Wednesday 30 June 2010

A few pictures of Ramsgate this morning.

First as you can see the dredging goes on in Ramsgate harbour, I am not sure if the closest analogy here is emptying a bath full so mud and sand with a teaspoon, or doing the same to a swimming pool.

The problem here is that the harbour was designed to be cleared of mud and sand by using the head of water in the inner basin and the sluice gates, all of the other options tried since it was constructed in the 1700s have only been partly successful.

Any of you wanting to understand this in more detail, click on the link to the report by the engineer who designed this method of clearing the harbour

Work is continuing on The Marina Restaurant, more detail about this at as we are now in a situation where the only sensible solution is to get this finished asap, my only reservation about this one is the lack of escapes to the cliff top, so the people inside can get out during the combination of an exceptionally high tide and a storm.

Work continues with the laying of the pipe for the Pleasurama development’s surface drainage pipe, although it doesn’t look as though this will be finished in time for the height of the summer season, I am a bit uncertain how the council will approach this one. By this I mean will they stop work for a couple of months, or will it continue, as always here the problem is not so much what they are doing down there, particularly as the people actually doing the work have done a very tidy job, creating as little disruption as possible but the lack of public information about what is going on.

A couple of pictures of the Great Wall of Ramsgate project that Eastcliff Richard has posted about see I do wonder if this isn’t detracting from the real issue, which is that the summer season is just about to start and once again the main leisure site in Ramsgate remains a deserted builders site, apart from the very small part of the site they are using to store material for the surface water pipe. So please if any of the councillors, developer or contractor are reading this, let us have temporary leisure use for the height of the summer season.

I should point out that the developer has as much to gain, if not more that most people from Ramsgate coming through these harsh economic times as well as possible and a good summer season can only make his eventual development worth more money.

Numbers one and three slipways were both in use this morning, which raises concerns about the proposed development there see

Although I have great reservations about the sense of building windfarms, if this work is to be based in Ramsgate it seems pretty obvious that more than one slipway is needed.

Finally the nasty looking slick in the inner basin, next to where the sewage leak was discovered is still there as you can see. My concern here is that they may have made things even worse by blocking the end of this old and damaged pipe, contaminating more of the Harbour Parade area.

Anyway you can make your own mind up about any significance that relates to this morning’s pictures, click on the link for them

Tuesday 29 June 2010

Ramsgate Pleasurama sewage and cliff

A few pictures from yesterday, as you can see the hole where the sewage leak was has been filled in and tarmaced over.
This picture also taken yesterday shows the surface of the water in the harbour adjacent, I an not saying that it is still leaking sewage, just that is what it looks like.
Oh and the bit of the repaired Pleasurama cliff facade that was recently rerepaired has now been repainted, it must be about time to weed it again, I am pretty sure there should be an annual contract to do that.

To enlarge the pictures click on them and then click on them again, perhaps not recommended for the one of the surface of the water.

Monday 28 June 2010

Ramble from the secondhand book trade

Another local history book just about out today, Picturesque Excursion to Margate,
Ramsgate and Broadstairs and Their Neighbourhoods, this little guide is the Isle of Thanet part of a larger guide to various resorts in southern England first published in 1839, copies of the original guide are fairly scarce selling at around £100 and therefore inaccessible to many people.

My reprint is priced at £3.99 and will be available online when I get around to it, at the moment it is available in the bookshop.

I was up early yesterday due to the heat and so I went to the a couple of boot fairs, I didn’t do too badly in terms of buying a few unusual books goes although in terms of ordinary modern books go the usefulness of the boot fair is pretty much over for the secondhand bookseller.

This is a situation caused by the supermarkets and I will explain it in some detail as the reasons that bookshops are failing are in the national news again today.

If you take the period that the net book agreement was in force in this country 1900 to about 1995, I think it would be fair to say that this country had both pretty much the cheapest and the greatest diversity of books.

What the net book agreement did was to fix the minimum price for each book, something that meant that the supermarkets and big chains couldn’t undercut the independent bookshop.

Each bookshop in the UK had a different stock, chosen by the people running it and the whole thing was essentially financed by the profits on the few bestsellers.

During most of the last century my family owned bookshops in various parts of the UK mostly Hertfordshire, for some time I traded in the town of Hitchin where there were three bookshops, one specialising in academic books – also supplying local schools and collages, one specialising in military and transport books and the one I was running specialising in the arts and literature.

Sometime in the 1990s the net book agreement collapsed, this was for the most part due to two large chains of bookshops Dillons and Waterstones and pressure from the large supermarkets mostly Asda.

Between about 1995 and 1999 about 500 independent bookshops closed and by now 2010 pretty much all of them have closed, Albion Bookshops in Canterbury, Broadstairs and Cliftonville are examples.

This has lead to a situation where most books seem to be sold now in the supermarket at prices that appear to be special offers, although there is now no set price for books, with the demise of the agreement, prices presumably fictitious are still printed on books and the whole business of new bookselling seems to rotate around discounts from these fictitious prices.

Looking at the new book world, as I do now from the secondhand book world, what is bought, promoted and ultimately sold by the supermarkets, seems to be based around the trade discount more than either quality of value for money.

