Friday, May 30, 2008

Ramsgate Rocks

Unfortunately I couldn't make this morning's official opening of the new project by Thanet's greatest living-here artist (Tracey only visits), Ruth Cutler. Her Sea Garden project, which she's crafted from local stones and plants, was due to be unveiled by none other than our local MP Dr Steve Ladyboy at 11am. Here's one I snapped off through the railings a few months ago when it was a work in progress. Ruth's asked everyone to rally round and look after, or even add to, the sea garden so do feel free to lend a helping hand.

Meanwhile Ramsgate's newest charity, Beach Within Reach, has also been launched today with a fun event on the sands. The charity aims to provide all-terrain wheelchairs that can be used by adults and children, with no hire charge only a returnable deposit. BWR's Treasurer, Kim Twyman, told me: 'These All-Terrain wheelchairs will be on Ramsgate main beach for the new season of 2008 and on other beaches in the Thanet area as funds permit. We hope this project will increase the tourism industry in our area. We are trying to reach charities, organizations and schools out of the area that run holidays/breaks/days out for the disabled.'

Good on yer, Kim! The launch is also being featured on the BBC's teeny-tiny news today, so if any of you lot want to catch a glimpse you'd better dash home by 6.30!

Click here for more details of Ruth Cutler's sea garden
Click here for more on Beach Within Reach

The White Cliffs Of Ramsgate

With the red veil slowly being lifted from our once crumbling, now repaired Eastcliff here in the Cannes of Kent to reveal our answer to Dover's proverbials, Chief O'Donnell of Ramsgate First writes:

I went down to see the partial unveiling of the cliff face on Ramsgate front yesterday. It looks very white, bright and clean and on a sunny day should give us all snow blindness. Still mustn’t carp. It's not for the likes of us (ratepayers) anyway – it will mostly be covered up by the new carbuncle that SFP (Whoever) Ltd might, perhaps, build there thanks to the obliging and cynical old ruling junta on TDC.

The railings on the cliff-top look very bright and shiny too. Unfortunately they end abruptly and unevenly exactly at the point above where the new flats that might be built by SFP (Wherever) Ltd will end. Coincidence? Having restored over 750 feet of path, railings and cliff face they should have finished the job and continued to the Augusta steps – another 150 feet at most. And it looks like an unfinished job and that, of course, is par for the gang from the North Side Chapter of Thanet – the Conswervative Cowboys. It will become a monument to their monumental cynicism.

In the meantime what will happen if the housing market continues to fall in value? SFP (Whatever) Ltd could be left with unsold apartments for years. Will they defer the build until house prices rise sufficiently to make this ugly carbuncle viable again? If so can we look forward to another five years of an empty site? Probably. It could only happen in Thanet.

Gerry, as ever, not holding any punches there. I'd have to add that I do trust my council tax won't be going up when they have to repaint it in a few years' time for the benefit of the Titanic's residents. I wonder how long before it's covered in graffiti?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Libel To Offend

I've just received this email from Mr Dudley of the Gazunder:

Hello Mr Eastcliff,

I read your recent blog about Ramsgate FC with great interest and decided to look into the story. You might be interested to hear that the chairman of the club has asserted to the
Gazette that the blog entry is untrue and libellous and that the club is taking legal advice. He told us the issue is not related to money. This will be mentioned in my story and I thought you might like to give us your response to the chairman’s reaction.

Best wishes, Joel

To which my response was:

Not really. I've had it up to my ears with you lot printing crap libel stories about my blog.

All the best, ECR

A trifle harsh, perhaps, but really! Ever since the Thanet Blog Wars earlier this year, when the Gazunder printed unsubstantiated allegations from a certain blue rinse councillor about 'anonymous blogs', I must say I've read our local blue top with a considerable portion of salt. In light of the fact that my original story was liberally peppered with phrases like 'rumour', 'word is', 'talk of' and 'apparently', I can't imagine even the quickest witted of m'learneds (of which there are few) being able to trump up a charge of malicious falsehood. And the question must also be asked, if the Rams are that cheesed off with the post (although I doubt they even read it until Mr Dudley kindly told them about it), why haven't they done the simplest, and cheapest, thing and emailed me demanding an apology? It's ever so easy. Just click on my email address in the top right hand corner.

Finally, I note they haven't denied arsing off the youth teams, according to Mr Dudley. Just that the issue isn't related to money. Kuh!

Going For Bronze

The Ile's Olympics dividend currently stands at exactly 0 as far as I can make out, with today's announcement of 11 potential training sites for the Paralympics, none of them here in the tip of Kent. Those that do get a guernsey include Dartford, Gillingham, Sevenoaks, Ashford and Canterbury.

I suppose there's still a glimmer of hope as Margate beach and the Marlowe Academy have been listed, along with 630 other sites across the UK, as possible training sites for the main Olympics. But still, it's hardly a gold rush. Which is no doubt how we'll be describing the UK's performance come 2012.

Click here for full story on BBC website
Click here for possible Olympic sites in Kent in yourfannitinnit

Harbour Views

With other local commentators seemingly obsessed by that old Chinese water chestnut at the moment, there's more than an air of ennui in the blogosphere. I mean, who could care less about water when there's plenty of champagne at the local Waitrose?

So what better way to brighten things up than to talk about accountancy? There's been some debate recently about whether Ramsgate's splendid port and harbour is a net contributor to the council's coffers or not, with campaigning biblio-bloke Michael Child unearthing some figures which appear to show us council taxpayers subsidising the place to the tune of more than 800,000 lovely pounds a year.

However, after a lengthy chat with my accountant Cyril (which frankly left me feeling more than a little lightheaded) I can exclusively reveal that on a day-to-day, cash flow basis the port, harbour and marina contribute substantially - to the tune of around half a million smackeroonies a year. The reason for the deficit is apparently asset depreciation - the amount the council considers everything has crumbled by over the year. Which, let's face it, given the way things are allowed to fall apart in Thanet, is always going to be substantial.

