Wednesday, 6 January 2010

A midweek ramble

After my last post and probably unrelated, Labour have made the first internet sally locally with Steve posting. “New Year is a time for looking back and looking forward.” On his website see and nationally once again probably unrelated Labours first election sally, Steve's colleagues are working up to a leadership ballot. I am no great fan of Gordon Brown apart form his lack of charisma which I find has a certain appeal, he often looks as though he is on the verge of picking his nose or having a good scratch, which adds a sort of suspense to otherwise tedious political dialogue, but frankly the man has done better than I expected.

One does wonder who on earth the Labour party would put up as their next leader, particularly as Brown does seem to be performing better than expected, it certainly begs the question why put him up for the job in the first place?

Watching PMQ time this lunch time just before the ballot news broke, I was thinking how David Cameron was doing worse than I expected, by this I mean the bickering thing, one sort of feels he ought to have the charisma to rise above it, but somehow doesn’t ever quite manage to. One is left with the feeling that apart from his very clear ideas on what is wrong with Gordon Brown, something he now seems to share with quite a few Labour MPs, he just doesn’t seem to be coming up with the radical solutions we need.

Oh well perhaps it’s just me but I do get a sense of these people playing at being part of running a major world power, rather than accepting that we are a small country that has pretty much gone broke and needs to sort itself out and keep out of major world issues for a bit.

The trouble is that virtually everyone living in this country is aware that it isn’t such a nice place to live anymore and this is the priority for most of us. Simple things like being able to once again wander around our towns in the evening wouldn’t be a bad starting point. I probably shouldn’t have said that as I am sure someone is going to tell me the statistics show that crime is down.

There does seem to be a certain lack of enthusiasm by the police to prosecute criminals engaging in crime and I suppose this makes for better statistics and less work.

I have just unplugged the thing that goes beep from the usb on the shops computer to copy the few pictures from my camera, not much there I am afraid as it’s been just too slippery for morning walks over the last few days.

The map above (click on it to enlarge it) is about 1900 I think it comes from a little guide I am preparing for reprint but I have had to stop due to printer problems, the mono laser printer seems to have a cold.

The pictures, just walking back from school yesterday and the day before are now done, click on the link for them no opportunity to take any going as was holding on to slippery children.

Another of the shops that opened here in king Street Ramsgate last year has closed, this time the cycle shop, last time the washing machine shop, it is not an easy time in the world of small shops.

In the case of these shops that lasted less than 6 months, I am certain that if they had opened in the same sites 10 years ago they would have both lasted several years and if you go back 30 to 40 years probably the proprietors working lifetime.

These were both shops offering on site repairs, something obviously beneficial to the environment and the local community, I suspect mostly made unviable by a throw away society based on cheap fareastern manufacturing.

The problem here though is what’s the solution, from my own point of view both of these shops were between my bookshop and the centre of the town so this means less customer footfall for me but the larger problem is for the town as a community.

No walk this morning as I drove my son to the station to get his train to go back to university, all a bit of a waste of time really as the train was cancelled and before you ask we had checked the rail operators website first and that said it was running.

Back to the shops. Things that don’t help are, the removal of a lot of the sreetside parking in this part of town, the infrastructure of King Street falling apart (road surface and pavements), the clusters of inebriate smokers forced onto the pavements outside every pub by the no smoking legislation, a sort of ghetto of deprivation that seems to somehow revolve around putting housing association property somewhere where people don’t actually want to live.

I am not saying I have solutions here and frankly all things considered the bookshop isn’t doing that badly since the New Year, however I don’t think this has much to do with having a town centre site, with the associated expense and problems.


  1. it looks cold and bleak I wont venture far in this weather. are your piccies getting bigger? I promise to visit you this year once the pavements are safe to walk on with my crutches.

  2. Conservatives being radical? With a name like that one would expect their policies to be, well, conservative.

    In other news I did make at least one visit in 2009 and then sent family members to do likewise. With so many books sent my way over Christmas I might need to wait for the spring before I pop by again.

    Still, at least you seem to have the secret of longevity as a small shop.

  3. Don I use the windows picture resizer to make all the pictures from the camera smaller otherwise the pages would take too long to load, I usually go for 1200 pixels across which is what these are, if I am only putting a few on a page I often go for 1500 the largest I ever put up is 2500 as this is the largest that the automatic web publishing program allows.

    I usually keep the original size ones that are much bigger depending on the camera I use, so you can always let me know if want anything in high definition.

    Matt I think it must be occurring to a lot of politicians that the UK is just becoming nastier and they will have to do something, I am not sure the something isn’t both radical and conservative in as much as things worked fairly well a few years ago.

    If I had behaved like the people who cause the trouble of an evening in our towns when I was a youf I would have spent the night in the cells and come up before the beak with a hangover, this type of thing tends to put people off from doing it again.

    With the shop I think the secret is the wide price range and the diversity of quality stock, as far as I know there isn’t anywhere else you can by something ok for 5p, not even the big chains can compete with that one, but the thing that will get me in the end is the value of the building. 20 years ago when this part of town was much busier it was worth about £30000 and the landlord wanted a reasonable return on his investment now although there are less customers and therefore less sales the wretched building is probably worth about 8 times the amount.


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