Monday, February 11, 2008

Beside The Seaside

Following my triumph at the Baftas last night (dishing out 500 prawn vol-au-vents in under an hour is no mean feat I'll have you know), I've decided to reinstate my name above the title.

Before setting off for the smoke yesterday, I went for a stroll along the prom here in the Millionaires' Playground. Glorious sunshine, heaps of visitors, no training flights, everything a seaside town should be in the summer, except in February! But being the 'living, gloating metaphor of all that's wrong with our society', you wouldn't expect me to putting up pictures of happy people enjoying themselves, would you? No, thought not. So here's what I clocked:

Rubble cleared from the recent 'conservation' of our Marina Restaurant. Builders in charge appear to be Willow Construction Ltd. It seems to have become a bit of a tourist attraction in its own right, albeit in a shaking of the head in disbelief and tut-tutting kind of way.

A bit further along, these listed buildings on Kent Terrace are in a fine old state (click on the picture to see the full gory details). How long before a puff of wind sends them the same way as the Marina? I gather the owners have been asked to tart them up, but with an outlook that includes ten acres of flat roof felt above an amusement arcade, on which someone has dumped an old sofa, I can see why there's little incentive.

The end of my stroll, and the charming vista of illegally parked foreign lorries on the Western Undercliff. Our beloved council charges them £10 for a stay in the port lorry park, but has only ever issued one ticket along here, so it's a no brainer as far as the drivers are concerned. The only downside is that there are no toilet facilities, but hey, no worries! An empty bottle of Lucozade, or a plastic bag if it's biggies, soon fixes that!

The obvious solution would be for port security to patrol this area and clamp any offenders. But that would involve one part of the council (Maritime Services) talking to another (Foreshores? Open Spaces? Answers on a postcard.) And we all know that ain't ever going to happen, don't we?


Millicent said...

Nice photos - the pictures of Kent Terrace reminds me of another building not a million miles away on the clifftop - also with a beautiful balcony which has been shamefully neglected by TDC

Mitch said...

Nice update Richard, the weather's good for the time of year though. Didn't see you at the awards there was no elderly gent with whiskers and a monacle...
What's Willow selling?

Eastcliff Richard said...

You mean Oblivion House, Millicent? Yes, how long before that goes the way of all listed buildings round here?

And Mitch, I did a search for Willow Construction Ltd. Found a company oop north of that name but it changed to Level 3 Nightclub in 2007. However, before anyone gets overexcited about the Marina being converted into a groove-tastic nightery, there was another firm called Willow Construction (Kent) Ltd., who are probably these fellows, they've just omitted the '(Kent)' out of their sign, I suppose.

Perhaps out of embarrassment at playing their own small part in converting the Garden of England into the Patio of London.

Anonymous said...

I lived near the western undercliff and that was the beach I took my children to. It would seem a might dangerous today methinks.
This is progress we are assured!

Anonymous said...

with something like 1100 grade II listed properties in Ramsgate and no easy way to apply for grants to help with the upkeep of these propertiesit is not suprising that many fall into disrepair (kent terrace. As for the old restaurant am I the only person who reads this blog who actually thinks it was an ugly looking building of no great merit? If the argument is that we should be able to upkeep these buildings our selves when we purchase them then surely there must be many property owners in Ramsgate including home owners and Landlords that should hang their heads in shame, both east and west sides and for that matter central Ramsgate

Anonymous said...


Am I right in assuming that you are unfamiliar with the concept of "Facade de giro" ?

In the context of quality assurance (building to the highest quality) "Facade de giro" is a very important matter to weigh.

I am not writing this merely because it has potential to wind the good doc biggles up.

There is an expression "The real McCoy". Apparently this was to do with an American boxer. Some nights "McCoy" might box at several venures and all at the same time. IE He had "Dopplegangers", men using his identity to work (paying him a kickback).

So you would not be sure of seeing the real McCoy.

