Thursday, April 30, 2009

Creature Feature

Now that we've established Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula has the finest climate in Britain, what we need is a cheap attraction to replace all the burnt out attractions on our coast. And what better than to take a leaf out of the Kilties' books?

I therefore present to you - THE CHANNEL CREATURE! Yes, folks, there's something incredibly large and mysterious lurking in the water. And no, it's not that hairy, obese bloke who dives off Broadstairs Jetty come rain or shine. According to the 'Association of Marine Research' a 'gigantic' and 'extremely fast moving' creature has been spotted off our shores, and they've even got a rather murky video to, er, prove it.

It all sounds like a load of cods, but what with UFOs and panthers being spotted on and over the island on a daily basis (presumably by the sort of people who've just polished off their third slab of Stella for the day), we could have the makings of Thanet - Mystery Island here!

Is it a borrie? Is it a submarine? No, it's THE CHANNEL CREATURE!

Update: Thanks to a tip-off, I understand that this is some crappy ad campaign being driven by a bunch of oh-so-clever types at Unruly Media. Apparently they're offering 75 smackers to any blogger that carries it. So come on then, where's my 75 quid? Or you could just tell us what you're 'advertising'! Tossers.

Climate Chance

With yet another clear blue sky and brilliant sunshine over the old cliff top mansion, it's got me pondering the magnificent micro-climate we enjoy here in the tip of Kent.

After all, when Thanet Earth started growing tomatoes the size of footballs and cucumbers that would make a porn star green with envy, they said this was the only area in the UK with the right growing conditions for their exotic crops. Although the transport links and regeneration status also came into the equation. So why shouldn't our Mediterranean-style beaches attract carbon-anxious, pound-poor Brits this summer?

Yes, yes, I know we've been told the bucket and spade holiday is dead (©1970-2009 Thanet Council), but just take a look at the average summer sunshine figures from the Met Office for 1971-2000:

There we are, bathed in a bright band of orange, and I'm not talking about the rivers of piss running down Broadstairs high street on a Friday night! And our rainfall figures knock those West Country yokels into a cocked proverbial:

The more brown, the less rain. Or possibly the more barkers' nests. Any old how, proof positive that the Ile de Thanet is well on its way, climatewise at least, to becoming the new St Tropez. And with the Met Office saying today that this summer will be 'hot and dry', I for one predict cocktails by the pool all season!

More stats from the Met Office
Met Office forecasts 'hot and dry' summer this year

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flights Of Fancy

Discharged from the QEQM and back home here at the old cliff top mansion, I've been overwhelmed by all the flowers I've received. Thanks to everyone who took the time to pull them out of the council flowerbeds and chuck them over my hedge.

I see the BBC News website is currently trumpeting the success of Locate in Kent, one of those pointless quangos that uses our money to, er.... Hmm. Well, apparently they've created 2,891 jobs in the last financial year, up 33% on the year before. Hurrah! A quick squiz at their website elicits the news (in several places) that there are 67 golf courses in Kent, clearly a priority for all those fat businessmen in disastrous casualwear they're trying to tempt here.

More seriously, it also appears that lying out of their arses has helped attract all these lovely new jobs. Under the section 'Areas of Kent', they describe our little tip in the usual terms - regeneration, blah, transformational, blah, development, blah blah blah. The description is topped off with this little gem: 'Kent International Airport, attracting six million passengers a year, is leading regeneration in Thanet.' Six million passengers a year? Six million passengers a year? Chas 'n' Dave International would be lucky to be doing a hundredth of that!

Meanwhile, the agency's delightfully named chief executive Paul Wookey said: 'Aoacworcwo rarcwo cahkaoro-cwohowowh rrooanww oaoohurccwoc ahwh orwowhao' Han Solo was unavailable for comment.

Read all about it
Locate in Kent (if you believe them)
Translate Wookie

Update: Locate in Kent have now changed this bollix to read: 'Kent International Airport and the commercial development which is likely to occur around the airport will play a major role in regeneration in Thanet' after the excellent Yourthanet followed up my story. The actual number of passengers Chas 'n' Dave International carried in 2008 was 11,657.

Click here to read full story in yourfannitinnit

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ostend Game

Phew! That was a close shave! But thanks to the fantastic doctors and nurses here at the QEQM, I'm now sitting up and keeping patients and staff entertained in my own inimitable fashion. The nurse even promised to warm the colonoscope up first, and it doesn't get much better than that.

They have a terrific variety of reading matter here too, and one paper which caught my glass eye was the Belgian Het Nieuwsblad, which they must stock for fluey Flems coming off the TransEuropa ferries in Ramsgate. An article about a 'crisis' in the port of Oostende (Ostend in old money) leapt out. I'm afraid my Belgian's a bit rusty, but it would seem that the local MP, who's also the chairman of the Oostende port authority, was saying:

There is no positive expectancy for a cooperation with a British port. A joint venture with Ramsgate is not for tomorrow, because the British are suspicious and there is much criticism and opposition from Dover.

