Tuesday, September 21, 2010


by Isle of Thanet Gazunder Society Editor Mary Hinge

Celebrity blogger Richard Eastcliff has shocked the isle by moving back to London! He made the surprise announcement in an exclusive interview with the Isle of Thanet Gazunder.

Speaking candidly for the first time about his five years in Ramsgate, which he dubbed 'The Millionaires' Playground', Mr Eastcliff said: 'It really hasn't worked out. When I came here it was on the promise that Thanet was on the up. But it's all gone horribly wrong.'

Mr Eastcliff, who enjoyed fame and fortune in the TV industry with successful shows such as My Dog's a Bitch! and Celebrity Nipples before his move to the area in 2006, added that Thanet was no place for a creative genius such as himself.

'There's no media work here, and what's worse is that people don't even understand the concept. I've done the odd media job in Thanet, but nobody wants to pay for it. I'd be better off flogging double glazing or taking bungs to nod through planning permission.'

Adjusting the string holding up his trousers and sipping from a can of Stella Artois, Mr Eastcliff continued: 'Not only that, but when you tell potential employers in London that you live in Thanet, they just don't want to know. The final straw was when I pitched an idea to a commissioning editor at Channel 4 last month and she said 'Oh dear, I see you live in Margate'. Needless to say I didn't get the job.'

Pausing only to fill out a Jobseeker's Allowance form, the 29 year old added: 'I've hardly had any work in the past two years. I've also developed some expensive habits, and now I'm facing a huge bill for five years' unpaid tax, so I've got to sell the old cliff top mansion. Hopefully I'll find work in the smoke.' He explained that by 'the smoke', he meant London, not Margate.

Taking a leisurely puff on his crack pipe, the former TV Times Personality of the Year concluded: 'It's not all been bad, though. I've made some good friends down here and I'd especially like to thank Cyril my accountant, who, actually, I haven't heard from recently, Dodgy Dave for the crystal meth, Tyson my Staffordshire bull terrier, and all the staff at Thorley Taverns for those times when I've had half a dozen over the eight and they've refused not to serve me.'

Mr Eastcliff is 29.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!

Hurrah! It's the one day of the year when I actually look forward to the postman getting a firm grip on my knocker and penetrating my brass flap with his enormous delivery so that he can empty his bulging sack all over my inner sanctum!

As usual, I'll be spending my 29th birthday today entertaining fans and family here at the old cliff top mansion. Feel free to add your birthday wishes!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Squall In The Mind

Reader Richard (good name!) writes to remind me that today sees the start of Ramsgate's first ever Summer Squall festival, packed with more than firty Fannitty fun-filled frolics over the course of the bank holiday weekend and designed to put the Cannes of Kent back on the creative map where it belongs.

Dicky's photo shows artist Ben Parry's, er, sonic junk machine outside the Custom House at last night's launch. Apparently this Heath Robinson device will be floating around the town over the next three days, banging and clanging and whirring away to its electric heart's content.

Other highlights include the world's smallest solar powered cinema (seats eight) showing Thanet seaside promotional films from the 50s, 60s and 70s, the world's biggest percussion band made out of recycled old junk, a heritage treasure hunt on Monday morning, thrilling theatre at the King's Church Hall in the centre of town, and a chance to get your book published with an X Factor style writing competition at the Shirley Temple Yacht Club, also on Monday morning.

What with the weather turning up trumps, and all this stuff going on, it looks like the Millionaires' Playground is the place to be this weekend!

Click here for more details on the yourfannitinnit website
Click here to download full Summer Squall programme

Friday, August 27, 2010

Meridian News

Nothing to do with dear, lovely old Fred Dinenage. No. This is the story of what flies above. Specifically the state of the cargo crates that groan in and out of Chas 'n' Dave Tracey Emin Margate Manston RAF International Airport.

If you recall, Manston regular Meridian was recently banned from our skies for failing safety and technical inspections. although you can still see their logo proudly displayed on the freight section of the airport's website. More recently another Manston freight operator, Egyptair, has come under scrutiny and been warned that it could be banned from flying in EU airspace for 'systemic safety deficiencies'.

Just what Meridian's technical and safety failures consisted of has, up to now, been a mystery. But yesterday the findings of an FOI request to the Department for Transport fell into the old Eastcliff mitts, and it makes terrifying reading.

These are the lowlights:

Four inspections of Meridian were carried out in July, in addition to which the DfT has 'evidence indicating that an aircraft (operated by Meridian) took off significantly overweight on one occasion in July'.

The first CAA inspection on 8 July 2010 discovered, amongst other things, fuel leaks, no information about temporary repairs to No 3 engine, and bags not correctly secured and restrained.

On 15 July 2010 the CAA found delaminated flight deck windows, repair of a deferred defect extended 'well beyond limits', valve caps missing from main wheels, temporary repairs of a panel not recorded, no torque check on wing tank access panel screws, protective breathing equipment for crew unserviceable and a visible fuel leak still unattended to.

