Monday, June 30, 2008

Dusting For Prince

You know me, I could never be accused of cynicism. Ahem. But news that the Prince's Regeneration Trust has been commissioned by Dreamland developers Waterbridge to scribble yet another report on future uses for the site seems a tad like Charlie's eponymous forbear being asked to fill out a post execution survey for the Choppers' Union.

There have been so many schemes, plans and inspections regarding what is now effectively a deserted piece of prime sea front real estate with a few bits of Grade II listed charcoal scattered about, that most Thanetians have given up wasting their precious head space on the topic. Our beloved council have come out in favour of a 'mixed development', giving over the majority of the site (well, 51%) to a 'heritage theme park', with the rest consisting of the usual luxury apartments etc. Even the Save Dreamlanders appear to have given up the ghost and gone over to the other side, getting into bed with the developers on the promise of a funfair full of knackered old rides that have been bought up from other seaside towns who've been glad to see the back of them.

The Princes Regeneration Trust is no doubt likely to reiterate the same old nonsense. Meanwhile Her Majesty's Rozzers have yet to come up with anything other than a big, fat zero in their arson investigation. So if any of you harboured any thoughts of PC Plod and Big Ears coming to the rescue - dream on! (PS: I have now removed the O' from my name as this post has no doubt put paid to any chances of me copping something in the New Year's Honours.)

Click here for Dreamland story in yourfannit
Click here for press release from the Prince's Regeneration Trust

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Every Minute Helps

As Waitrose had run out of millionaire shortbread, I found myself schlepping out to the Tesco megabarn at Westwood Chaos this afternoon. Except they weren't even open, having evacuated the store due to a fire alarm.

Hundreds of bemused shoppers were hanging around outside wondering why the fire brigade had taken so long to turn up, given they're only based next door. After all, it's not as if the Tesco site's owned by one of our misfortunate, arson-prone local developers, for whom a considerate, half hour delay seems de rigeur these days!

Update: The cops are urging people to ignore an email hoax that is doing the rounds which states that a small girl was snatched from the Manston Tesco. Apparently there's absolutely no truth in it. Click here to read more. Meanwhile credit-crunched shoppers are deserting the Big T for cheaper supermarkets like Aldi and Netto. Oh well, as they say, every Lidl helps!

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me The News!

Reader Julie writes:

I was interested to see the BBC's South East Today programme coming live from Margate's QEQM hospital yesterday, especially as I have a relative who has been there for a few weeks. I was not surprised to see patients saying how marvellous everything was as ill people are often very grateful for whatever treatment they get. However I visit my elderly mother every day and can tell a different story. She has been left in soiled clothing for several hours, and chairs where she has been sitting in soiled garments have subsequently not been cleaned for days. Heart monitor alarms at nursing stations seem to be regularly ignored as the leads come off patients so frequently the staff can no longer be bothered to check whether it is a real emergency. On Thursday they carried out a thorough cleaning inspection but this seems to have been for the benefit of the cameras arriving the following day since my mother had never seen them do it before. I know the place has improved a lot and I am generally a supporter of the NHS but what I have seen has made me fearful for my mother's recovery.

Well, Julie, what you have witnessed is probably a one-off and I'm sure your mother is being well cared for. I personally would not have a word said against the NHS as they have saved my life on numerous occasions. Why, only last year when I was diagnosed with skin cancer (too much fun in the Caribbean sun!), my GP immediately rushed me past a nine month NHS waiting list to a private consultant in Canterbury. By paying out of my own pocket I also relieved them of the substantial burden of having to cough up for a highly-paid specialist! Now that's what I call a health service!

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Bit Of Politics

As regular readers will know, I rarely make any serious political comments here, except to take the proverbial out of our local Jurassic junta on occasion. It's probably because, as the only Lib Dem in the village, there never really appears to be any point. However, with Cllr Moores' 'popular but beseiged' Tory Thanet Life blog comatose, the chances of me being labelled a 'paedophile', 'welfare sponger', 'living gloating metaphor of all that's wrong with society', or a 'left wing c*nt' just for expressing an alternative political view seem to have diminished, so I'll take a chance and pop the old barnet above the parapet.

There is currently a mass debate going on elsewhere in the Thanet blogosphere about who's who in the zoo, which independents did what to who and when, and whether they were wearing brown shoes or Hush Puppies at the time, etc etc. Whilst this is all no doubt very interesting to the, er, mass debaters, it will do nothing to unseat the rabble who currently run our island, who will happily continue lunching with the Big Three (you know who they are) and bowing and scraping to their every whim, secure in the knowledge that it's not the electorate they answer to but their own and others' pockets. Yes, they chuck us the odd Big Event or Water Skiing Week occasionally, but that's bread and circuses to keep the masses happy, while they get on with the much more important business of feathering their not insubstantial nests.