A problem though from the secondhand booksellers point of view, is that the majority of the people at the boot fairs now all have the same few titles, by this I mean the ones that were sold by the big chain supermarkets on special offer during the last few years.
I am not saying here that I didn’t do ok at the boot fairs, in fact I did very well indeed, stocking up on some basic non fiction, some bread and butter classics, from Winnie the Poo to Julian of Norwich, some basic reference and informative non-fiction from The Penguin Dictionary of Saints an essential item in many libraries that will go out on the shelf priced between £2 and £3, Albert Schweitzer’s biography of J.S. Bach a 1940s two volume A &C Black edition still in dustwrappers, not an expensive item but very much a copy that looks the part. Bread and butter fiction like, The Power and the Glory and Brideshead Revisited, were part of the batch too. Some collectors items like Ladybird books and Observers books, collectable maybe but the prices are likely to be between 99p and £3, which means that one can still enjoy book collecting without having a serious effect on the budget, the star item was a first edition of The Olive Fairy Book, the closest copy on the internet is listed at £660.
This brings up the problems that the internet puts to the secondhand bookseller, I consider a proper and reasonable price for this book in a condition that I would describe as near fine to be about £200 however the internet has made a mockery of such professional judgement.

This means that I will list it to start with at about £600 and reduce the price every few months until it sells, frankly the eventual selling price could be anywhere between £50 and £600.
Another star buy was Louis Wain: the Man Who Drew Cats by Rodney Dale this is the revised 2000 edition and should reasonably sell for about £30, it is listed on Amazon for £117, not a realistic price, but this sort of thing is very difficult if someone has a copy that they want to sell to me and have looked it up on the internet.
What one says in these circumstances is a bit beyond me, but somewhere in the reply is perhaps the reason why people are still going to want a collection of books in years to come. The problem stems from the fact that anyone can put any piece of information on the internet, however misleading and however badly researched and the gullible will always take it as fact.

Sunday 27 June 2010

Preston Steam Rally 2010 pictures

Pictures for those of you who couldn’t get there, I am doing this from my mobile notebook so I can’t really see the pictures until they publish, hopefully I will go through and delete the worst of them at some time in the future.

It was too hot – about 10 degrees hotter than in Ramsgate I would estimate – to stay for a long time with the children, but I did my best in the time available.

The pictures will appear as they publish on to the internet click on the links below for them.

there will be some more pictures added tomorrow.

Some more pictures here from one of my children

and some here from another one
you could say a different perspective.

I think this is the final batch

Saturday 26 June 2010

Preston Steam Rally this weekend

This is a reminder that the main event in this area this weekend is Preston Steam Rally, for something to do this weekend that is likely to appeal to most people it comes with my recommendation.

Plenty of pictures of previous years, links below

Friday 25 June 2010

Broadstairs Dickens Festival June 2010 Bathing Party Pictures.

I was unable to get away from work in my bookshop on Wednesday afternoon, so didn’t get any pictures of the bathing party, so many thanks to Janet Porter for letting me copy hers.

Here is the link to her pictures the links to mine are in the previous post.

I did my best photographing photographs and as with the rest of the pictures I will endeavour to go through later and enhance them.

Thursday 24 June 2010

More pictures of Broadstairs Dickens Festival 2010

My day off today and I managed to get over to Broadstairs and take some more pictures of the people who go to considerable trouble to dress up in costumes of the period Charles Dickens wrote about.

Click on the links for the pictures for the pictures so far the bottom link is for today’s pictures if you have already seen the rest.

there will be more to come and hopefully at some time I will get a chance to go through and sort them out a bit.

Yesterday evening’s walk in Broadstairs pictures

Nothing much here I think, I have just put the camera card into the computer, there are quite a few pictures on it and this is the first lot.

Only one person in Dickens costume about, however I did much better today on that front today and rugby practice on the beach.

The only thing there and then of some concern is the band immediately above the horizon over France, I am assuming that this must be due to pollution of some sort.

I am not saying that this is anything particular to do with continental Europe as, as far as I know it could have extended around the whole horizon and could be due to some natural phenomena like the dust from the Icelandic volcano, what you see in the pictures is all I could see.

Click on the link for the pictures

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Boom and Bust Budget?

Looking at the budget out of which I seem to come out about the same, in terms of personal finances, there were a few aspects that I didn’t like that much, however I expect those who understand more about economics or the sound of underground spirits better than I do will soon correct me on.

The first is the way the VAT rise has been handled, in as much as this seems likely to cause a minnie boom at he end of this year followed by a minnie bust at the beginning of next.

In physics there is a thing called the butterfly effect and I hope it doesn’t apply with underground spirit noises.

Another is the personal allowance thing, doling out this extran money in the same amount to everyone with an income under £101,000 per year seems a bit daft really, I don’t really think it is appropriate to be giving tax breaks to people earning over £1,000 pounds a week.

The other thing I don’t like the look of is that the wrst off of the pensioners seem to be hit disproportional hard.

The things I am not sure that it addresses that well are, the people at the bottom end of the skills bracket who are only marginally better off working than being on benefit and the public sector pension burden.

Anyway as I said I am a bit out of my depth here, and with books being zero rated the VAT increase will probably be pretty much offset by the increase in personal allowance, so I come out about the same.

Here is the link to the most recent pictures yesterday evening in Broadstairs, a few people dressed up in Dickens, period costume, something that only occurred to me after trying to photograph the Dickens costumes is that there are quite a few marginals in Broadstairs.

By this I mean they are not wearing clothing that relates to this period of time, but it often doesn’t look as though they are wearing clothing that relates to Dickens period of time either.

This isn’t any sort of criticism of people in Broadstairs and suppose it often most describes the group I fall into.

The rest of the page is pictures of Ramsgate today.

Sewage in Ramsgate harbour update.

The council have taken the emergency measure of capping off the sewage pipe and filling in the hole, I think there are several possible problems here, one being that the condition of the pipe suggested that the sewage would just leak out a bit further along, another is that there is a sluice just like the one that was leaking raw sewage into the harbour to the west a bit and that obviously needs investigating as well.

