Saturday, June 30, 2007

Paint The Whole World With A Rainbow

Aah, what a welcome back to the Ile de Thanet! It's nice to go travelling, but it's so much nicer to come home.

Deary me. I appear to have become rather maudlin and nostalgic after my trip to the West Country. Still, that won't last. I've got a smorgasbord of tasty readers' emails to chomp through, so I'll soon be back to my old self, 'having a pop at everything from pizza delivery men to top Tory Sandy Beach' (©2007 Thanet Times). Watch this space!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

News Blues

Well I must say it's a right trauma getting any decent news about the Ile from down here in the West Country.

I've just spent half an hour trawling the blogs, and all I've learnt is that the debate over the Pleasurama site continues, Tony Flaig's cat has brought home another cat's collar, and Simple Simon is still a slackwitted, sanctimonious old sausage.

I'd better head back before entire island dies of boredom!

New PM Gets To Work Rebuilding Britain

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Jumbo Problem

And just before I go, good luck to all you Ramsgatonians who'll be suffering in your jocks yet again this weekend as that jumbo jet flies round and round every ten minutes.

Our noise-and-air-pollution-loving Doctor Councillor/Councillor Doctor is, of course, a chum of the pilot and wants you all to take a nice photograph of the plane as it blows your roof tiles off. I suggest you tell him what you think of that idea here!

Right, where are the keys to the Prius?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Tip To Toe

Ordinarily, of course, I would have been at Royal Ascot this week. I suppose my invite from Sir Alan must have got lost in the post this year.

I have, however, received an irresistible offer from my old chums at the Penzance Arts Club to join them for the last knockings of the Golowan Festival, so I've charged up the Prius and plan to make an early start in the morning. Oh, didn't I tell you I traded the TT in for one of those? All the celebs are driving them these days, don't you know!

The toe of Cornwall rather reminds me of our own tip of Kent, but with a bit more oooh arrr. Penzance in the south is a charming and thriving harbour town, while on the north side St Ives boasts a long artistic tradition and a splendid gallery built by those people who make the golden syrup. It was completed on the site of the town's former gas works in 1993 with nary a hitch, attracts a quarter of a million visitors each year, and has even recently announced plans for an extension. Hmm, perhaps that's where the similarity ends.

See you around the middle of next week. Or you never know, if you're lucky I might send you a postcard!

There Is Nothing Like A Dame

We are seldom graced by (almost) royalty here in the world of Thanet blogging, so it is with enormous pleasure that I can reveal that Dame Janet has started her own site.

You'll recall that her royal gracious loveliness was runner-up in my Richard Eastcliff Award For A Grand Design For Ramsgate, and has very magnanimously been instrumental in helping to put together the collection for my Van Gogh Contemporary here in the Ile's premiere town.

She's just about to publish a splendid book on women's suffrage in East Kent from 1909-1918, but is also interested in women's history in Kent generally. Her radiant gorgeousness has asked me to point out that it's very early days for her blog, and requested that I be nice. Well, ma'am, am I ever anything else?

Thanet Is Bad For Your Health - Official!

Holy heart by-passes! The latest NHS snapshot on the health of the nation makes for scary reading for those of us who live in the tip of Kent. Here's what it says about us Thanetians:

· Life expectancy is increasing, but on average, men and women in Thanet can expect to live shorter lives than in England. (Yikes!).
· Teenage pregnancy rates are high compared to the England average. (Cripes!)
· The rate of reported violent crime is higher than England. (Do you Wantsum???)
· Estimated smoking rates and death rates from smoking are both high. Early death rates from cancer are also higher than the England average. Levels of healthy eating, physical activity and adult obesity are similar to national levels. (Shurely shome mishtake? - Ed) However binge drinking is estimated to be below the England average (because we're all permanently stocious, one assumes). More people are admitted to hospital in Thanet for alcohol specific conditions than the England average. Both the percentage of people with recorded diabetes and the rate of people claiming sickness benefit because of mental health problems are high compared to England. (Blimey!)

