Archives for posts with tag: kent
A hot air balloon near Bournemouth beach

A hot air balloon near Bournemouth beach

The past 12 months have been fairly busy for me; I switched flats, got engaged, passed my driving test and started a new job. As well as these milestones, the highlights of the year for me were watching the Winter Olympics in February, visiting Norway in May, and continuing to be inspired by so many things, from window worshipping in Kent, to viewing incredible war art for the centenary, getting creative with my face, and nomadic felines on film.

I’m not sure what 2015 will bring, and I haven’t made any plans so far, but I hope to up my blog posts and go on a few more adventures.

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog. I appreciate the comments and follows so much. Have a great 2015 x

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Grey light shone down on my Bay, fine mist lingering over the ocean, marrying sky and sea.

Golden sand edged with pastel-hued beach huts that decorate chalky white cliffs.

Buildings on two tiers protect the cove, their windows watching.

Tiny figures dot the sand as they walk and talk, and be.

In 1835, a man named James Newlove and his young son, Joshua, stumbled upon a secret cave whilst digging a pond in Margate, Kent. Well, so the story goes.

This cave was covered in a giant mosaic, made up of 4.6 million seashells. No one knows how long the shells have been there, who put them there or why.

There are many theories surrounding the origin of the adorned cave, now known at the Shell Grotto, including its possible use as a meeting place for a secret sect, a religious shrine and a rich man’s folly. The truth is no one knows. Nearly everything about the cave is shrouded in mystery; even the story of its discovery is dubious.

What they do know is that 99% of the shells are of British origin, although there are also Caribbean shells in the Altar (the rectangular chamber at the back of the cave).

The Grotto is Grade I listed and protected by English Heritage, yet sadly it has been on the at risk register since the 1990s due to dampness. The shells are very dirty due to the gas lamps that were used to light the cave in the past, meaning they almost look like part of the walls. Cleaning the shells isn’t viable as it would potentially cause damage.

Being in the Grotto was quite surreal. I felt like I was in some kind of tomb and began to wonder just what else was under the ground. There’s not a lot to explore (70ft of underground passages) but you’ll be mesmerised by the sheer volume of shells, and probably spend some time, as I did, picking out symbols and patterns such as flowers and stars.


The above images show displays of shell art available to view before you descend into the cave, including a sailor’s valentine from the late 19th century (far right), brought home from Barbados by a sailor for a loved one.

Entry to the Shell Grotto is £3.50 for an adult. Open daily from 10am to 5pm
http://shellgrotto.co.uk/

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done in a very long time: I went to church. I was there for worship but my deity was Marc Chagall, and I had come to admire his stained glass windows in All Saints’ Church in the quaint English village of Tudeley in Kent.

All Saints’ was blessed with 12 windows, meaning every angle of the small church has been decorated by the Russian artist. It is the only church in the world to have all of its stained glass created by Chagall. He designed the windows over a period of ten years in France, and the last window was fitted in 1985 (the first was fitted in 1967).

Ten of the windows are blue-toned, typical of Chagall’s glass. The remaining two are golden. The windows are of varying sizes, the piece de resistance being the huge religious depiction above the altar, with Christ displayed at the top.

I was lucky enough to visit on a very sunny day, allowing the windows to be seen at their full potential. They were resplendent, and the reflections of the vivid colours danced on the walls. If I lived closer I might have to join the congregation.