Thursday, 23 March 2017

Sad Days

Sad day yesterday with the return of terrorism on British soil... our thoughts go out to those who were murdered and their families and friends, R.I.P.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

He's on a Quest, and an interesting discovery!

By Steve the Beermeister...

Following my recent consideration of beer price increases in Hastings pubs since the Chancellor's budget, and breweries annual price increases, I've been on a bit of a quest, because most breweries are at it, not to mention the middle person, and the tax collector indeed! Also, an interesting development regarding paying by debit card... So, here's a few in Hastings and nearby, and, OK, it is a chore, but I prefer to say it's really a calling.

I walked to Bexhill the other day, to the RAFA Albatross Club... OK, it is cheaper because it is a members club, but their 4 real ales, whatever strength, are all priced at £3.20 a pint. For another comparison on keg beers, I checked on their Guinness price too, which is £3.50 a pint, not bad, but, as I said, this is a club.

I also popped into the Dripping Well, just up towards Bohemia Road from the old Post Office. Here, two real ales were on sale, the session bitter being Wadworth Henry's IPA at just £2.90 a pint, and their stronger bitter, Youngs Special at £3.30 a pint; the Guinness here costs £3.70 a pint, all very good value for a pub so close to the town centre.

Back into the old town and, in Rock-A-Nore Road, the Dolphin Inn today put up their prices following all breweries and other suppliers price increases, and the 2% increase in beer duty. All 6 of their real ales continue to be priced the same, strengths from 3.8% to, usually, no more than 6%, ie now £3.70 a pint, and Guinness now costs £4.10 a pint.

I shall visit a few more pubs and bars around town, and continue to report on price variations, probably coming to an overall comparison in a month or two, but! An interesting piece of information came to my attention this morning, ie, if you pay for your drinks by a debit card (as customers are increasingly being encouraged to do, but what's wrong with cash, I say?!?) at the London Trader in the old town, they charge you £1 on top, effectively, say you pay for 2 pints with your card, increasing the price of each pint by 50p!

Interesting, indeed! I shall continue my quest...πŸ˜‰

Want to be a RNLI Lifeguard this Summer?

Do you want to be a RNLI Lifeguard  in Hastings and St Leonards (or elsewhere) this summer, or do you know someone else who would be interested? If so, have a look at the RNLI website for further details for how you could help to save lives. 

Monday, 20 March 2017

Hastings Half Marathon Results

Overall Winner Ben Fish

Women's Results 2017:

1. Sarah Gruber, Invicta East Kent AC, 1:26:35
2. Sue Fry, Hailsham Harriers, 1:28:30
3. Julie Wedmore, Herne Hill Harriers, 1:29:21

Men's Results 2017:

1. Ben Fish, Blackburn Harriers & AC, 1:09:52
2. Rhys Boorman, Hastings AC, 1:14:48
3. Alex Money, Orpington Road Runners, 1:15:42

For the full list of times for the finishing runners see website.

Congratulations to all who took part!

Happy Springtime!

Spring begins today at 10.29 hours in the UK with the Vernal Equinox, enjoy!

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Hastings Half Marathon... and Ale & Arty this weekend.

Today, if you feel up to walking along the seafront to Bexhill (or catching a bus or train, or driving for that matter) is the Ale & Arty Beer Festival at the De La Warr Pavilion. In addition, between 11am and 3pm, is the Battle of the Bands, for young musicians, later the AYU Funk Band and The Cavaliers will be playing; see their website for full programme. The nearby award winning Albatross (RAFA) Club will also be open all day to non-members, should you wish to have a drink or eat in there.

Tomorrow, Sunday 19th, sees the 33rd Hastings Half Marathon start off from Sea Road, by Marina Gardens, opposite the Bo Peep pub at 10.30am, and finishes there too, an hour plus later... See website for more details, and details of how to enter for next year!

Yesterday, I noticed temporary toilets already being placed... Good luck to the runners and the charities that many are sponsoring!

PS. Check for closed roads in Hastsings during the event...

Friday, 17 March 2017

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Amber Rudd, or Adolph Hitler?

Probably because I live in Hastings I missed this a few months ago, but this film of James O'Brien discussing our MP is well worth a watch, prepare to be shocked...

Another Aslef/Southern "Deal"

Govia, ie Southern's parent company; have come to a secret agreement with the train drivers' union, Aslef, and so, their members are now being asked, for a second time, to vote on the 'agreement' as they recently rebutted the first 'agreement.'  Aslef obviously have the stronger hand in any potential deal, that is, stronger than the guards' union, the RMT, and Southern appear to be doing well in dividing the opposition to driver-only operated trains, damn the safety issues! See the BBC website for further information.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Pete "Squeaky" Pepper's Ashes...

Pete "Squeaky" Pepper's ashes were today passed to the sea, with thanks to Podgy and many other friends, and glasses were later raised to his memory, R.I.P. 😒


By Steve the Beermeister...

