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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Right Royal Rumpus Over Margate Slur

Yikes! I see a Labour election candidate in east London has got himself into a right pickle by declaring the Queen has 'more front than Margate'. Rather stupidly, he made the comment on the Facebook page of a Tory MP who is campaigning for a public holiday to mark the monarch's diamond jubilee in 2012.

Peter White, the Labourite in question, who is seeking election to Havering Borough Council, wrote: 'What is the point of celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of someone who is born into a position of privilege, she is a parasite and milks this country for everything she can. She has more front than Margate asking for extra money from the civil list. Maybe she should sell a couple of her properties'

It's got me wondering whether 'more front than Margate' can be considered an insult at all in the 21st century. It seems more of a quaint anachronism. After all, the Arsonists' Playground itself has rather less front than Dymchurch these days. Although if you equate 'front' with, say, 'smile' it would be one with several teeth extracted by arson, multiple wooden dentures, and one great big, oversize concrete molar springing up behind Droit House. Hmm, on second thoughts if I was the Queen, I wouldn't exactly be flattered by the comparison!

Click here for more on BBC News website

Monday, November 16, 2009

Alleged Corruption In Margate

With culture minister Margaret Hodge today dishing out the dosh to the Arsonists' Playground [Whatever happened to the £1.5m lottery funding that was meant to go on tarting up Ramsgate front? - Ed], I thought I'd apply the old ECR brain cell to finding out a bit of background.

Scouring the interbollocks, and eschewing Margate's most fatuous blog (as ever), I landed on the rival site MargateNews.net. Here, unlike its fatter namesake, you can read fearless investigative coverage of government grants being handed out willy-nilly, time-serving corrupt local politicians, bribery charges going back to the 80s, and planning permission for static caravan sites doled out on a favour basis. Oh yes, it's all there!

Only trouble is, this is Margate, Florida, USA! Kuh, talk about giving a dog a bad name!

Click here to read more on MargateNews.net
Click here to read about government dosh for Margate, Kent, UK
Click to read about the grant to Ramsgate which we've never seen

Cock-Up On The Comments Front

Ooops! Must have pressed the wrong button when I was putting comment moderation on after all that nastiness last week. No wonder I haven't been hearing from all you eager readers!

You can comment away to your hearts content now my lovelies, but your purple prose will have to be read and approved by me first. And, er, should you feel inclined to transfer over a few fifties for my fighting fund while you're at it, feel free!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Culture Vulture

Er, sorry about that last post. However, I am now much restored and neurie dust sprinkled on Kelloggs appears to have done the trick again this morning.

So, thanks to Bertie Biggles' excellent Thanet Strife blog, we now know the Culture Minister Margaret Hodge will be touring Margate tomorrow morning apropos of doling out £3.7m worth of state aid to prop up the town's festering Dreamland hole. As the island's premier blogger, I have every intention of attending in the press corps. But what questions should I put to Ms Hodge? I've drafted a few here:

- Ms Hodge, do you know you are shaking hands with a man who is currently being prosecuted by the RSPCA for causing unnecessary suffering to a kitten?

- Ms Hodge, are you aware that this other man you are shaking hands with has been up before the Standards people twice? Once for calling another politician a 'f*cking tosser' and on a second occasion for causing upset when a petition he disapproved of was being handed over?

- Ms Hodge, would you like to comment on the fact that several buildings along Margate front, along with the Dreamland Scenic Railway itself, have been subjected to arson over the past six years, and that the local woodentops have yet to prosecute anyone?

- Ms Hodge, what would your view be of a company that received EU grants to enhance an attraction that was pulling in 100s of 1000s of visitors, which then had to close a few years later due to 'lack of interest'?

- Ms Hodge, do you honestly think it is in the taxpayers' interest to hand over almost £4m of their mazoomah to help regenerate a town which is clearly suffering because of the local authority's madcap scheme to build an entirely new town from scratch at Westwood Cross?

There. That should do the trick!

