Sunday, 18 May 2008
Once again we invaded Hastings, for the fifth time it seems. I could never understand people going back to the same holiday time and again, but now we seem to have joined yet another club I never foresaw.
The cottage is in the Old Town, under the East Cliff, a terrace of 5 built in the first decade of the 1800s for local fishermen, just one room wide, 3 stories and now Grade 2 listed the owner boasts. Didn't stop him bricking over the back garden since we last visited.
All the fishermen's houses have small gardens I note, no time to plant and weed, no energy left perhaps. The rest of the area is old and higgety piggety, poor man's Brighton lots of arty types pottering about, now growing lots of colourful flowers in as many pots as they can stack.
After a late breakfast we climb Tackleway and then the steps through the trees, up onto the cliffs grassy tops, led by Hattie's waggy tail. Lots of nesting magpies, skylarks and very noisy gulls.The magpies are extremely arrogant and just sit on the ground eyeing us with one gimlet eye, deciding whether we are worth moving for, usually not. Likewise the baby bunnies, but in their case maybe it is youthful ignorance.
The gorse is over now, concentrating on making seeds to pop in the heat of August
so the broom is taking it's turn before the bullying brambles and unfurling bracken subdue everything.
I am impressed that I now know this succession, having grown up on a new post war council estate. I was allocated a small strip in our unruly garden and poked in lupin seeds, which obligingly grew, so i have been fond of them ever since.
Lunch was often taken at the FILO [First in Last Out] and dinner at the Dragon [arty wine bar, mixed matched tables and playing the blues].
George Street in the Old Town has many many junk shops, tho some proprietors would not relish the title.
I bought a bag of abandoned white damask napkins for 50p to dye and stitch, some mixed threads - I can sell anything she proclaimed, wet fish, anything and an old Hand Stitching "machine", patent 1918 applied for, broken needle but may be fixable. Given that the parts may not all be there, I beat her down from a fiver to £2.
It was great to be away, no surprises, every minute of the day comfortably programmed ....oh dear.
The fishing boats are more adventurous,adventuring out to sea all night, smashing back onto the shingle at high tide, dragged to safety by their own tractor. Each has a long line up the shingle of piles of nets and tarpaulins and mysterious paraphernalia, reminded me of Kurt Vonnegut's alien characters that see everyone in the context of their previous life, all their individual histories trailing behind them.
I realised when I was away that sometimes I feel like those boats, now in one element [the sea - happy creative] and then beached in total misery. Come to think of it I have yet to see the boats ?dragged out to sea, maybe that is my problem. I get stuck in the sand too often.