On 22 July 2010 the CAA noted flight crew seat covers worn and holed, no fireproof ID plate near the main entrance, a large screw head sheared off on the right hand wing, and seals on the right hand inboard fuel tank panels reused after fuel leak rectification.

A second inspection occurred on 22 July which found interior equipment not correctly secured, borrowed breathing equipment which the crew wasn't trained to use, the cargo locking mechanism not suitable for the pallet in use, a smoke detector in the lower hold unserviceable, incorrect performance calculations (presumably regarding things like weight and power on take-off), the flight engineer lacking an English language proficiency endorsement (and a spare pair of glasses!), old seals used on a fuel leak rectification and a fundamental error in load planning which required re-distribution of cargo.

Flamin' Nora! And to think those things were flying a few hundred feet above my bonce!

I know most Thanetians will probably roll their eyes and mutter about 'elf and safety which, considering some of the heaps you see on our roads, is only to be expected. I, on the other hand, am grateful that you can't buy an MOT for a knackered old DC8 in the local pub!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

More Building Shite

Well, this is rapidly turning into Property Week, isn't it?

A reader has pointed me in the direction of Stourbridge architects BBLB's website where you can see full details of the forthcoming London Array fart farm's control and maintenance building which they've designed for our lovely port here in the Ms' P. Click on the pic to read and see more.

The new building is apparently designed to BREEAM Excellent, whatever the fudge that is. Perhaps it's related to the monster bass!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Building Shite

No doubt inspired by my previous item concerning typographical errors, reader Barry writes:

Has anyone else seen the artist's impression of the new development they're proposing for the slipways next to the Maritime Museum in Ramsgate Harbour? I enclose a photo.

It's on public display at the Ramsgate Town Council offices at the Custom House. I see some wag has made an attempt at a critique by scrawling an arrow to the development with the word 'site' above it, but they have surely ruined the joke by accidentally omitting the 'H'?

Haha! Yes, well Barry, if I had jug ears and horsey teeth I might well describe the thing as a monstrous carbuncle on the face of an old friend. As it is, my teeth are (natch) perfect and the old shell-likes a treat to behold, so I'll just say it looks like a crap uPVC conservatory on steroids!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Unintetional Error

Reader Dave writes:

I was shopping at the Westwood Cross Staples this afternoon when I noticed a charity box for a very worthy cause by the till. It's a shame, though, that Read International, whose aim is to collect books and donate them to schools in east Africa to help them to read, couldn't even spell their own name right on the tin! I attach a photograph from my mobile phone.

Well Dave, I agree with you there. I bet whoever proof read that is now feeling like a bit of a silly cut!

Rubbish News

Regular contributor Samantha writes:

Is anyone else fed up with the state of Camden Square in Ramsgate? Every week rubbish is dumped there willy-nilly, not to mention the ever-present seagull problem on bin bag collection days. I have attached some photos of the disgraceful mess this square is almost constantly in.

The residents have been told their properties are not suited to wheelie bins and that they cannot participate in the trial of seagull proof bin bags that is taking place elsewhere on the East Cliff. Emails to councillors rarely receive a response, and I know of one councillor who actually believes that the seagull proof bags are 'ugly' and that the final solution is spraying bin liners with bleach on bin day. How's that supposed to help?

Well Samantha, it certainly looks like a land fill from your photos! I wonder how long it'll be before the entire area is infested with rats and bubonic plague?!?!!??

And talking of rubbish news, I've just been sent a press release from Duffer Central entitled HERITAGE OPEN DAYS COME TO MARGATE. According to our beloved council's spin doctor:

Some of Margate ’s many historic buildings and sites will be throwing open their doors next month (September), as part of Heritage Open Days.

A total of 12 different venues will be taking part in the initiative, which runs from Thursday 9 September until Sunday 12 September. It’s been organised under the banner of Margate Arts, Creativity, Heritage (MACH)
[Who they? Ed], an innovative partnership between English Heritage, the Arts Council and Thanet District Council.

There's more, but it's all about Margate. Yet a sneak peek at the English Heritage website reveals that there are two events in Broadstairs, and two in Ramsgate. So why no mensh of those by Cecil Square? Have they forgotten that our council tax pays their wages too? Or are they just eager to take credit for what seems to be some much needed joined up thinking from outside their bureaucratic box? I think we should be told!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Light Not Fantastic

My spies in our teeny-tiny council here in the Millionaires' Playground tell me that some consternation was engendered at the last meeting when one of their number looked up and spotted the council chamber's substantial chandelier dangling by a thread! Or electrical wire in this case.

Quite why the thing wasn't bolted to a joist is a mystery. After all, as the above clip demonstrates, even Del Boy knows that's the proper way to do it.

You'd have thought that the recent renovation of the Custom House, where the council sits, would have been done to top notch standards, especially given the fact that it was aided by a grant from the Ramsgate Seafront Townscape Heritage Initiative Scheme. Oh well, what do you expect from the people who also accidentally demolished the Grade II listed Marina Restaurant on the front!

