebrities of their day, eg the Pre-Raphaelites, flocked to Hastings; indeed, contemporary celebrities still do! A volunteer guide will lead the walk, which proceeds gently downhill, but, be careful, there are steps to manage here and there. The walk lasts about 2 hours and is provided free, but the OHPS would be very grateful for all donations given, many thanks, see their website.

It's worth wearing comfortable walking shoes and, as the forecast suggests sunshine, wearing factor 50 (or whatever level you wear, for me, it's factor 50!) may well be handy... Enjoy the afternoon!

This evening, after 9pm, and there is the regular Oirish diddly dee music at the Dolphin Inn, opposite the Stacey Marie RX134 (facebook); indeed, every Tuesday evening you can hear, mostly, non-vocal traditional music. Of course, there is music all over town, most days, so keep an eye, and/or ear, open for sounds, enjoy the evening too!

Monday, 17 July 2017

£6.6billion worth of contracts!?!

"The winners of £6.6bn worth of contracts to build the first phase of HS2 between London and Birmingham have been announced by the government." See BBC: £6.6BILLION!!!! All this money being offered out to tender by the Government, and they can't even run a decent rail service on the already existing routes of Southern Railway, I'm dismayed! 

It certainly is time to take the franchise away from Southern/Govia, and to nationalise our local line, if not all the railway companies!

Some Pirate Day Photographs 2017

Mods were here too, early doors

Bunting up at the Trader

Preparing the Stade Open Space

Looking across from Stacey Marie (facebook)

The Stacey Marie RX134

Drummers passing the Cinque Ports Arms

In the Cinque Ports

Still action at the Stade

Pirate Family escaping!

That's all folks!

Friday, 14 July 2017

Pirate Day 2017 - Sunday 16th July...

OK, there's always plenty happening in Hastings every weekend, but this weekend, events are likely to be dominated by Pirate Day on Sunday and, despite it not being a year needed to count the pirates in town (yet again, as Penzance still hasn't caught up with the Hastings' record of 14,231 achieved in 2012), Roger Crouch returns as organiser to ensure that much pirate fun will be there for young and old; see website.

And it's not just another event dominated by the 'old town' as plenty is going on from the end of Rock-a-Nore Road at the Blue Reef Aquarium, all the way to Grosvenor Gardens and the Bo Peep Inn, where I've been told pirate flags are flying already! The old town will see mermaids, shanty songs and drums; Hastings Lifeboat has an exercise launch at 09.00am and Pirate Day Refreshments from 11.00am; Pelham Beach will see free-fall parachuting and flags; the town centre and Priory Meadow will see music and workshops; the Pier and White Rock Theatre will see a treasure hunt and children's entertainment; then there will be 'Treasure Island' at St Leonards Warrior Square... Not to mention the procession, Punch & Judy, sword fighting, pirate films, and much more, and, of course much rum me 'arties!

Have piratical fun! 💀 

The Southern Railway Fiasco Trundles On!

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that the owners of Southern Railway, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), have been fined £13.4m for poor performance, explaining that the fine would have been higher, but most delays had not been the fault of the railway company! The transport secretary, Chris Grayling said that the £13.4m was to be spent on performance and passenger improvements, including £4m to fund 50 on-board supervisors over the next two years, adding that passengers had "been badly let down." Indeed, the train operator now runs only three-quarters of the trains that were run a year ago by Southern!
The Association of British Commuters (ABC) had taken legal action seeking a judicial review, as detailed in a previous blog. They had argued that ministers had acted unlawfully by failing to determine whether managers had breached franchise obligations. However, Mr Justice Ouseley said he would not grant a judicial review on the understanding that Mr Grayling would come to a decision over the Southern rail crisis by 13 July, well, he's come to a decision! Emily Yates, of ABC, said the fine "doesn't really touch the sides of this whole issue. This is a token £13.4m fine presented as an improvement package." See report.
However, the drivers' union, Aslef, continues with its own 'work to rule' or overtime ban, and, following a vote of all members, has called for strikes on Tuesday 1st, Wednesday 2nd, and Friday 4th of August 2017; see report
So, the Government, which has been funding Southern/GTR's escalating industrial conflict with the drivers' and conductors' unions, Aslef and the RMT, 'fines' the company, but gives the money back to them for 'performance and passenger improvements.' No solution has been found to ABC's assertion that the company has continued to 'breach franchise obligations' and Grayling retains his job, as do GTR retain the franchise. Meanwhile, customers who use Southern Railway, when possible, continue to receive a worsening service...

It's time to sack the Transport Secretary, who obviously cannot do his job without politically interfering in the industrial conflict, thus making it worse, and it's time to take the franchise away from GTR and re-nationalise Southern Railway, and quickly please!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Hastings Pier Update

Update from the most recent Hastings Pier Charity Newsletter:

The Pavilion
As you may be aware, we have been experiencing some unexpected technical difficulties with the catering launch. We have been working hard to alleviate these issues, but have had to extend The Pavilion's closure until this weekend.

