Adventures with Roxie No. 1 – Hastings
Some of the best days I’ve had have been with my dear old friend Roxie. Used to be my manager back in the day, but that never sort of stuck really because even at work we were busy messing about and nipping off to poundland to actually act like the traditional manager and minion. Since those days finished we’ve never lost touch, and even if we go months without seeing each other we always do in the end and we always end up having these amazing adventure days together. They’re not amazing just because they’re packed full of doctor who music, quotes, trivia and role playing (not in dirty way,) although that is a big part of it. They’re amazing because she’s amazing, and the places we go are amazing. Well, they are to me anyway. We always try and pick somewhere of interest, somewhere we havn’t really been before, or at leats havn’t been in ages. I thought it would make a good semi-regular feature on here to document these days, so here we go, starting at almost the very beginning – a very good place to start.
On the 11th September 2009, Roxie’s red car Loki pulled up in the East Sussex town of Hastings – famous by name for the Battle of, but not actually famous in reality as that actually took place a few miles up the road at a small town called, well, called Battle (named after the Battle, the Battle of Hastings, which didn’t actually take place there.) Anyway, the point is we went to Hastings. Nice brisk sea air, salty wind in your lungs – lovely! It was actually a really good day for the weather, I think summer had ran on a bit longer that year, so it was genuinely pleasant to be outside.
Having said that, our first port of call (after the toilet,) was the Smugglers Caves. Officially known as St Clements Caves,they were a favourite loot stashing spot of smugglers back in ye olde days, but mostly in the 18th century. They’d smuggle anything back then – booze, smokes, silk, spices, leather – even paper. At that point in history taxes were pretty steep on pretty much everything – hence the high amount of smuggling that was going on. And Hastings was FULL of it, and I mean full of it. We only went round the actual caves in the hill but apparently there were tunnels and passageways all over the place, in the pubs, in the graveyards, everywhere. The caves themselves are great fun to lark about it – virtually deserted when we went too so we could take as many pictures as we liked embarassment free! They’ve stuffed it all full of waxworks and hands on exhibits and little cinemas, all very touristy. But that didn’t stop the slightly spooky feeling the place had. Afterall, the caves are very old, and nobody knows about their exact origin.
After that it was off across the top of the cliffs (b-e-a-utiful view of the sea,) to the castle. Well, the remains of the castle. Hastings Castle is one of those where it’s 80% ruins now, the only sort of inside bit was the dungeon, but that was very exciting. Lot’s of mysterious holes in the wall and in the floor that if you put your hand inside they just seemed to go on and on and on. The building as it’s seen now was built in 1070 – a rebuild of a shabbier motte and bailey version that was closer to the sea. It wasn’t “in service” so to speak, for very long, and in 1287 huge bits of it were falling into the sea during a series of particularly violent storms. In the mid 1300’s there were attacks from the french which damaged it further, and by Tudor times it was all but a ruin already. Because the chapel in the Castle (St Marys,) was Catholic it was on the receiving end of Henry VIIIs wrath as he went about dissolving monasteries, and from that time on it just fell into disrepair, becoming an overgrown ruin on the clifftop. Thankfully the tourist potential was seen in it and today it’s quite pleasant to have a look round. It does say please don’t climb – TECHNICALLY we didn’t, we sort of perched, but there wasn’t anyone around thankfully. Not like at Dover Castle, you know you sit in one throne for a few seconds to have a picture taken and get told off – not very fair at all.
It was a lovely day, I think the weather being nice really helped. We had a look round the shops (I got a new phone! Had to get rid of my Prada one, but I got £180 cashback – thanks phones4u!) and then went and had a “nice” meal at the brewers fayre. No, I’m being harsh, it was a nice meal. We did the two meals for £9 and a mixed combo platter to share for starters – nice! Then, like all my times with Roxie it was time to say goodbye, but not for long – because I knew we’d be off having another amazing day before I’d even know about it!