Thursday 30 April 2015

New plans for The Manston Airport Site

Here is the link to the site with more information on it
My own take is that to cpo the site for an airfreight hub would be disastrous for Thanet because of the air pollution problem, I think the last news article about this was yesterday, see  

The nub of the issue being that we already have levels of air pollution in Thanet that are close to having a serious impact on life expectancy and that burning a ton of kerosene every time a freight plane takes off or lands, would put the northern and eastern part of the island over the edge. This is because the distance the pollution from burning a ton of kero takes to dissipate to the background level is about 10 miles.

As I have been saying all along a regional passenger airport would have been ok but there is only what discovery parks want to do or the freight hub on the table.    

I guess with the election coming on it does raise the question of whether turkeys actually do vote for Christmas and I suppose over the next week we will find out. 

Monday 27 April 2015

Dead Horses, a sort of Time Bomb and the first lesson in Oil Painting, a ramble from the bookshop in Ramsgate and of course Manston Airport.

There is only one thing you can be sure of in a day of bookselling and that is something bizarre will come up. So starting with an extract about Ramsgate at Christmas from European Magazine vol 51 pp 358 (May 1807)

It is certainly gratifying to learn that here in Ramsgate we were making a significant impact on European travellers a couple of hundred years ago. It also makes me wonder just what the Thanet voters will do for our relationship with Europe. 

Pretty much the next book I came to, in my pile of things to do was the Pelican book about Explosives, a sort of early anarchist's cook book.

Published in 1942 when all of the road signs had been removed to make it interesting for any German spy, the note on the title page verso about leaving it in a post office for any service man and woman to pick up amused me. 

A whole new issue in the secondhand book world, well I guess in the whole book world is the sticky security tag.

As you can see from the picture, if you have a pile of books with them on, the distorting effect is likely to lead to the books getting damaged.

On to the oil painting lesson, if you are a regular reader of this blog then you will know that I do a certain amount of painting and drawing. Up until now this activity has been confined, medium wise, to pencil, pen and watercolour. Anyway this year, now the weather is getting good enough to paint, I am going to have a go with the oil paint.

Now if you paint, or have considered painting and your idea of painting would be to stick a photograph up on the wall, erect your easel and paint the photo, then don't bother to read this.

If however you are like me and would really only be bothered to paint from life, then oil painting presents something of a problem. Obviously with oil painting equipment it doesn't all fit in my pocket like my watercolour kit does, so I bought a thing called a French Easel and this overcomes most of the problems, including carting around the painting when it is still wet.

I have had various practice sessions at home and kept coming up against the Paddington effect (the bear not the station) what I discovered is that like marmalade, oil paint is sticky. Up to now the paint managed to get onto my hands, the brushes, my clothes and so on, so I have developed this technique.

1 Don't hold the palette but jam it or clamp it onto the easel.

2 Limit yourself to 2 or at the most three brushes.

3 Only put a pea sized amount of paint on the palette apart from White which you will need a bit more of.

4 Don't touch the cloth you use to clean the brushes, lay it out several layers thick, wipe as much paint off the brush on the cloth, without picking it up, as you can, dip the brush the brush in the turps and squidge it around and the wipe it on the cloth again, without picking the cloth up.

5 Only put the paint on the palette that you are going to use, by this I mean that if you are going to start with the sky, just squirt out a dob of blue, a dob of white and if you have red in the sky a dob of red, don't bung on dobs from tubes until you need the colours.

6 Use a completely different cloth to the one you are using for cleaning brushes, to get off paint that gets on you.

I had hoped to do a political post today, comparing the different parties manifestos for TDC if the become councillors.

All I have received is a statement from Sir Roger Gale, who wants TDC to cpo Manston Airport so an American company can turn it into an airfreight hub.

Now when Manston closed I was all for saving a regional airport that I could fly from for business and leisure, but an airfreight hub I can't fly from is something that I consider would be very harmful to Thanet.

Of course now the situation has changed now the airport has been closed for about a year, the main change is that it has been bought by one of the main local employers, Discovery Parks and they have plans for a considerable amount of jobs at Manston.

So if there is a message for Roger or any other politicians, don't mess with the truth or it may backfire on you, if you want to save the airport as part of you election promises this is all fine and dandy, however if you want to support building an airfreight hub there that we can't fly from, then say so.

Here is the email from Roger;

Manston Airport – Statement – Sir Roger Gale

“I have received, in today`s post, a letter sent by UKIP`s “Transport Spokesman”, Ms. Seymour, headed “Important information about the future of Manston Airport”.

This communication asserts that “UKIP is unshakeable in its support for Manston” and that “David Cameron gave his support to the Gloag, Cartner, Musgrave Group who bought the site for just £1.”

As one who has been right at the centre of the proposed closure of Manston I am better placed than most to say that UKIP`s statement is a blatant lie.  Assuming that this document has been approved by “Bandwagon Farage” it is also, coming from someone who aspires to `leadership`, a disgrace.

First, Messrs. Cartner and Musgrave were not involved in the purchase, by the SNP supporting Ms. Gloag, of Manston for £1.  Only a party totally ill-informed about Manston Airport could have made such an elementary mistake.

Second, neither Farage nor any of his team have played any constructive part  in the Save Manston campaign – a fact that is well known to the campaign`s real and determined supporters.

From the time that I first raised the issue at Prime Minister`s Question Time months ago to date the Prime Minister has been, personally and through his Cabinet Ministers, nothing but wholly supportive of the efforts of myself, Laura Sandys and more recently Craig Mackinlay, to get Manston re-opened as an airport.  Indeed, it was the Prime Minister who, in an effort to unblock the Thanet District Council logjam, authorised the commissioning, by the Department of Transport, of the Price Waterhouse Inquiry.

