Friday, August 31, 2007

The Lonely Boat Nerd

How marvellous to be back in the thick of the showbiz action! This offer to star in Ramsgate! - The Musical has reinvigorated the old Eastcliff imagination. I've even started writing the songs!


High on a cliff was a lonely boat nerd
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo
Rich was the name of the lonely boat nerd
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo

Down in the port an old matelot heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo
Lusty and clear from the boat nerd's throat heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo

[the Ramsgatonians:]
O ho lay dee odl lee o, o ho lay dee odl ay
O ho lay dee odl lee o, lay dee odl lee o lay

A mate on the bridge of a ferry boat heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo
[Councillor Green:]
A scrote in the sky with a jet to fly heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo

[the Ramsgatonians:]
Blokes in the midst of a roofing quote heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo
Chaps drinking Gadds with the foam afloat heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo

A twonk with a vote who had proved turncoat heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo
[Councillor Turncoat:]
I fingered back to the lonely boat nerd
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo

Soon had a man with a gleaming gloat heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo
A pain with a plane and an anecdote heard
[ECR and the Ramsgatonians:]
Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo

[ECR and the Ramsgatonians:]
Ummm (ummm) . . .
Odl lay ee (odl lay ee)
Odl lay hee hee (odl lay hee hee)
Odl lay ee . . .
. . . yodeling . . .

[Sandy Beach:]
One cheeky git in a bright blue coat heard
Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hoo hoo
[Sandy Beach:]
He yodeled back to the lonely boat nerd
Effing odl tosser odl-oo

[ECR and the Ramsgatonians:]
Eff-ing tosser odl lay ee
Tosser odl lay lay hee hee
Eff-ing tosser odl lay ee
Tosser odl lay hee hee!

Do You Wantsum More Jazz?

A couple of clips on BoobTube of last weekend's Wantsum Jazz Festival at our very own super-duper, out of this world East Cliff bandstand. The first is from our local biblio-bloke, Michael Child, the second from someone revelling in the appellation The Fat Baker. Groove!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

East Side Story

It goes without saying that I'm usually a man of utmost discretion, but I can't keep my von Trapp shut about this any longer.

I've been contacted by a television company who want to make Ramsgate! - The Musical. I kid you not. Here's what their representative said:

I’ve been reading your blogs and they’re very informative and funny (natch). I’d love to talk to ‘real people’ in regards to Ramsgate and the lack of or may be not community spirit, what they think Ramsgate is missing and how successful do they think a musical project such as ours would work bringing different sides of the community together.

I really need to speak to key people that have opposing opinions as well. Youth Leaders, prominent business men busy bodies etc. We have visited the Newington Area and were particularly interested in working with the residents there as well as the wider area of Ramsgate.

Can you sing Richard and would you be interested in taking part in this project? You could use your real name and there would be no need to mention Richard Eastcliffe at all.

Hmmm. Well, obviously I can sing. I wouldn't have been voted TV Times Entertainer of the Year (1989) if I couldn't. I'd better have a word with Bev, my agent.
Ramsgate! - The Musical (artist's impression)

Mansion Sweet Mansion

Phew! What a relief to be back here in the Ile's premier location! I tell you, the sound of silence over in Broadstairs is deafening. All I did last night was jostle with millions of people, and hundreds of rozzers in stab vests, to see the Wednesday fireworks. I mean, where's the point in that?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wither Margate?

Sitting here in the serenity of my Broadstairs guest house, it's hard not to forget that I'm just that little bit closer to Margate than I would be ordinarily.

So what news of the place? Well, the Margate Town Renewal Community Partnership Alliance, or whatever they're called this week, are asking for design ideas for a feature that will signpost what they describe as the town's 'architectural gem', according to the BBC website.

What be that then? The listed Dreamland Cinema? No, that's closing. The Lido then? No, that's being converted into flats. The Sea Bathing Hospital? Nope. Ditto. So what do they mean? Well, here's the griff:

We know there's a great deal going on in Margate's creative industries at the moment. They're at the heart of the town's regeneration and are helping to change the face of the Old Town beyond recognition from a few years ago, when it was falling into dereliction. We are aiming to take that regeneration forward and we want artists and designers involved in that process. Margate's cultural regeneration into a "dynamic, thriving and successful town" also includes a new Turner Contemporary gallery and ongoing redevelopment plans for the Dreamland site it says here.

