Winter in Hastings

A reminder of what it is like to live here, on the English Channel coast. Undoubtedly, the climate is milder than many places in the UK. We get plenty of wind, misty, damp days, the usual rain, but also glorious sun.  This year so far we have had little frost and real cold, and the first snow this year came last night.  It has mostly melted this morning. We are also conscious of the local wildlife….

Old Town from the West Hill Cafe, 2 January

     On 2 January we were sitting outside at the West Hill Cafe drinking coffee and admiring the brilliant sun. This is the classic view of the Old Town that first convinced us that we wanted to come and live hereNo luck for the seagull on this occasion.

    This is down by the sea at Rockanore beach on 8 January.  Such a beautiful light on the unusually calm sea.

    In our garden, the birds have been busy seeking food, and Philosopher keeps their feeders topped up. Readers of my Christmas post will have read about Digby bringing an unwelcome visitor into the kitchen. That wasn’t the only one, either. I think it might have been Boxing Day that we spent ages chasing another very active, and very angry, rodent round the kitchen. I eventually captured it, squeaking and biting, in a towel.  However, a few days later we saw this:

     Many people are terribly afraid of rats, but Battleaxe is not that bothered. Mostly, they don’t live in sewers, or carry disease. All the same, I don’t want them round the house. I think Digby had found a nest of them in the scaffolding yard beyond our back hedge, so action had to be taken.
     Philosopher managed to find the extra heavy-duty squirrel baffle we had on the bird feeding pole in Birmingham – we were absolutely plagued by squirrels there, and the baffle stops them climbing the pole to reach the feeders. Rats are pretty much squirrels without cute furry tails, so the baffle worked a treat, and we have not seen a sign of one since. Or maybe Digby has wiped out the entire ratty family. Who knows.
     On the pole we have a little platform for birds that can’t hang off the feeders. Partly as a joke we put a stale mince pie out there, to emulate the popular Waitrose Christmas telly ad, where a little robin battles the elements to fly all the way from Scandinavia to a little girl’s bird table, and lovingly shares the pie with its robin mate. I have to say I didn’t even know that robins migrated like that….

The Waitrose robin

     Anyway, much to our surprise and pleasure a real robin came and pecked busily away at the pie, just like its computer-generated counterpart. We found more mince pies, and it is now busy out there nearly all the time. I say ‘it’ but there are actually several robins in the garden, and this highlights one way in which life is definitely not like art. The real robins have no intention of sharing. Whichever bird occupies the mince-pie platform also spends time standing on the metal frame above it, singing furiously to repel its colleagues, who hide in the shrubbery.  Do they take turns? I don’t know. They all look alike.

Repelling other robins….

    You can see that it snowed between the first picture, when robin first appeared, and the later close-up ones.
     The snow is almost gone. It’s a pity. To finish, here are a couple of pictures from back in February 2012. We still have time this winter.

February 2012. Path at bottom of Harold Road
February 2012. Old town from the West Hill


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