Hastings Battleaxe is out and about… pub, new shops…

Am back in the present with a bit of a mixture. How come time goes so quickly at the moment, or is it just me?  As from 4 July we were allowed out to visit pubs, restaurants etc., and we have visited one – on  Wednesday, in Tunbridge Wells. It was totally fine.  We have also been down to Hastings Old Town – several new shops to explore. Everything feels a mess still, but if I moan, people say to me ‘At least you are not living in the US’.  How true. Battleaxe was in print last week. This post, about my Covid test, was in the Hastings Independent. Here is the link to the paper.

But that post was not nearly as popular as the three I have now done looking back at my past. Here are the links:

a rackety racket in a London casino

working in a City shipping agents, and the lost world of the London docks

– a rural childhood and the dawn of awareness…

There will be more to come.

So, pubs and restaurants. Sorry, I am not going to sit inside some rammed place with no fresh air, even for my Rishi £10 meal deal. (What is the betting that it will somehow be impossible to get your hands on the vouchers, or else our nearest ‘participating restaurants’ will either be Le Manoir aux Quat’saisons or Burger King in Ashford…).

Sadly, most of our local pubs etc in Hastings are pretty cramped, and also limited on outside space.  For now, it has to be large, airy places with plenty of space inside and out, and a highly professional level of Covid-management.

Our old friend Shaun McKenna wanted to meet up, so we agreed on Tunbridge Wells.  Our usual eateries were not open, so after much internet research I chose the Mount Edgcumbe pub/restaurant on the common near the Wellington Rocks.  It was excellent and we felt very safe and well looked-after.  Battleaxe would totally recommend. It was bookings only, and there was  a big outside gazebo/marquee with tables underneath. The tables were well spaced out, we had disposable menus, one-way travel routes to get to the loo etc., and the staff seemed well-trained and professional. The food was excellent, and it was great to have a real pint of Harveys…

Look at Battleaxe’s terrible lockdown hair….

After our meal we went for a prowl round the rugged rocks – turned out Philosopher played here when he was a little boy at prep school in Sevenoaks.


Then, we went down to the shops – it all felt a bit subdued and sad.  T Wells has always been our shopping destination of choice… A lot of empty premises or places not yet open – come on Lakeland, what is your problem?  Even Fenwicks didn’t look too good, it seems to be trying to go up-market with its labels – See by Chloe instead of Adini…. Even the Seasalt concession seemed to be running down.

However, down in Hastings Old Town we’ve explored a number of shops that are either new or revitalised. On Sunday George Street was quite bustling, with new outdoor eating/drinking set-ups.

Here are some of the new(ish) shops… but, before we start… Don’t get me wrong, I do admire people who are opening shops, particularly in the current economic crisis, but a lot of these emporia are selling what appear to be much the same things… vintage clothes and accessories, new, usually ethno-crafty stuff, and and old things… not junk, no… more high-class bric-a-brac.  At least the fashion for skeletons and taxidermy seems to be passing.  Maybe this is what is needed in a tourist place like Hastings Old Town, but quite so many? Still, let’s hope they do well.  Hastings needs the trade!

Firstly, Courthouse Cooperative has opened in, surprise, Courthouse Street, right next to the yard.  It has some very special-looking vintage clothes, some nice pictures of Hastings.  Of course we went round the yard as well…. concrete pigs anyone? Rusty old fire baskets? Moth-eaten furs? Sorry , but we love it.

Dandy Vintage in the High Street is not new, but they have a really excellent selection of clothes now, using all the rooms in the rambling building. Plenty of browsing potential. I particularly liked this room full of silk robes and Indian dressses.

At the bottom of the High Street, we have this one, Merchant 57. More old and new.

Round into George Street, and there is Turn the Tide – a bit different because they specialise in items from local crafters and makers.

To finish with shops and just because I always love them, here are the current window displays from Vintage Bird on the High Street. So creative…



And to finish, a couple of photos from a lovely walk to the Country Park on Saturday. The light was amazing and you could see France. I found this little grass snake stranded on the road in Barley Lane. Picked him up and rescused him. I have never seen a grass snake in the wild before, never mind held one in my hands…



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