15 October 2011 (Saturday) - Hastings Day

The weekly weigh-in: I’ve lost two more pounds. This makes a loss of twelve pounds since I started with MyFitnessPal. And whilst I’m encouraged by this, the sad fact remains that I need to lose another thirty three pounds (over two stone) to just be overweight. Realistically I’m going to be on this diet and exercise lark for a year if I’m only going to get to the top end of what my weight should be.

The morning’s post brought a letter from English Heritage. Regular readers of this drivel will remember that two weeks ago today, me and ‘er indoors TM were locked into the grounds of Old Wardour Castle. Today the manager of English Heritage (South West) wrote to tell me that he reason we got locked in was that they didn’t check to see that everyone was out of the place. Dur!!!

With the tribes gathered we set off to Battle. Having been to the Abbey earlier in the year, we’d heard about the re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings, so we went along to watch it. In retrospect I think it’s fair to say that I underestimated the popularity of the event: we got within half a mile of Battle, and were stuck in a traffic jam for an hour before we were able to park.
Once parked we made our way to the arena at Battle Abbey, and having met up with the Brighton contingent we staked out an area from which we could watch the activities. We had arrived a tad late to see the skirmish (!), but we got to see the archery demonstration. A Genghis Khan lookalike, some bloke in a yellow frock, and six other weirdoes took pot-shots at a plastic pig. I cheered for the pig, mainly because the archers couldn’t hit the thing.

And then the re-enactment of the battle of Hastings took place. I cheered for the Normans, if only because I knew my history, and I knew who would win anyway. And to cut an extremely long and tedious story short, the Normans won. I think it’s fair to say that if the public address system had actually worked, and had the battle re-enactment been staged so that we could have seen more than just the backs of the Saxon side, then it might have been worthwhile.
However the public address system was inaudible, and all we could see was the backs of the Saxon side, and so the hour of the re-enactment was extremely dull. The last five minutes was entertaining enough when the Normans slaughtered the Saxons right in front of us; if only for the cries for a first aider to come to the aid of one of the actors who’d got a boo-boo.
If nothing else, the afternoon was worthwhile for getting some photos for CrackWatch.

After the battle seemed to be done, we had a wander wound some of the Abbey before making our way back to the cars. Getting out of the car park was a bit tricky, but we (and thousands of normal people) eventually managed it despite, rather than thanks to, the efforts of the English Heritage staff.
Once out, we made for Hastings, and having parked in Dudley Road (A lot closer to the town than I was expecting), we made our way to the Old Town. As luck would have it, the first pub we came to was the F.I.L.O., and so we popped in for a crafty half. They had a new beer on the hand pump – “Churches” – their own pale ale. A pint of that went down nicely. And we adjourned to their patio area to find a beer festival in full flow, so we had another pint there.

By now we were peckish, and so having obtained the obligatory flashing rabbit ears, we queued up for half an hour for some chips. For all that it is a traditional seaside town, Hastings doesn’t have many chip shops. Whilst queuing we met up with the rest of our party as well as some old friends, and then made our way to Winkle Island to watch the procession. And there we met family. And my mobile phone wouldn’t stop – texts and calls asking where we were. And then asking where on Earth is Winkle Island. How could anyone not know where Winkle Island is?

The bonfire procession passed, and I looked for friends who turned out not to be in the procession. And with an hour until the fireworks went off, the suggestion was made that we might visit the Dolphin to see what beer was on.
Three pints of HopHead later we wandered down to watch the fireworks. The fireworks were spectacular; the toilet facilities were feral. I’d never seen anything like it – you just stood and pissed into a trough whilst passers-by cheered.

And on the way home I met up with an old mucker I’ve not seen for years. Happy days….

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