Sunday, 27 December 2009

Sunday ramble, reflections on writing.

I am hoping to go for a walk later and take some pictures however despite a favourable weather forecast the window in front of me reveals rain clouds gathering.

The plan, if it works, is for the children to accompany us on their bicycles, at the moment they are somewhere between church and lunch and I suspect this is something that may take some time.

I am reading Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” at the moment, which is an interesting angle on the nature of religions but fairly intense so I am in need of a break from it, hence the blogging.

Since I started blogging on a regular basis I have become a writer of sorts, something that never happened to me before and in a way it is getting easier, sometimes I wonder if eventually I will get some sort of bloggers block, but so far this doesn’t seem to have happened.

This could be something to do with not having to do it and not really being bothered about whether anyone reads it or not, in fact I was quite surprised the other day when one of the local journalists suggested that I write pieces for the local paper. At the moment I am declining for a number of reasons, mainly that I really don’t know what I am doing because I missed most of primary school so I never learnt the basics of writing. Punctuation is a sort of mystery to me where I occasionally insert a comma, often to have the word processing program underline it in green, with an irritating, “use of comma consider revising.”

To people like me who in today’s more enlightened climate would probably diagnosed with raging dyslexia, the spell checker on computers first seemed a wonderful thing, the next stage however looks to be a little more complicated, by this I mean writing something that appears to have been written by someone that knows what they are doing.

One aspect of bogging that interests me is the way it effects politics and media, from my own experience, the results of a blog post can be a story in a newspaper or direct action by the council.

In this area trying to get some sort of movement on the Pleasurama site here in Ramsgate is an area where the blog has been most useful.

What has happened with this site has a direct effect on Ramsgate as a town and most particularly on the eastcliff part of Ramsgate where I am trying to run a business, in theory when local government is involved in some major local project there are various safeguards built into the way we are governed that allow members of the public some sort of say in it, particularly when things go wrong.

In practice these things often don’t work as was intended, take for instance the freedom of information act, something that is intended to give ordinary citizens access to information.

As an example back on the 8th of September I requested a copy of the development agreement for the Pleasurama development, in theory there are clearly defined rules and regulations about how this sort of request should work, in practice I haven’t even reached the stage where the council has told either when I will get the document or even if I will ever get it.

A new area where the writing thing comes in is public consultations something highlighted for me by the Kent International Airport consultation where the comments appeared online see

Up to this point I hadn’t considered the importance of commenting on consultations in a fairly detailed way and as a result of comprehending that I hadn’t commented on this one in the detail I should have done I tried to comment on other consultations that were available.

The more important of these consultations are framed in a sort of technical newspeak where you really need to be trained in to respond meaningfully. A prime example of this is the core framework consultation where the Ramsgate Society spent about £1,000 having it drafted by architects and written up by a solicitor.

You can look at the links on their website to see what I mean at first this sounds quite expensive, but when you consider that my bookshop accounts for the year cost more than this, I think they got something of a bargain.

As you can see both the question and answers are very difficult to follow. With the online form being impossible to write on and the website being difficult to make work, combined with the thing being written in what is almost a code one can only assume that the council has done its best to make one not respond. This is one of the main reasons that I have made an extra effort to respond to this and other consultations.

The walk eventually happened and I have just put the camera card into my notebook which is getting on with processing the pictures while I write, the links to the pictures will eventually appear further down this post.
A few thoughts on the pictures, the first few were taken at the end of yesterday considerable alterations to what were the shops in Bellevue Road which are being converted back into houses for the most part, quite a few of the new developments seem to have damp proofing problems, a few shots of the cliff repair work near the park from the top note the equipment to stop the bit near the edge from collapsing, the burnt out car was a bit of a surprise in a public garden the first I have seen here I hope it isn’t a sign of things to come, part of the brass strip around the base of the bandstand seems to have been stolen.

Below the links to the pictures


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Got bored and went straight to piccies ooops Got it wrong AGAIN

  3. Don it was pretty bad on reflection, as for the picture I just keep them coming.

  4. As always, Michael, I'm in awe that you are so detailed, so spot on, and have cultivated such a good network of Thanet bloggers as to have an effect on your local council.

    For all of us, keep up the good work.

  5. Hi Dave, thanks for the encouragement but I think you may have over estimated my influences on the other Thanet bloggers, several of whom are councillors and have been blogging longer than me.


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