Last Sunday the sun came out ! Which was rather fortunate as me and my mate Sue, had decided to bomb down to Hastings and pay their Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) festival a visit.
Hastings lies in the east of Sussex and is famous of course, through its connection with the Norman conquest of England. For centuries Hastings was an important fishing port and still has the largest beach-based fishing fleet in the country. The town was popular in the 1760's for therapeutic bathing and then with the arrival of the railways it became a seaside resort. Nowadays locally it has a bit of a bad rep due to high unemployment and lack of regeneration in some areas of the town, which is a shame, as I reckon that Hastings has much to offer.
I'd learned about the four day Fat Tuesday festival from a Sussex publication and thought it sounded fun. Sunday's festivities commenced with the Umbrella Parade along the seafront, brollies (and their owners) had been delightfully pimped up for the occasion, seemingly with no particular theme present.
This chap's brolly-hat declared DEATH TO THE MEERKAT
The parade culminated at St Mary in the Castle, seen here on the right and as the procession wended its way up the hill, the umbrella canopies made a wonderful sight.
An afternoon of New Orleans jazz was scheduled to take place at St Mary in the Castle but we decided to return later in order to take full advantage of the much longed for sun and after a bite to eat in a friendly café, we hopped on to the West Hill funicular railway.
Completed in 1891 the railway provides access up to the castle ruins and St Clement's caves.
....and arsing about.
There's a wealth of history in Hastings and as we strolled around the old town we checked out the old buildings and wonderful architectural details.
After a brief gander around the many independent shops....
...we headed over to the beach where we watched fisherman bring in and unload their catch of mussels.
By this time it was mid afternoon and we still hadn't been to any music venues so we rushed back to hear the New Orleans jazz and just made the last two numbers.
Onwards to The Carlisle, a biker-friendly pub well known for its punk, rock and metal gigs.
The pub was banging with a punk band in full swing when we arrived and the amongst the crowd were some interesting characters, not least this bearded dude dressed in bobble hat, fur coat, lacy petticoat and trainers.
I would have loved to linger and engage him in conversation but the punk vibe was not Sue's bag so after a few tunes and a quick pogo we headed back to the car. As we drove home along the seafront the sun was getting low so I made a hasty pit stop at St Leonards to take a couple of obligatory sunset pics.
All in all it was a rather brilliant day. Thanks Hastings you did not disappoint.