Wednesday 25 July 2018 – St Leonards and Hastings.
Oh I do want to be by the seaside.
I know I have banged on about it often enough over the past couple of years, but I have finally done it. I have found a flat I want to buy!
After months of procrastination, mind-changing (and laziness) I took three days off work this week to use up the last of my annual leave allocation. I spent the time in St Leonards and Hastings looking at flats. I eliminated Hastings during the week and decided to focus on one area and not two. I did the consult the font of all knowledge on things local; the ‘Down From London (DFL)’ BookFace group before making that decision. Though both places have their social issues; this is quite a deprived part of Britain, St Leonards just seems quieter, and that is important to me.
I arranged four flat viewings through various agents for Tuesday and took the train down on Monday morning, planning to spend those days looking round the area, doing some writing, photo editing and generally catching up. I didn’t too much of the writing and editing and catching up, but I did read most of a book.
I booked myself in to a lovely Victorian B and B on Pevensey St as two of the flats I wanted to view were in the street, so it made sense to stay in the area. The other two were on Warrior Square, which I think will just be too noisy. Though one of those Warrior Square flats was lovely. The B and B was brilliant, full or Victoriana, Russian and English religious icons and symbols from China and the far east. The owners were very well travelled and I was a bit jealous of all the things they have accumulated on their travels, though the house is very busy.
As it is a Victorian B and B there is no TV (thankfully there is wi-fi J ) and no shower. I was forced to lie in a bath each night and read my book, something I very much enjoyed.
On Monday night I had dinner and a glass of wine at Azur, a beach side restaurant and bar, it was OK, but it did have a great view though!
After breakfast on Tuesday I stopped for a great coffee at Graze. Key for me in enjoying this as a place to buy is to find one or two places that I can stop for coffee or a glass of wine, as well as having the option for a more traditional pint-of-beer style boozer pub. I have to have places that cater for me. Graze had a very good wine menu and I went there later in the evening for dinner, and again for more wine on Wednesday. One box ticked.
Tuesday I was meeting an ex-work colleague for lunch about three miles out of town, along the very long seafront, towards Bexhill. It was a glorious day and perfect for a walk. I took pictures as you would expect.
A lot of photos…
I even took some images that may (or not turn up in the exhibition I have in October. I have decided to print some really large (A1) prints of close-ups of plants with huge amounts of blurred backgrounds. I brought the big old Canon 5d with me so I would be forced to actually take photos seeing as I was lugging such a weight around.
I was knackered after a very hot walk so caught the bus back to Hastings after lunch. With some food and water inside and the lunch time and bus ride sit down I was re-energised and took a walk around The Stade. The Stade means ‘landing place’ in the ancient Saxon language and contains the largest beach launched fishing fleet in the Europe. It is a pretty cool place, full of old and new fishing boats, ancient and not so ancient tractors and bulldozers used to move the boats into and out of the water. Photographically it is a great spot, and another reason I have chosen this as a place to live, even if it is just part time.
Wednesday was flat viewing day, I didn’t have a lot of time for much else, I visited a couple of local shops to chat to the owners. There are a number of small independent shops around St Leonards and Hastings, lots of antique shops, second hand places, a great wine / beer shop and I even discovered a good record shop. It is all looking up. Everyone I spoke to was positive about the place, it is on the up. Though incomers like me are not 100% welcome, or so I understand. I saw no negativity.
The good news is I really liked one of the flats, it pushed all my buttons and I loved it when i walked in the door. Pending a visit at the weekend with Eleanor I will offer, I really value her opinion and she will see the things I miss and view it with head and not heart!
I did not do too much after the viewings, it is tiring looking at flats. After a rest I walked down to the waterfront for lunch at one of the beach cafes. I tried Goat Ledge and had the best fish-finger sandwich ever, another bonus find! After lunch (and a respectable gap, I was a boy scout and know you cannot go swimming immediately after eating) I took to the sea. It was not too bad. It is a pebble beach, and stretches for miles in each direction. It never gets crowded!
In the evening I met up with some of the Bookface group I am a member of and went to see a local light jazz singer perform at an album launch in one of the pubs in Hastings Old Town. The music was tiresome, but it was good to meet and chat to others who have made the move down from London, and see that there is some nightlife as well. The pub was packed, as were some of the others.
Thursday, I was back in the car and back to London. Mission accomplished. Successfully. I liked St Leonards and Hastings.
El and I came back down the following Saturday, she loved the place as much as me, though pointed out it needed a lick of paint, and a bit of love. I never noticed the paint. I have offered, it has been accepted and I am now in the process of purchasing.
I seem to have lost interest in the blog in the last few weeks, I have huge backlog of things I would blog if I had the time and the motivation, but it is waning. This wont be the final post. I am thinking of just doing some photo posts for a bit until I catch up with myself. I also want to write better, and that takes time and I have to be in the right headspace, somewhere I do not find myself in very often these days.
There will be more, maybe once I have moved.
Thanks to those who read me. xxx