So Dover are cutting our lunch here in the Millionaires' Playground, eh? What are our lovely council, who run the port, doing to counter that may I ask? Apart from being 'suspicious'?

Coincidentally, there's a salty seaman in the bed next to me who's in to have his pegleg revarnished, and he swears blind that TransEuropa Ferries want to buy one of those super-duper ferries for their Ramsgate - Oostende route, but won't make the investment until the council promise to dredge the port to at least 6.7 metres. And the council won't make the dredge pledge until TransEuropa have bought the ferry. Talk about chickens and eggs!

Vande Lanotte blijft alert voor gevolgen crisis in haven

Swine Flu Fever Sweeps Isle

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder Medical Editor Dr R. de Cocke

Swine flu fever is sweeping Thanet as more and more islanders panic about the pandemic that is predicted to kill up to half the world's population.

The QEQM hospital, local GP practices and pharmacies are on a high state of alert, with one Cliftonville pharmacist, who didn't want to be named, saying: 'We've stocked up on the anti-viral drug Tamiflu and now have more of that than we have methodone, which is a first.'

Sales of face masks at B&Q were also said to be up, and local shops report people stockpiling frozen chips and tinned Stella. 'We're down to our last case of 1664,' said one shopkeeper. 'We've ordered more from the wholesalers, but they're also short on supplies. It looks as if we'll be down to the White Lightning by tomorrow.'

Meanwhile the island's Chief Medical Adviser has warned people to be vigilant and report any unusual symptoms to their doctor. They include:

- Loss of appetite for burgers and kebabs
- Sudden urge to work
- Atypical use of consonants

One victim of the pandemic panic was last night recovering at Thanet Hospital. Celebrity millionaire Richard Eastcliff was said to be 'improving' after a fault occurred in the air filtration system of his fallout shelter in Ramsgate, rendering him unconscious. A spokesman for the hospital said he was now sitting up and joking with nurses. [He'll be dead by Thursday - Ed.]

Monday, April 27, 2009

Rent Boy

Although I'm well supplied here in the cliff top bunker for the essentials - tinned food, bottled water, chemical khazi etc - I'm a bit light on entertainment. All that's down here is a pile of old magazines and back issues of the local rags, awaiting recycling as liners for Bertie's litter tray.

I've been through a two foot pile of previously unread of PR Weeks and Televisuals, but there's only so many carefully posed photos of double-chinned PR execs with Osmondised teeth, and TV directors with that shrewdly creative look on their faces that they've been practising in front of the bathroom mirror since they were 12, that a man can take. So it's no wonder that this front page from a recent Isle of Thanet Gazunder leapt out at me.

'Breed Landlords - Save Money!' What a splendid idea! Once this crisis is over I'll need to repopulate the world and what better way than by breeding landlords!!! Of course, there'll be no Mexicans left, so Chihuahua landlords would be a no go. But there's no reason why I shouldn't breed miniature landlords or toy landlords. Think of all the rent I'll collect!!!!!! Hahahahaa!!!!

Hang on, I'm feeling a little queer. There seems... to be something wrong... with... the air filtration unit.... [Thud]

Keep Rubbing On The Oinkment

I'm in lock-down here at the old cliff top mansion, with my security consultant Fat Kev posted at the door under strict orders to turn away all visitors, and shoot any pigs or Mexicans on sight. I shall, of course, continue to post items from my hermetically sealed panic room.

As a precautionary measure, I also eschewed the BAFTAs last night not wishing to catch flu from the various showbiz swine on display. Good to see my old chum Harry Hill carrying off a gong though.

I thought it was bird flu we were meant to be panicking about. Now the pigs seem to have the upper hand. Which will win? I suppose there's only one way to find out...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

East Of The Wantsum

As well as pollution news (see below), here's another thing you won't find in this week's Gazunder. My weekly photo strip, East of the Wantsum (click on the image to enlarge).

I'm assured by Rebecca, the lovely editor, that it's a mere oversight and that she forgot to put it in. Of course, the conspiratorial amongst you will assume that she's been nobbled by the duffers in Cecil Square. Any old how, we'll soon find out next Friday!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Don't Drink The Water

I see both former Irritating Bloke Billo Wright's and bibliobloke Michael Child are running the story the Isle of Thanet Gazunder passed up on today - the investigation of medical conditions possibly related to serious pollution incidents here on our septic isle.

Thanks to Irritating Bloke's tireless and sometimes tiresome efforts, we discovered last year that Cyclohexanone had been dripping into our aquifer over a period of years at the old Sericol site, and that there'd been serious leaks of noxious crud at Thor chemicals more recently. Not that anyone in authority saw fit to inform us, of course. Now IB has brought this to the attention of the Kent Health Protection Unit at Maidstone, who have assured him that they 'will be investigating this matter fully'. The question being whether there is a statistically higher chancing of carking it from diseases associated with the nasties in our water course than in areas whose water remains unsullied by a cocktail of organophosphates and mercury, with the occasional barker's nest thrown in for luck.

