Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Old Ramsgate pictures and some thoughts on bookshops and local politics.

The business of Waterstones Bookshop pretending to be an independent bookshop, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39101678 reminded me of the joke that was prevalent when the big chain booksellers opening up in town centres were closing down all the independent bookshops.

So a big Waterstones opens on one side of the small independent bookshop and then a huge Ottakars opens on the other side. So the Penguin sales rep calls on the small independent bookshop and says to the owner. “How are you surviving?” To which the owner replies. “OK now I have changed the name of the bookshop. “Oh”  says the Penguin rep, “what have you called it?”  To which the owner replies, “ENTRANCE”

I guess what interests me the most in all of this are the true motives for appearing to be an independent bookshop rather than part of a chain, pretty much have to be that they thought a perceived “independent” bookshop would take more money.

The kudos associated with independent shops is a fairly new and interesting one, I suppose “Independent” tm isn’t far down the line.  

Anyway here are the books we put out in my bookshop yesterday http://michaelsbookshop.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/running-wild-in-bookshop.html and here are the ones we put out today http://michaelsbookshop.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/jaws-in-bookshop.html I don’t imagine you would find it difficult to believe that it’s not part of a large chain. 

Here in Thanet we now seem to have a full set of dodgy elections dealings, with Labour, Conservatives and UKIP all in the frame, Labour being the last lot to get caught, see

Funny old thing democracy.

Here are the pictures  

Monday, 27 February 2017

Lifeboats and local pictures

During Victorian times the basic method of lifeboat rescue in Ramsgate went something like this:- Ship gets into some sort of trouble usually on the Goodwin Sands, which were known in ancient times as “The great shippe swallower” – The maroons were fired and the lifeboat crew man the lifeboat – The Ramsgate steam tug tows the lifeboat upwind of the vessel in distress and lets the lifeboat go over the shallow water of the Goodwins – The lifeboat crew row the lifeboat to the vessel in distress while the tug races round the Goodwins – The lifeboat rescues any survivors – Rows to the deep water on the other side of the Goodwins where the steam tug takes it in tow – The tug tows the lifeboat back into Ramsgate Harbour.

Back in Victorian times during stormy nights the lifeboatmen often waited for the maroons to go up in the rectory of Holy Trinity and the vicar wrote down some of their accounts of rescues, click on this link if you want to read some http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/storm

I publish a modern reprint, which you will find on the shelves of my bookshop in Ramsgate, it’s also available on the internet at http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/catalogue/id333.htm  as you see captioning one picture properly can be a bit of a palava 

Ramsgate lifeboat skippers. From left to right, Tom Cooper1963-74, Douglas Kirkldie 1946-52 and Arthur Verrion 1952-63.

 Margate Lifeboat

 Plans for Margate pier

Sunday, 26 February 2017

A few old Ramsgate pictures for today’s blog post and various local Facebook groups.

I have just done my best to answer various comments on Facebook, most of which were questions about yesterday’s photos. Anyway here are another lot, if you don't know the where or when I will do my best

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Some old Ramsgate pictures, a St Peter’s one and my dubious attempts at painting inside Canterbury Cathedral today.

First the old local pictures, I hope there aren’t too many repeats of ones I have put up before

I skived off from work in my bookshop today and spent some of it sitting on a blow-up cushion on a stone seat in Canterbury Cathedral trying to paint the inside using the wrong type of paper – which like the wrong type of snow is white, looks the same but behaves differently to the right type.

The thing that really gets me is that this is very expensive paper and is supposed to be the right type, I think the problem is the amount of seize they put on it which stops the paint from soaking in, this means that it takes ages to dry, so it spreads out in a smudgy sort of way and the find detail goes. I can’t use the pad I usually use as it isn’t big enough, anyway the rest of the day was spent destruction testing some very expensive sheets of paper.

The good thing about this spot is that you can’t really photograph what you can see from it. Obviously the pillars are vertical which is what your eyes see, the camera however can’t cope with this or the spot lights on the pillars.   

Funny business painting the inside of Canterbury Cathedral, for one thing you periodically get asked to go because another part is being used for god bothering on the one hand and on the other hand it feels like painting it is the right thing to be doing. Despite the tourists, the noise, the flash photography… the building retains some sort of mystical atmosphere, which seems to me to be related to this.

On well “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

So the question is, do I carry on with this watercolour of Canterbury cathedral or do I start another one on different paper? I only hope the building doesn’t attempt to communicate its wishes in a cadence of draughty cloisters, I certainly won’t be doing any pillar hugging.

Just checked my bookshop’s blog, see http://michaelsbookshop.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/shannara-in-bookshop.html to see what went out on the shelves in my absence and there were a lot of books I have read and can recommend in the post including Noddy, Garth Nix, Inkspell, the usual scattering  of Kentish local history, there was also a Le Carre which I am not going to admit to not being able to understand.