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What I LOVE @ Hastings & St Leonards-on-Sea

How easy it is to focus on what we don’t like and what could be better and what is wrong in our lives. HOT’s Zelly Restorick writes this article with the hope that you will read her list and be catalysed to sense and feel what YOU love about this area… concentrating solely on the positive and the inspirational – what makes your heart soar!

I’ve lived around here for nearly 20 years. Here’s my LOCAL LOVE LIST – ongoing and evolving, so no freeze-framing me, please!

  • Rock-A-Nore: its sheer magnificent, ancient splendour – and every single person who campaigned to keep her in her natural state, marina-free.
  • The East Hills – miles and miles of country park, up near the heavens, offering a myriad of different walks and places to discover.
  • All the local green spaces that offer human and non-residents some peace and quiet and connection with nature.
  • Alexandra Park and its incredible diversity of tree species – and how it flows from manicured to wild.
  • All the wild spaces.
  • Amazing skyscapes.
  • Inspirational, innovative, creative, entrepreneurial people – individuals and collaborators.
  • The people who work so hard for no or low pay, investing their hours, care, skills and talents in the town and its residents – keeping its head above the water, motivated by sheer and simple love.
  • Live music somewhere every night across a huge spectrum of genres.
  • Two independent cinemas: Electric Palace and Kino-Teatr.
  • Two independent news publications: Hastings Online Times and Hastings Independent Press.
  • Trinity Healthfoods – a co-operative.
  • The airy, light-filled, wooden-floored room upstairs at Ore Community Centre I hire for an hour to dance in.
  • All the alternative therapies on offer to explore.
  • Playing and jumping in the waves.
  • The Co-op in Ore.
  • Those individuals and groups dedicated to looking after our oceans, keeping them clean and non-polluted – for us and all the ocean’s inhabitants.
  • The Exmoor ponies grazing on the East Hills.
  • The badgers, foxes, rabbits, etc, and the incredible spectrum of bird/insect and marine life.
  • Friendly people.
  • My HOT colleagues who all work hard to keep the good ship HOT afloat.
  • Everyone at Hastings Against War – and Chris Coverdale passionately campaigning for the law to be taken seriously about war itself being a crime.
  • All the stuff going on about mental and physical – and all the other layers – wellbeing.
  • The Seaview Project team dedicating their working (and non-working) hours of their lives to supporting those society rejects and wants to eradicate.
  • Collaborating, co-operating, collective-actioned people.
  • A mini-London by the sea: multi-cultural, diverse, accepting, tolerant – a multitude of people from cultures, genders, relationships,
  • Places where I can go and sing and join in the singing circle and be welcomed!
  • Incredible wealth of creativity and creative opportunities on offer for people to explore and try out: something for everyone to explore and experience.
  • The plethora of wonderful eccentric characters.
  • Sustainability on Sea: the first mini-festival just happened – and an awareness that thinking ‘SOS’ every day is a pretty magnificent way to change things around here.
  • Hastings Doughnut Economics Action Group.
  • The Active Hope Book Group (Active Hope by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone)… and The Printed Matter Radical Book Group and Tim Barton’s Bookbuster – and not yet explored but heard good things: The BookKeeper bookshop.
  • Entrepreneurial cafes and restaurants – and so much awareness of dietary differences inc for me Veggie/Vegan/ – inc Pea Pod Veg and their organic veg box scheme.
  • Food shops and cafes and restaurants for every taste and from such a huge range of cultures.
  • The America Ground.
  • The Bohemia Walled Garden: a secret found in the beauty of Summerfield Woods.
  • Our active role in the Transition Town network, founded by Rob Hopkins.
  • The groups like Energise Sussex Coast and 1066 Local Energy and HBC who are envisioning a more sustainable and energy wise future.
  • All the amazing fellow rubbish-picker-uppers – from the town and the rural areas – of which I have been an independent participant in the latter for all my time here.
  • Noticing how some people haven’t changed – appear not to have aged at all – in 20 years!
  • The rebels.
  • The Robertson/Trinity.
  • Allotments.
  • The Bavard Bar talks at Kino-Teatr – like TED Talks, but unique to this area and people.
  • The naturist community – and naturist beaches at Fairlight and Norman’s Bay.
  • Small high street shops – not monopolised and swallowed up by enormous supermarkets and blandly cloned corporations and businesses.
  • People who care, found in every sphere and echelon and hierarchy.
  • St Mary in the Castle – and The Opus Theatre.
  • Independent book shops.
  • A magnificent library.
  • The sea, the beaches both sandy and stoney, the wide horizons and enormous skies.
  • You!

Written with much appreciation and gratitude for all this area offers to me and all her residents, of the human and non-human variety.

Posted 11:13 Wednesday, Oct 10, 2018 In: Around and about

1 Comment

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  1. Hal

    I lived in St. Leonard by the Sea for a year, some 30 yrs ago. My sister had a French restaurant called ‘La Casablanca Restaurant Francoise.” Our only competitor was “The Rosers” on the Hastings waterfront.
    Lovely part of England but I was young then and both towns were full of elderlies and with hormones raging, it was hard.
    I still remember the huge number of north Europeans coming to learn English and shops too getting into the act by teaching them English ways. Many shops used to have little signs saying “Don’t forget to say ‘thank you’ etc.”

    Comment by Hal — Wednesday, Oct 30, 2019 @ 17:29

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