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!