Hmmm. You know, maybe it's time to resurrect my plan from over a year ago to install a giant arse on Margate front. You never know, there'd probably be a hatful of grants, and I couldn't think of a more fitting tribute to the place. After all, if you're going to die on your arse, you might as well make it a big one!

Richborough Pickings

Cripes! Someone's literally making a bomb at our local disused power station! Either that or they're putting together a militia to repel all non-Thanetians.

I spotted this video on BoobTube, it's actually those chaps at Shadow Ops Airsoft Ramsgate who've converted the place into an urban combat zone for pellet-powered war games. And knowing my readers take a keen interest in militaria, particularly in the context of redundant power facilities, I thought I'd give you the chance to have a butcher's.

Actually it's perked me up a bit. It's quite the snooze cruise here in global epicentre of Victorian bathing paraphernalia.

Up On The Roof

Haha. No, really, it's only temporary this move to Boredstares. I'm staying at a rather nice guest house on the front while Dave the Roofer replaces some of the tiles that our 400 tonne aluminium friend has been blowing off.

I've just popped back to monitor progress, and as you can see he's getting on pretty well. By the way, the device to the left of the chimney is what he uses to treat the East Cliff to the sophisticated sounds of KMFM. With his own vocal accompaniment of course. As I was leaving, he'd just launched into the chorus of Karma Chameleon.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Change Of Address

Ahem. According to the weekend's Sunday Mirror, Broadstairs is now the latest 'must-live-in' destination. So I've taken the appropriate steps to keep up with the Joneses.

Full Sunday Mirror story

Manston Flights A Nuisance - Official

It's official! 73% of you think training flights from RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston International Airport are a nuisance.

Of the 78 people who voted in my 7 day poll, only 15 thought that having a 400 tonne Oasis Hong Kong Airlines 747 flying feet from their bonces every five minutes didn't constitute an annoyance. The results in full:

Question: Are Manston training flights a nuisance?

Yes: 73% (57 votes)
No: 19% (15 votes)
Can't hear myself think: 6% (5 votes)
Don't know: 1% (1 vote)

Let's hope this gives our local politicians (step forward Councillor Green) the ammunition to press for tighter control of these flights such as perhaps a weekend ban, or at the very least better monitoring, and publication of the flight times and any trangressions on the Manston and/or TDC websites.

Meanwhile you can sign my Downing Street petition here. Let's see if we can swell number of signatures to above, um, 30!

Monday, August 27, 2007


Yurgh! I'm feeling a trifle delicate this morning. I blame a certain local brewer. Well, no, that's not fair really. After all, he wasn't the idiot who poured eight pints down the old Eastcliff gullet. No, that was me.

Thanks to everyone involved in putting on such a splendid bash at the bandstand yesterday. And apologies to everyone I bored with my latest gut-busting joke about the trainee psychic who packed it in because he couldn't see a future in it. Somehow it doesn't seem quite as amusing this morning.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

TV Winners

Kent on Sunday (on Saturday) are splashing their new Kent TV service all over the front page today, urging readers to send in clips ahead of the launch of their BoobTube-alike platform for Kent next month. 500 smackers are on offer for the best entry, which, they say, could encompass anything from 'a great day out' to, er, 'Morris dancing'.

Don't knock it, though, as they're well ahead of KCC TV, of whom we hear, well, um, nothing, despite hundreds of thousands of our tax sovs being ploughed into it. Of course, both channels have been well and truly trumped by my own ECR TV, which has been serving the Thanet nation since March. No pesky propaganda, no annoying ads, just pure entertainment!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Do You Wantsum Jazz?

With the weather set fair for the Bank Holiday, the BBC is reporting that seaside resorts are top of the list for a weekend getaway. It was certainly rammed in Waitrose earlier, with both local and DFL millionaires practically garotting each other to get at the last of the free range, organic pork bangers.

