Thursday, 23 July 2009

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside....

...especially when it's the school holidays!

I haven't really been looking forward to the summer holidays. Last year, my two argued non-stop for the first 5 weeks of the holidays and then finally stopped arguing in the last week!

Ok, we might only be one week in and there are still 6 more weeks to go, but we have had a lovely time and fingers crossed they have been getting on brilliantly. It has helped that it has
been the Whitstable Oyster Festival so there have been lots of free events around town, plus it has been lovely and hot and sunny. The picture below is a rather bizarre shot of D in a black wig with my mum taking part in an oyster festival project called Puppets & Dolls.

Today has been all about the grotters. This is our grotter building gang! (the hands under the chin is D's latest photo pose - who knows where she has got that idea from! My friend Vicki decided to join her in the pose!)

These are pretty unique to Whitstable and are basically a decoration of oyster shells. You start with a circle of shells and build up with more shells, a bit like building a wall until you have a beautiful tower. At twilight, candles are placed inside and they are lit up. They were originally built by children as a lighted shrine to celebrate St James' Day.

Now the trick is to turn up early and gather oyster shells quickly! We got there about 45 minutes after it had started and all the shells were gone! We only managed to get a few shells so our grotter was all about width (we had to improvise and use sand and pebbles!) rather than height! It didn't get any higher than this!

I made L go back at twilight and take these pictures when they were all lit (sadly ours was so low it didn't even get a candle!)

These ones were beautiful. They were right next to us and the makers had brought a huge bucket of their own shells and had obviously been hunting out the lovely white ones for weeks beforehand!

Don't they all look fantastic lit up.......
By the way I apologise for the layout being all over the place - ahhhh, I have been playing with it for ages now and it keeps going all wrong so blogger you win, I will leave it like this!


meplusmolly said...

Oh my Helen they look lovely! I heard about the grotters yesterday and thought it sounded a great idea and would look stunning with the candles in the evening, and it does!
Glad your school hols have started so well ;0 X

Fabric Nation said...

The grottes look wonderful, I must remember to take a trip there next year.