I'm pretty much in agony as I write this... For some cursed reason I've fallen ill to a mystery virus - one that makes my throat feel as though its been tickled with a Samurai sword. However, before my health decided to pack up and take a vacation i spent this past weekend in between the picturesque counties of Sussex and Kent for my girlfriends Dad's leaving soiree.
Before chalking up a rather healthy amount of champagne and wine for the celebrations we had to source some fresh Oysters, so being in close proximity of the coastal towns of Sussex, my girlfriend and I set out early Saturday morning to do just that.
The town of Hastings was chosen as our port of call due to having a reputation of a number of quality fresh sea food vendors right on the sea front. Now I'm sure the fact that it was both lashing it down and freezing cold clouded my judgement of this historic town somewhat, indeed the last time I was there was many years ago as a young battlefield enthusiast that wanted to see the spot where King Harold copped one in his eye.
All those years ago I don't think I appreciated the miserable qualities that Hastings has to offer. It's like going back through time but not in a good way where you can perhaps appreciate the Victorian architecture or relics, this is like going back to the 70s or 80s when no one had any money and instead of boosting the local economy with refurbishment and restoration of the half decent structures that the town has, they were gutted and replaced with plastic looking slot machine arcades and pound shops.
As we drove down along the front I noted to myself that everywhere was either boarded up or completely knackered looking and the local population held the same character and guise as their surroundings.
Being from an equally depressing hole I feel quite qualified to recognise another failing town that's struggling to get by, choking at recession and slowly sinking further into ugliness and an unloved condition - But then I've also learned that through such ugliness there is often a certain beauty to be seen and admired.
Hastings has certainly lost any of the looks it may of once had, but the little things that make it unique were there to see; The old timers eating Oysters on the sea front fishmonger bars, the flocking squawking seagulls circling the deserted fish and chip shops, the sea howling against the tired shore line..
I guess some things are better said in pictures sometimes