So it should be a good turn-out for the Wantsum Jazz Festival on Sunday, here at our very own super-duper, out of this world East Cliff bandstand. Acts include Omar, the John Altman Quartet, the Electric 'Arkestra' Experience, and the Harbour Jazz Orchestra.

It all kicks off at 2pm, so be there or be square, man! And don't forget the wild Alaskan smoked salmon!

Update: If you don't fancy BYO, there'll be a food stall and, of course, the Gaddfather of Ale's beer tent (yippee!).

Heavy Metal Fans

Chatting to my architectural consultant (Dave the Roofer) the other day about sprucing up the old CTM, he revealed that there's been a spate of lead thefts in the Millionaires' Playground recently. Apparently churches and schools have been the main target, and even our local alms houses have failed to escape the attention of the blighters. Apparently it's something to do with the price of metal going through the, er, roof.

Coincidentally I bumped into celebrity DIYer and Meridian-boy-made-good Nick Knowles in the wine bar recently, apparently winding down from a mission to rescue yet another DIY disaster, this time in Ramsgate. I say coincidentally, but with all the belt tightening that's currently going on at the Beeb, you have to wonder, don't you?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Interesting Developments

Hey-ho! What more interesting way to spend a wet Thursday afternoon than putting together a round-up of some of the fantastic building developments going on here in the Cannes of Kent?

Pleasurama (aka Royal Sands, artist's impression above): Work about to start, we're told, on a vast complex of shops, hotels and luxury apartments. About time too, as the site has been a blot on the Ramsgate coastscape for the best part of a decade. Set to become 'the jewel in Ramsgate's crown' according to the estate agent. However, according to our local biblio-bloke Michael Child, who's seen the plans, it could be more a case of 'the concrete in somebody's head' as living space shrinks to avoid the flood plain at the bottom and the height restriction at the top.

Victoria Road (Dorman's Yard): Best not to mention this one as despite the fact that it's nearing completion, it could be about to be demolished due to a breach of planning.

Granville Court: Completed a few years ago, with Phase 2 waiting in the wings, the rumour is that only a few of the 40 or so apartments have sold. I thought I'd better double check this with Oakleigh Developments, but their website doesn't exist, and my email bounced back with an 'undeliverable' notice. I'm afraid at that point curiosity got the better of me, and a quick check at Companies House revealed that their accounts are listed as overdue. I also discovered a winding-up petition against them from last year, although I've been unable to discover the outcome. Perhaps it's no wonder their Phase 2 site is rapidly reverting to its previous bomb site status.

So, there you have it! From eyesore to luxury apartments and back to eyesore again in three easy steps!

Update: Reader Jean writes: I have been complaining to the council for months about the state of the fence at the rear of Granville Court, which blew down in February. Fly-tippers have been having a field day and the site, which contains deep excavations, is a hazard, especially to curious children. This week I sent them a rather stern email after they failed to respond to my latest official complaint within ten days - their own service level agreement - and threatened to go to the local papers. Lo and behold, today they are fixing the fence. We shouldn't have to resort to such extremes just to get simple problems resolved. The site is opposite a guest house, heavens knows what visitors to Ramsgate must think.

Blue Act For Granville Theatre

Yet more evidence, if it was needed, that Ramsgate's trendy East Cliff is the place to be. Work on tarting up the exterior of our super-duper Granville Theatre-ma has finished, and although it still bears more than a passing resemblance to a public toilet block on steroids, the tasteful shade of light blue is a definite improvement on the previous tones of sh*te brown.

With the private sector doing its bit to beautify the area, what a shame our local council can't get off its lardy backside and return the compliment by fixing the two adjacent Victorian shelters which have been 'undergoing repair' since February.
June: Brown

August: Blue

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Separated At Birth?

Reader Samantha writes:

I wonder if anyone else has spotted a similarity between Jack Hawkins, the rugged stalwart of 50s and 60s British films, and Sandy Beach, our rugged Thanet Council leader? Are they by any chance related?
Bridge Over The River Kwai

Bridge Over The River Wantsum


This takes the dog biscuit. After it's passed through the pooch, that is. My thanks to Mr X for the photo, but this is absolutely, definitely, positively my final post on barker's nests and what to do with them.

