Thursday, July 31, 2008

Bloomin' Lovely!

As most readers know, I'm more in the habit of lobbing brickbats at our local council. But here's a bouquet! What a wonderful display the Uranians' horticultural department has put on this year. The municipal beds and roundabouts are positively radiant with germaniums, and other, er, flowers. As you can probably tell, I'm not much of a one for the garden myself.

What a shame, then, that next week it'll definitely be back to the brickbats if what I'm hearing on the jungle drums is to be believed!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Russian Hour In Ramsgate

Tootling back from town at teatime this afternoon, I found myself queuing in the old Toyota Priapus beside the entire three mile length of our airport's lovely runway. Why the tailbacks? Another fire perhaps? An accident? No, it seems the reason for the jam was the Great Moscow State Circus, which has pitched its big tent for the next week at the Lord of the Manor site.

There are evidently lots of circus lovers here in the Millionaires' Playground. Far more, it seems, than in Margate, where another circus packed up and pissed off last year after not selling a single ticket. Well, their mistake was not pitching up in the island's premier town, wasn't it! And, er, not calling themselves something with a Russian connection. What's that you say? You thought it was Russian? Deary me! No, no, you're thinking of the Bolshoi Circus. This one's run by a Malmesbury based outfit called the European Entertainment Company and is about as Soviet as the old Eastcliff derriere, although I'm told they do lease some Russian acts. The whiff of exoticism must be working for them, as they've also subsequently set up a 'Continental Circus Berlin' and the 'Chinese State Circus'.

Now, about that fat bloke with the beard and the red suit who comes down the chimney every Christmas...

Click here for performance times on Great Moscow State Circus website

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Love The Smell Of Jet Fuel In The Morning

This sign has recently appeared on the site of Ramsgate's Royal Sands development (Pleasurama in old money). Amongst other things it promises potential buyers 'the opportunity to wake up in the morning to the sounds of waves lapping on the beach and the smell of the freshest sea air'.

Hmm. More like 'the opportunity to be woken up in the middle of the night by the roar of knackered old jumbos and the smell of nitrous oxide and aviation fuel', methinks! And as for 'waves lapping on the beach' it could be more like 'waves lapping through the ground floor of your apartment block' if the Environment Agency is to be believed!

Speaking of knackered old jumbos, I see there was a veritable flight of the phoenix this afternoon as our old friends MK Airlines made an unwelcome return to the Millionaires' Playground. If you recall, MK, famous for their Canada and Nigeria crashes, went tits up last month only to be refinanced by a mystery investor so that they could return and blight our lovely Victorian seaside town all over again. Who knows, if car-sized chunks can fly off even Qantas's lovely, modern 747s, perhaps the occupiers of Royal Sands might one day have the opportunity to gaze out to sea from their own private balcony on a scene not dissimilar to this:

Bit Of A Stink

Holy hypocrisy! I see our Glorious Council Leader is blaming environmental bureaucracy for not clearing tons of rotting seaweed from Minnis Bay! Sandy Beach told the BBC Kent website that the stinking mess could not be moved because of the bay's Blue Flag status, adding in his usual lucid manner: 'It does seem a ludicrous rule, however I'm not the powers up there that say this is wrong or that is right.'

Would that be the same Sandy whose council seems poised to flout an Environment Agency recommendation not to build Chinese cess pits on top of our water supply, and agreed a residential development in Ramsgate on what the EA regards as a flood plain? Or is it a case of obeying the rules when it saves money, but ignoring them when it might suit your fat cat pals and bring in a bit of extra council tax dosh? I think we should be told!

Click here to read full story on BBC website

Monday, July 28, 2008

Derek Hartorah's Spirit World Of Politics

Only in your super, soaraway Eastcliff Richard! Each week our psychic councillor Derek Hartorah sees what's coming in his crystal ball, politically speaking!

When our faithful poodle Tony passed over into the spirit world last year we were devastated. These wonderful creatures give so much comfort and love but are only with us here in the physical realm for a short time. Ten years seemed to go so quickly.

But I am here to assure you that, like us, they live on. Recently I felt Tony's presence during a book signing in the States. It seemed he was jealous of the West Highland terrier, Gordon, that I acquired after he passed over. Gordon is a very different kind of animal. He's not such an affectionate show-off as Tony and seems disinclined to learn any tricks. His rather grumpy disposition has not endeared him to the other dogs in the area, and only the other day I had to chase away a stout little Jack Russell who seemed intent on shafting poor old Gordon up the poo-chute.

Tony came to me again the other week, over lunch at the Gavroche, and informed me that, sadly, Gordon would soon be joining him in the after life, and that my next dog would be a Pomeranian called David.

That's enough Derek Hartorah - Ed.

Quex Query

How about this for a money-making scheme?

1. Organise a three-day music festival at Quex Park
2. Invite top bands like UB40, The Hoosiers and Scouting for Girls
3. Charge thirty-odd quid for a ticket
4. Confiscate any liquids on entry, it being the hottest weekend of the year
5. Make people queue for hours to buy 'drinks tokens'
6. Make them queue again for a few more hours to exchange their tokens for drinks
7. Pocket the difference between what you got for the drinks tokens and what you handed out in a few measly drinks, most people having given up and thrown their tokens away.

Not bad, eh? I've had plenty of reports of people walking away in disgust at the weekend's Sound Island Music Festival, so the scam must have worked a treat for the organisers. If you'd care to read how it was for one ticket holder, pop over and take a look at Maisiegrace's blog.

Update: If anyone feels like telling their Sound Island Music Festival story to the local press, Tom Betts at yourfannit would like to hear from you. Email him at:

Friday, July 25, 2008


Yes - it's all go Margate! This weekend sees a cornucopia of poorly-publicised activities across the north of the island!

