Sunday, September 30, 2007

Island In The Sun

Where else could you trot out on this nice, sunny morning for your cliff top walk and witness a millionaire basking in the sun at 9am?

This particular captain of industry was relaxing on the cliff top in the comfort of his blue and white sun lounger, soaking up the rays, and enjoying a tin of high class Stella Artois, which, as I'm sure you've gathered from their advertising, is a tincture so expensive that it really is only affordable by the rich and famous.

Proof yet again that the Cannes of Kent is attracting quality tourism, even this late in the season!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Plane Funny

As I sit here in my cliff top mansion, pondering the grim inevitability of the Reverend Lee's 400 tonne red and white lump roaring inches over my head every ten minutes for the next three hours, I'm indebted to reader Mr X for the following pilot jokes, which I shall be emailing to our local flying doctor/councillor, and raking into the Ramsgate sands, as soon as said lump appears:

Q: How many pilots does it take to change a light bulb?
A: Just one. He holds the bulb and the world revolves around him.

Q: How do you know if a pilot is at your party?
A: He'll tell you.

Q: How do you know when you're half way through a date with a pilot?
A: Because he says: 'That's enough about flying, let's talk about me!'

I've Been Poked By Jonathan Ross

I knew it would just be a matter of time before all my old showbiz chums joined me on Facebook. Jonathan Ross has just become my Facebook friend, so I'd like to extend him a right royal welcome to Ramsgate!

He used Facebook's 'poke' facility to get in touch with me, and, well, here we are. I'm not sure the American developers of Facebook are entirely aware of the double meaning that particular verb carries in the UK. It still makes me feel rather icky every time I poke Fiona Bruce.

Oh well, only another 1,166 more friends to gather, and I'll be bigger than JR!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sticking Up For The Visually Impaired

I've been having a spot of bother with the old glass eye. During an important production meeting the other day at Nuts TV it fell out and, to my undying shame, bounced across the table only to become lodged in the ample cleavage of one of the luvverly presenters of Fit and Fearless.

And as I don't get up to town as much as I used to, seeing my Harley Street specialist is proving somewhat of a pain. So I asked him if he could recommend a chap in these parts. Sure enough, I got a letter today from my new Kent consultant, a Mr R. de Cock.

Knowing my usual quack possesses a rather aqueous sense of humour, I imagined he was pulling my plonker. But no, apparently Mr R. de Cock is one of the best minces men in the land. He's even had erudite articles published in Eye, the journal of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists.

Oh well, I'll give him a go I suppose. Let's hope it'll be better than a poke in the proverbial with a, er, sharp stick.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

That Sinking Feeling

With the occasional rat-a-tat of a pneumatic drill alerting me to the fact that development work has begun on the Pleasurama eyesore, it's time to come up with a decent name for the new building.

Officially it's going to be 'Royal Sands', but let's face it, that's a load of old pony. What it needs is a proper name. After all, does anybody know what that cliff top lump near the Western Esplanade in Boredstares is actually called? Of course not. But the Dickensians all know and, er, love it as 'Alcatraz'. So, what shall we call our own cliff bottom lump? Dun Burnin'? The Shelter? No, no, no, I've got a much better idea. Here's my reasoning:

1. It's vaguely ship-shaped.
2. It's got four sticky-out bits.
3. With climate change continuing apace, it'll almost certainly end up putting to sea.
4. It hasn't got enough, or indeed any, lifeboats.
5. In a once-in-a-lifetime storm surge a large object might collide with it, causing it to sink (don't take my word for it, this is our local biblio-bloke Michael Child's 'worst case scenario').

So, guessed the new name yet? It's obvious, isn't it? Say hello to: THE TITANIC!

Full text of Michael Child's research

Update: Here's today's spring tide (28 September) at Ramsgate, as filmed by Michael. A rather moderate example of what the Titanic will be setting sail in! The video was shot from roughly the bottom left hand corner of the above artist's impression of the new development.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Let The Train Take The Strain

Ramsgate has been acclaimed as one of the five most improved train stations in the country by the Campaign for Better Transport (formerly Transport 2000). The report highlights facilities for cyclists, improved access for buses, and sympathetic treatment of the Grade II listed building.

