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Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's me and Amelie at the Hastings Fishermen's Museum!

Fishing for compliments.
To be honest, the closest Amelie's come to a Hastings Fisherman is pulling a picture of Captain Birdseye out of my Mum's recycling bin, but sadly my original companion in that photo banned me from using it, on the grounds that the wind had blown her hair out of place and she looked like Russell Brand. So I was forced to replace her with someone who doesn't care what her hair looks like.

Interestingly, the top I'm wearing was bought about ten minutes earlier for £2.50 in a local charity shop, after I realised that the gentle summer breeze wafting across the beach in late August was likely to give me frostbite. Thank God I'd grown my own balaclava.

Anyhoo, Lisa, Amelie and I have been on holiday in St Leonards since Monday. I've spent most of that time eating, which is why I haven't blogged much. It's not easy getting near a keyboard when your stomach's this big. But having spent a lot of the last two days in clothes shops, buying Amelie's winter wardrobe, Lisa and I ventured out this afternoon to do our bit for local tourism by exploring Hastings' Old Town. Here's Lisa outside the East Hill Lift, where I spent many an uplifting moment as a child...

Going Downhill
Sadly the East Hill Lift has gone downhill in more ways than one, and is now closed. Which is a shame, because it makes it harder to get up to the clifftop and admire the view of the pier. Which is also now closed. I'm not saying Hastings has hit the skids since I stopped visiting in 1983, but frankly we were the classiest people there today. If the welfare state didn't exist, the place would have been deserted.

Still, at least the seafront was exploding...

Da Bomb
But despite the bombs buried on the beach, we had a nice afternoon. I managed to convince Lisa that a restaurant called Webbe's was run by a former member of the boyband Blue, and we found an ice cream parlour which, for an extra 30p, would dunk your entire Mr Whippy in melted chocolate. That was money well spent. As was the £1.75 we invested in a chocolate meringue the size of my head from a small organic bakery.

Fortunately we worked off most of those calories looking for a decent fish & chip shop. Lisa's nothing if not fussy, and she dragged me around at least five establishments before she found one she'd be willing to eat in. Unfortunately it was closed. Or as the customer standing outside put it, "The f**king chippy's f**king shut". At least I think he said shut. I expect the same was true of the jobcentre.

We never did get any chips, but we consoled ourselves with a game of air hockey in the local amusement arcade. I won 7-5, with at least four of Lisa's goals being scored while I was taking her photo. A photo which, strangely, I'm not allowed to publish. Who'd have thought a simple video of someone swilling chip-filled water around her mouth could have such far-reaching effects.

Anyhoo, the good news is that after toasting my victory in the indoor sports, I put 40p in the two-penny falls and promptly won 34p, a small ceramic bear, and a fridge magnet which says 'I ♥ London'. They don't make them with Hastings on for obvious reasons. We took the bear home for Amelie, and frankly she's never loved a toy so much. For the next two hours she took it everywhere she went (which admittedly wasn't far) and nothing would persuade her to release her grip. Nothing except the discovery that the paint was flaking off in her mouth, and she'd been swallowing Chinese lead since teatime. Who'd have thought a 2p prize from an amusement arcade would have turned out so shoddy.