Monday, 8 March 2021

How do we get Michael’s Bookshop back open for local history and browsing?

 

Here at Michael’s Bookshop in Ramsgate we have been closed since the beginning of the pandemic back in March 2020. I am beginning to look at how we could get the bookshop back open. I am very conscious of how people are missing our local history and reading and book browsing facilities.

With a large secondhand bookshop there are pandemic related problems that occur both in retail, libraries and hospitably plus a few more that apply to the secondhand part.

The building is old and was The Prince Coburg pub, the earliest written record I have is a document produced in 1821 to transfer ownership of the pub after the landlord Thomas Reed died.
There are pros and cons with this, the main pro being the rent is low. It's a full repairing commercial lease, not something anyone would take on in the current climate.

Trading in the bookshop, where a lot of customers browse for an hour or so, in amongst narrow passages with low ceilings, lined with books, presents social distancing problems. Sterilising the 30,000 books in the bookshop between customers, or waiting 72 hours between customers is not viable either.

There is also the possibility of vaccine passports.

Buying, which involves going through the books people want to sell, either by going to their houses or through the backs of their cars, well that has issues all of its own.

I have various ideas, but would like to know what other people think.

If you were in Ramsgate in the late 1960s or Early 1970s you may remember the bookshop building as Design and Colour paint and wallpaper shop.

I had my vaccine a couple of weeks ago and I think that means I have gone from having a 1 in 20 chance of death if I tested positive for the virus to about a 1 in 50 chance. Around the time we went into the previous lockdown last autumn the Thanet infection rate was the third highest in England and I became very cautious. Now the local virus rate is much lower here, around the national average - which is slowly falling. At the same time my vaccination situation means my survival rate is increasing.

On the whole bookshop customers are reasonably well educated and reasonably intelligent so will either be young or doing all of their shopping online, so there wouldn't be much point in opening until the figures are much better.

I think this maths is roughly right but I would apricate any corrections. Here in the UK about 4,000,000 people have tested positive and about 120,000 people have died. If you knock the zeros off that’s 12 in 400 or 3 in 100. To put it another way for about every 30 people who test positive 1 dies of coronavirus.

If the vaccine is 80% effective that means before the vaccine 10 people would die and after it only 2, or to look it another way instead of 1 in 30 about 1 in 250.

The younger you are the less likely you are to die and of course older not so good, the 1 in 30 applies to people around 55 years old, if you are 65 it’s about 1 in 20 and 45 about 1 in 100. Over 80 it’s about 1 in 5 and under 30 about 1 in a 1,000.

Data published by Public Health England (PHE) based on the UK's vaccine rollout showed protection against symptomatic COVID in those over 70, four weeks after the first jab, ranged between 60-73% and 57-61% for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.  


 
      


Thursday, 24 December 2020

Click on the link for. A note from Boris Johnson, Thanet virus figures stabilise some old local pictures

 I will add text and pictures to this during the evening.

I have stopped publishing the local coronavirus figures as they have been pretty much stable for the last few days.

I didn't vote Conservative or Labour last election, I voted Green, but it does occur to me that if Boris was deposed we would only get a hard line Conservative government. I am certainly pleased with this result. I voted to stay in the EU but once democracy has decided I back it, I like living in our our democracy.


I just bought www.slowhump.com for myself for Christmas. Has anyone else bought themselves a Christmas present and want to fess up? I suppose with this one if I can master using a mixture of basic website, blogger and Facebook all my reader will benefit  


Local Facebook groups and posting the virus figures has been a bit of an eye opener for me. There seems to be a whole group of people who are quite happy to publish misinformation, even if doing so could actually kill real people.










this next lot are the Canterbury flood of 1909, not Thanet but what the heck it's Christmas




Next some Thanet bathers in Edwardian times, do you recognise your grandparents or great grandparents?







 

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Pictures of some Thanet Windmills and a local virus update

 Starting with Ramsgate and warning people that I will put the Thanet coronavirus figures at the bottom of this post, so don't go right to the bottom if you are trying not to think about them. 

This first lot are Grange Road Mill








Looking on the 1822 Ramsgate map you can see there were once 3 mills where Grange Road is now


Hudson's Mill, the original Pugin designed shape 
which as you can see from the photo was extended upwards and towards you to make a bigger one


Pegwell you can see the mill top left of the photo, this is the only photo of this mill I know of although it appears in several local prints

Broadstairs next






then on to Margate













Hoopers mill at Zion Place 


Then to Sarre Mill, the photos I took some time ago have become a record of this mill which looks to be in a pretty bad way now, but is still just about standing.
















On to the local coronavirus figures.

Because the Thanet infection rate figures went so high and about a week ago were the third worst in England I took an interest in our relative placing compared to the rest of the country and followed the number of cases publishing these figures to the main local Facebook groups that seemed to be interested in discussing local news.

I was surprised to find differences between the figures published by the county council, the district council, the local media to the figures published on the main UK Gov website.