Arsongate's 7-day Big Sky Jazz Festival kicks off tonight at the Mike and Bernie Winter Gardens. Then tomorrow it's Margate Pride, which I see has been renamed 'Thanet Pride in Margate' this year in a vain attempt to suggest that it's inclusive of us poor sods here on the underfunded and woefully neglected south side. Meanwhile you can boogie all weekend to the sounds of UB40 and Scouting for Girls at the Sound Island Music Festival at Quex Park.

Still, to be honest it's not all Margate-centric. On Sunday it's Ramsgate Carnival, and the same day sees the start of the first ever, week long Ramsgate Historic Festival billed as 'all action from Eastcliff to Westcliff'. Expect to get your pulse racing with morris dancing, a human chess game and a teddy bears' picnic, culminating in a full scale re-enactment next weekend of the Napoleonic (or should that be 'Wellingtonian'?) Wars. Maybe one way or another Ramsgate will be bangin' after all!

Ask Sister Assumpta

Only in your super, soaraway Eastcliff Richard! Each week our agony aunt, local nun Sister Assumpta, tackles your personal problems!

Dear Sister Assumpta, I am a middle-aged businessman running a carpet shop. Since the economic downturn many of my fuck developer friends have stopped using my services. Tosser. What should I do? S. (PS: The Tourettes does not seem to be getting any wank better toss.)

Sister Assumpta writes: Yer an evil, evil man. Yer should pray to Our Lord for forgiveness yer pile of shite. Now get off with yer and sign up for the old Nat King. And don't be biting me bollix again!

Dear Sister Assumpta, I am well known in the retail trade but some customers say I haven't been dealing with them fairly. Is there any way I can convince them of my good intentions? R.

Sister Assumpta writes: Jaysus Hermesetas Christ will yer not be bothering me with yer fecking troubles, yer pain in the hole!
If yer come round here again I''ll give yer a savage kick up the arse yer eejit.

Dear Sister Assumpta, I am a prominent local politician in my twilight years. I try my best for the area but I have a reputation in some quarters for being arrogant and overbearing. Is there any way I can sort these bastards out? R.

Sister Assumpta writes: By Our Holy Mother, are yer not thinking these people could do with a decent slap? They're not worth the snot on yer hankie and so. Now piss off and say twelve Hail Marys yer fecker.

That's enough Sister Assumpta - Ed.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thanet Council Drop It But Do They Cop It?

Last year our beloved council's anti-litter campaign was 'Thanet is beautiful, let's keep it that way'. And what did they do? Yep, they poggled the place out with temporary fencing, allowed heritage buildings to rot, and condoned endless oozalum flights over the island.

This year's benchmark in hypocrisy is 'Drop it and cop it'. That casually discarded cigarette butt or barker's nest could cost you an £80 fine. So when council operatives scatter Ramsgate's roads and pavements with detritus on bin day, leaving festering rubbish to rot in the streets on the hottest day of the year, shouldn't they fine themselves? After all, they dropped it, so shouldn't they cop it? I called the Uranians to find out...

From Little SEEDAs Big Turnips Grow

Breaking news! The final tranche of funding for Margate's putative Turnip Centre has been confirmed! Hurrah! Or 'Boo!', depending on how you feel about the project.

Anyhoo, thanks to one of my regular contributors I have in my sweaty mits today's press release announcing that £8.1m of funding will be guaranteed by the Arts Council and SEEDA, the South East England Development Agency. Among all the self-congratulating and back-slapping is this gem from our Sandy:

This news is fantastic as Turner Contemporary will be a landmark building and one that will help with Margate’s economic regeneration. The council are working hard to regenerate Margate's old town and it is being transformed into a vibrant new cultural quarter. Much of that work has been because of the prospect of Turner Contemporary, which shows the impact it is already having on Margate and the town's regeneration.

As well as confirming that there will be works by the great Turnip painter himself exhibited in the gallery, the PR wallahs have, as you can see, appended a brand new artist's impression of the place to their statement. Although they'll be wanting a few more people to visit than that, surely, if the old town is to be transformed into 'a vibrant new cultural quarter'!

Separated At Birth?

Regular contributor Samantha writes:

I wonder if anyone else has spotted the similarity between Augusta Road in Ramsgate and this photo of a landfill site I found on the internet? Are they by any chance related?

Augusta Road, Ramsgate


I've noticed, Samantha, that this happens every Thursday when the rubbish is collected. Quite why the road sweeper doesn't trot along behind the dustcart is beyond me. Lumps of stinking, festering crap are left all over the street for a full 24 hours, rotting in the summer sun. All thanks to Thanet Council's stultifying inefficiency and their failure to introduce wheelie bins to the area. There they are, jumping out of bushes and fining casual smokers for chucking their butts on the pavement, yet they're happy to sit by and watch a major public health problem develop through their own ineptitude.

Still, look on the bright side. It won't be long, I predict, before we'll be able to celebrate the restoration of another bit of our Victorian heritage thanks to Thanet Council - cholera and typhoid!

Blimp My Ride

Reader David Chamberlain writes:

Zeppelins again over Thanet! The test flight of our 15' (indoor) radio controlled exhibition blimp takes place at the Westgate Pavillion this Thursday (today) between 09:00 hours & 13:00 hours, 9 & 1 in pre-decimal for you non-aeronautical sorts. We'd like to find sponsorship for a 20 to 30 footer outdoor blimp so if you know any media types with too much money and a hole to burn it through we'd like to know. Just hope the doctor doesn't shoot it down!

I am also looking at offering low level aerial cam shots for roofing companies, guttering firms utilising a camera carrying helicoptor, it might save loads on scaffolding and ladders. I might even send it up over your mansion to see if them Boeings have blown anymore stuff off your roof!

And just in case you're wondering what an '(indoor) radio controlled exhibition blimp' looks like, David's kindly sent this link to one that someone else prepared earlier:

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Well worth toddling down to your local shop and paying nothing for this week's excellent yourfannit newspaper (available free in the corner of all your favourite local stores, usually behind the twelve boxes of Haribo etc.) - 'cos I'm in it! I thought I'd have a bit of a drone about the training flight blight that's ruining Ramsgate. Quite the antidote to the aviation-fuelled nonsense that usually appears in the yourthanetblogger slot!