They were both constructed for the same purpose, flushing the western undercliff outfall pipe and were both connected together within the same system.

The problem for me is that at one time, once I knew that the council were aware of the problem, I would have just dropped the issue assuming that they would do all of the appropriate things to protect the public.

Now both with KCC and TDC as I have pointed out public safety issues to them in the past which still remain unresolved – an example being the failure to set a weight limit for vehicles using the footpath, adjacent to the cliff, top side, behind the Pleasurama development – I find I now have to pursue this sort of thing until I have some sort if written answer confirming their intent. Frankly this is embarrassing and time consuming for all involved, but I don’t see any other course of action as contact with raw sewage can kill people.

Obviously to inspect this maze of old sewers and surface drainage pipes and resolve the safety issues will be an expensive business, something that I expect will make things even more difficult given the present economic climate.
The new outfall site for the Pleasurama roof drainage pipe has mostly been excavated, so far without problems.

Tuesday 22 June 2010

Raw sewage running into Ramsgate Harbour and the basements along Harbour Parade.

For as long as I can remember the corner of the inner basin where the King George IV Maritime Heritage Pontoons are situated has often smelt strongly of drains and various people I know with some understanding of the history of Ramsgate’s civil engineering have told me that all is not well with the sewers in that part of Ramsgate.

Last week the workmen excavating the area around the sluice in this part of the harbour discovered a void has formed behind this sluice – something that leaks very badly in both directions – running into this is a sewer.

This means that as the rise and fall of the tide in the inner basin fills and empties this void the sewage is flushed into the harbour, as the basements in Harbour Parade flood regularly, it would also seem reasonable to assume that the floodwater there contains a proportion of sewage to a greater or lesser degree.

I should point out here that the people doing this work are competent as is the contractor for the Pleasurama development and it is my understanding that the dangerous problems here have been reported to the proper authorities.

Incidentally the sewers here and any sewage should be and theoretically have been since Victorian times, at a much greater depth, certainly deeper than the cellars in harbour parade.

The only thing that would be at this depth is surface drainage from the road and possibly peoples roofs, so this a serious problem that either relates to the early to mid 1900s sewage system still being connected, which it shouldn’t be, or that the surface drainage has been illegally tapped into.

This whole area is too dangerous for the work on the outflow to the inner basin to continue and I understand that this has now been rerouted to a different existing opening on the eastern side of the inner basin.

There is of course the more fundamental problem here, that is that the whole infrastructure in Harbour Parade would seem unlikely to be able to cope with the new Royal Sands Development, a problem that is likely to be an expensive and disruptive one.

Some of the pictures to substantiate this are really rather unpleasant, so I haven’t published them, those I have published are at I am not sure if this is where the scum on the water comes from but it would seem probable.

Budget protest in Ramsgate today

I heard on the BBC news there were going to protests in some towns today including Ramsgate, this seemed to be something to do with public sector pay, but was all a bit vague.

Anyway I went off to see what this was about and it did indeed seem to be something to do with today’s budget, as this was during my lunch time and the budget hadn’t been read it made things a bit difficult for the protesters.

I was a bit difficult to understand what it was that they wanted people to do about the budget that they didn’t know the content of as well. They were in Ramsgate Marketplace with a banner that read STUFF THE MARKET, their caps and indeed they were shouting through a megaphone.

Here is the link to the inevitable pictures
Here is a little admission of mine, during the last few days when anyone from Jehovah’s Witness, Big Issue seller or political protester tries to either hand me a leaflet or sell me something, I now hand them a card with the address of this blog on it and tell them that the pictures of them will be published online later today and linked to the blog post. So far it has done the trick every time.

Ramsgate doesn’t even seem to qualify for a lifeguard anymore and few pictures of Ramsgate and Broadstairs Sunday, yesterday and today.

The first page shows Broadstairs on Sunday evening.

Followed by yesterday morning in Ramsgate, a couple of points of note, the butchers in Rooks have just got new uniforms with finer striped aprons, something that may be useful when dating pictures at some time in the future.

The other is that although it is flaming June and people are swimming in the sea there doesn’t seem to be any sign of lifeguards on Ramsgate Main Sands, this is something I will check out with the council. I don’t know if this is some sort of temporary staffing glitch or another case of Ramsgate losing out, the latter could effect our blue flag status so is important.

The plant growth in the cracks that have formed in the Pleasurama cliff façade cracks that we recently paid £1m to have filled and coated is now very much in flower, more about that in a later post.

The next page carries on from where the previous one left off then yesterday evening in Broadstairs, more Dickens costumes here that I have also published with the rest, they look better there as I have enhanced the picture files, see

The shepherds smock is an original Victorian one!

Much action from Broadstairs Sea Scouts, my children looked upon these mariners with considerable envy.

The girl singing and playing guitar was pretty good too, but unfortunately I didn’t have my video camera with me.

Next a few pictures from this morning, the area around the entrance to King George VI park where the cliff has recently been repaired, this may also be useful as it illustrates the area described in ECRs post

It was at this point that I became the victim of an aerial bombardment from a passing seagull and had to come home for a change of clothes.

Finally work on the old chapel in Turner Street the road behind the bookshop, it is very good to see this happening after the years of dereliction there.

Monday 21 June 2010

Dolphins in Ramsgate Harbour, lies damned lies and local history.

I received the following email with the picture above, (copyright Gullscliff this link takes you to their website of of excellent local photographs ) at the end of last week:

“Hello I was wondering if you could help me out on something I saw whilst at the library the other day there is a pic of Ramsgate harbour wartime and within the harbour stood these 2 structures not unlike the maunsell sea forts but smaller in design I have enclosed a picture was just wondering if you had any more information on these structures.”

