Friday, 3 October 2014

Indian Summer in Hastings

We returned from Cirali, Turkey at the beginning of the week to find Hastings basking in sunshine. According to the locals there was no rain in our absence, which means that apart from a few isolated drops, there has been no rain here since August Bank Holiday.
     I said before I went away that I was worried about our garden - well, thanks to our neighbour Angela, who must have been watering way beyond the call of neighbourly duty, everything was still alive.
     Our garden birds were very glad to see us - look at these young starlings enjoying the refilled bird bath.
Young starlings enjoy the bird bath
     It was strange to emerge from Gatwick airport and not having to muffle up in fleeces, the air was as almost as warm as Turkey. In fact, over there we had a couple of cloudy days, some showers overnight, and it was cool enough for jumpers in the evenings. On our last night, we played the final game of the Great Scrabble Tournament sitting outside Shaun's place wearing not only fleeces, but wrapped in blankets. For the record, it had been Shaun two games, me two games, but then Philosopher breezed in and won the last game.
    I just looked up 'Indian Summer' on Google. The term appears to be of American origin, but I guess must have fallen out of fashion a bit. 'Native American Summer' does not sound quite the same. In Britain, we once called this type of warm spell an 'Old Wives' Summer', even more politically incorrect. In Europe, particularly in Slavic countries, that old terminology still exists - Old Wives, Old Women, Old Ladies, Ladies, Crones, and even Witches have summers. This appears to relate to the proximity of All Hallows Eve, and also to the large number of spiders this weather brings out - the drifting fine grey hairs of webs, and the mythology surrounding the spiders themselves.  Clearly, this is the season for Hastings Battleaxe.
     Meteorologists define Indian Summer as a spell of fine weather occurring in October or November, but as usual, our media has hyped up this warm September. 'Indian Summer wreaks havoc on the High Street', screams the Daily Mail, as apparently, share prices plummet due to nobody buying winter clothes. How can shareholders be so stupid? Looking at the weather forecast, gallons of rain and cold weather are on the way.
     Having said that, I have not bought anything either. No wonder the retail economy has collapsed. Oh no, I lie. I have treated myself to a pair of Russell and Bromley tassel loafers. Very classic.
     Today has been an absolutely glorious hot sunny day here in Hastings. Philosopher and I went down to town and took a walk along the sea-front. The sea and the sky were as blue as the Mediterranean. Well, maybe not, see the picture of the Turkish sea at the end of this post. No English sea can ever quite compete with the vivid blueness of the Med. We have a gentler colour and light. In Hastings today, the sea was calm, and the beach was empty. .
Lovely day - nobody on Hastings beach!
Blue.....
     We had a good look at the big barge-mounted crane currently working beside the Pier, which arrived just before we left for Turkey. We expected to return to see the wreckage of the old ballroom completely cleared, but apparently it is not as easy as one might expect. Last winter's bad weather caused the ballroom to collapse further, taking the floor of the Pier with it. The crane on the barge  holds a gang of workmen in a basket, who are then lowered down to cut up and demolish the wreckage.
The crane on the barge

Lots of work going on

The skeleton of the old ballroom
     It seems that the rebuilding of the Pier is still on course to be completed in March next year, but this operation must be difficult as well as costly.

Turkish sea blue - a final memory of our holiday