Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A SEASONAL MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT RICHARD MILLHOUS NIXON

My Fellow Thanetians,

Since thawing out from cryogenic suspension in a warehouse at Port Ramsgate in 2006, courtesy of the intermittent nature of your French power supply, I have moved among you as the man you have grown to love and trust, Mr Richard Eastcliff.

Now, with the new year approaching, the time has come for me to address you directly about the year that has passed, and the year to come. [Applause.]

2009 has been a year of considerable progress. The topping out of the Turner Centre, funding for the New Old Dreamland, and round the clock banana flights from Chas 'n' Dave Margate International Airport are just some of the achievements we can be rightly proud of. Thanks to my ground-breaking visit to Angola in 1972, a runner bean grown in Africa, using slave labour at a rate of less than $2 a day, can now be whisked in first class luxury to a supermarket near you in less time than it takes a small child to die of malnutrition, allowing our new Chinese friends to enjoy the true taste of Thanetian democracy with their wan ton soup. I feel certain that they will soon be voting with their feet, as they will be too busy with their hands, injecting lethal substances into the mentally ill of the area. [Applause.] Ha, ha, er, no, that was just my little joke there. [Laughter.]

Over the past twelve months, neglect, corruption and incompetence have grown. Yet there are many other improvements still to be made. I have personally witnessed people questioning authority, and asking whether planning permissions have been granted courtesy of brown envelopes or rolled up trouser legs [gasps of shock and disbelief], and there are still far too many beautiful coastal areas which would benefit from a Watergate [surely 'waterfront'? - Ed.] style development. [Cries of 'Hear, hear'.]

Sadly many of you will, however, be facing difficult times in 2010. Your luxury apartments will be repossessed and your jobs handed over to Freemasons. The few remaining shops in your high street will almost certainly close. That is why I have taken strong measures during the year to stimulate the economy and ensure that, no matter how bad things become, no Thanetian called Richard need suffer the ignominy of having to tread barefoot on anything less than lambswool shagpile. [Three choruses of: 'Freeze a Jolly Good Fellow!']

I feel certain that you will agree when I say that the continuing prospect of a Thanet with a tremendous great Dick in charge will give great comfort to the populace. To that end, I will be keeping my albeit rather trembly finger poised on that big red button in my plushly carpeted office in Margate. [Rapturous applause followed by cries of '90 more years!!']

By the grace of God, and with your support, I am confident that my trusted policies of ignoring your problems, ruining your life, and destroying your future will guarantee my place in history.

May God continue to bless the United States of Thanetia.

Richard M Nixon, President

Monday, December 28, 2009

The ECR Christmas Quiz

Yes, it's that time of year again! When Thanetians settle down after the annual scoffing of the Christmas pud to tug on a bottle of Morrinov and skin up a Camberwell carrot whilst roasting their nuts in front of a blazing Grade II listed building, all accompanied by a huge helping of ECR quizzing, a tradition which has spread joy around the Ile de Thanet ever since 2006.

As usual I've based my questions on the events and people that have shaped Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula during the past year. So throw another heritage ride on the yuletide blaze, pull up some deckchairs and settle down to test your noddle with my Thanet brainteasers!

January

[Ile+de+Thanet+map.jpg]

Which geographically challenged duffer said:

Fifty miles from where Boris wants to put his island is Manston. Manston has one of the longest runways in the country, and its take-offs and landings are currently, and will remain, over the sea.

A: That ruddy-faced man from Kent County Council
B: North Thanet MP Sir Roger Wind
C: George W Bush

Answer: B - FYI Rodge they take off and land over Ramsgate. And it has the 14th longest runway in the country.

February

[ramsgate+wood+pile.jpg]

In January every white van man on the island got wood when a plank carrier shed its load in the English Channel and the cargo washed up on our sandy beaches. Despite the fact that the material was ruined from a building point of view, how many new bungalows, roofs and sheds had been completed by February?

A: 100,000
B: 100,000,000
C: 100,000,000,000

Answer: C - mostly by councillors who had friends on the planning committee.

March

[The+Apprentice+does+Margate.jpg]

It was announced Lord Sir Alan Sugar would be sending the apprentices on his upcoming, eponymous TV show down to the Arsonists' Playground to brainstorm ideas for attracting visitors. Which scheme eventually won the task?

A: Bunging a £20m art gallery on the Rendezvous car park
B: Bunging clapped out old rides on the Dreamland site
C: Seeing the resort through children's eyes

Answer: C - although the great and good of Margate seemed to think their ideas were much better, and would only cost £60m more.

April

[Miss+Thanet+2009.jpg]

Swine flu fever swept the isle, but what symptoms did Thanet's Chief Medical Officer Dr R de Cocke say people should be on the lookout for?

A: Loss of appetite for burgers and kebabs
B: Sudden urge to work
C: Atypical use of consonants

Answer: A, B and C.

May


North Thanet's Blue Rinse Politburo met to decide whether to oust longstanding dictator San Dee Zeek-il after another run of foul-mouthed, petitioning-bothering misdemeanours. However, the Tory night of the long knives turned out instead to be:

A: Musical chairs with Sandy not budging from his
B: A pass the brown envelope party
C: A trousers rolled up to the knees-up

Answer: A - Our Glorious Leader beat off the competition by holding them in the palm of his hand, apparently.

June

[money.jpg]

Who splashed out £695 on bedroom furniture, £63 on re-tailoring curtains and £50 to become a friend of the Herne Bay Festival?

A: Gary Glitter
B: Roger Gale MP
C: Jordan

Answer: B - Sir Rodge blew a gasket when he was challenged on these items by one of the local papers, thus cementing his position as the out of touch tosspot we all know and love.

July

[worrow+mini+me+final.jpg]

'Independent' Birchington Parish councillor John Worrow was caught following Tory grandee Roger Latchford OBE's lead in voting against referring county council chief Paul Carter to the Standards Board at a turbulent meeting of the Manston consultative committee. Later in the year he was filmed doing what?

