20 December 2019 – St Leonards.
In a departure from the norm El and I decided to have Christmas Day at the flat, on our own. We both had the week off work and wanted to get away for some, if not all of that time. We gave plenty of notice to El’s sons and they arranged to have Christmas Day with their partners family, so we had ‘family’ Christmas the Saturday before and on Sunday morning I packed the car and drove down to the flat. El followed me down on the train later that day. She is a season ticket holder at Tottenham Hotspur, and wasn’t going to miss a home game. I got the flat in order, while she had fun at the football.
This was going to be a week of doing not a lot; reading books, watching TV, cooking, eating too much and drinking almost too much, all balanced with the occasional walk. I drove down as we had a car load of stuff; Christmas presents for each other (we broke all the buying each other presents rules), a load of records to listen to and a lot of food and drink to be consumed over the week. I wanted to do as little supermarket shopping while we there as possible.
The first thing we did on Monday morning was walk over to Hastings. I wanted to get the supermarket shopping done as early as possible, while the head was in the right space for hitting a supermarket on the busiest day of the year. It was busy, very busy, but we survived and it was not as awful as it could have been. The good thing was all the food shopping for the week was done.
I took photos on the way.
Christmas day was a stunner, from memory the best weather I have seen on a Christmas day since I have been in London. An almost cloudless sky and very little wind, it was too good to be sat inside all day.
After breakfast we went for a walk along the sea front, along with pretty much everyone else who was in St Leonards and Hastings. The rest of the day was spent either preparing or eating food. I have never prepared Christmas lunch before, though very much enjoyed it. It was the most complex meal I have made with a vegetable wellington, and two different types of vegetable; followed by a form of Eton Mess. The Wellington was great, though I was a little disappointed that the brussell sprout dish ended up being a bit cold by the time I had finished serving. I like working in my small kitchen. Lots of TV, wine and brandy followed. It was a good day.
I was really surprised to see surfers on out on our Boxing Day walk. There are always paddle boarders out, but I am pretty sure this is the first time I have seen surfers. It is probably the first time I have seen a decent even, though small, break. We ate a lot again…
The following day we walked the opposite way, towards Bexhill, but only going as far as Bulverhythe beach before turning back. I took the Polaroid along. I am enjoying playing with this camera, I am never quite sure what is going to come out, which makes it quite interesting. Not sure why I started writing names on the Polaroids, I won’t be doing it again.
As we were walking on the beach I was telling El about hagstones and the hagstone curse. A hagstone is a stone with a natural hole in it, they are of course, fairly uncommon. Aleister Crowley, the (in)famous occultist who died in Hastings in 1947 once cursed the town saying, and I massively paraphrase, ‘No-one can fully leave Hastings unless they have found a hagstone on the beach, and if they do leave they will end up coming back’. I guess I will be able to leave Hastings, as unbelievably, minutes after talking about this I found one.
I am starting to collect photographs of the ever changing beach and the way the sea changes the pebbles. I really like how the beach is slowly burying the beach furniture. The irony of the sign is beyond humorous.
Having driven down from London for a change it was good to have the use of the car to drive over to Pevensey Bay for a walk, and a visit to the castle; which was closed. I will have to go back one day when it is open, and will then write a bit about it then. Working on the assumption that I will keep maintaining this blog. The castle was pretty cool, mostly Norman in origin; it was built soon after William invaded England in 1066.
I liked the church as well.
There were a few cracking sunsets during the week and I am glad I took the big camera with the big lens, as well as the small camera and the Polaroid. So many cameras!
It was a really good week, and it was a real shame to go back to London to go back to work after the week was over.
It was good to have Christmas at the flat!