Guernsey Grockles


When an art project called ‘Art in the Environment’ came up in 2019 by the Guernsey Arts Network I had the concept of the Grockles.

The idea was to explore Guernsey’s past history of tourism to the island. The original ‘Bucket and Spade’ workers holidays from the UK when going abroad to the Channel Islands was considered exotic.

A colloquialism of calling tourists ‘Grockles’ created a nice alliteration in ‘Guernsey Grockles’.

Rocquaine Reg

First up was ‘Rocquaine Reg’ so based on my own grandfather, Reg who was the epitome of rolled up trouser legs, braces and knotted hanky on head. He is also wearing a white vest, which he would wear in public on a hot day, much to my mother’s embarrassment!

As it happened, Rocquaine was one of ‘our’ family beaches, so Rocquaine Reg fitted in perfectly.

In the making…

Vazon Vera

 ‘Vazon Vera’  a (fuller) figure from the 1950’s with her floral bathing cap, bright red lipstick and nails. She totters across the sand in her heeled sandals to find a sunny spot to raise her face to the sun. She is wearing the horn-rimmed sunshades so popular at the time. To add a bit of humor she has her inflatable armbands on, just in case she dares the water for a dip.

In the making…

‘Trevor the lost Tourist’ 

‘Trevor the lost Tourist’ Now closer to my generation, this is a 1970’s dude, complete with his flares, where he has got his mum to insert a bit of floral fabric to his denims to make them ‘flare’ more.

The once familiar bright yellow ‘H’ plate on the hire car warning locals to allow more space to those unfamiliar with our tiny roads. Of course we called them ‘Horror’ plates. Well, Trevor has his yellow ‘H’ plate on his back pocket, as he seems to have lost his car. In his hand is the original ‘Perry’s guide’ to try to figure out where he is, where did he leave the car? Worryingly he is holding the steering wheel of his ‘boy racer’ car in one hand. Poor Trevor.

In the making…

Swimming Pool Sal

‘Swimming Pool Sal’ The exhibition was held at La Vallette, en route to the bathing pools. These are the pools that many a visitor as a child would have learnt to swim. Little Sally is peeping over the top of her bright orange rubber ring with a worried expression on her face. The water is so cold! 

In the making…

Cobo Charlie

‘Cobo Charlie’ A familiar sight in the 1970’s men in ‘Bermuda shorts’ with their white socks and sandals. Charlie is minding his own business sleeping under the Guernsey Evening press and star. Can’t imagine what his suntan pattern is going to look like at the end of the day! The newspaper is reporting on the ‘Vazon streaker’ (such a popular pastime in the 70’s) and also ‘Stone de Croze’ cartoon made famous by Guppy.

Rubber Ducky

‘Rubber Ducky’ This fella is wearing (nothing but) his rubber ducky, which to cause confusion is actually an inflatable swan ring! He emerges from the sea, having lost his swim trunks, and some lovely details not visible from the photo alone, he has a bright pink bottom where he got sunburnt.  While he is looking for something to cover his modesty, he spots a child’s rubber ring and dons it while making his way up the beach.

I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure how a goldfish got into his mask while swimming!

In the making…

Knitty Nora

‘Knitty Nora’  While posting the making of the grockles on social media, one recurrent memory of summers past was the wearing of knitted bathers. Dreadful things! They looked so lovely when first put on, only to become heavy and extremely saggy when wet. So little Nora is enjoying her ’99 ice-cream in the hot sun as it drips down her bathers on to her foot. Her sand covered feet and spade making her a typical little tourist child. If you spin her around you can see her sandy, saggy bottom!

In the making…

Art in the Environment Outdoor Exhibition

I was delighted to see my work on the Guernsey Art Network marketing materials. I also attended a the private viewing and official opening by His Excellency the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Ian Corder Thursday 1st August 2019. The outdoor exhibition was on display at La Valette, and showcased the work of local artists. The exhibition was also featurd in the Guernsey Press.

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