A: Impersonating the late Wacko Jacko
B: Sticking his hand up where it didn't belong
C: Finalising his plans for world domination

Answer: A - and here's the evidence:


August



Tory councillor for Dane Valley, Steve Broadhurst, was set to resign after it was discovered he spent most of his time:

A: In the lavatory
B: In Panama
C: In women's undies

Answer: B - leading to his description by Conservative cabinet member Dr Biggles as 'the member for Panama'.

September

One of the island's blogs won an award from Total Politics magazine. Who got the gong?

A: Labour Councillor Mark Nottingham for From One End of Kent
B: Tory Councillor Simon Moores for Thanet Life
C: Chippy Tone for Bignews Margate

Answer: A - it came 99 out of 100 in the Labour blogs category.

October


Thanet Council revealed how much it was going to spend on a consultation so that us Ramsgatonians could have the pleasure of knackered old 747s flying feet over our bonces all night. The cost?

A: £800
B: £8,000
C: £80,000

Answer: C - cheap at half the price for the pleasure that the crate loads of rotten bananas will bring to the little children of Ramsgate.

November

[Bonanza+Express+Euroferries.jpg]

Euroferries was due to begin its new service from Ramsgate to Boulogne on 14 November. However, despite taking bookings on its website, the launch never happened. When was it postponed until?

A: The next week
B: The next month
C: The next year

Answer: A, B and C - currently the best guess is March 2010.

December

Southeastern Railways were due to launch their new high speed service from Ramsgate to St Pancras on 14 December. When did it actually launch?

A: 14 December
B: 14 December
C: 14 December

Answer: A, B or C - at least that way everybody gets at least one point!

So how did you do?

0 - 4 correct answers - Your kitten has died of flea anaemia
5 - 8 correct answers - Paid for Boulogne, but the ferry's in Tenerife
9 - 12 correct answers - Krug and canapes at my cliff top mansion!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Peas On Earth And The Little Baby Cheeses

Well, it's already Christmas Day down here in the southern hemisphere, so ho-ho-ho! May I wish you all (well most of you) a great Yuletide and a fantabulous 2010!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

East Of The Wantsum... And South Of The Border

Here's this week's EotW. My last before Christmas, as I got a call yesterday from Bev, my agent, saying they desperately need me as a last minute fill-in for Jimmy Cricket in Oz!

So this morning I was... er, well, I was going to say dashing, but as ever Kent County Council didn't bother to grit the roads down here in the tip of Kent... so I was gingerly mincing along the snowy roads, visiting the various sheds out at Westwood to buy last minute essentials like kecks and Marmite before the limo for Heathrow picks me up at three.

So, on Christmas day, I'll be stuffing myself down under in an effort to acquire an even bigger roof over the toolshed! I'll send you a postcard. Pip pip!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Served Up On A Plate

Holy Yuletide! Since I ran that item about a local author who found Jesus in her Christmas dinner, I've been inundated by an email from another Thanet writer saying she spotted Santa in her lunch! While attending her works festive bash yesterday, the big fat man with the snowy white beard materialised before her very eyes in a plate of gammon and chips:

Personally I think she's hamming it up. (Geddit!!!?!?) But you know me, I'm easily egged on. (Geddit again?!???!???!???!?!!!!) Or maybe she's got a chip on her shoulder, and the yolk's on me. (Geddit yet again??!!!!??!??!???!!!!!!!)

Er, I think I've used up all my best material on that. Still, good luck to yer ma'am! And let's hope when Santa comes this year he doesn't get stuck up your chimney while he's emptying his sack!

The Things They Say...

I read in the Gazette today the story that the council is too mean or worried to webcast the council meetings. What a load of tosh! It's an old story and one I looked into when I started as a councillor.

If you want your council meetings webcast then it's not cheap. We aren't discussing a three minute YouTube clip but a fully duplex high bandwidth facility piped into the offices in Cecil Square. Those readers with a more intelligent grasp of the challenge than the hacks at the Thanet Gazumph will realise that paying £15 a month for their 8mb broadband connection is cheap because the 8mb only goes one way. Ask your ISP for 8mb upstream and you'll be paying rather more than your monthly charge.

Now extrapolate that as bandwidth in and out of the council offices and you'll realise that live webcasting invariably comes with a hefty bandwidth bill. So the simple choice is do you want your council meetings televised and if you do are you happy to pay for it or see one of the other council services cut-back to finance it. At this time in our history, I believe we have more urgent priorities to spend our dwindling budget on.


Councillor/Doctor Simon Moores, Thanet Life, 20 Feb 2009

Cllr. Simon Moores, Cabinet Member for Customer Services, said: 'The council is constantly looking at how we can use new technology to improve the service that we offer to our customers. We're aware that the decisions we make impact on local people's lives and we want to give them the opportunity to see how we make those decisions, without them having to come to the council chamber and attend the meetings. We've looked into this and research shows that people prefer 'on demand' services, where they can watch meetings whenever they want to, rather than being tied to viewing it as it happens. That's why we've decided to go with the 'on demand' as our trial, with meetings available for a certain period of time after they are held.'

Thanet Council press release, 15 Dec 2009

And after all that, it didn't work anyway!!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pig's Ear, And A Snout In The Trough

As you know, I am no fan of the local Blue Rinsers. Or, indeed, that bum-faced old Etonian who heads up the Tories at a national level.

So two causes for celebration this week. First, the 'news', as brought to you by the Blue Rinse candidate for Thanet South, that 'the life saving air sea rescue service based at Manston is set to be relocated to the Midlands at the end of this month.' Er, 'what air sea rescue service based at Manston?', you may ask. Clearly, however, that was not a question the intrepid reporter at yourfannitinnit could be bothered with.

And this afternoon came the news that Sir Roger Wind, Tory MP for North Thanet since 1876, is appealing against being told to hand back £2,100 in expenses claimed against mobile phone bills, plus another £400 in rent. Sir Rodge says they were 'entirely proper'. As ever, he entirely misses the point. Which is not that he could claim them, but whether it is 'entirely proper' that he should.

While the gruesome Tory twosome have been busy shooting themselves in the feet, the caff-crushing, car-crushing Mayor of Ramsgate, Councillor Green of the Red Party, has announced he is perfectly happy to have his allowance slashed by a third and set an example in these tough financial times. Good on yer, Dave!

