After Bexhill (quiet, classy and a bit stuck up) we headed off to Hastings which couldn't be more different; fast food, pubs and fun. They are making big efforts to change the town, not all of which are popular with the locals. This is a statue on the seafront and there are new art galleries and classy shops to walk around.
The most controversial are the art gallery and restaurant that have appeared on The Stade which is the working fishermens section of the beach.
They were built against fierce protests because they took away important space for fishery work and threatened traditional local jobs - the new jobs created were for outsiders and the facilities were not likely to appeal to local people or traditional visitors.
But Hastings has an artisitic tradition of its own and is proud of its appearance. The seafront actually hides an underground seawall, sheltered concrete walkway and underground car park that was built in 1935 - quite amazing for it's time.
Part of it is known as bottle ally because the designers used recycled broken glass to decorate the concrete. It was innovative in its day and now preserves rather charmingly, the coloured glass of that decade; colours we never see any more in packaging;
Parts of Hastings are as Regency as Bath;
Then again, this is one local underground artist's view of another Hastings, using a handmade tile made out of scrabble letters stuck onto one of the shelters on the front!
I had a great time - there was icecream;
We went to the old town and had a look at the fishermen's sheds;
They were built tall to hang up the nets to dry in the days before nylon, when organic nets would rot if they weren't looked after properly. They were tall because land on The Stade was at a premium (then as now) and the smaller the land area, the lower the rent.
Just like Manhattan.
There are still fish processors and wholesalers operating out of The Stade and beyond it is the shingle beach and the fishing boats.
There's a little fishermans museum and plenty of exhibits spread around The Stade like old boats and anchors.
This old house made out of half an old boat (half Sovereign Cottage) preserved to remind us how people had to live in the old days;
Here are the modern boats on the beach - they use tractors and bulldozers or winches to pull them up and down;
I love the smells and the sounds of the working port, this is a real collection;
Far distance are what look like crab pots, while at the front are home made pots made out of recycled plastic pots. Each had a cement bottom and a top lining of old nylon netting which I would guess were meant for Langoustine. The raggedy black flags are made of old plastic and are on top of home made buoys to mark out the pots.
This is where all the work ends up - a magnificent fish and chips on a table on the pavement at The Mermaid on Rock-a-Nore road by The Stade.
And we weren't the only ones to think so either, we had company;
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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