Quite why the Gazunderers, who were given the exclusive on this water story, haven't, er, splashed it across the front page is frankly beyond me. Oh well, maybe they're under orders not to panic the populace! In the meantime, here's the late, great lovely Tom Lehrer [He's not dead yet - Ed.] singing about pollution back in the days when Sericol first started leaking hundreds of tonnes of Cyclohexawhatsit into the Thanet soil:

Thanet Twosome Should Go - Poll

The result of my latest 7 day poll is in - and it's an overwhelming vote of no confidence in the Blue Rinsers at the top of Thanet Council. For the record, here's how you voted:

Question: Should the current Thanet leadership bow out?

Yes: 92% (114 votes)
No: 7% (9 votes)

Gosh! It seems all of Sandy and Roger's friends voted in that one! Still no sign of purported the leadership challenge that prompted the poll, though. I'm beginning to wonder if my top Tory source was pulling my plonker!

On a related note, one of my lovely readers has pointed out that Thanet's political bloggers are now in 'purdah' in the run-up to the parish, county and Euro elections on 4 June. Cllrs Moores and Gregory (blue corner) and Green and Nottingham (red corner) are under strict orders to be nice to each other, with bitchy tit-for-tats banned. I'm not a councillor, though. So I can still be as bitchy and tit-for-tatty as I like, and no returns. Hurrah!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

By George! It's The BNP!

Surely it's no coincidence that a leaflet for the BNP dropped through the letterbox here at the old cliff top mansion this morning? With today being St George's Day, perhaps they're attempting to ride on the back of whatever English national fervour is knocking about in these parts.

Among the serried ranks of happy (white) smiling supporters, the leaflet promises that the BNP 'does not 'hate' anyone', whilst explaining that our taxpayers' sovs 'shouldn't be wasted on expanding 'Europe' so that millions of Muslims in Turkey can join the invasion of foreign job-snatchers'. I was tempted to fill in their membership form under the name of 'Mr P Niss, 2 Bollocks Street, Shuvitupyerjacksington, CL1 NTS', but that would just be petty, wouldn't it? Besides, despite a sign on the form assuring me that my information would be 'Data Protection SECURE', wasn't it the BNP whose membership list was comprehensively leaked last November?

Mind you, it wasn't just the BNP cashing in on, er, St George fever today. The lovely Laura Sandys, Tory candidate for South Thanet, also dropped by with her latest literature which among other gems tells us that the Blue Rinsers have been 'pushing KCC to secure a pedestrian crossing for Queens Street' here in the Millionaires' Playground, and had 'brought Keith Ferrin who is responsible for roads to see for himself the traffic along Queen Street'. Well is it 'Queens Street' or 'Queen Street' where you want the crossing, Laura? Do make your mind up, it could make all the difference!

Of course, all this leafletting is courtesy of the county and European elections on 4 June. We're also meant to be voting for our very own, teeny-tiny town council here in Ramsgate on the same day. But it all seems to have gone very quiet on that front. I was expecting to have heard the word of G O'D by now, but not a sausage!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Up in the smoke (London) for more filming mullarkey this week, I spotted an interesting suggestion in yesterday's Metro freesheet concerning world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who was on the critical list at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge on Monday.

The cartoon, by Brook, ponders whether the specialists have tried turning the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics off and then on again. Well, it seems to work for most technology!

Monday, April 20, 2009

No More Sweet Dreams At Dreamlanders' Hotel

Lumme! Reader Linda informs me that the Forbury Hotel in Reading has gone into administration!

'Wassat gorra do with Thanet?' I hear you ask. Well, be patient and I'll reveal all. The Forbury was opened with many a trump in 2006. Described as 'Reading's poshest hotel' (not hard) and the home of Daniel Galmiche's (Who he? - Ed.) fine dining restaurant Eden, the Forbury was created by parent company Waterbridge, none other than the owners of Margate's very own car-park-cum-charcoal-factory Dreamland!

The administrators have now been called in, and the local goss is that, you've guessed it, the development will now be transformed into 'boutique' apartments!

Read it in the Reading Evening Post

Lydd Skid

As you know, these days I don't often get involved in aviation matters. I leave that to the Smegheads. But one of my eagle-eyed readers has spotted the Lydd Airport Action Group which is campaigning against a planning application to expand Kent's Other International Airport, pointing the finger at our very own Chas 'n' Dave International as 'operationally superior' to Lydd, even if the expansion goes ahead, quoting 'unrestricted airspace'.

Now I may be wrong, but the last time I saw Romney Marsh it was mainly inhabited by sheep, as opposed to Ramsgate which is home to more listed buildings than Bath and more millionaires than a Moscow brothel. Sure, there's the small issue of a couple of nuclear power stations on the Lydd flight path, but really! I'm reliably informed by the rocket scientists at British Energy that all nuclear power stations are built to withstand the impact of a 747 anyway, so no problem there. Plus Lydd is soooooo much handier for the high speed Chunnel rail link!

Presumably the only real concern the Lydd Airport Action Group has is that 400 tonnes of low-flying, jet-propelled aluminium might blast the thatch off their twee, 16th Century hairy-roofed bastard. Which, er, is pretty much my concern actually. Except I've got a listed Victorian with Kent pegs. At least the Lyddites have been presented with a planning application. Here on Chavvy Island it's a quick council meeting and, whoops, 747s 24/7!

