Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Offers Flooding In!

'Ow's about that then, guys and gals! Ooh, pardon me, I came over all Jimmy Savile there for a moment!

Anyway, news is that since my last post I've been inundated with offers. Well, two actually. The first is from a company called Airpic. They shove a bloody great pole up and take an aerial shot of your house for you. No messy flying involved!

Thing is, they feel a certain doctor has a bit of a monopoly here in Thanet at the moment, so they're keen to break into the market.

The second offer is from a company which is about to launch the George Formby Grill. They're dubbing it The Lean, Mean, Ukelele Playing Grilling Machine. Apparently you bung your bangers in, and it'll give you a chorus of When I'm Cleaning Windows while it's doing them to a turn. Should sell millions!


Well that's that then. Cyril, my accountant, says I'm broke. Apparently splashing out 44 Gs on Del Boy's Robin Reliant yesterday was the final straw.

Still, it was kind of Cyril to call me from the airport on the first day of his trip to the Dutch Antilles. I know I've always said you can't get rid of me that easily, but as the old adage goes, there's no escaping taxes and death, and when I last looked the old tootsies were still wiggling so I must have succumbed to the former.

The only assets left are the TT, the Smart car, the Robin Reliant, the old cliff top mansion, and this blog. So from today I've got a new catchphrase:


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Councillor Biggles?

Heavens above! I see that our local flying doctor is standing for the council in the May elections, on behalf of the Blue Rinsers.

Although not one of Mr Cameron's drooling pot smokers myself, I can only wish the chap happy landings. After all, it will make a pleasant change to see someone get a firm grip on the joystick of power. At the moment all we have is a bunch of Dad's Army types aimlessly marching up and down with broom handles (car-crushing Cllr Green excepted).

I'd stand for election myself, but unfortunately, due to the anonymous nature of my persona, nobody would know who I was!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Tune In For Pugin

I see our Monte Carlo style megalopolis is to be featured yet again on Channel 4 this week.

My old TV chums Tony Robinson and that nice Kevin McCloud from Grand Designs are presenting a Time Team special entitled Pugin: The God of Gothic. Of course, I exclusively revealed this upcoming treat back in April 2006 (Time Team Comes To Ramsgate).

The famous Victorian architect's own cliff top mansion over on the rather less salubrious West Cliff will be featured. I'm not sure if the splendid fellow above who sits on our trendy and stylish East Cliff is the same chap, though, as the Pugins were Catholics and consequently there were 496 of them.

The new show comes hot on the heels of January's RamsgateFest on Relocation Relocation. All Channel 4 need to do now is get rid of That Bloody Awful Noel, and I for one will be supergluing their button down on my remote!

Time Team Special - Pugin: The God of Gothic, Thursday 1 March, 9pm

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Quad Erat Demonstrandum

Pardon my pidgin Latin, but this was the sight that greeted me this afternoon as I went for my now traditional, ironic Sunday afternoon stroll along the beach in Margate. The whole place cordoned off and a scene of motorised mayhem!

Nonetheless, it appeared to have attracted a sizeable crowd of pit bull tugging petrolheads, so I suppose it must have had some benefit for the local economy.

There was even, it seems, some international interest. A Cathay Pacific 747 circled the beach at low altitude all afternoon, although the chances of it being crammed to the bulkheads with Formula 1 driving Hong Kong tycoons looking for a piece of the Margate action must, I would imagine, lie somewhere between zero and nil.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Barretts Homes

Fat Kev, my security manager, was only yesterday bemoaning the fact that he couldn't find an executive home in Margate. Now, it seems, his prayers are to be answered.

A regular in one of the more gruesome back street pubs told him that Barretts Soft Drinks in Tivoli Road have quietly shut up shop, with the factory site due to be handed over to the developers. It seems the fizz has gone out of the fizz biz.

No wonder FK seemed a bit bubblier today. I must ask my accountant how much I'm paying him.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Tip Of Kent

One reader was so inspired by my recent post detailing a BBC weather forecaster's description of our part of the world that he's designed this natty shirt.

He's asked me if I would put the idea forward to our tourist board, but I can't see it enjoying a great deal of traction, as they say these days.

Although Kent Tourism might be interested. What with all the plans to concrete over the county, I hear they're considering renaming the place The Patio of England, so this could be the icing on the cake!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Greenhouse Omissions


Oops! I've had an email from occasional contributor Ron Councillor, correcting my previous post. Mr Councillor (not his real name) is one of the friendlier members of our local Dad's Army, albeit of the blue rinse variety. Think of him as a kind of Sgt. Wilson.

He writes:

I find your insinuation that the council does not consult with local people, or that we consult with them until they agree with us, quite insulting. Only this week we agreed to shelve plans for a development in King George VI park following vociferous objections. We have also blah Pleasurama blah pools blah Westwood blah blah blah etc.

