Hastings means so many things to so many people. This series of articles began with one young man explaining his hopes and fears for his hometown and here Irmina Corder explains why she has come ‘home’ to Hastings, after 50 years, having been one of the town’s ‘hysterical, backcombed, swirling-petticoated teenagers’ in the 1960s.
This July I turn 70, I have had a crazy interesting life, which started as a ten-year-old at the Pestalozzi Children’s Village, with Hastings being OUR town writes Irmina Corder.
I was here for all the mad rock ‘n’ roll years, the mods and rockers fighting it out on the seafront, the PJ Probies of this world splitting their trousers in concerts on the pier. We were the hysterical, backcombed, swirling petticoated teenagers, black coated eyes, red lipstick, stiletto heeled shoes, eating our fish and chips out of newspaper on a Saturday night!
In the 60s Hastings was vibrant and exciting! I left for London when I was 18 with Hastings in my heart.
Where did 50 years disappear? Suddenly I was a pensioner, London had lost its appeal, the crazy times were over, my needs were now different and Hastings beckoned with open arms!
Hastings house prices are very reasonable compared to other seaside towns. I was able to buy a pretty Victorian villa and still have money left over.
Hastings people are friendly and barmy, people talk to one another and it’s easy to make friends. The bus services are brill. What a plus for us Oldies with our free passes!
There are so so many free events all year round from Jack in the Green to Hastings Pride – oh there are just too many to mention.
On the first Tuesday of every month I can go to the Jerwood Gallery after 4pm for free and enjoy looking at fantastic art work; I can visit the Hastings Museum and Fisherman’s museum for free; I can meet my friends and walk on our beautiful restored pier, looking at all the plaques and reminiscing about our mad times in the 1960s.
There is the wonderful seafront from Rock a Nore to St Leonards, and the equally pretty Alexandra Park with cafes that don’t charge extortionate prices and where no one hovers over you to leave, just because your cup is empty!
Every Friday there is the Country Market in All Saints Hall, All Saints Street. Where else can you buy delicious home cooked food, cakes baked by indestructible old ladies, who can give Paul Hollywood a run for his money and have a cuppa and piece of cake for a mere £1, whilst having a banter with all your friends?
There is Yoga for the over 60s just a skip and a hop away on St Leonards seafront, comforting as all our bones creak together and only £7 for an hour and a half session.
On a Monday night there is the Shorelinkers Writing Group, at Tesco’s community room – boy can we Oldies can tell some tales.
The Old Town High Street and George Street haven’t lost their magic since I was a teenager, standing outside Ye Old Pump House, pretending to be 18, now I’m standing there pretending to be 50.
I have only just touched the tip of the iceberg! The sea, the air, the people, nowhere is comparable.
But I do have to end with three gripes. The town centre could do with better shops, in the summer everything closes far too early and why not give Hastings’ residents free parking at least over the weekend?
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