So in a spirit of tit-for-tat, I must now declare Lydd/London Ashford Airport the 'airport of the future'. And, in my capacity as an experienced consultant to the likes of British Airways, I shall be heartily recommending Lydd as London's Fourth Airport!

Lyddites' website
London Ashford Airport - Airport of the Future!

Vexillatious Question

Many thanks for all your sackfuls of entries to my Find A Flag For Fannit competition! Special appreciation goes to regular contributors Mark, Dick, Millicent, and Mr Dickens of Broadstairs. Er, actually they were the only people who entered.

So, the competition is now closed, and the panel of judges (me) have made their final decision. And the winner is... [drum roll] Dick! I've had my team of highly trained graphic designers cast their glass eyes over your design, and they've made some alterations. Here's the final look:

The background colours have been changed to reflect our glorious sandy beaches, chalk cliffs and clear blue skies, whilst retaining your motif of the North Foreland lighthouse surrounded by the sand and grassy tussocks of Joss Bay. Oh, and following an unaccustomed attack of modesty, I asked them to keep my physog off it. I look forward to seeing the flag flying proudly from all our public buildings, and engraved into the walls of Thanet's toilet cubicles, in the very near future.

Congratulations Dick, and your bottle of Dom(estos) is chilling here at the old cliff top mansion ready for you take advantage of at your convenience!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Strip Tease

Well if you haven't gone out and got your copy of the Isle of Thanet Gazunder yet, here's what you're missing (click on the image to enlarge):

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Breaking News - Tory Leadership Challenge?

Crikey! A fairly reliable rumour has just reached the Eastcliff lugholes that there's likely to be an imminent challenge to the hegemony of our beloved Thanet Tory twosome, Sandy Beach and his deputy, Roger OBE-Wan Kenobi!

It's not the first time speculation about their departure has rocked the isle. But this time there seems to be a real momentum of discontent after Sandy and Roger's latest rap from the standards wallahs. Given the hostile nature of politics here on Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula, it's not surprising that Pleistocene Conservatives, who could probably hold their own in a bar brawl let alone the council chamber, have been kings of the Thanet jungle for the last million years. But if you hadn't noticed (they certainly haven't), they're rather out of step with Cuddly Dave and his chums, with their greenwash and mutterings of 'consensus politics'.

From a personal viewpoint I've made quite a few Fannit friends through this blog, a fair number of whom are Tories who've felt quite repelled by the vituperative nature of local politics and the old stylee emphasis on locking of horns, rather than getting together to take on the monumental task of pulling the area up by its bootstraps. So if a change at the top leads to more walk and less talk, I, for one, am all for it.

To gauge wider opinion, I've popped another of my 7 day polls in the sidebar on the right. It's a simple 'yes' or 'no' question - 'Should the current leadership bow out now?' Preferably gracefully, so we don't have to spend any more taxpayers' sponds on all that standards mullarkey!

Turnip Growing

Having been put in charge of thumb twiddling this week (with special responsibility for arse scratching), I thought I'd don my CelebProtect™ Kevlar stab vest and point my immensely powerful motorcycle and commensurately miniscule dangly bits in the direction of the Smoke (Margate) yesterday evening.

The Anthea Turner Centre, due to open in 2010 or 2011 depending on which statement by that ruddy faced man from KCC you believe, is already beginning to dominate the skyline, serving as a beacon of hope for Bentley loving architects, builders, developers of luxury apartments and arts consultants for miles around. That said, it really is quite impressive. Although the inhabitants of the 5 star Fort Road Hotel and Arcadian gated development opposite look set to be robbed of their sea views. And future visitors might well be put out by the trundlings of Margate's Thunderbirds-style lifeboat which will still have to go past the front of the gallery to launch.

There's only hoarding to see from the pointlessly de-dualled Fart Hill, but if you sneak round the front, as I did, you get a much better view:

Cleary the place is going to be well-appointed for khazis with all this pipework they're putting in:

Let's hope the millions of visitors they predict spend more than just a penny!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Carry On - Follow That Hearse!

In Memoriam
Peter Rogers
Producer of the Carry On films

So farewell
Then, Peter Rogers.

'Infamy, infamy
They've all got it
In for me!'
That was
Your catchphrase.

'I want to be
'You can be as
Wude as you like
With me, Matron!'
That was another.

I can't really
Top that.

Bungdit Din of Jacksie,
King of the Burpas (29)

The Train Corridors Of Power

Photo: Michael's Bookshop

Regular contributor Mr Dickens of Broadstairs writes:

Good morning Dick,

Mrs Dickens of Broadstairs was taking the kids to London for a day trip this morning via Broadstairs station. Who should get on at Margate but Minister for Transport Lord Adonis, who is on a five day journey on the railways to experience travel from the punters' perspective.

