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Puntos de vista - a personal Spain blog

Musings about Spain and Spanish life by Paul Whitelock, hispanophile of 40 years and now resident of Ronda in Andalucía .

Dining Out in Paris and London
Saturday, August 5, 2023 @ 8:59 PM

I read George Orwell’s ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ when I was a student. A great book. I’m sure he won’t mind me borrowing and changing slightly his title for the purposes of this article.

Actually, this piece should be entitled ‘Dining Out in Hastings and London’, as that’s what it is about.

I went to England recently and dined out several times, first in Stratford, then on the East Sussex coast, Hastings, Eastbourne and St Leonard’s on Sea.



Stratford is in East London and was the main site of the Olympic Games in 2012.

As in most cities that have hosted the Olympic Games, or the FIFA World Cup, or the Commonwealth Games, or the World Athletics Championships, there have been massive boosts to the local infrastructure.

The Olympic Village, where the athletes stay, subsequently make an important contribution to housing. In the case of Stratford, the Olympic Stadium was converted into a Football Stadium, now the home of West Ham United. The Olympic Swimming Pools are now the local swimming facility.

Indeed, that’s where Amy, Felix, Jude and I headed on Sunday afternoon after the Circus earlier that day in Leytonstone.

But, hey, I thought this article was supposed to be about dining out!


My first meal out was on the plane on Friday. Meal out? I hear you say. Well, it was delicious – not like the dreadful airline food of yesteryear.

Next up was dinner at home after we had played with my grandsons, Felix, 6, and Jude, 3, read stories and put them to bed. Amy prepared a delicious curry which we gobbled up hungrily, accompanied by a beer or two. Then an early night.

On Saturday we walked to a local restaurant run by a group of young Ukrainian refugees. We were joined by the kids’ gran, my first wife, Jeryl. The food there was great. We all had different things and they were delicious. An excellent lunch, made even better when Jeryl paid!

On Sunday, we “dined” in the café at Jubilee Park, Leytonstone, in between the circus and swimming. Nothing special, just expensive!







On Monday morning I caught the train to Hastings and walked to my son’s house. Tom and wife Su used to live in Leytonstone, East London, in a tiny flat, a cupboard really, but they wanted to move out of the ”Smoke”, as London is known, to a healthier environment on the coast. They chose Hastings, East Sussex, where Su is from. Her parents, Claire and Nick, still live there, so they would have plenty of support.

After the Covid pandemic, which devastated the theatre and live performances in the UK, Tom and Su, both professional actors and singers, found themselves down on their luck performing-wise. No matter, they were happy, and Su soon became pregnant, and gave birth to Wilbur, now three years of age.

They lived at first in Su’s dad’s rental flat in St Leonard’s on Sea while they looked for a house of their own. They found one, a Victorian pile to do up in a nice part of Hastings. They sold their tiny "cupboard" in Leytonstone and bought the huge 3-storey villa. And, because of the huge price differentials between London and Hastings were able to pocket/bank a significant amount!

So, after meeting my new grandson, Buckley, just six weeks old, that afternoon we headed into Hastings for a late lunch, to the famous George Street, and went to the The Albion pub for pies and mash.

"Pies and mash?" I thought. But I tell you what, the food was outstanding, and the choice of cask ales, to die for.

On Tuesday we went to Eastbourne, where we had a distinctly unmemorable lunch at McDonald’s before strolling to the beach, taking a ride on the Big Wheel and playing with Wilbur on the beach.

On Wednesday, my last day, we dropped Wilbur off at his gran’s, Su’s mum Claire Hamill, a famous singer-songwriter in her day, and went for lunch to a recently refurbished pub, The Royal, opposite the station, St. Leonard’s Warrior Square, from which I would catch my train for Gatwick Airport to get my flight home.

A-ma-zing! We all had two courses and I had a pudding. It was outstanding, albeit expensive! My treat, this time. 

So, replete, we crossed the road to the platform, said our farewells, and I hopped on the train.

At Gatwick I had time to kill, so I checked out the Wetherspoon’s pub there. 3.85 pounds a pint, by far the cheapest all week!

On the plane, a Vueling flight back to Malaga, I debuted on their meal offering of tapas (Vueling is a Spanish low-cost airline). Delicious, and not unduly expensive.

So Dining Out in Hastings and London was a pleasant, if expensive experience. I can’t wait to repeat!


© Pablo de Ronda


Notes and links:

Susannah Austin:

Forgive and Forget (Let It Go) - Susannah Austin - YouTube

Susannah Austin Don't Turn Out That Light - YouTube






Claire Hamill:

Claire Hamill

claire hamill - Búsqueda (

Claire Hamill Live .June 2020 - Bing video



Tom Whitelock:

(8) Facebook

Leytonstone actor Tom Whitelock is starring in Park Theatre's A Clockwork Orange | East London and West Essex Guardian Series (

Should they go? Sunny Afternoon posts West End closing notices, 29 Oct | Blog | Stage Faves


© Paul Whitelock


Tags: Amy Whitelock, Buckley, Claire Hamill, Eastbourne, Felix, Gatwick, George Street, Hastings, Jeryl, Jude, Kinks, Leytonstone, McDonald's, Olympic Games in 2012, Olympic Park, Olympic Pool, pie and mash, Ryanair, St. Leonard's on Sea, Stansted, Stratford, Sunny Afternoon, Susannah Austin, The Albion, The Royal, Tom Whitelock, Ukrainian refugees, Vueling, Wetherspoon's, Wilbur, Wimpy


Like 0


Stinkey said:
Saturday, August 12, 2023 @ 8:01 AM

Such a nice story, with no drama and to the point, and talent abounds in the family, and you got to see them and spent quality time 😀

PablodeRonda said:
Sunday, August 13, 2023 @ 7:52 AM

Thank you for your kind comments, Stinkey.

TullowBarbara said:
Wednesday, August 30, 2023 @ 5:29 PM

Remember the Irish girls who worked in Dorfe? Pearl Pauline and me Barbara? We were disappointed you never mentioned us in your Blog! Pearl has an apartment in Gros for the past ten years and we were all there in April for a 50 years reunion and spent time with Rosi, son Tony and two grandsons My email is
We need a catch up! After 50 years!

PablodeRonda said:
Wednesday, August 30, 2023 @ 6:13 PM

Hey, Barbara. Great to hear from you. I'll send you a pm to your email address. Or we could speak on the phone via WhatsApp.

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