There was another level to this. Because even if it was the real McCoy, a man of what would now be called Thatcherite principles, he was wont to throw fights if the pay off represented sufficient profit margin.

Supposing the payoff was not sufficient then it would be the hapless opponent who would see the real McCoy. If he wasn't on an earner then he liked an early night so wallop and he knocked the opponent out. Market forces.

This story (perhaps embroidered over the years) featrured in our thoughts back in the 80s. There was a solicitor in Margate taking county court actions for repossession against five families per day.

So we asked a local tory, I think his name was Bully Hate-One, to explain moneterism.

There he was with a graph. Inflation represented by one curve against a time base of years. The other curve was unemployment over the same period.

Well blow me down with me graduate level maths if one curve warnt the recprocal of the other and no mistake.

Then out he comes with another graph. A leaner meaner workforce generating a greater profit.

Well it jumps out at you doesn't it ?

The country clearly needed high unemployment to purge out the evil of inflation. And it needed fewer people listed as employed in order to maximise the profit margin and motive.

It was to boxing once again we turned in order to determine how we would help old Maggie in her aims for the national economy.

Eamonm Andrews, as a young man, had done radio commentary on an amateur boxing competition. Whenh it came to his bout he left the commentary box and fought. Then returned to commentate on the remaining bouts.

Muhammad Ali on hearing this story told Eamonm "You good but I am better because I can box and commentate at the same time"

There was the answer. Unemployed and working at the same time. On the one hand providing the unemployment necessary to combat inflation but, at the same time using the methods of the real McCoy, providing a lean mean work force.

To understand this you must imagine the converse of identity theft. To whit Identity Hire.

Supposing I wanted to do some work. I might call in at the tool hire establishment (how the hell are you former bouncing brother Mickey ? then I would go to the Identity Hire shop.

Last time I was in there I was offered the working identity of a Richard Eastcliff. This would enable me to continue receiving my dole unabated (and happily to remain on the crucial anti inflationary dole register) of course. Whilst I commend us that we are all thatcherites now I stand appallled at the asking price for hire of the Eastcliff identity. That was not profit motive that is robbery. With those sort of fees for hiring outs one's ID to a working Thatcherite brother he'll end up living in a mansion.

So the reason you might not have seen the real Eastcliff (and if you had he would not have been sporting his signing on or tax returning makeup) may have been that a doppleganger Thanet dole fiddler was working in the Eastcliff name. And the real ECR may have been in his clifftop abode doing nothing other than drawing his id hire fees .....

Quality control ?

When you are up to this sort of thing you do a good job so as to avoid questions. At least we always do (ask TDC Building Regs ... the only bit of authority in Thanet with whom we get on. No iterative bollocks with those boys. You know the bureaucratic hoop jumping game we do it and then they tell us that is wrong by the regs. Sounds lads they tell us upfront what is required and we do it. All TDC has got to do is ask the Building Regs guys to recommend a builder and tick the box marked no publicity)

Which means ECR, if our advice is taken and we renovate the old noshery that you better be scarce with that camnera of yours. I have had quite enough of working in a monocled bewhiskered mask just in case some local know all takes piccies of interest to the benefits lads and lasses eh.

Anonymous said...

An addendum to above.

A good few years ago, almost back to a decade after innovation of Doppleganger (Thanet) Inc, we carried out our most unusual doppleganger dole fiddling task.

We came close to being exposed too !

The job was simple enough. We did Thanet Police nightshift one weekend.

Problem was all the letters of praise, for the weekend's policing, in the following Friday's Thanet Gazette letters page.

So there are occasions when it is our stanbdard terms high quality performance that can cause questions to be asked.

Eastcliff Richard said...

Not sure I quite get your gist there, old bean, but, um, cheers for popping by.

Anonymous said...

Could this mean ECR that you are not really a dole sponger at all ?

The Dopplegang is a system by which one guy is not signed on and say five other guys work using his name. That way there is no cross ref back to their benefits claims.