Tomorrow I return to weightier matters, and will reveal... ah, but you'll just have to come back then and find out!

Scoopez Le Poop

Yikes! This blog is rapidly degenerating into one of those silly sign sites. This latest is from reader Glenn (of Terracotta fame), who spied it in Poopignan, er, Perpignan in the south of France. Loosely translated it says:

Make a clean gesture: use the bags provided for you in this distributor.

I'm not sure it would work around here, though. The chances of anyone making a clean gesture if you asked them to scoop up after their pit bull are about as likely as getting a fly-tipping problem resolved by Thanet District Council!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ramsgate Property Goes Through The Roof

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder Property Editor Brickson Mortar

Ramsgate has come top of the seaside property league in a recent survey by the Halifax Building Society. According to the society's number-crunchers, homes in Ramsgate have increased in value by nearly 40% over the past three years, the highest increase in the whole of the south east.

And in the past year, the isle's premier town has only been pipped by Burnham on Crouch and Margate (Can we leave that out? - Ed.)

A spokesman for the Halifax told the Gazunder: 'Whilst other seaside towns across the UK have done better, as far as the south east is concerned Ramsgate was certainly the place to buy three years ago. Unfortunately now it's dear as poison so our advice is to flog granny's bungalow while the going's good, and p*ss off to Bulgaria'. (Shurely shome mishtake? - Ed.)

Ramsgate: bloody expensive

Jet Vote

With all the recent controversy over training flights at Manston, I thought it might be an idea to gauge public opinion. So I've initiated a poll on my sidebar which will run for the next seven days.

Update: Reader Tony suggested that I contact the airport with my idea that they might at least give advance warning of training flights on their website. I emailed them this morning, here is their response:

Dear Mr. Eastcliff, thank you for your email and for your practical suggestion. We shall certainly look in to this initiative. Regards, Customer Services.

Tell Tale Signs

Yesterday's appeal for signs spotted by readers on their travels has really opened up the sluice gates. Mr X sent in the above, which, although it's not officially recognised by the Commission on International Signs and Symbols, is nonetheless pretty clear in its meaning. Mr X also contributed this:

Perhaps if we were to adopt a similarly direct approach with our signage here on Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula, it might prove more effective?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Scooby Doo-Doo

I appear to have struck a rich, um, vein. Following the publication of that barker's nest warning sign last week, 'Don't Doo-Doo' notices from around the world are now winging their way to my inbox on a daily basis.

Regular reader Millicent spotted this one in Germany. Having popped it into the old Alta Vista Babel Fish, it translates thus:

We find sh*ts. Dear owners of dog, dog excrement on sidewalks must from them immediately be removed. On the other hand to threaten up to €50 fine.

Ah, you can rely on the Germans to be blunt about these things. And I expect the fines are rigorously enforced too. If anyone has any further examples, my inbox is always open.

And don't forget that our local ace reporter Kathy Bailes is looking for examples of lorry drivers doing disgusting things over on our less salubrious West Cliff. If you've witnessed anyone depositing, er, an illegal load, or you're concerned about the increasing number of lorries that are parking there, give her a call at the Gazunder on 578992.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bullet Train Bulletin

I see today's Observer is reporting that our new Japanese bullet trains are due in at Southampton docks any time soon. The super-duper, 140mph service will run from 2009, and cut the journey time from the Millionaires' Playground to London's newly revamped St Pancras down to just over an hour. Or just over an hour and 20 minutes if you're a Conservative.

Our train operator is quoted in the newspaper as saying that 'property prices are heading north' because of the new link. I presume that means that the price of a semi in Ramsgate will soon be so eye-watering that people might be forced to consider buying in Margate.

Full Observer report

Saturday, August 18, 2007

There's A Kind Of Hush 2

Oh dear. I should have kept my big trap shut. Here come Oozalum Airways again to blast jet fuel over the picknickers on our beach every five minutes!

