Sunday 30 October 2011

Manston Airport – Proposed Night-time Flying Policy published online.

Update the council have also put up the documents at an initial glance suggests there are some different ones.  

Here is the link to the page of links to the documents

I may add to this when I have read them, an initial glance suggests that the figures for airport expansion and therefore the economic justification are not realistic. This is probably my fault for not understanding them properly.

As far as I can work out from the report about 60 people working at the airport live in Thanet and they have provided a map to show their distribution. Oddly enough they seem to have moved Ramsgate. I am sure that this is some mistake of mine, but it appears from the map that the report is confused about the location of Ramsgate. 

Please excuse funny tables and stuff appearing here I am trying to produce something that people can actually understand from the proposed night time flying policy. 

Having read and attempted to understand some of this proposed nigh time flying document that is published at it seems on the surface that the author has gone out of the way to make it difficult for an ordinary member of the public to understand.

I find this very strange because the whole subject of night time flights is going to public consultation, so one would expect that if the airport want public support in this consultation process, they would want us to support them in their proposals.

The first thing to get sorted is how loud is what, aircraft noise is designated in a scale that goes QC.25 QC.5 QC1 QC2 QC4 QC8 QC16

Aircraft are at their loudest when taking off and as far as I can see the loudest commercial aircraft are Q4 on takeoff, see table below.     

Aircraft type
QC Departure
QC Arrival

Airbus A320 family
0.5 - 1
0.25 - 0.5

Airbus A380

Boeing 737 Classic
0.25 - 0.5

Boeing 747-400

Boeing 757-200

Boeing 767-300

Boeing 777-200ER

Embraer 145

Most other UK airports limit the night time planes to those either Q2 and below or Q1 and below, Manston seems to be asking for QC4.     

It does appear that what the airport are asking for is for them to be allowed to make the loudest noise that they make during the day, during the night.

It seems that the airport are looking to achieve a relatively high night flying quota in terms of the number of night movements relative to their current level of day movements.

I don’t think a night time quota now can reasonably relate some future level of daytime activity and associated employment, nor do I think the present level of airport employment at about 60 locals on an income of about £20k pa would justify any increase in airport noise.

At a very local level would the 14ish people living in Ramsgate and earning a below average wage justify noise that could damage other aspects of the local economy?

Friday 28 October 2011

Friday ramble.

 Once again my bookshop is busy this morning, probably because of it being market day in Ramsgate, frankly it’s such a gloomy morning I am surprised that there are so many people about.

It is my intention to ramble away fairly aimlessly today in-between customers, so I will be adding to this post as stuff comes up.

A look at Wednesdays post with all of the comment about the queen sparked off a trail of thought about how difficult it must be to be so famous. I am assuming here that the queen will visit The Turner Contemporary – although the royal website has no detailed itinerary, presumably for security reasons – I for one wouldn’t like to miss doing the minor exhibitions, local bookshops and so on, where I visiting this area from another. There are, for instance some particularly good Dunkirk evacuation pictures on display in the Belgian Café at the moment, and of course there is the walk along The Great Wall of Ramsgate, the other large free local art exhibition.

Meeting local dignitaries can’t be much fun, particularly when you have to do so wherever go, the pictures in this post are of some.

Once again I find I haven’t managed to get out and get today’s Isle of Thanet Gazette, trying to read their stories from the internet this morning is proving particularly challenging as they seem to have got some of titles muddled up.

The story about the council reducing the monitoring of their CCTV actually leads on to various letters to the paper, see

With the clocks changing to GMT at the weekend, something that means I finish work in the dark I was interested to spot that the government are to consult Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to seek a UK-wide consensus on a three-year trial of European time which is on hour forward of UK time.

All a bit ironic really what with our relationship with Europe being at a bit of a low, just at the moment I am finding it rather difficult getting up in the mornings, so while I would much rather have the light in the evening, I am also looking forward to the extra hour in bed.

I had thought that as one gets older one is supposed to need less sleep, this doesn’t seem to apply to me. On a more serious note though why don’t the Scots just have their own time?

I have just put up the press release about Kent International Airport’s request for night flights, see and am vaguely wondering how changing, changing the clocks would effect night flights over Ramsgate.

With the airport I have to admit that I suspect their motives, my guess is that they will soon want to sell the airport and that at the moment they are trying to get its regulation down to a minimum in the hope that a buyer will come forward.

My own feelings are that the only way that Manston could ever be a success is by combining a small provincial airport with something related to historic aviation. Perhaps some sort of expansion of the museums there combined with expansion of the historic flights from there.  

