The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea – Isak Dinesen

Oh. In the excitement of telling you all about getting engaged I completely forgot to mention our final trip of 2015. To the bright lights of Hastings!

If there is one thing I truly miss about New Zealand, it’s the sea. I mean, there’s our family & friends, & the cats, & really good coffee. But then it’s the sea. Definitely.

But anyway. Every so often we get the call & we have to go to the salt air. We picked Hastings for our December jaunt. Half out of thin air, half because of the ease of transport. In the weeks before we left everyone to whom we mentioned our Hastings adventure replied with a “… Hastings?? But why??”

We caught the train down straight after work into the deep inky darkness of winter evening – peering out the window & all we could see were ourselves peering back.

Our hotel was on the waterfront & our room looked out over the sea. Our dinner in the hotel restaurant (food served with more flair than flavour) was mostly spent planning the next day & working out how we could prove the Hastings naysayers wrong.

It turns out a lot of Hastings shuts for the winter.

The next morning we found an American diner in Hastings. An American proprietor & his all-British staff served surprisingly great breakfasts in a building built a hundred years ago. The Pelican Diner! You should go if you’re ever in the area.

We wandered the waterfront and climbed about the old town. It’s really rather charming, Hastings.

We played mini-golf and, as usual, I was either pretty good or utterly rubbish at every hole. Losing profoundly despite always seeming like I might just win.

This is my mini golf burden.

Of course the not-burdensome half of our duo won a free game like the golden child that she is. There was no expiry date but also when did we think we would be back in Hastings again?

There is a tiny museum in Hastings where you can practice your nautical knots, touch a dinosaur bone, & (maybe) touch a grave stone fished from a 19th century shipwreck.

I say maybe because the gravestone was out on the door & very much did NOT say do not touch but also didn’t say it was okay to touch?

We are fresh crayfish tails (my first!) and found a tiny pub with an open fire & leather couches & we were set.

There was a sign advertising CHEESE BINGO – 6PM SATURDAYS which after two pints seems like an excellent and intriguing idea.

I mean, how is cheese bingo different from regular bingo? Is it cheeses rather than numbers? No.

It turns out cheese bingo is just bingo but they give you cheese to eat & you win cheese if you get a row! I won a wedge of smoked cheddar & was extremely pleased with myself.

We made a terrible mistake & left the beautiful pub for dinner at another. The less said about that, the better.

Our pub (by now we’d adopted it completely) had been mostly empty all afternoon & evening but as soon as it approached 9pm a multi piece reggae band appeared.

By the end of the night we’d made friends with half the bar & been bought shots by the bartender. We left to strangers asking us to stay & telling us to come back when we were next in Hastings & that sounds like a lie but I swear it’s the truth.

Sunday dawned clear & cold & we had a free game of mini golf to claim.

After being comprehensively beaten (again! The burden!) we walked the waterfront in the cool grey day and, after buying a dressed crab (my first!) to take home for dinner, decided that while Hastings was excellent and truly a great place to visit, two full days is really a bit much.

We took our dressed crab & caught an early afternoon train back to London.  It was an almost perfect weekend and you know? We might even go back to Hastings in the summer.

Anyway, the crab pasta was delicious.