And talking of council premises (and backs of vans), another spy has sent me these pics of what looks like period furniture being bundled out of Albion House and into the back of an auctioneer's van early yesterday morning. If you recall, Ramsgate Town Council stuck two fingers up at Thanet Council earlier this year and shifted from Albion House to the Custom House.

I wonder who's flogging what are, after all, our assets? TDC or RTC? I think we should be told!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Plane English

Knowing my, er, penchant for anything to do with the aviation industry, several readers have sent me these pics of the latest livery for Kulula, a low cost South African airline. As you can see, they've painted their plane with all sorts of jolly witticisms!

Ordinarily I'd bin this sort of thing in the sure knowledge that publishing it in the 'social meedja' would only cause moist gussets and trebles all round in some Soho 'creative' agency that charges a million pounds an hour for the pleasure of installing a pinball machine in its coffee area and retro, table top Space Invaders to rest the client's latte on. Fab.

But hey-ho, I'm in a generous mood today! I'll go as far as to say it's a shame Kulula don't fly into RAF Chas 'n' Dave Manston Tracey Emin Margate London Kent International Airport. After all, at only a few hundred feet above the old cliff top mansion, I'd at least get some interesting reading to distract me from the noise!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

EU Scrutinises More Manston Cargo Crates

Please excuse my extended hiatus, but I'm still doing a daily dash up and down the motorway to attend to the poorly pater in Skeggy. Hopefully he'll be up and tap dancing again soon!

Tonight I managed to trawl through the 167 emails that have accumulated in my absence. Most were drivel, but one caught the old glass eye. My informant tells me that EgyptAir, whose cargo flights regularly rattle the roof tiles and windows here at the cliff top mansion, 'has been warned that it risks inclusion on the European Commission's blacklist of banned airlines unless it addresses serious concerns in several areas of its operation.' According to Air Transport Intelligence:

The Commission states that 75 inspections since January last year turned up 240 individual safety findings, including 69 in the highest of the three classifying categories.

The Commission expressed 'serious concern' to the Egyptian civil aviation authority in May, regarding 'systemic safety deficiencies' at the flag-carrier.

It says the 'persistence of serious findings' in areas such as airworthiness, maintenance, operations and the safety of cargo on board has prompted a request for monthly reports, from Egyptian authorities, on implementation of a corrective action plan.

You can read more here. The news follows the recent banning of another Manston cargo carrier, Meridian, for 'technical failures and issues with maintenance'.

So, if I should wake up one morning with a pallet of dates wedged up my aris, I'll know who to blame!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Monster Weekend?

So, a big fish, some fireworks, a bit of an old sing song and a few fairground rides. And some flooded basements and, er, a lot of wind.

Yep, that just about sums up this weekend's inaugural Monster Bass festival for me. But I must admit it did seem to have drawn an influx of visitors to the Millionaires' Playground. The fireworks on the beach were definitely a cut above the usual bangers they let off from the East Pier, and the East Cliff lift, which was open well into the night, was vaguely reminiscent of Covent Garden tube at 7.30pm on a Friday! So at least one out of three cheers for the Thanet Council events team. After all, they can't really be blamed for the weather, can they?

Although on second thoughts, did they have to erect a stage with 'Margate Renewal Partnership' emblazoned right across it? Kuh!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Reds Over Our Heads 2

I asked for photos, and you sent them in their millions! Well, one reader sent millions at least. Here's regular contributor Walter's best shot.

By way of contrast, our local biblio-bloke Michael Child has sent me this pic of the Arrows at Manston in 1968 before, as Michael puts it, 'elf and safety':

Cripes! They must have worn cast iron undercrackers in them days!

Well, we've been treated to all types of military hardware over the Millionaires' Playground today, so I'm just off down the strip to numb my migraine with a couple of bottles of Krug. A bientot!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Reds Over Our Heads

If you're wondering what the noise is in the next few days, it'll be the Red Arrows! The RAF's display team are due to be using RAF Chas 'n' Dave Margate Manston Tracey Emin Kent London International Airport as a base for various air shows in the south east until Sunday (click here for more info).

If anyone gets a decent photo, you know where to send it!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Scaffolding News

Reader Barry has sent me this snap of our clapped out Royal Pavilion here in the Millionaires' Playground getting a bit of an old facelift.

If you recall, Rank hopped it with their G Casino to Westwood Angry two years ago, leaving the Pav in a parlous state. Quite why the Cecil Square junta hadn't enforced the repairing terms of their lease over the previous 40 years, lord knows. Still, I suppose it deserves a half-hearted cheer to see they're at last doing it now.

According to the press release from our beloved Duffers, the work will include 'redecoration and work to the roof' which will 'be the start of a process that will eventually lead to further regeneration of the seafront and reoccupation of the building.' I see Rank have also applied for listed building consent to remove three metal screens from the first floor roof deck.

I guess we must be grateful that the place hasn't been Goddenised before now. It would be nice to think someone will come along with lots of dosh and an imaginative plan for the place - anyone for a swimming pool with glass walls? You'd be able to splash about on Ramsgate Sands in the middle of winter! It would have to be better than the monstrous lump that looks like an airport ramp which is being planned for the slipways!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Ramsgate Rocks!