So hurry up and get your copy while stocks last. It's bound to become a collectible in years to come. Or if you can't be bothered to get out of your jimmy-jams and shuffle down the street, you can click here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Sea Bathing Firm Goes Down The Plughole

It's official! And you read it first in your super, soaraway Eastcliff Richard! Splashed over the front page of today's Thanet Times is the news that Paigle Properties Ltd and Paigle (Margate) Ltd have gone down the gurgler. According to the administrators appointed to liquidate the companies' assets, work on Margate's Royal Sea Bathing Hospital development will continue. But they were unable to comment on the future of Paigle's proposed development at the Cliftonville Lido.

Actually it gives me no pleasure to be proved right on this. I have a nasty feeling that Paigle won't be the last developer on the island to cash in their chips. I can't honestly say that the prospect of swapping ten years of hideous eyesores for another ten years of half built, hideous eyesores is filling the old Eastcliff cockles with joy!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Foreign Legion

Blimey! Thanet's premier town was rammed this afternoon! Numbers appeared to have been boosted by an influx of overseas students. Kuh! And you can see 'em a mile off, can't you? You can't, you say? Well then, here are my top ten tell-tale signs for spotting your teenage Johnny Foreigner:

1. Jaw not slack
2. Normal weight for age and height
3. Not tugging pit bull on string (male) or pushing pram (female)
4. Smartly dressed with no sign of Primark track suit pants
5. Absence of tattoos saying 'Dad'
6. Not carrying Costcutter bag full of White Lightning cans
7. Hair untainted by bleach
8. No large 'gold' chains
9. Not munching chips whilst screaming 'ASHLEY'
10. Looks unlikely to have banged in six inch nails with own head

There. So next time you're out and about give them my regards and wish them a jolly 'Bonjour'!

Giant Dong Pumps Up Wind Farm

Danish energy giant DONG has saved Port Ramsgate's bacon following Shell's recent withdrawal from the proposed £1.5bn fart farm off the Thanet coast, according to Kent Online. The firm has become 50/50 partners with German outfit E.ON after buying Shell's stake for an undisclosed sum. Construction work for almost 300 turbines is due to take place in our lovely, lovely port here in the Millionaires' Playground over the next three years.

Not very interesting really, but well worth it for the headline!

Click here to read full story in Kent Online

Councillor Puts Us In The Picture

Following yesterday's kerfuffle over a Kent County Councillor who purloined my pic without permission, I've received the following email from the gent concerned:

Richard - I arrived in my office this morning to a flurry of emails pointing out that the photo on my 'KCC in the Community' blog posting was the image from your blogsite.

Please accept my profuse apologies - the image has clearly been lifted from your site. In my rush to put up a posting, I asked my office to find me a 'Margate' image - perhaps I didn’t make it clear enough that this should have been a KCC image!

I have immediately taken the image off the posting, and replaced it with a KCC image showing the architect's impression of the new Turner Centre. Nowhere near as attractive as your image admittedly, but it will have to do until I can get down to Margate and take my own pictures.

Apologies once again. As a more practical gesture, I have added your blog address to my blogroll on my Wordpress site -


Kevin Lynes
KCC County Councillor for Tunbridge Wells East
Cabinet Member for Kent Adult Social Services

Apologies accepted, Kevin! As a general rule, I have no real objection to people purloining my piccies (unlike some other silly bloggers) as long as they give me a nod when they do. Our local caff-crushing car-crushing councillor Dave Green has had the courtesy to do that in the past, as has local rag yourfannitinnit. What's more telling about Kevin's email, though, is the fact that his office were charged with finding a nice snap of Margate, and instantly came up with mine. I mean, I'm flattered that they're fans, but really, haven't KCC got any of their own?!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Councillor Caught Up In Copyright Claim

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder Crime Reporter Dud Fivers

Kent County Councillor and cabinet member Kevin Lynes has been accused of copyright theft by one of the isle's most popular bloggers. Celebrity millionaire Richard Eastcliff, who runs Thanet's Eastcliff Richard website, was shocked to see one of his photos appear without permission or a credit on the Conservative councillor's blog recently.

'I clicked on a link from Tony Flaig's Bignews Margate site to Kevin Lynes' blog and there was my photo of Droit House, which I took on 12 May this year. I was devastated as I'd put a lot of time and effort into twiddling my f-stop to capture the right mood for that particular shot. The photo on his site even has the same file name as mine - 'droit+house'. You'd think a KCC cabinet member would know better than to blag other people's copyrighted material off the internet.'

Mr Lyne, who represents Pembury, Sherwood and St James in West Kent, had been on a KCC cabinet fact-finding tour to Margate earlier this week, their first visit to the East Kent resort since 1926, and used the photo to illustrate his article. A furious Mr Eastcliff added: 'You'd think the Tories would be all in favour of law and order. Couldn't the cheapskate have bought a camera and taken his own photos?'

Mr Eastcliff, 29, said he would now be consulting with his media lawyers.

Can you spot the difference?

Councillor Lynes' blog 15 July

Update: Cllr Lynes has now apologised for his, er, error. Click here to read his email.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What A Load Of Rubbish

Tooling down to the Costcutter this morning for my copy of our local blue top, I came across this sorry sight:

We're told that Thanet Council, along with other agencies, are currently implementing 'Operation Clean Sweep' here in Ramsgate. I do believe they've missed a bit!

Turnip Slip Slips Out

According to that ruddy-faced man who runs Kent County Council, Margate's putative Turnip Centre will now be opening in spring 2011. Up to now, the opening date had always been given as 2010. Apart from a few years ago, when the opening date was 2004.

Speaking on his blog, Maidstone's top Tory details KCC's day trip to Margate this week, which must have been a bit of a shock given that most of the poor lambs have never ventured further east than Tunbridge Wells. R-FM witters:

First stop was Droit House, Margate, for an update on Turner Contemporary. KCC is already working with schools and local groups to bring art to the public and has recently turned the empty Marks and Spencers in Margate into an exhibition space.