Looking at the picture you could be easily fooled into thinking these were some strange wartime structure and not something both modern and still there, I replied thus:

“Hi as far as I understand these were installed to allow the Volkswagen delivery ferries to moor side on to them in the outer basin with their sterns onto the crosswall, where the cars were unloaded.

The technical term for them is Dolphins, I believe they date from sometime in the 60s or 70s when this was moved from the western end of the inner basin and not the war.

One thing of further note is that they are still there if you go and have a look.

Below the picture I sent to him that I took this morning.
Below a picture also taken this morning of where the link span for the cars to drive off was connected to the crosswall.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Pictures of Broadstairs Dickens Festival 2010

About 300 pictures taken today mostly of the people who make a considerable effort to dress up for the Dickens Festival.

As far as the copyright goes if it is for a non commercial purpose then please feel free to use the pictures how you like, if you need any of them in high definition email me, link on the sidebar, same if you want to use any of them for commercial purposes.

If you need any of them printed out all the libraries and most copy shops should be able to do this and I will do any that I can in the bookshop for anyone who wants them, remember it is closed on Thursdays and Sundays.

Click on the links for the pictures

More pictures here from evening 21st June.

Pictures from the evening of 22nd June 2010

the main advantage with the large size originals is that I can crop out part of the picture and still get a fairly high definition print for you, so if there is something modern in the background or you were carrying a plastic carrier bag I can sometimes remove it.

The pictures started publishing to the internet at 5.25pm and it will be about an hour before they are all uploaded and you can see them all, it takes a lot longer to put things on the web than to view them.
Two lots of apologies here, one is some of the pictures are on their sides and I will endeavour to sort that out tomorrow, this is because the monitor I use on my day off is much smaller that the one in the bookshop.

The other is that shop and family commitments meant that I once again failed to get pictures of Margate’s Big Event.
I should point out that this isn’t a deliberate slight to the council or Margate but due to the fact that I run the shop on Saturday and like last year one of my children’s friends birthday parties falls on the Sunday and is held in Broadstairs on that day.

Sunday Ramble

At this time of year, if the weather is ok, I just don’t get time for this but this morning with the forecast being rain and it being rather cold and windy first thing I didn’t venture out with my camera.

As it is Thanet’s microclimate seems to be producing much better was than forecast, but I am now on the roller coaster of getting up children for church and then later there will be a party to take them to, so the day is going to be fairly fragmented.

Last Sunday I was up early and having bought some plants and china at a boot fair, this left my son an me, at about 7am, somewhere inland near to Dover and Deal wondering where to get breakfast.

At that time on Sunday the only places we could think of were all in Ramsgate, so we headed back, English breakfast toast and coffee at the Belgian bar for two, just over £10, see pictures at

Rather an unusual sign in the loo too.

I also noticed that The Ramsgate Society have repainted the cast iron pillar at the landward end of the east pier, same page of pictures.

Followed by a walk around the harbour, same page of pictures, it was good to see the Sundowner nearly ready to go back in, but not so good to the King George IV Maritime Heritage Pontoons empty.

I then went in search of the last historic vessel to be chased off the pontoons by the council, The Cutter Emanuel, and eventually tracked her down on a quiet secure mooring in Sandwich, picture above click to enlarge.

This is realty a sad case of what happens when local government ceases to be local in any real sense and communication fails with the local community, so that the function of our elected representatives ceases to be ensuring that paid council officers produce policy that roughly coincided with local peoples wishes and instead one is governed by an elected cabinet with interests focused on other parts of the local area.

In all of this Ramsgate has become neglected, its residents misunderstood and the town’s assets appear to be regarded primarily as a source of funding for pet projects, in parts of the local area where interests are focused, these being located mostly either where cabinet members happen to either work or reside and on the area around the council chamber where they all have to meet.

Back in the days when interests were more focused around Ramsgate, The Cutter Emanuel’s owner was asked by the trust running the council funded museum to display this historic vessel in a prominent part of the harbour.

The deal was that a mooring that is difficult, lacks facilities, is subject to problems from late night revellers and is frankly useless for any commercial purpose, was offered – under various conditions – as a free mooring to historic vessels.

As far as I can see the owners of these vessels for the most part thought that they were doing local people a big favour by being there.

One an ex-lifeboat was also offered freely to the local sea cadets for their use, over a period of time council officers seem to have lost site of the limitations uses of this mooring and the benefits to the town of Ramsgate.

Eventually the council and councillors decided that these vessels would have to pay partial mooring fees, something that made this mooring one of the most expensive in the UK for them when one takes into account the moorings problems. All but one vessel, The Cutter Emanuel, left the mooring, other places were keen to have the attraction of the historic vessels and the Sea Cadets lost their main vessel.

The most recent act from the council was to tell the owner of Emanuel that he would have to pay what amounted almost to full mooring fees, so he has left and gone to a quiet cheap secure mooring, where no one can view his historic vessel.

The pontoon is of course now empty so the council are getting no fees at all from it, I don’t think there is any particular malice intended from the council here, just a complete failure to understand the situation, both in terms the problems and limitations relating to the pontoon or that the owners of the historic vessels were doing something benefice to the local community, that far exceeded anything that the council could get out of the pontoon, in terms of money to help fund their pet projects.

Anyway enough of that for a bit the next lot of pictures are of the abandoned hoverport at Pegwell, the way nature is taking back the large areas of tarmac and concrete is reminiscent of some futuristic movie where most of the world’s population have been killed by some catastrophe and nature is reasserting her grip pictures at

Then on to a few pictures of Ramsgate, some of them show the excellent work done by the council’s parks and gardens department.