Splendid! Now all we need is those bullet trains and we've got ourselves our own little slice of St. Pancras!

Campaign for Better Transport report

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Benzies' Ain't What They Used To be

Reader Nobby has sent in a couple of suggestions for new names to boost Lib Dem leader Menzies Campbell's ratings. He writes:

How about Glen Campbell? I can just picture him doing Rhinestone Cowboy. Or, sticking with the musical theme, how about Benzies Crosby? A pipe and a croon would do the old chap's image no end of good.
Benzies Crosby: He's dreaming of a yellow Christmas

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me The News!

Cripes! The Gazunder's super-scooping cub reporter Thom Morris has got himself another splash in today's Thanet Times! Although I'm not sure that our local flying doctor/Tory councillor will be particularly chuffed to see one of his aerial photographs illustrating Labour MP Dr Steve Ladyboy's outcry over more predicted traffic chaos at Westwood Livid. Only last weekend Simes was tugging a banner around the Ile urging us to vote Tory if we wanted a say in the EU 'Is it or isn't it a' Treaty debate.

Elsewhere in the paper, lovely editor Rebecca Smith is complaining that Lib Dem leader Ming the Charisma-less has a 'seriously uncool' name. So in the best traditions of Windscale, H Block and Labour I'm launching a poll to find a new moniker for the old fart and boost his ratings. Or if you have a better suggestion email me at

And check out the ECR TV story below for Tony Flaig's view of Westwood Chaos.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Browntongue Disease Sweeps Isle

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder Political Editor R. Slicker

Browntongue Disease, a virus which has already caused the death of many regeneration areas across the UK, has been found in Thanet for the first time.

So far there have been nearly 3,000 cases in the rest of Britain, and political scientists feared it was just a matter of time before the tip of Kent became infected. The condition is carried by Estateagentus Rapacius midgets (Surely midges? - Ed.) when they are blown by warm property winds from hotspots such as Brighton and Whitstable towards milder parts of the country.

The virus itself is transmitted when the midgets lick the bottoms of local politicians and tell them that what the area really needs is a new art gallery/retail park/block of luxury apartments. It is then only a matter of time before the district becomes swollen with enormous Tescos, Travelodges, Turnip Centres and empty penthouses.

(That's enough Browntongue Disease - Ed.)

Blogged Off

No way am I returning to Blogger. Not even if you begged me. I have so many friends now on Facebook (eight). Even our glorious council leader Sandy Beach has joined in the fun! And I'm expecting to announce another big name signing any minute.

OK, I know that other Thanet blogs are attempting to fill the ECR gap. But let's face it, they're not hacking it are they? Just today Dr Biggles ran the story about 3.5bn square metres of glasshouses being erected in Birchington which I broke a week ago. Not the glasshouses, the story.

So you're definitely missing out on all the fun and goss if you don't join me here. See you on the other side!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Dreamland Consultation

Yes yes. I know I said I was off to Facebook but regular reader Millicent has kindly sent me the survey for the TDC Dreamland consultation which the Uranians have seen fit not to put on their website.

So if you want to deluge Cecil Square, feel free to email me at and I'll pop the survey over to you as a .pdf document. Closing date for responses is 12th October.

Update: Thanks to Degsy for pointing out that the survey is now available online here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Last Post

Justin, my publicist, advises me that Blogger has now officially jumped the shark. So where to next? MySpace? Hardly. That's so old hat that it's been grabbed by the Murdochs.

No, the clever money is apparently now on Facebook, so that's where you'll find me in future. If you can work out who I really am that is. Toodle-pip!

The Changing Face Of Thanet

Here's a map I made 18 months ago of the Ile de Thanet and boy, how things have changed! Our casino will soon be moving to Westworld Chaos, and now most of the fart bushes are going to be replaced by tomatoes and peppers.

Still plenty of hairy folkers in Boredstares, though. And the number of pit bull tugging track-suited types in Margate has, if anything, increased!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Corporate B*ll*cks

Bev, my agent, has booked me in for one of those corporate jobs. I'm not normally one to prostitute my art, but the gas bill has just arrived.