But from Spring 2011 it will be a totally different story when the Turner Centre, designed by Stirling prize winner David Chipperfield, opens to an expected 130,000 visitors a year in completely transformed surroundings.

Only last week in an official press release announcing the appointment of John Kampfner as head of the trust that will run the Turnip, KCC stated the gallery would open in 2010.

In the same blog entry, R-FM also reveals plans to increase the number of passengers flying from RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston International Airport to 10 million a year, about half the capacity of Stansted. Well that should get the DFLs running back to their North London hills. All in all, his visit seems to have done a power of good for property prices in, er, West Kent. Well worth slumming it for a day in Margate, I'd say!

Click here to read Ruddy-Faced Man's blog

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Plug Pulled On Royal Sea Bathing Hospital?

With the entire country deafened by the sound of credit being crunched, I wasn't entirely surprised to hear from a reliable source today that Paigle Properties, who've been tarting up Margate's Royal Sea Bathing Hospital for the past couple of years, have, er, gone down the gurgler. Although the news should strictly be filed under 'unconfirmed rumour', I have to say I heard it from somebody who really should be in the know.

It won't come as a surprise to Margatonians, who've reported little activity on the site for the past few months, although this was put down by some optimists to Paigle's pending planning application for yet more luxury apartments on the site. A while back the local papers told how the developer had locked its builders out in an apparent dispute. Last year Paigle's driving force, Jane Debliek, told the Times the work would cost £60m, and that everyone had said: ‘You’re mad, you’ll go bankrupt!’ I think the larger cry around Margate had always been: 'You're mad, it should be the Turner Centre!', but there you go.

The tide of Thanet developers in difficulties seems to be rising rapidly, and the fear must be that the island will be blighted for yet another decade by half-finished developments, much like parts of Spain and Turkey. It's a particular shame if the news about the Sea Bathing is true. To my way of thinking, Paigle had done a lovely job, and did at least appear to have some sympathy and passion for the place. What happens now, I wonder, to the Cliftonville Lido which Paigle also bought to redevelop, in line with our council's plans to 'book end' Margate front with swish new properties?

Click here to read interview with Jane Debliek in the Times
Click here to see Bignews Margate's recent tour of the site

Update: This story has now been confirmed. Paigle called in the receivers on 15 July. Click here to read more.

Man Picks Up Dog And Gets Ear Chewed Off

Lorks! If this email from Ramsgate Firster Gerry O'Donnell is anything to go by, it seems he sent lovely Gazunder editor Rebecca Smith away with a flea in her proverbial after a phone moan about him giving rival paper yourfannitinnit the exclusive on his parliamentary bid:


Thank you for your 'phone call. I gave exclusivity to Your Thanet over this and another story because they have played fair with Ramsgate First. I do not believe that we have had a fair shake with the Gazette or Times.

We do not ask for nor expect favours, nor do we expect to have letters published. But over the past year I got the message loud and clear from you that we would struggle for any kind of fair treatment from the G & T. The general mood in Ramsgate is that G & T is not really interested in us. You may demur, but that is the word on the street. I have no doubt that this exchange will appear in Smudger as 'Gerry O'Donnell screams blue murder at the Gazette.' But that is what we have come to expect. Fiction.

I wish you and the Conswervatives well which is more that I expect you wish us.


Thems fighting words, Gerry! Yee-ha! Break out your voting irons, it's time for some campaignin'! (And keep your minces peeled for my small cameo at the end!):

Ask Sister Assumpta

Only in your super, soaraway Eastcliff Richard! Each week our agony aunt, local nun Sister Assumpta, tackles your personal problems!

Dear Sister Assumpta, I am a middle-aged man in a prominent position on the local council. I believe I may be suffering from Tourette's as every time I open my fucking mouth the most dreadful language comes out of it. Tosser. What should I do? S.

Sister Assumpta writes: Yer an evil, evil man. By all that's holy have yer not thought to wash yer filthy, dirty hole out with soap? I will pray for yer soul every night, yer evil little gobshite.

Dear Sister Assumpta, as a property developer with a large portfolio I am getting deeper and deeper into debt because of the current credit crunch. Should I set fire to some of my buildings and claim the insurance? J.

Sister Assumpta writes: Mother Mary and all the saints! Now why would yer be wanting to do that, yer fecking crapbag? Surely now yer could pay for some boss-eyed, crack-toking eejit to do it for yer? I will pray for Our Lord to intervene.

Dear Sister Assumpta, I run a local blog which campaigns against plans to build a Chinese business park on the island's water supply. Now people are calling me 'lacist'. Is this 'porritical collectness' gone mad? B.

Sister Assumpta writes: For the love of God, will yer not be using that kind of language with me young man? Now why don't yer stop acting the bollix and get a proper job, or I'll be after giving yer a slap.

That's enough Sister Assumpta - Ed.

Wish You Were Heras?

My spies at RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston International Airport tell me they spotted something rather unusual last week. No, not a bus load of happy holidaymakers bound for foreign climes, that would be too unusual for words! No, what they actually saw was a cargo of Heras temporary fencing being loaded onto one of those knackered old freighters that fly from there.

Maybe after more than three years, er, gracing our East Cliff here in Ramsgate, it was jetting off to the sun for a well-earned break!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Gerry Has Eyes On Ladyman's Seat

Cripes! I see Ramsgate Firster Gerry O'Donnell has declared himself in the running as MP for Thanet South at the next general election! In an exclusive interview with yourfannit, Gerry says: 'It's important to raise the level of political debate here and get people talking about the issues which affect us.' Mr O'Ramsgate will be up against incumbent Labour MP Dr Ladyboy, and Tory babe Laura Sandys.

Quite why Gerry chose to break the news exclusively to yourfannit and not the more established Isle of Thanet Gazunder could be explained by an email I received from him recently in which he opined that the Gazunder's editor, the lovely Rebecca Smith, is 'anti-Ramsgate' and 'not up to the job'!