Click here to see how in touch Laura Sandys is with her 'constituency'
Click here to read about Roger's Gale's piles
Click here to read about the Mayor of Ramsgate taking a slash

TDC Sweeps Carpet Contract Under The Rug

Ever since our beloved council rolled out the brand new pink carpet at Duffer Towers a few weeks back, speculation has been mounting as to who got the plush £50K+ contract. One of my spies has now sent me the results of a Freedom of Information inquiry he made to Cecil Square, but the results are, I'm afraid, less than illuminating:

Thank you for your communication received on 19th November 2009 where you requested information about the contract to supply carpets.

I am writing to advise you that, following a search of our paper and electronic records, I have established that the information you requested is not held by Thanet District Council. However, by way of explanation I shall explain the procurement route taken. The Council undertook a formal procurement whereby suppliers were invited to tender for the office reburbishment contract, which included an element of carpetting within the specification. The intention being, that the award would be made to a main contractor for them to manage delivery of the entire content of contract.

The Council did not award a contract to supply carpets and therefore did not appoint to an individual carpet firm, but awarded the entire contract to a main contractor, which was DJ Ellis.


Hmm. Well call me old fashioned, but if I was putting such a large contract out to tender, I'd very much like to know who the subbies were!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thanet Woman Finds Jesus In Xmas Dinner

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder Food Editor Gordon Ramsgate

A Westgate woman is praying that her pooch will pop out an early Christmas present following a foodie find that could be bigger than the last supper!

Author 'Dizzy' Lizzy Lumsden was noshing her turkey and trimmings at a Christmas dinner organised by a Birchington book club when she scooped up a forkful of peas and potatoes and screamed 'Jesus Christ!'

King of the Chews

'I looked at it and there was the very image of Our Lord sitting on my fork,' Mrs Lumsden told the Gazunder. 'I'd never seen anything like it. Once I got over the shock, I passed it round the table. Everyone agreed that it was the spitting image of the Messiah!'

Stable Condition

Mrs Lumsden asked the waiter to pop her find in the freezer so it would keep, and later took it home with her. 'I was going to auction it on eBay,' she said. 'I thought it would make a great Christmas present for somebody with religious views, or failing that somebody who collects decorations.'

Stigmata Sauce

But her dreams of jumping on the Jesus and Mary gravy train later came to nothing when her husband found the Son of God sitting in the freezer, popped it in the microwave and fed it to the Lumsdens' dog, Woofie.

'I could have crucified him,' said Mrs Lumsden. 'But in the true spirit of Christmas I forgave him. We're now hoping that, after its journey through Woofie, it'll turn out alright in the end.'

Mrs Lumsden is 38.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Council 'Adequate'

Which actually means pretty pisspoor in bureaucracyspeak. This seems to have slipped through the Thanet blogosphere unnoticed, but a new report last week by the Audit Commission, the government's government watchdog, and other major stakeholders (dreadful term, only appropriate for Dracula movies IMO) rated our beloved duffers in Cecil Square as performing merely 'adequately'.

By contrast Kent Cunty Cuncil (--ps, the '-' seems t- have g-ne -n my keyb-rd f-r a m-ment there) was rated as performing 'excellently'. Both are Tory strongholds. So how come their performance is drastically different? There's only one way to find out.... FIGHT!!!!!

Click here to read Audit Commission story on Gazunder website
Click here to read Audit Commission report on Thanet Council

Update: That ruddy faced man from KCC is due to attend a business breakfast at the Pegwell Bay Hotel on Thursday, although he has a habit of no-showing if it involves anything east of Canterbury. Perhaps some of you good taxpayers might like to bowl up and ask him what chance now of getting our £50m plus interest back from Iceland?!!?!

The Train Now Standing At Platform Two Is 83 Years Late

Talk about sleepers! Reader Chris has sent me this screen shot of Southeastern's website which he took whilst attempting to check the time of his train this morning. A closer inspection reveals this:

Either there's something about the Pleasurama aka Royal Sands aka Titanic development that they're not telling us, or they haven't updated their website since 1926, when the Ramsgate Harbour station, which stood on the Pleasurama site before it was Pleasurama, closed. Perhaps, like in Back to the Future III, they're stoking up their steam engine to break the 88mph time-travelling barrier as we speak!

No need though, because today was the first day of full service on the new high speed chuffers which will whisk you from the Millionaires' Playground to St Pancreas in the heart of norf London media luvviland at eyeball-rattling speeds of 1,ooo,ooo mph plus. Another Ramsgate reader who's using the service to commute each day writes:

With the start of the full service this morning Shepway Council were at St Pancras bright and early with a stand showing house prices in the area, their sh*tty harbour, and trumpeting the fact that they are 40 minutes closer than they were last week.

Contrast that with the Thanet Reich in Cecil Square, who have done, er, sweet football association to advertise our new proximity to the metropolis, or encourage investment on the back of the new high speed rail link, despite a commitment to do so in their 'Corporate Plan' (aka Sandy's scribblings after a day spent gluing carpet tiles). Apart, that is, from some muttering about a 'Manston Parkway station' which would have the effect of slowing the journey down again, or of making us millionaires sit in traffic jams as we drive out to a £1bn station built for the benefit of 10,000 air passengers a year. Talk about duffers!

Click here to relocate to Shepway (Folkestone in old money)
Click here for Southeastern timetable
Click here for more info about the high speed trains

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ted's Pet Care Corner

Only in your super, soaraway Eastcliff Richard! Each week our animal loving expert Ted solves your pet-related health problems!

Dear Ted, while I was Dysoning the house this morning I accidentally ran over Tiddles, our three month old Persian. Despite prodding him with a stick, he does not seem anywhere near as lively or playful as he was before. I enclose a picture. Is there anything we can do to restore him back to health, or should we offer him to our mutual friend who runs a shagpile shop?

Hoping you can help. T.

Ted writes: Nah, he's a gonner. Chuck 'im outside.