Click here for Margaret Hodge's seaside tour in The Sunday Times
Click here to read about £3.7m Dreamland grant in the Daily Wail

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Noght Flight Cunsultation Not Exprcted Until Sprong

Esxcuhe me but I'm a bit the worse rfor weare. You would be too if you'f had a week like I have. Anyhoiw, necking back the old Krug down at Miles BAr earlier, I got talking to some bod from Thanet Counciul. According to hims they are not going to consult on the dreaded night flightts over Ramsgate until the spirng. Maybe, with a £6m pound black hole in their trouserds, they're not willing to spend the £80,0000,0000 0 00 it's going to cost to consult.

Anyeay so then like I told him he could stuff his chuffing night flights and it all went a bit handbags at danw3 like. I see the Tories transpoort spokesman has been gassing on about building a Euro MArine enrgy park in Ramsgate lets all vote for LAurs Sansdyssd and hope they build it on the fuifrkjncking airpoport!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Click here for more on shadow Energy Sec's 'Euro Marine Park' plan
Click here for confirmation of consultation delay [Right again! - Ed]

Moving Swiftly On...

Why doesn't it surprise me that the proprietor of Margate's most fatuous (Geddit?!!!?!) blog appears to have got the address of his Lib Dem candidate in the Dane Valley by-election wrong? You'll recall that this vote has been precipitated by the enforced resignation of Tory councillor 'Panama' Steve Broadhurst, who spent more time in Central America than actually doing anything for his electorate in Central Margate.

Ordinarily, being of a Liberal persuasion, I would have thrown the entire weight of the ECR media machine behind Fat Bloke's Bill Furness, who I hear is a jolly nice chap. But not on this occasion.

It's less to do with his proposer's continual petty snarking at yours truly, and more to do with the fact that, as far as I can see, Labour have more chance of winning. And anything that helps oust the current Thanet Reich has got to be a good thing in my book. Hopefully Panama Steve's Dane Valley colleague, the alleged feline-killing Tory Mayor of Margate, will do the decent thing soon and step down too. If so, the Blue Rinsers won't stand a cat's chance in oh dear let's not go there.

So come on Dane Valleyers! Vote for the lovely Labour candidate Sandra Hart, wife of the equally lovely Labour leader Clive Hart, on 3 December!

Disclaimer: I would like to make it clear that my support of Sandra Hart is in no way motivated by a petty desire to see a 'Mr and Mrs Hart' on Thanet Council and consequently be able to make endless jokes about 80s TV shows, 'Max', 'Freeway', and 'big hair'.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Euroferries - An Apology

In a recent item on this blog entitled 'Breaking News - Euroferries goes bust' the following statement was made: 'According to the ongoing debate on Adem's Big Blog about the new fast ferry service between Ramsgate and Boulogne which is due to start on 14 November, Euroferries, the operator which was attempting to introduce the service, has just 'gone bust'. This is an unconfirmed report at the moment. More updates as they come.'

I would like to make it clear that this allegation was false and unjustified. Euroferries are not 'bankrupt' or in any other way insolvent and I apologise to them unreservedly. I have undertaken not to repeat these allegations.

Monday, November 09, 2009

East Of The Wantsum

That last item about the Arsonists' Playground reminded me that, what with all the excitement, I'd forgotten to put the latest East of the Wantsum on the blog. Actually, it sort of echoes and predicts that story in today's Guardian about Margate being rubbish. Except I'm doing it in a knowing, tongue in cheek sort of fashion and not in any nasty, lefty, snobby, media luvvy kind of way. Oh, alright then, yes I am.

Margate Mauled In The Guardian

Cripes! It's been a bad couple of days for our septic isle! On Saturday, a restaurant review in the Independent described Ramsgate as 'blighted'. Today it's Margate's turn to get kicked in the proverbials by the Guardian.

Writing about his quest to find the muse of T S Eliot in the Nayland Rock shelter, which was recently listed by English Heritage for being the place where the poet wrote part of his epic The Waste Land, Stephen Moss writes:

I had hoped that coming here to pay homage might move me to write my own state-of-the-nation epic as part of my stuttering campaign to be Oxford professor of poetry. But the words will not come. It doesn't help that I had three pints of Kronenbourg in a forlorn bar on the front last night, and that my head is spinning. The cars on the roundabout next to the shelter sound like . . . damn, I can't even manage a simile in my befuddled state.

