I love Hastings for its friendliness. It's rare to get on a bus, wait for a bus, stand next to anyone, or just be about without having a little chat to pass the time of day. It makes me feel very safe, at home, and just part of the community.
One of our Italian students, who admittedly did swallow the talking stick herself managed to make friends with a random man who gave her some books in the town centre. Did not quite understand this story, but as she was very nice girl am sure it was all legitimate, and they were classics so must have been a decent sort. She also managed to befriend our older neighbour at a bus stop, and was very impressed with the stamina of older Hastings residents.
This ability to talk to strangers has also meant many comments on how well behaved the children are, or are not. Which is not so welcome, particularly when one is on the verge of tears in a busy supermarket and wants to shout; ' Have the bloody gelatine, ground up cow bone sweets and get mad cow disease or worse, what to I care!' Rather than; 'No, its the Milky Bar goodness or nothing'. Course a Better Parent would have offered two choices of healthy cereal bars or grapes (though apparently they are now a choking risk, can't keep up with danger).
It does also mean that when a friend got her hair cut in a gorgeous Audrey Hepburn esque style, making her look both gamine and sophisticated (yes, you S), her nosy neighbour had the cheek to ask her why she cut her hair in a tone of horror.
Apparently people can say anything they like these days in this area, and all without fear of having a knife pulled on them. On balance I'll take good old fashioned chat over Tottenham style peace though. You?