His first unpleasant experience, familiar to us all, was being approached by an old nutter who started jabbering on to him about Manston airport. No problem with flights, planes come in over the sea, very little housing blighted etc. The old gipper carried on in this vein, saying that South Eastern railways were reluctant to put in a gateway station from Manston because of their franchise being rather short etc. The earbending continued until the geezer got off at Faversham (probably worried about ticket inspectors) and his Lordship could finally enjoy his latte in peace.

Fortunately the wizened earbender gave away his identity by leaving behind his rolled up copy of
Sporting Life with 'R Gale' scrawled in the top left hand corner. I thought they had a large building in London where this sort of thing gets discussed, not a public carriage for all to hear. Perhaps the signs saying 'No personal stereos', 'No feet on the seats' etc could also have an extra line, viz: 'No boomy-voiced local MPs pushing Manston'.

Your rail correspondent, The Fat Controller

Well Mr D of B, it seems Lord Absolutely-Gorgeous had his lughole well and truly chewed off there by Sir Rodge. Shame most of it was probably twaddle!

Lord lords it on the trains in The Times

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wind Farm Running Out Of Steam?

Once upon a time there were two wind farms growing up off the coast of our blustery island. One was an ickle baby wind farm called Thanet Offshore Wind. Thanet Offshore Wind had a single Swedish parent, Vattenfall, and lived happily ever after.

But there was also a strapping, teenage wind farm, and that one was called London 'Arry. 'Arry had two parents - German Ian and Anglo-Dutch Shell. But they got divorced. Then Ian discovered he was gay, and started seeing a Danish giant called Dong. But Ian became uncertain whether he was in fact gay, bisexual or merely bi-curious, so he introduced his middle eastern lady friend Masdar into the relationship.

Everything bumbled along quite happily for a bit. But then the money started running out, and they all had to go on benefits. Poor London 'Arry's growth was stunted, and the hundreds of jobs he had dreamed of generating for his home town of Ramsgate evaporated. The end.

Read poor London 'Arry's story in the Grauniad

London Arry's website

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Eggsellent News!

I see our super-duperized, out of this world bandstand here on Ramsgate's magnificent East Cliff will be hosting an eggciting eggvent on Sunday and Monday! The Easter Eggstravanza kicks off at 1pm on both days and will feature a drum workshop, Easter bonnet parade, karaoke and magic. Plus if you're not already jaded after the Thanet GuzzleFest, there'll be a licensed bar where you can get sauced in the sun. With the weather forecast looking good, it might be just the ticket!

A toddle over to the bandstand's new website elicits the news that there's a whole raft of events planned this summer. No mention of the Wantsum Jazz Festival, though, which as I exclusively revealed a while back has been poached by the Spencer Square mob. Except I'm now told that the sniffy Westcliffians have rejected the plan due to fears of massed chavery and crushed Stella tins spoiling their Berkeley Square reverie.

No worries about that here on the east side. A few extra cans and crisp packets ain't gonna make a whole heap of difference to the mountains we already wade through each day, not to mention the half gallon or so of human diarrhoea that some kind soul saw fit to deposit in the street outside the old cliff top mansion last night. So bring it on!

PS: If you're one of the thousands of off-islanders visiting this blog over the holiday weekend looking for something to do, or somewhere to eat and drink in Thanet, why not take a look down the sidebar on the right? You'll find what's on listings, and a whole heap of recommended Thanet nosheries. And unlike points west, the beaches are sandy and the sun's shining! Magic!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Beer Today, Beer Tomorrow!

Here's something that should leave a more pleasant taste in the mouth than that last item! What better way to celebrate the true meaning of Easter than getting bladdered on Trussock's Old Socks and 199 other splendid beers, ciders and perries at the annual Thanet GuzzleFest? Well, I can't think of think of a better way, even if you can.

It all kicks off over at the Mike and Bernie Winter Gardens in Margate at noon today. Stretchers at 10.30pm. Then you can do it all over again tomorrow. Admission £3 (£2 Saturday). I've been a guest of horror the past three years, and apart from a slight attack of beer-à-rear on day two in 2007, which I put down to the council catering, I've had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Hats off to the organisers of what is fast becoming the Ile de Thanet's cultural event of the year!

Click here for Feshtival website hic

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Pay And Dismay

Our beloved Tory council's General Purposes Committee met last night. Sounds dull, doesn't it?

But there are two points worth noting. Firstly it was the inaugural outing for the committee's new chairman, Councillor/Doctor Simon Moores. Some cynics might argue that his elevation was a palm-off for not rocking the boat over his leader and deputy leader's petition juggling antics which recently earnt them a ticking off from the Standards Committee. Not to mention his leader's propensity for calling the Mayor of Margate a 'fucking tosser'. No matter. Apparently the Doc done good, according to Labour councillor Mike Harrison, who attended last night's jamboree.

Now to the slightly less dull bit. The committee was in fairly secretive session, it seems, to discuss pay and salaries. Dr Moores has a full (-ish) account on his Thanet Life blog here. It's worth quoting some of it:

Following changes to the council’s senior staffing structure, a move to ensure the council continues to provide excellent value for money for its residents, the committee agreed to a number of changes to the basic salary scales of the Corporate Management Team and to the proposed new pay awards for all staff at the council. This saw an agreement to a pay award of 0% for the Corporate Management Team, 1.75% for senior staff and 2% for all other staff.

