Jaqui's Daily Blog

Art in a Beach Hut

"Idiot!" shouts the Lycra-clad cyclist tearing maniacally along the sea-front path.

Yes, dear reader, he is yelling at me because I have committed the heinous crime of straying onto the cycle lane. In my defence I am right at the start of the path where the lane divides into cyclists on one side of a white line painted on the promenade and pedestrians on the other so I haven't caught sight, as yet, of the warning signs. Plus my eyes were drawn to the sun sparkling on the sea, cocking a snook at October and so warming the cockles of my little heart. I doubt Mr Lycra noticed the beauty of the sea, so intent was he on cycling pell-mell along the prom, prom, prom and shouting "Idiot!" at anyone in his path.

Duly chastened, I continue my walk, making sure to stay between the lines. It rather spoils the spontaneity of an afternoon amble but I am, as you know, a Law-Abiding type. Idiot, maybe. Law-abiding, always. Except when I stray into the path of angry cyclists.

I am on my way to see my friend Tan's first art exhibition, in what is becoming known as Worthing's Art Quarter, based around a picturesque seafront cafe and and a row of beach huts converted into artists' studios. It is all splendidly Worthing, an antidote to Brighton's more pretentious bid to be seen as the South's City of Culture. Give me art in a beach hut any day.

Tan is pleased to see me. I think maybe he didn't believe me when I said I would pay him a visit this afternoon. Mr B decided that a bus ride and a walk, albeit by the seaside, was more than he could manage this afternoon (sporting events on TV may, of course, have been a Contributory Factor) so I was on my own. Probably a good thing, given the Curious Incident of the Bike on the Cycle Path which would have enraged Mr B no end. I would not have put it past him to lodge his walking stick in between the spokes of Lycra Man's rear wheel. It could all have turned out Very, Very Messy.

Tan is a Man of Many Talents. He has, at various times, fashioned built-in cupboards in our guest bedroom, fitted our new dish-washer, mended our garage door, and created a smart "little loo" downstairs. His wife, the lovely Sue, has decorated most of our house, run up curtains and blinds for most of our windows and taught me how to make bunting and oven gloves using my new electric sewing machine. She also visits regularly to cut my hair and Mr B's. No, she doesn't use pinking shears on us. Some friends are useful, some friends are decorative - Sue and Tan are decoratively useful. As well as really good friends.

The studio where Tan is exhibiting is right at the end of the row of arty beach huts and his art work has been hung over one long white wall. There's a tiger, tiger, burning bright, koi fish in a watery whirl and one of the family cats, Jess the Diva Kitten, looking for all the world as if she is all dressed up for an evening on the town. I buy a card of Jess the Diva Kitten because I have a catty friend who will love it. When I say "catty", I mean cat-loving, you realise. I am never rude about my friends, even when I know they don't read the Daily Blog.

Elsewhere in the studio are displayed strings of Worthing sea gulls (no, I don't know how one could be sure they were actually Born and Bred in Worthing but who am I to argue?), decorated mugs, plaques depicting chimneys (presumably also found on Worthing rooftops) and a rather amazing laser archway which unfortunately is not working at the time of my visit. Apparently when it is working it makes various sound effects as you pass through it and you can hire it out for weddings and parties and other occasions where you want people to walk through an archway and be lasered. It is a Thing of Beauty, even when it isn't working.


I would love to be artistic. It would be splendid, indeed, to see a parrot or a koi carp or a tiger and immediately whip out a paint-brush to capture it on canvas. But, I tell myself, we can't all be artists or there would be a world shortage of water colours, oils and charcoal.

We also serve who simply stand in a beach hut and humbly admire the Talents of Others.

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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