On Tuesday, October 8th, we took advantage of yet another beautiful fall day to drive over to the ocean side town of Hastings. If this name triggers a memory in your head it may be from one of two sources:
Possibility one is that you are a student of history past and recognize the name as that of a rather important battle in English history. Does 1066 ring a bell for you? If so, you know that in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings, the forces of William of Normandy, latterly known as William the Conqueror, met the forces of King Harold, latterly known as Harold the well and truly defeated and dead, and soundly whipped the home team thereby changing English history forever.
Possibility two is that you are a fan of Masterpiece Theater’s “Foyle’s War” series and recognize the name as that of the town in which the very clever and somewhat attractive Christopher Foyle solved any number of murders. Of course, since “Foyle’s War” was set during World War II, the theme of battles joins the two possibilities, which I think is a very nice bit of symmetry.
Hastings also happens to be an active fishing location and after walking around the lower town and enjoying the views, we took ourselves off to a delightful restaurant where we dined on all manner of fish, finned and in the shell. For a locavore, this meal was a little slice of heaven (well, considering the portions consumed, a BIG slice of heaven) since the main courses had only to cross the street to get to our table . . . a journey that even a cockle can make judging from what I saw on Heather’s mixed shellfish platter.
After lunch, we went to Battle Abbey, which was built shortly after the aforementioned event number one and which is located on the site of the Battle of Hastings. We even saw the spot where King Harold is supposed to have fallen . . . from an arrow in his eye.
So, you may well ask, what in the heck does “media” have to do with the post?
Well, much of what we know about the Battle of Hastings has been derived from the Bayeux Tapestry, a monumentally long embroidery created a relatively short time after the battle. It depicts in surprising detail the events leading up to the battle (the death, in England, of Edward the Confessor, the transmission of this news across the water to Normandy, the transportation of William and his army across the English Channel) as well as the battle itself . . . it even shows Harold taking it in the eye.
And, of course, we know from our vast experience with media of all types that if it appears in the media, even that which is recorded in stitchery, it must be true. Thus it follows that we know pretty much everything there is to know about the criminal class in Hastings during WWII through television and “Foyle’s War.” Pretty slick, isn’t it.