That's it, I'm off to Tunbridge Wells, where:

· Life expectancy is increasing and is above the average life expectancy for England. There are differences in life expectancy between income groups. (Hurrah!)
· Although the death rate from smoking is low, smoking accounts for around 150 deaths every year. Early death rates from heart disease and stroke are low compared to England. (Yippee!)
· Lifestyles are comparatively healthy with estimated binge drinking and smoking rates below the England average. The land required to support an average resident’s lifestyle in Tunbridge Wells is greater than the average for England (ecological footprint). Although the percentage of people with recorded diabetes in Tunbridge Wells is lower than the England average, over 3,200 people are recorded as having diabetes. (I can live with that!)

Report on BBC website.
NHS Community Health Profiles.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Knight Light

Full marks to our doggedly determined local campaigner Michael Child for illuminating the way on what's happening to our seafront eyesore, the Pleasurama site.

As we now know, the crumbling cliff face which abuts the site will undergo repairs starting in the autumn this year, and these should be completed by spring 2008 (hurrah!), at which point the developers will begin construction of 14 luxury hotels and 2700 luxury apartments. It was Michael who first broke this astounding news, which is now so official that even the Uranians have put it on their website.

I'm still a bit puzzled, though. As far as I can recall, the site was signed over by the council to a bunch named SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd, who are now, presumably, the owners. Attempts to find any kind of detail regarding these people have proved less than fruitful.

However, SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd now appear to have handed over the actual development of the site to a company called Knight Developments Ltd, who are presumably this Essex based company. They certainly seem to have a lot of experience building twiddly-diddly 3, 4, and 5 bedroom homes, but don't seem to have much to say on major, prestigious seafront projects. Still, let's hope they're up to the job of enhancing our Monte Carlo style coastline!

Kite Fantastic!

These kite surfers seemed to be having a whale of a time when I popped out for my copy of Gra*ia a few moments ago. It's something I first tried during my self-imposed exile in the Cayman Islands last year. If it wasn't for this sore paw, I'd be out there with them!

Then And Now

Blimey! Everyone seems to be caking their blogs out with nostalgic pictures. Even our local doctor/councillor councillor/doctor has jumped on the bandwagon, although we all know that Vince's Old Ramsgate Then and Now blog is the original and best.

That said, nobody could accuse me of never spotting a trend and milking it for all it's worth, so to celebrate bin day on the East Cliff, here's a 'then and now' of Augusta Road:
Then

Now

Gull Cull

Has anyone else noticed a significant increase in the number of squished seagulls on our roads recently?

I know I've complained about the pesky blighters in the past, and they are the size of poodles round here given that the Uranians have steadfastly omitted to grant us any system of gull-proof refuse containers such as wheelie bins, but I do regard them as an integral part of the traditional seaside scene and wish them no instrinsic harm. Blimey, that was a long sentence. Oh well, today is the longest day so it's only fitting.

I wonder if Gullbusters have been on the offensive in their armoured, bird-busting steamroller?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Press Trip

Let's hope the three wise journos who are expected to visit our shores tomorrow are better researched than the Sunday Times. Murdoch's organ featured yet another glowing eulogy to the wonders of the East Kent property market at the weekend, stating:

Ramsgate has been spoken of as a new Brighton, while Margate – which locals say has Kent’s best beach – could get a boost from the opening, later this year, of the Turner Centre.

Or maybe they know something we don't, and Plan C involves a marquee in the Rendezvous car park?

Full Sunday Times report.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Press Here

One of my spies in Maidstone rang this afternoon to alert me to the fact that Kent County Council have invited three top journos down to admire the Ile de Thanet later this week. Presumably the Turner thingy will be top of the list for the press trip, although I personally wouldn't be boasting about a concrete block that makes Dungeness B look like the Prado.

Anyhoo, we'd all better be on our best behaviour and sporting our finest track suits. And please, if you must tug your pit bull in public, do forgo the string for a decent leather leash. No doubt TDC will have been alerted too, so if you discover your street gleaming like your local crack dealer's gold tooth when you wake up on Thursday morning, now you know why.

My Deep Throat added that one of the hacks has been trying to chat to our local King Councillor and Carpet Tsar Sandy Beach for some time, but so far Our Sandy hasn't returned his calls or emails. I'm sorely tempted to divulge Sandy's home address in return for some favourable publicity for my Van Gogh Contemporary here in Ramsgate!

Fencewatch

Steering rapidly away from heated debates about antiquated amusement parks, I thought I'd head for, um, safer ground today and bang on about that old favourite, Ramsgate's crumbling East Cliff.