Further evidence comes in the form of a missive from the Ramsgate Marina Association which states that the marina alone makes a profit, after all expenses, in excess of £250K a year. You might be interested to know that TDC gaily includes this particular piece of campaigning literature in all the bills it sends to boat owners. Shades of Gerald Ratner telling everyone his jewellery was 'total crap' if you ask me!
Click on image to enlarge

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Football Crazy

A rumour has reached the old Eastcliff lugholes that our local footie team, Ramsgate FC, has dropped its youth and kiddies sides after parents failed to come up with the wad it was demanding to fund them. Word is that the Rams wanted five grand and that when the grown-ups said 'bugger off', they did just that.

One anonymous contributor told me: 'There is a bit of Thanet history with kids and football. Margate FC tried the same thing, so the kids decamped to Ramsgate FC. Now they've done it too.' Apparently both Margate and Ramsgate FCs are on their uppers, so there's now talk of an amalgamation to form Fannit United. Oh for the simpler days of yore, when matches were played on the Goodwin Sands and footballers were happy with a kipper as payment!
Yes, those really are kippers they're holding

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Give Our Towns The Wedge!

Regular contributor Millicent has emailed me with details of the new Wedge card. Aimed at giving local, independent shops the Wedge edge, the card is the brainchild of Big Issue founder John Bird. Here's what they say in their blurb:

Wedge Card is a new way to get discounts/savings and special offers from hundreds of local shops and independent businesses. We aim to re-vitalise local communities by offering a reward to customers choosing to shop locally. We launched in Central London in December 2006 and will be spreading across the UK in the months to come. Wedge is the little man. The local independent shopkeeper and all the locals who love the fact that their High Street hasn't fallen prey to the large multinational large chain, turning it well into well, a faceless, desensitized "brand only" environment. At Wedge we know that individually we might be small, but when we all come together, we're rather big and tall and our bite is just as big as our bark. Together we can help keep our local High Street local and independent. So join us today and let's keep all that's good and independent about your high street.

OK, it's only London based at the moment. But given the state of our local high streets, which seem to be having the life sucked out of them by the big brands at Brownwater (Westwood Cross), it's surely worth getting in touch and seeing if they plan to roll it out round here toute de suite, isn't it?

Click here to go to Wedge website

Ramsgate 'Too Weird For Words'

I see my old broadcasting chum Dylan Winter has, er, captured the essence of the Millionaires' Playground as part of his circumnavigation of Britain, which he's doing piecemeal at the weekends and in any other spare time he gets in a 40 year old sailing boat he purchased for a mere two thousand quid.

It's interesting to have an outsider's perspective on the place, but it's a bit rich, if you ask me, being labelled 'weird' by someone who lives a stone's throw from Milton Keynes! Anyway, here's his Ramsgate instalment:

Monday, May 26, 2008

Teeny-Tiny Tears Over Teeny-Tiny Council

Regular contributor Steve reports that Friday's inaugural, go-it-alone meeting of the Tim Garbutt inspired alternative Ramsgate council was attended by 'three men and a dog'. Now Chief O'Donnell, head Ramsgate Firster, writes:

Tim Garbutt has used the back of my email to propose setting up his own 'Ramsgate Town Council'. He wanted a public meeting and a committee formed to 'sack the Charter Trustees, TDC, etc etc'. I found Tim's proposals ludicrous and Ramsgate First rejects them utterly.

Before advising those of you who had received my previous email of this fact I stopped off at Albion House on Friday 22nd May at 7.00pm to attend Tim's proposed meeting so that I could inform him personally of the contents of this email.

Though the meeting was advertised in the Gazette it appears that nobody at Albion House was informed and consequently Tim and a couple of other people were unable to gain admittance. I therefore informed him on the doorstep that his proposals were unacceptable and that all he was doing was possibly jeopardising the parish council. There are some churls in TDC who are itching to scratch Ramsgate parish council and that Tim's intervention might give them ammunition.

I have to say I like Tim Garbutt. There is no doubting his sincerity but his waywardness, especially in his hatred of TDC, often leads him to express thoughts that frighten off others. I think Tim thinks that I am now some kind of Uncle Tom - betraying his own. He is wrong of course. Often is.

It is quite obvious that Tim's views are shared by a few, a very few: less than a handful of people judging by the attendance on Friday and that in no way is he representative of the overwhelming majority of the people of Ramsgate.

I hope, therefore, not to hear some councillors suggest there is any linkage between Mr Garbutt and Ramsgate First or the good people of Ramsgate in their pursuit of their own parish/town council. There is none.

To which Tim Garbutt has responded:

Gerry's opinions are all true: however next meeting of Ramsgate Town Council 7pm Friday. In Ramsgate Town Hall or on the steps again.

18 months and no Town Council is too long. TDC is a failed council. Could Richard Samuel provide the keys?

You have to admire the fighting spirit Thanet Council generates. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no great admirer of the Uranians, as regular readers will have realised all too long ago. But I'm afraid that anti-council initiatives seem to spring up in these parts with the same kind of monotonous regularity as luxury apartment blocks, only to subsequently crumble quicker than our lovely listed buildings. So for better or worse, I think I'll be sticking to the current Tweedledum/Tweedledee political arrangement for the time being.

Meltdown A Washout?

What a shame for everyone concerned that we've been cursed with the traditional bank holiday blow, accompanied by horizontal rain, for today's first ever Ace Cafe Margate Meltdown bike run. Beach football, arm wrestling and dry cracker eating seem so much more fun in the sun, I always think.

Still, like yesterday, perhaps the weather will clear up and we'll be able to admire those magnificent men and their motorcycling machines after all. It's just the kind of event Margate needs to put it back on the map. Let's just hope the map hasn't turned into papier-mâché by the time they get here!

Click here for Margate Meltdown on Ace Cafe website

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Start Of The Pier Show

I do hope everyone will be trundling over to the Arsonists' Playground today for the official opening of the newly-revamped pier. Although I'll admit to some resentment that the Ile's finest gallery, IOTA, which used to be based here in the Millionaires' Playground, has brazenly gone over to the other side. And I'm not sure some of the hard-pressed traders in Margate High Street are that struck at having subsidised competition on their doorstep. Still, all part of the masterplan to turn Margate into the arts capital of Kent, and Ramsgate into a truck stop and runway, I suppose.