Update: Here's what Wikipedia says about Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, the people responsible for this particular lump of aluminium. They're a budget, long haul airline (yep, it's a long way from Manston to, er, Manston) based in Hong Kong. They currently own three 747s, with another three due for delivery. In the UK they fly out of Gatwick, which is where they should stay if you ask me.

Oasis was founded by the Reverend Raymond Lee and his lovely wife Priscilla in 2005. There's a background interview with him here. According to the Rev:

I was born into a wealthy business family in Hong Kong. But I never seriously contemplated a career in business. If anything, I was appalled by the strains in familial relations that had been wrought by the love of money. I decided, instead, to serve mankind.

If the word ‘spiritual’ is properly understood to mean ‘bringing enormous benefit to people in all walks of life’, I’m a deeply spiritual man!

Yeah right. Tell that to the people who can't hear themselves pray in St George's on a Sunday, Rev.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Deja Vu?

So, a derelict site in a seaside town has burnt down, not long after it was bought by an arcade owner. Hmmm. Why does that not surprise me?

There's A Kind Of Hush

Lumme! I really am stuck in a 60s groove at the moment, now I'm getting an attack of the Herman's Hermits!

What I meant to say was how marvellously peaceful it's been here in the Millionaires' Playground for the last week or so without those knackered old Jumbo Jets flying over every ten minutes. And as far as I know, nobody's even had to chain themselves to the RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston International Airport gates to achieve it!

Actually, you could say it's been a bit too quiet. I mean, isn't this the peak holiday season? Aren't there meant to be queues as far back as Bristol just to check in at Heathrow? And haven't several people recently died of old age waiting to go through security at Gatwick?

So where's the thriving holiday traffic Manston were boasting about in the papers just a week or so ago? Not one of my roof tiles has been blown off by a jet aircraft for days. Not that I'm complaining. As you know, I'm currently running a No.10 petition to get our local council to implement better regulation of those blasted training flights. And as part of my campaign, I've already had some interesting feedback from Airport Watch and the Campaign to Protect Rural England, so watch this (air)space!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Lazing On A Sunny Afternoon

Well the fish aren't biting and the tea's gone cold. The tax man's taken all my dough and left me in my stately home, lazing on a sunny afternoon. I can't even sail my yacht, he's taken everything I've got.

Oops. I appear to have fallen into a Kinks-fuelled timewarp there, sorry. No, the reason for the nostalgia attack is because I've just found Radio Caroline on the web. Since I relocated to Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula, I can't count the number of times that people have come up to me and said: Do you remember the days when you used to be able to get Radio Caroline round here blah boats sinking blah masts snapping blah police raids blah Marine Offences Etc. Act 1967 blah blah blah. I can't count the number of times because, um, there haven't actually been any. But I wouldn't want the truth to get in the way of a good story.

Any road, you can now listen to the former pirates, still pumping out their eclectic mix of 60s and 70s favourites (plus a few newies), but no longer on 259 medium wave. These days they're on broadband, or on your MurdochVision thingy, if you're that way inclined. And they've forsaken the North Sea to broadcast instead from a nice air-conditioned studio in Maidstone. About the only good thing to come out of the place, if you ask me.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Ho-hum. It seems everyone's moaning about the lack of enthusiasm in mondo blog at the moment.

Big Blog Adem and Big News Tony have both complained of a certain ennui creeping into their jottings, and I know how they feel. Of course, Councillor/Doctor Doctor/Councillor Moores still has his crack team of ex-Daily Mail hacks grinding out the same old stuff day in, day out, but that's only to be expected.

Is it worth telling you that Muffin the Mule appears to be struggling to make ends meet? Nah, probably not. Or that, according to my insiders at the Beeb, the factual and documentary departments are still running around like the proverbial headless chickens after that spot of bother with the Queen? Nah, who cares?

Nope, it's back to the old fishing rod, methinks. And a nice Thermos of tea.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Graphic Warning

Yurgh! What dreadful weather we're experiencing this afternoon here on Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula! Nothing but gales and sideways rain.