I'm not saying the other mob would be any better. Years of pendulum politics have scarred Thanet and got us to the position we enjoy today - deprivation, underinvestment, and dereliction. Any independents that surface invariably seem to be the Tories, UKIP, or (heaven help us) the BNP in disguise, so we are effectively living in a two party state, where the incumbents feel at liberty to bully, intimidate and threaten voters and petitioners in a way that would make even the vile Mugabe blush.

Over in Hooray Henley yesterday, the Lib Dems ran the Conservatives a not very close second in the by-election precipitated by my old chum BoJo's elevation to the London Mayorage. But at least they gave them more of a run for their money than poor old New Labour, who limped home fifth and lost their deposit. The moral being that, if we really want a change here in Thanet, we have to start thinking seriously about a realistic third way. I'm not suggesting the path necessarily lies in the direction of the Lib Dems. After all, I for one can't even remember who their leader is these days, and I support them! But for the sake of this potentially lovely little island, someone, somewhere has surely got to come up with a serious alternative?

Now click here to call me a 'patronising pratt' and 'left wing c*nt'

Update: My thanks to regular contributor Mr X for sniffing out this clip from BoobTube which demonstrates quite aptly the kind of frustration many Thanet voters must feel!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


A while back I reported on the slateless state of the Granville Court roof here on Ramsgate's swinging East Cliff. Well, er, as you can see they've now replaced them. And, um, the privet hedge along Victoria Parade has been trimmed by the council. Oh yes, the life of a millionaire celebrity is endlessly fascinating, you know!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nayland Cock

This just in from the, er, nudes desk of Peter Checksfield, our man with the towel (and not much else) in Bottomy Bay. Apparently he's been contacted by someone who purports to represent the Nayland Rock Hotel in Margate, demanding the removal of images from his in-the-nud photo site Naked in Thanet that were shot in front of the aforementioned establishment. Peter's correspondent charmingly adds:

Please keep your minging tarts away from my property or I shall chuck seriously cold water over the lot of you – including you as the head perv of the sad band! Get a job!

Peter initially treated the email with the utter contempt it deserves, but has since received a follow-up message in which the, er, clearly liberated writer demands a £10,000 donation to a breast cancer charity for continued use of the photos, and threatens: '24 hours should be long enough, or I shall litigate.'

Really! And there was me thinking these kind of nutty, repressed Victorian values only existed in Westgate these days. Sadly it appears I was wrong. So in the spirit of mediation I shall be dispatching a complete set of piano leg covers over to Margate with my compliments forthwith!

Click here for discussion on Peter Checksfield's blog
Click here for Naked in Thanet

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ferry Sad News

I'm not normally one to plaster death notices all over my blog willy-nilly, but now that it's been officially confirmed you might care to know that Mr Denzil Dias, the founder and owner of TransEuropa Ferries, has, er, rolled on to meet his maker, having rolled off this mortal coil earlier in the month.

Ownership of the line has passed to his two sons, who were thought not to have any interest in things nautical, although I see they're now saying it will be 'business as usual'. Let's hope they don't change their minds again, and that Port Ramsgate's only customer stays afloat!

Click here to read TransEuropa story in Ferry News

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Flight Of The Phoenix

Yikes! I'm getting unconfirmed reports that well-known Canada and Nigeria-crashers MK Airlines, who have spent most of the last year blighting our lovely seaside town with their endless, oozalum training flights and 1am cargo cruises into RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston International Airport, have, like a kind of Frankenstein's monster with aluminium wings, been re-animated!

It was only just over a week ago that they announced they'd gone tits up, but now a British investor has apparently pumped several million (volts?) through them and they've jerked back into life. Of course, we heard that was happening with exclusive, business class airline Silverjet a while back, and they still ended up cashing in their chips. Still, who knows, there could be life in the old corpse yet. As a quick stroll around Westgate often proves!

'Are you seriously telling me that your only experience
is flying around Thanet in a circle every eight minutes?'

'Ja Kapitan, but ze principle is ze same!'

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sandy Beach Deemed Unfit For Purpose

Nope, not another story about dirty nappies strewn across Viking Bay (eeurgh!), but the result of my latest 7 day poll asking whether people would prefer to see the back or front of our glorious council leader. A whopping 63 people cast their votes, here's the final tally:

Question: Is our Sandy fit to be leader of Thanet Council?

No: 87% (55 votes)
Yes: 12% (8 votes)

An overwhelming majority in favour of putting the former pugilist and 'f*cking tosser' utterer out to pasture, then. I expect he'll hand in his resignation first thing Monday morning!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fairtrade Fair Trade For Water Week?