A while back I treated you to the full SP on Heras, the company that has supplied most of the 'temporary' fencing along our dilapidated cliff top. 'Most' being the appropriate word, as I've now spotted a new species - Beaver 84!

Beaver 84 is a dynamic, customer driven business engaged in the hire and sale of quality new and used non-mechanical plant to the construction, engineering, oil, TV and leisure industries and government funded bodies
, it says here.

TV and government funded bodies, eh? That gives me an idea for killing two, er, fences with one stone. Maybe I could get my old showbiz chum Bill Oddie to set up his night cameras here in Ramsgate. You never know, a week of Fencewatch might be just the thing for KCC TV!

Separated At Birth?

Reader Samantha writes:

I wonder if anyone else has spotted a similarity between the new design for Margate's Turner Contemporary and the disused power station on the other side of the island at Richborough? Are they by any chance related?
Richborough

Turnip

Monday, June 18, 2007

Dreamland Campaigner Spits Dummy

Holy roller coasters! I appear to have stirred up something of a hornets' nest over on the Save Dreamland Campaign website.

Ubercampaigner Nick Laister has picked up on my recent SchemeLand post and accuses me of being 'the worst offender for misinformation' à propos the news that a number of old tut rides from some derelict amusement park oop north are being put in storage in anticipation of the 'heritage amusement park' proposal put forward by developers Waterbridge. Clearly Mr Laister is not a frequent peruser of my feeble jottings!

I will admit, however, that I got the tone of my item slightly wrong. I had intended it to be a polemic against our lacklustre local politicos, who have consistently and limply failed to implement the government inspector's report that insisted on a seaside style future for Dreamland, rather than any insinuation that the Dreamland campaigners had hopped into bed with the developers. After all, what I'm most interested in is local colour, and unfortunately neither Waterbridge nor Mr Laister are local. Waterbridge are based in Newbury, and Mr Laister appears to run the Dreamland campaign from 15 miles further up the A34 in Wantage.

Turnip Circus In Town

I was idly thinking of tooling over to the Winter Gardens to take a squiz at Stage C of the Turner Contemporary design, which the architects are going to treat us poor mortals to this evening.

But frankly I can't be arsed. If you go, and it looks any better than Stage B (see below), do let me know. No, on second thoughts, don't bother.

Bob Makes A Few Bob

I see from the trade papers that Sir Bob's TV company Ten Alps, which recently won the contract to supply us with Kent County Council TV, has reported pre-tax profits up 36% to £2.3m for the year ended 31 March 2007. Turnover was up 63.5% to £69m.

How cockle-warming to know that my council tax will presumably be helping him make an even bigger lump of folding next year!

Ramsgate Property Nicer Than Margate

According to my counterstateriserometer, a reader in Suffolk landed here earlier this morning by asking Google the following question: 'Property Margate or Ramsgate Nicer'?

So, on the off chance that they should return, and as part of my duty in providing a public service, here's some property in Ramsgate:

And here's some property in Margate:

Sunday, June 17, 2007

SchemeLand

Bear with me, this one's a bit complicated.

According to the BBC Kent website, some old rides from Southport's Pleasureland, which abruptly closed last September, are being put in storage in preparation for the opening of a heritage amusement park on the Dreamland site in Margate.

Now, as far as I can recall, there are currently no plans for a 'heritage amusement park' on the Dreamland site, which has been closed since last year, apart from two tentative proposals put forward by property developers the Margate Town Centre Regeneration Company, aka Waterbridge, aka J Godden Esq (40%). And it's true that one of these proposals mumbled something about putting a few old ferris wheels around the listed scenic railway in order to justify a whole pile of luxury apartments, hotels, 'leisure', the usual old crap.

However, these proposals remain just that, proposals. They are not approved plans, and go totally against the view of a government inspector that the entire site should remain devoted to traditional seaside attractions. So the storage of these rides would appear rather premature.

Premature, that is, until you realise that the Save Dreamland Campaign which has long battled against the developers, has now rolled over and had its tummy tickled by them. Not only do the plans for this 'heritage amusement park' appear on the SDC website, but the SDC's website, in a touching show of mutual appreciation, now appears as a link on the developers' website. So it all now looks rather like a fait accompli.