In a general sense Manston’s problem is, and has historically been, that it makes a good site for a military airbase but not a good one for a commercial airport. Manston is only four years off the hundred year anniversary of when it was first used for military aircraft. The first commercial use of Manston was in 1959 and for much of the last seventy years many of the commercial operations there were based on sharing the operational costs with the military.     

The council have finally got around to promoting the e-petition about live animal exports on the internet, so fat it’s a sort of half job, they have manage to get out a press release, although it doesn’t have “live animal exports” in the title. This would make it very hard to find on the internet. They have also managed to get it onto the council homepage and here unlike the press release part of their website it does have the phrase in the title.

I didn’t get a response from my email to the leader and chief executive about this, see so I don’t know if they intend to put it on their social networking sites

they seem to have managed the Margate Football Club consultation but nothing further at the moment. I wonder how they decide what to put there, or perhaps the whole thing has got out of control.   

That said they really do seem to have done a good IT job on explaining the Margate Football club application, see

The interactive map at shows the various aspects of the application very clearly.

This is a Margate issue that doesn’t effect me much, the thing that does strike me though is not the hotel that seems to have caused a lot of fuss, but area B which does seem to cut the park in half.

I do intend to respond to this consultation along the lines of; cutting the park in half seems a bit drastic, but as I said this is a Margate issue which I don’t properly understand, so any thoughts before I respond would be gratefully received.      

Wednesday 26 October 2011

No news is good news. Apart from perhaps the royal visit to Margate.

The Kent Messenger Group has pulled out of the deal to buy up The Thanet Times and The Isle of Thanet Gazette.

I am not sure if this is good news or bad news, I suppose this realty relies on their ability to survive what are interesting times in the word of business.

I haven’t had either of the free papers that the two companies produce this week, this means that I have looked at the stories they have produced on their websites instead.

Two stories caught my attention, one being that The Charles Dickens pub in Broadstairs has closed and the other being that the council are going to stop monitoring their CCTV between 3am an 9am

I think the problem here is a fundamental one, which is as technology advances how does anyone get paid for writing anything?

Sorry the picture isn’t very good, should have used different paints, but I hope it shows my confusion over this problem.

The blue I mean, something out of a travelling art palette I have sorted this out now and can put a squirt of cobalt blue straight from pocket to palette and produce a fairly even wash anywhere. 
I will ramble on I expect     

Sorry I digress, of course the main news item is that the queen and the duke of Edinburgh are to visit Margate next month, see once again I find I don’t know what to say.

In view of my recent problems with trying to find out what events are going to be on, I wonder if the council will announce the royal visit on their website.  

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Thanet District Council Launches New What’s on Website

I have to admit that this came as a surprise to me, here is the link

What with their other “what’s on” websites not functioning as perhaps one would hope, I don’t really know what to make of this one or why the council would be funding another website on the subject.

The computer coding of the website says; "Immediacy .NET CMS - Licensed To : Thanet District Council" the contact details on the site are those of our tourist information centre and the email address has a TDC extension.

Strangely it doesn’t seem to have any key words apart from “Reading, Warming Words” so I don’t think it would be easy for a search engine to locate.

One wonders where the money came from for this project or what it hopes to achieve.

The other totally crazy local events site is this one appears to be part funded by TDC and part by the EU.

Words fail me a bit on this one, so I will add to this post later.  

Monday 24 October 2011

Live animal exports through Port Ramsgate

I have just put up Laura Sandys press release about today’s adjournment debate in parliament, see

Ten days ago Thanet District Council promised to support the e-petition, see but as yet there doesn’t seem to be anything about this on their website, something that seems a bit strange to me.

To sign the e-petition you need to go to

I have just sent the following to Thanet District Council’s Chief Executive and the leader of the council.

Sue Bob this is an open letter relating to today’s blog post about live animal exports, see

Should you wish to reply I will publish your reply in full.

Could you please tell me if it is the council’s intention to support the e-petition on their website?

If the council intend to support this petition on their website can you tell answer the following questions.

When will the council do this?

Where on the councils website will they do this, will there be some significant notification on the council’s homepage?

Will the council be supporting this on their Facebook wall ?

Will the council be using their twitter account!/ThanetCouncil ?

Will the council be using their Youtube account ?

With today’s media interest and today’s adjournment debate will the council be responding to this on their various websites in any way?

Best regards Michael.