Er, well, no it doesn't actually as I gather that Ramsgate Rocks (the powerboat festival but without the powerboats) ain't happening this year. Instead we're to be treated to two new, slightly more arty events in the space of a couple of weeks.

Whilst the Dickensian east side is currently indulging itself with mass bladder-on-a-stick waving, and the seedy north side gears up to get its baps out with its annual Titty Show, here on the trendy south side we're ramping up for Monster Bass (14-15 Aug) and A Summer Squall (28-30 Aug).

Monster Bass (nothing to do with drum 'n' bass or turning it up to 11, as most locals seem to think) will feature a huge papier mâché fish in a torchlight procession to the sea, along with street entertainers and a market. This is TDC's offering.

A Summer Squall is backed by our very own teeny-tiny council and promises 'events around the town with something for every age - music, theatre, film, writing and even archaeology!' Highlights will include the world's smallest solar powered cinema, a milk float that's been transformed into a 'sonic wind machine', and a percussion group that uses old tut to make a banging sound.

Quite how Ramsgate has transformed in the space of a year from a place where lardy, tattooed pit bull tuggers in nothing but thongs can get down the front with a bag of Stellas and jiggle their lobster coloured moobs to a Gloria Gaynor impersonator belting out 'I Will Survive', to a place where sophisticated DFLs swan around spouting off about 'The Legend of Lomea', art and architecture is quite beyond me.

Perhaps the fast train has something to do with it. Perhaps I've had something to do with it, with all my talk about the 'Millionaires' Playground'. If so, I'm sorry, as I actually quite enjoyed the atmosphere at Ramsgate Rocks. And I'm sure Frank Thorley and the other establishments on the strip enjoyed the tens of thousands it stuffed in their coffers! Maybe next year we could have a bit of both?

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Bloomin' 'Orrible

Well, well, well. It appears to be a week of fine dining and horticulture here on the big blog! Regular contributor Mick has been doing a tour of the Millionaires' Playground with a view to entering it into the Britain in Bloom competition. Here's his report:

One of the key features of Ramsgate is the number of delightful roof and verandah gardens which host some fantastic fauna and flora. Here's a good example:

Moving along, I spotted a rare, sprouting Ramsgatus Urbanus:

Followed by Aerialis Neglectii and some Weedus Ridgius:

Finishing with the common Buddleia Aloftus Thanetii:

The love and attention that's lavished on these aerial gardens is a quintessential part of the town's heritage, and Ramsgate should make an excellent contender for the Britain in Bloom competition. I trust, Richard, that you will use your undoubted influence with your peers to ensure that these horticultural wonders are preserved and displayed for the wider enjoyment of the nation.

Hmmm. I'm not sure you're being entirely serious there, Mick. Still, I will pledge to use my influence with the producers of GQT to put Ramsgate on the bloomin' map!

Meanwhile, if any of you lot are bored rigid by my endless stream of nosh and gardening stories, you could always pop over to the excellent IsleOne and see what I think of the silly folkers!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Something For The Weekend

Apologies for the absence but I've been tending to the aged pater.

Mr Eastcliff Snr fell off the stage at the Derbyshire Miners Holiday Camp in Skegness earlier in the week whilst performing his world famous 'Man with Three Hands' skit. Thankfully he's now sitting up and joking with nurses at the Convalescent Home for Seaside Thespians (where every cardboard bedpan has 'Kiss me quick' round the rim (note position of quotation mark) so you can use it for the, er, usual and as a jolly titfer, preferably not in that order). But it means I've had to dash up and down the motorway every day to take him essential supplies.

So I haven't got the time to tell you about the start of Drunk Week in Boredstares, or what's happening down at Ramsgate's Royal Pavilion, or about the shelter that's being renovated over on our less trendy West Cliff. And no East of the Wantsum this week either (boo!).

That said, seeing as you all seem to have got your teeth well and truly stuck into fine dining following my previous item, I thought I'd share this with you...

So which restaurant here in the Millionaires' Playground would be displaying that outside their premises then? Not one of the Ile de Thanet's two Michelin mentioned restaurants, that's for sure! Could it be the one that the Observer described as 'mediocre', adding: 'Leave ------'s in peace', and which the Torygraph gave 2/5 stars to? I think we should be told?!!?! (This won't give you a clue.)

I'll leave you to chew on that.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Tucker Bush Trial

Sipping a latte and masticating a muffin in Charlotte Court over the weekend, courtesy of the excellent Age & Sons, I couldn't help thinking the ambiance was somewhat lacking. After exerting the noodle to its max, the old 20W bulb lit up. Where had the shrubbery gone? Take a butcher's...

Oh no, wait, there it is...

