Monday, 8 February 2016

Ramsgate Main Sands, where is the sand going and why?

Ramsgate Main Sands is the beach on the east side of Ramsgate Harbour and what I am talking about here is the is the part of the sands not covered by the sea at high tide.

When you first look at the beach it is easy to assume that it has been formed by sand collecting because of the shelter of Ramsgate harbour.

The red line on the picture shows the approximate high tide line from around 1940 to around 2010 and the blue line the approximate high tide line now.
One way or another we have lost a lot of sand.

Back in the early 1700s before Ramsgate Harbour was built, Ramsgate had a pier a bit like the one in Broadstairs and a small beach collected there, high tide mark in red.

Ramsgate Harbour was built during the last half of the 1700s and this picture shows the beach then.

During Victorian times it looks like a bit more sand collected above the high tide line around where the pavillion is now, this is an oil sketch done by William Powell Frith in 1850 for his famous painting of Ramsgate Sands.

Here is the famous painting, don't take much notice of the colour differences, which are more down to the way the originals were photographed than anything else.

 The Pavilion was built in 1904 and all of the pre war pictures show the high tides covered all of the sand.

Between the wars the sand above the high tide mark started to build up, I was told by Don Long that this was due to the the sand being held in place by the war time beach defences, concrete block and barbed wire.
More of this in WW2 and as I say this situation was maintained  up to the 1960s.

In the 1970s a lot of the sand from Ramsgate Main Sands was removed and used for the infill in the building of Port Ramsgate, my understanding is that a lot of the buried wartime beach defences that held the sand in place went with it.

In the 1990s Ramsgate dredger that steadily dredged Ramsgate harbour and dumped the sand from the dredging where it would be swept onto Ramsgate Sands was sold.   

Not much happened for some time this is another 2010 picture.

In 2013 the sea seemed to be cutting away the front of the sands.

This was the 2014 situation.
and this about a month ago. The most worrying aspect of this is the sea defences behind the main sands haven't been in contact with the sea for around 100 years and now with the sand going they may not hold.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Blog from the bookshop and a new food and painting spot in Canterbury

By late morning we had bought the books above for stock in my bookshop here in Thanet, after this I set off in search of lunch, a sketch and probably more books in Canterbury.

My approach is not to read menus but to look at seating in windows that I can sketch from during the lunching process and tucked in the corner of The Buttermarket with this view is The Shakespeare with this view.

My first crack at sketching it wasn’t that good

however the pork sandwich £6.95 was very good, so I will be going back there to and perhaps a better picture eventually.

I did buy a few books in Canterbury as you can see

then on to chocolate café for tea, well actually chocolate  

Saturday, 6 February 2016

The Other Side of the Sky exhibition at Turner Contemporary Margate stumbling toward a review, some pictures of Margate and some thoughts about the regeneration of seaside towns.

Joachim Koester's new exhibition The Other Side of the Sky opened at Turner Contemporary yesterday, so I jumped in the car this morning with Margate on the agenda. As it was windy I parked in the multi story car park under Morrisons Iceland type of thingy. This costs around £2.50 for all day and is very central to Margate.
 Some pictures at the exhibition, which will expand if clicked on.
 I did contemplate feigning sleep or death here, but I was on my best behaviour, so I never found out what happens if you do.
 The only things you aren't allowed to photograph are the Turner watercolours and these are not very good one, my opinion only, JWMT had his bad days like the rest of us.
 On TC's website it says "We bring the work of leading Danish artist Joachim Koester to Margate, paired with selected watercolours by JMW Turner." 
 This seems a bit strange to me, as JWMT painted thousands of watercolours and even when the erotic ones that Ruskin burnt are taken into account there are around a thousand held by The Tate, which is where TC usually borrow their watercolours from.
 Well one of the watercolours, a view of the back of a sailing ship, was also in the previous exhibition at TC, this makes me wonder if The Tate are being difficult about loaning TC Turners. of course it could be coincidental that the back of a boat "paired" with both exhibitions.
 Or it could be that the plan of displaying Turners in Margate has sailed onto rocky sands.
 Apart from the photos in the photos above, the rest of the exhibition is 16mm movies
 The 16mm film format was the one introduced as a cheap substitute for the 35mm film used in cinemas, back in 1960s it was used by schools and factories for promotional films. The most notable aspect of the 16mm format was it broke down a lot, the film broke, the equipment broke down, the bulbs blew, sometimes the heat from the projector bulb caused the film to catch fire.  
 The photo above is of part of the exhibition, possibly a sculpture
 The exhibition opened yesterday and this projector (photo above) had already broken down, some of you may remember the Rosa Barba exhibition at TC which also used film projectors and broke down a lot, see and

There are several ways of viewing this, one is TC doesn’t learn from mistakes another is TC is very brave to use this difficult format again.
 Sorry about all these pictures of film projectors, I have a sort of love hate relationship with them, which dates back to my school days. As a child I was disabled which resulted in my being sent to the main boarding school (Lord Mayor Treloar College) for disabled children, one of my jobs at school, like being blackboard monitor was, projector operator.

This meant that when we got to see a movie, which we did every week I coaxed the projector along, changing the bulbs when they blew, splicing the film when it broke and putting the film out when it ignited.  

Another aspect of this was going around to various fund raising events for the school and operating the 8mm projector, showing promotional films of my school, the films were pretty out of date in the 1960s, however I have embedded one below as an example.   

 On to the TC gallery cafe for breakfast, they don't do toast and marmalade, so I settled for cream, scone and jam £2.50
 I started a sketch from the cafe window
bit hard to tell if it will come to anything, I went back with the view to finishing it off but the cafe was very busy and the table with the view was occupied, I will try to finish it off another day.
 After that I bought some books for my bookshop and took some photos of Margate.
 I haven’t put up a photo of the books as I now wait for them to apper on the bookshop blog some of the one I bought in Deal on Thursday are in this post.

 There is a definite sense of Margate turning some corner on the regeneration front, less empty shops perhaps, but I don’t think it’s that, it may be coincidence but today I was aware of far more visitors to Margate than I expected and that they liked what the saw.
 The exhibition, what can I say? Lots of flickery bits of film, for me film is a medium that belongs in the cinema or on my tablet, art galleries are best used for displaying things that you need to go to art galleries to see.
 Photos and movies are just too commonplace a medium for the secure and expensively monitored gallery environment.
 If you have, and especially you have publicly funded an environment where you can display art works worth millions of pounds, then that is the best use for art galleries, i.e. displaying something unavailable elsewhere.
Oh yes and finally people asked me about last night’s teenage mob outside the bookshop as reported in the IOTG I am afraid to say I didn’t notice, it didn’t seem noisier than it usually does. Mind you I didn’t get back home until around 9.30 pm. 


Friday, 5 February 2016

Painting in the dark @ Belgian Café in Ramsgate

Evening café painting isn’t an exact

Good food atmosphere, cross-section of the community