Tuesday, 24 December 2013

24th December - Hut 227

Christmas Eve is finally here and with it the letter Y for Yule.  

Yuletide comes from Celtic spirituality and is thought to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for wheel as we mark the turning of the seasons from Winter towards Spring and Summer.  In some traditions Yuletide begins on Christmas Eve and lasts through until New Year’s day. 

So our Yuletide was marked with a large Yule candle which is symbolic of the welcoming back of light into the world.  The candle is traditionally lit on Christmas Eve to mark the movement from the ordinary daily world to the magical time of Christmas when we welcome the birth of Jesus as the Light of the World.  

During the evening we heard the Christmas story and sang carols that were relevant to the different parts of narrative.  

Then we enacted the breaking of light into our dark world as we broke light glowsticks together and then took these lights into our homes as a sign of Jesus the light of the world. The Yule log is also an important part of Yuletide and represents the bringing of light into the home.  Traditionally this involved hauling a large wooden log into the fireplace which would then burn throughout Christmas day.  We now celebrate this tradition with edible Yule logs as we welcome the light of Christ into our lives to enlighten and sustain us with the love and power of the Holy Spirit.  Everyone got to take a small chocolate log with them as a Christmas gift from Beyond.

So we come to the end of another Beach Hut Advent Calendar.  You can catch up on all the huts and the stories behind them by going back through the blog and watch our website in the New Year for details of our next event.

Monday, 23 December 2013

23rd December - Hut 410

Tonight there were Wise men in hut 410 and a number of not so wise men and women outside braving fifty to sixty mile and hour winds and rain in order to see the latest in our Beach Hut Advent Calendar openings.

Karen Morton created a beautiful, windproof hut with three camels looking down on the crowns of the kings made from different floral arrangements.

Despite the warnings from local radio and TV weather presenters a few hardy folks still came down to see the hut and we all sat in the lee of one of the seafront shelters to drink our mulled wine, eat our mince pies and talk about how bracing the weather was.

Being out in the elements on a night like this reminds us of the hardship endured by the wise men as they travelled hundreds of miles to find the newborn king without the comfort of air conditioning or the security of satnav.

Our final hut on Christmas Eve will be number 227 beside The View restaurant.  We will be welcoming back the light of the world as we celebrate the beginning of the Yuletide season.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

22nd December - Hut 72

We're almost at the end of our alphabet of advent and have arrived at V.  Janina Karpinska chose to theme hut 72 around the Virgin Mary.

Janina paints icons and there were a number of examples of her work hanging on the fabric walls that she had created inside the hut.

The floor was covered with a collection of icons and images of the Mother of God, all lit with votive candles as though they were in a shrine.

There was even a unicorn because legend has it that the only person who can tame a unicorn is a virgin.

Two more huts to go until Christmas and the next one is by Hove lagoon and is hut number 410 with the letter W

Saturday, 21 December 2013

21st December - Hut 116

Tonight we were United Under the Umbrella of Christmas although if we had put an umbrella up it would have blown inside out within a couple of minutes because it was really windy on the beach.  Fortunately it wasn't cold and we only had a few spatterings of rain so we only had to concentrate on stopping things blowing away.  Given that it is the 21st of December and the dead of winter, it was to be expected that the weather might be a bit tricky.

Jim Waldock put a lot of work into the hut with a whole collection of things that are brought together at Chrismastide.   A pair of reindeer, a nativity scene, beautiful lights and chandeliers and the centrepiece was a large lighted sign which Jim had made featuring lots of little lights spelling out the message of the hut.  These included a pair of reindeer, a nativity scene, lots of umbrellas, beautiful lights and chandeliers and the centrepiece was a large lighted sign which Jim had made featuring lots of little lights spelling out the message of the hut.

Because of the weather not too many people braved the elements to come and see the hut but a big crowd of Jim's friends came to give him lots of support.

The next hut is also close to Hove Lawns and is number 72 when we hope to meet with the Virgin Mary.

Friday, 20 December 2013

20th December - Hut 264

Time waits for no-one but tonight we definitely got a sense of the waiting that is associated with Advent as a group from the Church of the Good Shepherd on Dyke road took Time For God as their theme.  Time for God is also the name of one of their more informal services held in the church hall at the same time as the parish eucharist.

Hut 264 was framed with a huge clock face through which we could see a nativity scene with sheep up on the hills and an empty manger waiting for the baby Jesus.

The sheep had been made by children at the church and some of them had some real character.

The church also brought along an enthusiastic group of singers who sang out a selection of Christmas carols despite the wind howling a gale around us.