Yet more evidence, if it were needed, of the low priority placed on the Millionaires' Playground by our Margate based Jurassic junta. My spies tell me both the council chairman and our glorious leader, Sandy Beach, have booked themselves in for a Fairtrade bunfight at the Winter Gardens on the same night they're meant to be attending a gala dinner as the culmination of Ramsgate's Water Skiing Week next month.

I presume the chance to rub shoulders with my old TV chum George Alagiah, who'll be at the Mike and Bernie Winter Gardens in his role as a Fairtrade patron, has got the better of them. Let's hope there's not another of those 'f*cking tosser' episodes that seem to go hand-in-hand with Sandy's presence at the venue. Of course, it might also have something to do with avoiding awkward questions about what happens in Ramsgate next year, since this water skiing mullarkey is a one-off, and the previous, marvellous annual Powerboat Weekend has got the arse and moved on to pastures new.

Meanwhile I see the council's events listing website has unilaterally elevated the BBC's smiley, 6 o'clock newsreader to the knighthood. A vain attempt to make the whole Fairtrade thing seem more important, I presume!

Click here for Fairtrade bunfight listing
Click here for Ramsgate Water Skiing Week listing

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Separated At Birth?

Reader Samantha writes:

I wonder if anyone else has spotted a similarity between Soo, the panda girlfriend of popular glove puppet Sooty, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alastair Darling? Are they by any chance related?

'The Bank of England has a critical role in protecting stability'

'Izzy wizzy, let's get busy!'

Update: I see Soo won the Weakest Link - Puppet Special this Saturday, pipping Roland Rat to £11,500 for charity. And only two days after local mosaicist Martin Cheek became a winner on the same programme. Well, not the puppet version, the normal version. Sadly all the Chancellor seems to do these days is go home with nothing.

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

Cripes! My spies on the seedy north side tell me yet another shop in Margate's Old Town has gone west.

Back in April I predicted that no fewer than six outlets in the area were planning to shut up shop, the tally currently stands at four. Harbour Monkey upped sticks last month, Chantelle and Brown Sugar closed a couple of weeks ago, and now my very own tonseurist, Jamie the Harbour Barber, has apparently called it a day. Maybe if some of the 65,000 visitors to Margate's Big Event at the weekend hadn't been bussed straight past the town whose name it bore, the place might have benefited from a few tourist sovs.

Meanwhile if you want to see how retailers generally have been faring in the Arsonists' Playground, take a squiz at this video I found on BoobTube. Entitled Margate - A Town On Its Knees? it's been put together by the chaps at, who clearly don't stand a chance as they've signally omitted to link to the island's premier blog!

Spammer In The Works

One of the drawbacks of being a well known celebrity with a widely publicised email address is the amount of junk that finds its way into my inbox. I mean, I've lost count of the number of times I've been invited to increase my girth. My policy with those is to reply politely in the negative to the effect that, at 36 inches, I'm already stretching it in my opinion.

Recently I've been bombarded with messages from a 'Mark Sure'. Mr 'Sure' has apparently collared the market in 'Silica Oil Regen Lubricant' and rather charitably wants to cut me in on the deal. He helpfully explains that his product is 'an industrial lubricant used for lubrication purposes in the brain box of a ship'. A quick straw poll among the matelots down at our Royal Harbour elicited not much more than a few strange looks!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bin And Gone

Meandering around Ramsgate's trendy East Cliff the other day, I clocked that the rubbish bin which the Uranians so helpfully placed next to our teeny-tiny kiosk a few months back has recently disappeared. I presume it's been redeployed to Broadstairs to fight the litter louts on the beaches and will now be a repository for bottles, cans and dirty nappies (eeurgh!).

Not that its services aren't required in keeping this particular part of Thanet beautiful. Perhaps Ramsgate Firster Gerry O'Donnell, who runs the kiosk, has annoyed the powers-that-be once too often with his stinging letters to the local papers, and this is their rubbish revenge!

Cowardy Cowardy Custody

I've received another email from reader Barry, who you will remember recently dished the dirt here on the island's premier blog on some of the, er, unusual practices prevalent among the local plods. Barry says that, whilst he stands by everything he said, his email has subsequently become something of an embarrassment to him, particularly now that he finds himself in a position to help the police (with their enquiries). As a result he has asked me to remove yesterday's insights from my jottings. Happy to oblige Barry!

Monday, June 16, 2008

What's Left To Conserve?

Cripes! Talk about closing the gate after the horse has bolted! I see Thanet Council has just announced an extension of the Ramsgate Conservation Area to include Granville Marina. As you can see from my photo, the Grade II listed Marina Restaurant, which is part of the newly designated area, was well and truly, er, 'conserved' by a bunch of shonky developers back in February.