Do you have a pet that's feeling poorly? Email your problem, preferably with a photograph, to Ted@richardeastcliff.co.uk

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Westwood Angry

Christmas comes but once a year, and so today I made my annual pilgrimage (with the emphasis on the 'grim') to Westwood Cross. You see, I was in need of a department store, and whilst Debenhams doesn't even do a pale, Les Dennis style impersonation of John Lewis I wasn't prepared to pilot the G Swizz up the M2 to Bluewater and then remain there for 10 hours while it charged up for the journey back.

Needless to say parking was at a premium, unless you're one of those lucky blue badgers who pop the old permit on the dashboard of their 7 Series Beemer and then gaily hop, skip and jump the few yards to the shops. Even the grass verges had been colonised by cars.

Curiously, the centre itself has been colonised by potting sheds. An interesting choice of Christmas present, but one that will no doubt be more appreciated by Auntie Mavis than the traditional delight of a glass bowl filled with silverised Minstrels. This year every shop you enter is bedecked with posters of a gurning Harry Hill, but he seemed to have missed a trick with Vision Express which was empty when I nipped in to have the old glass eye serviced. Surely the sight of a larger than life Harry in his finest NHSers would have pulled in the visually impaired punters?

Now I do understand that I might be sounding a little 'Bah! Humbug!' by now. To be honest, it was nowhere near as traumatic an experience as I was expecting. The Ile de Thanet does need shops such as Debenhams, Next, HMV, Waterstones and M&S if it's going to compete with the likes of Canterbury. Trouble is, in the pre-Westwood past these shops would have been in our town centres where they belong. One north island, blogging doctor/councillor (no names mentioned) seems to think that despite Westwood detractors such as myself, the people have 'voted with their feet' (or perhaps more appropriately 'with their wheels'), a phrase much loved by Tricky Dicky Nixon in the 70s. But if I had the choice, I'd be shopping in Margate or, even better, Ramsgate this Christmas.

Still, I hear the Ramsgate Society has put forward a plan to erect an 'anchor store' on the Staffordshire Street car park site here in the Ms' P. What a splendid idea! Maybe in a year or two I'll be able to toddle down the road and buy Auntie Mavis a bilge pump and a couple of galvanised shackles for Crimble!

Friday, December 11, 2009

**** ** *** *******

Here's this week's East of the Wantsum, as fresh as the day it left my super-duper DelBoy computer. And here's how it looked in today's Isle of Thanet Gazunder...

I arx you! It's ill-*******-egible! What do they do at Gazunder Towers? Smear an infinite amount of ink on an infinite number of baboons' arses and hope for the best?

Chopper Squad

I say! Does anyone know what all these helicopters that have been buzzing over the Millionaires' Playground yesterday and today are in aid of? I can barely hear the bubbles in my Krug! Kuh!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Strange Customs (House Development)

Word has reached the old Eastcliff shell-likes that the scaffolding's up on the big red building down on Ramsgate front that's been sold to a developer to become some kind of business centre (or the Customs House in old money).

A closer inspection reveals this:

No, I'm not talking about the ubiquitous, bullet-headed Fannit builder in the foreground, but the banner that's been erected behind the Heras temporary fencing. Apparently the 'conservation works' have been 'grant aided through the Ramsgate Seafront Townscape Heritage Initiative Scheme 2007-2010'.

If you recall, I've been querying the whereabouts of the £1.5m Heritage Lottery funding that the Ms' P was granted back in 2007 for tarting up the front. At the time we had a German apparatchik in charge of doling out the dosh, but he resigned in a fit of Teutonic pique, noting that it would probably take ten times the money to restore Ramsgate's coastscape to Aryan standards of perfection, and that most building practices on our septic isle were substandard.

He was subsequently proved somewhat correct, when this happened 676 days ago (according to the 'Did You Know?' ticker in my sidebar on the right)...

...the rather, er, overzealous redevelopment of the Grade II listed Marina Restaurant further along the front by Auclair Properties. The Thanet Reich is currently in the process of compulsorily purchasing what's left of the Marina Restaurant after rejecting rebuilding plans presented by Auclair which included what HRH the POW might well have described as a 'monstrous carbuncle' of modern flats slapped on the side.

Curious, then, that Ramsgate THI Scheme grants of up to 75% now appear to have been given to the new owners of the Customs House, Neath Properties, who bought the place for £410,000 off Frank Thorley back in September, when they seem to share the same registered office in the same Douglas, Isle of Man building as Auclair, and even share, or have shared in the past five years at least, the same director, a Mr Roger Bennett!

Click here to visit Ramsgate THI Scheme on Thanet Reich website
Click here to read what the outgoing Ramsgate THI Scheme admin said
Click here to read about the Marina Restaurant debacle
Click here for Roger Bennett's directorships
Click here for blog about Isle of Man as a tax haven

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Big Down Under

There, that's better! I've managed to shake off my cold. And I've put my Christmas deccies up to boot! And having just watched the Giant Panda of the Exchequer telling us everything will be alright next year, what more could an impoverished sleb wish for?

Well, actually, now you come to mention it, I do wish I was reprising my Big Down Under tour of a few years ago. Y'know, when I pulled my Twankey off with a big spread in The Age, amongst others. But alas, dear reader, even though the Aussie economy seems recession proof, I've been told by my agent Bev that my antipodean panto career is behind me. Even the Neasden Hippodrome said they'd rather have Joe Pasquale. So the only chance I've got of having them rolling in the aisles this year is if that shelf stacking job at Tescos comes off.

Not so regular reader Millicent, however, who is just back from the Big Brown Land and has sent me her first impressions on catching up with the latest Fannit news. Take it away, Millicent!

Notes from a Small Island after returning from a Big One
(With apologies to Bill Bryson)

Have just returned from visiting family in Australia so have enjoyed catching up with all the freebie papers full of local news which had been stuffed through my letterbox while I was away!

This is my take on the last month’s exciting events in Thanet!! After recovering from the shock that our KCC councillor Mr John Kirby had jumped off the cliff at Screaming Alley I read on to discover that he was taking part in the annual abseil for charity. Phew! Good for you John – but you had me worried there for a moment.