Hacked off and lying all over the shop! It looks as if the Ramsgate Chopper has been at it again! Tempting as it is to blame our beloved duffers for yet another crime against nature, I gather they're only partly responsible. Apparently they gave the 'Charlotte Court Residents' Association', which seems to consist solely of the chap who rather ostentatiously bought this...

in the full the glare of the BBC's Homes Under the Hammer cameras a couple of years back, permission to prune them.

Prune them? Prune them? That's a bit like chopping off both feet to trim your toenails! Kuh!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

A Word From Our Other Sponsor

As part of my new policy of carrying a modest amount of tasteful sponsorship ('selling out' in old money) here on the island's biggest and best blog, I'd like to introduce you to those nice people at Nice Things.

Based at the newly renovated Custom House in the Millionaires' Playground, Nice Things showcases local arts and crafts from, er, local artists and craftsmen. So if your other half has a birthday coming up or you need a last minute prezzie for that anniversary you've forgotten, or you just want to treat yourself, do pop along and browse their selection of paintings, ceramics, jewellery, trinkets, cards and wrapping paper.

Phew! The things I have to do to earn a wedge these days! If you'd like your name in front of thousands of readers a week, other slots are available. All it costs is less than a bottle of decent fizz a month, stuffed in cash into the customary brarn envelope, and deposited at an address of my choosing. Just email me at richardeastcliff@yahoo.co.uk

Saturday, July 31, 2010

China Gateway Bigged Up In Property Week

Ooh! Somebody's spent a bob or two on this flashy CGI fly-thru of the putative China Gateway over at Manston, which was given planning approval two years ago amid Tesco bag accusations of freebie trips for councillors, and since when has come to, er, sod all.

It's part of a puff piece in yesterday's Property Week which begins: 'Building a 3.3m sq ft business park by the north Kent coast might seem like a risky idea in present economic conditions, but developer China Gateway International says it's entirely viable – if it can obtain investment from the Far East.'

Sounds to me like a case of which will come first, the 1000 year old chicken or the 1000 year old egg! It's worth watching the thing right through to the finish (if you don't end up airsick first), when you'll see night descend and the entire array of sheds glowing in the Thanet countryside like a freshly minted uranium rod.

Another One For IsleOne

I'm contractually obliged to point out that I've squeezed out another one for IsleOne. Do pop over there and take a sniff!

East Of The Wantsum

Sticking with the theme of unsafe, poorly maintained, knackered old cargo jets crashing into the Millionaires' Playground and wiping out half the population, here's this week's East of the Wantsum!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Knackered Old Jets Banned

This just in here at the big ECR newsroom... the loudest planes to use Chas 'n' Dave Tracey Emin Margate Manston RAF International Airport have been banned from Belgian airspace for safety reasons!

The ban on Meridian Airways, which operates the ancient DC8s that rattle your windows and your Auntie Gladys's teeth while taking off and landing over our septic isle, was introduced yesterday. The Flems are also recommending that the Ghanaian registered, Ostend based cargo company is put on the EU airline blacklist.

The news follows several safety inspections which found technical failures and issues with the maintenance of Meridian's aircraft.

So, hurrah for the Belgians! If it wasn't for them, KCC, TDC and Manston owners Infratil would be happily allowing these buckets to operate right over our heads. What a quality operation we have in our back yard!

Click here for more on Meridian ban (in French)
Click here to see Meridian still proudly advertised on Manston website

Asdy Asy Dy

Reader Bill has sent me the above cutting from today's Isle of Thanet Gazunder. As you can see, it shows a group of grown men clasping their, er, orchids with the caption 'Asdas tdt as dyy asdy asy dy asy dy asy dasy dy asy dy asd'.

Which translates roughly as 'Nob sub forgets to change caption place holder.' Honestly, the standards of journalism these days!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Visitor Information Information

My spies on what I like to think of as the Croisette here in the Cannes of Kent report that the visitor information centre in the newly renovated Custom House didn't open today, despite coachloads of crumblies and other incomers being deposited in the plethora of car parks that Thanet Council has so considerately conferred on us by knocking down all our amenities.

This is curious, as I was under the impression that Ramsgate Town Council had done a deal with diminutive developer Terry Painter to provide visitorial services on a 7/7 basis. Word has it that the man who has more fingers in more pies than Greggs has suddenly and unexpectedly pulled his finger out of this particular pastry. Anyone know any more?

Still, riding to the rescue is none other than my old sparring partner Cllr/Dr Biggles, who's emailed me with details of a new tourism application he's come up with. Simes writes:

If you can spare the 50p cost of an SMS then you might like to test and let others know of a tourism application concept that I came up with. It uses some very clever technology developed and patented by one of our local companies, that leverages the latest generation of mobile phones and we've already got the likes of Avis and 118 118 using the platform for marketing purposes.

Anyway, if you want to find out at any time what's on in Thanet, send the text "tourism" to 80012 and you'll get a link sent back to your phone. From the menu you can then choose Thanet!

It's not 100% comprehensive but we are using Thanet for proof of concept collating information on local events. What makes this so unique and interesting to the larger players is that we can attach one-time vouchers that can be redeemed at local businesses; i.e. 2 for 1 deals etc

All feedback appreciated!