Although some of the other properties along there still stand in their original Victorian finery, the majority were vandalised long ago with the substitution of 60s frontages, while the rest of the area consists of weed-infested, derelict eyesores with only Heras fencing to show where once-splendid buildings stood. From the looks of the place, the horse bolted more than 50 years ago and has long since gone to the knacker's yard!

Click here for Thanet Council press release

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dad Loss

It's Father's Day today in case you'd forgotten. I dad. I mean did. So stuck for a present, and lunch looming with Eastcliff Senior, I've been desperate to find a suitable gift. Fortunately, as I was cleaning out Bertie's litter tray just now, I came across this Friday's edition of the Gazunder. 'WIN A FATHER'S DAY BREAK AT AN INNKEEPER'S HOTEL' screamed the banner across the front page. Hurrah! 'See page 25'.

Dad's the word at Innkeeper's Lodge. To thank dads for their patience, pocket money and love over the years, sons and daughters will be looking for that perfect gift to treat them.

You're not wrong there. Please sort me out and quick!

Men will no doubt disagree, however, that they are notoriously difficult to buy for. So, if you are bored with buying ties and cufflinks and are stuck for present ideas, why not let us help you?

Yes, yes! Please help me!

If you want your dad to put his feet up and forget the pressures and strains of the week, then this is the competition for you.

It's definitely for me!! Only trouble is, it's not exactly an instant win. There's an answer form for you to send off in the post, with winners announced a week tomorrow. So what to tell the old Pa? Something along the lines of 'I've entered a free competition for a weekend break for you, if I win you can go there next Father's Day' I suppose. On second thoughts maybe it'll be simpler just to gift wrap the form and let him fill it in himself.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

'Obeless Situation

Kuh! Snubbed by Her Madge yet again! I mean, Paul O'Grady, Des O'Connor? Anyhoo, as you can see from the banner at the top of my blog, I've now made the necessary adjustments to ensure I'm not overlooked in the new year.

As consolation I'll be taking myself off to Margate's Big-ish Event. Formerly known as the Kent Air Show until the organisers decided to give their own aerial display by pointing their nipples skywards and blasting off into the wide blue yonder last year, the marvellous derring-do of those magnificent men in their flying machines has since been replaced by a knackered old Sopwith Camel and a couple of bouncy castles. Still, at least it's free, and I should get to cop my annual butcher's at the completely and utterly splendid Battle of Britain Memorial Flight!

Click here for full details of M's BE

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Right Pair Of Knits

Here's something you won't have read in today's Gazunder. (So what's new? - Ed.) Barely a month after being rapped by the Standards Board for his famous Fannit f*cking tosser/wanker outburst at a black tie do, the Blue Rinsers' glorious council leader has been caught tussling again - this time in front of startled shoppers at the Edinburgh Woollen Mill outlet on Margate High Street.

Apparently the former pugilist wasn't there to buy a kilt yesterday morning, but to object to a 1500-signature petition against his proposed redeployment of the community wardens to fight the litter louts on the beaches, instead of bagging shoplifters (which they're rather good at, I hear). The petition was jointly sponsored by Margate Labour councillor Iris Johnston and the Edinburgh Woollen Mill store manager. At Sandy's side was none other than Deputy Dawg, Rodge OBE. One shopper who witnessed the entire incident has emailed me with the following account:

Bystanders, including the store manager, were aghast at the behaviour of Cllrs Sandy and Rodge as they berated Cllr Iris. The 'boys' turned up unannounced and uninvited to throw their weight around and quite frankly made very big fools of themselves. It's safe to say they weren't the least bit interested in purchasing tartan trews, bonnets or kilts from said retailer!

Iris just about remained composed throughout but this was clearly a shocking turn of events for her. Roger tried to snatch the petition from Iris at one point and lunged forward to get it from her as she swept up the sheets of paper. Sandy then carried on berating Iris saying she was wrong to suggest that wardens were being made redundant or taken away from the High Street altogether.

To put it charitably, this was very ungentlemanly behaviour from both of them and they deserve to be exposed.

Our Sandy seems to have a thing about petitions. Only last week he complained that those fighting the flogging of their own assets by his junta of Jurassic Tories were making 'mischief and they should know better'. How different from the lovely new image the national Conservatives cultivate! There's Cuddly Dave, pedalling to parliament, and the other Dave, resigning over liberty, justice and freedom. Down here in the tip of Kent one gets the impression that it would still be possible to stumble across a Maggiesaurus roaming the fields of brassicas!

