Tuesday 31 December 2013

New years honours and predictions

Thanet seems to have missed out on the OBE stakes for 2014 although a couple fo KCC councillors feature:

Councillor Paul Benedict Crossland CARTER Leader, Kent County Council. For services to Local Government.

Councillor John David SIMMONDS Member, Kent County Council. For services to Local Government.

Oh and Roger de Haan who gets a knighthood and becomes Sir Roger de Haan

The whole list is here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/new-years-honours-lists-2014  in case I missed someone or something.

This is a recent photo of highland haggis hunting a popular hogmanay sport apologies for forgetting to illustrate the post earlier.  

On to trying to predict something for 2014

As a shop assistant I will start with that.


I think the main recent change here has been browsing the shops and then buying cheaper online, with the smartphone aspect of this being cutting edge at the moment.

I can partly explain this in teams of secondhand books, something I sort of understand, this is becoming a bit of a double edged sword with pretty much everything hanging on the price. In simple terms if the price in the shop isn’t competitive with the price (including p&p) online, then for the most part this spells the end of the shop.

Now most of the secondhand books I buy from other shops are for resale and the internet sites, particularly Amazon and Ebay - the main sources of secondhand books - have changed the values of secondhand books, meaning that when it comes to pricing I am no longer as much of an expert as I was. Which means I generally look book prices up on the internet before buying them, if I can’t get an internet signal on my smartphone then I mostly don’t buy the book.

So my prediction here will be more shop closures and I guessing that the balance has shifted so there will be probably more at Westwood Cross than in the Thanet towns during 2014.


Are there any more big skeletons in the cupboard? Not sure here I may come back to this later.

I intend to work on this post on and off today as I get the odd bit of time or I think of something.


I would guess the airport is more likely to go one way or anther, I would predict that the last fifty years of loss making commercial aviation there will come to an end fairly soon although I am not sure this will happen during 2014 but I would say the sale price of £1 was an indicator. 


With Pleasurama I guess the February 2014 date when the development agreement completion date expires, word on the street is that the developer can’t come up with the funding and isn’t likely to. Despite this I am predicting a long and expensive legal battle between the developer and the council.   

Port Ramsgate
I guess Port Ramsgate has a bit of a history of making losses while Ramsgate marina makes a profit as an expensive boat park. The history of this is difficult to extrapolate due some creative accounting where the marina profits and the port losses get a bit tangled up. The prediction here is that the port will produce a loss again.  

I guess the big question here is whether Wetherspoons are going to turn the Pav into another Mechanical Elephant, I don’t know what to predict with this one, but will go with it remaining a council owned derry.  

Albion House
Well this one is finally under way and should soon be Boutique Hotel, which is what I am predicting.  

The tunnels are due to open to the public in June and as they are the largest all weather leisure space in Thanet I am expecting this to be a very significant development attracting more visitors that The Turner Contemporary. 

Westcliff Hall
Project Motormouth as it has become known locally still has a very long way to go as far as I can see, so I predicting that this will still be anohtere council owned derry by the end of 2014. 

Plans to turn the working slipways into a bar and café have been passed, but the council own the freehold and the lease at the moment stipulates that the site can only be used as a boatyard.

Of course the other side of the coin here is that the developer owns the freehold of The Custom House and leases this to Ramsgate Town Council, so factoring this in I would say it will turn into a bar and café and would expect work to be well underway by the end of 2015.    

An amusing aspect of this is that the council has commissioned a boat hoist to replace the slipway but word on the street is that they have ordered the wrong hoist and it isn’t big enough to lift the windfarm cats.


Well with this one I am still waiting for the first showing of a major exhibition that will be a big draw for the artistic community worldwide resulting in gallery rage queuing and a monetary return for taxpayers, don’t hold your breath in 2014. I am predicting further catalogues where the exhibit numbers don’t match and further mechanical breakdowns. 






I am predicting that the days of open anonymous comment will be over in 2014.

Sunday 29 December 2013

Van Dyck before and after a bit more storm damage and the further Sunday ramblings of a deranged shop assistant.

With my own propensity for. What? Doodling with paint I guess would be a fair description although with watercolour – which is what I have used so far – although I am never entirely certain whether it is the runniness of the medium that is more creative or me. I was interested in the vicar’s Van Dyck in the news, although more from the artistic point of view, I tried the internet for before and after pictures, that is before the restoration which seemed to be removing the efforts of later artists to. What? Improve the painting, bring it more up to date, make it more like a photograph; not really sure something like that.   