The stumbling block has been the passing of a binding resolution, by Thanet Council`s Labour Group in October 2014, not to pursue a Compulsory Purchase Order funded by RiverOak.  The Conservative Group,  seeking election to Thanet Council, are pledged to instigate the CPO immediately upon taking control of TDC  - which gives the lie, also, to Ms. Seymour`s claim that “The only party committed to a compulsory purchase order is UKIP”.

I have tried, stoically, to keep party-politics out of the Manston issue but I cannot ignore such a blatantly dishonest campaign gimmick that could, ultimately, damage a cause in which I passionately believe.

I call upon Farage, therefore, to publicly disown and withdraw the assertions that he and his party have made in this letter and, recently, in a paid-for advertisement in the local press.  I repeat, it is my informed view  that he has to date contributed nothing to the Save Manston campaign whatsoever.”

Sir Roger Gale - North Thanet  

Sunday 26 April 2015

A drawing of Canterbury Cathedral, a painting of Canterbury and a ramble from the bookshop in Ramsgate.

As it was a dull damp and drizzly day we made for Canterbury, on days like this my children like to look in the clothes shops.

Buying a few books along the way I made for Café Chambers, as far as I know the only case or restaurant in Canterbury which has a table with a view of the cathedral, having secured the table by devious means

here is the pen drawing of the Canterbury Cathedral

and a photograph of the same view for aspiring art critics. To be honest there is a lot of repetition in the architecture of this bit of the cathedral, which can be a bit boring to draw, there are also strange variations which catch you out.

Having sat for far to long I went and wandered around mostly in the cathedral grounds and took a few photos.

At this point I realised that I wanted to do the other view from Canteen, i.e. looking out of the same window as last Sunday but looking the other way along the street.

So here is the painting from Canteen in Canterbury.

Here are the books bought today in Canterbury for my bookshop in Ramsgate, I always seem to need Tintin, Asterix and books about almost every Kent town. Obviously most of my book stock I brought to my bookshop by people who want to sell it or get exchange vouchers so they can get more books and a certain amount comes from my going out to buy largish collections from people’s houses, mostly because a book collector has died. This means that when I go out, the books I buy tend to be to make up the ones we never seem to have enough of.

Saturday 25 April 2015

Thanet Elections Special 2 The Parish Vote

If you live in Ramsgate, Broadstairs or a couple of the Thanet villages then you will get and extra ballot paper as well as the one to vote for an MP and the one to vote for TDC councillors.

I had rather a bizarre conversation about this with one of my customers yesterday. The gist of what this lady said is. I got postal voting papers for Moses Montefiore Parish. They had exactly the same candidates on as the TDC one, as Moses Montefiore isn’t a parish, I put them through the shredder.

This may have been a bit of a bad move, as this particular ballot paper, which says The Parish of Ramsgate on it is actually the one for Ramsgate Town council, which is something you pay extra council tax for.

Here in Ramsgate we petitioned for and then voted in a referendum to pay more for a town council, mainly to represent Ramsgate’s interests to the Margate dominated Thanet District Council.

The big problem is that most people when the come to vote just tend think of the council and not of us having three different councils. This means that in practice what we got last time around was a Labour town council and a Labour district council. Frankly this didn’t seem to work that well for Ramsgate, for instance the district council are converting what was probably the biggest shop in Ramsgate town centre into social housing. I don’t think this sort of nonsense would have happened if the district council wasn’t of the same political party as the town council.

Another example is that the district council have moved the town centre rubbish collection from 6am on a quiet shopping day to around 11.30 am on market day. Now I understand that the district council has made a huge investment in Margate and that anything they can do to encourage people not to go to Ramsgate in the hope they will go to Margate and support Dreamland and the old town will help justify this. But I don’t really think this sort of nonsense would happen if the town council was run by a different political party from the town council.

We are very lucky here in Thanet as we have experience of all three of the political parties that are likely to win seats here at most levels of government.

We have had mostly UKIP councillors representing us at Kent County Council for nearly two years with evident benefits for Thanet.

We have had UKP European Members of Parliament for nearly two years with evident benefits for Thanet.

We have a had Labour Thanet District Council for the last roughly four years and before that around eight years of Conservative dominance, with two of the Conservative cabinet members from those years now standing for UKIP, all providing great benefits for Thanet.

Whatever happens with the local elections I am sure will be a great improvement for some people.

I have added this picture and hopefully link to the right Twitter post

Friday 24 April 2015

Books for sale about the county of Kent and southeast England

These are pictures of about half of the books about Kent on the shelves in my bookshop in Ramsgate today.

I had one of those phone calls today, which goes something along the lines of. I live in Whitstable and collect books about the county, is it worth driving over to Ramsgate tomorrow to look at what you have in your bookshop?

This is often accompanied by. Do you have all your books on the internet? I guess the answer to this one is something like. If you put all your decent stock on the internet what would be the point in having a shop. 

Another question I often get is. Do you have anything antiquarian about Kent? Now to me an antiquarian book is a book that was printed before 1810, so up until recently the answer would have been. Very few and nothing that wasn't very expensive.

However recently I have been asked if I have anything antiquarian about WW1, so I have been a bit cautious in my replies to this one, especially as signs saying "Antiquarian Books" have started appearing in charity bookshops and selected branches of Waterstones.    

Paul Mitchell & Nina Shilling at The York Street Gallery in Ramsgate

The current Exhibition  is by Paul Mitchell & Nina Shilling The pair bring to gallery a combined collection of Landscapes, Townscapes & Seascapes in Vibrant colours and muted tones. The exhibition runs -  22nd April - 29th April Exhibitions change weekly on Wednesdays.