We were very excited to have a chance to nosy around inside one of the old Hastings Observer buildings, abandoned decades ago when the newspaper moved to new premises and now looking to be brought back into use by the Flint Group as 'an exciting multi-use hub' according to one of the artiest and least informative leaflets I have ever been handed.
The Observer Building being open was part of a wider range of events, including the launch of a new street market which will run every Saturday through the summer in the Alley behind the Library and the Observer building. It seems to be organised by Holy Trinity Church and according to the flyer vendors donate 5% of their takings to the 'Safehaven Women Outreach Service'. There is a Facebook page listed for anyone interested in becoming a vendor Facebook.com/theobserverbuilding.
There were a really nice selection of interesting vendors already in evidence, including a local brewery and a wild foraged food stall, plus an old colleague of mine who unexpectedly popped up running a juice bar.
We've often seen the front of the Observer Building as it is near the Library but I had no idea that there was anything of interest tucked behind it.
What we found was an intriguing mixture of architecture, art and utilitarian building additions all merging in to the beautiful golden sandstone bedrock of the town.
When you start looking at one thing you never noticed before in your town, you soon start to see other details, like the amazing carvings around a sealed up door wedged between a sports shop and a record shop. I love to walk in familiar places looking down at the doorsteps or up at the roofs - how many amazing buildings are hiding in plain view up above the bland shop fronts!
Among the surprises of the day was the Church being open for visitors, complete with a bouncy castle inside! Built in Victorian times (as were most of the 'fancy' buildings here) this Church turned out to be an amazing space with incredible carvings and glass. I was in agreement with Ollie at not being able to get enough of looking at wooden ceiling arches.
In true random Hastings style, in celebration of the 4th July there was a two piece band playing Johnny Cash songs from the back of a gorgeous Dodge truck, plus American Jeeps on display, the owners of which kindly allowed two very enthusiastic little boys to sit in.
I haven't covered nearly enough of what was going on that day with live music, street performers and things to try, but it would take a long long time to talk about everything that was going on during an average weekend in Hastings. Not a bad day out since we only went into town to get Matt a new backpack.