I left C&C and drove all the way down the long sweeping hill to the seafront - with things flying everywhere in the back - and made it onto the pedestrianised road by Debenhams. It felt a bit illicit but I'm sort of used to going against the grain, traffic-wise in the van.
Rob Woods at the licensing dept. in Hastings had been very buoyant about our arrival. Some people were a bit aghast that I hadn't been allowed to trade on the seafront or in the Old Town but you get a much better feel for a place by being in the main civic centre. Apparently the town is on the up since being named a few years ago as the '27th most deprived' place in the country.
Like most towns in the South, Hastings seems like a mix of 'types'. I served milkshakes and ice cream to yummy, London-fleeing mummies ("it's soooo much better down here by the sea"); teen-age mums with painful looking hairstyles ("ohmygod, ohmygod Shaneice - try that. It's aMAZing"); not very busy estate agents; lottery winning gran'mas and LOTS of Willie fans.
Dios mio, the power of TV! It's so rivetting how mobilised people's minds are over the Wonky series.. The main subjects of interest are: whether Willie is really that mad; the poor wife; the hot wife; are they really poor/how can they be when they live in such a big house; how brilliant that someone is following his passion despite everything else and of course, chocolate. I was sold out of truffles in no time and relieved to discover that a new shipment of Venezuelan Black had arrived at my next destination. Not much cop for all those disappointed Willie fans in Hastings though but good news for Hampshire, Berks, Bucks......
My favourite people of the day were the family who drove down especially to see me and Jimmy. They'd contacted me a while before as they're about to start their own mobile food biz - an organic waffle van. They've bought an old orange Ford and are getting it all together and had a million questions about this world of mobile trading. My heart leapt for them - it's such an exciting time but so scary too. They even invited me for supper that night. So did another lady. But my most tempting offer of all was from this trampy looking guy from Brighouse in Yorkshire - "Aye - ya can com op to mine f'ra bacon buttie an a cuppa tea, but that's aboot all". I shed a little inward tear as I declined and instead got on the road to Hayward's Heath.