Hastings Battleaxe and Storm Ciara

Firstly, all, you pronouce it Ki-ara, not Keera… The big story was watching the lifeboat struggling to land down by the sea. Have just passed up the chance of my five minutes of fame to be interviewed on telly about it.  Actually storm was not too bad round our house – no collapsing fences, lost tiles etc.

The lifeboat appears in the distance….

Yesterday was pretty grim. I felt restless, cross and vaguely anxious – wind does that to me – and the storm was supposed to be arriving all morning, and never quite did. Philosopher and I had tickets to see a play at the Stables, ‘Pressure’ which we were quite looking forward to – for the Sunday matinee, right in the middle of peak storm.  We were going to have fish and chips first.

We wrangled in a vaguely unsatisfactory manner about going out at all. I didn’t particularly want to – but eventually agreed to go down to the Old Town and see. It didn’t seem too bad. We had fish and chips at the Master Fish Bar then thought we’d look at the sea before heading to the theatre. It wasn’t raining then, but wind was very strong indeed – we were blown down past the Lifeboat House to find a little crowd waiting on  the quayside. The lifeboat land crew were standing about expectantly, with the tractor and trolley ready.

We knew the lifeboat had gone out earlier to look for a surfer who had been washed away.  The individual has had massive stick on social media for going out at all. I do think it was stupid – they had a helicopter deployed as well as the lifeboat. Apparently he was an experienced surfer but if you are that experienced, you should know when the conditions are totally unsuitable, and not put others lives at risk trying to rescue you.

Anyway, there we were standing looking out into the mountainous seas, hanging onto the railings, nearly blown off our perches, when all of a sudden a dot appears in the misty distance. The lifeboat, returning home.  Or trying to. Every time it got near the beach the force of the waves and the undertow overcame it, and it had to go out again. It is a self-righting, virtually non-sinkable boat but nonetheless it was a bit desperate and dramatic – it almost stood up on end, almost rolled right over… I hope the crew were well strapped in and none suffer from sea-sickness…  They are very brave to do it at all. We watched it try to land three times, and fail. It was quite distressing. Eventually it disappeared back out to sea and vanished.


Later, we discovered that the boat had managed to get to safety at Sovereign Harbour in Eastbourne. What a long, stressful afternoon the crew must have had, and all because of this silly bloke, who was found – alive – down at Pett Level.  Being a Hastings resident does make one protective – and well as proud – of our lifeboat and its crew.


When the boat had finally disappeared we set off to walk to the Stables, only for the heavens to open. The sky threw sheets of horizontal rain at us. By the time we got to the Bourne we were totally soaked and couldn’t possible have sat through the play, so we just went home. I put a video in Facebook and Twitter. Both were commented on and shared/retweeted substantially.

This morning Battleaxe got a call from Leanne Lawless from BBC South-East Today, asking if I’d go down to the seafront and be interviewed along with the Lifeboat crew for tonight’s telly. I said no… What? Yes, but look, Battleaxe has had enough of telly… see this postand this. We are going away to Vienna later this week and I have things to do. Can’t spend the rest of the day fiddling about with that stuff.

As I said above, our home escaped very lightly. The bird feeders blew off their pole and the squirrel baffle fell off and broke, but that was about it… even the wheelie bins stayed put.


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