Air passenger numbers cut by cash crunch
Glad to see our Matt has been cut down to size and that his 116 page master plan has already had to be revised - only 2.2 million passengers instead of 2.7 million predicted - I’ve yet to meet one person who has actually flown from Manston this year but I’m happy to support his plans as long as they do not include night flights from 11pm to 7am

The Lights are on but everybody’s (sic!) at home
Sorry to hear that not many people turned out to see Ramsgate’s Christmas lights switched on but the ones in the photo are on all year anyway so what is all the fuss about? Birchington have gone over the top this year with a Santa’s grotto, snow machine, ice rink etc, etc. Whatever next?? Still with free parking vouchers on offer and our local loyalty scheme hordes of shoppers are obviously being encouraged into our town centre to part with their pennies - has anyone opened a 98p shop in my absence? Personally I shall hibernate on Christmas Day and will probably give it up for Lent next year!

Joined-up rubbish plan
On the same page Mark Seed, named as 'bins boss' at Thanet Council, was given the go-ahead for his joined-up rubbish plan combining the isle’s rubbish collection service with those of Canterbury, Folkestone and Dover - does that mean we can soon look forward to one rubbish collection a month? After all our bin lorries can only be in one place at once. Sounds like somebody has done some joined-up thinking - but maybe they should concentrate on learning joined-up writing first? By the way you might all be interested to learn that wheelie bins have invaded Australia too – quite a blot on the landscape in places.

Your worst nuisances
Dog fouling, cycling on pavements, and nuisance youths were identified by Thanet residents in a recent survey as three of the main problems!! Who on earth do they ask when they do these surveys? Has anyone you know filled one in? My worst nuisances would include:

Noisy aircraft doing circuits and bumps
Smokers outside cafes and pubs polluting the environment and blocking the pavement so I have to walk in the road
Split rubbish bags everywhere
Not enough loos
Mobile phone users on buses who have nothing to say saying it very loudly
Thanet District Council

Eco home owner to honour wife’s ideas
A man from Birchington who already has solar panels on his roof wants a wind TURNINE (sic!) to go with it – isn’t that being just a little bit greedy? Anyone know what a 'Turnine' is? It must be right because I saw it in the Thanet Times (Dec 1st)

Thanet could be a green powerhouse
Apparently I missed the biggest bash of the century when Thanet held it’s own mini Copenhagen climate change energy summit in November. It must have felt considerably warmer that day when all the hot air blew across Thanet. Hope all the influential visitors in the renewables sector (who writes this stuff?) enjoyed having their lungs full of beautiful Thanet air for a change. Good on ya Laura Sandys - keep it up!

Northdown House is open for business
Apparently this rather neglected, unlisted but magnificent Georgian building is now available for hire for 'Conferences, Weddings, private parties, craft fairs etc'. Sadly without a complete makeover I don’t hold out much hope, but I would love to see this building re-furbished and fully-functioning again.

Ferry Christmas
This is more than can be said for our promised ferry service - apparently there are now firm plans for it to start in March - where have we heard that before?
[Steady on Millicent! You probably missed that Eurof*****s' m'learneds got rather shirty during your absence! - Ed]

Council gets a carpeting
Also apparently Margate’s dreams are about to come true because Mrs Hodge, the culture and tourism minister, has awarded them £3.7 million to transform the former Dreamland site into the world’s first heritage park. I only hope it will happen, but can’t help wondering how TDC are going to pay for the Turnip Centre?? £3.7 million would certainly help, especially now that the offices in Cecil Street have been re-carpeted in pink! This wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that a certain local carpet company offers to dispose of your old carpet while at the same time advertising that over 30 rolls of discounted stock have just arrived in store? Anyone remember what colour the old carpet in the council offices was?

There has been some good news however while I’ve been away!
The delightful Tom Thumb Theatre in Cliftonville is re-opening on December 10th so please support their Christmas show if you can. More info at www.tomthumbtheatre.co.uk

And finally...
A local dignitary, who shall remain nameless, has asked me to be his friend on Facebook (fame at last), and the Dept of Transport has promised an extra £500,000 so pensioners can still travel free on local buses. So I’m off now to Loop the Loop one more time just in case they change their mind!

Millicent
Your intrepid Thanet Planet explorer

Monday, December 07, 2009

Bad Cod

As eber ad dis tide ob year, I seed to hab cud down wid a hebby cod. Add just wed I shood be pudding ob my Dwankey ad de Neasded Hippodrode.

Abologies do all by fans. I'll be bad as sood as I cad ged de snod oud ob by keyboard. Id de beadtide here is someding fuddy aboud bed wid cods frod BoobTube.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Ted's Pet Care Corner

Only in your super, soaraway Eastcliff Richard! Each week our animal loving expert Ted solves your pet-related health problems!

Dear Ted, it was only after we had a bonfire in the back yard this afternoon that we discovered Harry, our baby hedgehog, had been hibernating underneath it. Despite enticing him with his favourite dish of lettuce, he does not seem anywhere near as lively or playful as he was before. I enclose a picture. Is there anything we can do to restore him back to health?

Hoping you can help. T.


Ted writes: Nah, he's a gonner. Chuck 'im outside.

Do you have a pet that's feeling poorly? Email your problem, preferably with a photograph, to Ted@richardeastcliff.co.uk

Friday, December 04, 2009

East Of The Wantsums

Here's last week's East of the Wantsum. Click it to big it.

But as I'm feeling in a generous mood oh lucky reader, here's this week's as well! Two for the price of one! Not that anyone pays me for this drivel, mind you.

Labour Goes Hart To Hart In Dane Valley

As exclusively predicted here on the island's premier blog, lovely Labourette Sandra Hart, wife of equally lovely Labour leader Clive Hart, has romped home to victory in the Dane Valley by-election precipitated by the absence of the previous Tory incumbent, Panama Steve Broadhurst. Click here for more.

The support of this blog no doubt played a major role in securing Sandra's seat, and stuffing the Tories into third place. Let's hope the rot has now well and truly set in for the Thanet Reich!

