Hastings Old Town Open Gardens, garlic in Alexandra Park, and Havelock pub tiles

A nice couple of days doing local things last week.  Open Old Town Gardens were first.  There weren’t that many – a few along Tackleway, and the garden of the Old Rectory B and B at the bottom of Harold Road, but they made quality viewing. Coffee at the Jerwood before the gardens.
     The first garden was modern, belonging to the new blue house you can see across the valley from the West Hill.  Very pebbly and Zen, with a lovely bower under old olive trees for sitting. The owners must have bought the trees in fully grown….  The next three were classic cottage gardens – one, in particular, Strawberry Cottage, was absolutely wonderful – a dense mass of secret nooks and crannies, little pools, weathered stone, and loads of garden geraniums.  Then finally, the Old Rectory.  Those nineteenth century vicars knew how to live. What a lovely old house and fabulous walled garden. We were also able to look at some of the rooms in the B and B part – done up to very high standard, with great big claw-footed baths in the middle of the bedrooms.  I know that is very much today’s style, but call me old-fashioned, but personally I’d rather have the bath in a separate room.
    Here are some pictures of the gardens.

View of Old Town rooftops


     Next day, we went on our annual pilgrimage to the Garlic Wood at the top of Shornden Reservoir in Alexandra Park. Philosopher says he wants to go and view the garlic every year until he dies.  I can see this being a bit difficult when he gets aged and infirm – access to the garlic is along a muddy path climbing over assorted fallen trees.
     Anyway, at the moment we are still young enough to walk there from home – over the West Hill, across the railway via Grey Owl’s (or Dog Poo) steps, down to Mount Pleasant Road, through the park, stopping for coffee and cake at the cafe, up into the upper park, across what we call the ‘Blow-up’ lawn, around the reservoir and so on. It’s quite a hike – well over four miles there and then back into town. Like last year (Secret Hastings: the garlic wood),
we reached the garlic almost too late – some of it was battered by
wind, and some had gone over. But it was still a fine sight.  The
weather was vaguely threatening, but a good light for pictures. Then we
walked back through the park to town.


By the time we reached the town centre I was starving, so we decided to drop into the Havelock pub for lunch.  A while ago I mentioned that it had one of the finest tiled interiors in Britain but we had never visited it. The tiles are indeed amazing.  Scenes of the Norman conquest with Normans dressed as Vikings. The pub has been done up sympathetically.  I would totally recommend the place – clearly, I don’t know what it is like in the evening, but it was ideal for lunch – a mix of office workers, old ladies, young women and geezers.  Good selection of well-kept beers and excellent food.

Garlic wood


    We went off on our travels again this weekend – to see my sister near Bedford. Had a nice time, including a concert in a barn, but the most terrible journeys there and back.  Going up on Friday it was pouring with rain and the traffic was unbelievably heavy – took us 4.5 hours for a 2.5 hour drive.  Coming back was worse – M25 blocked in both directions – took us 5 hours!

Tile pictures from the Havelock pub

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