On the one or two previous occasions I've presented corporate videos, I've always been struck by the appalling taste in art these large organisations possess. One company had an enormous statue of a naked Greek god proudly standing in front of its revolving doors, greeting all and sundry with the unavoidable sight of its rather over-exaggerated but nonetheless muscular buttocks. But the prize for the best example of arse gratia artis must go to a well-known utility company based in the Home Counties.

When this particular company moved into its shiny new glass palace, the then CEO decided that what it really needed to finish the whole thing off was a statue of a prancing stallion on the roundabout which stood between the east and the west wings. He owned several Ferraris, I seem to recall. However, the artist must have latched on to the testosterone fuelled nature of this commission, and endowed the statue with the heftiest set of equine testicles ever to grace a company forecourt. After a few weeks, and a myriad of complaints, the crestfallen artist was recalled and made to remove the offending spheres with an angle grinder.

The Deputy CEO told me that story, whilst we were waiting for the cameras to be set up. He was a much more amiable cove than the top man, and had therefore been chosen to be the face of the company. His office was on the opposite side of the building to the CEO's. 'He gets to look at the horse's head, and I get to stare at the arse all day,' I remember him saying. 'Shows which way my career's going.' Sure enough, he was history within a year.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Veg Of Teh Known World

Cripes! A new company styling itself 'Thanet Earth' is set to build seven, eight metre high glasshouses on the Ile - covering the equivalent of 75 football pitches - and fill them with tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. Construction of the glasshouses, and a 30,000 square metre pack-house, is due to start in March 2008. The first commercial crops, which will be grown 24/7 using heat and lights, will hit the supermarket shelves in autumn 2008.

Should make a pleasant change from the usual pot plants and fart bushes cultivated in these parts.

Full story

Bloody Immigrants

Proof if ever it were needed that Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula is being swamped. (Note to self: must forward this to Councillor/Dr Biggles.)

Friday, September 14, 2007


Nice to see Gazunder editor Rebecca Smith back at the helm this week after maternity leave. Not only that, but she's written today's front page lead, and what a scoop!

Apparently that bunch from Reading are in talks to sell Margate's Dreamland eyesore to Paigle, the people who did a magnificent job of tarting up the Sea Bathing Hospital, and are planning to do the same to the Cliftonville Lido. The deal could be sealed as early as next month, according to the Gazunder.

Got The Painters In 2

Many thanks to my spies for providing a full report of last night's Eastcliff Residents' Association meeting with the Pleasurama developers (see previous post). The architects, developers and builders were all represented, along with the estate agent and a couple of chaps from TDC (Brian White and Doug Brown). Here are the, er, highlights:

Brian White started saying planning consent had been given but the detail that had been revisited was the final roof design and the material finish – we were shown a piece of grey material which will be on the roof. It was pointed out that residents had not been consulted about the roof changes.

There is money this year to repair the cliff face – but from what was said they seem to be going to remove quite a chunk too. Coping will be put back in place. Epoxy resin coating in light grey colour. Tenders go out next Wednesday.

Knights (the builders) will be on site from next Monday starting traffic changes in Harbour Parade – hope to have meeting soon with local traders and contractors to consult re how to deal with inevitable disturbance. Lady from Playbay asked re parking spaces for her customers – they had not been told work would start Monday. Waffly answer meant in reality they won’t have any spaces. A question was asked about whether there would be hoarding along the cliff top once the repairs had been effected, Knights replied that waist high railings would be sufficient for site protection.

107 apartments, 60 bed hotel, restaurant, shops etc. “virtually” at existing level. Environment Agency say it should be 5.5m above sea level but in fact is 6.05 m. In the event of a 1953 style flood the retail on the ground floor would flood but the apartments would be OK. Height has been “depressed”. Explained roof gardens etc. Spaces for 184 cars on site i.e. 1 car per appartment, 1 car per hotel room plus 17 spare for traders – none for visitors. Said this was going to be a “stunning development” that will regenerate the town. Terence Painter said there was lots of interest - one hotel chain was on the point of signing but they were still talking with others. Will take 2.5 years to complete.