I think to understand the severity of the current pandemic most people need something to compare with and relate to.

Deaths at 20th Dec 2020 rounded to the nearest 1,000 – covid on death certificate 80,000 – deaths recorded 2020 above the normal annual death rate 81,000 – civilians killed in WW2 70,000, annual uk flue deaths recorded for a winter figures usually published in June 10,000.  

That said I think Thanet seems to be levelling out, hardly any change between yesterday and today with a slight fall yesterday, so I don't expect to carry on publishing the figures unless the is a radical change.

Here are today's comparative virus figure per week per 100,000 from the UK Gov website, 

1 Thurrock                   1,291.7

2 Havering                  1,219.4

3 Epping Forest                       1,174.7

4 Brentwood               1,133.5

5 Basildon                   1,117.5

6 Redbridge                1,082.2

7 Medway                   1,075.5

8 Rochford                  1,059.9

9 Barking and Dagenham                   994.8

10 Hastings                 961.6

11 Southend-on-Sea   937.1

12 Swale                     920.2

13 Ashford                  915.2

14 Newport                 894.1

15 Bexley        866.3

16 Waltham Forest                 854.6

17 Castle Point                        835.7

18 Tower Hamlets                  818.5

19 Gravesham             814.5

20 Enfield       814.3

21 Dartford                 804.6

22 Newham                 794.3

23 Dover                     791.5

24 Folkestone and Hythe                    784.1

25 Maidstone              767.6

 

26 Harlow                   736.2

27 Tonbridge and Malling                  678

28 Chelmsford             669.9

29Braintree         665.8

30  Bromley                 665.3

31 Haringey                659.6

32 Hackney and City of London                    657.7

33 Milton Keynes                   657.6

34 Canterbury             644.5

35 Thanet                    642.6

36 Rother                    633.8

 37 Merton                   613.9

38 Croydon                 610.3

39 Greenwich              606.4

40 Wandsworth                      602.4




Tuesdays comparative virus figure per week per 100,000 from the UK Gov website, Thanet and is still getting worse Canterbury slightly better, but hopefully the new tier 4 measures will be enough to turn the tide. Thanet District Council have published the right figure for three consecutive days now, which is as a positive sign, Kent County Council are still publishing different figures which seem to jump about all over the place. Some of the media doesn’t seem be consistent either or to publish comparative figures for the previous day. Plenty of room for error doing this and I’m not quite sure what happens if I make a mistake.
1 Thurrock  1,061.1
2 Havering  1,036
3 Basildon  1,002.1
4 Medway  991.5
5 Epping Forest  970.5
6 Swale 1,383
7 Redbridge  896.1
8 Brentwood  884.2
9 Rochford  872.2
10 Ashford  852.1
11 Barking and Dagenham  839.3
12 Hastings  805.1
13 Castle Point  791.1
14 Broxbourne  755.6
15 Dover  744.1
16 Bexley  739.5
17 Maidstone  728.1
18 Enfield  702.2
19 Southend-on-Sea  697.9
20 Waltham Forest  697.9
21 Gravesham 695.7
22 Newham  686.7
23 Dartford  674.9
24 Tower Hamlets  668.2
15 Folkestone and Hythe  666.4
26 Thanet  646.1
27 Tonbridge and Malling  628.1
28 Canterbury  619.7
29 Harlow  581.2
30 Rother  552.7
Wednesday's figures below
1 Thurrock 968.2
2 Medway 931.9
3 Basildon 931.1
4 Havering 925.4
5 Swale 879.5
6 Epping Forest 842.1
7 Ashford 806.7
8 Redbridge 793.5
9 Brentwood 788.1
10 Barking and Dagenham 760.9
11 Rochford 752
12 Hastings 732.8
13 Maidstone 709.4
14 Broxbourne 708.3
15 Dover 693.3
16 Enfield 651.9
17 Bexley 643.6
18 Gravesham 643.4
19 Waltham Forest 637.9
20 Canterbury 627.6
21 Thanet 619.4
22 Dartford 618.1
23 Folkestone and Hythe 606.2
24 Newham 605.2
25 Tonbridge and Malling 598.5
26 Southend-on-Sea 584.8
27 Tower Hamlets 584.2
28 Braintree 512.4
29 Rother 500.6
30 Chelmsford 486.6
I won't be replying to all of the comments individually. I am still working a lot of the time managing my staff remotely. So some general replies to the same sort of comments across the different local Facebook groups where I have been posting these figures. My reason for posting accurate and comparative figures derived from the UK Gov website, is mainly so people can see the direction the situation is going in and help to predict where we are likely to go next. In the UK the virus has already killed more people than the total number of UK civilians killed in WW2 (mostly the blitz) we are at war with coronavirus and I while feel the various conspiracy theorists, virus deniers, antivax idiots should be treated as unpatriotic, mostly live in other areas and are progressively making ordinary local people reluctant to comment, I just don’t have the time to reply to them. The vast majority of comments have been positive so I have posted again today.