Hmmm. Sounds like the Corporate Management Team have done the decent thing and awarded themselves a pay freeze, eh? Not quite. What the good doctor has glossed over here is the part where 'the committee agreed to a number of changes to the basic salary scales of the Corporate Management Team'.

Perhaps he should have said 'after which they were awarded 0%'. Because my man with the Tesco bag full of frilly pink knickers informs me that, following the restructuring of the salary scales, many of the grand fromages are actually in line for a pay rise of around £25K. Of course, this has all been justified by the 'streamlining' of the senior team, 'fastest improving authority in the UK', blah blah blah. Still sounds like snouts in troughs to me, though. No wonder Thanet Council refused to answer the TaxPayers' Alliance's FOI request for their Town Hall Rich List 2009, which was published this week!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Pfizers Set To Stun?

According to regular reader Don, there's a rumour going round that the biggest local employer, US healthcare giant Pfizer, may be mothballing its European R&D HQ over the border in Sandwich. 'Is there any truth in it? I thought I would ask you cos you know everythink,' says Don, rather too schmoozily for my liking.

Well I'm not sure there's even a grain of truth in that, Don, but I can see why sphincters may be twitching over in Viagraville, and I'm not just talking about the bunny rabbits as they get the latest wonder drug poked up their jacksies. You see, Pfizer are currently in the middle of taking over another US drugs company, Wyeth. As part of their grand merger plans, yesterday they announced they would hive off research into two divisions, once the lawyers and beancounters have dotted the I's and crossed the T's, and the bankers have coughed up the wedge. Which could indeed mean a shake-up for Sandwich.

Whether the rumour's true or just ground-up monkey testicles, it'll probably be years before we find out. So relax Don. Your top research job is safe, for now!

Wyeth + Pfizer = Wyzer?

Super Scooters

During my sojourn on the IoW, I happened across these superb scooters! Reminiscent of the ones that rallied in Margate a couple of years ago.

Funny how they never bothered to return. Could it have been something to do with the sniffy residents of Westgate booting them out of their original campsite and relocating them somewhere north of Skegness? I think we should be told!

Margate scootermania 2007 stylee

Flag Fever!

Keep those entries coming in for my Find A Flag For Fannit competition. Already I've had thousands of people thinking about entering, and even one or two actual entries! Reader Mark is mining a rich seam along the lines of my brarn envelope suggestion:

Here's another variation from Mark, this time using Our Glorious Leader's catchphrase:

Meanwhile, reader Dick has captured the essence of the isle with his marvellous portrayal of the North Foreland lighthouse surrounded by the sand and grassy tussocks of Joss Bay:

What with the tasteful depiction of yours truly in the top left hand corner, and the fact that your motif is clearly a popular one with Thanetians as it can be seen chalked onto virtually every bit of concrete in these parts, you could well be a winner Dick!

Finally regular contributor Mr Dickens of Broadstairs has suggested that as part of the flag raising ceremony the Thanet ensign should be doused in petrol and immediately set fire to by an unidentifiable youth in a Primark hoodie once it has been hoisted, as is the proud tradition of the isle. Nice one Mr D!

Send your Fannit flags to: The closing date is Monday 20 April, and there's a bottle of Dom, or a syringe full of Domestos for the winner, depending on your preference.

Crane Takes The Strain

I see there's a new addition to the port here in the Millionaires' Playground! Dominating the Ramsgate skyline is the Sea Jack, on hire to Thanet Offshore Wind who are building one of the fart farms off the coast of Chavvy Island.

The vessel will install the wind turbine foundations and then continue with the erection of the turbines themselves in the summer and autumn. According to my copy of Windtech International: 'Sea Jack was specifically built to service the growing offshore wind market. At over 90 metres long, 33 metres beam and with a powerful Manitowoc M1200 Ringer crane, the barge is an ideal platform for large scale offshore wind projects such as Thanet.' So now you know.

Anyone who thinks this mighty piece of Meccano blights the general loveliness of the Cannes of Kent can console themselves with the thought that it's only temporary, and that it's not our vistas of the briny that will be permanently blighted by the wind farm so ya boo sucks. Besides, I personally believe it could become something of a tourist attraction. Hopefully, if we get enough of these hoists parking in the port, we could have the makings of the world's first Crane-ium!

Fart farm website
Warning for Westcliffians: This crane could be a noisy bastard

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Flying The Flag

Tootling around the Isle of Wight at the weekend, I observed that many of the islanders had erected flagpoles in their gardens. Some were flying the cross of St George (previously the preserve of the ghastly BNP but now, fortunately, being reclaimed for its original purpose). However, just as many Vectisian vexillophiles were flying the above ensign which is, apparently, the island's very own pennant.

This got me thinking. Why shouldn't we have our own flag here on Kent's Ramsgate Peninsula, celebrating our island status? Hence today I'm inaugurating the Eastcliff Richard Find A Fannit Flag Competition! Has a certain ring about it, doncha think?