Perhaps I can blame the town itself rather than the lager? Almost every shop on the front is boarded up; even the potentially inspiring store selling racy lingerie is closed; and Dreamland, the town's nightmarish leisure park, is derelict. Margate desperately needs a new attraction, and this shelter could surely be it. I can see it now: the Eliot Trail, Waste Land Walks, the Ezra Pound Shop. I may not have written a poem, but I think I have the makings of an urban regeneration plan.


Mind you, he's got a point. Perhaps he should ask Margate's Tory MP Roger Gale, who's presided over more than 25 years of dereliction in the town, what he's done to improve things? After all, him and his missus seem to be getting no end of publicity now that her £40K a year job as his secretary might be at stake. Has he ever put the same effort into hauling his constituency off its knees? I think not!

Click here to read full story in the Grauniad
Margate's Turner Centre on tonight's Inside Out (BBC1, 7:30pm)

Port Of Ramsgate - Latest Photos

One of my spies has been busy snapping away down at our lovely port at the weekend. Currently it doesn't look as if any preparations have been made for the Euroferries Ramsgate - Boulogne service which is due to start on Saturday. Still, a week is a long time in shipping, as they say (er, no they don't, actually)!






Sunday, November 08, 2009

Signs Of Change

Moving swiftly on from all that legal nastiness, reader Tom has sent me the following email:

Dickie old bean! I gather that you are not able to get out much at the moment, so I have driven around Ramsgate in my car and taken a few snaps for you so you can see all the changes that are happening in and around the town.

Well, how kind Tom! First up is the new hairdressers by the Boundary Road traffic lights:

There's even a TDC sweepie-uppy man sweepie-upping all the autumn leaves. If memory serves, this used to be Keith's Hair Academy, so plus ca change! Next is this:

The petrol station and convenience store on West Cliff Road, opposite Kwik Fit, appears to be no longer. What's the betting it'll be luxury flats? With all those petrol storage tanks down below, they should go like a bomb! (Geddit??!!??!?!??!!!!)

Further afield, Tom's Tom Tom took him down to the port:

That's the Thanet Offshore Wind site, the first of two lovely wind farms due to be based in the port, the other being the much bigger London Array. And it looks as if they're constructing a new depot or something. Tom adds that, despite a good gawp, he couldn't see any, er, Eurofannying about.

On the Sandwich Road, Tom says he counted at least ten stick signs with directions to the 'VolkerFitzpatrick Hochtief site office'. This is apparently situated near Richborough power station, and will be the HQ for the Phase 2 widening and re-routing of the A256.

Work is due to begin imminently, and will involve building an £87m dual carriageway from the Prospect roundabout alongside the Chas 'n' Dave Margate International Airport runway (14th longest in the UK) and the existing A253, then diving off from a new roundabout towards Richborough, under the railway at Cliffsend, and joining up with the already completed Phase 1 dual carriageway at Ebbsfleet. A new road into Ramsgate off the new road will bypass the existing road past Jentex, dive under the railway and Cliffsend, and come up by the Lord of the Manor roundabout. All clear? Good.

It should all be done and dusted by 2012, but what impact it'll have on getting on and off the island from the Millionaires' Playground so far remains a mystery.

Finally, it seems those pesky, fly-by-night No Night Flight blighters have been up to their usual tricks down at the Pleasurama/Royal Sands/Titanic development on Ramsgate front. And it was such a nice, new hoarding too!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Legal Threat From Euroferries

Like Adem on the Big Blog, I too have received this rather threatening email from Euroferries, the people who are meant to be launching a fast ferry service between Ramsgate and Boulogne next Saturday. My initial thoughts were to tell their Mr Gillan to get stuffed. However, as you can see from my response I moderated that somewhat knee-jerk reaction to something rather more conciliatory. Here's what Euroferries wrote:

Dear Proprietor,

As a Director and solicitor of Euroferries it has been brought to my attention that you have published or permitted to publish on your blog site one or more libellous and/or defamatory statements (one being Euroferries have gone bust) which we construe has the effect of causing damage to Euroferries Limited.