Anyway I suppose some of you may be wondering why I would bother to question the council’s leadership about this. I suppose the main reason was after hearing about the issue on the news this morning and then publishing Laura’s press release I though I would check the council’s position.

The press including the BBC certainly seem to be saying that the council voted to support the e-petition, the council’s minutes for the council meeting of 13th October haven’t been published online yet and as the webcasting hasn’t happened due to technical reasons, I am taking the media reporting as accurate.

This is what the motion said:

"Council welcomes the setting up, by local people, of a Government e-petition which
calls on Parliament to reform laws regulating the export of live farm animals.
In light of this Council's public disapproval of the export of live animals from the port of
Ramsgate it is resolved that Council supports this Government e-petition and
a) publishes a link to this petition on its website
b) publishes a statement & press release on its website which encourages citizens of
Thanet and elsewhere to sign the Government e-petition."

I am pretty certain that the council had some mention of the live animal export issue on their homepage, but this seems to vanished. The council’s header banner is leading with “Advertise community events” which takes to a mysterious page a consultation that expires today, but nothing about the live animals. Perhaps the have secreted the promised link somewhere else on their various web places, I tried searching but no luck.

With this blog, as I have said before I am in a bit of difficult position, I feel that it is my duty on occasions to ask the council questions on behalf of the people who read it, as you may know I am not allowed to use the press department, a freedom of information request usually takes about a month, so this sort of open letter is the only option I can think of.  

Friday 21 October 2011

Friday Ramble

 Market day in Ramsgate today and with the sunshine the town is busy as is my bookshop, so this will probably be a bit disjointed.

I will start with a bit of moan about the council’s IT as I have posted about it twice this week. The thing that annoys me here is that we are paying for the council to provide a service and part of that service is run badly.

The council’s Facebook wall is a prime example of this, see I posted about this earlier in the week, see

This is still showing an out of date press release and a link to song on YouTube saying how awful Thanet is, what a disaster the Turner Contemporary is and so on. Funny yes, something that the council should have achieved, no.

Most older children manage their Facebook settings so that the public can see what they want them to see on their Facebook wall and not what anyone chooses to put there.

Same with the way the council are promoting local events, now the council have tagged their own website and the tourism website they pay someone else to run for them with “what’s on in Thanet” so if you bung the question into a search engine, as someone outside Thanet these are the two trusted sites that come up. With a major event on this weekend you would expect one or the other of these sites to tell that it was on. See
 Looking at the other local blogs, this offering from The Turner Contemporary interested me

With the local history books that I publish I do a fair bit of printing and using a steamroller isn’t something that has occurred to me.

Something else gallery related that I haven’t touched on before is the rather slow and complicated way that Margate lifeboat is now launched. Perhaps this could be the subject of a ponderous work of art.

While the art exhibition that is now on in the Turner Contemporary is very good I do wonder about the quality and significance of some of the galley’s other activities, once again this is a matter of public funding, something I suppose we should all keep an eye on.

Councillor Simon Moores has recently visited the gallery and concurs with me that the current exhibition is well worth a visit see 

This is also confirmed by Tripadvisor where the latest review is a good one, see

This sort of travel review site is having an increasing influence on where people go and hence where they spend their money, with tripadvisor now linked to Facebook it is easy to see how important the council’s use of Facebook is.

Bignews Margate is another influential local blog that I read and being in Margate Tony’s coverage of the Arlington House issue especially interesting, see

Here in Ramsgate the damage to the town done by Tesco is still evident, they built a large supermarket in the town which had an adverse effect on the existing local shops and then they moved out of town. Why they plan a large supermarket in Margate is a bit unclear, but if it gets built, experience suggests this may cause damage to the town.

I gather that work has started on the new Margate sea defences, I though the internet would be bristling with photos of this work but can’t find much. Correction I am wrong about this they haven’t started work on them yet.

On to today’s paper, too busy to go out to get it but I did look at the articles online and noted this one the part that struck me is that the end result is a problem tenant in Ramsgate becomes a problem tenant in Ciftonville.

Back to the subject of council bashing where I seem to be getting a certain amount of flack, I should point out that my thoughts on the council’s Facebook wall and promotion of events, something that cost all of us who are trying to run businesses in Thanet dearly are intended to try and make them improve the situation.

