Saturday, 24 December 2016

24th December - Hut 395

It is said that medieval philosophers spent a lot of time discussing how many angels could dance on the head of a pin and that this is an example of how philosophy can embroil you in pointless conversation.

Whether you think this sort of debate took place or not, it certainly is true that the Bible tells us that a host of angels appeared on the night that Jesus was born to announce his birth and to rejoice in the message of good news which would bring great joy to all peoples.

Hut 395 aimed to give people a hint of a heavenly host with a clever arrangement of mirrors and a lighted angel.  

The reflection of the angel in the mirrors bounced back and forth giving us a repeated image which stretched off into the distance.  

If viewers could align themselves correctly then this line of angels could in theory have gone on for ever.

A huge crowd turned up including the mayor of Brighton and Hove, Peter West, the Bishop of Lewes, Richard Jackson and local resident Zoe Ball and we had a great time singing angel themed carols and hearing the Christmas story as recounted in the gospel of Luke.  

We then distributed glowsticks around the throng and in recognition that the angels brought the glory of the Lord to shine around them, we broke these sticks as a sign of the light of Christ coming into the world.

This was a fantastic end to a memorable ninth year of the Beach Hut Advent Calendar and we look forward to our our tenth anniversary next year.

Friday, 23 December 2016

23rd December - Hut 329

We have had a remarkably peaceful Advent when it comes to the weather and have hardly had to mention it in the blog each day.  The exception was today. 

It seems extraordinary that we've been able to get to the 23rd December without a bad weather evening but Storm Barbara put in an appearance tonight.

She brought strong winds with her and combined with a high tide this meant we had a constant spray of water which wasn't quite rain but made for an uncomfortable evening.

But this didn't stop the Zahorchak family from throwing themselves into the spirit of the season.  The children had dressed up as angels and looked adorable sat in their hut although they had to abandon that in favour of more weather friendly gear.

This is known as Nate's hut after Nathan Zahorchak who died unexpectedly in 2014.  The hut is a way for Katie and her children to remember Nate in a positive way and a place of happiness and relaxation for them.

Playing cards in memory of Nate, who was a magician, were hanging as decorations in the hut along with photos of the family that he loved.

There was also a Merry Christmas display and some sets of angel wings fluttering in the wind.

The children weren't the only ones to take up position in the hut as soloist Laura Brookes and her accompaniest came along and sang a number of Christmas carols for the assembled crowd.

Storm Barbara is supposed to blow through overnight and hopefully the weather forecast for Christmas Eve at hut 395 is calm and peaceful.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

22nd December - Hut 82

This evening we got a child's view of an angel thanks to the work of the children at the Downs Infants School Art Club.

The centrepiece was another large angel but very different to the collaged one we had last night.  

This angel looked like a little girl, flying along with a beaming smile on her face and her hair drooping down over one eye.  She looked like she was having a lot of fun as she was swayed by the wind under a star and a collection of other, smaller angels, all made by the children.

The children had also been asked what they thought about angels and it was really interesting to see their different comments about this.

Some understood that sometimes we describe others as angels, especially when they've done something good or kind for another person.  

Others had a more objective understanding of the type of being an angel is and how they might behave.

It might not be a bad thing for us to encourage our youngsters to model themselves on angels, whatever they understand that to mean.

We also had garlands of angels across the lintel of the hut and a little band of angels brought instruments with them and played so that we could sing some carols together.

It was a very pleasant, charming evening with a lot of good humour and communal enjoyment.

Only two more huts to go and our pilgrimage will move towards Hove Lagoon for Christmas Eve, but first we stop at hut number 329 tomorrow for our penultimate opening.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

21st December - Hut 189

Hut 189 tonight was a hut to remember - in two senses of the word.    

It was memorable for the stunning artwork which filled the hut and the artwork was about remembering those who have gone to be with the angels this year.

The hut was dominated by enormous collage in the shape of an angel which was made up of hundreds of images of well known personalities who have all died in the last year.  

Some sported angel wings of their own and others had wings suggested around them by the arrangement of the collage.

The personalities included Alan Rickman, Prince, Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen, Caroline Ahern, Mohammed Ali and Shimon Perez.  Terry Wogan nestled amongst the tail feathers of the angel which was topped with a collaged head of David Bowie.

All of this was created by artist Sarah Watson with exquisite attention to detail and an expert eye on the organisation of colour.

The floor of the hut was decorated with a colourful carpet of feathers as though the collage was moulting.

Eddie and Michelle were the hut hosts who had put together a soundtrack for the evening featuring music from artists included in the collage and also provided some fabulous homemade cheese straws.

People stayed and gazed at this installation for ages as their eyes picked out different personalities to remember that these are no longer with us and to be reminded of others who we have loved who are with us no more.
This was very thought provoking and powerful and the angel will now be displayed in St. Luke's Prestonville to act as a station of remembrance and prayer for all those bereaved.

Next hut is back to Hove Lawns and is number 82. 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

20th December - Hut 11

Hut 11 was quite hard to photograph tonight as it was all about darkness and light.  Lucy Lauener was the artist and she had created a video installation which was projected onto the back wall of the hut.

It consisted of film of a sparkler which gradually built to a crescendo with more sparks added as the video progressed.  

The most difficult thing to portray in a blog is the soundtrack which was also a rising crescendo of sparkler noise which grew as the number of sparks grew and then cut to a choir for the finale of the video which was the appearance of a small single flame.

Floating above all this were tiny little floating lights dressed in small bundles of white, like flames afloat in the darkness.  These were also angels, suspended in the heavens as the light sparked all around them.

These tiny angels lined the folded back doors upon which were written angel quotes from the gospel of Luke.

These told us not to be afraid for a Saviour will be born bringing good news of great joy.

This hut was the closest we will get to the centre of Brighton and for the next hut we travel west to number 189.

Monday, 19 December 2016

19th December - Hut 194

We had a real live angel in hut 194 tonight who not only looked fantastic but sang beautifully to the delight of the people who came to see the latest instalment of this advent event.

Children from Windlesham school had contributed angels which they had made using their own hand prints.  These decorated all around the inside of the hut and were lit with little fairy lights.

There were also some more three dimensional angels hanging from the roof of the hut.

We had another good crowd including a family who told us that their daughter traveled down from Yorkshire to visit the hut on Saturday.

We also had an email from someone who is following us online from Germany every day so the Beach Hut Advent Calendar is becoming international.

The next hut is the furthest East we go and is number 11.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

18th December - Hut 296

We had a life size angel in hut 296, dazzlingly white and beautifully lit.

White seems to be the signature colour for angels as we've seen quite a lot of it in the past 18 days at the Beach Hut Advent Calendar.

As heavenly beings perhaps we expect angels to be perfect and white is a representation of that.

The Bible depicts angels as messengers and soldiers and often as ordinary human beings, so ordinary that they are not even recognised as angels.

Not many of us go around dressed in white as it's not particularly practical, but we do like to think of ourselves as more perfect than we actually are.  Perhaps the job of angels is to remind us of that and to help us to aspire to being better.

The life-size angel was surrounded with a collection of lighted stars and a few glass angels keeping an eye on things.

For the next hut we head towards the East and will be at number 194.