Later on I'll be inviting some of my celebrity chums round to the old cliff top mansion for a Eurovision party. After last year's woeful UK effort, in which Skooch cheesily impersonated the cabin crew of British Airways, the world's most patronising airline (how on earth did they think that was going to win over the continentals?), I think we're in with a better shout this time. And there's always Sir Terry Wigon's commentary to chortle at. Unfortunately, though, the turkey that should have won it has already been, er, stuffed at the semi-final stage (listen out for the classic line: 'Eastern Europe we love you, do you like Irish stew?'):

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sandy's Thanet Diary

Only in your super, soaraway Eastcliff Richard! Each week top Thanet politician Sandy Beach gives us his insight into the island!!!

Bloody 'ell! Wot a bleedin' mess in Broadstairs the uvver week!!!??? The place looked like a fuckin' tip. Yobs!! We'll bloody 'ave 'em. Extra rozzers, dispersal orders, beach wardens - bish, bash, bosh!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's all the flamin' government's fault. Tossers. Wankers. Fucking tossers!!!! Gordon Brarn? GORDON BRARN!!! Gordon bloody blimey more like it!! In my face, one-eye! In my chuffin' face!!!!

Look wot we done for Fannit. Margit's bleedin' marvellous, aynit? Ramsgit's go' a loada boats. Bleedin' kushti. 'Ad a pint in Broadstairs the uvver day. Smashin'. (You said that last week. And the week before - Ed.)

That's enough diary - Ed.

Money Down The Drain Was Well Spent

Well, it was for Margate and Broadstairs at least. According to the Marine Conservation Society's latest Good Beach Guide, the new Thanet doo-doo treatment plant built by Southern Water last year 'is benefiting beaches from Margate to Broadstairs'.

This bucks the general trend in the South East, which, according to the MCS, 'appears to be paying the price for the rate of new build in the region, with its high population density and extensive house building programmes'. It attributes this year's overall 10% drop in top-grade beaches to the unusually bad summer last year, with all the rain washing those germy borries off the streets and farmland directly into the ocean. Yurgh!

The MCS classified Margate Main Sands as 'recommended', the highest level, which it has achieved for two years on the trot. Viking Bay in Boredstares still only managed a 'basic pass' (the statutory minimum for water quality) for the second year in a row. Ramsgate Sands went from 'basic pass' to 'guideline' (good water quality standard only). Which seems to be a step up, so there may be a chance of getting our Blue Flag back this century!

Meanwhile I see today's Gazunder is reporting a 'huge surge of froth around the Thanet coastline', due to 'molecules of fat and proteins and sex cells from algae trying to breed becoming foamy when churned up with air bubbles'. Time to get out the rubber togs, methinks!

Click here for MCS story on BBC website
Click here for MCS Good Beach Guide
Click here for algae love custard story on Gazunder website

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Last Cab Off The Rank

Today's Sadscene leads with the news that the traditional London cabbies' charity fun run to Margate has been cancelled due to the fact that there is, in reality, no more fun to be had in the Arsonists' Playground. Unless it's with a can of petrol and a box of Bryant and Mays, that is.

The run's been going since 1973, bringing mentally handicapped children and their carers to the town for a spot of welcome levity by the seaside. But no more, as the organising committee claims there is 'not enough to do' in the town. Committee chair Michael Range told the paper: 'It's down to inadequate facilities.' Other runs to Herne Bay and Hastings will continue, with Mr Range adding: 'We don't get the help from Margate. It's always been a battle. Margate has, for a while, been a thorn in our side. It's been a great venue for 30 years but not anymore.'

Blue Rinse shagpiler Sandy Beach is quoted as saying he could not understand the decision, and that he thought it was 'just politics being played out'. Personally I think Sandy should get his head out of the, er, sand, or his arse, or wherever he keeps it and take a good look around him!

Click here to go to London taxi drivers' charity website

The Revolution Starts At 7pm

Local businessman and publicist Tim Garbutt has emailed to say he's going ahead with his plan to create 'a de facto Ramsgate town council', following TDC's tardy response to the overwhelming desire for more local representation here in the Cannes of Kent. He writes:

The meetings are from 7pm this Friday and next Friday at Albion House (Ramsgate’s Town Hall) - on the steps if it remains locked - to create the Town Council.

Why don’t you stand: you care about the town - put forward a list of nominees too? I think 6-10 people is about the right number?

Well, I'm afraid modesty would prevent me from getting involved Tim. Plus, as regular readers have probably noted, I'm cursed with a certain, er, hamfisted approach when it comes to politics. Still, if there's a free lunch at Mrs Garbutt's world-renowned Surin restaurant on offer, I may be persuaded to change my mind!

Growing Problem

Holy smoke! I see Her Majesty's Rozzers have raided yet more homes here in the Millionaires' Playground in their never-ending quest to halt the eccentric horticulture that seems to thrive in our lovely local micro-climate. The cops pounced on 300 cannabis plants being grown in three houses in Church Road yesterday.

That's the second big Ramsgate raid this year, on top of the closure of what was described as the UK's largest cannabis factory in an industrial unit on the outskirts of town in 2006. I dread to think what the judges at the Chelsea Flower Show would make of it all. One honking fat Camberwell carrot, one presumes.

Click here for full story on BBC website

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


With the filthy French blockading their own Channel ports again, it looks like Ramsgate - Oostende has become the crossing of choice for the truckies. Pootling past the port tunnel road in the Priapus just now, it was nose to tail with juggernauts backed right up onto the roundabouts. In fact the sign said it was officially closed - our own mini version of Operation Stack perhaps - and trucks were being diverted to the port through the town.

Still, it's all money for the port, which already contributes a tidy sum to the council coffers. Who knows, if the French keep this up, we could all get a rebate on our council tax next year! Vive la difference!

Mrs Tara Plumbing To The Rescue!

With Mr Ceaucescu (no relation) currently off on a ten day 'friendship' cruise with Mrs Eastcliff (relation) (formerly Mrs Ceaucescu (no relation)), I'm short of a factotum here at the old cliff top mansion. So when a leak developed in the west wing plumbing yesterday I was at a bit of a loss as to what to do.