Geoff Woods asked if SFP Ventures (the developer) would be willing to support bandstand project financially – Terence Painter said he was willing to discuss it.

Jocelyn McCarthy asked about which route all the building lorries would take into town – the reply was twisted to mean just site access but that was not what Jocelyn asked. Terence P said there was a meeting next week to discuss this. Gerry O’Ramsgate asked again about the effect on the harbour traders during two and a half years of building works – said their concerns were not really being taken seriously (applause).

Other points which came up during the meeting were that the Marina Restaurant is to be redeveloped, space for traditional seaside entertainments and amusements in the new Pleasurama development is a commercial rather than a planning issue, flat owners will not have a clause in their lease preventing complaints about music at the bandstand (following the recent complaints from flat owners about music from the bandstand in Cliftonville).

Peter Landi rounded off the meeting very succinctly saying he was horrified that they (the developers and council) had come to the meeting so ill-prepared. Were the council aware of the extent of the tunnels under the East Cliff? He lived on the East Cliff during the war and remembers the vibrations from the bombs and anti-aircraft guns and was not sure the cliff was going to stand all the work just about to be done to it.

The general feeling was that residents had not been consulted even though work is supposed to start on Monday. No definite plans are in place for site access and lorries through the town. No guarantee of safe access to the beach. Not enough parking places – Doug Brown went off at a complete tangent claiming it was political to assume people would use cars less in future and raving on about walking buses to schools which had nothing whatsoever to do with the evening’s topic.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Got The Painters In

Just a reminder that the Eastcliff Residents' Association meets tonight at 7.30pm. Special guest will be diminutive property magnate Terence Painter, who's i/c flogging the Pleasurama development should it ever be built.

Expect some tough questions about the height of the building, the concomitant repairs to our crumbling East Cliff, and whether every luxury apartment will come with its own life raft, due to it being built on a flood plain. Should have a full report for you tomorrow.

Margate Couple Scoop £8m

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder Money Editor Dud Fivers

A couple from Margate are celebrating their good fortune this week after picking up a massive £8m cheque.

Sid and Doris Wantsum went from rags to riches after seeing an advertisement in a glossy architecture magazine at their dentist. 'It was inviting designs for an arts centre in Margate,' a delighted Doris told the Gazunder. 'Sid used to be a builder and had the plans left over from a conservatory he put up, so we took a chance and sent them in.' A week later a cheque for £8m arrived.

The couple say they are now planning to spend the money on a big house in Marbella (Shurely Margate? - Ed.).

Here's how you can cash in:

1. Draw building on back of fag packet.
2. Post to SEEDA/Arts Council/KCC
3. Sit back and plan your holiday - the cheque's in the post!

Picture This

As a patron of the arts, I'm often looking for new material to hang in the gallery here at my cliff top mansion. The Monets are quite nice, but to be frank I'm getting a bit bored with them. What it needs is something that reflects the area. Something with a bit of brine, a dab of decline, and a smidge of seaside seediness.

Which is why I was delighted to find the photographic musings of Mr DJ Bass on that flickr photo thingo on the internet. His studies of the tip of Kent are nothing short of superb. I could wax lyrical, but a million words would hardly do justice to his pictures. So I urge you to sneak a peek for yourselves.

Click here to see DJ Bass on flickr

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New Paper

It's here - the very first edition of your super, soaraway yourthanet! I picked this up from a pile in the corner of the corner shop this morning. Published by those nice people at Kent on Sunday, yourthanet imaginatively styles itself The newspaper for Margate, Ramsgate, Broadstairs and district.

As you can see, the front page splashes drooping fortunes at Pfizer, our local Viagra manufacturer, whose lead has definitely fallen out of its pencil. Mind you, the writing was already on that particular wall back in December. The paper's nicely laid out, with the usual KOS mix of style, celebrity, and a little bit of news thrown in. There's even a 'mystery blogger' who does a passable but ultimately unconvincing imitation of yours truly. All wrapped around the meat in the sandwich - reams and reams of ads for property and cars.