Still with me? It gets better. Having only been closed for a few months, the reason for putting Southport's Pleasureland rides into storage is because it is being transformed into a '£100m+ Euro Park', according to local sources. Something that Dreamland could only ever, er, dream of it seems.

Plane Stupid

Mind you, impressive as Margate's Big Event is, it does seem more than a trifle unfair that the one weekend of the year when Margatonians have to put up with aircraft flying inches from their rooftops it's Red Arrows and Spitfires, whereas all we get in Ramsgate is those knackered old jumbos threatening to blow our tiles off every ten minutes!

Feeling A Little Crook

Yikes! Must have had a bad prawn at the Big Event yesterday. Either that, or the shock of enjoying a day out in Margate has caused some sort of allergic reaction.

Friday, June 15, 2007

What The Dickens

Oh go on then, I'm in a giving, generous mood, so I'll also mention that Dickens Week starts in Boredstares this weekend too. So if dressing in Victorian bathing costumes and cramming small children up chimleys is your cup of Earl Grey, you know where to go!

Margate Bignews

Quite why I should be publicising Margate, let alone a jolly organised by Thanet Council, is a question only Dr Fraudstein, my celebrity psychiatrist, can answer. But I've been asked to point out that the Arsonists are hosting their 'Big Event' on both days this weekend.

Actually it's a replacement for the Kent Air Show which has been held at Palm Bay for the last two years, but whose organisers went nipples up earlier this year. Still, it's free, and there is a full programme of flying, including the splendid Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, as well as clowns, stunt motorcycle riding, bands, and a beer tent. Acts which particularly caught my eye were:

Bruce Airhead – a man and a six foot balloon
Skate Naked –dazzling duo, winners of five international festivals, and
Zios and Zigra our resident robots (eh?).

You'll also get the chance to enjoy Clown Bluey, Bob Jobbins and a chainsaw carver.

Full Saturday Programme
Full Sunday Programme

It seems that the Red Arrows are only appearing on Saturday, so in case you miss them here they are at the Isle of Wight Festival last weekend, as filmed by my fellow Thanet blogger Big Blog Adem:

Right, that's enough of that Margate talk, it's made me feel a trifle queasy. I'm off to see my shrink.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fish Tale

As I'm sure you've noticed, Margate has recently disappeared from the BBC's weather maps on digital text. But the good news is that, with veteran weather chap Michael Fish standing in for Kaddy Tea-Pot on our local news this week, Ramsgate's been on the telly every single night!

Usually the place names are rotated nightly to avoid letters from 'Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells' complaining that they didn't get a guernsey. Perhaps a strong and unexpected gust of wind blew Fishy's notes on how to change the graphics off his desk.

Fair Comment

Our local council have been awarded a 'fair' for performance from the Audit Commission. That's better than 'weak' in 2004, but not as good as, um, 'good', or even 'excellent'. The commission described the Uranians as having a 'well developed' community leadership role, with ambitions that are 'soundly based on consultation'.

I'll leave it up to you lot to comment, as anything I might say probably wouldn't stand a hope in hell of being classified as 'fair'.

TDC press release

Pass The Huffkins

I've noticed 'Kentish Huffkins' on the menu in a number of eateries around here. There's nothing I enjoy more than a plate of steaming great huffkins.

My old culinary chum Gordon literally swears by them.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Sea Art

Staying with the subject of art, I see Ruth Cutler is progressing nicely with her sea garden at the end of one of those fourteen car parks that adorn our front. Ruth, who I like to think of as Ramsgate's more talented (natch) answer to Margate's Lady of the Soiled Bedsheet, is transforming this patch of scrub into something a bit special with a briny twist.

I understand there were some terrific seaside natives growing there, which would have made splendid home grown fodder for the project, had the council not come along and sprayed it all with weedkiller a few days before she started (natch).

Wall Art


Here's an idea for arts regeneration on the Ile. This rotating wall has been installed by sculptor Richard Wilson (I don't believe it!) at the knackered old Yates's Wine Lodge building in Liverpool. Dubbed Turning The Place Over it's a bargain at £450,000! The official launch is on 20th June.