Update: A full account of the incident has now appeared on Thanet Extra. Click here to read it. And another eyewitness account on the island's second most premierest blog after me, Thanet Strife. Click here to read that.

Media Goes Thanet Earth Crazy!

Not content with sending John Craven down here to the tip of Kent the other week, the BBC spent it's entire Breakfast programme over at the Monkton tomato factory this morning. And my old chum Chris Evans dedicated a spot to it on his afternoon show on Radio 2 yesterday.

That's in addition to puffs this week in the Guardian, the Daily Mail, the Torygraph and the Observer (which at least had the cajones to utter the words 'utterly tasteless, hydroponically grown tomatoes, identical uber-cucumbers and iceberg lettuce'). Wow! Some PR guy is really earning his fizz, if you catch my drift! Not much mention in any of them, though, that the produce will never actually touch the earth of Thanet as it will all be grown in a watery consommé of 'nutrients' a metre off the ground. Or that they'll be tapping our salt marshes to top up their H20 supply. But hey-ho. Mr Public Relations and Mr Entire Truth hardly ever share a table at the Ivy in my experience!

Click here for Thanet Earth story in the Guardian
Click here for Thanet Earth story in the Daily Mail
Click here for Thanet Earth story in the Telegraph
Click here for Thanet Earth story in the Observer
Click here for a less glowing critique of Thanet Earth

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another One Bites The Dust

Hurrah! Here's something you won't be seeing over the Millionaires' Playground again. Well-known Canada and Nigeria-crashers MK Airlines, who have spent most of the last year blighting our lovely seaside town with their endless, oozalum training flights and 1am cargo cruises, have gone tits up! They're apparently parked up in Oostende (Ostend in old money) awaiting the receivers as we speak. What with them and those other blighters, Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, going to that great airport in the, um, sky it looks like we've finally seen the last of knackered old jumbos blasting the tiles off our splendid Victorian roofs every 8 minutes!

Given worldwide carbon footprint anxiety, new aviation taxes, airlines dropping like an MK 747 and the price of fuel going up faster than a porn star's whatsit, you have to ask whether RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston International Airport can hold out much longer. The development of Summit Aviation's maintenance centre up there has already stalled. Surely it can't be long before the whole place crashes and burns?

As regular readers will recall, I'm well known for my infallible crystal ball, and my prediction is we'll see Infartil, the airport's owners, pull out at some point in the next 6-12 months. Which leaves the question of what we do with Manston. Wind farm? Housing estate? If Thanet had a council with any vision, they'd be lobbying Tussauds or Disney as we speak to locate a fabulous theme park on the site. What with that, our beautiful sandy beaches, and our proximity to London, we'd have it made! I fear though that, as we in fact have a council with about as much vision as my glass eye, what we'll get is an even bigger, water-polluting Chinese industrial estate!

Click here for MK announcement on NASDAQ
Click here for MK obituary in Wikipedia
Click here for list of all 33 35 airlines that have gone bust this year

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

You Can Make Motoring Miles Better!

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder Transport Editor Wynn Screenwiper

Here in Thanet we love our motors! Whether it be a bashed up banger, a white van the size of a double-decker bus, or that cherished P plate Peugeot with the hand painted bonnet, there's one thing you can say about Thanetians - we gotta have wheels! But with the price of petrol and diesel busting the £28 per litre barrier, keeping your motor running is fast becoming the sole prerogative of the posh, poncy few.

So how can you improve your MPG without going to all the hassle of GBH? (Eh? - Ed.) We asked a panel of motoring experts for their top tips (that didn't involve having a mate down the harbour with unlimited access to cheap marine diesel).

1. Yabadabadoo! Take a tip from the Flintstones - get a mechanic to cut a hole in your footwell, then in slow-moving traffic just turn off the engine and move your motor by manpower! Note: owners of Italian vehicles can save on the mechanic by merely applying a hefty boot to the floor panel.

2. It's a breeze! Make sure you always have a following wind whenever you set off on your journey. Be sure to check weather forecasts regularly for the right conditions to make your return trip.

3. Get hitched! If the car in front has a tow bar, gradually creep up until it hooks onto your front bumper. Then pop her in neutral and hey-presto! You're on your way to visit their Auntie Doris in Dorset!

4. Watts up Doc! It's a well known fact that it costs much less to power a vehicle using electricity. But the price of conversion is prohibitive. Not to worry - you already have an electric starter motor! Just drain the tank dry then travel everywhere by merely selecting first gear then turning the key in your steering column. Don't forget, though, to carry some high voltage cables to charge up whenever you're near a handy lamp post.

