City Notes, English

mermaid went to Margate

Even in London there is summer and often I forget that England is an island with fantastic places to visit. Like all southern Italians, I always thought that  you can find beautiful beaches and fantastic blue sea just in the Mediterranean regions and I cannot even get tanned in England.

Last weekend summer has arrived here too. London reached 27 degrees, whereas up to ten days before we were around freezing in our coats, so the city went mad. Shorts, flip flops, bikinis in the parks, barbecue at every corner and people already drunk at 11 am!

So Mattias and me decided to abscond London Fields’s crowd. After a quick check of our old convertible, we departed to Margate.

Aside from being out of gas after the first half hour, it seems that on the highway just outside London there are no gas stations for at least 30 km, after many vicissitudes we arrived at our destination.

Margate is a charming seaside town in Kent.

Margate.8

After a quick ride on the boardwalk we went for a beer at the Harbour Arm.

The Margate’s Harbour Arm it’s a 19th century stone pier, close to  the Turner Contemporary gallery. There area couple of place very cool around there like the BeBeached cafe and the Lighthouse Bar.  The atmosphere is relaxed and the sunset over the sea makes everything even more fascinating.

The villages of the English coast have a special atmosphere, with that flavor of old ports of pirates, privateers, buccaneers and filibusters who were returning after long trips across seas and unknown places.

Currently many of them have obviously lost these characteristics and they can be terribly depressing as well. Costcutters, girls with gold earrings, men in gray suit with red stripes can, noisy cars with black windows are just some of the typical scenes of the villages on the coast.

However, Margate is different, many Londoners have discovered this corner of the coast as an alternative to stress and expensive life in the city.

The proliferation of independent cafes, craft beers, vintage shops and small galleries are  the first signs.

The opening of the Turner Contemporary gallery  in 2011 makes Margate a reference point not only for local artists but also for London artists.

turner contemporary
Turner Contemporary

We slept in a small beachfront bed and breakfast. Wake up in the morning with the scent of the sea was a great feeling, especially after the whole winter in the city.

The Margate beach is wide, long with cliffs overlooking the sea, one of the characteristics of this piece of coast. We are very close to Dover.

cliffs

We walked along the beach to the center of town, where the Artist’s Alley taking place every Sunday in the old town  from 17 April…”come and show what you have …” This is what the organizers of Margate Bazaar wondering who participates in this Sunday market. The street between the Mayor’s Parlour and the museum is transformed into an outdoor gallery, not only vintage and antiques, many local artists who display their work here. Whether you’re a sculptor, painter, photographer, or simply want to show off some impromptu acts of creative genius, the Alley wants to hear from you.

Margate

Charlie is one of them, smiling welcomed me into the Margate’s smallest gallery. Charlie is a young artist that realizes screen printed works inspired by the designs on fruit boxes. His gallery is an explosion of bright colors that recall the  African fabrics. The materials on which he works are cardboard and other recycled materials including pieces of old drawers.

cahrlie gallery

The prints and canvases are hand painted works about Margate and the changes the town has recently seen.  – I can have a space to create and exhibit my works here – said. Unlike artists in the city often forced to work in the cafe to be able to bear the unreasonable rents in London.

If you stroll around the rest of the yard you will also find some of his bigger pieces of work which have split out of the hut and into the furniture display room and the surrounds

charlie gallery

 

 

 

I left Margate with the promise to return soon and also delight me again with the best fish and chips of my life.

 

 

 

 

 

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