WOW, WOW, WOW !!! What an amazing event the Hastings Borough Bonfire Society (HBBS) put on last night. I joined the HBBS a few months ago and since the day I joined, I have been so impressed by all they do. The members spend a year planning this event and each member spends many hours working to make it a fun evening for the spectators, enjoyable for the visiting societies and keeping it safe for everyone. All that time is voluntary and the event is free for all. HBBS raise money by selling programmes and rattling buckets for donations. HBBS members also support and help with many other events held in the town.
I decorated my pirate hat with ribbon and feathers in the cinque ports colours.I donned my HBBS sweater (it was too hot for the jerkin so I carried that) and my members badge and set off for The Stade where the marshalls had to meet up for briefing. (I don’t have puffy eyes but I had just been swimming and you can see my goggles imprint). I thought I needed the exercise but as I then went on to walk 20,000 steps I didn’t but I always like a swim.I walked along the seafront and was excited about the evening ahead, particularly because we were so lucky with the weather. It was warm and with no wind which is perfect for the bonfire and fireworks. This is the massive bonfire.The huge guy HBBS will be pulling round the procession.An effigy of ‘Popeye’, an affectionate nickname for local, Ron Everett, who died this year. This was made with papier mache, over a chicken wire and wooden frame. It was packed with fireworks and set off during the evening event as a memorial to a much loved and popular member of the community.I was to marshall the procession with a fellow member called Ken and we were asked to work at the America Ground, which is the start of the procession. I liked this image of one of the drumming groups, taking an opportunity to rest before the procession began.The jerkin and high vis are now on so I am ready for duty. I found myself a guy !I enjoyed watching the different societies taking their places in the procession. This group were very glamorous. The couple told me they attend an event every week for 10 weeks every year.
The Hastings Runners begin proceedings by running from the America Ground to the Beacon, which they light. When they return, the procession begins at the America Ground with a declaration of independence from the town crier.
Then off they go. Ken and I marshalled the area in front of the procession, to make sure the road was clear for the marchers as they carry burning torches and need to be able to proceed safely. Many members marshalled sections along the route and we were asked to look after the America Ground and the initial stages of the procession. But I wasn’t sure when I was meant to stop so I kept going, all evening. We walked along the sea front and through the Old Town which was particularly magical because of the narrow streets and because it is darker there so the torches really stand out.
The Hastings drumming group created a passageway for the procession to move in to the bonfire site. I stood behind the drummers which meant I then got to see the procession which was spectacular. There were about 2,000 people in the procession.
The people hauling the fire trucks do a brilliant job. Any spent torches are burnt so they do not create litter or a hazard on the roads.
An advantage of being a member of HBBS is that you can go in to the bonfire site, as do all the members of all the visiting societies.It was a warm and mild evening anyway and it became very warm with such a huge fire.Seeing all the different societies, in their varied costumes, backlit by the fire was quite a spectacle.The crowd was enormous, partly because the weather was so clement and also because there were no other bonfire events in nearby towns this evening. Estimates have varied from 25,000-40,000 people. It was incredible looking around and seeing how many people were sharing the spectacle.
The fireworks were excellent – well done to Renegade Pyrotechnics for such a display. Well done to HBBS for such a brilliant event.
This morning I was down on the beach at 8am to help clear up. Thats the downside to being a member of HBBS; it’s the same as the morning after the night before at a party you have hosted. No hardship on such a sunny day though and with so many volunteers helping we finished before lunch time. Harvey came along to help too – he did brilliantly.
All this has to be dismantled.The barriers were all stacked up and loaded on to lorries, the bonfire remains cleared away, the beach was litter picked and the various banners and fire trucks cleaned, emptied and stored, ready for the next event. The beach was open to the public again by early morning.After clearing up I was really hungry as I had missed dinner the night before. So I made one of my favourite meals; stir fried broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and onions with Taifun smoked tofu with almonds.Simply seasoned with soy sauce and ginger it’s delicious and very healthy. I started the stir fry with 1 tbsp oil and then added a small amount of water, whenever it began to stick. So simple but so good and very quick to prepare. I felt tired and achey after the previous day’s excertions so we went out to The Stagg for a late lunch. There was a lunch for all the HBBS helpers at the White Rock Hotel but I haven’t spent much time with Harvey this weekend so I had a lovely lunch with him instead.
I often choose the Stagg for a Sunday lunch out because they always have tasty vegan food. I had sweetcorn fritters to start.Followed by the vegan roast. That did me for the day and I didn’t need anything for supper.That was followed by a long snooze on the sofa at home! I had walked 10,000 steps tidying up this morning so did not feel bad about my lazy day. I shouldn’t have shared a bottle of wine with Rebecca this evening but some things are worth the calories and that was an enjoyable end to a very sociable and hugely fun weekend. I will have to spend the rest of the week behaving myself to lose more weight this Friday.