The net result of previous posts on this subject seem to have resulted in the council stopping promoting local events on their website homepage at all, apart from that is, well today it is: St. Laurence Churchyard Tour (extra October tour)Band Concert - Birchington Silver BandSt. Laurence Church Tour (November)St. Laurence Church Coffee Morning & Plant SaleLeonardo da Vinci at the Court of Milan.St. Laurence Church Tour (December)Wonder Workers and the Art of Illusion.St. Laurence Church Tour (January)The Book of KellsSt. Laurence Church Tour (February)
I am wondering why they seem to have an obsession with giving such a high priority to coffee mornings and plant sales, while completely ignoring important local events, anyone got any ideas?

So a message here to the guys and gals at Cecil Square, we need your Facebook presence, particularly now it is linked to Tripadvisor, so don’t just delete it, put something positive there about the good things happening in Thanet.

Yep your zip is undone, this is easily fixed by moderating who can write on your wall, not I repeat not who can look at your wall and please consider that this may not be the best place to publicise benefit cheats and licensing fraudsters, much better to promote the exhibition at the Turner Contemporary and the beach cross there.

While you are at it, you may wish to consider the council’s twitter presence, see!/ThanetCouncil perhaps you could tweet a few positive things there.

There is also the council’s Youtube presence nothing since the video showing the inside of one of our derelict buildings since you bunged it up about seven weeks ago.

One way or another you may wish to question who it is that is using internet social media to bash Thanet. 

Prize for the worst Thanet video goes to Turner Contemporary with this offering, don’t worry it is mercifully short and fortunately no one appears have watched it.       

Late Night Live: Noise 30.9.11 - Noise shop with Juneau projects from Turner Contemporary on Vimeo.

Up until this point I have always assumed that the constraint that has held modern music together is that the instruments have to be in tune. By this I mean something along the lines of, you may only like classical music but you would certainly know it if say an electric guitar was out of tune badly, or would you?

I may ramble on and hopefully read this and correct some of the errors.    

Thursday 20 October 2011

Ramsgate Beach Cross, and What’s on in Thanet.

Ramsgate Beach Cross is this weekend, 22nd 23rd October and will be the second year for the annual event at the Kent seaside town.

2011 is no different with the bars, restaurants and shops looking forward to receiving the extra visitors, riders and crews from across the UK and Europe.

Racers from all over mainland Europe will be competing with from riders from throughout the UK.

The weekend is an individual event but also doubles up as rounds five and six of the BXUK (British Beach Cross Championship) endorsed by the MCF.

The course will once again be set out on the dry beach, without standing water. Spectator viewing from the promenade which sweeps past the course and round to the marina where the fun fair will be located.

Here are the pictures of last year’s event

Viewing the council’s websites you could be forgiven for thinking there is no such event, try and find it on the council funded leisure site even knowing that it is on and browsing upcoming events at I had a job.

The various events in Margate seem to have caused a bit of a whiteout on the site. Silly me I thought that this was the main event this weekend.

How one gets across to the council that promoting Thanet events on the internet needs doing properly and in a way that major events are visible to people who would come here for the day and spend their money, I just don’t know.

If you are a Thanet council taxpayer you are paying for the council to provide this service, so you may wish to ask the council about it. If I get time I will try again.  

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Arlington House Margate, Tesco planning decision today

Update the planning committee have voted to send this to full council for decision.  

This application comes back to Thanet District Council’s planning committee for decision today.

Frankly this is a Margate issue and not something that I really understand, there is a certain amount of background information that some people may have missed, so here it is.

Dreamland Trust’s response to TDC ‘independent’ heritage report

Arlington House Residents Association letter to councillors


Personally my take on this is as a heritage issue, there is a sense that the council may be under pressure to make a decision before English Heritage has had time to assess whether Arlington House should be granted listed status. 

Tuesday 18 October 2011

New Plans for Ramsgate Slipways

This is a preview of the new plans that are being submitted to the council today, I can’t form a detailed appraisal of the project until the plans apper on the council’s planning website.

My understanding is that the intention is for slipways 2, 3 and 4 to go with slipway no 1 being retained, the new building shown above to house a restaurant.

I will add to this one later today.  

Sorry about the delay completing this post, as I said I can’t really say much until the plans are available for inspection on the council’s website.

Presumably like the previous application there will be two sets, one for some demolition on the site and one for the development above, the previous demolition plans were to demolish to the extent that slipways 2, 3 and 4 were rendered unusable, these were rejected, so I am assuming the new demolition plans will be different.

Obviously the drawing above looks in keeping and attractive, but the key to the whole business is what slipway provision the harbour needs to be a viable harbour and how this development effects that provision.  