Happy to oblige, Simes! Although forgive me if I don't try it personally. I'm still reeling from your 'trails of breadcrumbs' diatribe a few years back, and I'd hate to think this was some ruse to snaffle my mobile number!!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Goodness Gracious, Great Walls Of Mire!

Pootling around the interwhatsit just now, I thought I'd cop a butcher's at the Great Wall of Ramsgate website. The Great Wall is, if you remember, GO'D's project to get the Pleasurama/Royal Sands eyesore hoarding plastered. In paintings.

So far there ain't much to see, apart from the above Photoshop mock-up. Can anyone spot the deliberate error?

On The Buses

'Ere, Stan! Have you clapped eyes on that new clippy yet? She's a crackin' bit of stuff!

Er, right. I seem to have slipped into Reg Varney mode for a second there. Anyway it appears I've struck a rich vein with yesterday's bussy news, as reader Nick has sent me these two superb photos from his archive. Nick writes: 'Here's a photo of a nearly new Daimler Fleetline pictured at Cecil Square, Margate c1970. Curiously, it's the same bus in the colour picture a few years later in the Millionaire's Playground!'

Well thanks for those Nick. Nostalgia ain't what it used to be, eh!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Off The Buses

Reader Mick writes:

It has come to my notice that if one tries to hail the local stage heading for Broadstairs at around 9.00 am in the morning one will find that the trusty steed ignores your hail and serenely cruises by, seemingly oblivious to one's predicament. If by chance it does stop, one sees that it's full up and is merely stopping for the odd passenger to fight their way off. Although of doubtful legality a machete is recommended for this exercise.

The reason for this phenomenon is that it is full of our fellow youthful EU citizens who have invaded it en masse, like the Normans of old. They are, of course, heading to the Isle's renowned seat of learning known as Thanet College (famed as a celebrity chef factory), to learn our great language. Including, of course, the vernacular, no doubt hurled at the stage as it passes by irate Thanet citizens unable to board.

One Thanet resident informed me: 'I had to wait half an hour before I could get on one of these bloody buses. It was much better when transport was by East Kent Road Car Company double decker rather than these cut down charabancs. Ah those were the days!

Ah yes, Mick. Those were the days indeed. I don't remember them personally, but those, as you rightly say, were the days.

Er, has anyone else had trouble getting on a bus recently?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Airport Consultation Takes Off Again

Now that blighting night flights are back on the agenda at Manston, Kent's Chas 'n' Dave Margate Tracey Emin International RAF Airport, it seems the Consultative Committee, which liaises between residents, the council and owners Infartil, is set to meet again.

Here's what they'll be gassing on about in the airport terminal lounge at 3.15pm tomorrow:


1. Chairman's welcome & opening remarks

2. Minutes of last meeting

3. Introduction of our new secretary, Heidi Golden

4. Introduction of the new Airport CEO, Charles Buchanan

5. Complaints/feedback - at all stages (Charles Buchanan, Brian White)

6. The linked issue of the website (Charles B)

7. The planning application for the radar (Charles B)

8. Consultation on TMZ: transponders (Peter Thompson, Senior ATCO, Charles B)

9. Situation report on the Consultation on Night Noise (Brian W, Charles B)

10. The usual report on environmental issues from TDC (Brian W, another)

11. The usual report from the Airport management (Charles B)

12. Any other business, notified in advance to the Chairman or Secretary

It almost looks like a fresh start, what with a new boss at the helm of the airport (Charles 'Smug' Buchanan) and a new secretary at the helm of the committee (Heidi 'I Haven't Thought Of A Nickname For Her Yet' Golden).

Of course, the one constant is TDC's Director of Regeneration, Brian 'Eeh, Wouldn't An Airport The Size Of Stansted Be Chuffin' Lovely' White!

You Ain't Nothin' But A Newshound

Reader Steve writes: 'Knowing your proclivity for all things Gazunder-related, I thought you might like this snap I took of three Isle of Thanet Gazetteers at the Ramsgate Carnival yesterday. Can you name them? The carnival was a great success by the way, and very well attended.'

Well thanks for that Steve. I recognise the Greek god on the left - it's Andy 'Chopper' Woodman if I'm not mistaken. And that looks like Saul Leese behind the make-up on the right. But I can't place Wonder Woman in the middle. Any clues?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Wish You Were Here Too?

Reader Kevin, who went on a tour of Margate's unfinished Turner Contemporary yesterday, writes:

I am completely disinterested in this project but I wondered if you would like my immediate impressions...

I arrived five minutes before the hour, brandishing the letter saying I’d been invited on the tour. The person I invited along and I were pleasantly shepherded in to Droit House to receive our fluorescent jacket and hard hat.

Assembling at the front entrance to the site, we paused as the KCC guy and the Turner lady welcomed us to the tour and mentioned facts, figures, safety concerns (it’s a building site, so try not to trip) and the ban on the use of cameras on the (spurious) reason of copyright issues.