But then I had a flash of inspiration! Why not call fellow Thanet blogger Mrs Tara Plumbing? Quick as a wink I was on the old telling bone, and a very friendly and efficient lady called Deborah (would that be Mrs TP herself?) said they could probably come round in the afternoon, but she'd have to call me back to confirm. Which, unlike just about every other plumbing service I've ever used, she did. Not only that, but the plumber chap himself phoned half an hour before he arrived to say that he'd be arriving in, er, half an hour. At which point he proceeded to jiggle with my plumbing to maximum effect. Hurrah for Mrs TP!

Click here to visit Mrs TP's blog

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Small Point

According to a story in today's Thanet Times, 'cops have caught short perverts indulging in sex acts in Minster's public loos.' Apparently they had to let them off with cautions due to lack of evidence. Oh, go on then, please yourselves!

Click here for full story in Thanet Times

Blowing Your Own Trumpet

Nice work if you're a contortionist or have had a rib surgically removed, but that's not really what I'm talking about. No, it's more to do with an email I've received from a council insider with a document entitled 'Press highlights for Thanet District Council - April 2008' attached.

The document has evidently been produced by the PR department to demonstrate their sterling work in pulling the wool over the eyes of Her Majesty's Press, and lists some of April's successes as:
  • Council's action following the Scenic Railway were (sic) covered in the Guardian and Daily Mail
  • Front page coverage of the Margate Rocks festival in the Adscene
  • Front page coverage of benefit fraud cases brought by TDC in the Thanet Times
  • Etc etc etc
Apparently in the first four months of 2008 only 5% of the 440 articles about the council in the local press showed it in a bad light. So hurrah for TDC, eh? Er, well, not quite because their own customer stats tell a different story. For the three months from February 2008 to April 2008 they received a whopping 168 complaints, compared to a paltry 39 compliments. And that has to be seen in light of the fact that many complaints get treated as 'requests for service' and hence don't even make it onto the list.

Still, they're at least recoginsing that people do have complaints. Over at our lovely airport, the online complaints form on their new, super-duper website isn't even working!

Click here to see TDC complaints stats
Click here to try and complain to the airport

Monday, May 19, 2008

Margate's Mechanical Elephant

I'm indebted to Philip Page, proprietor of the splendid Bling Bling Bling jewellery and piercing emporium on Margate's lower high street, for his excellent research in finding this clip.

If you've ever wondered why there's a pub on Margate front called The Mechanical Elephant, it's because Margate used to boast a, er, mechanical elephant. Here it is in its full, petrol-propelled pachydermic glory on a 50s Pathè newsreel (complete with clipped tone commentary), trundling up and down the prom:

Astonishingly Britain used to lead the world in the production of mechanical elephants. This one was later sold to the late, great, dearly-departed Peter Sellers as part of his eccentric collection of automobilia.

The location appears to be the Rendezvous car park area, where the Ike and Tina Turner Centre is planned. Perhaps fittingly, many cynics have already described the proposed art gallery in elephantine terms, by the expedient of merely substituting the adjective 'white' for 'mechanical'.

Update: Talking of the Turnip, I see TC director Victoria Pomery recently gave an in-depth interview about the whole debacle to Building Design. Click here to read on.


As exclusively predicted last week in your super, soaraway Eastcliff Richard, Ramsgate Firster Gerry O'Donnell has now put in an FOI request to Thanet Council demanding to know what progress has been made towards establishing a teeny-tiny council here in the Millionaires' Playground. In an official letter today to TDC's Chief Executive, Chief O'Donnell writes:

I have been informed by the Communities and Local Government department that Thanet District Council has been allowed to organise the process (as allowed under the 2007 Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act, specifically, chapters 3 & 4.)

As you are aware from my previous email dated 7th May to the Department for Communities and Local Government, we in Ramsgate First, who organised the Petition that triggered the whole process, are concerned by the delays that have attended the implementation of Thanet District Council’s request to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government in December 2006 that Ramsgate be granted its own parish council.

I have been previously advised by the department of Communities and Local Government that the delays are entirely of Thanet District Council’s making and that but for these delays there was every reason to suppose that elections to a Ramsgate Parish Council could have taken place in May 2008.

I am now requesting you, under the Freedom of Information Act, to advise Ramsgate First and the Press, within 21 days, of what you are proposing to recommend to the Full Council, and when, so as to fulfil, as soon as possible, the overwhelming democratic will of the electorate of the unparished areas of Ramsgate, as expressed in a referendum organised by Thanet District Council in November 2006, which was to have their own Parish/Town Council.

Yours faithfully,
Gerry O’Donnell
Ramsgate First

Strong words from our Jezzer there. Let's hope they have the desired effect!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

East Cliff Reopened By Little Old Lady

Hurrah! At long last the barricades have been torn down and millionaires are now free to roam at will along our once crumbling, now repaired cliff top! Well, er, actually it appears to have been an act of defiance by one of the local grans, who's clearly been taking her iron tablets:

Either that or Her Madge (gawd bless 'er) had been booked to do the honours. Didn't spot any corgis, though.

Meanwhile, regular contributor Steve has also been out and about this afternoon, and sent me the latest piccies of the Western Undercliff (unofficial) lorry park via his mobile:

As you can see, the trucks have parked where there should only be cars, so the cars have been forced to park where there should only be grass. Our beloved council have recently, er, parked a scheme to prevent this situation, caused by foreign (and hence 'untouchable') truckers waiting for the ferry, by erecting lorry-unfriendly bollards. Instead their new masterplan is to have a 'three month monitoring period'. Yes, of course, 'monitoring' it will make all the difference, won't it!

Water Blogged

Fellow Thanet blogger Bertie Biggles writes:

Richard, I have been trying to help Amy Murray out at Manston re (the proposed China) Gateway (30 squillion sq. ft. business park which will sit atop our water supply and could make Camelford look like a tea party should anything go awry). Have just set up a 'protest' site that will deal with all Gateway stuff in due course. As the Isle's premier site can you look at:

and if poss direct people to it to make voices heard? Loved the Balkan flavour to your posts last week! Bertie.