Anyway here are the two pictures of the Van Dyck.
Van Dyck before the later additions were removed.

Van Dyck after restoration and presumably much more as it was when Van Dyck had first painted it.

One of the presents I got for Christmas is an oil painting art box that converts into an easel,
 something that should make it much easier for me to have a go at oil painting, where unlike watercolour you can indeed keep on painting over the top of what you have already painted, possibly eventually to arrive with something like a photograph. This isn’t really the direction I want to go in, but I am interested in being able to put light colours on top of dark ones, which is difficult to do with watercolour.    

The recent high wind, or perhaps another Santa sledging accident had brought down See Well Opticians sign here in King Street Ramsgate, fortunately I don’t think anyone was underneath it at the time.

I have just noticed the new radar on Ramsgate’s port control (Eagle Café), sorry once again the mobile phone camera just doesn’t cut the mustard, you may see something by expanding the photo.  

I did get a clip on lens attachment for my phone camera which extends the range of lens length from this

To this. 
Although a digital slr will let you even further than this
Harbour Chocolate Lounge has opened in one of the harbour arches and although I didn’t get time to try it out today I will asap.

I will endeavour to ramble on here 

Thursday 26 December 2013

Ramsgate St George and the Christmas Card Accident.

Thanks to the children who asked how it happened, Vincent for the stars and Terry for the pig.  

I am updating this post as we have just had several people here to eat with us and none of them was aware of what happened to St George's Church in Ramsgate during the last few days.

Two pictures taken from the same place. This is before

and this one after, sorry about the definition the bookshop is rather a long way from the church for my mobile phone's camera  

A thought on digital cameras here, with both pictures taken from the same place. The top one was taken with my Pentax ist D which is a 2003 6.1 megapixel digital slr with a 210 mm zoom lens which I bought in the 1970s. The bottom one taken with the 8 megapixel camera on my 2011 mobile phone.     

Ah if you get battery problems with one of these old Pentax digital cameras you could do worse that cleaning the battery terminals on the camera with a bit of meths or surgical alcohol on a cotton bud.

I have to admit to being reluctant to use my older lenses on my newer camera because of the dust on the the sensor problem, the ist D is only worth about £50 and I have debugged the sensor in this by getting it wet with surgical spirit before now, not something I recommend however anyone who uses a digital slr a lot will know that the specks on the sensor problem can be like bad bugs on a car windscreen.    

Oh and while on the subject of unusual Christmas imagery, why three ships on Christmas day in the morning? 

Anyway happy Christmas all round, sorry I didn’t get a chance to post yesterday due to family Christmas.

Sunday 22 December 2013

Curtains for Mousehold and reading with mother an artistic post.

With all four of my children +1 filling the 7 seater and the prospect of no long journey due to two of them travelling backwards and not wishing to tempt mal de vouture or whatever it is. I only achieved 4% in French, so am probably hopelessly wrong here. Where was I yes an hour at the Turner Contemporary, not much day due to yesterdays winter solstice – celebrated this with a quick visit to the mind body and spirit section in my bookshop – rather than hang around a henge.  

Anyway another go at Turner and Constable; Sketches from Nature, I is not allowed to photo this, but the picture Mousehold Heath, Norwich, painted by John Chrome in around 1820 is readily available on the internet, this is the version from The Tate website at http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/crome-mousehold-heath-norwich-n00689. I haven’t nicked it, just copied the code telling the blog where it is.

The picture didn’t sell and for some reason it's painted on canvas and the artist cut it in half – you can just see the join a bit left of centre if you click on it compulsively to big it muchly – curtains for his garret? Perhaps.  

What happened is a bit of a mystery, the whole exhibition is an exercise in decipherment, for example the picture on the wall in the gallery is identified with a label as No 66 – clickerty click – you may well think but it is number 55 in the exhibition’s catalogue, which also presumably didn’t sell as the gallery have reduced the price from fifteen quid to a tenner.

Writing up this post from my seat in the living room and from an artistic point of view the view is, reading with mother.

Margate was being moderately festive, here are the pictures.

Back to speculation about “Mousehold Heath, Norwich” the place Mousehold Heath, Norwich had been enclosed, the enclosure thingy in history; I think by, 1820 so this view didn’t exist when it was painted, funny thing history.

