It's very easy to get blase about where you live. I expect even the most stunning views can begin to pall after a while, or at least become less noticeable with the passage of time.
Hastings has never had the cachet of it's bigger, brasher, more successful south coast neighbours, like Eastbourne or Brighton, and it has suffered more than most over the years from all of the normal societal ills... unemployment, lack of investment etc. However, over the past 5 years there has been a marked improvement across the board and it's becoming a really rather lovely place which I feel I should appreciate more than I do.
Which is why yesterday, PP and I went down to the Stade to see the opening of the next phase of the regeneration project there, the centrepiece of which will be the new Jerwood Gallery, due to open later this year. With the new community/exhibition space ( The Stade Hall) and cafe/restaurant (Eat @ The Stade) the scruffy piece of land which formerly housed a lorry and coach park is now blossoming into a valuable asset for Hastings.
We also had a vested interest in the proceedings yesterday, as Prodigal Son was performing as a member of Section 5, a local drumming group.
So we had a lovely, leisurely lunch at the new cafe, entertained by an assortment of local musicians, before strolling round the South Coast Artist's exhibition in the Stade Hall, followed by a visit to the beach-side fishing huts to buy fresh fish for dinner.
The amusingly named skate knobs and samphire may not feature on most people's 'favourite dinner' menu but trust me, they are delishus. Skate knobs are actually skate cheeks, less familiar than the wings but lovely when simply cooked in butter for a few minutes then sprinkled with lemon juice and zest. Samphire tastes of the sea and is the perfect accompaniment for skate knobs, along with new potatoes and loads of fresh parsley from the garden.
Small Dog, who is a bit of a gourmand, pronounced the skate knobs outstanding, although she wasn't quite so keen on the samphire.