Happy to oblige, Bertie old sport. If anyone else has a story they'd like publicised on 'the Isle's premier site', just email me - the link is in the top right hand corner, under that picture of a ruggedly handsome cove whose, um, name escapes me for the moment. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, you can always come and sit on my Facebook - you can find the link to that in the same place. Pip pip!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pin Back Your Lugholes

Regular reader Mr Dickens of Broadstairs writes:

I am putting in a plug for a really bluegrass psychobilly duo from New Orleans, Truckstop Honeymoon, who are playing the Sarah Thorne Theatre Club in Broadstairs this Saturday night.

Some friends gave me a CD of their stuff and I was dreading what it might be like - it turned out to be excellent and the kind of thing you would normally have to leave the island for, rather than have them land on your doorstep. Tickets are a tenner, doors open at 7.45pm.

Having sampled their ditties on MySpace, where they describe their music as 'like a Dodge with a burnt out clutch... two speeds and no reverse', I utterly concur Mr D!

Click here to go to Truckstop Honeymoon on MySpace
Click here to go to Sarah Thorne Theatre club website

Thanet Janet

Only in your super, soaraway Eastcliff Richard! Each week local author Janet Thanet gives us her insight into the island!!!

I'd been meaning to take the dog for a walk but somehow hadn't quite got around to it after Rodney treated me to an echinacea rub in our gorgeous walled garden. Enjoying a cup of organic Earl Grey, I was miles away, remembering dreamy days on the beach at our beloved Broadstairs.

I'd been suffering from a touch of anxiety brought on by the time of the month, and what with all the hoo-ha surrounding the launch of my latest book How to turn a million words into a million quid (Snood Press, £9.99) had quite forgotten that Bunty was coming over for luncheon. Only when darling Rover started barking at the gate did I arouse from my reverie.

Cutting the crusts off the egg and cress sandwiches seemed so prosaic after the dreaminess of the morning that next time I shall have to prevail upon Rodney, methinks.

What's that got to do with Thanet? - Ed.

Life's A Beach

I see the Dickensians over in Boredstares are getting uppity over the amount of litter that was left on their beach after last week's sweltering weekend. According to the front page of today's Gazunder more than 100 bottles, empty drink cans and dirty nappies (eeurgh!) were left strewn across the sands in Viking Bay.

However, here in the Millionaires' Playground we get a better class of visitor. Here's what I found on a recent stroll along the strand:

1. Fortnum's picnic hamper
2. Copy of Country Life
3. Seven bottles of Dom Perignon
4. Five bottles of Krug
5. Apple iPhone
6. Two jars of Gentleman's Relish
7. Pair of Prada sunglasses
8. Chemical toilet from Sunseeker Portofino 35
9. Porsche Cayenne (minus wheels)
10. Bentley Continental (burnt out)

As you can see, you don't just get any old rubbish in Ramsgate!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tough Stuff

Regular reader Irritating Bloke (don't ask) has emailed to highlight a story in this week's Thanet Times. As if to prove that not everyone is a lily-livered, out-of-work celebrity here on the Ile de Thanet, Ramsgate's very own Sergeant Richy Richardson (I definitely approve of the name!) of the Army Physical Training Corps has just trained the top two winning teams at the Sandhurst Cup, an international military competition held at Westpoint Virginia involving 35 nations.

Sgt Richardson's day job consists of putting trainee officers through their paces at Sandhurst military college. 'The transfer to APTC is more difficult than SAS selection so the boy done well!' writes IB. And the fact that the aforementioned IB used to train him at Dumpton Gym as a teenager might also explain why he's grown up with such, er, grit and determination!

Click here to read full story in Thanet Times

Going For A Burn-Up

Given that the only things to have melted down in Margate recently have been half a million quid's worth of fruit machines and the bolts on the listed Scenic Railway, it's good to see those hairy bikers at London's famous Ace Cafe putting their faith in a burn-up to the Arsonists' Playground this coming bank holiday Monday.

Let's hope the Rockers are given a, er, warmer welcome than the Mods last year. If you recall, the scooterists had their camp site relocated at the last minute to somewhere north of Great Yarmouth after Worried of Westgate developed a nervous twitch and febrile visions of running battles up and down the comatose streets of God's Waiting Room. In the end, far from resembling mad skinheads hellbent on trashing the joint, the 'Mods', most of whom were themselves in their granddad years, were happy to sit with a quiet pint and a plate of cockles. But all were agreed that the snotty attitude displayed by some Thanetians had put not a few mockers on the occasion.

As a Mod-turned-Rocker myself, I'll be there to welcome the visitors with a cheery smile and a can of chain lube. I'd advise our local biker-baiter blogger, Nervous of Margate, to make other arrangements for his bank holiday, though. Perhaps a day out in Ramsgate would be the thing, eh Nervous?

Click here for Margate Meltdown on Ace Cafe website

Only One Port In A Storm

According to our port's latest publicity bumf, Oostende is apparently the only continental destination available from Ramsgate. Well, call me old-fashioned, but I thought if you were in a boat you could pretty much go wherever you like, so it seems rather limiting to advertise the port's services in favour of its one and only customer - TransEuropa Ferries. And if we're only going to advertise their route, why aren't they paying for this sort of marketing mullarkey rather than the beleaguered council taxpayers?

Anyhoo, I thought I'd bone up on Oostende (Ostend in old money) and managed to get hold of their impressive tourist magazine, which is described in the intro as 'bursting with sensuousness'. 50 glossy pages chock full of photos, maps and places to see and stay, it does indeed make the place look like a veritable tourism paradise. And most of their marvellous monuments appear to have been restored or kept in spic and span nick! Oh to be Belgian!

Click here to visit Oostende tourism website
Click here to visit Thanet tourism website

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Parish Pump

News just in from Ramsgate First's impressive cliff top HQ (see above) - head RFer Gerry O'Donnell is apparently on the warpath over the way TDC has been dragging its heels setting up a teeny-tiny council for the Millionaires' Playground.

Despite overwhelming support for a parish council in a petition, and in a subsequent TDC-funded referendum, there's still no date for elections, or, indeed, any sign that anything is happening at all. Now Chief O'Donnell has put in an FOI application to the government department for governing local government asking what progress, if any, TDC have made towards getting their balls rolling.