My old mate Frank appears to be a big fan, judging by the number of pages he's taken out. In fact local bigwigs have flocked to congratulate KOS on the launch. Among the twittering stars in Thanet's firmament to append their best wishes are Sir Roger Wind, Dr Steve Ladychap, and our glorious council leader Sandy Beach, who, with no sense of irony whatsoever, given the story on page 5 which details Margate traders at their wits' ends over the closure of the Dreamland cinema ('There's nothing left here'), kicks off his spiel with: 'People and businesses are upbeat and they talk about the opportunities that are available.' Constant plugs, too, for yourkenttv, a pallid version of my own ECR TV surrounded by annoying ads.

Oh well, it's bound to be ludicrously lucrative, and will certainly give Sadscene a run for its money, if not the Gazunder itself. Now, all I need is a silly name for it. Anyone for yawnthanet?

Update: Kent County Council's TV offering, due to launch on 21st September courtesy of 1.6m of your council tax pounds, is now running a promo on its website. Typically for a made in Maidstone production, their opening gambit is: 'Kent TV, coming soon from Maidstone, Canterbury, Faversham, Tunbridge Wells, Dover, Whitstable!' Not a dickie bird about the 127,000 souls who live in Kent's East End.

Honestly, next time my council tax demand arrives, I'm seriously contemplating posting the cheque to Lille.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dr Richdiet Says...

OK. You know you want it. I know you want it. Here it is. The next nail-biting instalment of 'Dr Richdiet Says...'!

The story so far... Dr Helmet Richdiet, the man charged by Thanet District Council with administering the £1.5m Heritage Lottery Tarting-Up-Ramsgate-Front Fund has resigned in a fit of Teutonic pique. He's accused the project of being underfunded, and the Uranians of making too many promises. Basic skills and proper ways of working do not exist on the Ile. Now read on, before it completely burns a hole in my inbox...

All key projects are blocked.

West Cliff Terrace Mansions: Not any chance to start the restoration of one of the most beautiful buildings in England in collaboration with these property owners, who have played cat and mouse with TDC for decades. Enforcement did and does not exist in reality.
[Sentence removed for legal reasons.]

The only solution to save this building might be, that the National Trust or a similar organisation buys it, that it is restored according heritage standards and then may sold again. WCTM might become a pilot project for a professional restoration combined with modern equipment like a real central heating, a central aerial, a roof garden with view to France, and a rainwater soak-away, sealants in bathrooms and kitchens, sound insulation in the hollow floors and so on.

Devonshire House: One building, two property owners. New and existing property owners are not able to manage such a large and difficult project.

Nelson Crescent/Prospect Terrace: All property owners want to have all for free. Wealthy people are applying for grants to let replace some rotten sill-boards, because they have spent all their money inside.

Kent Terrace and Sion Hill: Insensitive Planning Permissions by TDC. Trouble with the neighbourhood is programmed. HLF and English Heritage will not be amused. The architects should read the booklet, which is written by the Prince of Wales 20 years ago.

Albion Place: It is not possible to close the bomb gaps. The residents do not want to loose their parking.

Granville House: Large amount of basic reinstatement works, which may be impossible to be financed and managed by the property owners. [Sentence removed for legal reasons.]

Royal Harbour, Arches in Military Rd and Royal Esplanade: Somebody has forgotten to prepare a professional sealant in 1993. To make it may cost £ millions now. The cleaning of the brickwork face is wasting money without having sealed all leaks properly before.
[Sentence removed for legal reasons.] TDC, KCC and English Heritage are blocking each other. In the meantime one of the badly corroded antique German steel beams of the prime generation of mild steel may break. That may cause more damages to the structure than to remove them immediately.

Hmm. Something is rotten in the state of Thanet, and it ain't just the buildings!