Click here to read full story in yourfannit

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ramsgate A Non-Event

Casting the old glass eye over our beloved council's events listings website earlier, I was struck by a noticeable absence. Whilst there are plenty of things going on in Boredstares, Margate, Birchington and so on, there seems to be bugger all happening here on the trendy south side this summer. Apart from 'costumed walks', the odd concert at our Granville Theatre and Cinem, and something called 'Lark in the Park', the diary's about as full as Chris Langham's.

Not only that, but was I the only one who felt a sense of disappointment that the final weekend of last week's water skiing championship was not accompanied by the bands, booze and burgers hullabaloo of the first weekend? What happened there? Next year we won't even have the water skiing, and the previous powerboat incumbents appear to have got the arse and found a nice new home in Gravesend. It seems to me as if our Margate-centric council are yet again busy feathering their own nests, at the expense of the Ile's premier town!

Click here to visit Thanet Council's events website

Monday, July 14, 2008

Open And Shut, Then Open And Shut, Then Open And Shut Again Case

Well blow me! Just when you thought the twelve years of roadworks in Margate's Old Town were finally done and dusted, they go and dig it all up again! I'm told they put the finishing touches on the streets round there at midnight last Friday, but were back today because (I kid you not) some twonk forgot to install the speed humps. Talk about an army of duffers. Do Kent Highways give out awards for incompetence or what?!?!

Whatever the latest completion date is it'll be too late for the businesses that have gone bust waiting for the place to get back to normal. They were originally promised it would be all over by Easter. A bit like WW1 being over by Christmas, I suppose. Still, at least Sandy and Co's cafe-cultured mates will be happy with the lovely new, outdoor seating areas created by the super-duper extended pavements!

Kevin Crace And Westgate Pavilion

Following my recent item about Westgate Pavilion, I've received this clarification from the chap who wants to save it, Kevin Crace:

It is true that in 2001 I did arrange for Ronnie Biggs return to the UK. This has always been in the public arena and my involvement in his return is something that I have always been actually proud of. I was independently hired to arrange the negotiations for his return and I was paid a sum of money, from a national newspaper for doing such. My connection to Ronnie comes from the fact that in my portfolio of music rights includes the Ronnie Biggs/Sex Pistols song – No One Is Innocent.

I in no way have had any connection to any form of crime. I think it’s also fair to say that I have not discussed this matter with either the Council or the Gazette, as it neither seemed relevant, and because it is one of many business activities that I have been involved in over a number of years.

I am slightly more concerned to clarify the position with regards to the MySpace entry on ‘smoking quality weed’…. This is actually a reference to tobacco and not cannabis. I am the father of three children, and as such I am more than aware of the dangers of drug abuse. Also, working in the music industry, I have seen and lost many friends to drug abuse. I totally deplore and object to drug use, of which I think there is far too much of on the island…

I do however smoke tobacco. I am also an opponent of what I view as the government's draconian anti smoking legislation, and you will note amongst my MySpace friends are the pro smoking group Smokers Reunited, whom I totally support. I think my choice of words on my site, with the gift of hindsight, were inappropriate.

Finally, may I say to you and your readers that my intentions with redeveloping the Westgate Pavilion are truly honest. I spent my childhood at Thanet, and I returned here with my children to try to give them the level of ‘magic’ that I experienced as a child. I, like most of your readers, remember the ‘glory’ days, and have been deplored to see it slide continually down hill, as one attraction after another closes.

If the Pavilion is forced to close, then I am certain it will never re-open. I am also certain that it has the capability to work as a good private business, that cannot only serve the needs of the community, but can also bring much needed tourists back into Thanet, and more particularly Westgate. My proposal to take over the Pavilion is based on the belief that after many years in the industry, and with many contacts in the industry, I am suited to assist in this regeneration.

With kind regards,

Kevin Crace

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dover For The Continent, Ramsgate For...

...well, certainly not for cyclists, if this email from Belgian reader Frank is anything to go by:

I like reading your blogspot and there is a lot of truth in it. Especially about TDC, who seem to be run by a bunch of idiots. They can't even reply to emails.

I am trying to get TransEuropa Ferries (TEF) to take bicycles on board. The answer of TEF is that the port of Ramsgate isn't safe to take bicycles. I find this hard to believe because it was safe enough when Sally ferries used to run it. I have sent several emails to TDC and new port Ramsgate asking for an answer. This was over a month ago. So far I got a reply from the harbour master Mr D. Evans who said I should ask TEF...???

Mr Michael Roberts can't read nor Mr Ezekiel as they have not replied. I thought that TDC is the owner of the port of Ramsgate so surely they could give an answer. I just want them to say that the port is safe for bicycles so I can show the answer to TEF.

Could you help me with this as I trust some members of TDC are readers? I think Thanet can use every bit of tourist money and bringing in cyclists could benefit the area as they will need a place to sleep/drink/eat, unlike the tourists who arrive and drive further on to London, etc.

Good point, Frank. I can see that it would be unsafe for cyclists to access the port through the tunnel, but there's no reason why they shouldn't use Military Road, which could easily be connected up with our marvellous, islewide network of cycle paths. What's so bloomin' annoying about TEF and TDC is they seem to be geared entirely to bloody great lorries or wind farms at the expense of foot passengers, cyclists and cars, who would surely bring much-needed dosh to the island's economy. Down the road in Dover they've announced a new ferry service, and launched a 113,000 tonne supercruiser all in the past week. There's no reason to suppose that, with more dynamic management, Port Ramsgate couldn't be just as prosperous.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Moore News

My spies on Uranus tell me that the council's third most senior, non-elected officer is off to pastures new. Paul Moore was the chap who brought you the success that is Margate Gateway, the mind-boggling mash-up of library and benefits office that's got the whole island talking. For 'personal reasons' he never quite made the move down to Thanet, choosing instead to set up home in Whitstable.