The suspicion is that they'd prefer to kick these particular balls into touch, using recent legislation which gives them full control over local arrangements, but I'm told that, as the Ramsgate decision was taken before the new rules came in, they'll have more luck finding Lord Lucan partaking of a quick snifter down the Belgian Bar!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tour De Thanet

Whilst some people may be disappointed to learn that I'm not a 'welfare sponger with a political axe to grind', I am, nonetheless, a barely employed celebrity millionaire with an old throbber to thrash. So this afternoon I whipped it out and took a sunshine tour of our lovely tip of Kent.

It seems the old dirt track in King George VI Park has had the tarmac treatment and is now a bit of a cycle path (the old jokes are best). On to Boredstares, where York Gate has now been repaired following lorry damage a few weeks back. Still no height restriction sign there, though. Harpers Wine Bar looks to be in action again until midnight most evenings, after their contretemps with the licensing authorities a while back.

The de-duallling of Fart Hill in Margate seems to be causing the odd jam.

New 3 tonne weight limit signs on the ramp over the underground khazis are presumably there to prevent the town gaining an unplanned, er, bog hole.

Margate sands baking in the sun. A litter picker's work is never done, given that most Margatonians seem to regard anything more than a two foot treck to the bin with their garbage as something only a person with the fortitude and stamina of Sir Ranulph Fiennes might undertake.

Droit House looking its loveliest. What a shame the clock's only right twice a day! Still, on the bright side, I was in Margate for at least an hour and I didn't spot a single fire.

Turn On, Tune In, Drop Off

Yikes! According to yesterday's excellent Kent On Sunday, your taxpayer funded Kent TV has failed to meet its visitor targets in the first eight months since its launch.

Despite enjoying a hefty £1.6m subsidy, the station only attracted just over 20,000 visitors in March, well down on its 50,000 target. And considerably down, I might add, on my latest contribution to ECR TV, which got 30,000 hits in the space of a few days - and at absolutely no cost to you! The Kent County Council channel, which is run by Sir Gob's Ten Alps production company, was also projected to make £260,000 in advertising and sponsorship in its second year, but so far has only picked up a woeful £10,000.

KCC's opposition Labour group says it is becoming increasingly concerned that 'the protestations of political even-handedness are being slowly eroded with certain prospective parliamentary candidates being given preferential billing, while the local election coverage has been cleverly unbalanced.' Which was dismissed, rather arrogantly if you ask me, by a Ten Alps spokeswoman as 'playground party politics'.

Still, you have to read the story with more than a modicum of sodium chloride, since Kent On Sunday is owned by KOS Media, which in turn produces rival yourKentTV, where a viewing figure of more than 20 is a cause for celebration and treble gin and tonics all round!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Normal Service Has Been Resumed

My thanks to Mr Ceaucescu (no relation) for steadfastly holding the fort while I was away getting hitched to the lovely Mrs Ceaucescu (no relation) at the Elvis Wedding Chapel, Las Vegas.

I suppose I must now refer to her as Mrs Eastcliff (relation), although I'm none too sure about the legalities, and she still seems to prefer the company of Mr Ceaucescu (no relation) when it comes to staying out all night clubbing. Still, it'll make a lovely, exclusive spread in What Ho! magazine!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Councillor Knacker - An Apology

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder Legal Editor Betty Swallocks

In our report on Friday, April 25, we said former Mayor Les Knacker had been found guilty of breaching the Standards Board for England code of conduct following a fracas at a civic pork pie eating competition last year. As pointed out by his legal adviser, The Right Hon Mr Chiselum QC, Cllr Knacker was in fact cleared of any misconduct. We would like to apologise for our error. Cllr Knacker was, however, found guilty of breaching the code in an earlier matter, concerning a diary entry which referred to a 'Wogs night'. We have been asked to make it clear there has never been any evidence Cllr Knacker is racist, nor has there been any evidence of racial harassment, and we accept his explanation that, due to dyslexia, he had misspelled the entry, which in fact referred to a toupé-ware party organised by his wife. We, and our accountants, are happy to make these points clear.

Sandy's Thanet Diary

Only in your super, soaraway Eastcliff Richard! Each week top Thanet politician Sandy Beach gives us his insight into the island!!!

Margit effin' rocks! 'Sall abart bleedin' art aynit? That friggin' poster though!!!??? What a flippin' balls-up! Made the place look like a fuckin' tip. Tossers! Arty-farty tossers!!!

Look wot we done for Fannit. Margit's bleedin' marvellous, aynit? Ramsgit's go' a loada boats. Bleedin' kushti. 'Ad a pint in Broadstairs the uvver day. Smashin'. (You said that last week - Ed.)

Farmers? Luv 'em! Bleedin' luv 'em!! Luvvly juicy marters, tasty taters, bloody luv 'em. Sweet as a nut. Kushti. Builda loada green arses, marters, the flippin' lot. Wot's better? China! Fuckin' luvvly. Sweet 'n' sour chicken, special fried rice, banana fritters, smashin'!! 'Ello me old China! Geddit!!?!?!!

That's enough diary - Ed.

Ramsgate The 'Capital Of Thanet' Says Guide

The new Roughing It Guide to England describes Ramsgate as 'the capital of Thanet' and 'a handsome resort'. The guide contains:

If Thanet had a capital, it would be RAMSGATE, a handsome resort, rich in robust Victorian red-brick. Most of the town is set high on a cliff linked to the seafront and harbour by broad, sweeping ramps, with the villas on the seaward side displaying wrought-iron verandas and bricked-in windows – a legacy of the tax on glazed windows. A large-scale regeneration project in the harbour and along the seafront is breathing some new life into the area.

It labels the Maritime Museum as a good point so why the blooding council want to close it, I ask? Also, with this high tourism praise, why also the blooding council:

- Fly lumping great planes over?
- Not dredging of the harbour?
- Allowing Grade II listed buildings being liquidised?
- Letting of the Pavilion and other lovely buildings into crumbs?

Boredstares also allows a fridge magnet in the guide saying: 'BROADSTAIRS is the smallest, quietest and, undoubtedly, the most pleasant of Thanet's resort towns.' Margate is not getting a mentioning ha ha.