Once Upon A Time In The North

I know you're dying for the next instalment of 'Dr Richdiet Says...' but I'm sticking with the Arsonists' Playground today. Reader Millicent has sent me this cutting from the Thanet Times dated 31st May 1901:

Margate, the sun of the East Coast, the healthiest place in the Universe, the children’s paradise, the Londoners’ pleasure resort, the invalids’ last hope. It rejuvenates the old, makes strong the weak, and invigorates the jaded. You buy a railway ticket and we do the rest. The air, which contains more health giving properties to the cubic inch than any other town in England, is laid direct on the North Sea. Nature’s marvellous panorama of sea, cliff, and sands may be viewed free of charge. Thousands can witness without payment, the glorious sunsets which are considered the biggest things of their kind in England. Margate, the paragon of watering-places. Come and try it and when you return to your homes restored in health and strength, recommend your friends to come too.

Stripe me pink! They don't write publicity material like that any more! Not about Margate anyway. There's a bit about the rest of the Ile too:

This beautiful Isle of Thanet, in addition to its being grandly rich in its historical associations, filling the soul with admiration and delight, gives life and vigour, health and strength to every visitor that honours it with their presence, and hold to declare that it is nothing less than a foretaste of the precious elixir of immortality.

The precious elixir of immortality, eh? I think they stock that down at Superdrug these days, don't they?

Dreamland Themeland

The results of my latest 7-day poll show that a modern theme park or aquarium are your top choices for restoring Margate's Dreamland eyesore to its former glory.

Interestingly more people would prefer to let the place rot or burn down than build luxury apartments on the site. And less than a third felt that a heritage amusement park was just the ticket for revitalising the area's fortunes. The results in full (more than one choice was allowed in the poll):

Question: What should be done with Dreamland?

Modern theme park: 60% (24 votes)
Aquarium: 50% (20 votes)
Ice rink/other leisure: 40% (16 votes)
Heritage amusement park: 30% (12 votes)
Let it rot/burn: 17% (7 votes)
Luxury apartments: 5% (2 votes)

Don't forget our local council is currently holding a consultation on Dreamland until 12th October, so if you really do want a modern theme park, now's the time to tell them. So that they can ignore you and rubber stamp luxury apartments and a heritage amusement park, of course.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Company Cardigan

How splendid to be back in Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula! Not quite the welcome I imagined, though. No comments, and Sir Roger Wind staring up at me from the doormat at the old CTM, imploring me to fight crime by placing his sticker in my window. I'm sure his gummy smile would be enough to deter even the most hardened bogus salesman, but as far as I know he's not even my MP. No, that honour goes to Dr Steve Ladychap.

Ah well. I had a good run back from Snives in the Priapus, and while I was there Alain, my cardi-ologist, fitted me for a gorgeous, hand-loomed organic hemp number, so I'll be cutting a dash on the Croisette later (Churchills). A bientot!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Tate That

Apologies to the hoard (Degsy) who are clearly gagging for the next thrilling instalment of 'Dr Richdiet Says...' but I've been called down to the tip of Cornwall by my old arts chums at Tate St. Ives. Something about urgently needing something hung well. Or was it someone well hung? It escapes me now. So you'll have to wait a couple of days to hear more of the Teutonic apparatchik's valediction to Thanet Council. Crumbs! I think I might have swallowed a dictionary for breakfast!

The Tate has worked miracles for St. Ives and the surrounding area, just like the Turnip Centre will undoubtedly do for Thanet. When I was in St. Ives a couple of months ago I got into a conversation with the lady who's run the fudge shop on the front since Cocky was an egg, and she was positively effusive.

'They're trying to build an extension. We've all petitioned against it, but it won't do any bloody good,' she proclaimed. 'But it must have benefited the area?' I countered. 'Oh yes. You get the arty types and the surfers now. But they don't buy fudge. They come in and ask if they can have a small slice to taste it.' Proof, then, of the boom times ahead for Margate!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dr Richdiet Says...

I've had to omit a couple of sentences here for legal reasons. Herr Dr Richdiet continues:

English Heritage is not able to give support. Their rules for scaffolding on listed buildings are ridiculous and are ignoring European Norms and British Standards. I am afraid to let erect scaffolds at buildings of the seafront. Basic requirements of safe working condition are not available in Thanet. I am waiting for a structural adviser for months.

Nobody wants to play with me neither the property owners (“Dr Richdiet makes it too expensive for us”) nor the consultants (“Dr Richdiet wants to know single unit prices. What a terrible question”), nor the contractors (“We don’t like to disclose our price calculations”).

