I've been wanting to post these photos for ages, and since this week is the annual Whitstable Oyster Festival (it ends Saturday), it's time.
Zaira was hanging out, working in a shop right on the sea, talking with her friend with a vintage clothing stand next door. I heard them talk about her sneakers, from Primark for like £6, and whether it was ethical etc, but on the other hand: that's a great price for classic white Keds (or rather, Keds-like sneakers). We became instant friends: she's from Brazil (via cool East London, now living in Whitstable, and loving it there).
She noticed my white Havaianas (I actually found them one Saturday morning, years ago, on the street - literally! - on the strip of Fulham Road known as 'the beach' - in March! Just days after I'd bought a hot pink pair at Coco Ribbon, one of the first shops to source them when the trend hit London. It was as if someone, the night before, literally stepped out of them, whilst hailing a cab). In Brazil, they were originally made for poor people. No one expected them to become chic. Same with the classic white Keds, which are now being imitated for Primark, made by children, no doubt, for peanuts. Hence the ethical question: is it wrong to buy them, at that price? Actually, when I look at their website, they are being very clear just because it's cheap doesn't mean they're not ethical. So that's that sorted then!
Watching this conversation was her son, Max, with a wisdom and zen like calm beyond his years. Max was also the name of our beloved childhood car, a Ford Fairlane Station Wagon, 'the colour of sky'. My friend Sherri named him the Blue Max. Come to think of it, she, too, has eyes the colour of sky, just like Max.
Meanwhile my husband, the fabulous Mr. Dot, had wandered off, restless and bored. I didn't realise how pissed off he really was until we drove off. I tried to tell him that we didn't just talk shoes, they had also told me about the Whitstable Oyster Festival (he loves oysters) and how there are places we can pick our own. He pulled over and stopped at a beach and said that's how I could make it up to him. 'What, Apology Oysters?' I asked. 'Exactly', said he.
So I marched out into the glorious beach, and immediately, my Havaianas sunk into the gloppy charcoal grey silky, muddy sand and got stuck. I still managed to get him three, which he ate later, along with the six he'd bought in town.
I love the dark charcoal grey of Zaira's outfit, with a bit of sharp white: it perfectly fit Whitstable on an overcast day, and was the exact colour scheme of the mud, and the white of my Havanaianas, and the Apology Oysters. And the paler soft colours of cool blue grey and warm beige, on Max and their dog, are lovely. Especially if you happen to have eyes the colour of sky.