5. Put a Tiddles in your tank! Fed up with the cat just eating, sleeping and pooing all day? Turn it into biodiesel and make it earn its keep! One moggy makes around 2.5 litres, according to the inventor of the process, Dr Christian Koch.

(That's enough tips - Ed.)

Don't Hold Your Breath

I must say, reading the news that Kent's finest are to breathalyse every driver involved in a crash had me in stitches! So much so that the old glass eye popped out and is currently being batted around the study by Bertie, my pedigree Burmese.

And the reason for the hysterics? Well, have you tried getting Her Majesty's Testicle Scratchers to attend an accident recently? I have, and they don't. Regular readers will remember I was rammed up the jacksie by a white van man on the A2 last December. A call to the rozzers elicited the blunt response 'We will not be attending.' And a while back, when I was, er, dismounted from my throbber by an inattentive hit and run driver, a similar call to the constabulary was met with the advice 'We're too busy to send anyone. Just take down witness details and report them to your nearest police station.' Not so easy to do when you and your two-wheeler are splayed across a main road in a number of irregularly shaped pieces. But hey-ho, they did offer to send the ambos over, which is something I suppose. (The offending driver turned out to be uninsured. Not that the cops discovered that, or did anything in fact. I had to don the deerstalker and do all the sleuthing myself to bring the rapscallion to justice!)

So forgive my cynicism when it comes to this new initiative, which looks more like a PR puff than anything which might actually be put into practice. A shame really, as these days, every time I see them charging down Victoria Parade with the blues and twos blaring, I imagine they must be on their way to an important pensions meeting, or that a nice bit of Battenburg has just come in at the nick canteen. No wonder the crime stats are falling. We've all learnt from bitter experience there's no point picking up the phone to the plod in the first place.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cheeky Email

Broadstairs mosaicist Martin Cheek writes:

Hi - I enjoy your site and saw that you featured Ruth Cutler. I am a local artist too! You can check me out on my websites below. If you would like to feature me and my work or simply have a link to my websites then please let me know. I look forward to hearing from you. Warmest wishes Martin.

Consider yourself linked, Martin! Actually his work is pretty impressive, and if I had the folding spare I'd certainly snap up his Majolica Fish (pictured above). Unfortunately, though, Mrs Eastcliff (relation) (formerly Mrs Ceaucescu (no relation)) has spent it all on handbags!

Click here to visit Martin's website
Click here to visit Martin's other website

Update: Martin tells me he's recently been on The Weakest Link - and won! You can catch him on the episode due to be aired next Thursday 19 June.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Goddenzilla Versus Margate

Flaming rollercoasters! It's amazing what you can pick up in the bargain buckets of those seedy shops in Cliftonville. This trailer for a long-forgotten horror flick was on a compilation DVD called Nice Little Burners! Will the locals escape before everything is burnt to a crisp????

Saturday, June 07, 2008

And The Winner Is...

Thanks for all your hilarious entries to my recent caption competition. The panel of judge (me) has now decided the winner. In time honoured etc. I'll announce the top three in ascending order [drum roll]:

Third with 'I'd better ring Jimmy and congratulate him' is, er, Anonymous 11:31am!! [Applause]

Second with 'Better f*cking toss some more water on that mate' is, um, Anonymous 9:46am!!! [Wild applause]

But the winner of the Jeroboam of vintage Shampagne (£9.99 at all participating Aldis) is none other than... 'Rog, do you know what would be really bleedin' funny? If after this I said to the chair of planning, 'You're fired!', courtesy of, er, Anonymous 2:34pm!!!! [Manic applause as entire audience vomits with excitement]

Unfortunately, as none of the top three appended monikers to their entries, I'm going to have to toddle off and swig the lot myself. Chin chin!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Do You Want Your Assets Flogged?

Just a quick reminder that it's your last chance today to comment on the Grand Thanet Council Boot Sale, which includes West Cliff Hall here in Ramsgate, Northdown House and part of Margate Post Office. Click here for full details.

Brickbats and bouquets should be sent here.

Kent TV Ends At Canterbury

Given all the recent hoo-ha about some massive increase in the viewing figures for Kent TV, the £1.6m internet TV station run by our Tory county council, I thought I'd sneak another peek. However, at the risk of yet again incurring the wrath of Jo Phillips, Kent TV's PR person, I have to say the channel never fails to disappoint.

It's not just because it take ages to download the video you've selected. Or because, once you've finally downloaded it, it invariable looks and sounds like something a depressed gerbil on mogadons would find under-stimulating. Nor, for that matter, because the whole thing could have been set up on BoobTube for nothing. No. What really gets my proverbial is the way the station's definition of 'Kent' seems to stop at the Wantsum.

