By Tony May
Having been left some money by my Nan and with plenty of operational and space problems to deal with on my existing machine, I took the plunge recently and invested in a new laptop. Now, I am as technophobic as they come and so, on the advice of friends, have always stuck to Mac computers. I last bought a Mac in 2009 and have used it virtually every day since and sometimes for 4 or 5 hours a day.
It has been a real trooper and has helped me to edit films for my Youtube channel (maybrick44) as well as write articles for HT. Wear and tear eventually takes its toll, however, as it does with everything and so for a while now I have been in need of replacing my little laptop buddy! Wanting to spend my inheritance money on something I really needed (rather than a holiday or something peripheral) and that would serve as a constant reminder of my Nan, I opted for one of the latest in the Macbook Pro range. Now, I did not do much research into the particulars of this laptop as I thought I was simply buying an upgraded version of the one I already had. That felt ‘safe’ for a techie like me and I was confident I would know how to use the thing in no time once it arrived. Well, five years is one HELL of a long time in the world of computer technology, let me tell you! My new machine looks like my old one, starts like my old one and has a lot of familiar features and applications BUT there is no disc drive! I have spent at least the last 5 years saving everything of value to disc (I’m not a one for trusting external hard drives) and had therefore planned to gradually upload all of my old stuff onto the new machine. Flapping about, ‘desperately grappling’ with the body of my ‘new baby’ the other morning, I was aghast to find myself searching to find a hole that did not exist! With Page Seven over 300 discs to go through the task of trawling through everything and sorting out what needed to be transferred and what did not was already a huge task but suddenly it had become an impossible one!
Disc drives are now rather out dated apparently and modern people are all ‘iClouds and kneecaps’ living as they do in their virtual world of virtually nothing! Reading my new computer manual and noting that my laptop also had ‘Flash Drive Storage’ rather than a hard drive tickled me rather. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me to see my new machine peel off a few layers in front of me every time I ask it to save something or for an old raincoat to suddenly burst out of its sides like some geeky airbag! Anyway, the long and short of things is that I am now going to have to seek advice about which portable disc drive I should buy so that I CAN use my old discs…
Now, by this point you may well be wondering why I am telling you about my c omput er problems? Well, wi th so much change going on in my life (and all around me) at present I have found solace in going right back to basics and doing simple things to make me feel a bit more connected to everything than I currently do. Simple things like visiting the beach or walking along the promenade are a real tonic at the moment and its funny how when you are looking for something natural and/or beautiful to connect with you see so much more than you do normally.
There were some tremendous new displays of flowers along Warrior Square behind the Victoria Statue when I wrote this piece and my heart almost burst with pleasure at the sight of the newly re-vamped Pelham Fountain. One way and another, much of the Hastings I grew up in and loved has gone in recent years and the Pier fire of Oct 2010 hit me especially hard. To see Pelham Fountain, one of the last ‘constants’ of my life, restored to its former glory (if not better than before) enables me to look forward to re-living the sights and sounds from past Old Town Carnivals and feels very special indeed.
Hastings is such a majestic place and so full of history and character. Of course we have to ‘measure up’ to the demands of the modern world but some things are more valuable for the impression they give and/or the fun that they provide than purely the function they perform (I was like a little kid when I got caught in the spray from the fountain when the wind changed as I was taking photos and filming!). Don’t get me wrong, Leigh Dwyer is an amazing sculptor and his Winkle Island and Butler’s Gap pieces are fantastic but I wrote a passionate letter to The Council begging them to re-vamp and repair the fountain rather than replace it with one of Leigh’s works when the idea was bandied about. Thankfully, on this occasion, the weight of public opinion agreed with me and to their enormous credit Hastings Council listened to what most of us wanted and responded accordingly (THANK YOU!).
I know I am rather an emotional sort of guy and I can understand why, with finances so tight and tough decisions needing to be taken, that many in Hastings want to see what money there is spent on practical things. A town is so much more than just a ‘place to function’ though and in spite of the E.U. and the migration of thousands of people places still need to feel like HOME to those born and bred in the area who have no intention of leaving… Oh dear, with my blood pressure rising rapidly, I must remember the advice of my Doctor and get away from the subject of the E.U. or this article will last forever!
Thankfully, the many recent (ish) improvements to the promenade and to the facilities along Hastings seafront in general are enough to return my mind’s focus to ‘happiness’.
If you have ever watched any of my ‘One Man’s Guide To Hastings’ films on Youtube you will know that I have long raved about how criminal it has been that us Hastingers (and Hastings Council) have not made enough out of surely the most fabulous seaside views in the country! For far too long the promenade between the Pier, opposite Warrior Square and up until where the Azur is has served only as somewhere to have a stroll.
It has been crying out for a few café’s, attractions and amenities to encourage locals and visitors to spend more time taking in just what a terrific, relaxing place Hastings is. Well, it seems as if my ‘maniacal rantings’ do seem to have done some good as in the last year or so play areas for kids, a beach café and now a mini Fish & Chip shop (with outdoor seating right onto the beach) have all sprung up. I have never wanted to see our seafront end up like Clapham Junction – that would kill its tranquil and natural appeal – but if you want people to spend time in an area, learn to appreciate it and then TELL OTHERS, you have to give them something to do and provide refreshments, loo’s and such like.
Obviously, many of these businesses are not going to be viable all year round but if the Council can take a sensible approach to things regarding that fact then the whole area (and businesses and bars on the other side of the road along the seafront) will benefit and prosper. Anyway, that’s my pennyworth on the subject for what its worth.
If you disagree why not write in and have your say? From my point of view though I’m heartened to see the way my beloved hometown is shaping up and as long as we don’t ever lose sight of our ‘seaside resort’ roots I predict a bright future for Hastings & St Leonards.
Right, now, where do I plug in a mouse on this darn contraption.
“Hastings Town” December 2015
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