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Hastings

 

 

 

Hastings is situated on the south coast of East Sussex. The town's name was recorded in the 8th century and means "the settlement of the followers of Haesta" a Dane who settled there in the 5th century, although the site has been occupied since prehistoric times. The Battle of Hastings in 1066 was actually fought 6 miles to the north-west near the town of Battle. The photo shows the view of the east end of the town from West Hill. The top of the hill can be reached using the West Hill cliff railway or on foot along the narrow backstreets, alleyways and steep flights of steps. At the top is a large sloping grassy area, a café by the lift exit, and a flat area at the top of the sandstone cliffs with views in all directions. Towards the rear of the hill there is a small children's playground with swings, slides and climbing frame.

 

 

 


At the far east end of the seafront are the net huts which were* used for drying fishing nets to prevent rotting. Nowadays the nets are made of nylon and can be left outside, so the huts are used for other storage. They were built tall because of the limited space at the head of this beach during Victorian times, when the sea was somewhat closer, and also to avoid paying excess ground tax. You can have your own net hut in the form of a multi-storey sparrow "Nest Hut" available from the Hastings and Bexhill* Wood Recycling Project which was set up to keep wood out of landfill* and provide skills training in woodcraft and nature conservation. Beyond the sheds there is a large seafront car park, a sea life centre and a fishermen's museum. There are also many fresh fish shops here to dispense the day's catch, with a wide variety on offer. Opposite the net sheds is the East Hill cliff railway which opened in 1902 and is the steepest in the UK.

 

* Omission phase "which (w)ere"

 

* "Bexhill" Always insert vowels in place names, this one could look like "Bexley"

 

* "landfill" Not in dictionary. If you wanted a single outline, use L + Nd stroke + F + L

 

 

 


The top of East Hill can be reached on foot from the seafront through a narrow alleyway between the shops near the fishermen’s museum and up several* flights of steps. An ascent on foot provides more varied interest than taking the lift, with changing views along the way, as well as the triumph of making it to the top. The last flight has several* seats at intervals to ensure success without too much discomfort. There are no visitor facilities on this part of the cliff top but during summer there is often an ice-cream van parked strategically near the top of the steps, to provide for thirsty step climbers as well as passengers emerging from the lift. The cliff top is a smooth sward of short grass with panoramic views of the town, and opportunities to walk further eastwards* through Hastings Country Park, which is a designated Nature Reserve of grasslands and woods extending 5 miles along the coast towards the town of Fairlight. The bonfire beacon on East Hill is lit each October by the Hastings Borough Bonfire Society, as part of their torch-lit* procession around the town, culminating in a firework display.

 

* "several" Careful not to curl the end of the V, as that would begin to look like "seven"

 

* "eastwards" Insert first vowel, so it is not misread as "seawards"

 

* "torch-lit" and "torch-light" Insert the last vowel to differentiate

 

   

 

 


The cliffs are composed of sandstone and mudstone which are sedimentary rocks that formed about 140 million years ago when the area was a large lake or lagoon*. Winter weather and storms hasten the erosion of these cliffs but rocks and debris can fall at any time of the year. The base of the cliffs under East Hill has large steel meshes to catch any debris and protect the road and pathways below. The numerous cliff faces throughout the town are faced with various colours and patterns of brick, a reminder of the weakness of these layers of rock. The rocks are rich in fossils of prehistoric plant and animal life*. Dinosaur evidence has been found here in the form of footprints and more rarely skeletal remains. The only other place in the UK with good dinosaur fossils is the Isle of Wight.

 

* "lake, lagoon" Insert the first vowel in lake, the last vowel in lagoon, as these two are similar in outline and meaning

 

* Omission phrase "animal (l)ife"

 

 

 


Hastings' beaches are mostly pebbles, although there is some sand at low tide near the pier. This photo shows Pelham Beach. The concrete structure in the distance is the remains of an uncompleted harbour arm. The first attempt to build this was made in the 16th Century but the foundations were destroyed by storms. The present structure was started in 1896 but remained unfinished due to rising costs and funds running out. What was left of it was partially blown up during the Second World War in order to* prevent its use by any invading ships. Hastings' fishing boats are all stored on and launched from the beach, and these can be seen at the east end of the seafront. Care should be taken when wandering around as there are many slipways with trailing cables and chains.

 

* Omission phrase "in ord(er to)"

 

   

 


Hastings Old Town always seems to be* teeming with visitors attracted by the cafés, pubs, gift shops and antique shops. All the old buildings are well preserved and West Street makes a very pleasant* stroll on a sunny day. Further along there are amusement arcades and facing the seafront there are a large number of fish and chip shops, essential fuel to keep the holidaymakers warm when the sun is not shining and the wind is blowing. There is certainly a clear difference between the fresh seafood served here and that obtained from supermarket freezers. A walk along the back streets reveals many ancient timber-framed houses surviving and kept in good repair. The constantly changing use of the buildings has helped to preserve them.