By way of celebration, I offer you this short video insight into Clive and Sandra's glamourous, crime-busting, Thanet lifetstyle which they allowed me to film earlier in the week. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Council To Get A Tongue Lashing

I feel I've been rather remiss in not yet mentioning the phenomenal success of Boredstares film maker Christine Tongue's latest oeuvre, Thanet on Film. It's already had umpteen sell-out viewings at the teeny-tiny Palace (Windsor in old money) Cinema over in the Dickensians' Playground, and looks set to run longer than James Bond or the Carry Ons.

Now Christine is planning an 'emergency public meeting' in the New Year to raise awareness of the issues brought up by the film, viz that our septic isle was a lot more fancy-dancy before the rot set in with the creation of Thanet District Council, appropriately enough on April Fools' Day 1974.

Keep an eye on my What's On in Thanet guide in the sidebar on the right for details of upcoming screenings. In the meantime, Christine's sent me a set of snaps from the film which you may care to peruse...

This is Dreamland in the 1950s, before the rot set in and everything burnt to a crisp. I presume this is what the £4m 'heritage theme park' will look like.

Next, and here's the Cliftonville Lido when it was still filled with water, rather than concrete...

And ditto Ramsgate's Marina swimming pool...

Here's an ad for Miss Bullock's exercise classes. And what a fine example of the female form Miss Bullock is! Note that she's wearing a rudimentary bikini well pre-war, thus stuffing Johnny Frenchman's claim to have invented the garb!

Finally, here's what was a popular turn in the 1920s and 30s, Uncle Mack and His Minstrels. (Click here to watch archive footage.) Of all the seaside traditions we could bring back that might reinvigorate Fannit's fortunes, this, in my humble opinion, ain't one of them!

Why I Won't Be Voting Lib Dem In Today's Dane Valley By-Election

Well, the short answer is because I don't live there, thank heavens! But ordinarily, of course, I have a yellow streak a mile wide, and would be gung-ho for Bill Furness to get elected, despite his proposer being the chippy fat man from Margate. But no, I'm (virtually, of course) supporting Labour.

So why the change to Hart? First I would like to scotch the rumour that I'm supporting lovely Labourette Sandra Hart, wife of the equally lovely Labour leader Clive Hart, merely so's I can make Hart to Hart hay about 'Max', 'Freeway' and 'big hair' should she get elected. Noooooo. Not me.


Er, yes, well. Ahem. Seriously though, by all accounts, Birchington Bill is a thoroughly nice cove. But the point is, he lives in Birchington. Not Dane Valley. Surely the electors have had enough of absentee representatives after the last incumbent, Panama Steve Broadhurst, was discovered to have spent the majority of his time 5,000 miles away in central America? Plus Lib Dems in Thanet are about as common as hen's teeth, so in my view the only chance of deposing the current Thanet Reich lies with Labour.

Remember, this is a local election on local issues, so we should be putting aside the fact that Old One Eye has f*cked up the country royally, and concentrating on the fact that the Tories round here have f*cked up Fannit locally.

Meanwhile a bird tells me that another Dane Valley Tory, the alleged cat-killing Mayor of Margate, will be up before the beak today somewhere out west. Perhaps someone will tweet the result of that particular contest later in the day!

Update: Margate Mayor Edwin Watt-Ruffell and his co-defendant, wife Alexandra Watt-Ruffell, have entered a plea of not guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to a kitten in their care. The pair did not appear for the hearing at Sittingbourne court this morning. A trial date has been set for next year. Click here for more.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

RamSoc Ruckus

video

Bleurgh! Eeurgh! Phthaaaa!!!! No, er, no... that's... just.... look, I'm not sure I can even bring myself to peep at this blog from behind the old Ron Arad sofa after that last item. Let alone write anything. I don't think I'll be letting Ted do another Pet Care Corner any time soon.

Any-old-how, I've just been catching up with all your luvverly emails, and this one immediately grabbed my attention:

Attached is a short video from the Ramsgate Society meeting on Friday. Some peeps just got up and started having a go about something, but I couldn’t quite follow all of it. Something to do with the Ramsgate Society and planning matters. I only got the tail end, after I’d fished my phone out my bag, but stick it up on the blog if you like.

From what I've heard this bit of argy-bargy, concerning a planning application in Liverpool Lawn, was about as animated as this particular meeting got. No wonder people were feeling uppity, after being subjected to several hours' discussion about the size, colour and quantity of bollards in the Millionaires' Playground!

Still, you have to applaud Walph 'Mr Wamsgate' Hoult's Kissinger-like diplomatic effort at calming the situation down. And if you're quick, you might spot a Doctor Who character. Definitely not one that you'd have to hide behind the sofa for, though!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ted's Pet Care Corner

Only in your super, soaraway Eastcliff Richard! Each week our animal loving expert Ted solves your pet-related health problems!

Dear Ted, our three day old gerbil Gary was recently playing in the kitchen when he accidentally fell into the deep fat fryer. He does not seem anywhere near as lively or playful as he was before. I enclose a picture. Is there anything we can do to restore him back to health?

Hoping you can help. T.

Ted writes: Nah, he's a gonner. Chuck 'im outside.

Do you have a pet that's feeling poorly? Email your problem, preferably with a photograph, to Ted@richardeastcliff.co.uk

Friday, November 27, 2009

Margate 60,000,000 - 0 Ramsgate

Above is the banner headline for tonight's crunch meeting of the Ramsgate Society (7.30pm, The Media Centre, Cavendish Street) aimed at helping 'secure a future for Ramsgate'. Be there or be, er, unRamsgatonian!

They've sourced the £35m figure from the Margate Renewal Partnership website, but surely it's an underestimate? Add on the £17.5m for the Ike and Tina Turner Centre, another couple of mill for the de-dualling of Fart Hill and the snazzification of the old town, plus £3.7m just dished out to Dreamland, and by my reckoning it's closer to £60m.

And what do we get here in Ramsgate? A mill for a crumbling facelift for our crumbling East Cliff? There was meant to be £1.5m from the Lottery Heritage Fund, but nobody seems to know where that went. And where do all the harbour dues from our lovely marina and port go? Certainly not into dredging the flippin' thing, it seems. Apart from that, it's all closed toilets, asset sales, and knackered old jumbos 24/7! Not that the RamsgateSoc are even going to tackle the question of night flights over 900+ listed buildings, I hear.