They knock out a bung (an id hire fee).

Then they draw wages and dole so as to avoid bailliffs, foreclosure and malnutrition.

I know of one case where the tax man phoned the ID supplier and asked if he knew how many places he had worked at the same time. The guy acted aghast.

Has someone used my ID how outrageous etc.

Then the tax man asked which work was the work he had done

"That depends on whether you are assessing a rebate or assessing a bill ... if the former then it was the real me earning the most if the latter then it was the real me earned the least".

You couldn't make it up (and I didn't make it up .....)

But if you are so unfamiliar with the modus operandi of Thanet welfare spongery, no wonder my story escaped your gist.

I am now wondering of I should have provided explanatory footnotes in case Doc Biggles reads the piece. He has already written that maths is not his strong point.

Anonymous said...

I could more easily believe 1100 grade II 'listing' properties!

Puzzled? said...

Of course if you demolish a building because it is listing I presume you are no longer required to list it because it isn't there any more - or am I mistaken?

Anonymous said...


I feel a duty to explain now (this is the pre Tax Credit system obviously)

Suppose a former serviceman reaches pension age and our grateful nation pays him just enough to buy luxuries like bread and shoe laces ?

One day he encounters Doppleganger Inc. (perhaps at the Lodge)

A big muscular Dopplegang director asks if seven 12 hour night shifts guarding a building site would alleviate the veteran's poverty.

"You won't lose any sleep over it mate" (Wink)

So the security firm books seven 12 hour night shifts per week down to our pensioner ?

But he aint really there ECR. The guys guarding the site are hard cases signing on the Thanet dole register and working on the side(let me know if enlightenment is dawning here)

This brings the pensioner into tax ?

The company pays his PAYE by making deductions from the black economy pay of the dole lads. And another deduction to pay the pensioner his good weekly bung for doing diddly.

What is not required is for any theft from the site to occur as that would be a basis for someone asking questions ?

Hence the security is good.

This is why there is a cause and effect relationship between the fiddle and the quality control achieved doing the work.

Same with some of the sites in London which had backup generators installed mate. The poor quality control emerging from the factory just had to be reported in the national interest. A Doppleganger would not touch it. Installing crap no way. That is the sort of thing PAYE blokes do and call themselves honest.

I am satisfied now ECR that you have barely immersed a toe in Thanet culture.

Cllr David Green said...

Thanet Life suspended!
Hope you're sorry now?

jolyon said...

re: an earlier comment. the upkeep (or otherwise) of listed buildings very often reflects the overall 'health' of a town / community. it is a reflection, a spiral, a vicious circle, etc.

Anonymous said...

Biggles has crashed and burned.All getting a little close to home for him I reckon.

Red Baron

Anonymous said...

Just wish more was done to preseve our heritage and care of our coastline. It seems that our Council doesn't understand that this presevation is vital to tourism and the well being of the local economy. What is currently going on, is only accelerating the decline of our precious Isle.

tigger said...

Funny that, I was sitting on the bench on the westcliff on Sunday afternoon opposite the Churchill tavern, watching kids on bikes, seagulls hovering above me and observing the strange British habit of removing clothes at the slightest glimpse of the sun when my carefree perusing was rudely disturbed when I spotted a 'gentleman' urinating copiously onto a fence at the bottom of the cliff. Lovely.

Anonymous said...

Look at your threads closely and see what you missed ECR.

Lucy Mail said...

Thanks for all the info. on dole scrounging, anonymous, though I do feel that you could have condensed it to a couple of paragraphs.
Being a dole scrounger myself, er, temporarily I hope, I think your ideas could work for me!
Having a little old lady of 84 living next door to me, I was on the verge of popping round there to knock her on the head and nick her purse. Though, after taking your ideas on board, it would seem to be kinder to send her out to work and then claim her wages for a nominal fee.
Everyone's a winner!
Well done you!