We would respectively request you retract all said statements and related content from your sites with immediate effect as well as any sites that your publication has contaminated. We also request a published statement of apology and that you place this letter on your site immediately.

We would also like you to provide to us your details to: adrian.gillan@euroferries.co.uk in order that we can communicate with you on all matters relating to legal proceedings as well as the name and address of your ISP provider and your unique ID to enable us to inform them of this abuse and to take appropriate action.

Yours faithfully,
Adrian C Gillan
Solicitor and Director
Euroferries Limited

And my response:

Dear Adrian,

Thanks for your email. I will remove the post, as other references to this on the internet have now also been removed.

As for your other requests, go take a running jump.

While we're at it, just how do you explain the fact that your ferry is still stuck in Tenerife despite your promise to provide a service on 14 November for the people who have already booked and paid on your website? Will they get their money back if you fail to provide this service?

Kind regards,
EASTCLIFF RICHARD
Squeezing the news pimple on the arse of Thanet since January 2006

I personally know of people who have booked and paid for Euroferries tickets. If you, or someone you know, has done so too, do get in touch. Either append a comment to this post, or email me privately at richardeastcliff@yahoo.co.uk

Similarly I would also be interested in hearing from anyone, anywhere in the world, who has ever been paid by Euroferries Limited for anything - contractors, suppliers, councils, port authorities, ticket holders, transport agents, ship charterers... whatever. Either in their current Ramsgate - Boulogne incarnation, or in connection with their previous Dover - Boulogne - Calais effort.

Restaurant Praised, Ramsgate Rubbished in Independent

I see Age & Sons, Ramsgate's premier eatery, has yet again won plaudits in the national press. Restaurant reviewer Tracey MacCleod gives the joint four stars out of five for food and service in today's Independent. However, she's less than complimentary about the island's premier town. She writes:

The once-thriving royal resort of Ramsgate should, in theory, be the perfect destination for a daytrip to the seaside, thanks to the imminent high-speed rail link from St Pancras. I had it all planned: a blustery walk on the beach, fish bought straight from the boat, perhaps a little antiques shopping, before a hearty lunch eaten in sight of the sea. I was thinking, it turns out, of Whitstable. Ramsgate is not, nor could ever be mistaken for, Whitstable.

The short taxi ride from station to harbour (courtesy of a driver with 'Love' and 'Hate' tattooed on his knuckles) took us past boarded-up shops and repossessed properties. It was clear that the flood of wealth which washed over south-east England during the last decade has largely by-passed this far easterly corner. As my fellow day-tripper Harry said, taking in the blighted landscape, 'Suddenly I see the point of Brighton'.

'Blighted landscape'? 'Boarded-up shops'? The knuckle-tattooed taxi driver didn't take you gullible DFLs via Margate, did he? And as for a 'blustery walk on the beach', 'fish straight from the boat' and 'antiques shopping', you could have done all those things here if you'd bothered to toddle a few yards, love. Not only that, but our beautiful Blue Flag beaches are sandy, not rocks/mud like those other places you mention.

As for Whitsta-bloody-bubble, I should jolly well hope Ramsgate could never be mistaken for the place, which these days is so crammed with middle class escapees from the smoke it resembles nothing more or less than an ethnically cleansed Islington-on-Sea. And last time I looked, Whitstable didn't have almost 1,000 listed buildings. Just a few tatty wooden shacks! Kuh!

Click here to read review of Age & Sons in the Independent

And click here to watch a repeat of Homes Under the Hammer on BBC iPlayer, in which the old Ramsgate police station, next door to Age & Sons, is given the makeover treatment by an accountant (Series 12, Episode 20)

Friday, November 06, 2009

Bonfire Night Of The Vanities

I managed to hobble round to my 76 year old neighbour Betty's bonfire party last night. After the whizzbangs, she got to telling me that her poor old pussy is losing its fur and feels quite dry sometimes. Apparently it's also rather twitchy at this time of year and tries to slip out, so she spends most of her time pushing it back in through the flap.