The council have indeed called off plans to protect our world famous, early 19th century Italianate greenhouse from vandals by building 127 Wimpey homes around it, and I am happy to put the record straight.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Consulting Your Intelligence

Blimey! I was just changing Bertie's litter tray, and this fell out of the SadScene I was lining it with:

The local council's 'magazine', Thanet Pravda.

And inside that was this:

A survey about the provision of swimming pools in the area.

Not that I'm particularly interested, as I've got an Olympic size facility in the west wing, here at the old cliff top mansion. But a peremptory perusal elicited the information that our municipal baths in Margate and Ramsgate are indeed in a sorry state. Apparently they either need to be refurbished, or replaced with a single new pool built on a greenfield site.

Let's look at the options The Uranians are giving us:

Lumme! Not too difficult to tell from that which scenario the council prefers!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

See My Ramsgate Movie Film

Meandering around the grubby back streets of the internet the other day, I chanced upon a rather anonymous looking blog in Russian which contained this entry:


(Ramsgate) — город в английском графстве Кент, на восточном берегу полуострова Танэт, в 100 км от Лондона. Отличные морские купанья. Безопасная гавань с двумя пристанями; маяк. Корабельные верфи, рыбная ловля, значительная торговля яйцами, плодами и др. Жителей (1891) 21733. В 3-х км морские купанья Бродстерз (некогда любимое местопребывание Диккенса).

Of course the word 'Ramsgate' caught my eye, so I popped the Cyrillic into the old AltaVista Babel Fish, and this was the translation:

(Ramsgate) - city in the English county Kent, on the eastern shore Of tanet peninsula, in 100 km from London. Outstanding sea bathings. Safe harbor with two piers; lighthouse. The dockyards, fishing, significant trade in eggs, by fruits and other inhabitants (1891) 21733. In 3rd km the sea bathings Of brodsterz (there is no time dear abode of Dickens).

Hurrah! The mystery was solved! Those creative types at the tourist board have commissioned Borat to make a publicity film for us, and I'd stumbled across the script!

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Edge Of Teh Known World

Yikes! My campaign to find a more euphonious description of our part of the world has suffered a bit of a setback.

While Jay Wynne was presenting the BBC weather forecast last night, he wafted his hand towards Thanet, er Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula, and declared: 'You may see some sunshine down there in the tip of Kent'.

P-lease! There may be a lot of rubbish on the streets around here, but The Tip of Kent is going a bit far if you ask me.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Number Of The Beast

I see from the new tickerometer on my sidebar that 666 days have now passed since 'temporary' fencing was erected along our crumbling East Cliff.

Anyone of a nervous disposition would be well advised to keep away from the edge for the next 24 hours, in my humble opinion.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Foam And Away

The weather was so tickety-boo this afternoon that I thought I'd whip out my old throbber and take a wobble over to Margate for a gander at the Turnip Centre exhibition at the Winter Gardens.

By now those architect Johnnies must have come up with some pretty spectacular ideas for our 17m squid, I opined as I piloted my gleaming machine effortlessly towards the Arsonists' Playground.

At first, though, it was difficult to spot the, er, impressive model of our new flagship gallery within the cavernous expanse of the venue...

But then - there she blows!

Mind you, they haven't just been filing their nails all this time. Here's another...

Oh, and another...

And this one's the most spectacular of all...

A magnificent addition to the Margate seafront, I'm sure you'll agree. Now all it needs is some flowers to stick in it.

To be fair, the chap who was showing people around did say that final plans wouldn't be published until June. Of course, it would have been nice to have chatted it through with the design team, but I was told they were all out to lunch.

Belgian Bar Bust

According to the geologists over on Thanet Rocks, that is.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Chimps Key To Margate Regeneration Says Architect

Isle of Thanet Gazunder Exclusive

A stunning £17m monkey house will be the centrepiece of a new arts centre in Margate, according to the mastermind behind the scheme.

Speaking yesterday to a select group of councillors and members of the public who had telephoned for a ticket in 2005, he was upbeat about his design for the new onshore Anthea Turner Centre.

'We have to attract the public to this building, which is key to the regeneration of Margate as a whole. That is why we have placed performing chimpanzees and other cuddly mammals such as meerkats at the heart of the project,' he said.

Dressed casually in a green wig and red nose, he highlighted features of the new centre, which will include:

● Candy floss factory
● Sealion pool
● Jugglers (courtesy local constabulary)

And he promised that the building would delight the kids. 'At 3 o'clock every afternoon all four wings of the centre will drop to the ground with a bang and the wheels will come off.'

