Battered Bexhill cycle-way, railway moans.... and enjoying the pianists

Weather is fabulous just now - sunny and warm. Our garden is full of daffs, with camelias coming out. It's Spring!
     The other day we went for a walk along the sea to M&S at the Bexhill Retail Park. It seems strange to take a sea-side walk to Marks, generally you have to battle your way into a town centre. But don't get ideas, I have not got over my negative feelings about their clothes (the spring ranges are no better), we only went to the cafe. It wasn't just for cake in M&S either, the car needed a new windscreen wiper from Halfords.

Lovely morning by the sea
     Regular blog readers will know that I have ranted about the unsuitable cycle track along that path before, but we were a little taken aback by the scale of the re-modelling produced by the sea in the recent storms. For large stretches, the plastic grid has totally vanished, presumably carried off by the sea, great holes have been gouged in the surface underneath, and tons of rock and shingle from the beach have been dumped on the path. Can't see any cyclists going along there in the near future and I confess it was a relief to walk without fear of being run over.
     In a couple of places the shingle is spilling through the fence onto the railway. No wonder they kept on closing that stretch of line in the bad weather.

Was this once a path?
     Briefly, on that theme, rail communications to Hastings are still terrible. Unbelievably, the line to Charing Cross is still not repaired following repeated landslips. The Brighton line is dodgy as mentioned above, and to get to London you have to go via Ashford - I went earlier this week. Went to St Pancras on the HS1 - ha, that's a laugh, it was 20 minutes late because they didn't have a driver for it!  Makes you realise the drawbacks of  the plan to build HS2 to Birmingham and beyond, apparently saving a maximum of 30 minutes at a cost of £50 billion. 30 minutes? Maybe, some days, if the staff show up, the engines don't break down and the weather is clement.
     On the walk back I felt sad, once again, passing the site of the St Leonard's bathing pool. How wonderful that must have been, how enormous - 330 feet long, 90 feet wide, and unfortunately, how ridiculous, to think that a town this size could sustain such a huge pool.  Do any readers remember it?
     The recent plans to build a 'lido' entertainment complex on the site seem to have totally collapsed. Philosopher and I like old lidos - it is good to see that Brighton's lovely deco Saltdean Lido is being restored.
Bathing pool then

Bathing pool now
     Changing the subject totally, the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition is currently under way. We've missed it in previous years, but last night Philosopher and I went down to the White Rock Theatre for the semi-finals, on free tickets from Fairlight Hall via the WI. A group of us went, including a couple of our neighbours. Audience was a little sparse. It was good, but we two only stayed for three of the semi-finalists, who each played a 25 minute recital. We heard a heavy-handed Russian woman, a slightly better young American girl, and a much better South Korean bloke, who I'd guess will make the final. It started at 5pm and would have carried on until 9 - I got too hungry. Am still making futile attempts to lose weight.
     We are also going to the orchestra finals on Saturday night. I was quite surprised at the finalists' conservative concerto choices  - much Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, endless Rachmaninov, Grieg, only two Beethoven's and one Prokofiev. I hope we don't end up with all the three finalists playing Tchaikovsky Number 1.
     Stop Press: the three finalists are now announced. I was right about the Korean bloke. We will get just the one Tchaikovsky but two Rachmaninov Number 3's. Years ago I had a set of scratchy 78s of this with Rachmaninov himself playing, which I found in Brixton Market. Don't know where they went. Anyway, it's not my favourite - personally I prefer 2,  'Brief Encounter'.
     Seems like it has just been announced that Hastings is England's most musical town. Who knew? 

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