Thanet District Council’s Facebook Mystery

When it comes to Facebook to be honest the whole thing is a bit of a mystery to me, with my own facebook site and after some difficulty, all I do is connect it to this blog so that what I post here shows there automatically.

I just don’t have time for more internet sites and have stuck with blogger as it is easy to use, particularly for people who want to comment without having to fill in some online form.

What the council do on the internet is a bit different though for a number of reasons, the most pertinent being that all of us council taxpayers contribute to the cost and so there is a sense that the councils efforts to publish information on the internet represents all of us.

As far as I can see when it comes to facebook the council have tried to do something similar to what I do with my blog posts with their press releases, the underlying problem for the council is that when it comes to IT they seem to take the approach that they know better than anyone else, and can solve problems by throwing our money at them.

At the moment the council publish their press releases like a bog with comments disallowed, see and this part of the council’s website is supposed to feed to other websites, like a blog does. If the council’s feeds worked properly, every time they added a press release their facebook page would update, people who subscribe to the council’s press releases would receive a new press release and just like blogger other local internet sites would receive the feed and an updated link would go to the top of the list.

To explain this in a bit more detail, when the other local bloggers, Tony, Simon, Don, Peter and so on write a new blog post it pops up on the top of my sidebar and people like you who read the local blogs, notice this and go there to read what they have written.

The problem is though that the council’s feeds don’t work properly, now a simple solution to this would be for the council to use a blog with the comments disallowed, blogger is very versatile and you can use a a blog with all of the complicated and expensive add-ons like feeds and free image publication without it showing to the blog readers, Thanet Waves does this see

For a number of years now I have been trying to get the council to solve these problems by just embedding a blog in their website and putting their press releases with the associated images, all something that we pay for.

Over this period of time I have had various answers from the council about why their feeds don’t feed properly, the latest being that this is because of a fault with Google, obviously as the don’t feed properly to facebook either this just doesn’t make sense.

As a sort of temporary solution to this problem I have put the new council information that I can fairly easily manually extrapolate from their website and their press releases onto the internet for them. See I don’t think the council like this very much and there have been some efforts by them to make doing this difficult for me. Apart from a short period of time when they took me off of their press release email list I have done this consistently for the last two years.

So here is their facebook wall showing a press release they published on 12.10.2011 with a link to The Thanet Anthem

This would be funny it we weren’t paying for it. 

Monday 17 October 2011

Council owned property in Thanet

After Saturday’s post about the fire in the Pav and the fantastic weekend weather I have just got to the comments some of which are about the Thanet District Council owned properties in Ramsgate.

It is my intention to try and get some sort of update about what is happening with them from the council, but before doing this I want to make certain that my enquiry includes all of the important ones.

Any help with this one from blog readers would be appreciated, obviously I think I know about the Ramsgate ones, but am not really sure if this problem just a Ramsgate one, or if there are major council owned properties in the rest of Thanet, where things are not really going to plan.

So please if anyone knows of any others let me know, either in the comments or by email, link on the sidebar.

Starting with the largest, the Pleasurama site, this still seems to be very much behind schedule and although there is some provision for this in the various agreements with the council, the council don’t seem to have pursued the matter at all.

I am not saying that this development has gone totally wrong, just that the council and via the council us the taxpayers should be aware of the real situation.

The development’s website says that the first apartments should be ready for occupation in about two years see the agreement with the council says the work they are doing at the moment, laying foundations or ground work should have been completed by the end of August 2010 and that the structural frame for section A should have started going up in March 2011 and should be completed by February 2012, with the whole of the development finished by February 2014, see

There is within the agreement room for the developer to go back to the council and seek a delay of up to three years, but this doesn’t seem to have happened.

Next on the list is Westcliff Hall, last used as the motor museum, my understanding is that this is in a poor structural condition and that the council made some effort to get rid of it and the associated liability. The latest I have heard it that a voluntary group hopes to take it over.

This is what it says on the council’s website “Ongoing discussions are taking place about granting an option to a local group who are interested in developing the building. It is important that the interested community group should understand the costs of alterations and maintenance of the building.”

And more recently. “WESTCLIFF HALL, RAMSGATE
This is subject to a further Cabinet report at the 22nd September meeting to seek
approval to grant an option to the Local Carbon Community Ramsgate (now Project
MotorHouse Ltd).”

Next Albion House, I think that the town council wanted to take over this one but couldn’t come to an agreement with TDC, at the moment TDC seem to be just letting it fall apart.