The centre is expected to cost £389m.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Puff The Magic Dragon

Tottering back from my favourite watering hole late the other night, I noticed a kerfuffle around one of those tawdry buildings in the back streets.

Soon after, several fire engines arrived and started pumping copious amounts of water into an upstairs window, from which smoke was billowing. One of the bystanders told me that the flat belonged to a commodities dealer called Trevor (which just goes to prove how City types are flocking to invest in Ramsgate).

It did strike me as a bit odd, though, that Trevor's bench and chairs were being carted across the road into the pub opposite. Thinking it was an act of kindness by the publican, I went over to congratulate her on her altruism.

'They're ours,' came the curt response. 'Trevor nicked them when we put them out last summer.'

I must say, standards in the Square Mile certainly do seem to be slipping.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Bored Witless

Blogland is about as interesting as a day out in Margate at the moment. And bugger all else is happening. Even Elton's stopped ringing.

Not only that, but there's only the one booking in the diary - an infomercial for this:

The Joy Mangano Handy Hook Mirror. Bev, my agent, said they wanted a supreme narcissist for the gig, and I was the perfect choice. Charming.

If this keeps up, I'll have to resort to the old corporate presenter's trick of copying huge swathes from other people's blogs and passing the stuff off as my own!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Ramsgate First, Margate Second

I see the Arsonists are now clamouring for their own teeny-tiny council, following the success of the Ramsgate First campaign for a miniscule municipality over here in the Ile's premier megalopolis.

If Margate are successful too, we'll all have some significant improvements to look forward to, judging by the impressive achievements of Boredstares Town Council, which is already up and running. Here's what the Dickensians have been up to according to their latest annual report:

● Installed fairy lights
● Narrowed their already narrow streets
● Moved their office from upstairs in Pierremont Hall to, er, downstairs in Pierremont Hall.

And all that for only £237,038!

And there are yet more exciting projects in the pipeline - just take a look at their upcoming agenda!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Korea Path

My campaign to re-style Thanet as Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula is already coming to fruitation, to purloin a phrase first coined by Kevin Keegan.

I've been getting expressions of interest from another peninsula, Korea, where Dr Horace Jeffery Hodges, who teaches at Korea University's Department of English Language and Literature, has followed up my recent post about peninsula envy.

I'm sure that as soon as I've mentioned that Karl Marx was a frequent visitor to Ramsgate, where he believed the air was good for his boils, Dr Horace will be writing the brochures!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

May The Fourth Be With You

Crikey! It seems local election fever has Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula in its grips. But here's one way to even the odds. Regular reader Simon writes:

Dear Eastie,

I have been sent a letter by the council inviting me to help scrutinise the local elections which will take place on 3 May 2007. The count itself will take place the following day.

However, in order to qualify for this civic duty, I have been asked to go on a course which I must pay for myself. There is a sliding scale of payments for the training. So for just a few quid I can learn how to count, but for £200+ I can get to be a presiding officer.

Would you, by any chance, be prepared to sponsor me to go on this course?

Keep up the good work!


Well Simon, I'm a bit strapped for cash at the moment, what with just coming off a big tour, but I'm sure there'll be plenty of people willing to cough up the sponds. Have you thought about approaching your local councillor?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Have These Back Sides Blown Off?

Dear oh dear.

Tut tut. I heard there had been a Great Wind in these parts while I was away, but these shelters have been braving Great Winds since Victorian times. Were the missing parts blown away? I think I should be told.

Meanwhile the 'temporary' fencing has been creeping like ivy. It's now surrounding our brand new, super-duper, out-of-this-world bandstand.

Shocking News

Good Lord! The whole place has gone to pot since I've been on my southern sojourn! Here are the headlines:

● Dreamland to stay empty this year, apart from some half-arsed attempt to get the Scenic Railway running. As the only scenes that will greet passengers while their fillings rattle out will be an empty car park, I would argue that a case might be made to the Advertising Standards Authority.
● New improved Ike and Tina Turner Centre costs rise from £12m to £17m (not including the £8m spent on the old unimproved Ike and Tina Turner Centre).
● Tory councillor resigns after sending racist emails. No surprise there then.
● Temporary fencing along East Cliff now about as temporary as The Great Pyramid of Giza.
● Thanet Air Show ditches in the sea after organisers go tits up.

Which brings me to the most shocking news of all. Dr Biggles of Thanet Life has, in a move equivalent to a 50 year old man sporting a chunky gold chain from H Samuel, put his profile on MySpace. I ask you! For 'MySpace' read 'OldSpice'.

Still, his profile does reveal that he was 'bought-up in Westgate'. By the North Thanet Conservative Association, no doubt.