Full circle now, where do you get breakfast at 8am on a Saturday morning in Broadstairs? More to the point as I had already had sufficient breakfast, good quality coffee and a croissant for my wife?

The answer is The Albion Hotel, pictures at two large very high quality coffees and croissant around £5, cooked breakfast also available from 7am weekdays and 8am weekends, something I will be sure to try soon.

No chance of Margate’s big event for me today and I know some of you think I put too many pictures on the internet, but if any of you know where I can find more than they ten or so I found of yesterday please let me know.

Saturday 19 June 2010

Pictorial Amusement Guide to Margate circa 1930

The reprint of the little guide published today focuses on three Thanet attractions, Dreamland in Margate, The Lido in Ciftonville and The Greyhound Racing Track at Dumpton Park Ramsgate. I am assuming that it was produced as free promotional material funded by the organisations.

The print quality of the original is very poor, owing much to the potato school of printing, we have done our best to enhance the quality in this reprint.

The original guide was about half the page size of the the reprint about A6 size, I would guess its date to be around 1930 although I expect that Margate historians will be able to come up with a more accurate date.

I hope you will all find this a useful addition to my range of local history publications.

Click on the link to buy it £2.99 post free in the UK, or pick it up next time you are in my bookshop in Ramsgate.

Click on this link for sample pages

Friday 18 June 2010

New development in Ramsgate harbour

I got a very brief glance of the new plans for the development where slipways 2 and
3 are today I managed to photograph them, sorry about the quality, click on the link to view them 2 copies of each sheet

On the positive side the developer is the same one who has made an excellent job of restoring The Custom House.

Personally I would have preferred something more sympathetic to the existing architecture there.

The plan is that slipway No.1 will continue to be used winding houses 2 and 3 will be demolished – the positive side to this is that they are made of damaged asbestos crumbling into the car park and the negative is that they are of historical significance related to WW2 – slipway 2 is pretty much unused and in poor condition, slipway 3 has had a lot spent on it and has been used recently to repair wind farm service vessels.

My understanding is that it is only slipway No.1that is commercially viable at the moment.

Royal Sands Development rainwater roof drain into Ramsgate Harbour inner basin

After consultation with English Heritage the roof drainage pipe is to come into the harbour via the sluice that used to use the head of water in the inner basin to flush out the sewage outfall pipe.

Once again I should point out that the work down there is being done to a very high standard, causing the minimum disruption to the café culture there.

I wish the same could be said for the main building site and the cliff façade repairs, the eyesore continues as the build up to the summer season starts, one would have thought that at least part of the site could be used for leisure or parking.
Most engineers will tell you that one of the strongest forces in engineering is force of habit and as you can see even with heating up the sluice is resisting opening.

Click on the link for the rest of the pictures

Thursday 17 June 2010

Pictures of the gardens at Quex Park Gardens, at Birchington on the Isle of Thanet.

A little light relief here, what with Ramsgate swarming with armed police today, the youf of today are saying that there was some sort of armed robbery in Camden Road today and some fairly heated comment on other posts today.

Something has gone wrong with the way blogger records comments so you may find my site that does this and works reliably helpful, here is the link

About 400 pictures of the gardens here are the links.

it will be some time before they all appear I think some will be sideways and some will need deleting like you I won’t be able to look at them until they have published as I just copied them from the camera and pasted them to the internet leaving my computer showing an egg timer for an hour or so.

This last lot have been sorted out a bit and should be better well I think they are.

Bleak House not so stoned – not so bleak

The natural stonework of Bleak House is being painted white as you can see from the picture, this came as a bit of a surprise to me and I wondered what other people thought about this.

Click on the picture to enlarge it.

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Unhappy thoughts on Thanet’s offshore wind farm

I am just starting to put together my critique of the wind farm and in trying to point out how trivial this sort of panacea is to the very real problem of climate change and rising sea levels, I had to come up with a comparison that would be easy for the youf of today to understand.

Now if you fill up your car with 10 gallons of petrol in sixty seconds, the energy transfer rate from the petrol pump to the car is equivalent during the 60 seconds to the entire output of a 25 megawatt power generator for 60 seconds.

During the time that Thanet offshore wind farm runs efficiently and at maximum power, that is when the wind conditions are right I would guess about 25% of the time the whole wind farms energy transfer rate, from the turbines to the national grid is 300 megawatts, meaning that 24 – 7 it is able to produce about 75 megawatts or the same energy transfer rate as continuously filling three cars with petrol.

I took off my shop assistants hat for this one and put on my rather dusty engineering hat, I don’t think I have made a mistake here but would appreciate any corrections.

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Thanet District Council's Secret Cabinet Reshuffle

I have just received confirmation that the portfolio for Ramsgate Marina been has moved from councillor Simon Moores to Councillor Robert Bayford.

I then contacted the council’s democratic services who told me that they were unaware of this situation and like the rest of us assumed that any change in portfolio would be decided at the council meeting to be held on 15th July.

My concern here is that this is an already done deal, made by the new leader of the council. Make no mistake here I have no problem with the cabinet reshuffling portfolios and these reshuffles being the subject of a council meeting agenda and the decision being made by council vote.

Where I do have a problem though is where the cabinet is making decisions and then using the council meetings as a rubber stamp, this is the difference between democracy and dictatorship.

I suppose there is the alternative of local government by dictatorship and I suppose that this would be reasonable as long as the dictator told us about major decisions effecting Thanet.

My attempts to elicit some sort of reply from our new leader so far have fallen on barren ground once again I am happy to accept individual councillors failing to reply to emails so I am happy to accept no reply from however I find no reply not even an acknowledgement from wholly unacceptable.

