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.
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
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!
Your intrepid Thanet Planet explorer