So get your thinking caps on. Should it be a pit bull rampant? Or even a pit bull squatting with borries beneath? How about a pair of hairy great mitts with a brarn envelope full of fifties being passed between them? Or there again, your preference could be for a box of Swan Vestas set over a can of four star. The choice is yours.

All you have to do is scan your design and email it to: If your sketching skills aren't up to the job, don't worry. Just describe your flag and I'll get my team of top graphic designers here at the cliff top mansion to realise your dream! The closing date is Monday 20 April, and there's a bottle of Dom or a four pack of 1664, depending on your preference, for the winner. So, whaddya waiting for?!?!?!!!

Monday, April 06, 2009

An Island That's Open For Business!

Don't be daft! As if I was talking about our own outcrop of chalk here in the tip of Kent! No, I'm talking about the Isle of Wight.

I was warned before my weekend on Vectis that it would be like stepping back 40 years. And yes, the hotel was very Fawlty Towers, with a general air of tut-tutiness and enough signs forbidding this, that and the other (especially the other) than you could shake a proverbial at.

On the plus side, though, I toured the entire island and saw not one burnt out amusement park or derelict building. Not even a hint of a magnificent seaside facility transformed into a car park with EU money. And all the hotels were still hotels, rather than dire accommodation for third generation unemployables. Hundreds of brown tourist signs appeared to lead to, er, actual tourist attractions. Everywhere you go there are public conveniences which are not only clean and open, but being used by people for the rather quaint purpose of going to the lavatory. And not one crushed Stella can or barker's nest to spoil your promenade along the prom.

Ventnor was a particularly good example of a seaside town that was still doing a thriving trade by being a, er, seaside town:

Even the Winter Gardens looked as if it had been given a lick of paint recently. Moving on to Shanklin, proof positive that I have relatives in every coastal resort:

One shock, though, was the sight of my old showbiz chum Alan Titchmarsh wearing black tights. He's in the centre of my shot, walking next to the gipper with the scrambled egg on his shoulders.

Steady on Alan! I know the island's a timewarp, but there's no need to take it to that extreme! (Nice set of pins, though.)

I must admit that, parking up the old Tardis/Priapus back in the Millionaires' Playground last night, I fell into a bit of a decline. Clearly something went very wrong here on Chavvy Island thirty or forty years ago. My guess is that someone, somewhere began the cry of 'the bucket and spade holiday is dead' and over the following decades ensured that their prophecy came true. Now we're constantly being told by the Tory duffers that 'Thanet is open for business'. Well, that business ain't tourism, is it, 'cos there's chuff all left for the tourists to do. Perhaps they're talking about 'funny business'.

All the hoteliers and restaurateurs I spoke to on the Isle of Wight reported bookings are significantly up this year, as the recession, the weak pound and carbon footprint anxiety lead more and more Brits to holiday at home. One downside is the cost of getting there, though. £55 return to take the car on the ferry. But it does keep the riff-raff out. Now there's an idea! We could put up a barrier at the Wantsum and charge a £50 toll for getting in. And if we make it free to get out, it would effectively be a one-way trip for the pit bull tuggers. Hurrah!

More on WikiWight
Titchmarsh sworn in as chief Wight tight wearer

Friday, April 03, 2009

Island Hopping

With spring in the air, I find it always gets the old Eastcliff sap rising when the ladies start casting a clout and sporting those skimpy little numbers that show a bit of belly button. However, here on Chavvy Island the first cuckoo does not automatically bode well, as my photograph rather too amply demonstrates.

I see the Gazunder has started a campaign today to 'Save the Past for the Future', by which they mean getting Margate and Ramsgate Museums reopened. Jolly good luck to them, I say. Our Sandy is quoted as saying he 'loves the museums'. So much so that he's loved them to death if you ask me.

But on the bright side the paper also reports that Northdown House has been saved for the Thanetian nation, after much to do about the plan to flog it off to the council's developer chums. Apparently the legal restrictions in the property's covenants make it impractical. Which was what everyone told the Cecil Square duffers in the first place. Still, if our council tax has furnished some poor, impoverished lawyers with a couple more Bentleys who am I to complain?

Anyhoo, I'm packing my YSL suiter as we speak in preparation for a weekend on an exotic south sea island. Er, the Isle of Wight as it happens. But I'll be sure to send you a postcard. Pip pip!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Bleak House For Sale Again

Blimey! This Bleak House saga has more chapters than one of Charlie Dicks' originals! Thanks to a commentator on the previous post, we now find that, as well as becoming a B&B, it's up for sale!

Tiny Terry, the island's diminutive developer and estate agent to the stars, is marketing it at a cool 2m smackers. But for that you get five receps, six beds, five khazis, a gymnasium and wet room, and, of course, a museum. Plus the chance to park your aris where the Master himself sat, juggling his bollocks as he knocked out yet another blockbuster. I must say, for a wealthy media magnate and scribbler like myself, it's very tempting.