 

* Omission phrase "seems (to) be"

 

* "pleasant" and "pleasing" Helpful to insert vowels, as these are similar in outline and meaning

 

 
Hastings Pier before fire of 2010

 


Hastings pier is situated in the central* White Rock area and was opened in 1872, to provide Victorian tourists with an invigorating and adventurous walk out to sea, amusements and paddle steamer excursions.
The pier closed in 2008 and suffered a devastating fire in 2010. It was purchased by the Hastings Pier Charity who have completely rebuilt and refurbished it and the pier reopened in 2016. A pier in good order at any seaside is always full of visitors, which benefits the whole town and the prosperity of its population. The decorative ironwork is always worth a closer look, despite the thick layers of peeling paint, and is entirely in keeping with the purpose of the pier as an attraction. Such decorative features were normal in Victorian times and were probably not as immediately noticeable as they are to us today.

 

* "central" Based on the outline for "centre", despite there being no vowel sound between the T and R, to get a convenient and fast outline

 

 

 

Everyone who has ever stood on a pier has experienced the combination of wonderment and faint apprehension at glimpsing the heaving sea through the gaps in the wooden deck. As a child I enjoyed the automata and penny slot machines that showed moving models of life in the past, and I wondered how many coins had been dropped through the cracks in the deck and were now lying on the seabed, unused and going to waste! Behind White Rock is the modern shopping area. If you look upwards past the shop fronts you will find a great diversity of building styles and embellishments, of the kind that is lacking in our present-day buildings.

 

http://hastingspier.org.uk

 

   

 


Summer bedding is in the customary seaside style, brilliant and bold. Pale and artistic shades may have their* place in formal gardens, but on the seafront the displays have to hold their own against all the other colourful paraphernalia – shops and souvenirs, brightly packaged candies and the brilliantly painted funfair and arcades. The colour provides a warmth that perhaps the weather is lacking, and persuades us, as we look at our holiday pictures, that the weather was kinder than it actually was. Years ago we used to collect the postcards
* with maps on, but nowadays someone has found an easy profit out of producing completely black postcards that say "Hastings at night". One can quickly think of captions for a white or a grey postcard*. One sweltering day we drove to Hastings expecting the hot weather to make up for the sea breezes, only to be met by a bank of cold grey fog enveloping the town. The sea and sky merged into one grey nothingness and we shivered all day. As soon as we left to go home, we emerged back into the hot sunshine that we had expected* to be enjoying on the beach.

 

* "may have their " Doubling for "their"

 

* "postcard" Omits the lightly sounded T

 

* "expected" Optional short dash through last stroke of contraction to signify past tense

 

 

 

 


All the traditional holiday edibles are here, seafood and sweets. Fish described as "Rock" or "Rock salmon" is actually huss, the spiny dogfish which is a small shark. The other type of rock sold is the sugar version, pure
* entertainment and dentists' delight or displeasure, depending on your dentist's point of view*. It will leave you in no doubt as to the security of your dental fillings. I enjoy all the colours but do not now wish to consume these beautiful works of the confectioner's art. Seaside rock with the words embedded in red on white is always appealing, even when one eventually finds out how it is made. These manmade rainbows are a feast for the eyes and maybe a photograph is the healthiest way to enjoy them.

 

* "pure" Special outline, to distinguish it from "poor"

 

* Omission phrase "point (of) view"

 

   

 

 

There are plenty of activities for children of all ages, including amusement* arcades, funfair rides, mini golf, boating pond with swan-shaped paddle* boats and a miniature ride-on railway. I like to see the old beachfront shelters, reminding me of childhood holidays when there was no car to dive into in wet weather. It is traditional for the British holidaymaker to enjoy or endure the whole day regardless of the weather, and the spirit of dogged determination is alive and well, and huddling in the shelters, eating ice cream in defiance of chilly breezes. This attitude stems partly from the time when people took a train or coach outing to the seaside and they therefore had no choice but to wait for the appointment with their transport at the end of the day. But a far greater part of it is the determination not to be beaten by inclement weather and cheated of the day's enjoyments. Waiting for warm conditions is not an option in Britain, and having arrived at the destination one feels one must get some value from the time and expense of getting there. The alternative would be to hurry back home in defeat, something the British spirit will never countenance.

 

* "amusement" and "amazement" Always insert the vowel

 

* "paddle" Insert the vowel, to differentiate it from "pedal" which would also make sense here

 

   

 

 


This seagull is doing what every holidaymaker does, he has found a warm and smooth place to sit with no lumps and bumps, and is surveying the blue expanse of the sea while waiting for someone to serve up a tasty snack. Maybe he is watching for that unmistakable movement of a hand flicking a piece of sandwich in his direction, or the screeching and flurry of wings that advertise a bag* of chips has been hurled onto the beach for his rivals to fight over. This army of noisy, unpaid and endlessly* replaceable volunteers ensures that the waste food removal is thorough and complete before the sun goes down. No doubt a seagull's tourist map would show all the places of interest, such as tables outside fish and chip shops, car parks, and all the restaurants where the owners do not put lids on their dustbins! This Sea Dogs bowl of water was seen outside the RNLI Lifeboat shed and shop, an example of thoughtfulness and creative description by those hardy and selfless volunteers who put their lives at risk on the seas to save lives. (1898 words)

 

* "bag" Insert the vowel and ensure the strokes are thick, as this could also look like "pack" "pocket" "bucket"

 

* "endlessly" See www.long-live-pitmans-shorthand.org.uk/distinguishing-outlines-list2.htm for endless/needless

 

* "dustbins" = rubbish/garbage bin, trash can. Omits the lightly sounded T. Insert the vowel in "bins" so it is not misread as "dust pans"

 

 

 

 

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