I consider questions about the Maritime Museum and The King George IV Maritime Heritage Pontoon, important to Ramsgate and worthy of some sort of answer.

The Little Ship Sundowner back in the water.

As you can see from the picture Sundowner is back in the water after the disgrace of Dynamo Day see

With our wonderful open local government of course it will only be a matter moments before the council tell us exactly what happened and why.

Perhaps it will also only be a matter of days before the maritime museum is open and the historic ships returned to The King George IV Maritime Heritage Pontoon.
A few more pictures around the harbour this lunchtime

Blackbird trapped in the Italianate Conservatory-Greenhouse Ramsgate 14.06.10

The blackbird was trapped; kept hitting it's head and wings on the ceiling; so I left the low door open and moved to the corner...fortunately it eventually got out through one of the top broken panes.

Click on the link for the rest of the pictures

Pegwell Bay pictures this morning oh yes June

I put an 80 x 2010 zoom lens on after a bit didn’t have very long to take the pictures as I dropped the children off in Ramsgate at 8.30 for a school trip and had to be back to open the shop for 9.30.

The rest of the pictures are at I obviously need some practice with this lens, I haven’t used it much for about 20 years and it is all a bit manual as you can see from the picture above.

Monday 14 June 2010

Pegwell cliff top evening walk a few pictures 14th July 2010

This is from my mobile so I won’t attempt to enhance the pictures, in fact I can’t really look at them properly until they have published to the internet.

Once again this is very much a post for people who can’t get out for a walk here for one reason or another, I suppose for most people there will be far too many of them so I will apologise for the quantity now and get it over with.

Here are the links to the pictures.

I expect it will be some time before they all appear on the web.

1 Granville Marina restoration work starts again.

This is one of those only in Thanet sagas all the information below for those of you unfamiliar with it, the picture above is of the new development that they have just started on, I think, click on it to enlarge.

First the link to the Planning Inspectorates decision allowing the development that the council turned down:

This link takes you to the planning inspectors decision to award costs against the council. only goes to show what you can get away with when it comes to listed buildings.

The links below take you some of my previous posts about the matter.

More pictures of the restoration work.

Pictures of my Morning Walk at Dumpton Gap

Dogs a burnt out car even someone doing something that looked a bit like tai chi chu chan, gathering seaweed for garden fertiliser and a lovely morning, but then it wasn’t my car.

Click on the link for the pictures

Saturday 12 June 2010

A few pictures of Ramsgate and Broadstairs during the last couple of days

Most of what I am working on will have to wait for a bit. I have been putting a lot of pressure on the Pleasurama issue, so am expecting something there soon.

I am also developing considerable reservations about aspects of the windfarms and am working up to some uncomfortable and probably unpopular posts about this.

Looking at things with my science and engineering hat on instead of my shop assistants can be an uncomfortable business.

Anyway I thought the pictures should be fairly cheering, the bowls players were very good, as is the rose garden, as far as the picture quality goes I published them on my notebook so the only way I have seen them is 3 inches high anyway here is the link

Friday 11 June 2010

Reflections on art and music a parent’s perspective or why I can’t get out of the back French windows due to the string.

My children are to a greater or lesser extent able to play some musical instruments and although not at all good at this myself, I have always insisted on certain criteria for this endeavour, namely that the musical instruments they use must be of reasonable quality and in tune.

I also insist that if they play a chord it must be one that actually exists, I am sure that there are areas where free expressions is a good idea, but for one reason or another I prefer it if it is other people’s children that go on the quest to find the lost chord and from a long way off.

With this the music lessons that they get as extras when at school have the same rigorous demands, by this I mean that when one of my children are for instance playing “Ode to Joy” it is recognisably that tune.

Now for some reason that is quite beyond me this quality of recognition doesn’t seem to extend into the visual arts, nor to the other criteria of good quality materials and a framework similar to chords so that things appear right rather than wrong.

Now my feelings are that it is much easier for the teacher to look away than to shut off their hearing, so if say a child is taught to paint a picture of a particular garden and it isn’t recognisably that particular garden , then for some reason this doesn’t matter.

I believe this is called free expression, unfortunately the idea here was developed by artists who were able to draw a garden that was defiantly recognisable as the right garden and then wanted to go one further.

Now there are loads of things that I have great reservations about their ability to be taught to anyone regardless of their natural ability, singing dancing to name two, but I would honestly say that there isn’t a person in a normalish state of physical health who cant be taught to play the lead to “smoke on the Water” on a guitar that is in tune or “Ode to Joy” on the piano, at least to the point where anyone can recognise it.

The same applies to drawing, hence the string, now if you stand say a yard or so away from an open window and look at the view from it, it is not for most people easy to draw what they see, so this is what I did today with respect to teaching children to draw.

The picture above shows this and it may be helpful to anyone wishing to teach their children to draw too.

You really do need an artists easel for this and Lovely’s in Cliftonville have some good ones on special offer at the moment.

First get a tape measure and mark of round your window frame equal distances, I used distances of one foot for this, then get some drawing pins and string and square of your open window as shown in the picture above.

Next get some paper attached to a bit of stiff board and square that off too.

Place your child where he she wants to stand to paint and draw round their feet so they are always standing in the same place when looking at what they are going to draw the picture of.

Then tell them to draw in what they see through each string square on the corresponding square on the paper.

One final thought it is important to shut one eye when looking at the view through the string squares.

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Fire Brigade Extinguish Sea at Ramsgate and other pictures

This is very much a post for those people who can’t get out for a walk easily, taken a bit tongue in cheek as most of us live in houses something that means we are all for the fire brigade doing plenty of practice exercises.