Paul's off to Wandsworth, apparently. Could it be that his nose is out of joint after discovering the ever-affable John Bunnett had been appointed Number Two and Acting Chief Executive during Chief Exec Richard Samuel's recent absence due to illness? I think we should be told!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ronnie To The Rescue?

Today's Isle of Thanet Gazunder carries a full page spread on the man they're calling the Saviour of Westgate Pavilion (Who cares? - Ed) as part of its campaign to save the aforemetioned, er, shed on the north side of the island. Kevin Crace is described as a 'music entrepreneur' who owns more rights to Elvis Presley's hits than anyone other than the Graceland estate.

What the paper doesn't mention is that our Kev gained fame a few years back as a spokesman for Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs, and in fact claims to have arranged his return to the UK in 2001 on humanitarian (and, er, probably legal) grounds. Until last year Biggs was banged up in Belmarsh high security prison 70 miles up the road, but has since been moved to Norwich prison after suffering ill health, and may well be let out soon on compassionate grounds. He's oft-quoted as having missed 'the smell of Margate' during his self-imposed exile in Rio, although 40 years on he might get a bit of a shock were he to rush down here upon his release, as the only thing Margate smells of these days is decay.

Still, who knows? Perhaps Ramsgatonian Kevin, who lists 'smoking quality weed' as an interest in his MySpace profile, might be able to tempt the famous Margate-lover to lend some high profile support to the campaign?

Update: Kevin has subsequently sent me a clarification regarding this item. Click here to read it.

Click here to read full story in the Gazunder
Click here to see Kevin Crace's MySpace profile

Chinese Takeaway

Forget pointless by-elections! It's official - a record number of you voted in the latest ECR poll, with the overwhelming majority in favour of nixing plans for a 17 billion square foot China Gateway business park on the west of the island. 84 votes were cast, here's the result:

Question: Should Thanet Council grant planning permission for the China Gateway business park?

Yes: 15% (13 votes)
No: 84% (71 votes)

I expect the planning application to be thrown out forthwith!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Royal Sands Of Time Running Out?

Last month I brought you the news that tiny Terence Painter, the Ile's dapper, diminutive developer and estate agent, had closed his office opposite the Royal Harbour. TP, if you recall, is the lead agent for selling the seven, 12 star hotels and 9 million luxury apartments at the planned Pleasurama Development (aka Royal Sands aka Titanic aka Elsbels Palace Hotel).

Word has now reached the old Eastcliff lugholes that the bankers for the developer, SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd., have withdrawn their funding for the project, no doubt because their credit has been well and truly crunched. If confirmed, this would be a serious blow to the future of Ramsgate's seafront, which has already suffered a decade of eyesore blight, following the mysterious fire that destroyed Pleasurama in the late 90s. Should the development not be in position to go forward, may I humbly suggest that our friends on Uranus somehow wrest the site back from SFP and flipping well do something useful with it? Heritage theme park, anyone?

He's Back!

Holy biplanes! The 'popular but beseiged™' Thanet Life blog run by Westgate Blue Rinser Councillor/Doctor Moores has lurched back into life! The Tories must be preparing to drop some pretty stinky bombs on us if they've cranked up their favourite propaganda machine again! Run for your lives!!!!!

From New Statesman To Turnip

The Grauniad reports that John Kampfner (Who he? - Ed) will be heading up the trust that's overseeing Margate's putative Anthea Turner Centre. Kampfner is a former editor of the News Statesman (Righto - Ed.). Kent County Council were apparently impressed with his 'drive and enthusiasm'.

Well he'd better put his foot down if you ask me. The story states that the Ike and Tina Turner Centre is 'scheduled to finish construction in 2010'. The last time I looked, not a sod had been dug. And there's still a questionmark hanging over some of the funding, from what I hear. If it's finished by 2010, I'll eat my monocle!

Click here for full story in the Grauniad

Poll Position

Just a quick reminder to vote in my China Gateway poll if you haven't already done so. You'll find it in the sidebar on the right. With only a day left it's clocked up more than 70 votes, almost a record for an ECR poll. Keep 'em coming!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

More Rubbish From Kent County Council

Tooling around the grubby East Cliff back streets earlier today, I came across a veritable blizzard of crap on the pavement. No, not the usual barkers' nests, but vouchers for a 'free skills check' from an organisation called Skills Plus, an initiative funded by Kent County Council. As if there wasn't enough trouble with fly tipping in the area already, without KCC adding to it by, er, flyer tipping!

The leaflets were advertising the Skills Plus Centre in Ashford (manager Jude Farrell tel: 01233 208619/623945 should anyone wish to pick up the dog and complain). Oh well, you never know, they might have come to Thanet with high hopes and bales of free skills check vouchers only to take one look at the local inhabitants, drop their bundle and scarper!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Heritage Schmeritage

I see English Heritage has published its Heritage at Risk register today, listing the heritage sites it considers to be in a parlous state. Thanet gets a couple of guernsies. No prizes for guessing which two edifices are most at risk here on Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula, eh? Gotta be the demolished, listed Marina Restaurant here on Ramsgate seafront and the charred remains of Dreamland's listed Scenic Railway, eh? Eh?

Wrong! The wonderful monuments EH in fact consider to be at risk are Margate's Shell Grotto, which they say is in 'poor' condition, and some old barn out on the Haine Road, whose condition they classify as 'very bad'. I would have thought 'demolished' and 'burnt to a crisp' would have beaten either of those, but perhaps they no longer regard them as being at risk... of anything ever being done to restore them to their former glory!