Don't get me wrong. Margate is in desperate need of a transfusion before it dies, like the Mayor's cat, of anaemia. But although Ramsgate isn't doing so bad on its own, with new shops opening up almost on a daily basis, I'm not sure that any of us here on the sunny south side will be prepared to donate armfuls for very much longer!

Ilfracombe Shows More Spunk Than Thanet

According to the BBC News website, a row has broken out in the north Devon resort of Ilfracombe after some of the locals with more, er, fertile imaginations decided that the town's new logo made the place a 'laughing stock'. The critics are of the opinion that the dot over the 'I' resembles a sperm.

I must say that this is the same kind of misguided, Mary Whitehouse thinking that put the kybosh on my Flag for Fannit. I mean, look at it. How could anyone interpret it as anything other than the majestic North Foreland lighthouse, rising into our clear, blue sky atop our magnificent chalk cliffs over the sandy tussocks of Joss Bay!?!?!?!

'Local' Bookshop Goes Bust

Yep, Borders is no more. And, um, the closest outlet was in Lakeside Thurrock. But d'you see what I've done there? By judicious use of the inverted commas, nobody in their right mind is going to think I'm referring to our actual, local biblio-bloke's splendid tome emporium on King Street, right here in the throbbing heart of Ramsgate's bustling metropolis.

In fact I would imagine Michael is, as we speak, calling the administrators to arrange for three bargain pallet loads of surplus Maeve Binchys (or should that be 'Binchies'?) to be trucked down the M2 pronto! Good luck to yer, Michael!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Incredible, Disappearing Airport (Story)

Holy news sections! I've received several emails from readers who've been disappointed to find that a story in the usually excellent yourfannitinnit appears to have been spiked. The item about a New Zealand pundit predicting the sale of Chas 'n' Dave Margate International Airport by Kiwi owners Infratil was on the paper's website on Tuesday. But within 24 hours it had vanished, to be replaced by the above error message. Try as I might to track it down, luck I have had none (and now from George Lucas Dialogue Disease seem to be suffering I am).

Far be it for me to suggest that the paper has been 'got at' by the airport's spinmeisters. No, not me. Certainly not. Not in the current climate of legal retribution that has enveloped the Thanet blogosphere. Oh no. Oh deary me, no no no no no.

Coincidentally, Infratil have this week launched their finalised Master Plan for the airport, which downgrades passenger predictions from 2.7m to 2.2m by 2018, and from 5.7m to 4.7m by 2033. That'll only mean finding an extra 4,689,578 passengers a year, then, within the next 23 years. And, of course, the 116 page document is so dense that your averagely illiterate Thanetian ain't going to bother to plough past the pretty pictures on pages 1, 2 and 3. That includes me, I hasten to add, and a GCSE in English I have!

Click here to download C'n'DMIA Master Plan

East Of The Wantsum

It's been almost a week since this appeared in the Isle of Thanet Gazunder, but to be honest I've harboured a certain amount of trepidation about putting it on the blog, given the 'chilling' effect of Euroferries' legal threats against myself and fellow Ramsgate blogger Adem Djemil.

Still, now that the service has been confirmed as being postponed yet again, this time until the New Year, I think it's pretty fair comment. I wonder how Dr Steve Ladyman MP feels about being associated with a company that puts the legal frighteners on his constituents, whose only concerns were to shout about what a good thing the new service would be for Ramsgate, and keep their readers informed of its, um, comings and goings? Er, better go now before I make too many waves! I wouldn't want to ruin my reputation as a 'spinless coward'!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ferry Delayed Until March?

I have just received this email which purports to come from Euroferries, the company which is planning to introduce a fast ferry service between Ramsgate and Boulogne. I hasten to add, I have not seen any confirmation of this anywhere, so do treat with the usual caution and suspicion. However, it does appear that the company is not now taking bookings on its website until 1 March 2010.

Dear ----,

We have just suspended all bookings until 1st March 2010 as a precautionary measure to prevent causing further inconvenience to our customers, you will therefore be unable to book for christmas at the moment.

Feel free to book from March onwards, as the service will be fully operational by then and the prices at present are at the cheaper winter price rate.

I have copied your email address onto our contact list so you will be kept apprised of all developments and news regarding the service.

Kind regards,

Hannah Green

Euroferries Customer Service Dept.


Update: Confirmation that the service has been delayed yet again, and now won't start until next year, can be found here.

Noises Off

New reader Lynn writes:

I have recently moved 'out of town' to the quiet (or so I thought) realms of North Foreland, only to hear what I would describe as a sonic boom every half an hour. What on earth is it? Any ideas?

Yours, baffled!


Well Lynn, we've had reports on this blog before of pile driving for the Thanet Offshore Wind fart farm causing this sort of disturbance, so it may be that. Or it could be those army wallahs letting a few big ones off at their Shoeburyness testing range across the Thames Estuary. If any of you lovely readers have any other thoughts, do pass them on.

Meanwhile, still on the theme of annoying noises, reader Millicent writes:

Is it just me or does anyone else hear a constant hum in Ramsgate at night? I remember someone else mentioning it a few months ago. For weeks I do not hear anything then suddenly it is back with a vengeance. It is driving me to distraction this week - all I want is a good night's sleep. And no I don't think I have tinnitus as I don't hear it when I sleep in hotels and elsewhere.

Well, I can't say I've heard a hum Laura. Smelt one down at our lovely Royal Harbour where the duffers can't be arsed to clear the icky detritus from the water, yes. But heard one? Nope. Anyone else having the same problem?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What's The Crack?

Forget 2012! This piece of work from our beloved council looks as if it'll barely make it to 2010!

I hope our local, crusading biblio-bloke Michael Child doesn't mind me purloining the photo he took this morning of the, er, 'newly renovated' cliff face behind the Ramsgate Royal Sands (Pleasurama in old money) development.