How about we commission him to do the same thing for Arlington House? It would cost an awful lot less than the £17.4m + £8m we're spending on the Turnip Centre. We could even call it Turnering The Place Over, should we feel the need to keep the connection!

Dome Truths

Mozying along the front yesterday evening in a bid to catch the last rays of the sun, I was overcome by an irresistible urge to have a flutter. And not wishing to go home and change into my DJ, I spurned our Casino Royale in favour of one of those slot palaces so beloved of the local pit bull tugging, track suit brigade.

Suitably armed with a couple of bags of two pence pieces (tuppenny bits in old money), I headed for one of those attractions where you have to judge the right moment to deposit your hard-earned dosh so that it pushes great piles of copper out of the machine. I was doing rather well, until I heard a distinctly non-metallic thud emanate from the pay-out drawer.

It seems I was now the, er, proud owner of a Millennium Dome souvenir eraser, complete with the slogan 'There's No Place Like Dome' on the reverse. I wonder what my old showbiz chum and antiques supremo Michael Aspel would make of that?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

China Syndrome

Reader Jan writes:

It seems we're all turning Chinese here on the Ile de Thanet, what with the announcement of a new development for 3,000,000 Chinese businesses at Manston, and your plan to re-brand our local disused power station as 'Richborough - Our Great Wall of China'. Do you by any chance have any pictures that would show the Chinese how much we welcome their cultural and business input here in Thanet?

Happy to oblige, Jan:

Photo Op

The Uranians are promoting a photo competition on their website, and we're all invited to send in our snaps! It's backed by SEEDA (South East England Development Agency) and runs from 15-30th of June. The blurb says they are looking for photographs...

...that you think uniquely portray the identity of where you live or of a place in the region that you know well, and that shows the way you see or feel about it.

It could be a picture of an individual building, of the place in general, of a public space, a park or private garden or of anything that is significant to that area. Ask yourself, ‘Just what is it that makes the place where I live special?’.

Here's my entry, I've called it 'Granville Landfill'. What do you think?


Sham Pain

Not so long ago one of my fellow Thanet bloggers, Big Adem, exposed an email scam in which the perps were claiming to be dispensing hundreds of pounds worth of M&S vouchers in conjunction with Persimmon Homes. Of course, it turned out to be b*lls.

Now, it would appear, I've fallen foul of a similar scam. This time we're being promised a free case of Veuve Clicquot champagne. Here's what the email says:

Hello all Champagne lovers. Send this message to 10 people, with a copy to markp@spier.co.za Veuve Clicquot France will contact you in order to deliver to you a case of champagne in three weeks. They are doing this to enlarge their database. It does work and you receive 6 bottles in 15 days. Thanks Anna x

Now, upon checking Mr Markp's email address, it would appear to belong to a South African leisure and property business. And just for comparison, here is the French champagne company Veuve Clicquot's site. I rest my case. Or is it half a case? I do wish these spammers would at least be consistent.

Anyhow, as regular readers know my favourite tipple is Krug so it's no loss. And if exposing this gets me 5000+ hits like it did Big Adem, I'll be opening a few bottles this evening!

Update: From Veuve Clicquot's website:

Dear websurfer,

A promotional deal is currently on the Net regarding a free offer of a case of 6 bottles of Veuve Clicquot champagne.

This is a hoax, totally beyond our control; and, of course, we are not the author. We do not gather any e-mail nor build up any database.

We strongly condemn the author of this hoax and hope that it will end.

Yours sincerely,

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin

Monday, June 11, 2007

Firepower Station

As regular readers will know, for some time now I've been pondering what we should do with that disused power station down at Richborough. It seems my application to convert it into a nuclear facility has fallen on stony ground, despite the positive noises the government has been making recently towards glow-in-the-dark electricity generation.

So imagine my surprise to discover that it's already being put to good use - as an urban combat area for pellet-powered war games. These chaps at Shadow Ops Airsoft Ramsgate have renamed the site 'Rackstock Nuclear Power Plant, Nabraska Desert, USA', and are planning 'Operation Rainbow - Year 2018' at Richborough this coming weekend.

