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Come sail your ships around me

St Leonards Marine Parade

To be fair, this is a picture of St Leonard’s Beach, bereft of people due to the incumbent storm. Marine Court is so dominant, once the tallest residential building in all of Great Britain. I shall come back to the Sid Little designed seafront another time. Marine Court is a Grade II (1999) listed Art…

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The Scarlet Pimpernel

John Phillips, Scarlet Pimpernel

John Philipps is the proprietor of an extraordinary book store on London Road, St Leonards. He hands me and my friend comp slips with a beautiful picture of the Scarlet Pimpernel on them. The shop is absolutely rammed and even has a Whizzer & Chips annual in the window. This really impresses me somehow. Looking…

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For whom the bell tolls

david bell ringer, hastings - sitting in a sea shelter

On a moody day in Hastings, David was sitting in a seafront shelter watching the waves. He is bell ringer at the local church. Discussing his past, he said he’s rung bells in Battersea and Putney and used to live in Shepherd’s Bush. Bell ringing is a surprisingly social activity.

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Village Bicycle, Baby

hastings old town butcher bike race

Crown Lane is a rather declivitous, or perhaps inclivitous passage in Hastings Old Town. Each year they have a bicycle race on it. A butcher’s bicycle. It is an old boneshaker of the kind Arkwright had in Open All Hours. The thing weighs twice as much as the Forth Bridge. The rules are simple: Get up…

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Bike to Bexhill

Girl freewheeling on a chopper on the coastal path to Bexhill

She said, “You must do the ride to Bexhill; Giant Sea Cabbages, Colossal Daisies. Kingdom of Beach Huts and Overgrown Cliffs.” It was an intriguing introduction. The ride does not disappoint. It is perfectly magical. You come off the normal path onto dusty gravel, which then turns into a kind of chain mail behind kaleidoscopic…

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