June 3 – A day out in Old Town Hastings

With Peter

Hi from Gillian and Michael

This morning we walked to Peter’s place in St Leonards as he had invited us out for lunch. It was only a 15-minute walk but we managed to find three geocaches and one “did not find – DNF” on the way. With a GPS in one hand and a cell phone in navigation mode giving us directions in the other hand.

Just a little background. Peter had been to New Zealand twice and on both occasions had visited our shop in Geraldine and had seen the Medieval Mosaic. When the Hastings Borough Council were looking for a special attraction for the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, Peter suggested the Medieval Mosaic and gave Kevin, the events organiser our website address. www.1066.co.nz. Kevin then emailed us to invite us to take the mosaic to the UK to exhibit it over the time of the anniversary. This came at the right moment for us as we had just decided to go to the UK in 2016 and we had already come up with the date of 30th April 2016 to be the final closing date of our knitwear business – “The Giant Jersey”. Being invited to take the mosaic with us was the icing on the cake. Negotiations followed and we agreed to various terms and with an opening date for the exhibition. A venue was also suggested. As Rachael was in the UK she went down to Hastings to check out the venue with Peter but she did not think it was suitable. Peter and Rachael spent the afternoon walking around Hastings looking for a suitable venue. Finally, they agreed that the Crypt Gallery at St Mary in the Castle would fit the bill and because of its association with the Hastings Borough Council, this was able to be arranged.

We got to Peter’s place at exactly 11 am. He was quite emotional and so were we as we wouldn’t be here if it was not for him. We were very excited to meet Peter in person and thank him for thinking about us and going to such efforts to make our exhibition happen.

He parked in the Old Town and we walked down Old London Rd which was full of wonderful old buildings which held Mike and I entranced. Every few feet we stopped and exclaimed. At the time we did not have a good camera and only had my cell phone to take the few photos we have of the day.

Peter took us to Webbes Restaurant and Cooking School at Rock-a-Nore. The owner has three restaurants and turns up unannounced at a different one each day to keep the staff on their toes. The dining room even has monitors placed strategically around it so that you can watch the food being prepared and cooked. We all chose one dish for an entree and then three dishes each from the taster menu for our main. I had prawns with aioli, duck and grilled prawn. Each dish was £3.50 and they were absolutely delicious. Dishes include seafood platters, locally smoked fish, potted crab, grilled Dover sole with samphire and winkle sauce, steamed flounder with mussel and cider sauce and classic dishes like cod in beer batter with hand-cut chips, gratinated native lobster, ox cheek and oyster pie as well as prime cut steaks. Webbes Rock-a-Nore is an enviable location opposite the net huts and the boats of the historic and picturesque Hastings fishing quarter of The Stade. With fish and seafood caught daily in small boats, and a journey of a minute across the shingle to the kitchen on arrival, this restaurant offers a unique experience for all pockets and tastes. I especially liked being able to see the food being cooked.

After an enjoyable lunch of excellent food and conversation, we drove up onto the East Hill and took in the views overlooking Old Hastings. We had a lovely walk on a lovely day, not overly warm but fine.

Peter dropped us back at the house in London Rd and we took some washing across the road to the laundrette. It cost £5 to wash and £2 for the 20 min dry.

When Claudia came home we talked for a while then suggested we play Ticket to Ride. She enjoyed it and ended up winning. Then we filled a hard drive with movies and talking books for her. We actually have quite a lot in common.