Should all go with a bang, methinks, but why stop there? Perhaps we can transform the place into a global tourist attraction, just like those cheeky Kiwis have done with one of their power stations:

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bling King Sell

Flicking through a recent issue of Jewellery Focus, as you do, I stumbled across an advertisement for Hiltons, the Margate jewellers in the crown. Apparently the shop is up for sale, complete with £85,000 goodwill price tag. Maybe they're retiring to concentrate on running the family home, Bling Bleak House in Broadstairs.

So I'd better snap up that little bargain I saw on their website the other day before they go. Patek Philippe watch, secondhand, a snip at £160,000!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Journalist Writes...

Good morning,

I just wanted to drop you a line regarding some of the comments which have appeared on the Eastcliff Richard blog this week.

Although I appreciate that they have not been made by yourself I'm sure you are more than aware that as the publisher of the blog you bear ultimate responsibility for them.

I note with some interest that you have failed to remove several of the more offensive posts relating to myself.

I have no problem with people who may dislike me for whatever reason, did not like my People article, or just generally want to have a moan.

But some have clearly crossed the acceptable line of fair comment and honestly held opinion and veered into libel territory.

For the record I can assure you that I am not - and never have been a Nazi, and take any suggestions otherwise extemely
seriously.

Hence the use of the phrase "Nazi Nick" certainly could be held to be libellous - and as the blog's publisher I'm sure you are aware that had the case been taken to court the onus would have been on yourself to prove I am in fact a member of the Nazis - or risk a payout of substantial damages.

I like your blog and always take the trouble to have a look at what's going on - and am happy to accept any robust criticism which you or your readers may choose to place in my direction.

What I cannot accept, however, are clearly libellous statements such as the ones which continue to be displayed.

If you would like to discuss this matter further please don't hesitate to get in touch.

If these kind of libellous comments continue to appear I will left with no alternative but to instruct my solicitors.

Yours sincerely,

Nick Dorman.

Actually at no point did the phrase 'Nazi Nick' appear in any of the comments appended to my item Dorman of the People but to save him the trouble of instructing his solicitors, all comments that may have been construed as offensive to Mr Dorman have been removed, and I would like to offer him a full apology for any distress that may have been caused.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Join The E.R.A.

The Eastcliff Residents' Association should be out and about in an hour or so, appending more of these protest signs to the 'temporary' fencing along our crumbling cliff top.

According to their website, they do this every Friday at 4.30pm. 'Two years of temporary fence is not right' is their rallying cry, and I wholeheartedly agree with them. Personally, though, I prefer to take more direct action, so this afternoon I've placed an order with Heras for 200 metres of their product to be positioned around my, er, new home at 17 Crow Hill, Broadstairs.

KCC TV Will Not Be In Russian

Leafing through my copy of Around Kent, which that nice ruddy-faced man from Kent County Council sent me today, I notice a feature headlined: It's TV - But Not How (surely 'As'? - Ed.) You Know It.

Alongside a picture of Saint Gob of Beldof, whose company Ten Bobs has won the £600,000 a year contract to run the council's TV station, we are told:

It won't be a re-enactment of Russian TV in the days of communism with someone reading the latest KCC press release.

Phew! Thank heavens for that. My former newsreading chum Olga used to get very fed up reading out those KCC press releases, and the prospect of having to do it all over again was giving her the abdabs. The article continues:

What better way for a youngster to train for a job in the media than to get involved in making real programmes that are relevant and interesting.

No better way indeed, which is why I shall be advising any youngster who asks not to waste his or her time making anything for KCC TV.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Knees Up

Margatonians are holding a bit of a shindig tonight to celebrate the arrival of later opening hours for the season. Fireworks, a band, and all courtesy of Margate Town Partnership. So be in the piazza (that's The Parade in old money) or be, erm, somewhere else.

Actually there's not been a lot of publicity for this, they couldn't even be bothered to flag it on their new website, so heaven knows whether anyone will actually turn up. Still, nobody can say I don't do my bit for the Arsonists.

Up The Front

Thanet Adscene's front page lead today is: Life Changed By A Rhino. No, no, sorry, that's just the ad wrapper extolling the virtues of some kind of Davros undercarriage...

No, the actual front page screams: A Beautiful New Front. And the front they're talking about isn't Dolly Parton impersonator Mandy Winters's either. It's jolly old Ramsgate! Apparently we're about to get a massive £1.5m injection up our front, which will be used to repair some of the 215 listed properties we have in this area over the coming five years. Of course, I shall be applying for a grant to spruce up the old cliff top mansion, a few Gs should do it.

