Day 11 April 14

It was a food shopping walk today – into Hastings along the seafront, down Bottle Alley and past the pier.

Much has changed since I first came to live here – the pier itself seeing one of the largest transformations since much of it was burnt by arson in 2010. Part restored and part redesigned with Heritage funding, it reopened in 2016. It is an unusual, spartan design that is aesthetically pleasing (it won a prestigious architectural prize in 2017) but it wasn’t making money, so, much to the dismay of those who nurtured it back to life, it was sold to a local businessman who didn’t exactly buy it for its aesthetic appeal! It is still work in progress, a mix of slightly tawdry installations set amidst the sleek lines of minimalism in an attempt to make it a paying concern. Whilst not going back to its previous incarnation of slot machines (my son’s obsession back in the day!) candy floss, sickly sweeties and an arcade of cheap an’ cheerful goodies for tourists, it is now neither fish nor fowl.

Having said all that the underbelly, its base upon which it rests, is pretty well unchanged. You can see in the picture its magnificence, the geometric lines through which you can peep (an echo of “what the butler saw”!) to the beach beyond. I have always loved this!

So, two pictures of the pier, at a distance like some giant centipede reaching out to sea, and close up, a surreal underworld where seagulls and the like hang about.