Exploring Hastings (AKA The Day Of Disasters)

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Last summer, I had a really lovely day out in Hastings with my friend Perminder. It was a beautiful sunny day, so we decided to stay outdoors, soaking up the sun on top of West Hill, and checking out the new pier. It was great! The problem was, I didn’t take my camera with me as I had a bad back, so I missed out on some really awesome shots. Ever since then, I’ve been hoping to go back and recreate the day, but this time, I wanted to take my camera with me so I could get better quality photographs and turn it into a blog post. Well, that’s what happened today, however, this day didn’t quite match up to my day out last summer. Here’s what happened.

I woke up today feeling the urge to adventure. I asked my mum where she wanted to go, and she suggested Hastings. Even though we only live half an hour away, she had yet to visit the new pier, and hadn’t been to Bottle Alley for a very, very long time. I agreed to the idea, thinking it would be a great opportunity to recreate my previous day out there.

The problems started as soon as we stepped in my car. As we headed off, I realised that something was wrong. My indicators were glitching out and not working properly, and I was having to flick the switch multiple times just to get it to work. This almost made me decide to turn around and head back home, but it was working enough to carry on, so that’s what we did.

By the time we got to Hastings, it was lunch time, so we walked along the seafront to find somewhere to eat. I fancied fish and chips, so we ended up going into Ocean Catch. Now, I don’t want to slag it off too much. The food was good and I’ve definitely been to worse restaurants, but there was something off about it. There seemed to be only two members of staff working, which meant that we and the other diners had to wait a long time to be served and to get our food. There was also a definite smell of damp around where we were sitting. This was coming from a large patch of black mould on the wall. Despite this, we stuck to our guns and managed to enjoy our meal enough for it not to be a complete write off.

Next, it was time to explore the West Hill. We headed off to find a path leading onto the hill, and I managed to completely misjudge where we had to go. Last time, Perminder and I had gone up in the West Hill lift,  but I couldn’t for the life of me remember where that was, and we ended up walking up the steepest, longest path I’ve walked up in years. I could just about manage to climb it without having a heart attack, but my mum was really struggling.

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My mum trying not to keel over on our endless ascent.

Once we reached the end of one steep path, we were faced by an even steeper one. I think at this point, my mum may have been scorning me somewhat! There was, however, light at the end of the tunnel. As we plodded upwards, I could see that we were almost at the top. And then we were there, at the top of West Hill. We’d made it!

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The problem with visiting a place during winter and expecting to have the same kind of experiences as you would in summer is that, well, seasons come with some pretty extreme differences. The main difference I noticed today was that it was cold. Really, really cold. The air was biting into my gloveless hands and making my eyes watery and irritated. The second difference was the impact that the weather had on the photographability of the view. There was a slight layer of mist hanging over the town, and the bright white winter sun made photographing anything to the West of me a no-go. I only managed to get a couple of half-decent shots, which was a bit of a bummer.

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With the view out to sea completely bleached out, we headed down the hill and into town. The pier was beckoning! But, yet again, we ran into winter related problems. The sun was still far too bright, but to add insult to injury, it was now hanging pretty low in the sky. It was really hard to make anything out ahead of us. I did, however, get some cool shots of the pier in silhouette.

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Once on the pier, I realised something that I’d failed to notice on my previous visit. There really isn’t an awful lot on it. Back in the summer, Perminder and I loved our little walk along the pier. It was warm and sunny and felt very relaxing. Today, it was bitterly cold, and that horrible winter sun was still blinding. I tried my best to get some good shots anyway.

Once we got off the pier, we stepped into Bottle Alley, where the walls are decorated with broken pieces of glass set into the concrete. It’s pretty cool, and there is some history attached to it, but people have abused the it… Not to go into too much detail, but there were a couple of strong and unpleasant scents that I couldn’t help but notice as I got up close to the walls to capture the details. Clearly this was a popular place for drunks and an ideal toilet spot for those caught short on a night out. Needless to say, we didn’t stick around in Bottle Alley for too long!

At this point, we were getting really cold and a bit grumpy, and decided to head home. And guess what? The problems continued! Firstly, I made a huge boo boo. I completely misjudged a bend coming out of the multi-story car park, resulting in a very worrying crunching sound that had me shaken until I could park up and see what the damage was. Thankfully, the only damage was on my hubcap, but then I noticed that one of my headlights was out. Bloody hell! So, my car was definitely still having some sort of midlife crisis, but with no other way of getting home, I had to soldier on. Luckily, I made it home without being pulled over for my light, and the glitchy indicator worked enough to prevent any serious accidents.

Now, I’m just focusing on warming up as the cold air today has completely penetrated into my bones! Maybe next time I try to recreate a summer’s day, I’ll actually do it in the summer!

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