Saturday, July 19, 2008

Whitstable Oyster Festival

I've taken stacks of photos and then the battery on my camera ran out. Just as well or else this post would have taken ages. Maybe Blogher ran a seminar on speeding up post and photo downloads... could have done with some of that.

But this is where my Virtual Blogher conference took me. First - to the Whitstable Museum. This is mostly about fishing, WW II and fishing during WWII. But right at the back, the National Touring Company (or something like) had brought Matisse to town. And if that wasn't enough, there was a kid's play table in the corner for them to do their thing while parents take a look around.

How fantastically cool is that?

Then I went around the corner to St John's Methodist Church where they held a big exhibition of quilts. I was astonished. These filled the hall.

Peaches wanted to get out and run through the quilts like so much washing hanging on the line. Fortunately I knew that would make me incredibly unpopular so she had to stay in the buggy while I chatted to her multi-talented babysitter and hairdresser, Lindiloo at her Knitorama stall.
I stood looking at the plum jacket and booties for ages. They made me feel quite broody. Clearly my blood sugar was low so I thought it wise to go over the road to St Mary's Hall where Seaside Brocade was selling all sorts of vintage and crafts gubbins.

And cake. If you've not already noticed, Peaches and I like to make sure we take regular tea and cake breaks.It was now approaching the time that things happen in Whitstable like the 'landing of the oysters'. This is when the mayor and a bishop go to the beach where some fishermen (sea scouts usually) pretend to land some oysters. The oysters (and the sea?) are blessed and paraded through the town where the mayor 'delivers' them to pubs and restaurants along the way.

Among the festive crowd there are quite a few morris men. Happily, not quite so many as we get on May Day, but enough to satisfy most of us. I saw this lot right outside the church where I got married. A few of the congregation are members of Dead Man's Morris - perhaps the most goth looking folk dancers you'll ever get to see.
After all that clattering about, I took Peaches to an art show where we looked at her cousin's picture. She liked it so much she wanted to pick pieces off the frame. I stopped because that's the kind of killjoy I am.
Finally it was time to wait for the parade. The traffic was stopped and first in the parade were the Fish Slappers and the Whitstable Giant. They do a lot of drumming and it sounds very dramatic. As they get closer you soon realise these are the hippy cousins of the goth morris dancers. I'm sure they'll all be drinking together on the beach when the fireworks go off.

At this point my camera battery died. So I can't show you the school children dressed as fishermen, deep sea divers and fishmongers. Nor can I show you the mayor, the bishop and the accompanying St Bernards dogs pulling mini wagons behind them. You'll never get to see shire horses from Farmers World or the sand dancing rugby players.

They were all fantastic. You'd have loved it.


Working mum said...

You've been a very busy delegate! I approve of the tea and cake breaks, we like those too.

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

oh its so cool to see pics of whistabubble! thnaks for posting this..maybe l'll find a friendly mum blogger from the bay too...!!LOL mum!! doh... my mum has just registered as Moanie...I persuaded her to post some chapters of one of her books, (she has written load sof manuscripts, but has got all knocked back ove rthe years, her kids books are great the illustrations fab and all the text is in rhyme!) I digress, l do that a LOT!!

I just meant to say your day in town what very ivocative!!

saz x

gigi said...

Sass, what is a gubbin?
Your adventures today looked like so much fun. I'm with you and Peaches, I make time for cake!

swamp woman said...

What a fun town you live in. And parades are always a big kid pleaser. But the morris people were just a little scary...

scrappysue said...

what a totally fun day! love your mosaics. peaches is so cute with those cake crumbs on her eyelids!

Sass E-mum said...

Hi Gigi. Sorry to say, gubbins is NOT a technical term.

It's just my word for 'stuff'.

I need to clean up my act and make sure I use real words. Otherwise I'll need a whole new set of translations for 'love language'. That would have me explaining what mean by 'wow-wows', 'toady', 'jam' and 'lip jam'. (that's eggs, toast, mango chutney and vaseline to the uninitiated).

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

What a full day--the art is amazing.

farm suite said...

I LOVE this post. In fact I feel like I've been on a mini-break. And Peaches is so cute, it made me feel "broody."

Thanks for popping over to farmsuite.

Madame Queen said...

OMG! That looks like so much fun.

Adrian said...

Oh I wish you'd gotten a pic of the St. Bernards. That's our favorite breed of dog. We used to have one and she was just a love. Sounds like you had a lovely time.