Knock here to see Ramsgate in new Roughing It Guide To England
Knock here to see Broadstairs in new Roughing It Guide To England

Friday, May 09, 2008

Margate Monkey Bites The Dust

Crummings! Yet another closure in Margate's Venerable Town, as predicted here on the tip-top blog for the Thanetians!

This occasion it is Harbour Monkey which will be scampering back up the tree for eternity, superseding less than one year vends of cards, photographic printings, bags and home accessorise. Which is full shame since Mrs Ceaucescu (no relation) was big-up fan of the joint, making no mistake. The owner lady, Mrs Julie Compton, relates:

I am closing the doors on Harbour Monkey (the shop) on Saturday 10th May. It has been a great adventure and I have met lots of wonderful people in the process of setting up and running the shop. I am really proud of what I have achieved in just a year and will definitely have a lump in my throat when I lock the door for the last time.

Unfortunately, there are just not enough visitors to the Old Town yet. Only last weekend I had people come through the door who live literally 10 minutes walk away who never visit Margate Old Town. Realistically I think it will be 2 - 3 years before it gets busier and I just can't bridge the money gap between now and that time.

The Harbour Monkey brand will continue though, encompassing my own photography in the form of greetings cards and prints, as well as commissioned artwork. I am talking to other local businesses about stocking some of my work and hope to have some more information on that soon. My website will be updated very shortly to reflect this.

I still love Margate and the Old Town, and really hope that it will be buzzing with lots of small businesses before too long. If you are about on Saturday 10th - please pop in.

Sorrowful for the listening, Julie, but best of British felicity with futures.

Knock here for seeing Harbour Monkey website

Power To The Peoples?

I am gratefulled to the regular contributor Millicent for highlights an item in the latest edition of our treasured council's magazine Thanet Pravda. The article prints the Great Thanet Sell-Off - 16 pieces of, albeit slightly tarnished, Thanet silverware the council wants to vend.

As part of the sale of such gems as Margate Post Office, Albion House in Ramsgate and Northdown House in Cliftonville, the council is holding a 'consultation'. OK, there is an address he can write to with her comments by 6 June, but if you want to 'consult' faces to faces you'll have to be available on one particular weekday between 4pm and 7pm (or 5pm to 8pm if you living in Boredstares). Surely most decent, honest, hardworking peoples - the peoples who might actually give a material about these assets - will be connected in another way at those times? Unless the council are particularly interesting in the views of ancient duffers and the unemployeds? I ask it!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

KCC To Sue Designers Of Turnip

My gratefulness to regular reader Ian J to detach a history in today's Building Design website that claims Kent County Council is going ahead with a law suit against the architects who brought you Turnip Mark 1.

If you memory, the T1 'offshore' was ditched in 2006 after projected costs soared to £50m, to be substituted by the current project 'onshore', a mere snip in £17.5m. KCC lost around £6m of your taxpayer mazoulians in the process and now want apparently some of it back. All we need is now three aborted attempts more and we will have our very own T5!

Meantime, I hear the Agency of the South East of the Development of England (SEEDA), which is co-funding the Turnip to tune of £4m, am making noises grumbling on the time length it is taking to getting anything off the ground. The word is that if they do not see the progress soon they've threatened to spend their (our) money in something else!

Estale to read the history of KCC in the Web site of BD here

Chinese Water Torture

The south MP Dr. Steve Ladyboy of Thanet has called for 'a thorough investigation' into fears that the park of business proposed of China of the foot squared of squillion 12 in Manston could contaminate local water sources. In an email to the child of Michael of biblio-biblio-bloke, the Dr. Ladyboy writes:

The Environment Agency and the Council must investigate these concerns thoroughly and independently and make sure that adequate precautions are taken – and I will be doing my best to make sure those investigations do take place. They have blocked other local developments because of concerns about contaminants entering the water supply and they must be no less diligent about this application.

But in an apparent hollowing out of Thanet's foremost online celebrity, Mr Richard Eastcliff, the MP adds:

There are some of our local cyber citizens who only have the word ‘no’ in their vocabulary when it comes to developments associated with the airport – unemployment and low incomes in Thanet remain our chief problems in my view and this development must be given a fair chance to succeed if it can do so without risk.

Well, as a speed-loving minister of previous transport you would not expect him to be all green and tree-hugging, would you? Ho de ho, I think that I am starting definitively to get the hanging of this!

Estale to see commentaries of the Dr. Ladyboy in blog of the child of Michael here

New Complaints System In Manston

The international airport of the RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston have introduced a new system to tell complaints of the noise through its Web site. Complaining it to the peoples who want to bring the flights of the freight of the night to one rooftop close to you cannot be the most efficient way to become heard above the din, but at least that is paying to the little o service of the edge to the tidal wave of the complaints that the airport has attracted of the residents of Ramsgate.

The form says that all the fields marked with an 'astrix' are obligatory. I assume that it would very well be 'gauling' to have you the complaint rejected! Ha ha I made the funny joke just as Mr. Eastcliff!

Estale to complain it here the airport

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Burning De Margate (Another Time)

Investigators of the fire sifting through wreckage of a building listed in Kent to today discover early the cause of a severe flame. The property four-storey in one terrace Georgian in the street of Cecil, Margate, is a shield blackened and charred after the flame that engulfed soon after the midnight.

In the height of the drama, around 70 firefighters were in the scene. The fire became in the third and rooms wooden floors of the club previous conservative before spreading in the space of the roof and to an adjacent building. Eight peoples had been evacuated.

The local Iris Johnston of the said council member each effort must be made to restore 'old the building charming' previous its glory. The manager Andrew McPherson of the manager of the fire station of Margate, that was in the load of the operation firefighting, said that the building was good alight when the first group arrived. 'It was a difficult work because the roof had pulled down thus that he was not safe to fight of inside,' it said. 'The groups had made an excellent work to stop the propagation to an adjacent building and no-one was wounded happily.'

Mr. Eastcliff would put a funny commentary here but unhappyly my English not thus good.