To cheer us all up, regular reader Mr X, winner of last year's Joke Week/Weak Joke competition, has sent me this:

Not the new logo for the Snake Charmers' Union, or directions to the local Cumberland sausage factory, but rather the internationally recognised sign for 'Warning! Barker's Nests Ahead!'

Nice one, Mr X. I'll be putting in an express order for several hundred to be distributed around the East Cliff forthwith!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Vicars In A Twist

Holy underwear! I see from the front page of today's Isle of Thanet Gazunder that the vicar of St Peter's Church, the Reverend Brian Moore, has run off with his Sunday school teacher!

The news gives an entirely new complexion to the phrase 'Sunday service', but the writing was on the internet for those in the know as the Randy Rev applied a couple of weeks ago for planning permission for an erection. Of two free-standing, non-illuminated signs outside his church.

I'm not allowed to reproduce the signs, which can be found on the UK Planning website, for copyright reasons. But here's a passable mock-up:

What A Yacht I've Got!

Excitement is mounting in Boredstares, I'm told, where Victorian bathing costumes are about to make way for the thrills and spills of hemp smocks and bladders on sticks.

Yes, the Dickensians are eagerly anticipating their annual Folk Week (or Drunk Week as it's become known locally), which kicks off today. Around 150,000 men and women with beards are expected to descend on the UK's second best seaside town, turning the camp site at Upton School into a mini version of Glastonbury, with the waft of illicit drugs such as Old Nutty Shag and Nadger's Dorchester Wobbly permeating the air.

Meanwhile, here in the Millionaires' Playground, we're anticipating something much more salubrious. Ramsgate Week, organised by our very own Shirley Temple Yacht Club, will see the cream of the yachting fraternity hoity-toiting on land and sea for six days as of tomorrow. According to the lovely Commodore Davena Green, 'Ramsgate Week now provides a real alternative to Cowes', which presumably has had to be cordoned off this year due to foote and mouthe.

Due to one or two financial transactions still being in the, er, pipeline I shan't be participating in the sailing. But you will be able to spot me in my Captain's cap, brass buttoned blazer and deck shoes with the salty seamen on the front. I might even get my Rolex Oyster (Whitstable Edition) back from Hiltons for the occasion. And I'll definitely be rooting out my CockSox swimmers for the Hunks in Trunks competition!
Avast behind! Participants prepare to get their bottoms scraped
at last year's Ramsgate Week

Monday, August 06, 2007

Blue Rags Beach

To the Margate Carnival yesterday. By George, you couldn't have wished for better weather!

And it wasn't just the sun that was out. Our glorious council leader Sandy Beach was mingling with the crowds, pressing the flesh. Dressed in Tory blue top and shorts, of course, accompanied by his charming blonde partner, who was also sporting party colours in the form of a pale blue, flowery summer dress.

Still, somehow the carnival wasn't quite the same this year without the traditional fire to finish it all off.

Update: For the curious among you, one of my readers appears to have captured our Sand and his lovely companion here:

For the sake of disambiguation, Sandy's the chap in blue on the right walking like a former boxer. Which is in fact what he is, apparently.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Live From Margate!

Yes, I'm still on holiday. But I couldn't resist commenting on the fact that Bev and Geoff from BBC South East Today have struggled all the way over from Tunbridge Wells to present their teeny-tiny news from the Arsonists' Playground today. You've got to admire their, er, neck.

Don't expect any hard-hitting journalism, though (as if). Embarrassing questions about Turnips, The Theatre Royal, Dreamland, etc. are off the agenda, I hear, as part of a contradeal not to mention diddling Blue Peter viewers, upsetting the Queen, and that nastiness yesterday at Maidstone Crown Court. Instead we'll be treated to the usual spin about 'turning the corner' and, um, fish and chips.

Who knows, maybe I'll wander over there with my 'Ramsgate's Miles Better' banner!

Meanwhile I see from today's Gazunder that the council's newly inserted artistic director at the Theatre Royal is to put on his own adaption of Homer's Odyssey as part of an exciting new autumn programme. Crikey, that should get the Margate punters flocking. Although to give him credit, it could just be that he's jumping on the Simpsons bandwagon.