Click here to see Thanet's 'at risk' heritage sites

Richard's Thanisaurus

Following the sackful of emails I received after publishing a few helpful Thanetian phrases for our water skiing visitors this week, I've been persuaded to produce a Richard's Thanisaurus. The aim of my Thanisaurus will be to collect terms and phrases unique to our lovely little island here in the tip of Kent. You'll find a new definition in my sidebar each day, which you can cut out and keep to form a beautiful, leather bound volume (leather binding £35.95 at all good WH Smiths). If you have any suggestions, email me at

In other news, I've removed the Heras temporary fencing counter-uppy thingo from the sidebar as, barring the odd zit or two, much of it has now gone from the East Cliff at least. Also, I see from our local biblio-bloke's excellent blog that there's a meeting of the RAF London Kent Ramsgate Manston International Airport Consultative Committee this afternoon at 2pm. Apparently it's not open to the public (why?), but if you want to get up there and make your voices heard over the racket I can't see any reason not to. Who knows, perhaps Iron Maiden frontman and Astraeus Airlines pilot Bruce Dickinson will be there to give you a quick chorus of Run to the Hills!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Who Wants To Be A Thanet Mayor?

I don't. But I see there's been some discussion over on Thanet? Streuth! to that effect. The idea appears to be to gather a petition forcing our Jurassic junta of Tory duffers to hold a referendum under the Local Government Act or something. Such a petition would only require 5% of the electorate to precipitate a referendum, which amounts to something in the region of 3,500 signatures. Not a difficult target if you ask me. If the subsequent referendum, which TDC would have to pay for, goes in favour of a having a mayor then BINGO!, we get our very own Boris!

I have no idea which side of the Thanetian bipolar political spectrum this suggestion has come from. I assume that, as Thanet? Streuth! is fast becoming the rightful heir to Councillor/Doctor Biggles' 'popular but beseiged (but now completely comatose)™' Thanet Life blog, it must be some sort of dissident faction within the Conservatives, keen to tug Sandy's chain and get their hands on his baubles. If it is, it's hardly surprising. The Tories used to be very good at stabbing each other in the back, if you recall, over Europe. It doesn't take much to get them at each others throats, so why not a game of mayor culpa?

One Up, One Down

Regular contributor Samantha writes:

I was pleased to see Mears joiners working on behalf of Thanet Council finally reinstating the boundary to Granville Court behind Victoria Parade in Ramsgate last week (see photo attached). It has taken months to get the council to clear this site and replace the hoarding around it after it became dangerously dilapidated and a magnet for fly tippers. Well done TDC (at last)!

And there's another cheer for TDC from reader Brian who sent in this shot of our once-crumbling East Cliff:

As you can see, most of the 'temporary' Heras fencing has been removed. And it only took three years, three months and three days! In fact it had been there so long that this is the first time I've had the pleasure of peering at the prom in its full, un-Herassed glory, as I only DFLed to the Millionaires' Playground at the start of 2006.

I'm tempted to dispense with the 'temporary' fencing counter-uppy thingo on my sidebar, which is currently registering 1,170 days. But then not all the fencing has disappeared, and there are one or two spots of it erupting further up. And a substantial patch has recently burst out along Royal Parade on the west side. Rather like acne really. Whaddya think? Should I stop counting? Or are happy days here again?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Fun In The Sun

A splendid time seemed to be had by all and sundry at yesterday's inauguration of the 2008 European Water Ski Racing Championships here in the island's top town. Tattooed crack addicts, families and millionaires mingled marvellously amid the burgers and booze, all soaking up the sun and the wonderful atmosphere. Even councillors looked happy and relaxed, as this shot of the back of our pugilistic premier on his way to the nearest Thorley establishment shows (to avoid any misunderstanding, he's the one on the right in the blue shirt):

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Ski Saturday

Hurrah! A week of frothy frolics has begun here in the Millionaires' Playground with the inaugural procession for the 2008 European Water Ski Racing Championships (Ramsgate Powerboat Weekend in old money) kicking off today at 4pm. Then there's an entire week of charging across the sea on planks culminating in the prize-giving next Saturday! Plus there'll be fireworks, funfairs, bands, beer and bungees for those of a less active bent.

With Thanet Council and Tiny Terry, our local property midgnate, coughing up almost 50 big ones in sponsorship, let's hope the weather holds. I hear that anything above a 15 knot wind might scupper proceedings, so fingers crossed. Still, the organisers have given the town a splendid write-up:

Ramsgate is situated on the southeastern tip of Kent and is a lovely coastal town with stunning architecture (at least some of which is still intact) and a real continental feel – it is closer to France than the county town of Maidstone (which is why no-one from Kent County Council ever comes here).... Ramsgate is home to the only Royal Harbour in the country and has a sparkling marina, award winning sandy beach and cliff tops that beg to be rambled (should you care to muscle the Heras temporary fencing out of the way).

So for the benefit of all the millionaires from across Europe and the UK who'll be flocking here over the next week, I've taken the liberty of preparing a short glossary of phrases they might find useful when mingling with the locals in our splendid bars and restaurants.

Oiyerkun! - Excuse me, but I believe you may have spilt my drink.
Gorrennyspliff? - I appear to have run out of pipe tobacco. Would it be possible to borrow some?
Gorrennyeeze? - A pint of your best Worthington bitter please, barman.
Inyerface kintossa - I beg to disagree with your opinion (generally used in political debates)
Ooyoolookinnat? - I don't like the cut of your jib, sir.
Yerra dymongeezaar - Please accept this tip with my compliments.
- Please inform the chef that this fish is off.
Kinarsol - General term of approbation.

There. That, and the Astraeus lump that's currently doing low-level training circuits over the place every three minutes (presumably piloted by Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson, I kid you not) should ensure our visitors feel welcome!

Click here for water skiing timetable and course
Click here for local weather (real time)

Friday, July 04, 2008

Something Fishy Down At The Museum?

Smoking kippers! I see today's Isle of Thanet Gazunder is reporting rumours that Ramsgate's Maritime Museum may become a fish market and fish restaurant. I wonder if my old culinary chum Rick Stein has seen the Cannes of Kent's potential at last? It would be a shame, though, if all the shenanigans that have gone on between our council and the East Kent Maritime Trust, who run the museum, were to deprive us of a spot of heritage. After all, the whiff of rotting buildings that the council have neglected already pervades Ramsgate. Why not let the fishy folk have a go at tarting them up first?