Try clicking on their Visit Kent section, for example. Here we sit on a (mostly) beautiful island that has recently been praised for the quality of its bathing waters, and only yesterday was awarded more Blue Flag beaches than anywhere else in the country. Last week Visit Kent, KCC's tourism arm, themselves declared Thanet to be the second most popular tourist destination in the county, after Canterbury. Things you'd imagine might be worthy of note on a TV station that was being funded by your hard-earned sponds. Yet out of around 60 films I found only two about Thanet. And one of those was a dreary report on the Dreamland fire - hardly anything to shout about tourism-wise.

So although there may be slightly more than one man and his dog watching Kent TV these days, you have to say that, as far as Thanet viewers are concerned, it surely won't be long before the dog runs off with the remote and buries it in the back garden.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Getting The Blues Gives Isle A Boost

Cripes! Just when you think there's no news about, ten stories come along at once! Well, one anyway. Following the granting of several gongs from the Marine Conservation Society's latest Good Beach Guide a couple of weeks ago, those nice chaps at Encams (Keep Britain Tidy in old money) have today awarded Thanet a record ten Blue Flags for the Ile's beaches, including a welcome return of the Blue Flag for our lovely sands here in the Millionaires' Playground. That's a whopping eighth of all Blue Flags in England! Here's what Encams say in their press release:

We should be smitten with our own beaches – and mate with Margate (Surely Ramsgate - Ed.) not Majorca. Thanet, which takes in Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs, today basks in the glory of ten Blue Flags. This is the best performance anywhere in the country for a decade.

Hurrah! Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Phil Barton added:

We keep being told that our love affair with the seaside has been on the rocks. But as far as we are concerned England’s beach resorts go from strength to strength. Now is the time for the English to rekindle passion for traditional beach holidays in this country. Our beaches are fabulous places to visit and that’s official. Blue Flag is only awarded to beaches that have good access, top notch facilities, are litter free and have clean sea-water. We are challenging people to avoid overseas air travel and be kind to the environment by holidaying at home.

Clearly Phil didn't visit Viking Bay the other weekend when it was strewn with more than 100 bottles, empty drink cans and dirty nappies (eeurgh!), but I think we'll, er, gloss over that. And as for the precise location of the putting green they list as one of the attractions on Ramsgate Sands, lord only knows! Still, if it means more people holidaying at home, and fewer knackered old jumbos polluting the air over my cliff top mansion, I'd even be prepared to publicise the little-known fact that there's gold nuggets buried in them there sands!

Click here to read Encams press release
Click here for list of Blue Flag beaches

Caption Competition

Rummaging through my photo album the other day, I discovered that rare beast - a snap of our glorious Tory council leader! Quite why there are so few piccies of him is a mystery to me. I mean, the chiselled features, rugged jaw, curly mop. He's quite the Hugh Grant!

Anyhow, this being the silly season, with news about as plentiful as hens' teeth, I thought I'd offer it up to you lot to suggest suitable captions. I've kicked it off but I'm sure you can do better. There's a bottle of bubbly on offer for the caption deemed the wittiest by our panel of judge (me) by close of play tomorrow. Go on - do your damnedest!

'I can't understand people who say there's nothing to do in Margate.'

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Closed Shops

Nothing to crow about really, but my prediction back in April that no fewer than six retail outlets in and around Margate's Old Town and Lower High Street area were planning to shut up shop has proved to be at least half right.

Harbour Monkey upped sticks last month, and now Chantelle and Brown Sugar are closed clothes shops. All three managed to cling on until well past the original date they were given for the 'improvements' over on the seedy north side of the Ile, but not beyond what now seem to be endless, continuous, disruptive road and pavement works. Jamie, the excellent Harbour Barber who attends to the old Eastcliff barnet, tells me the rotters have even dug through his telephone cable and want £170 to reconnect him. Apparently any chance of being compensated is 'out of the question'!

(With apologies to Maisiegrace who will no doubt now call me unbalanced and a boring old cynic!)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Realty Check

Reader Bull Terrier Gal writes to inform me that tiny Terence Painter, the Ile's dapper, diminutive developer and estate agent, has closed his office opposite the Royal Harbour. After tooling down there, I can indeed confirm this to be the case:

Despite being a relatively recent Ramsgatonian (eat your heart out Wossie), even I can remember the days when these premises were a dingy drinking dive, before our Terry came along and turned it into a place for millionaires to invest in the Thanet property boom. But with a number of local developments now seemingly at a standstill, can we now assume the boom has turned to bust?

Even more worrying is that TP is i/c flogging the Pleasurama development (aka Royal Sands, aka Titanic), should it ever be built. At a meeting of the Eastcliff Residents Association only last September, he said there was 'lots of interest' and that one hotel chain was on the point of signing up for the site. Upping sticks and buggering off doesn't really do much to confirm that, does it?