Entering the site, we were then lead on a predetermined route through the concrete walls/hanging wires/scaffolding that is the Turner at the moment.

I don’t know how much of it, if any, you have seen but it is a lot bigger on the inside than can be seen on the outside. Tardis came to mind.

Our group of 25 were then led on a tour of the future reception area, cafe, shop, gallery, and conference space on the ground floor, and large gallery spaces and education space on the first.

Big windows. No, seriously big windows. They have put in big floor to ceiling windows in every space, and the roof is 60 ft in places, but to get valuable works of art down to a seaside setting they have an atmosphere controlled/we can control the natural light area, which means that as well as contemporary art works there will be ‘proper pictures' on the walls (sorry, I asked the question, but I prefer ‘proper pictures') including, from the opening, a ‘Turner’ on loan from the Tate.

Our group were invited to ask questions and they involved what type of floor in the gallery, the lift (it will be able to hold 100 people, apparently) and the type of art on display.

After 45 minutes we returned our safety gear and, passing the television cameras, left to make our own minds up.

Yes, obviously it’s still a building site.

It is a lot bigger inside than you would think.

It will have great views, though they were already there.

The people involved really care.

I asked Turner lady if she could give us a one sentence reply to pass on to people who moan about the ‘eyesore’ on Margate harbour. She said things about ‘Dynamic’ ‘Forward Looking’ etc.

I would suggest they just say ‘Give it a chance'.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Wish You Were Here?

Regular contributor Millicent has sent me this charming postcard from Das Kunstbunker, aka the Turner Contemporary. She writes: 'It was given out free at an event I attended. According to the back, KCC, TDC and the Arts Council have all paid for this wonderful view of the Turner Contemporary under construction in 2010. Hardly the most awe-inspiring topic is it?'

Oh well, just wait until it's finished Millicent. Although that could be a big ask if the ConDem coalition pushes through its threatened 25% cuts in arts grants. Who knows, it could suffer the same fate as some of the schools round here. If that were the case, the lucky locals who were offered sneak peeks today could be some of its only visitors!

Still, the Turner could always go begging. Which, in fact, it has. All you have to do is pop along to the Just Giving website and pledge your sovs. Mind you, most Thanetians wouldn't stretch to 50p for the meter to keep their gran's life support machine going, so good luck to them with that.

And talking of Thanetians, I hear that many talented and well qualified DFLs have been rejected without even an interview for the slew of jobs that recently went begging at the Turner, purely for the crime of putting a Thanet postcode on their CV!

Friday, July 23, 2010

East Of The Wantsum

It's Friday! And that means only one thing, East of the Wantsum fans! Yes! It's East of the Wantsum!

A Bunch Of Anchors

Regular contributor Walter emails me to say: 'I dropped into the new visitor centre in the Custom House today to find that the Port of Ramsgate (wish you were here) cards exclaim that the harbour has four gold anchors. A quick visit elsewhere indicated that they have only three.'

Well spotted Walter! For earlier this year it was a case of 'anchors away!' when the Yacht Harbour Association removed one of their nautical plaudits, due the parlous state of, well, just about everything in our lovely marina. Give that man a, er, gold star!

Another One For IsleOne

Do pop over to IsleOne and read my latest bilge, or the brown envelopes will stop arriving. Ker-ching!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Alarming News

Ramsgate reader Pete writes:

We have a car parked outside our house. It isn't ours and it doesn't belong to any of our neighbours. Somebody who lives elsewhere has parked it there. It's quite a nice car so they have set the alarm. But the alarm is faulty. It goes off intermittently throughout the day and night. It's been doing this since Sunday night.

I phoned the police. They have access to the registration details and can contact the owner. However, they tell me they have no powers to make the owner turn the alarm off. They gave me a number to ring for TDC's environmental protection team.

The number they gave me took me to an answerphone message saying that this number was now defunct. It told me that TDC only works during office hours (in my experience they don't do much then, either). The call was then diverted to a call centre run by Amiscus Horizon in Sittingbourne. A cheery chap on the end of the line told me that TDC doesn't provide any service for dealing with noise complaints out of hours. He told me that I would need to make repeated complaints to the Council and that, eventually, they might issue some kind of enforcement notice to the owner. I'm assuming the battery on the car will have gone flat before this happens.

I'm just wondering what happened to the jack-booted militia who were all set to confiscate our stereos and ghetto-blasters. I was under the impression that Councils were supposed to enforce the legislation which had been introduced to deal with noisy neighbours. Just wait until the unwashed serving classes find out that they can crank up the volume and that granny next-door can do nothing about it. The Millionaires' Playground will soon become the Rappers' Playpen.

P.S. We have to create employment in Thanet, so we contract out answering the phone to a chap in Sittingbourne. Presumably nobody on the dole in Thanet is qualified to answer a phone?