The Pavilion will reopen with a bar service only (no food) from Saturday until we become fully operational, hopefully by the end of next week. We will keep you fully informed of any developments.

The Upper Deck Bar
The Upper Deck Bar will be serving our taster menu and a variety of drinks every day from 10am Wednesday - Friday this week. On Wednesday last orders will be at 4.30pm (owing to the pier's early closure - see below), and on Thursday and Friday last orders will be at 9.30pm.

The Upper Deck Bar will be open every day from Monday 17th July.

Wednesday 12th July
Hastings Pier will close at 5.30pm this Wednesday for a private event.

Saturday 15th July
The Upper Deck Bar, Pier Head and Central Section will be closed to the public this Saturday for Zooquarium Music Festival. Tickets are only £15 for the whole afternoon/evening - book your tickets here.

Sunday 16th July
The Upper Deck Bar will be open to Pirate Day VIP Deck ticket holders only this Sunday. VIP ticket holders will enjoy meet and greets, prosecco, canapes and the best seats in the house (£20 per adult and £7 per child, plus booking fee). Limited to 100 people so get yours quick - book your tickets here.

A variety of food and drink is also available from the PelicanCut & Grill and Billycan Coffee kiosks (opening times vary).

Memories and Birch Rooms
The Memories and Birch Rooms are closed all this week for events and will reopen next week. Please feel free to explore the pier's heritage with our On The Spot trail and Digital Touchtable in the meantime - both are available in our Hastings Pier Shop.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday 11th July, it wouldn't be a bad idea to join the Old Hastings Preservation Society (OHPS) for their regular Tuesday walking tour of Hastings Old Town, the "premier ancient Cinque Port." Meet up at 2.30pm by the top of the West Hill lift. In the old town there is a wealth of historic buildings, twittens and cat-creeps to explore; you will also find out why celebrities of their day, eg the Pre-Raphaelites, flocked to Hastings; indeed, contemporary celebrities still do! A volunteer guide will lead the walk, which proceeds gently downhill, but, be careful, there are steps to manage too... The walk lasts about 2 hours and is provided free, but the OHPS would be very grateful for donations, many thanks, see their website.

It's worth wearing comfortable walking shoes and, it may just be a wee bit damp, but probably not in the afternoon, says the forecast... whatever, enjoy the afternoon!

Southern Railway: Industrial Action Today...

There is RMT (conductors) industrial action today, in addition to the ongoing 'work to rule' being carried out by Aslef (drivers). Probably best to travel by South Eastern if heading for London, though, should you wish to check up on planned railway services from Southern, you can refer to their website, good luck!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Council Watch: Conservation Areas Public Consultation

Hastings Borough Council is reviewing the existing Hastings Town Centre, White Rock and 'Old Town' conservation areas, including the Pier, Hastings Castle, the Pelham group of buildings and Wellington Square. Before they finalise the document, they would like your views on the draft Appraisal and Management Plan, go for it! See website to make your opinion known, I already have!

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Busy, busy, busy, this weekend!

To start with, and it may appear a few days late, but the America Ground features its annual Independents Day today (Saturday 8th July) from 10am, celebrating independent businesses, creativity, thought, music, and art in the area. Head for the America Ground around Robertson Street, Trinity Street and Claremont; see website.

Around the corner, on Hastings Pier, the Pavilion Restaurant reopens today under new management (the Hastings Pier Charity going in-house now), and the extended Summer Opening Times begin too: 10am to 10pm (website). In addition to the usual Pier facilities, promenading, and events, there is also a Classic Car Boot Sale on both weekend days from 10am, with vintage fashion and accessories, homeware, collectables, vinyl records and much more (website).

Meanwhile, back to the old town and the Stade Open Space, and enter the 2017 Midsummer Fish Festival, with music, local wines and ales, cooking demonstrations, and, oh yes, fish! Since losing funding from the European Fisheries Fund a small entry fee is charged, £1 (for the whole weekend) available from the tourist centre at Muriel Matters House, or £2 on the door; under 18s get in free (website).

Meeting at the Fishermen's Museum in Rock-a-Nore Road at 11am both days, and you can take guided walks of the Stade with Old Hastings Preservation Society guides, exploring the Stade Fishing Quarter, and discovering the history of Hastings' sustainable fishing industry; the walks last about 90 minutes (website). Wearing strong shoes is advised as you will be walking on pebbles and uneven ground and, although the walks are free, donations to Hastings Fishermen's Museum are very much welcomed, many thanks! 

Of course there's much more around town, music, food and pubs, museums and parks, and, not to forget, as I wrote yesterday, the last day of the Hastings Beer & Music Festival (website) with its Family Day today. Have fun!

Friday, 7 July 2017

Hastings Beer & Music Festival 2017

The, for charity, Hastings Beer & Music Festival is now on, and, if you weren't aware, it has moved away from Alexandra Park and is now on at a new venue, The Oval TN34 1EU, on the other side of Bohemia Road and up from the Museum & Art Gallery, and opposite Summerfields; see website for full details and more information about this charity event, Family Day on Saturday.