Meanwhile as you can see from my fabby new sidebar feed, Thanet Coast Life is running the story of the Cervia, the old steam tug next to the museum, which was in fact tarted up with public funds not so long ago but has since been allowed to fall into a most parlous condition. I first reported on the state of this once proud piece of maritime machinery back in October last year. Now you apparently can't even board her without doing a risk assessment first. Shameful.

Click here to read museum story in the Isle of Thanet Gazunder
Click here to read October's post on the Cervia
Click here to read the amazing history of the Cervia

Can Ken Ken If Ken's In Kent?

You know what they say, you can never find a Chair of Local Planning when you need him. TDC's chap, the generally affable, currently-Tory Ken Gregory, seems to have gone awol from the Thanet blogosphere, as several of my commentators have pointed out. I suppose he might be on his hols. Or maybe the growing uproar over local squillionaire Ken Wills' plans to plonk a Chinese business park on top of our water supply has sent him into his bunker? Perhaps Ken knows where Ken is? Ken, are you out there? Ken? .... Ken?

Oh well. To stir things up a bit I've popped another of my 7 day polls in the sidebar on the right. The beauty of these polls is that they're totally anonymous, so even Planning Ken can vote against it here if he feels like it. China Ken will, one presumes, vote in favour!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Ramsgate Under The Hammer

A big, ECR shout out to reader Caroline who spotted Ramsgate on the BBC's Homes Under The Hammer today. Caroline must be a fellow welfare sponger (although perhaps not with the political axe to grind) as HUTH is a morning show primarily watched by the kind of people who might be fragile enough at that early hour to take its title literally, given a probable diet consisting solely of cheese sarnies, disco biscuits and White Lightning. In fact, judging by the state of the property featured, it could well have already suffered that fate!

Anyhoo, back to the show. Presenter Martin kicked off the Ramsgate segment with an upbeat monologue: 'There's a real positive feeling about the stuff that's been going on here. There's a new high speed rail link into London and a lot of property refurbishment going on.' That's the spirit, Martin! Once inside the house in Richmond Road, however, he ascertained that all the floors had collapsed and the entire house was in imminent danger of falling down. Hmm, more than a spot of refurbishment required there, methinks. Auctioneers Clive Emson eventually, er, knocked it down to a London developer for £142,000, who then discovered Thanet Council had condemned it. But not to worry, a man from TDC eventually came along and offered him a £75,000 interest free loan. Result!

Click here to watch Homes Under The Hammer (until 9 July)

When Will Margate Stop Burning?

My spies on the seedy north side of the island tell me that Margate has gone up in flames yet again. Firefighters were called to the Arcadian on Fart Hill to tackle a blaze this morning. Apparently their progress was impeded somewhat by the seemingly interminable roadworks along there as part of the crazy, pointless, multi-million pound de-dualling scheme.

The Arcadian looked to be in a sorry state anyway - just about ripe for an earner burner if you ask me. I'm told it was originally a photographer's studio in Victorian times. With the loss earlier this year of Ramsgate's Marina Restaurant, also a former Victorian photographic studio, the chances of cashing in on our marvellous, seaside heritage seem slimmer by the day.

Update: It now transpires this was a rubbish fire round the back of the building, so apologies for the, er, rubbish report. Click here to read full story in the Thanet Times.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Westwood Cross - Eyesore Of The Future?

Holy underwear! I see Marks and Spencer have announced a 5.3% drop in sales, and are predicting stormy times ahead for the UK economy. Meanwhile separate data suggests that high petrol prices have led to a drop in trips to out-of-town shopping centres. According to figures from Experian's footfall index, visitor numbers fell by 5.8% in June from the same month a year ago. Even millionnaires like me are feeling the pinch. Recently I had to make the ultimate sacrifice and cancel my weekly Fortnums delivery.

All this must surely place a questionmark over the future of Brownwater. Even more units are going up, but you have to ask whether Britain's major retailers have their investing trousers on at the moment. I think the answer is probably no. And how long before we see abandoned units over there? There's nothing sadder than the sight of a derelict shopping centre. You only have to pop into Arlington Arcade to witness that!

On the other hand less out of town shopping could be good news for Thanet's beleagured local high streets. Margate was recently given a teeny-tiny boost when our beloved council agreed to a few hours free parking on Saturdays for an experimental three month period. As ever with our Cecil Square-centric councillors, no such concession was announced for Ramsgate. But then, really, what did you expect?

Click here for full story on BBC website

Postcards From The Edge

Reader Kathy has sent me some snaps from her holiday on the north of the island. Let's take a look, shall we?

No, well, er, you didn't exactly take the scenic route there Kathy. Later, it seems, she decided to drop the kids off at one of Margate's fabulous fun centres...

...before heading off for a spot of retail therapy...

Er, well, I trust you enjoyed your hols Kathy. Maybe next time it would be better to stay on the much more salubrious south side:

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Nothing Sinister About Dexter

Eheu! Where else on the island would you get a Latin pun in your headline, eh? I'm wasted I tell you, wasted! No, well, er, moving on, I've got a bit more griff on Dexter Dias, one of the new owners of TransEuropa, our Ramsgate to Oostende (Ostend in old money) shipping line.

If you recall, Mr Dias Senior passed away last month, and ownership transferred to his two sons. Dex is apparently an internationally renowned barrister, who has prosecuted and defended in many high profile criminal and human rights cases. He's even had a play written about one of them. And in his spare time he writes John Grisham style bestsellers about how lawyers can solve everything, some of which have been optioned for film and TV. Now he can add roll-on, roll-off ferries to his list of impressive achievements.

Actually, a nice little earner like TransEuropa might come in handy should the thriller writing not go well. After all, one reviewer on Amazon describes Dex's Above The Law as 'derivative nonsense (which) reads like Rumpole of the Bailey on mogadoms'!

Click here to read Dexter's profile at Garden Court Chambers
Buy Dexter Dias books on Amazon