Day off from work today. Decided to take a lucky dip on the buses! This involves a meander down to the town and hopping on the first bus to come along irrespective of it's destination!
Along comes a Route 99 destined for Hastings.
Now as you may know, Hastings is a somewhat - how shall I say? - a depressed town. Actually, that's not really fair because great efforts have been made to regenerate the place and to a certain degree it's working. Town centre pedestrianisation has created something of a continental air with cafes spilling out onto the street and the occasional entertainer. Too often however, the entertainment comes courtesy of the boys in blue trying to reason with some sad individual who's become the little worse for wear in the company of Mr Strongbow!
Anyway, I'm rambling so back to my lucky dip. The first bus to arrive is a little single-decker sporting the green and white of Countryside Services. The sign on the front tells me it's heading for Rye. Result! Haven't been there for years. So on I get.
Now this is not the straightforward route to Rye and soon we are heading off long narrow roads hardly suited to a bus! Every now and then we jerk to a halt as a lorry or some other large vehicle, equally unsuited to the lane, attempts to squeeze past.
On we go through places I'd not seen for ages such as Fairlight, Pett Level and Winchelsea Beach until we rejoin the main A-something or other for our triumphal arrival in the ancient Cinque port of Rye.
I's lunch time and I can just remember a pub I once new which served excellent ploughman's lunches and jolly good beer! Joy of joys - it's still there! I couldn't remember it's name and now I've forgotten it again, anyhow my search was apply rewarded with a couple of pints of Speckled Hen and a fine selection of Sussex cheeses, crusty bread and homemade pickle! What more could a weary bus traveller ask for!
Suitably refreshed I head off to reacquaint myself with the wonderful old church, the cobbled streets and the truly fabulous view from high up on the town walls across the marshes to the sea.
Now, this is where my lucky dip has to stop because if I applied the same principle I could find myself heading off to Dover, Hawkhurst, or beyond and not getting back for days! The trick is now to return home but by a different route, I this was provided by the timely arrival of Stagecoach number 711 to Hastings.
Off we go, this time taking the scenic main road back via the wonderful village of Winchelsea perched high up on a hill which the ageing double decker struggles to climb! (Note - some good hostelries here. Must make this a destination for an adventure sometime in the future )
Back in Hastings, and again a different way must be found for my return home to 'God's Waiting Room' - Bexhill on Sea! Right on cue, up pops a 98! Excellent!
Just remembered - Pub is called the United Friends!