Next The Maritime Museum, I think negotiations about this are ongoing with Preston Steam Trust, the charity that want to run it as a museum. I believe that these negotiations have been going on for about five years now, with the council periodically moving the goal posts.

Next the heritage pontoons, with the question why isn’t there a reasonable display of heritage vessels there? Up until recently the council were even deriving income from the display of vessels there.

Next the café on the end of the East Pier.

Next the old tourist information offices.

On to the council owned assets that have tenants.

The harbour slipways, after plans to build a bar complex on most of them were turned down, activity as a working slipways there seems to be gradually diminishing. This raises the questions. Can the harbour be viable without working slipways? Are the slipways in the wrong place? The council condemned the cradle on one of the slipways some time ago, two of the others are used some of the time but very little in terms activity seems to have occurred there in the last few months.

I suspect that much of the problem here relates to the viability of boat repair business and the proximity to European competition.

The Royal Victoria Pavilion, obviously we don’t want the council to become embroiled in some expensive legal action with The Rank Organisation who are the tenants. It’s very easy to criticise with hindsight, but it does seem to be about time that some action is taken over this building. As far as I have been able to discover Saturday’s fire didn’t cause any structural damage. Obviously the building’s security isn’t up to much, which surprises me for a building that housed a casino, I would have expected it to have at least an operational alarm system.   

I suppose the fundamental problem here is that because so many on the main council owned properties in Ramsgate are not being used in a way that makes sense, either in commercial or social terms, people become less inclined to believe that the council is managing them properly.

Added to this are the time scales and the unfortunate ends to other major council owned facilities in the town like the building that housed Neros or the swimming pool and associated buildings.

Saturday 15 October 2011

Fire at The Royal Victoria Pavillion Ramsgate Today

This is endemic of the council owned iconic sites in Ramsgate, years of neglect, in this case a failure to implement the terms of the lease, meaning that what should be a major tourist attraction is just boarded up and derelict. 

The dreadful condition of the inside of the pavillion or pavilion – don’t know which is right – The Pav, is beyond anything I could describe so I took some pictures last November, see

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Ramsgate Shelter Restoration, vote for funding

To vote for this funding from NatWest, first go to and register, you then get an email confirming registration and need to click on the link in it to confirm your registration, then click the log in link on the page that opens and log in, then you need to go to tick the box accepting their terms and click on vote, this is a fairly slow and cranky website that doesn’t always seem to work, so you may need some patience. 

You can repeat the process using however many email addresses you have.

Monday 10 October 2011

Dover Castle Pictures 9th October 2011

The weather forecast yesterday wasn’t encouraging and the old question of what you do, when you have children, a wet weather forecast and you want a day out in this area raised its ugly head, like the square root of minus one. 

The idea being that everyone, adults as well as children wind up feeling as though they have had some sort of weekend break, so Dover Castle was elect. The idea being to do the parts of it that we don’t usually do, church, roman lighthouse, and the tunnels that are just open, requiring no guides or safety elf.

As it was it didn’t rain, so we spent a fair bit of the time outside. I used my large digital camera that has virtually no delay between pressing the button and taking the picture, so there are a lot of photographs, about 500 I think.

The problem was lunch, English Heritage for the most part have greatly improved their cafés and although the price is high the quality is usually ok, they also normally have a range of sandwiches that children will eat.

This means ham without mustard, cheese without an exciting spicy chutney and so on, yesterday they only had the dreaded “adult” sandwiches at around £4 a go, or something that looked like expensive school dinners. The children at the next table were exclaiming about the worst ever lunch and trying to remove the offending ingredients from their sandwiches. Mine opted for a bag of crisps each at 95p a go. I tried the pie and it was reminiscent of school dinners.

What seems to have happened is the healthy option degenerated into something institutional and the only institutional food that children will eat, sos – buger and chips has gone.

Next time we will take our own sandwiches and just drink their tea which while expensive is palatable, as are their jam, cream and scones. 

With so many pictures I am bound to get some flack: Why don’t I edit them? Why do I publish the bad ones? Why do I put 100 on a page? So my recommendation is to avoid looking at them altogether.

I should point out that at the time of writing this I haven’t even seen the pictures, the computer is processing them while I am writing, the camera was supposed to rotate some of them automatically, something it doesn’t always do and I will look at them when I get time, just like anyone else who wants to.

Here are the links to the pages of pictures

Friday 7 October 2011

Kiss me quick, I can’t find my little Willie, a ramble about Rodin’s second Kiss now at the Turner Contemporary.