After the artist had died it came into the hands of an art dealer, not sure if John chrome had joined it back together by then, but the figures were added by a different artist and I guess it sold.

Here are the pictures of Margate today      

 the next five are from the gallery's exhibition K. Yoland: Then There was Land

I have to admit to still having considerable reservations about the exhibition Turner and Constable; Sketches from Nature, criticism of my reading with mother sketch that I painted here just now was considerable and varied. And I guess the exhibition does pass my main test inasmuch as as soon is I got back home I did paint the picture, but still it doesn’t really do it for me. Can I say the pictures are second rate? Can anyone one say pictures by artists of that much fame and standing are ever second rate? I guess it is the George Stubbs
Newmarket Heath, with a Rubbing-Down House" c.1765 that worries me the most.
 Where is the horse?

Friday 20 December 2013

New shop in the old police station, the scaffolding goes up on Albion House, a groan about blog comment, in all a Friday ramble.

The new shop “Saltworks” in Albert Court is partially open, they are still working on the old cells and I gather this part will be open early in the New Year.

The pictures, mobile phone shots and not really much good as one needs a wider angle lens for inside shops.

Good to see work starting on Albion House, the main thing that will make me consider voting Labour at the next TDC elections will be the number of council owned Ramsgate properties that come back into use. Frankly when it comes to TDC it is a case of actions speak louder than words, with Pleasurama speaking louder than anything.

About fifteen years of trading in a seaside town with the main seafront leisure site derelict gives little room for other considerations beyond how much in terms of sales I have lost over that period due to this situation.

Looking at the other big seafront monster “The Pav” I do wonder if the various local councils got their act together, or had got their act together, taken back the lease, got some grant funding and produced something that would give people an hour or so of all weather leisure attraction in the way that the Turner Contemporary does it for Margate, just what the effect would be on Ramsgate businesses. Much as bars and cafés or places to have your nails painted help, there needs to be something to get you to go to a town in the first place.

On the blog front I have to admit that the anonymous comment aimed at trying to take posts over to publicise various agendas is making me reluctant to bother posting. Even ECR has put comment moderation on and whereas I make time to take a few pictures and type out a post most days, I just don’t have either the time or the inclination to moderate comments. 

I have, over the last couple of weeks, tried to reason with some of these individuals by replying to comments that I wouldn’t normally bother to, the bloke who thinks the bubbles in his beer are poisonous, the bloke who thinks Pleasurama is an ongoing success story, the bloke who thinks local councillors are hatching a terrorist plot and so on.

I noticed that The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has/is appearing at the cinema and would recommend that before commenting here you take a moment or two to watch the trailer.

Anyway I would say the bog is in the last chance saloon, I am taking a much less relaxed attitude to bonkers comment, general rudeness, low level bickering and will only be turning on the anonymous comment facility when I am in the mood to deal with it.   

My bookshop has now gone all festive as my children put up some Christmas decorations in it yesterday, they did this with blue-tack so there are stability problems particularly for taller people, which in this case is most people.

I guess it’s a bit early for a blog Christmas card but I will endeavour to do something on Christmas day. 

A new cafe has opened in the end of Westwood Cross Tesco where the old Tesco eatery was, I haven't tried it yet and will report when I do.    

The view is a bit pedestrian for sketching 
Here is an article on DECKS at Tesco http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/companies/supermarkets/tesco/tesco-hits-the-decks-in-south-with-latest-hypermarket-extra/349738.article looking inside but not having time to try it out, it was certainly fairly busy, which the previous Tesco 1960s school dinner arrangement wasn’t.

We occasionally use the McDonalds at Westwood which is often so busy that getting a table is slightly tricky, while the adjacent 1960s school dinner arrangement at Sainsburys always seems to be virtually empty.

Frankly I find the whole business of getting a quick cheap meal when shopping there with the children to be pretty much impossible, so I hoping that this one will fill the bill.

Trying to unscramble what may be ok at WC on the café front is very difficult as it is all in together under Broadstairs on Tripadvisor, ithink the best review is for the Asda café, see http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g635678-d3971067-Reviews-Asda_Cafe-Broadstairs_Isle_of_Thanet_Kent_England.html not one I have tried either.    

I may ramble on her if I think of anything else to say