OK, I'm guessing that the First In Last Out doesn't make enough money from its restaurant, because, they increase the prices of their beers at least twice a year, despite having up to 50% small breweries tax relief on a pint of their own ales. So, following the tax hike in the recent Government budget, they're selling a pint of their FILO Gold (a very decent ale, indeed, and local CAMRA champion this year!) at £3.70, since they put their prices up yesterday, which is equivalent to £4 a pint, or thereabouts, taking into account small brewery tax relief. Indeed, a pint would cost you similar in the array of Hastings Shepherd Neame pubs ( which are vastly overpriced too!), yet you can buy, today, a pint of the excellent Salopian Hop Twister at the Dolphin Inn for £3.60, or 10p a pint cheaper straight up, or 40p a pint cheaper taking into account the tax relief (Indeed, you could get the same Hop Twister at the FILO very recently for the same price!)... 

Hmmm... is this profiteering, with DFLs apparently willing to pay more for a beer?

Marine Court: Police are seeking witnesses

Emergency services were called to Marine Court at about 09.00 yesterday morning following a report that a man had fallen from a window. He was found to be dead and another man "has been arrested on suspicion of murder." Police are calling for witnesses; see the Sussex Police website.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Industrial Action on the Railways... AGAIN!

So, yet another day with the train 'service' effected by industrial action in Hastings and the South and South-East, though this time, RMT members, ie conductors on Northern and Merseyrail as well as on Southern, have joined in (thanks to the BBC for this image, by the way)! If you need to travel on Southern before midnight, here is a link to what's been arranged to account for a disrupted service on Southern's website.

Of course, rail workers from other rail companies are now joining in the fray, as the Government continues to interfere in 'franchised' train companies operating, with its policy of bringing in driver-only trains across the country to save staffing costs. The unions' argument (Aslef  drivers are still involved, of course, indeed, many Aslef drivers on Merseyrail have refused to cross picket lines and so further disrupted Merseyrail's service today) is that this is about safety, though it has to be about jobs as well, in reality.

The unions do not trust the Government, let alone the train operating companies, to ensure jobs are safe, as plans are afoot to re-train guards to become drivers as current drivers retire, thus, the so-called reduction of guards' duties will see only one member of staff left on trains, including 12 carriage trains stopping at platforms where there are fewer than 12 carriages meeting the platform, and we have many station platforms down here that have fewer than four carriage length platforms! Consequently, jobs will be lost...

Not to mention, no guards to help customers with special needs and disabilities, eg blind people and those in wheelchairs, nor guards to collect fares from those who board trains at stations with no staff, thus losing income too! Oh well... I haven't been around for a few days as I had a weekend away, coincidentally, having to use the 'replacement bus service' between Brighton and Polegate yesterday, this one due to railworks, will it ever end?

Thursday, 9 March 2017

HBC sorts it out, a wee bit...

Well, the Council, or Kier, sorted out the mess here, for now, meanwhile, they listened to protests about the proposed closure of the public toilets in Ore, which has been reprieved, though they are still going ahead with the closure of the central town loos in Harold Place it would seem. Oh well, cuts have to happen somewhere, taking into account central government's unfair annual reduction in support to Hastings since 2010... πŸ˜’

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

1066 Energy Day at Stade Hall

The 1066 Energy Day is happening this Saturday 11th March, at Stade Hall, 10am to 4pm; now, I have no idea what this is, but see their website for more details! πŸ˜‰

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Dogs on leads in Hastings

A Hastings resident was recently fined for not having his dog on a lead and charged with "not keeping his dog on a lead in Queens Road and South Terrace, contrary to the Dogs on Leads (Borough of Hastings) Order 2008." He was summonsed to Hastings Magistrates Court on Friday, February 24, but did not attend and was found guilty in absence, being fined £150, with £225 costs and £30 victim surcharge.

Warren Davies,  Hastings Borough Council’s lead member for environment said: “We recognise that the majority of people in Hastings are considerate dog owners but sadly there are a few who are not. We take dog control issues very seriously and the safety of residents and visitors to the town is very important to us. This prosecution will hopefully act as a deterrent to other dog owners who do not keep their dogs under control; be warned, we will prosecute.” For more information about dog control orders in Hastings visit 

Read more at the Observer website.

Hastings Lifeboat Exercse

Watch both of Hastings Lifeboats launched on their regular exercise tomorrow evening (Wednesday 8th March). The launch will be at 1800 hours, and recovery should be at 20.00 hours (subject to operations). Hastings RNLI  have recommend that the best view of both will be from the Harbour Arm...

No Irish Folk Music at the Dolphin this evening, BUT!

The usual 'fiddly dee' music with the Tune Raiders is not on at the Dolphin Inn this evening, apparently a few of the musicians are not available this week, but the family are putting on a 'Games Night' to cover for the lack of live music... That is, a large variety of pub games (including chess, shove ha'penny, cards, dominoes, and many more) will be available from 6pm until closing time, and cheese boards and biscuits (I've eaten one last week, and decent value at £5, indeed!), and a number of Lou's decent value cocktails, will be available too! Should be fun...