Not so tempting is the fact that the price seems to have doubled since the Hiltons bought it off that actress woman in 2005. There again, they have apparently restored it to its former glory, using, if the photos are anything to go by, copious quantities of chintz and gilt. I gather their Margate shop is still on the market after a year, so who knows, maybe blings ain't what they used to be! Oh come on, it's late and I'm very, very tired!

Take a tour around Bling House

Tradesman's Entrance

Following on from my last story about Bleak House becoming a B&B, a Broadstairs reader has sent me the above photo of the backside of the place which was taken this morning. My correspondent adds:

The back of Bleak House needs a little work before the great and the good condescend to paying their hard earned wonga. Before Hilton the back was quite reasonable, this has all been done by Mr H and his delightful daughter, and this is the first sight a paying punter will have.

Crikey! I'm not sure if Wayne and Coleen will be coughing up their hard earned sponds to be living the Dickensian dream any time soon!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A Night At The Hiltons'

Thanks to the excellent Thanet Observer blog, we now know you can hire Bleak House in Boredstares for functions, corporate events, weddings and private parties. You can even stay there on a B&B basis for the princely sum of £150-£155 per person per night, including 'a fantastic full English breakfast'. The website boasts: 'Previous guests have included some of Film, TV and Sports most illustrious stars.'

Locals will know that the pile was bought by Thanet kings of bling the Hiltons back in 2005. And that they were up before the beaks last month following a contretemps over the mislabelling of a necklace as 'Tiffany', amongst other misdemeanours.

Fortunately there are no claims on the website that Bleak House is the 24ct gold real deal that Charles Dickens wrote about in his famous novel of the same name. That Bleak House was, of course, oop north. The Broadstairs Bleak House, where Dickens wrote the major part of David Copperfield, was at the time called Fort House. The name was changed around 1900, when locals saw they could make a quick tourist buck by cashing in on the Dickens name and, er, bigging the place up into something it wasn't. Plus ça change, some might say!

Book a night at the Hiltons'

A Little Extra Help From TDC?

It's been widely reported that local papers across the country are suffering in the teeth of the recession. In fact they've been well and truly bitten on the bum. Still, I expect Barry, Gordo and their chums will sort everything out up in that London tomorrow.

Meanwhile, although we might moan and groan at some of their coverage (or non-coverage), we're lucky that we're still served by three pretty good rags here on Chavvy Island. I'm talking about your super, soaraway yourfannitinnit, the Gazunder (which has perked up recently since lovely editor Rebecca Smith got back from maternity leave) and the Thanet Extra. Not that they haven't had their difficulties. The Gazunder has moved offices, and the Daily Mail owned group that runs it is reported to be reorganising its Kent operations, as well as slashing 1000 jobs across the country.

But the Kent Messenger group that owns the Extra seems to be suffering the most, with another round of job cuts announced recently, and its editorial director reported to be currently on 'gardening leave'. As part of the cuts, KM were due to close their offices in Folkestone and Thanet. In fact, my spies on the grimy streets of Cliftonville, where Thanet Extra is based, tell me that they were about to relocate to Herne Bay as of tomorrow.

But wait! What's this? A white night to the rescue, in the form of our very own beloved council! Far from wanting the messenger shot, the duffers at Cecil Square have thrown the Extra a lifeline, it seems, by offering to let them stay on in Cliftonville 'without the usual costs'.

Now all this must be firmly filed in the draw marked 'rumour and gossip', and I have no way of knowing if or what costs TDC could waive. But it strikes me that, if it turns out to be true, there might be a few hundred other traders and businesses around the island who'd like to be given a hand up courtesy of the council taxpayer.

Oh, but they wouldn't be the kinds of businesses that Sandy, Roger and co would need to wine, dine and sixty-nine so that their infinite guff could be captured in print for eternity, would they?

Manston Takes Off With New Service

By Isle of Thanet Gazunder Aviation Correspondent Joy Stick

The island's airport is about to 'reach for the sky' with the launch of a new, low cost service to an exotic, Mediterranean destination!

The route is the brainchild of local entrepreneurs Manfred and Stan Bonkers (pictured) who have dreamed of running their own airline since they were boys.

'We grew up in Thanet and always loved watching the planes at Manston,' Manfred told the Gazunder. 'We've run our own engineering company for 20 years and we're now ready to go to the next stage,' added twin brother Stan.

The plan is for a 'cheap and cheerful' service modelled on successful low cost airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet. A basic return ticket to Benidorm will be just £4.99, with flights leaving Kent International Airport once a week on Sunday mornings.

'It should take about three days to get to southern Spain, giving passengers a whole day to look around and lap up the sun before the three day return journey,' said Stan. 'The service won't actually take off, though, unless passengers pay for optional extras such as wings, a fuselage and a tail.'

ManstanAir will be charging £2.7m per wing, with an inside toilet a snip at £85,000.

Kent International boss Matt Clarke said he was 'delighted' by the news. 'This will bring something like 10,000 jobs to Thanet with all the added prosperity that entails,' said Mr Clarke. 'Once again it proves that the airport has a key role to play in the island's future.'

Mr Clarke is 29.