The next hut is alongside Hove Lawns and is number 116 where we will all be United Under the Umbrella of Christmas.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

19th December - Hut 341

Carrie Rawle is the owner of hut 341 and she has a trademark style to the huts she has done over the last four years.

She is expert at creating beautiful 'tissue paper stained glass' - scenes which are composed of lots of layers of coloured tissue held together in a sheet by loads of PVA glue and then backlit for us all to see.  The eventual effect is colourful and feels very religious as the light shines through the coloured layers.

The theme for the night was S for Star which was depicted sitting above the Stable where Jesus was born.

In the Christmas story the star is very important as it guides so many people to the place of Jesus' birth.  We had a number of pilgrims come to the hut tonight, including a  family who were visiting from Toronto and a lady from Cardiff who had made the journey especially after four years meticulous planning.

The wind was quite strong tonight which made it difficult to keep the Star scene in place but it still acted as a beacon for those who were seeking it out.

Our travelling star, which helps to guide people to the correct hut sat high above the hut tonight.

The next hut is being prepared by a team of people from the church of the Good Shepherd on Dyke Road.  The name of the group is Time for God which fits nicely with the letter for the day which is T.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

18th December - Hut 403

Tonight there was a howling wind on the seafront which caused the angel of hut 403 to flap and dance in the most energetic way.

Local artist Duncan Banks chose to create a Rejoicing angel in the hut composed from his own paintings, including some silhouettes, and wings made from polythene and bubble wrap.

The wind was a very strong on the seafront and it very quickly shook the wings loose making the angel look as though it was trying to fly.  Unfortunately this also meant that there was a good deal of ongoing repair work throughout the hour that the hut was open.

The face of the angel looked down enigmatically with a kind of serene peace that was in contrast with the wings dancing around it.

Duncan creates a variety of types of art and exhibits at the Seven Dials gallery as well as taking part in the artists Open Houses.  You can view his work here.

The next hut is number 341 and is in the middle of Hove seafront and being the 19th of our huts will feature the letter S.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

17th December - Hut 402

For the last six weeks a group of sixth form students from Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School have been wrestling with the letter Q and its relationship with Christmas.

The group decided to focus on the idea of a Quest as so many groups sought out the baby in the stable on the first Christmas night.

The group produced a quiz for all the attendees with a set of five riddles to which the answers corresponded to the five letters of QUEST.

Everyone who completed the Quiz was given a silver star and invited to attach this to the large dark star at the heart of the display in the hut.

They also received an award for completing their Quest in the form of a Quality street chocolate from the treasure chest which was positioned in place of the crib.

The whole hut was wrapped in silver foil and lit with lasers to create a really sparkly look.

The weather tonight was even worse than yesterday as it rained non-stop for the whole duration of the opening, but the students persevered and kept everything going all night.

The next hut is right next door to this one at number 403.

Monday, 16 December 2013

16th December - Hut 253

One of the wettest, windiest, coldest nights so far was the one the BBC chose to come and do a report live from the beach hut for the BBC Southeast News.

Mel Freeman and Anna Prior worked on this hut and their theme for the letter P was Presents.  They enlisted the help of Year 4 at St. Andrew's school in Hove to create loads of presents in a variety of sizes, shapes and types of wrapping paper.  These covered the floor of the hut underneath two beautifully decorated Christmas trees.

St. Andrews also provided a choir who gamely sang a medley of Christmas songs, despite the cold and rain.

Mark Sanders from BBC news came down in the afternoon and interviewed us about the event which was fortunate as the weather in the afternoon was dry although very grey. 

By the time came for the live report at 6.45pm the rain was lashing down but Mark soldiered on and a few hardy souls remained to stand in the background and get their brief seconds of fame.  You can watch the report on the iPlayer here at 19 minutes.

The weather for the next hut is looking a bit better as we all head out to number 402 beside Hove Lagoon with a hut created by students at Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary School themed around the letter Q.

One of the wettest, windiest, coldest nights so far was the one the BBC chose to come and do a report live from the beach hut for the BBC Southeast News.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

15th December - Hut 79a

Tonight was a welcome return for former Beyond team members, Jon & Flo Pepper, doing a guest spot in hut 79a.  The letter was O and it stood for O Holy Night, one of the most beautiful carols.

The hut featured a curtain made from multiple images of the nativity.  Cut into these were a series of different coloured dots which seemed to form a pattern.  To those who had eyes to see these spelled out the words 'O HOLY NIGHT' repeated across the screen.

The whole thing was lit from behind with a strobe so that the words and images constantly flashed in and out.

The next hut is number 253 which belongs to Mel Freeman and will be featuring art from St. Andrews school in Hove.