I then happened to mention that the Tory Mayor of Margate, Ted Watt-Ruffell, was hauled up on a charge of maltreating kittens at the Cecil Square magistrates' court yesterday. I wonder if the kitty-fiddling accusations are related to the story in today's Gazunder about two sick little moggies found dumped outside a hotel in Cliftonville in September? The poor purrers have now been rehomed by the RSPCA, but it does all sound a little coincidental.

Anyway, Betty then went off like a rocket. 'The bloody Thanet Tories!' she fulminated. 'I'd like to put the whole f***in' lot of them on the f***in' bonfire! That f***in' Ezekiel he's been scolded by the standards people twice for calling the mayor a f***in' tosser and upsetting that f***in' petition! And as for f***in' Latchford and all the other f***in' cronies and hangers on. And that f***in' freeby trip to China that Wills paid for! And what about the f***in' planning department letting people build whatever they f***in' want wherever they want. What about all the f***in' burnt out holes that Jimmy Godden's left rotting for years, they've done f*** all about those! And now they want the f***in' airport to fly all night, those f***in' planes rattle the f***in' windows all day as it is!'

Well, after that rant, I was quite glad to limp back home and play with my own pussy!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Euroferries Launch Video

video

Given the rather on/off, will it/won't it nature of the much-trumpeted fast ferry service between Ramsgate and Boulogne, I thought it might help move things along if I applied my indubitable directing skills to making a promotional film for Euroferries.

In the last 24 hours we've learnt that the vessel Euroferries is chartering from Fred Olsen, the Bonanza Express, has been slated to come to Boulogne, the UK, another port in Tenerife, yet another port in Tenerife, been painted in Euroferries colours, blah blah de-diddly blah.

Any-old-how, given that I'm mildly incapacitated and mostly indolent, I emailed my old factotum Mr Ceaucescu (no relation) a few bits and bobs at the school of plumbing in Turda where he's currently working, and this is what he's come up with. Not sure it's quite the thing, but what do you think?

All Change On The Fast Ferry Front?

Yikes! This story's moving faster than a, er, fast ferry! I'm indebted to a reader for pointing out that the catamaran Bonanza Express, which everyone assumes has been chartered from Fred Olsen by the new Euroferries service between Ramsgate and Boulogne due to kick off on 14 November, has now had its destination and departure date changed on the Port of Santa Cruz website.

Only yesterday we were told it was being painted in the Euroferries livery in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where it's currently docked. At the time, it was due to leave for the UK on 6 November according to the port website. Now its departure date is given as 22 November, and its destination... another part of Tenerife! Of course, it could just mean that Euroferries are chartering a different vessel for their new service, but then why go to all the trouble of painting their logo on the side of the Boney E?

I've also been emailed by another reader saying that yesterday's story on the Isle of Thanet Gazunder website (see 'Ramsgate ferry will arrive on time' in News Nibbles in the top, right hand corner of this blog) to the effect that the tax paid shop in Ramsgate passenger terminal has been completed is, to put it politely, a load of cods. So, what's going on? I think we should be told!

Bonanza Express on Port of Santa Cruz website

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Expecting A Bonanza?

All indications are that the new fast ferry service between Boulogne and the Millionaires' Playground will be going ahead on 14 November. Here's the evidence:

- Photos have been posted on our local biblio-bloke's blog and Adem's Big Blog of the Bonanza Express catamaran apparently being painted with the Euroferries logo in Tenerife on 30 October, along with a statement by Thanet South MP Steve Ladyman: 'I can’t wait to see the vessel finally arrive in Ramsgate. It could make a real difference to the Town so I have all my fingers crossed.' Must make using a computer a bit difficult, Steve. By the way, didn't you announce the service on 9 January, almost a year ago?

- A press release from Euroferries has been published on the This French Life website to the effect that they are still planning to launch on 14 November:

Euroferries is pleased to confirm that the high speed ferry, Bonanza Express, since last week has been undergoing final preparations by FOSA (Fred Olsen S.A.) in Tenerife for its transfer to Boulogne. Arrangements including dredging are in hand at both ports in support of Euroferries new Ramsgate/Boulogne service scheduled to commence on the 14th November.