We were told a year ago that the Heritage Lottery Fund was giving us a load of dosh, and Margate and Boredstares got their handouts way back when Cockie was an egg, so this announcement, if it's approved at tonight's council meeting, is a tad overdue but nonetheless welcome.

I don't know. What with the prospect of repairs to our crumbling cliff, the library being rebuilt, and now this, I might have to hang up my computer and retire.

Pleasuredrama

Sniffing around the blog of our local doctor/councillor councillor/doctor last night, I spied a piece of interesting news.

Of course, I wouldn't ordinarily have been lurking there had it not been for a tip-off from one of my vast band of loyal readers that Dr Simes had been bitten by the same dog twice in the space of a few months whilst riding his bicycle. The hound goes by the name of 'Roly', and I was intending to point out that, despite past animosities between Lord Simes and myself, I only possess a cat, Bertie the Burmese, and that training him to do anything more than sleep all day would test the patience of a saint.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered a comment from our local bibliobloke and dogged Pleasurama digger Michael Child. In it he reveals that he has spoken to the architect of the long-awaited Pleasurama development here in Ramsgate, who has told him that our crumbling cliff will be repaired by the council this autumn, in preparation for the start of construction on the site in spring 2008 (a year behind schedule, but never mind).

Quite why he decided to break this important Ramsgate news in such an obscure way, on a little-read blog based in the tawdry Tory north of the island, is beyond me. Still, I suppose we only have the word of the architect, and it was an architect who told us the Turnip Centre would be opening in 2004.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

What A Sauce

Frankly I am not HP! The gig at Dover Castle turned out to be a right stinker. I had to sit in a tunnel all day, covered in ketchup, pretending to be a wounded WW2 airman. I tell you, for an artiste of my calibre it was humiliating beyond belief.

And the facilities! Well, see for yourself...

Happy Blogday!

Lumme! I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd be mentioning the Thanet Times twice in 24 hours, but yesterday's edition was positively rapturous about the Ile's blogging scene a year on from the inception of that terrific Thanet Blog List. They'd even gone to the trouble of baking us silly bloggers a scratch and sniff birthday cake.

What a turn around from the dark days when I began this drivel, which they described back then as 'Cyber Nerd Has Pop At Isle In Posion (sic) Blog Entry'. Now I'm a 'bachelor playboy' who 'has a pop at everything from pizza delivery men to top Tory Sandy Beach'. How things have, um, changed.

There's also a birthday message from our local car crushing, caff crushing, graffiti removing Councillor Dave Green, a mention of my arch nemesis Dr Councillor/Councillor Dr Simon Moores, and a gong for Birchington Boy Justin Brown, who gets the Most Bizarre Blog Award. No mention of Bignews Tony, though, which is a bit of an oversight in my opinion.

Still, the publicity has done me no end of good, and Bev, my agent, rang earlier to say that I've got a late booking for something at Dover Castle. Probably a period drama. Laters!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Dorman Of The People

Northsiders appear to have been much irritated recently by the re-emergence of former Gazunder reporter Nick Dorman at The People. Apparently he's said some rather rude things about Margate in the latest edition of the paper.

I must admit that I haven't bought a red top in years, but rummaging through the piles of newspapers I keep for Bertie's litter tray I found an old copy of the Thanet Times, the Gazunder's sister paper, in which Our Nick used to write a column called 'In the Nick of Time' (geddit!!?!?!).

So in case anyone over in the Arsonists' Playground is on the lookout for him, here he is:

I have no doubt that even Margatonians will be able to spot a chap wearing a cardboard Big Ben outfit.

Click here to read Nick's 'Sun Scroungers' story in The People.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Heras Fencing

Isle of Thanet Gazunder Cut-Out-And-Keep Guide

Everyone's talking about Heras fencing! And with the East Cliff display now in its third season, and growing bigger every year, we've spent half an hour trawling the Heras website to bring you this fence-tastic guide to Heras - the company that invented the concept of temporary fencing and remains the European market leader!