A private consultant is not able to work out a solution for the replacement of a tiny balcony within half a year. A quantity surveyor is refusing to disclose quantities of his project. His tender documents are medieval and opaque. Structural engineers are inexperienced or only want to work for nightclub-prices.
(Eh? - Ed.) Basic requirements for a good restoration are not available in Thanet: Experienced engineers, serious consultants and surveyors, skilled tradesmen.

There's loads more if you want it. But honestly, I'm an artiste! I need an audience! [Exits stage left sobbing uncontrollably.]

Dr Richdiet Says...

The whole concept of HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund) is bound to fail especially during such a boom time of reinstatement works like in Thanet now. In my opinion everybody is blocking everybody in Thanet. There has been not any serious investigation or calculation before the application to HLF. There is not enough money for such a large project. In reality I might not give more than 10% as grant. There have been too many promises by TDC before the grant scheme has started. Not anybody of the property owners is interested in the quality of works. Some of them thought TDC might finance a proper lick of paint. And contractors are booked-out until next year!

Would you like to see some more?

Germany Calling

I see our local council have just introduced fixed penalty fines for litter louts. Just in time, it would seem, because you'll never guess what I found in a pile of rubbish on Augusta Road today? Only the resignation letter from that German fellow they employed to administer £1.5m of tarting up money from the Heritage Lottery Fund for Ramsgate! It must have been thrown out with all those old nappies and sanitary towels.

The money is earmarked for improvement schemes to buildings in the conservation area, which now stretches right along Ramsgate front. But Dr Helmet Richdiet resigned a couple of months ago in a fit of frustration at the lack of co-operation and skills he found in the area. It makes uncomfortable, if rather Teutonic reading for Thanet Council, I can say! Yes, yes, I know it's been in the local papers, but not everyone who reads this blog is local, are they? And now I've got the whole letter, not just selected snippets.

So would you like to see it?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bussed Up

When you're a celebrity, like me, you don't take public transport. The hoards of fans and autograph hunters are just too much to bear. I have noticed, however, that we're pretty well served for public transport here on the Ile de Thanet, and have often wondered what it would be like to travel on the Thanet Loop. Well last night I got my chance.

Meandering along the grimy back streets behind our beautiful East Cliff in search of a late night bottle of Chardonnay, I came across a single decker bus attempting to negotiate the junction of D'Este Road and Truro Road. I wasn't aware that this was a normal route for this service, and it soon transpired that the driver wasn't aware of the normal route either. He had become wedged between the cars parked on all sides of this narrow junction, and was stuck.

Quick as a flash he leapt out of his bus and beckoned me over. 'I was on my way back to the depot and took the wrong turn, Can you help? You'll have to get up the back and give me directions.' As the vehicle was empty, I was happy to oblige. Which was how I got a free ride, in reverse, all the way to Victoria Parade, a distance of at least 50 yards.

Well, as they say on their buses, you'd be loopy not to, wouldn't you?

Update: As some of you have pointed out, the entire episode was rather reminiscent of this:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Life's A Mitch

As ever your super, soaraway Eastcliff Richard is first with the blogging news! Say hello to Ramsgate Mitch, who's retired from the world of serious work and now devotes his time to family, renovating his house and 'trying to keep out of mischief', amongst other things.

Mitch says: I'm going to try and use this log on a daily basis and let you know about things as they happen here. There won't be anything controversial because the whole set up is global not just one known person to another. Some of the 'blogs' I've looked at seem to want to shock and maybe push radical thinking beyond acceptable boundaries. Not here it'll be my day to day happenings that could be of interest to those who know me.

I wonder who he could mean by that?

All Agog At The Synagogue

Our local biblio-bloke, Michael Child, who owns the splendid Michael's Book Shop in Ramsgate's trendy King Street, has been out and about with his camera again. His latest collection is from the recent rare open day at the Montefiore Synagogue and Mausoleum between Dumpton Park Drive and Hereson Road.

