Sunday, 2 November 2014

Little Miss Atomic's Whitstable Secrets!

Well, I am happy to say I am back on blogging form, I hope I still have some readers! 

For this post, I thought I would do a piece about my favourite town, my family's hometown of Whitstable...



I live a mere 10 minutes away from Whitstable. I am lucky to have such a cool place to visit not far from home. And, for bonus cool points - it was also the hometown of Mr. Peter Cushing!  Christopher Lee used to come and visit Peter here, and once my dad was working with a friend doing building work at the front of his house.  Before he knew it, Peter Cushing AND Christopher Lee came out to offer them a 'proper' drink in a teacup.
My family name (on my dad's mothers' side) is one of the most well-known to Whitstable, and my great, great grandfather was the famous diver, Thomas 'Weasel' Rigden!  I am very proud of this heritage, I am always trying to find out more about him.  My dad has his diving watch.  There is a big model of him and some information in the Whitstable museum (and one of his diver's helmets if I'm not mistaken)  My dads parents also owned a shop in the old High street.  To be honest, I can't walk around Whitstable for more than a few minutes before someone recognises my dad and comes running over to chat (he created quite the legacy himself when he grew up there, but that's another story!).

Whitstable is indeed becoming more trendy by the minute it seems, and although it is nice to have it garner such attention, I feel parts of it's more quirky, genuine old history are slowly being erased in favour of 'new vintage' establishments, which I personally don't care for.  It is definitely a hotspot for Londoners now, as they can afford to get holiday homes there or buy out a lot of the original 'characters' that have lived there for years.  Also, there is another side to Whitstable - some original, strange little secrets.  One of which I shall divulge here in this post!

I named this post 'Whitstable Snippets' as there is so much of Whitstable to photograph and enjoy.  I want to take a lot more pictures of the harbour and the 'other end' of the town.  Sadly, as it is sooooooo busy all of the time, there are cars double parked everywhere and people are everywhere also.  This makes is difficult to take perfect pictures, so please pardon the traffic/people/odd angles in my pictures! 

So, let's begin. A lot of the streets/roads have really blunt, to the point names. 

I think it would be nice to start inside 'Beach Alley?'



Which then leads us out into a busy back-street, home to a pub with one of the best names ever. (May I mention again, blunt and to-the-point? Hee hee)


Then, let's take a stroll down 'Cushing's Walk' - very aptly named of course...


We then end up in a charming little 'square' of sorts, with this fabulous building facing us..


Believe it or not, this lovely old place used to be used as a cinema.  Sadly, it is now just another restaurant.  At least they have kept the outside as true to it's original state as possible.

Let's keep walking, we'll soon be at the harbour...


As I mentioned previously, I of course will at some point take many more pictures of the harbour, as it is very special.  It has a certain atmosphere about it - I prefer it when it's getting late and a lot of the tourist trade have drifted off home.  It seems that every time I go there, there is another pop-up stall/shop.

The harbour is home to this beast of a restaurant/fish establishment...


It has some rather dapper fishy characters decorating the front of the building...(Oh, I've just realised they seem to still have Christmas lights up there as well?!)


I won't ever venture in the fish market, because I love fish/lobsters/crabs and just feel so sorry for them!  But, if you are so inclined - then this would be the place to buy your dinner!

This chap couldn't resist the photo opportunity :)


I thought I would leave the harbour and cross the road. There is a little circular secluded area where you can rest a while on a most fabulous fishy carved bench...  Again, excuse the cars etc. in the picture - Whitstable is so cramped together, little areas like this are in between houses and shops.


Even when you look down, the tiles on the floor have a story to tell...


We will head back up Harbour Street now (Harbour street is teeny tiny, you can drive through it but you have to watch for crowds of people in the roads - the pavements are so small!) This great Castle-esque building is at the beginning...



And on both sides of the street, are the tiniest and most interesting of Whitstable shops.  This old-fashioned (and rather eccentric) Ice-cream shop has lines queuing all the way down the street in the summer!


Cheese shop...  If you like to eat, there is a lot to choose from in Whitstable!


This Tapas bar used to be just a normal sort of café.  I used to work opposite it, and I got a terrible burn on my ring finger one weekend when I tried to take too may cups of tea across the road - one of the cups was pushing on my finger, and because it was just boiling water with no milk and the cups were plain glass, the burn was terrible. *wince*


I wanted to get the best picture I could of this place, as it was Peter Cushing's favourite spot to sit and relax with a cup of tea.  Sadly, the cars out the front ruin the photo really.


Big Ol' Pub/Inn, The Duke Of Cumberland is on the corner. It has been an inn for over 300 years!


I couldn't write about Whitstable without featuring an oyster bar, could I? Or should I say The oyster bar of reckoning.  This place is always packed out.  I love the style and décor of the place, but I have never had an oyster - I'm sorry to say I never will! ha ha.



Thankyou for taking that little tour with me.  And now, let's finally get to the little secret place I promised you at the beginning...

SQUEEZE GUT ALLEY!



So, why does it have this fabulous name, I hear you ask?  Well, it's pretty explanatory. You start out where I am standing above..
..And you walk through a pretty standard and large alleyway, until...hang on...Look - it's getting smaller?!


And then it's like the walls close in on you!...


At the very end, it is so narrow it is most comfortable to stand sideways!  Like the name suggests, you have to squeeze your gut to get through!



This is one of my favourite parts of Whitstable - I have tried on two occasions to photograph it and those last two times there were builders working on the house right at the end.  I have noticed that the sign that was at that end has been stolen/removed (I'm betting on stolen) so I am thinking of writing or ringing up the council to see if they can get one back.  I'm really sad it's not there anymore, as the sign is what used to make people notice it (as it's so small at that end one really can blink and miss it)

You see... it just looks like a shadow at first!...



Oh yes, I also had to include a picture of the lovely 'Squeezegut Cottage' opposite the alley...




I often wish I were a tour guide for Whitstable (or, a guide for the alternative whitstable of sorts) I would really love that!

To finish, this is a gorgeous mosaic piece that is near to the car park I always try to get a spot in...


I am glad this post could also double up as a nice outfit post as well, as I had on one of my favourite 1950s skirts and 1950s blouses.  I was wearing a favourite 50s red polka dot petticoat as well (I don't wear the big, 'poofy' ones that are being reproduced these days - I prefer to find original ones that have a flat band at the top that then tapers into layers)
My bag is a well-loved 50s red one that I still use all the time.  My brooch and bracelet are by Trifari, my earrings are screw-back with gorgeous green moonglow Lucite beads.  I also love the colour of my silk neckscarf - it matched the skirt quite well!



I hope you've enjoyed this post, I also hope I didn't ramble too much at the beginning and you found something fun to see here.  If you are coming to Whitstable - we'll take tea in the Tudor tea rooms!

*I just found another picture of me  in Squeeze gut alley, taken earlier this year - I am sad that summer is over and that dress can't come out again in a long time!

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