Estale to read in line full history in Kent here

It listens to this announcement please very important

Unhappyly Mr. Eastcliff had an accident with an inverting interruptor great e will be incapable to execute its blog per some days. In the meantime please he is appreciating this music.

Mr Ceaucescu (no relation)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Jet! Ooh-ooh-ooh-oooh-ooh-ooh!

Thus wrote Sir Macca in his seminal 70s Wings ditty about the women's suffrage movement, proof if ever it was needed that Mark Chapman got the wrong guy. Still, I digress.

I've been lucky enough to get the Eastcliff mits on a much more rigorous work on the subject recently penned by Ramsgate author Laura Probert. Entitled Women of Kent Rally to the Cause, it's a study of women's suffrage in East Kent between 1909 and 1918. Contrary to popular belief, the suffrage movement was extremely active in this part of the world, and the book gives an invaluable insight, using extensive photographs and press cuttings from the period. Along the way we get to soak up the atmosphere of early 20th Century Thanet.

One of the most shocking aspects to emerge from the book is the way these votes-for-women types were treated by the male populace, and the arguments used against giving them the franchise, such as it might 'damage their nervous dispositions' or even be a danger to national security! My how times have, thankfully, changed!

• Copies of Laura's book can be obtained for £9, including postage and packing, from Millicent Press, PO Box 441, Ramsgate, CT11 7WU.

Bend It Like A Contractor

Tooling along our crumbling East Cliff here in the Millionaires' Playground yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to see TDC's contractors installing the new, permanent (hallelujah!) cliff top fencing in readiness for reopening. And that on a bank holiday!

Not such a pleasant surprise, however, was seeing the state of the give way sign at the top of Marina Road which appears to have, er, given way to one of their vehicles. I presume Kent Highways' contractors will now have to come along and straighten it up. Still, in the words of the late, great, lovely Flanders and Swann 'it all makes work for the working man to do'. Unless, of course, it's designed to be a new, Pisa-like tourist initiative. There again, The Leaning Give Way Sign Of Ramsgate doesn't quite have the same ring, does it?

Monday, May 05, 2008

When Is A Survey Not A Survey?

When it's a cynical marketing ploy, of course! I'm indebted to regular contributor Millicent for pointing out this RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston International Airport 'survey' in yesterday's usually excellent Kent on Sunday. Masquerading under the seemingly objective headline 'Have your say on the future of air travel in Kent', the item begins: 'Kent International Airport is undertaking a major public survey to measure the demand for the airport near Ramsgate.'

So far, so good, as there is indeed very little demand for an airport 1km from one of Britain's loveliest Victorian seaside towns, and the opportunity to let them know seemed irresistible. However, when you go to the online questionnaire you're presented with an interminable puff piece based solely on the words of, er, independent observer Matt Clarke, the airport's boss. The survey itself then invites you to list the airlines and destinations you'd like to see, and all the other wonderful benefits of flying from your doorstep over 40,000 people's rooftops.

Finally, in order to complete the form, it's mandatory to leave your name, address, email and telephone number. As there's no marketing opt-out to choose, one can only assume that the upshot of filling out this 'survey' will be interminable sales calls and endless junk mail tempting you with offers of a week in Majorca!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

More Muck Dredged Up On TDC's Watch

My fiancée, the lovely Mrs Ceaucescu (no relation), and her husband, Mr Ceaucescu (no relation (other than to the lovely Mrs Ceaucescu (no relation))), seem to think it would be a good idea for me to invest in one of those floating gin palaces you see down at the marina here in the Cannes of Kent. Something about it being handy for regular trips to the in-laws in Belgium.

So this morning I pottered down the street and picked up the latest edition of Motor Boats Monthly. Imagine my surprise when, riffling through the ads for Sunseekers and Fairlines, I came across a prominent news story featuring our Royal Harbour! Headlined 'Ramsgate Boaters In Row Over Dredging', it outlines the sorry saga of the new blue flag beach bang in the harbour entrance, and the highly expensive grounding of one of those swanky cruisers back in January. MBM says:

Boaters in Ramsgate are growing increasingly despondent over the local council's inability to deal with a sandbank at the harbour entrance... Relations between local boaters and the council have deteriorated over the last few months, not helped by the council's decision in late 2007 to sell its one and only dredger, which had earned the nickname HMS Teaspoon due to its failure to resolve the sandbank problem.

The mag quotes TDC's Harbour Master, oops, sorry, 'Head of Maritime Services' Dominic Evans as saying there are no plans to buy a new dredger and that the work will be contracted out in future, although one unnamed boater comments this would be like 'cutting Wembley's grass with a pair of scissors'.

Well, the council can't be pleased about that sort of publicity, can they? Only the other week they were described as 'supine' in Private Eye, now this! Still, we have seen something nibbling at the Harbour Beach recently, and I gather from Salty Dave down at the docks that a new hooverdredgeriser is expected to visit shortly. And I for one am certainly putting absolutely no store in the vicious rumour that they've applied for an €84,000 EU grant for, er, improvements to dredging last year!
Click on picture to read

Friday, May 02, 2008

Falling Standards

Interesting that this week's Isle of Thanet Gazunder has returned to the Famous Fannit F*cking Tosser/Wanker debacle on the front page, under a mysteriously un-bylined lead about local bling kings the Hiltons facing 52 charges brought by Trading Standards.

Far from the abject apologies/law suits predicted by some of its media rivals last week, the Gazunder's story is headlined: 'Ezekiel's Fracas Apology' and goes on to detail how Our Sandy has said sorry for his behaviour, but has refused to bury the hatchet with the former Mayor of Margate for his 'f*cking tosser/wanker' outburst.

Tucked away in the second paragraph is the line: 'Former Mayor Doug Clark was found to have breached the code, not at the ball as we reported last week, but was found to have broken the code in an earlier, separate incident.' Hmm. About as close to an apology as Sandy's, I suppose!

Lighting On The War Fol Ire Of Thanet

With the proposed 12 squillion square foot China Gateway business park coming to a lovely field near you soon, regular contributor Mr X has been researching the kinds of products and services we're likely to see in our town centres. Take a gander:

Surprisingly, several are already tailor-made for the Thanet market:

And if you'd like a further insight into the island's future, do get yourself over to!