After more than three years of 'temporary' Heras fencing, our crumbling East Cliff was tarted up only last year in readiness for the imminent construction of the long awaited, ribbed-rubber-roofed condominium, the plans of which famously show people's heads embedded in concrete, and no escape routes should the planets align (in accordance with some ancient Mayan myth), causing sea levels to rise 29,000 feet. Work on building the condom itself has just been delayed yet again until 2011, putting the Pleasurama eyesore in its 13th glorious year.

I mean, this new cliff face has only been up there a matter of 18 months, and it's already cracked to buggery! The flippin' Mayans (to continue the theme) managed to bung up stuff that's still there 2,000 years later! As council taxpayers, we forked out around a million sovs for this. Not to mention the millions the Thanet Reich has let the developer drop his bond by. If you ask me, it's the Cecil Square duffers who have dropped their Bonds and allowed themselves to be shafted right up the crack by whoever carried out this bloody atrocious cliff facelift!

And speaking of pants, yes I did hobble out to Westwood Vue to take in the new Roland Emmerich blockbuster 2012 last night, as you may have already guessed. In fact it was beyond pants, more like utter gusset. But then I thought the same of his other end of the world movies, Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow when I first saw them at the flicks. And d'you know what? Having now watched them both something like 23 times on ITV4, I'm almost coming around to liking them!

Click here for more cliff complaints and photos on Michael's blog

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dickie The Dosh Disher

Urgh! I'm still suffering from the effects of the after party. But it was worth it to see Terry doing the conga around TV Centre yet again with his boxers on his head. It's a bit of an old party trick of his.

Many thanks for all your comments yesterday. We had 21, plus the promise of a fiver from 'Captain Killer', which tots up to a total of £26 for Children in Need. Slightly down on last year, but I suppose everyone's feeling the pinch. Er, except it was my money of course. Maybe the fact that comment moderation is on to avoid having to hand out any more dosh to the men in wigs has saved me money after all. Albeit in an unintended kind of way!

Donate direct - click here to go to Children in Need website

Friday, November 20, 2009

Celebrities In Need

Hurrah! I'm running my 'comments for quids' for Children in Need again this year! The idea is that for every comment, charitable or otherwise, that appears on this post over the next 24 hours, I'll donate a shiny, new oncer to help the little kiddiewinks!

Unfortunately, due to, er, legal constraints this year, comments are being moderated. Which means they won't appear instantaneously. And as I'm going to be rather busy as Sir Tel's assistant wig wrangler up at TV Centre, I shan't be getting onto the old iPhone much to publish them either. But do join in!

Last time I managed to raise 32 nicker, plus a fiver from a showbiz mate for getting the director to do a close up of the old Wogan barnet (and no, you couldn't see the join). So let's see if we can crack the 50 this year!

Click here to go to Children in Need website

Thursday, November 19, 2009

President Who?

Whilst not wishing to alienate my ever-growing readership in Oostende (Ostend in old money), Belgium and the wider European continent, I find I now have a President whose name I had never even heard of until ten minutes ago! I am not, like many of the Thanet bewildered, a detractor of the European project, nor am I a supporter of Tony Blair. But having to swear allegiance to the Prime Minister of Belgium, and address him as 'President' van Rumpy-Pumpy is not, frankly, floating my boat!

France For 15 Nicker!

As Adem has already pointed out on his Big Blog, those splendid chaps at Eurotunnel are running a special promo to celebrate their 15th birthday! You can take the jalopy any Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from now until 17 December, and it'll only cost you three crisp fivers. What's more, you can be certain they'll be running! And, ahem, for the avoidance of any doubt, what I mean by that is, unlike the Dover ferries which were cancelled due to high winds yesterday, the Channel Tunnel is weatherproof.

They've also come up with 15 juicy facts for their 15th. For example, did you know they reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 45% in 2008? Or that they've transported 35m vehicles since 1994, and 250m customers? And since the regs were relaxed in 2000, 475,000 happy pets have travelled with them. So go on, treat Rover to a day trip too. You never know, he might enjoy un poop sur la promenade!

Click here to go to Eurotunnel £15 promotion

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Manston Sale 'Expected Within 12 Months'

Yesterday's news that Kiwi conglomerate Infratil, the owners of Chas 'n' Dave Margate International Airport, have reported a NZ$31m loss for the first six months of their financial year has cast a serious questionmark over their continued commitment to the 9,029 foot strip of concrete that sits on top of our lovely aquifer.

Infratil's portfolio includes energy, buses, and, of course, airports. In Europe, they have just sold Lubeck Airport in Germany back to the local authority, Prestwick in Scotland is suffering from much reduced passenger numbers, and Manston is losing £4m a year. The firm is currently in a joint venture to buy Shell's network of service stations in NZ to facilitate, according to Infratil boss Marko Bogoievski, the sale of more meat pies.

Although Infratil says it doesn't need any more dosh to complete that purchase, its investors are already expecting it to divest Prestwick and C 'n' DMIA in the near future and concentrate on core business activities such as energy assets in NZ and Oz. According to no less an authority than NZX, the New Zealand Stock Exchange, Bogoievski sent out 'a clear signal' at Monday's results meeting 'that non-energy assets, with the exception of Wellington Airport, could be sold'. The commentary on the NZX website continues:

Forsyth Barr head of research Rob Mercer said he expected Infratil's two problematic British airports, Glasgow Prestwick and Kent, would be sold within 12 months. Infratil's shares were trading at about a 30 per cent discount to net asset value of $2.25, indicating that the market had lost confidence in the company's ability to grow net tangible assets over the next 12 months.

The shares closed yesterday at $1.51, down 3c. The discount was equal to $480m, representing the combined value of the British airports, New Zealand Bus and 32 per cent owned Energy Development.


So, putting my wildly speculative hat on, if our beloved airport is sold, who's going to buy it? Another airport operator? Or would two operators in ten years unable to make a go of it convince prospective buyers that it's not a viable business? Is Infratil's current application to instigate night flights a cunning plan to beef up the sale price? And if it's not viable as an airport, what's Plan B? A business park? A world centre of eco-energy excellence? I think we should be told!

Click here to read more on NZX website