Cheering Crowds Greet Local Millionaire's Return

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder staff

Crowds of jeering (surely 'cheering' - Ed.) onlookers thronged London's Heathrow Airport as Ramsgate celebrity and millionaire Richard Eastcliff stepped off his flight from San Francisco today.

Looking fit and relaxed after a barnstorming tour of Australia, New Zealand and the US, Mr Eastcliff delighted crowds with his well-known catchphrase 'You can't get rid of me that easily!' as well as dispensing handfuls of Frangos to his waiting admirer.

Asked by the Gazunder whether he was dismayed by new crises encircling Dreamland, the Turner Contemporary, and Ramsgate's crumbling East Cliff, Sir Richard responded: 'Crises? What Crises?' He was later whisked away in a chauffeur driven limo.

Lord Eastcliff is 29.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Between The Rock And A Hard Place

Gazing wistfully at Alcatraz from my luxury hotel suite here in San Francisco, I can't help feeling homesick.

The Rock was the only place that enjoyed hot showers in the US prison system, installed so that inmates wouldn't become acclimatised to cold water. And what magnificent views! It reminds me somewhat of the old cliff top mansion. Time to return to Blighty, methinks.

The QM2 was in town on Sunday. The SFPD blocked off the centre of the Golden Gate Bridge, thus thwarting anyone who might have been planning a spectacular suicide by diving into the funnel. But she's gone now, so I'll just have to take up Sir Richard Branston's offer of a free Upper Class ticket.

I must say, I'm looking forward to seeing all the changes that will surely have taken place on Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula in my absence, viz:

● Dreamland transformed into Alton Towers style theme park
● Temporary Harris fencing removed from repaired East Cliff
● Anthea Turner Centre completed and bestowed RIBA award

Ah, there's no place like home!

Friday, February 02, 2007

BBC In Gillingham Map Mix-up

Isle of Thanet Gazunder Exclusive

The BBC has been forced to re-draw a map of England, after it confused Medway metropolis Gillingham with the sleepy Dorset town of the same name!

The embarrassing gaff was spotted by well-known Ramsgate millionaire and pedant, Mr Richard Eastcliff, who emailed the BBC from his California beach house.

The map, which was meant to show which were the noisiest and quietest towns in England, placed Gillingham as the fifth noisiest town, after Newcastle, Birmingham, London, Darlington and Doncaster (fourth equal). Although the mistake has now been corrected, the BBC has yet to apologise to Medway residents for moving them hundreds of miles to the west.

The BBC map with Gillingham in Dorset.

The BBC map with Gillingham now in Kent.

Full BBC story

Hurray, Hurray, It's A Happy Monterey!

The aquarium is the major attraction here in Monterey, CA. It attracts visitors, and school trips, from all over the USA and beyond.

Of course, it would be great to have a similar facility on Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula. Having discussed the ins and outs with the higher echelons of the aquarium (the nice fellow in charge of the petting pool), it would appear that all you need is a local boy made good (in this case David Packard of Hewlett Packard fame), who has a spare $53m to bestow on something that his daughter happens to be very keen on (marine conservation).

Does anyone know if Mr Godden's got a daughter? And might she be keen on dolphins???

Not so long ago the only way they used to conserve marine life here was by canning it. Whaling and seal clubbing were also popular pastimes, as the street name suggests.

But now Prescotts can bask safely on the rocks in the harbour.

Well, there's a short tour of Monterey for you. I'm off to get a delicious confection from the fudge factory, which is conveniently located next to the, er, fudge factory.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Peninsula Envy

Here on California’s Monterey Peninsula, I find myself once again making unfortunate comparisons with our own little piece of Kentish coastline.

Monterey's Cannery Row was the setting for Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck’s 1945 novel of the same name, although he’s probably better known for his documentation of a lifelong medical complaint, The Arsegrapes Of Wrath.

Since I was last here in the early 90s, regeneration has transformed the place. There’s now a world class aquarium, which includes a petting pool for those who fancy a spot of fish fondling, along with hundreds of charming boutiques and restaurants. And, er, a couple of British pubs. For some reason, the locals seem to think British pubs are a bit chi-chi. Clearly they’ve never been in one of Frank’s.

Just down the road is the artists’ colony of Carmel, where the streets have no names, the houses no numbers, and Clint Eastwood was once mayor. The most famous artist in residence at the moment appears to be, um, Tony Curtis.

Anyway, the point is that with connections to famous artists and novelists, the place is thriving, just as Thanet should be. To my way of thinking there can only be one reason why we're lagging behind in the race to have the biggest peninsula. ‘Thanet’. Hasn’t got much of a ring to it, has it? I mean, really.

So from now on I’ll be running a campaign to re-brand the place ‘Kent’s Ramsgate Peninsula’. Much better.

Now all we have to do is wait for the tourists to flock!