I went to Margate to see the sculpture “The Kiss” by Auguste Rodin (a note here on pispronunciation Rodin is normally pronounced Rodan, the best I have heard so far being Odin, I assume they were going on the R being almost silent in French, who say something like rODan) anyway this isn’t so much bout Norse mythology as Greek.

I wandered into the Turner Contemporary, took a few pictures, mostly trying to get a lot of reflections of The Kiss in Dainel Buren’s mirrors and then sat down to look at people looking at The Kiss. The sequence of events in today’s technological world was pretty much the same, walk towards sculpture, fumble about for mobile phone, camera or other small black technological item, take pictures of sculpture, retreat.

Eventually a chap appeared adorned with enough expensive camera equipment to stock a photography shop and started snapping away like a pro, at this point one of the gallery staff came and told him that photography of The Kiss wasn’t allowed.

This is all rather strange, my understanding was that The Turner Contemporary had banned photography in the galleries upstairs as a lot of the exhibits are still in copyright and with so many artists work on show, sorting out the copyright position would have been pretty much impossible.

Rodin died in 1917 94 years ago and copyright lasts until 70 years after the artist’s death , so what is going on there I didn’t really understand, particularly as you can photograph it when it is in its normal home The Tate Gallery.

At this point I got my sketch book out and put my camera away, I haven’t yet been ticked off for sketching in an art gallery, so this seemed a fairly safe option.

The Kiss on display in the gallery is the one I always think of as the second kiss, the first one that Rodin did was commissioned by the French government in 1888 and is now in The Rodin Museum, this one was a copy done by Rodin for a private commission. So when some sculptor says something about revealing the shape that was already there in the stone, in this case several tons of marble, you may wonder what they are blathering on about.

The history of this second kiss is rather amusing, it was commissioned by the American collector Edward Perry Warren, Edward Perry Warren was gay and apparently saw Rodin as the modern inheritor of the classical Greek tradition.

Anyway he wrote to Rodin asking that the man’s genitals be clearly sculpted in the Greek tradition, rather than modestly hidden. Warren paid 20,000 franks a lot of money in about 1900 and when the sculpture turned up things on that front were a bit disappointing.

Warren put the sculpture in his stables where it stayed for ten years, in 1952 The Tate organised an appeal for public donations and bought it for the nation for a knockdown price of £7,500.

We now have a situation where the standard Tate loan agreement says no photography so lots gallery staff time is wasted telling people not to photograph the thing, I will endeavour to sort it with the Tate for the Turner.

A point here about copyright and galleries, when a gallery says that a photograph of an exhibit they have where the a artist has been dead for over 70 years is copyright, the copyright they are referring to is that of the photographer who took the picture of the work of art, not the work of art. 

The picture above is of the Kiss etching by Marcel Duchamp, with the repositioned hand that I mentioned in a previous post.

I have been trying out a compact camera, but the delay on it is too long, so I will have to find something else, pity because the picture quality is OK, anyway here are the pictures I took in Margate yesterday not many because I lost patience with the camera.

Update, the Tate have agreed to relax the photography restrictions on The Kiss and as the Turner Contemporary have removed the note that photography of The Kiss is not allowed from their website, it would appear that the situation is resolved.  

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Turner’s paintings at The Turner Contemporary

 The gallery have just published pictures on their website, of some of the Turners in the Turner Contemporary that are on display at the moment.

 This part of their website seems to owe much to the nitrousoxide school of web publishing in as much as the pictures come and go as you are looking at them, so I have copied them to this blog and also on a conventional webpage here
 I have put them up in different sizes as that is the way the gallery has published them, four of them are particularly important to local people as they are pictures of Thanet.

With the watercolours of Thanet I reckon the palate is, Indian ink, sepia ink, yellow ochre, rose madder, cobalt blue and a pencil.



Tuesday 4 October 2011

Art Installation Animal Export Protest as The Turner Contemporary Margate gets Rodin’s Kiss.

I couldn't find a picture of Rodin turning up with his sculpture The Kiss so I have done a quick sketch.
I know the repositioning of the hand is an old joke in the art world, I am sorry I couldn’t resist it.

A bit of an overreaction from TDC I thought to about twenty people engaged in a peaceful protest, see

I think the leaders comments that it is ok to protest in Ramsgate but not in Margate in case it effects business are open to some unfortunate interpretations. 

Here is some video footage of the protest

Monday 3 October 2011

Royal Sands Development on the Pleasurama site in Ramsgate again.

