Joyce was first to arrive at Brighton station for the earlier of Jim’s suggested trains to Hastings, quickly followed by Sue, Tessa, Roger and Suzanne who shared a Groupsave.
There was some confusion as to which part of the train went all the way, and Roger and Suzanne had to dismount at Eastbourne as their carriage was not continuing to Hastings.
We all, including Sean, who had joined at Lewes met up at Hastings station to wait for Jim who was the only one to take the later train.
A beautiful crisp day with a manageable north-westerly wind greeted us as we reached Hastings seafront. We stopped at Glyne Gap, a river, that by the time it reached the sea, had become a canal, an area host to many seabirds.
Sculptural metal cutouts stood at the edge of the cycletrack, one we recognised as Spike Milligan, maybe he had a link with the area?
Still on a cycle path, we continued past Galley Hill, the site of a Martello tower, on to Bexhill past some lovely seafront houses that had the feel of large comfortable beachhuts with panoramic windows. Sue was impressed enough to note down an estate agent’s number.
The 1930’s De La Warr building prompted some idle puns:
‘De La Warr, what is it good for?’ and ‘De La Warr – hol’.
We were on the look out for John, who was cycling from Brighton to meet us en route. Vigilant Joyce spotted someone sitting on a bench with a bike and a black skullcap (like John’s) ‘How long have you been here?’ she asked the bemused stranger.
Coming out of Bexhill we lost Roger and Suzanne who had taken the high road while we continued on the cycle track, busy with pedestrians and dogs. We met up again at Cooden Beach where we headed inland and rode a parallel road to Norman’s Bay to our lunch stop, The Star. Two Johns joined us, one to eat and continue the ride with us, the other, a friend of Jim’s just for a drink.
Lunch was a staggered affair, dishes arriving in stages, but much appreciated when they did appear. Conversation was lively as usual, kicked off by the current debate about prayers before council meetings.
The road to Pevensey ran alongside the coast, but below sea level. Then it was Sovereign Harbour, finally Eastbourne where we had time for a cup of tea/ coffee/ hot chocolate and in some cases, cake in a delightful, friendly café.
We all boarded the train, John deciding to join us rather than cycle back to Brighton in a headwind. We separated into different carriages, our group enjoyed the journey home, appreciating the lengthening evenings.
Thank you Jim for a great day out.
[More photos on Flickr]