- Bonanza Express is due to depart from Tenerife (for Boulogne, it is assumed) on Friday, according to the Port of Santa Cruz website.

And the clincher - Euroferries are taking bookings for 14 November onwards, and your money, on their website! And the nice, reassuring lady on the phone is telling callers everything is fine, and that the ticket prices include travel insurance, so your dough is safe anyway. Hurrah!

Speaking as a Ramsgatonian, I'd be very happy if this service did go ahead. Speaking as a fully paid up member of the Cynics Club of Great Britain however...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

RoRo Your Boat


Sticking with matters ferrylike, Oostende (Ostend in old money) reader Kris has sent me a link to this wonderfully evocative film he's put on BoobTube. It chronicles a crossing on the TransEuropa ferry Primrose. So if you've ever, like me, gazed out over Ramsgate's East Cliff at one of our lovely ferries and wondered what it would be like to be gazing back, here's your chance to find out.

Of course, it'll be all change next year when a couple of the existing old tubs will have to be replaced due to EU rules. Word is that TEF are sourcing some brand new old tubs from P&O. Watch this space!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Countdown To Blast-Off!

by Isle of Thanet Gazunder Transport Editor Kat O'Moran

With the official start of the new Euroferries fast ferry service between Ramsgate and Boulogne just 12 days away, 100s of Thanetians have already booked and paid for their first trip [More fool them - Ed]! So to celebrate the new service, here's ten things you didn't know about Ramsgate and Boulogne!!!!!

1. Ramsgate has the only Royal Harbour in the UK!!!
2. Boulogne's full name, 'Boulogne-sur-mer', means 'Boulogne-on-sea'!!
3. The future Queen Victoria visited Ramsgate!!
4. Matilda of Boulogne was Queen of England from 1105-1152!!
5. Ramsgate was a favourite holiday destination of Karl Marx!!!
6. On 15 June 1944, the RAF bombed Boulogne Harbour to bits!!!
7. Ramsgate has more listed buildings than Bath!!!!
8. In 1905, Boulogne hosted the first ever Esperanto conference!!
9. Ramsgate is home to the only pinball museum in Britain!
10. Boulogne is home to Nausicaa, the French National Sea Centre!

[That's enough facts culled from Wikipedia - Ed]

Sunday, November 01, 2009

East Of The Wantsum

Here's this week's East of the Wantsum. As ever, you can click the pic to enjoy it in full Panavision. And I thoroughly recommend reading the last frame in a Kim Jong Il style 'I'm Rone-ry' accent for maximum sniggering pleasure!

Next week it's all change at the Isle of Thanet Gazunder, where my strip usually appears every Friday. The rag's having a makeover, so who knows where, or whether, East of the Wantsum will fit in.

More importantly, buried in the Gazunder 'revamp' news is the shock revelation that the other Thanet papers in the Daily Mail owned Northcliffe Media group, Thanet Times and Sadscene, are 'merging'. Which effectively means one or the other has folded (in the financial rather than the literal paper sense). Clearly the plastic bottom has fallen out of the double glazing market, and with Broadstairs uPvc millionaires barely able to scrape enough together for their third Range Rover, I presume advertising budgets are being cut to the bone.

Still, it's not all doom and gloom as the Gazunder has a new, award winning hack to replace Dr Who and George Formby obsessed Thom Morris who's departed for pastures new (Ashford). Step forward Andy Woodman, who this week scooped [Geddit?!!!?] an 'exclusive' on how the, er, floaters in the water over on the east of the island will prevent Viking Bay from getting a Blue Flag yet again next year. Maybe the poor Dickensians would have more luck applying for a Poo Flag.

And speaking of poo-pooing, needless to say the Gazunder's lovely editor Rebecca poured cold, Viking Bay water on my suggestion that Andy should be given his own column: Woodman's Chopper - A light-hearted look at the burgeoning Thanet dogging scene! Well, come on, if she can have a column called The Joy of Bex, why on earth not?!