However from a purely spectator point of view it does look pretty funny and has all the hallmarks of boys playing with expensive toys, click here for the rest of the pictures of this event and click here for the rest of yesterdays pictures of Ramsgate

Tuesday 8 June 2010

Pugin’s Abbey Church St Augustine’s Ramsgate

This church is open to the public every Sunday from 2pm until 4pm and I recommend taking the opportunity to visit this iconic Ramsgate Building.

At the moment the future of the church is uncertain as the monks are leaving Ramsgate, services there are conducted by the incumbent of St Ethelbert’s Church, he is also leaving and it is uncertain if his replacement will be prepared to take on both churches.

Because of this there is a possibility that at some time in the future there may be no, or very limited public access, which is another reason to take advantage.

Click here for the pictures

I have taken the liberty of adding the Pugin Society’s leaflet about the Abbey at the bottom of the page of pictures.

Sunday 6 June 2010

Pictures of the historic vehicle bucket and spade run at Ramsgate July 2010

Here are the links to the first lot, there are more on other cameras and I will add them after this lot have published.

as before there are over 500 in this first batch so it will be sometime before they have all published on the internet.

Just one other point, breakfast sandwich (bacon, egg and sausage) and a cup of coffee at the Lookout Café there, total cost £2.50.

Entrance to this event is free, so all in all a pretty cheap day out including food and drink.

Another page of pictures at a big one I think.

Even more pictures at no idea why the first few are so small

My children now have cameras and their perspective is a little different click on the link for an eight year olds view of the bucket and spade run

Yes twins so this is the other ones view

Bucket and spade run Ramsgate today

A reminder for those of you who are wondering what to do on rather a dull day.

Classic vehicles will arrive at Government Acre Ramsgate at around 11am; I will take some pictures for those of you who can’t get there.

Friday 4 June 2010

Pictures of Ramsgate and some thoughts

This first batch were Wednesday I think, it’s good to see the seagull proof rubbish bags, their effectiveness evidenced by the lack of rubbish strewn all over the road.

You can also see the vegetation growth in the cracks of the cliff façade behind Pleasurama is building up as the season progresses, I am afraid looking at this and considering that £1m of council tax money has recently been spent on filling the cracks and coating the façade surface, makes me rather annoyed.

The Pleasurama roof drainage pipe is progressing slowly through all of the various underground obstacles along Harbour parade. I have noticed that the reinstatement work to both the road and the footpath is of such good quality that you can’t really see where they have been.

The situation with the coloured concrete dance floor surrounding the eastcliff bandstand is getting very bad indeed, the severe cracking displacement and vegetation growth can’t be helping with the cliff stability there. There is a maze of caves and tunnels in this area, many associated with the world wars, particularly HMS Fervent.

Click on the link for the pictures

This next batch were taken yesterday, it is sad to see the commemorative plaques around the town being stolen for scrap metal, suppose it is synonymous with our broken society that our heritage is reduced to its scrap value.

The King George IV Maritime Heritage Pontoon is still empty after the council deciding to charge nearly full harbour fees to the historic vessels, meaning that they have all left.

Then there is the business of the maritime museum, I have re written Parkinson to illustrate what may of happened here.

The councillors and council executives meet to discuss two new projects: a modern art gallery and a museum. None of them understand modern art and the gallery is bewilderingly expensive, and non-experts risk embarrassment if they speak up, so it gets approved in two and a half minutes. But everyone knows about museums and local history, and everyone has an opinion. The museum, "will be debated for an hour and a quarter, then deferred for decision to the next meeting, pending the gathering of more information.

Don’t underestimate the bewilderingly expensive factor here, every one can relate to the difference between charging an historic yacht £20 per week and £80 per week to tie up outside the café culture, however say £2m for an historic project in Margate, well the figure is so large that it is meaningless to most people.

Click on the link for the pictures

Entrance fee to Margate’s Big Event doubles in two months

Back in April I published Thanet district Council’s big event press release see if you read it through, I know press releases aren’t that much fun to read, so you can take my word for it that is says that a token admission fee of £1 will be charged this year.

I was quite surprised today when I noticed that the council have now published on their website that this fee will now be £2 see

Yes I know that this doesn’t sound that much, but for a family of six this is a rise from £12 for the two day event to £24, there is also a reference to parking charges by default at where it says that a £32 per person VIP ticket entitles you to free parking.

With the cost of parking, perhaps it will tell you that, where it says, “Coming soon Visitor Information”

I would imagine that there is also some effect here on the Qfest event that was to have been held on the same days at Quex Park but has been cancelled due to lack if ticket sales see

Update I have had a response to my enquiry about this from the council, the information was in a press release that seems to have gone astray, the extra money is due to extra Red arrows, seems reasonable to me.

Date: Friday, 30 April 2010

Press and Media Manager



Margate is to be the first UK stop for the world famous Red Arrows for 2010, with their appearance at Margate’s Big Event starting off their season of displays.

The team will now be opening Kent’s leading land and air festival on Saturday 19 June, in addition to their confirmed appearance on Father’s Day on Sunday 20 June, when they will be closing the packed programme of flying.

Organisers are welcoming this addition to the Big Event as fantastic news for Margate. Entry to the event will be adjusted to £2.00 to cover the extra costs associated with the higher numbers expected.

Gill Shepherd, Events Manager said: “We are really excited to have secured the Red Arrows for both days of our flying programme and it’s a real scoop for the area that they will make their first appearance of the season in Margate. We’re expecting this year’s crowds to be bigger than ever, which is great news for Thanet. To make sure we can look after the expected numbers safely and keep the event family friendly, we need to increase our price to £2.00 with children under the age of five free of charge.”