Monday, 6 March 2017

Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition Results:

With thanks to the 13th Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition's facebook page: The 2017 winner of the First Prize of £10,000, and a concerto performance with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, is Kenneth Broberg.

Second Prize: Hans Suh

Third Prize: Youkyoung Kim

Fourth Prize: Koki Kuroiwa and Meng-Sheng Shen

Fifth Prize: Giuseppe Guarrera

Orchestra Prize: Koki Kuroiwa

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Southern Railway: Campaigners apply for Judicial Review!

Campaigners have applied for a judicial review into the government's handling of the Southern fiasco. Govia Thameslink (GTR) took on the Southern rail franchise in 2015 and its contract with the Department for Transport (DfT) runs for another 4 years! 

As I have regularly reported, there has been an industrial dispute with the RMT (conductors) getting on for a year, and now with the drivers union, Aslef, too. The Transport for All campaign group asserts that the Government should have done more to ease disruption; but, as I have regularly reported, the Government is funding GTR to beat the trade unions. A Department for Transport spokesperson said they are unable to comment while legal proceedings are ongoing. 

Transport for All, which campaigns for travellers with disabilities and older travellers, has joined the Association of British Commuters in requesting that a Judicial Review be held into the Department's handling of the Southern Railway dispute with the unions, particularly in respect to the impact on older travellers and travellers with disabilities. The Association of British Commuters has already applied for a review in January and is awaiting a decision from the Royal Court of Justice. 

A spokesperson for the campaign asserted: "Accessible public transport is a lifeline to inclusion for many disabled people who disproportionally rely on it to go about their everyday lives. The Southern rail crisis caused disruption and misery to disabled and older people, leaving many unable to travel to work and increasingly isolated. Yet throughout the strikes the DfT has remained silent." 

A spokesperson for Southern Railway said: "We aim to give excellent assistance and are very sorry to hear about these passenger experiences. Over 440,000 journeys were made on Southern with disability railcards last year and only a tiny fraction resulted in a complaint that assistance was not provided. We regularly carry out call-back surveys with disabled passengers and 'mystery shop' so that we can look at what we can change to improve."  

For more information see the Disability News Service website.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Fat Tuesday Music Images

Nigel Clark of Dodgy, the well known headlining act for Hastings Fat Tuesday this year, here photographed playing at the London Trader; they also played at the Albion and were the last act to play at the Carlisle.

My roving photographer, Marcus, took these photographs for me (many thanks Marcus!), chosen because he has much better photographic equipment than I do. Oh yes, and he knows quite a number of people who play in the 24 bands that were on show on Tuesday evening, and these images are unique and all rights are owned by him...  

And this is Captain Clagnut playing at the Old Market; they also played at the Jenny Lind and the Standard. An eclectic selection of bands shown here, indeed!

This is Sand Rabbit playing at the Dolphin Inn, and this trio also played at the First In Last Out (FILO), and at Porters, earlier in the evening.

Local band, Kid Kapichi, the last act to play at the Admiral Nelson; they also played at the Albion, and at the Carlisle.

Soul Xpress playing at the Dolphin Inn; they also played at Porters earlier in the evening, and were the last act to play at the Anchor.

We Are Baz were the last act to play at the FILO, here photographed playing earlier in the evening at the Albion; they also played at the Anchor and at the Dolphin Inn.

Thanks again to Marcus J Lamb-Bentley for allowing me to publish these images, cheers!

Hastings Pier Vintage & Retro Indoor Market

Added to the ongoing Fishing from the Pier, Camera Obscura - Make a Sketch, Hastings Pier Yarn Bomb, bars and restaurant, not to mention promenading on the Pier, this weekend sees the return of the Vintage & Retro Indoor Market in the Memories Room of the central Deck Building from 11am to 5pm both days; See website.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

World Book Day 2017

Today, Thursday 2nd March, is the 20th World Book Day, so, if nothing has been arranged to celebrate this day at your children's school, take them to your closest library after school, eg in Robertson Passage, where children under five will also receive a £1 book token (See website). Indeed, why not go there anyway and catch up on your reading too!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

And Rail Users Continue To Get The Worst Deal!

Go-Ahead, who own 65% of Govia (who operate Southern Railway), have announced that their profits have dived because of the catastrophe that is Southern... 
"Go-Ahead said it was talking to unions to try to resolve the issues. Group chief executive David Brown said: "We have faced lengthy and significant industrial relations issues related to the modernisation of working practices.
"Our customers have suffered months of disrupted travel, impacting work and family lives and we are sorry that such inconvenience and hardship has been caused. Discussions with trade unions are ongoing as we strive to reach a full resolution of these issues," he added." See more at the BBC
If you really want to make more profits, don't do the Government's dirty work for them (See previous blog). Meanwhile, taxpayers continue to pay £millions to maintain this farce, fares continue to rise ahead of inflation, and rail users aren't getting a service! 
The RMT (conductors) have organised a 24 hour strike in this area, and around the country, for Monday 13th March, and who knows what Aslef (drivers) will do next...