Well Pete, I find the flying poodles pretty annoying at this time of year too, what with all their, er, 'fighting' at four in the morning. So I've taken to kipping in a pair of industrial strength ear defenders. Maybe TDC could save the dosh they spend on providing non-services by issuing a couple of pairs free to every household?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Never Let A Dayglo By

These bright orange 'Private Parking' signs in Pier Yard make an attractive addition to the heritage architecture, doncha think? Still, if I was paying close on a grand for the privilege of parking up my Priapus, I suppose I wouldn't want the oiks hogging my space either!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ramsgate Drug Dealers Go To Pot

Wending through the grimy, East Cliff back streets to the local Premier (Costcutter in old money) for my copy of Gra*ia last night, I spied the local drug dealer tooling around on his mountain bike. He'd occasionally stop, give his distinctive cheery whistle, and a ghost would approach him with the dosh for the necessary.

How different from three or four years ago when deliveries were made by dudes in top of the range Audis! It's tempting to think the umpteen raids on cannabis factories across the island have driven the poor chap to pedal power, but personally I blame the bankers. They just can't afford the stuff any more.

Let's hope that with Dave and, er, that other bloke now in charge we can ride out this economic crisis and at least get him up to an ice cream van with Brown Sugar blaring out of the Tannoy!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Booze News

Noooooooooooooo! Eagle-eyed reader Ken has sent me this snap of an alcohol licence review notice which has gone up in the window of Waitrose, here in the Millionaires' Playground.

The supermarket is probably one of the few reasons there is any kind of discerning middle class still left in Ramsgate, if not the whole of Thanet, with the booze counter being a Mecca for anyone with a palate that stretches beyond White Lightning and cheap, fizzy leg opener. Ken says:

Apparently the police are requesting a review of Waitrose's licence because of the high level of reported incidents of shoplifting etc from the store. The store apparently reports all incidents and regularly provides names of offenders and security video confirmation but the police do nothing. They are now requesting a review of the licence because of the high offence levels reported. Who would blame Waitrose for shutting up shop because of such stupidity. So where is YOU CALL - WE WILL COME? [See previous item]

Quite. And knowing how jealous our Margate-centric council feels about Ramsgate's revival, I wouldn't be surprised if they withdrew the licence out of spite in the hope that it would drive out Waitrose, leaving us with another eyesore of a building in the centre of town. Or perhaps they're in cahoots with their friends at Tesco!!!??!!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kent Cops Make Up For Budget Cuts By Running Sex Line

Lift Behind

Reader Bill writes: 'The sign on the door says 'Open weekends 10am to 6pm'. It's Saturday, 11am. It's closed.'

Aha! Time for TDC to eat another of my shorts!

Flog Your Assets

Shushing back to the Millionaires' Playground in the old Priapus yesterday evening, I almost drove straight on into the harbour as I passed West Cliff Hall (motor museum in old money).

Despite a well organised, well developed and well backed citizen-led plan to return the crumbling pile into a useful space for the people of Ramsgate, the rotters at TDC have gone and bunged it up for auction. And as residential too! What's that all about? A quick tour of the Harman Healy website revealed, er, west cliff 'all.

My spies tell me that the sign's appeared without notice, and despite a promise to consider carefully the proposal to turn it into a community arts space and cafe. A sort of Van Gogh Contemporary but at a fraction of the cost, if you like. Ah, er, now that may explain it. The Cecil Square duffers wouldn't want anything on the south side upstaging their precious, £24m Turnip, would they?

Meanwhile I see the whole of the Gazunder's second page is devoted this week to the World According to Chief Duffer Councillor Baywatch, in which he says he intends to conduct a review of all properties and sites for sale under the council's asset disposal programme. But presumably not this one. 'The lengths that people are prepared to go to to protect these sites may mean that we have misjudged public opinion,' says the Bearded One in a triumph of understatement.

Update: The Mayor of Ramsgate has now said in the comments to this post 'Auction has been suspended pending detail disscussion with interested group.' Phew!

Friday, July 16, 2010

East Of The Wantsum

Another week, another East of the Wantsum! Apologies for the 48 hour absence, but I've been getting a bit of peace and quiet up in the big city. Well, it's not exactly been all rest and no play, as you can read in my first item for IsleOne. A bientot!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Oozalum Bird

Flamin' Concordes! The training flights have returned! As a tribute, here's a short film I made a while back demonstrating just how crap it is to have knackered old 747s going over every nine minutes, a few hundred feet up. Doors and windows rattle and shake. Car alarms are set off.

Trouble is, there's no longer a complain button on the airport's website. With an important deadline to meet, there's nothing for it but to charge up the Priapus and charge up the M2 to the old London pied-a-terre for a spot of peace and quiet.

And there was me planning to spend a few sovs in the Millionaires' Playground tomorrow!

Update: Er, actually it's not a knackered old 747, it's this great big lump:

Meanwhile I see some doofus on the government's Spending Challenge website has proposed relocating freight flights from Heathrow to Manston. He/she/it says: 'Improvements to the infrastructure could be made at a lower cost than destroying villages in and around the current proposed Labour government preferred location (at Heathrow) [They've been scrapped, dillweed]. Noise and aircraft pollution would be directed out in to the North sea area.'