Rams Slam

I see today's Thanet Times has followed up my recent post about Ramsgate FC, confirming that there has indeed been a split with the youth teams. Apparently there have been 'differences of direction' rather than any upset over money as was reportedly rumoured, with Rams chair Richard Lawson quoted as 'considering legal action against the (unnamed) blogger' (i.e. me for reporting the rumours) and adding: 'Whoever this person is wants to be careful as what they said is libellous.'

'Is libellous' eh? Once again it would appear that complicated legal decisions on this funny little island are being made on the quaint basis of what one prominent citizen tells a local hack, rather than the outdated, old-fashioned method of due process of the law. Given the information in my possession, I might well be inclined to say that what the Thanet Times has printed about me 'is libellous'. In fact, I'm getting straight on the phone to my wolf pack of highly-trained media lawyers as soon as I've finished this sentence!

Click here to read Rams story in Thanet Times

Update: I see the excellent yourfannitinnit (available free in the corner of all your favourite local stores, usually behind the twelve boxes of Haribo etc.) has a much fuller account of this sorry saga today (Wednesday), including a suggestion that the move was connected to money, in part at least. Click here to read it.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Fort Hill A Few Dollars More

Word on the Margate (soon to be half a) street is that the utterly pointless de-dualling of Fart Hill over in the Arsonists' Playground is currently something like 60 big ones over it's already considerable six figure budget. Lord knows what they've spent it on, as every time I go past there seems to be nothing happening. Still, it brings the cost of Turnip MkII ever closer to £20m. Any bets on the final figure being on the shiny side of that?

Meanwhile I see the Outfitters Gallery on the Old Town piazza (The Parade in old money) finally has a sold sign in the window. If you recall, this place was tarted up, with EU and arts funding, into a nice little seaside des res with a bit of an old gallery on the ground floor. Now it's netted its owners a tidy £415,000. Well, that was the asking price anyway. Arts regen at its best, eh!

Still, there's one recently relocated Margatonian who thinks we're all being far too negative. She writes: 'There are several blogs about Thanet and they are forums for a handful of negative people with nothing better to do than sit on their backsides and slag off anyone who seems like an appropriate target to blame for their plight. The council is a great target - like they are responsible for everything. I’ve seen the council blamed for all manner of things - not reducing business rates (actually that’s all to do with central government - dur), not doing anything with empty shops (actually isn’t that down to landlords and tenants?) and not providing jobs (actually the council are actively involved with lots of private sector collaborations to do just that.)' She adds: 'No I don’t work for the council - I just know a good one when I see one.'

Crikey! Well, she is an artist. Perhaps all that paint and glue has, er, gone to her head!

Brewing Up A Storm?

Not exactly 'flaming June' is it? Nope. Well, Wimbledon starts this month so what do you expect? After last week's free fireworks show I thought I'd better check the excellent Ipswich-based Storm Tracker to see if anything was brewing, and sure enough there do seem to be some thundery events trundling over the Channel from France as you can see from the grab above. You can find Storm Tracker in my sidebar on the right, along with all sorts of other useful stuff including Thanet events listings, local weather and tides.

Last week's doozy of a storm, described in Friday's Gazunder by none other than local pub millionaire Frank Thorley as the worst he'd ever seen, caused blackouts, flooding and fires across the island. Personally, barring the damage caused of course, I'm a fan of thunderstorms. Nothing better than watching lightning streak across the sky. Or 'lightening' as the Gazunder insisted on calling it across four pages of coverage. Lovely. Or should that be 'luvverly'?

Click here to check Storm Tracker

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Greenhouse Effect

Good to see my old TV chum John Craven meandering around the Ile de Thanet on today's Countryfile on BBC1. He ended up at Thanet Earth, the new 28 squillion acre greenhouse that's being built out Manston way, which will have its own gas fired power station generating enough electricity for half the homes on the island. Apparently all Thanet Earth will use is the heat and CO2 generated to grow peppers, cucumbers and up to 2.5m tomatoes a week.

Given that they'll be employing 100s of locals, and knowing the Thanetian penchant for, er, getting something for nothing, it'll be interesting to see how much, um, 'wastage' they suffer. Still, look on the bright side. With all that fresh fruit and veg floating around the island we may well notice a reduction in the number of chip-munching lard arses wobbling up and down our high streets. That'll certainly be an improvement to our local environment!

Update: I found a detailed, critical assessment of Thanet Earth by somebody revelling in the name of 'Pete the Hat'. Click here to see it.

Click here to watch Thanet Countryfile on BBC iPlayer (until 8 June)