For those of you with only a slender grasp of Ramsgate history, Sir Moses Montefiore was the original millionaire to settle in the Millionaire's Playground, way back in Victorian times. He was a renowned wit, and a huge benefactor to the town. I like to think I'm continuing that tradition.

According to his entry in Wikipedia in 1873 a local paper mistakenly ran his obituary, to which his response was: 'Thank God to have been able to hear of the rumour and to read an account of the same, with my own eyes, without using spectacles.' A local paper making a mistake? Surely not!

Anyhoo, you can see all Michael's photos here. And I'm not one to be picky, but why on earth he's got a link to the flying doctor on his front page, and not Ramsgate's current foremost citizen, heaven knows!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Dreamland Poll Chance

With the listed cinema due to close later this year due to competition from the new multiplex at Westworld Chaos, the final nail has been well and truly driven into the Dreamland coffin. There've been many suggestions as to what should replace it, with the front runner currently a mix of residential and retail, plus a few old rides preserved in aspic as a sop to the Save Dreamland campaigners.

But what do you think? I've added another 7-day poll to my sidebar, with a number of choices to vote for. And just in case you have more than one preference, I've configured it so you can vote for any combination you like.

So, what are you waiting for? Get voting!

Update: Our local council are currently holding one of their marvellous 'public consultations' on the future of Dreamland. Next Monday, 10th September, they will be hosting a 'drop-in session' for two whole hours from 2pm to 4pm when you'll be able to talk to council officers, fill out a survey and have your say. Providing, one assumes, that you say the right things. The survey is, apparently, also available online on their website, but I'm buggered if I can find it.

Click here for council press release. Closing date for the 'consultation' is 12th October.

Charity Begins At Ramsgate

Whilst on an urgent mission to the Costcutter for essential provisions yesterday (high strength painkillers), I noticed a new charity box next to the till.

Being a millionaire, I usually deposit any spare coppers in the RNLI lifeboat as those chaps do marvellous work, and all deserve to be cannonised in my humble opinion. Often, however, the lifeboat is stuffed to the gunwales as other millionaires hereabouts feel the same, and so it was on this occasion. So I moved on to the St John Ambulance box, but that too possessed an elegant sufficiency. It was at that point that I spied a new, third box for something called Beach Within Reach. As it didn't sport a registered charity number, merely a mobile phone number, I have to admit I was slightly sus, but I popped my two pennorth in nonetheless.

This morning I checked on the Charity Commission website, and it seems that Beach Within Reach was formed in June this year, with the primary aim of relieving the needs of people with a physical limitation by supplying, operating and maintaining four all terrain wheelchairs together with associated items for use on Ramsgate Main Beach to enable equal access for people of all ages with a physical limitation and for use by local organisations and charities who work with people with a physical limitation in order to enable them to both use the sands and enter shallow water. More details can be found here.

So, a genuine and worthy cause after all. By the way, you may have seen those posters advertising the Quality Coast Awards around the place. I've already done my bit and given Ramsgate a write-up, if you'd care to do the same you can find their site here.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Venice Of The North

Before I tool off and get astonishingly drunk with my Finnish fiends, I see that yesterday's Times mentioned Exodus, that Channel 4 film they made in the Arsonists' Playground last year. It's been entered for the Venice Film Festival. Here's what they say about Margate:

Exodus features 25 nonactors who were given speaking roles, and more than 800 extras. All are from Margate, Kent, which thrived when Turner painted there but which today is defined by unemployment, drugs, crime and asylum-seekers.

Talk about give a dog a bad name.

Full story

Those Crazy Finns!

I'm kicking back a bit today. It's my birthday. 29. At least, that what it says on the publicity handouts. I'm pretty philosophical about it. After all, as the great Finnish ski jumper Matti Nykänen once said: 'Tomorrow is always the future'. That was after he went on to become a boozed-up cabaret singer and male stripper, one assumes.

Actually there's a bit of a Finnish theme to today's celebrations, as I've booked my old Eurovision-winning chums Lordi to play in the marquee here at the CTM. I'm taking their advice and freezing some vodka to use as ice cubes in the, er, vodka.

Ah yes, they're a great bunch, the Finns. Open, honest and direct, as this clip amply demonstrates: