Thursday, 31 December 2015

Margate watercolour sketch today and some reflections on the year.

First here is the Margate watercolour sketch from Bernie’s Chocolate Café, technically the sky was the problem here as I didn’t want any blue in the lamp and lighthouse so it had to go on after I had painted them.

Funny old year, I guess the biggest local loss was The Royal School for the Deaf, which seems to have been terminated by a zealous government agency, leaving nearly all of the people who were there facing much worse quality of care because the government agency that regulates the quality of care decided that aspects of the care quality weren’t high enough.

The UKIP administration at TDC seems to have just about managed to keep the stuff the previous administrations started going, there doesn’t seem to be any obvious indicator that TDC is performing any better than it was under either Labour or the Conservatives, and certainly none of the problems of previous administrations seem to have been sorted out.

Frankly the lack of any changes or significant activity makes it hard to produce news items for this blog. If you ask what innovative ideas the UKIP councillors have for improving Thanet, the answer seems to pan out as just hang in there.

My take here being that if UKIP want to take more councils, then they should be focusing on TDC the only council they have more councillors in than the other parties.

Perhaps it’s the Manston issue and its relationship to UKIP that has made them seem so ineffectual as an administration, it’s still very difficult to tell which councillors stood because they hold UKIP ideals and which councillors stood because they thought it was the only way they would get elected. Somehow they seem to have lost a substantial majority and are now maintaining a very low profile. Running a business in the town and never seeing any councillors appearing and asking for ideas to improve the town is all rather sad.

Trading in Ramsgate I am certainly aware that a proactive district council could improve things considerably, having previously been a bookseller in the Hertfordshire towns of Stevenage, Welwyn Garden City and Hitchin where the councils were very proactive I find I am at a loss to understand what happens in Thanet. I also regularly visit the adjacent towns of Deal and Herne Bay, both of which seem to have fared better than Ramsgate.

Speaking to Margate traders today, it seem that it is Turner Contemporary and Dreamland that has made the difference, I would say here in Ramsgate it is Pleasurama that has made the difference.

Over the years from moving the town centre rubbish collection to market day to putting the dinghy launching slipway on the wrong side (not the sheltered side) of the groin, oh well…    

The rest of the family went to Dreamland today and had a very good time while I sketched.

Still reflecting on the year, my bookshop seems to have done better than I expected this year, I won’t have all the figures in for a while but overall sales are up and with individual book prices at an all time low, that means we have sold a great many more books than in previous years. 

I think there are several reasons for this and probably the most significant is the cost of postage, which is often greater than the selling price of the book, another reason I think is that in the gradual process of people acclimatising to technology the printed book is finding its place.

On the technology front for me this has been the year of cloud computing, where in the past a document like this one I am writing now would have been stored on my computer and I would have only been able to write it using my computer, now it’s stored on the internet and I can write bits of it using, my computer, my phone and my tablet. This means that chunks of this post were written in the supermarket queue, in the café in Margate and at my desk. This combined with photos and videos being stored on the internet and not on my camera or video recorder makes the whole process of blog writing much easier.

Facebook doesn’t seem to have caught up with aspects of this and in fact even Google blogger doesn’t seem to have got one click video publishing within blog posts sorted.      

Some pictures of the fireworks in Ramsgate tonight

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