Not a great banner on the Pier (above), apparently it started yesterday! 😮

Lifeboat exercise abandoned...

The lifeboat exercise on Wednesday was cancelled due to a call out, next launch planned for Sunday 16th July... Also, Pirate Day!  

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Lifeboats Exercise Launch this evening...

Subject to operations, of course, this evening will see the fortnightly exercise of both Hastings' lifeboats from 18.00 to 20.00 hours. - Due to a service call out, the exercise was abandoned, next planned for Sunday 16th July, Pirate Day!

Also, happy to report that £1,088.23 was raised at the Open Day on Sunday, nice one!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Southern Railway: Is a compromise possible?

The RMT (conductors union) are putting forward a proposal to try to make a compromise with Govia Thameslink, the company who run Southern Railway at the moment, and are meeting with Members of Parliament for support of their proposal. The RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "We will be telling MPs that we are hoping the company will reconsider our proposal for a trial six-month period of an accessibility guarantee... We would hope that they would agree to this sensible proposal as the Association of Train Operating Companies consultant's report has said train companies should guarantee a second person to comply with their legal obligations."
RMT members on Southern will stage a fresh strike next Monday, while Aslef (the drivers) continue with their 'work to rule', ie not working overtime.

See BBC website for more.

More Art on the Beach... with Pebbles!

I took these photographs yesterday morning below St Leonards, so I'm guessing they are something to do with the St Leonards Festival over the weekend...

Quite a few more too, nice one, or twelve!

This afternoon, Tuesday 4th July, you can join the Old Hastings Preservation Society (OHPS) for a walking tour of Hastings Old Town, the "premier ancient Cinque Port," meeting up at 2.30pm by the top of the West Hill lift. There is a wealth of historic buildings, twittens and cat-creeps to see around Hastings old town, and you will find out why 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 very grateful for donations, many thanks, see their website.

I'd suggest you wear comfortable walking shoes and, should you have skin like mine, don't forget the factor 50 and a hat as a blue sky is forecast, enjoy the day!

Monday, 3 July 2017

Made me giggle, but good advice...

I was reminded of this image from a few years ago, made me giggle, but we do have problems with dog mess around town, and that's not amusing!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Fishing Industry: Things are happening!

The government is set to take Britain out of the London Fisheries Convention, agreed and signed in 1964 before we joined the EEC, by giving 2 years notice to leave the agreement tomorrow. The convention is an arrangement that allows fishing boats from other countries to fish within six and twelve nautical miles of the UK coastline and for British fishing boats to fish within six and twelve miles of  foreign countries, including Ireland, The Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium. Consequently, withdrawing from the convention means that British fishing boats will also lose the right to fish in waters six to twelve nautical miles offshore of these other countries. 
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the move would help take back control of fishing access to UK waters, "for the first time in more than 50 years we will be able to decide who can access our waters." But Will McCallum, Greenpeace UK head of oceans, said that leaving the convention would not in itself deliver a better future for the UK fishing industry, and that for years British governments had blamed the EU for their own "failure" to support the small-scale, sustainable fishing boats, such as those of the Hastings fleet. Indeed, British governments had allowed foreign fishing boats to buy British boats' fishing allowances for themselves, which decreased the numbers of fish that British fishing boats could land under the separate EU Common Fisheries Policy
The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations has welcomed the decision. Chief executive Barrie Deas said: "This is welcome news and an important part of establishing the UK as an independent coastal state with sovereignty over its own exclusive economic zone." He said Mr Gove needed to keep the 2015 Conservative Party manifesto commitment to "re-balance fishing quotas in favour of small-scale, specific locally based fishing communities", which they have done nothing about in the 2 years since that election. 
Things are getting very interesting, and that's without looking at the coming negotiations of the 12 to 200 miles fishing waters covered by the Common Fisheries Policy, particularly considering that Paris is less than 200 miles from Hastings and London is less than 200 miles from many other countries' borders!
More information at the ITV news website.

Corbyn comes to town!

 Jeremy Corbyn arrives
Meeting the locals 

The Rally 

From another angle 

And looking back up Warrior Square Gardens at the rally yesterday, when Jeremy Corbyn visited Hastings first for his grand tour of 65 marginal Conservative seats...

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Another Busy Weekend in Hastings!

In addition to the usual full weekend, Pier, parks and beach, museums and music, the 2017 St Leonards Festival Reinvented continues today with so much more going on, including a larger Kings Road Market, Street Theatre, Musicians and Family Entertainment on/by the beach; see website for the full programme.

Then, tomorrow, Hastings Lifeboat Station has an open day from 11am until 4pm, with the RNLI inviting you to "meet the crew and see the lifeboats up close." Also, meet the Coastguard and other Emergency Services, Sea Safety information, refreshments, tombola and raffle, and much more fun for all the family; see website

Oh yes, and I believe Jeremy Corbyn is coming to town...

Enjoy your weekend!