The two day festival, which is organised by Thanet District Council, will also pay tribute to the Battle of Britain, on its 70th anniversary. A specially choreographed display will see historic Spitfires once again taking on German planes over the skies of Kent, in remembrance of the events of 1940. There will be a full programme of flying on both days and, on the ground, visitors can enjoy live music, street performances and entertainers.

Gill added: “There is so much free entertainment on offer at Margate’s Big Event, with a huge line-up of top street acts, live music and our Magic of the Beatles evening concert on the Saturday night. This represents a great value weekend and will rival anything in the South East for price and quality.”

The event will be open from 10am until 10pm on Saturday and from 10.30am to 6pm on Sunday. Ticket holders can leave and return to the site as often as they wish during the course of the day and there is no additional charge for the concert on the Saturday evening. Tickets are expected to go on sale for Margate’s Big Event in early June.

For more information about the Big Event, go to

Pictures of Broadstairs

As you see from the picture above you don’t need grant funding to get people to walk round the paddling pool in Broadstairs, just a bit of sunshine.

This first lot of pictures were taken early on Sunday morning, rather gloomy bank holiday weather, but at least it wasn’t raining, click on the link for the pictures

The next lot were taken on my day off yesterday, I went over first and foremost to visit the bookshops there, as you see a much better day on the weather front

Thursday 3 June 2010

Thanet Matters or does it and a few other thoughts

Earlier this week I got the press release saying that new edition of Thanet District Council’s magazine Thanet Matters was available online, I couldn’t find it on the council’s website, so I let them know there had been some sore of glitch.

This sort of thing quite often happens and I suppose in instances like this the council see me as irritating but useful, anyway I got the response that it was going up on the internet, which it eventually did.

Once they finally managed to publish it and I was going to put up on the Thanet press release blog as I do, however when I looked at the online edition I noticed that the pictures were all blurry see I informed the council that it hadn’t published properly about 24 hours ago, well I still haven’t had a response about this and the pictures are still all blurry.

I know that this sort of thing may not seem that important, but publications like this cost us the council taxpayers a tidy sum and to do the final web publish badly really isn’t necessary.

I think much of the problem here is the way the council doesn’t use the internet as well as it should do, to put the magazine up as a pdf file, something that is difficult for older computers manage.

Now if this was a commercial magazine it would probably be published as a series of interactive web pages, something like all the local papers do now.

Another thing here is that when the council first failed to put it up they did put the press release about it on the council’s website, now because the part of the website where they put press releases has feeds this means that probably a great many people would have gone to look for this non existent magazine.

One really bizarre aspect of this edition of Thanet Matters is that the blurry picture of Ramsgate Sands shows the Royal Sands Development (Pleasurama) completed, there is no mention in the magazine that work hasn’t even started on it yet. I do wonder if council even know anymore that this 12 year deserted building site in Ramsgate’s most prominent leisure area even exists.

Anyway enough of moaning about the council, I will end on a positive note, a usually reliable source from within the council told me today that they have managed to get The Rank Organisation to promise to repair the structure and the outside of The Royal Victoria Pavilion. My understanding is that it isn’t part of the agreement that they will refurbish and redecorate the inside, but I think it fair to say that this will be enough to get this iconic building back into use.

My only reservation is that the pavilion has an inadequate sea defence and that resolving this issue should be an important part of any refurbishment work done there.

Sorry about the lack of punctuation and other errors this is a mobile post made on my day off.

Wednesday 2 June 2010

Some steam engineering marine engineering and model engineering books in the bookshop.

With my recent coverage of The Steam Tug Cervia, see and the Dunkirk evacuation model tug display see I have been reading up on steam and model engineering.

This means I have been reading some of the books about this in my bookshop, I have just photographed excerpts from some of them to amuse other people with this sort of interest see

Looking at the post so far it does look as though it’s about building a somewhat eccentric and in some cases rather expensive gentleman’s library, so here are some pictures of other arts and crafts books on the bookshop selves today none should be expensive, very few over £10 per book with an average price about £6.

I hope these will have a somewhat broader appeal, selling engineering and craft books as I do it occurs to me that this is for the most part an area where sexism still flourishes, with nearly all of the books about fabric related craft being bought by females and nearly al of those about wood or metalwork being bought by males.

Staying with a craft related theme I repaired the staircase between the shop and the flat above over the bank holiday weekend. This is something that I hadn’t done before and started by trying to find out how to do this using the internet, after some exasperation going from site to site trying to sell me a new staircase, once again I resorted to the books in the bookshop for the information.

Tuesday 1 June 2010

Pinch and a punch it’s the first of the month.

As this is probably one of the most boring posts that I do each month, I have illustrated it with a picture of The Granville just after it was bombed in WW2, click on it and click on it to enlarge to full size.

What this is about is the relative popularity if the various local blogs that have links to this blog and the nearest I can get to a local blog popularity chart.

Click on the link to view the statistics

Many thanks to the 2,524 Absolute Unique Visitors who read this blog last month.

A few observations about last months statistics, for the first time ever the visitors who came here from other blogs and websites was less than the number from other sources, i.e. direct traffic and search engines combined.

To be honest I don’t really trust this or any other statistical information about the internet but it is the best I have available.

Here is what the overall statistics for this blog have to say have to say.

5,833 Visits
2,524 people visited this site
2,524 Absolute Unique Visitors
9,704 Page Views
1.66 Average Page Views
00:02:37 Time on Site
70.77% Bounce Rate
35.28% New Visits