Friday 17 July 2020 – Bexhill and St Leonards-on-Sea.

Exciting news this week. The desk and the office chair I ordered online both arrived, and the best bit was I liked them both. This gave me the opportunity to do a little rearrange of the sitting room, putting the desk where I had the record cabinet. The room feels better balanced now, and I like working at the desk, it feels good. Hopefully an inspiration to write more.

After a few days of not such good weather we finally had a decent couple of days in row. Nice. Much as I like being here in any weather a nice bit of sun, matched with a gentle sea breeze is all the nicer. We decided to do something we have not done since 8 March. Take some public transport, and catch a train. It was strange to be thinking of these things after so long.

Six minutes down the line is Bexhill. Not the longest journey, but it is better to break the ice in a small and stress free way. Though naturally the train we planned to get was cancelled and the next one was 11 minutes late. Signal failure. Situation normal. It felt good. Wearing masks is now mandatory on public transport, though it is not policed. As our train slowly pulled into St Leonards Warrior Square station from Hastings I looked at the small number of people in the first few carriages, mostly not wearing masks. Our carriage was almost empty and the other passengers were masked up, as were we. The message regarding wearing masks on public transport is out there, some people just do not care.

I took a couple of photos on my phone out of the carriage as we moved along, trying to recapture a little of the project I started before lockdown taking photos out of train windows, though missing the mark a bit.

I don’t mind Bexhill; like Eastbourne it has an older population that Hastings and St Leonards, but in every other way it is more like St Leonards, a little faded, jaded and run down, but with some interesting shops. Not that we were thinking of going to the shops.

We were thinking of going to De La Warr Pavilion to see if there was coffee on offer, but it was all closed up. Though interestingly (to me alone) the little record booth that was inside the pavilion was open on the outside and I must admit I was tempted to go visit. I have been very well behaved in the past couple of weeks, certainly in comparison to the early part of lockdown when I bought a few records more than I should. Working at the flat all day, sitting next to the record player as I have a lot more time to play them, none of the purchases are wasted. I like records.

The walk from Bexhill to St Leonards takes about an hour and a half, and is mostly taken right along the shore line, it is a lovely walk and one I could do any time, especially if we stop for lunch at the vegetarian/vegan Bathing Hut Cafe. Today I had the halloumi burger, which was as good as the full English I had last time.

On Thursday we had our first Walthamstow visitors to the flat, Caroline and Andy, and they were staying the night, which was fabulous. I took Friday off work so I could the day with them. They arrived after work and we immediately packed up and went for a walk to the recently reopened pier. We were hoping for food, but none of the new food huts were there or open so we just stayed for a drink in the late afternoon sun. The pier company has recently tendered the running of the pier to an events company, so there are loads of socially distant tables in a huge beer garden. It was nice to be out and even nicer to be out with good friends.

Andy had recently bought a new camera and brought it along, a full frame Sony. It looks amazing and he loves it, he should know he is a professional tog.

We walked into Hastings to look for food and ended up buying takeout Thai from a street stall and beer and wine from the pub over the way, then eating them on the street watching the world go by. It was a really nice night out, The noodles were excellent and walking home in the dark, through the lit Bottle Alley was really enjoyable.

On Friday we walked down to Bathing Hut Cafe for brunch, and to introduce our guests to the vegan offerings close to home, I had the quesadilla which was as good as the last two things, it is my favourite day time eating place that is certain. After eating we walked in to and around Hastings Old Town, showing our guests the delights of Old Saints Street before stopping for a drink outside one of the bars in George St.

We eventually ended up at Farmyard Cafe for an early evening dinner, ending what was a really enjoyable 24 hours with close friends. Hopefully the start of others coming down to visit, or maybe buy something to…

To mirror the new desk inspiring more writing at the start of this post, Andy’s photos and use of his big camera was an inspiration to get out more and use mine, or at least take a photo from the bedroom window.

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Wannabe writer and photographer. Interested in travel and place. From Auckland, New Zealand.