As pretty much everyone in Ramsgate must be aware, progress on the development is still moving at snails pace. The heath and safety notice on the site is a two year one for 200 workers that expires in March, so my calculation that if it takes 200 workers 2 years to build it the four workers on site will probably take 100 years to complete it I think is still a valid one.

So far we have had about fourteen years with this prime council owned leisure site a hideous mess that blights the town, so I periodically tackle the council about it. This is usually a very long and drawn out business and I would imagine it will be about a month before I receive any reply at all.

Last time I did this was in March and I published the replies I got in august see trying to have a conversation with someone that takes months to reply is a very tedious business, but I am starting the process again. The August replies were not very encouraging.

1.    No records are held of changes to the development agreement on this issue.

1a.    No records of a revised programme are held.

1b.    No records of a public information programme are held.

2.    No material alterations to the approved scheme have been proposed or         approved.

3.    Following the refurbishment work undertaken in 2008 and 2009 a programme     of inspections will commence in October this year. The future programme will be developed following these inspections and until these are carried out the     information that you have requested is not held.

Well you can follow the link to the previous post about the issue if you are getting a bit lost. What I think the council are saying is that have lost all control over their management of this prime site that they are supposed to be administering on our behalf.

It is very difficult to work out what the developer is doing, the development agreement with the council states that he should have finished the pile boring process by the beginning or this year and that by now he should have pretty much completed the steel cage.

This would have been a labour intensive task, creating employment and hopefully a strong structure anchored to the bedrock some three or four metres below the site. What has happened instead is that between two and four workers on site have dug a series of holes about a metre deep and fill these with concrete leaving thin reinforced concrete posts about 3 metres high sticking up out of the ground.

Obviously I have asked the council’s building control department what they think of this, as the building isn’t anchored to the ground as the original project was supposed to be and these thin concrete posts are appearing instead of the steel cage that was expected.

The answer goes something like, we thought that the council’s building control were going to be in charge of this and that we would have considerable control over the construction and the approval of detailed construction buildings, however the developer has used a private firm licensed to oversee building control, so we can’t really say anything. What they have to say off the record, well is off the record, you can always ring them up and have a chat with them.

I suppose the think I find most worrying is that we now have a large development starting on a high risk flood zone, sitting on the old beach that was laid down by the sea instead of one anchored firmly in the solid chalk below it. However all of this is being carries out within the regulations as they stand at the moment.

The failure to comply with the time structure set out in the development agreement with the council is a different matter altogether and I find the fact that the council have made no effort to find out why the developer is so far behind very concerning.

The development now has a website where you can tell which apartment have been reserved, see the server is a bit slow and you have click on a bout 20 links to find out, I think it is about 8 out of 109.

The other big potential hazard to this development is its proximity to the 70 foot high unsupported chalk cliff. The condition of the concrete cliff façade being the most visible problem. This is essentially split into three parts. The brick bit at the Broadstairs end of the site that was built in 1860 and partially collapsed in the 1960s. the arched concrete bit in the middle that was built in the 1930s and seems to be sound and reasonably well built. The bit at the harbour end of the site that has several cracks in it and weed growing on it. So far the developer has only done work in front of the sound looking arched bit in the middle. 

So with this rather mixed bag I have to work out what to ask the council, this is a tricky one as it may be a considerable time before I get a reply. This isn’t made any easier because of the problems I pointed out to the leader and chief executive of the council the other day. By this I mean that the officer in charge of this development, head of major developments has gone, and the officer in charge of building control has also gone.  

Here are the pictures from the compact camera’s card where I got the picture of the site taken today a bit of a mixed bag. 

Also in all of this there is what I want to achieve, part of certainly the part of me that is in business in this part of Ramsgate would just like them to get on with the thing in the time frame the promised, well this obviously isn’t happening and isn’t likely to. Another part of me is concerned about the safety aspects of the development, particularly the storm damage and the cliff stability problems.  

I would appreciate it if anyone has any ideas on what to ask the council about the development, they would either post them as a comment or email me.  

The Royal Sands website says: “The Developers for the Royal Sands development are SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd a UK based Commercial and Residential Development Company with experience in mixed schemes in both the UK and overseas.”

I have trawled the internet made a companies house search and yet can find nothing to suggest that they have ever developed anything, even a garden shed.

So if anyone knows of anything they have actually either developed or failed to develop it would be a useful indicator of what we have to expect in Ramsgate.

I will carry on with this post as I get time.