Thursday, July 31, 2008


Wow, my 'class' was popular, my visitor count has gone up in leaps and bounds. Maybe I should do a few more?

I am just wadding through the pictures on my camera to remind me what I have been up to of late. Summer holidays, with no work to demark days, are always difficult to keep track of, even more so than when I was working full time. Then, the first week or so was spent in a daze as adrenaline washed away and I tried to catch up on all the HW jobs I had not been able to do during the term. Now I am only working two or three days a week that is not the case, as all those jobs are done so its more trying to find things to fill the days and enjoy life.

Last week was Whitstable Oyster Festival, much publisided on the telly. Mum and Dad offered to take me to Harbour Day and the Landing of the Oysters Parade. It was a total nightmare!!!!

Parking, which is never brilliant in Whitstable as you have to wiggle round lots of side roads or pay exorbitant charges for one of the four car parks, was nigh on impossible, especially as Dad reckoned he couldnt walk further than 400 yards. Eventually we found one though and walked to the Harbour. It was totally bumper to bumper packed and I dont do crowds well.

The Harbour Day consisted of lots of local 'producers' selling stuff at really really high prices. A small punnet of cherries were £2 (only £1.80 in Tescos), none of the hand made crafty stuff appealed (alot of it I wouldnt have given house room to) and the artist's paintings, many could have been done better by some of my reception children. No I wasnt impressed. I was less impressed by the rude ignorant people who thought it ok to walk straight through me, push me to one side or just generally knock me around without so much as a word.

These were the only redeeming feature, even though some people thought it was ok to get infront of my camera and stand there. I had alot of photos of some guy in a check shirt!!!!

The Oysters were traditionally landed at the Horsebride, so called because it was where the horse carts would back up to the water to be loaded with crustaicians. So when the town resurrected the festival, it was started from the Horsebridge with street musicians, entertainment and the first catch being bought in there. There would then be a bit of a ceremony and the first oysters eaten by some dignatory. Then the actual tasting sessions would radiate out from there as the oysters were transported around the town.

The whole thing has taken on a much more commercial air now. No way were the oysters bought in the first catch as already people on the harbour were stuffing their faces and buying bags full of the shell fish.

Anyway having dragged my dad away from the punch and judy show (which he loves)

we started out the Harbour gate. At which point another bump from a tourist and my camera fell off my shoulder hitting the ground very very hard. When I picked it up it still worked (once put back together) but the UV filter was completely smashed. This had not turned out a good outing.

Really fed up I turned towards the Horsebridge only to see my parents turn in the other direction. Apparently oysters no longer come in at the traditional point to start the Parade. Oh no. You cant make enough money down there because the space is too small. Now they come in on the beach by Whitstable Brewery. Years of tradition blown because of money!! So that was it, I stamped my feet, refused to walk down there, and we came home.

Want a giggle, well in the evening the festival week is opened with a firework show from off shore - well actually tradionally Whistable Regatta is finished with fireworks but the Oyster people stole the idea. I said I wouldnt go because I would go to the ones after the regatta as I always did. Well a lot of people did go, but some idjitt forgot to shut the hold keeping the fireworks safe from wave surges, the boat got caught in a large wave which washed over the side, filled the hold, sinking the boat and ruining the fireworks. It wasnt really funny as a lot of money was wasted and people were dissappointed. I only laughed because I felt it was payback when I discovered that the Oyster festival people hadnt just borrowed the firework idea, but that they had actually taken over the regatta and that as well as moving the landing of the oysters, had moved the date of the regatta (ALWAYS held the week before the carnival). With NO advertising!! So no one knew it WAS the regatta. So comeupance I thinks.

During the week I started my diet again and a keep fit regieme (started by dragging Martin out on Sunday which he turned into a long sea walk). I even got my bike out and cycled along the sea front one day. Mind by Wednesday the weather was far too hot and sticky to do that anymore and the rest of the week was spent mainly having showers to cool down and sitting about reading.

On Monday mum and Laura and I went to see Caspian. We had to do a matinee because it is now only showing in a few places around here, but we really enjoyed it. We are hoping for a girlie day out to Mama Mia when Laura comes back from her holiday.

Sunday I thought to have another go at the Oyster week events so again I dragged Martin reluctantly down into town. It didnt start well, with a bit of a row about parking, but eventually I did find a space even though it was right across town from the Harbour. And it was quite fun walking the roads we had walked as teenagers on our way to the pub ( a young courting couple lol).

We started on the West Beach near to what had used to be our local and the pub that Martin had played football for for years. There was supposed to be a display and workshop of willow seabirds. I'm not sure 6 counts as a display but they were very good.

It was just a shame there was no one there to talk to about them as promised in the program, and no sign of any workshops. There were three women messing about with willow in the shelter but they made no attempt to speak to passers by, in fact they were very secular, not even talking to each other and turning their backs to the public passing. So if that was the workshop it was very intimidating.

It did not really get better. The walk along the beach was not really pleasant as again there were way too many people being ignorant and walking into you with not so much as a word of apology. There was not really anything going on to do with the promised events, when we got to the Harbour it was still the same producers selling rather tired looking produce now, and again no specail events. We walked (well I was starting to stagger now, it was really hot and I was very thirsty) around to the Brewery on the beach for the promised beer festival. In the paper and on the web it had given the impression this was going on all day and into the evening, but a sign on the pub said it had finished an hour before we got there. No matter we still needed a drink so I found a not too crowded spot on the beach and Martin went in to get refreshments. He was soon back empty handed. Apparently you had to queue to buy tokens (a long queue) followed by an equally long queue to get the drinks. His trouble was he didnt know how many tokens he would need. He didnt want to get too many as they were £1 a token and we would be left with handfuls of them never using them again, or equally so he didnt want to queue for the beers only to find he didnt have enough and have to start the system all over again.

We left the beach, walked up the highstreet, went into a pub we had used before and knew to be good (which also was nothing to do with the festival, oysters or all that) and had a really pleasant drink.

It was a long walk back to the car. We were really not amused.

I was given a questionairre to fill in about the festival, I lost it before I did but I dont think it would have been big enough to cover all I would want to say! We didnt bother with the carnival this week.

We have booked 3 nights in Bournemouth as of tomorrow. May be their festival events will be better.

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