1. If all the Heras fencing in the UK was joined up, it would stretch as far as Copenhagen.
2. Blacksmith Archibald Heras invented the system while attempting to improve the design of mobile bedsteads for Wellington's army.
3. David Bowie's 70s hit We Could Be Heroes was written as an advertising jingle for the firm and was originally called We Could Use Heras.
4. Heras fencing is used at London Zoo to prevent gorillas from accidentally mating.
5. The town of Arras in northern France took its name from the amount of temporary fencing used during its construction.
6. On the Pacific island of Tonga, Heras fencing is seen as a status symbol, with the king possessing more than 23 miles of it.
7. Irish composer Padraig O Floinn's Dublin Symphony uses two lengths of Heras fencing instead of a woodwind section.
8. Many superstitions have grown up around the fencing, and some people in Scotland believe that it can cure warts.
9. Much of the Space Shuttle was constructed out of Heras fencing.
10. Future Prime Minister Gordon Brown is a fan, and refuses to travel without taking at least one section with him.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Shots Heard In Broadstairs High Street

Reader Clive has emailed me this eyewitness account:

I was in Broadstairs High Street this afternoon when I heard two gunshots fired. I also saw a number of armed police, accompanied by a police video unit, along with a number of police vehicles.

BBC local news carried a short report this evening confirming that officers from the Metropolitan Police had carried out a raid in the town in connection with a murder enquiry. And who said nothing ever happened in Boredstares? Oh yes, sorry, it was me.

Update: full report including pictures on Kent Online.

EDF Off

Those garlic munchers at Électricité de France (EDF) did their best to ruin my soufflé earlier. Yet again their hamster fell off its wheel for a good 30 minutes or so.

My spies tell me the power cut was islandwide. Well, I say that, but I only happen to know that the lights also went out in Cliftonville. So they can hardly have noticed, one presumes.

Dog Day Afternoon

Attempting to blow the cobwebs from the old noggin yesterday afternoon, I went for a saunter to Pegwell Bay. Back in April I reported that dogging had become prevalent in the car park there according to one of our local papers, so it was no surprise to see the first of what is hoped to be an annual show in full swing.

One of the organisers told me it had proved quite popular despite a distinct lack of publicity, and that they'd had more than 100 entries. I wasn't surprised, however. Since my report last April, a significant proportion of those who scan my blog appear to have arrived via a Google search for 'dogging + Pegwell Bay', so word has definitely got around.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

VG News

Unfortunately Friday's pub crawl turned into a bit of a session. I believe the current usage is 'mullared'. Consequently I spent the whole of yesterday nursing the mother of all hangovers.

Still, back in harness today, and Dame Janet has emailed me this delightful sketch of Ramsgate by none other than old One Ear himself, Vincent Van Gogh. I'm not sure if she's got the original, but if she has it will make an excellent addition to my Van Gogh Contemporary!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Booze Nooze

Well, well, well. With the Belgian Bar open again, and Churchills painted a tasteful shade of cream, it looks as if a crawl around Ramsgate's rub-a-dubs is in order! And just to put the cherry in the daquiri, the sun's come out!

Ramsgreat Ideas - The Winner!

The judges (me) have spent most of the day scrutinising the piles of entries in my Richard Eastcliff Award For A Grand Design For Ramsgate. The idea was to give Ramsgate an iconic building for the 21st Century, seeing as most of the publicity, and money, seems to go to Margate these days.

The top three have now been picked, and so, in true showbiz fashion, I'll announce the winners in reverse order.

In third place is Terracotta Glenn with his idea, based on a visit to China's famous terracotta army, to place larger-than-lifesize terracotta Vikings along our seafront. Here's what it might look like:

In second place is Dame Janet's comprehensive re-working of the seafront, including a restored Royal Pavilion, swimming pool and skate park (although presumably other types of fish will also be exhibited). You can take a peek at Dame Janet's entry here.

And now for the winner (drum roll). It gives me enormous pleasure to announce that the Richard Eastcliff Award For A Grand Design For Ramsgate goes to... Richard Eastcliff, for his suggestion that Ramsgate should build a Van Gogh Contemporary, seeing as the monaural artist spent at least ten minutes enjoying a cup of tea here once, and if it's good enough for Margate, it should be good enough for us too.

I will forthwith be applying to the relevant authorities for a grant of £169m, which I am assured from initial exploratory discussions will arrive in the form of an open cheque next week.