After a fairly challenging week of depressing letters from the bank, ill health and bad news at work, I was determined to enjoy my weekend. "I want to go to Hastings." I announced. Everyone groaned, particularly my wife.
What has she got against Hastings? My wife has never been there and yet every time I suggest a family outing to Hastings, the idea is swiftly vetoed. I suspected ignorance rather than simple blind prejudice and this was confirmed when, as we entered the town, my wife exclaimed "Oh, I didn't know it was by by the sea."
I had dragged three people kicking and screaming (literally, in the case of one) to Hastings and as I parked the car, I couldn't help wondering why I'd bothered. But I still had faith that Hastings would work its magic and the moment we got out of the car, I perceived a slow but tangible thaw in the mood.
I have written about Hastings before and yesterday's visit didn't prompt me to revise my opinion. I still noticed an unusually high number of mishapen faces, some of which seemed to be the result of fist fights or car crashes. I also spotted an unusually high number of dog owners.
And where else but Hastings would you find Morris dancers outside a tattoo parlour?
The quirky eccentricity of Hastings is irresistible and after five hours there I had two happy children and a penitent wife. What more could anyone ask for?
But the day wasn't over yet. In the evening, I met another blogger - The Poet Laura-eate - and her friend Terry, who were visiting Lewes for the weekend. Like my recent meeting with Oliver, it was a very enjoyable evening and I only wish that Laura and Terry lived a little nearer, as our two-hour drink at The Lamb went far too quickly. I hope we have a chance to meet again.