Tuesday 30 June 2015

Ramsgate artist flees in terror form the big O

Sketching out and about I usually find that I am the only person doing it, and as this is something I do most days – although I have a free range as it were – I tend to be a bit out of it when drawing something. This means that I am a bit inclined to reply rather oddly when people talk to me, which they do quite a lot I think because I am engaged in an unusual activity.

The question I get asked the most, believe it or not, is. “Are you an artist?” I invariably answer. “No”. Which seems to sift out most of this group of people, inasmuch as they then seem satisfied and ignore me.

There is a whole, I used to sketch bunch, well I have been hanging around here on and off since the mid 60s and I never noticed them doing it.

The worst group, well really the only bad group are the ones that block my view, which stops me sketching, mostly white vans and the occasional drunk.

Here is this mornings, sketch, drawing, doodle or whatever you want to call it, from The Royal Oak in Ramsgate’s café culture, looking towards The Royal Temple Yacht Club.

All was going fairly well, as a proper artist would probably say, it was already in the paper/pen and all I had to do was reveal it, working from left to right I had just reached The Travel Lodge, thing cheap hotel, ghastly architecture, when the cherry picker turned up.

I didn’t really notice this, more it was that the sketch seemed to be struggling to be revealed from the sketch paper/pen, whatever it is that goes on when you draw. Slowly I sensed that there was more going on off scene than there ought to be.

I looked up and got this view, drew on a bit as is slowly dawned on that I was right under the big O of Oak, and if the neon tube from it fell, it would land, not so much on my head as in it.

Coward that I am, I proceeded to run away, the remains of my caffeine centre bottom     

Monday 29 June 2015

Bookseller sales arts and crafts in the heat and some sort of ramble about Pleasurama

I bunged the air con on today and did one of those chores, which is to deal with the type of book that has been replaced by the internet. This time it was the turn of the art section, since the mushrooming of the internet the books that scrape the surface of any subject have pretty much stopped selling, while sales of the books that go into a subject in much more depth than the internet have increased.

So here are photos of the Art and Craft sale all of the books in it are less than £1

Pretty much everyone coming into the bookshop looking for an art books says. What have you got on – and then names a particular artist, we have a range of these arranged in alphabetical order of the artists surnames, you either have it or you don’t.

Our craft section is very large, and I guess that will be the next task, however I guess if you have tried to make or repair something using the information on the internet you may understand why there are fewer redundant books in this section.

I still haven’t had any luck getting an update on the Pleasurama development here in Ramsgate and still haven’t heard anything from the new cabinet members, so here is an old newspaper article:

“Report from The East Kent Times January 11th 1936.

Two more rides wrecked at "Merrie England."

With a crack like the report of a cannon, another huge fall of cliff occured in the neighbourhood of "Merrie England," Ramsgate yesterday (Friday 10th) afternoon. The huge thrill ride the "Coaster" has been wrecked, and part of the "Brooklands" miniature motor racing track is buried under several feet of chalk. This is the second big cliff fall at the same place within ten days, and over a thousand tons have fallen on the fun city, wrecking first the "Ghost Train."

Miraculously enough no one was hurt. The top part of the Promenade, which has a concrete retaining wall remained intact, but underneath the fall has cut into the cliff face to a depth of several feet. The fall occurred only twenty yards from the spot where a gang of men were working, clearing away the debris from the fall on December 31st.

Mr F. Price the Manager of "Merrie England" who was walking past the "Coaster" at the time, said he heard a sharp report like that of a cannon, followed by an ear-splitting rumble as ton upon ton of chalk fell upon the ride. The "Coaster" was flung sideways and the whole structure trembled violently and you can see where the retaining blocks have been forced out. These rides are balanced perfectly; now that the ride has been knocked sideways like this, a strong wind may well bring it down into the roadway. We had been advised that this piece of cliff would be the next to go and intended to dismantle the "Coaster" but the weather has been too bad. It takes some considerable time to take down a structure like this and if we had gone ahead with the work about a dozen men would have been working right where you see that chalk.  

The management of "Merrie England" were advised last Tuesday that it might be well to dismantle the "Coaster" ride to avoid possible future falls, but the inclement weather made this impossible at the time. To dismantle the "Coaster" takes some ten - twelve days, and if the men had been working on the ride on Friday afternoon they must surely have been buried beneath this latest fall of cliff.”

I suppose this means another chore of writing to the council again, and perhaps the councillors, I noticed the leader of TDC writing in Friday’s Gazette seemed to be writing about KCC which I don’t think he is a member of, nothing on TDC though. I am wondering if UKIP were relying on being in opposition and only really have the mechanism in place to criticise.

This picture is of one of the 1967 collapses, part of the 1860 brick façade the rest is still there and will be next to the entrance of the new development, fireman are digging through it, because they didn’t know if there was anyone underneath it.      

Sunday 28 June 2015

Drawing Canterbury with a pen and book buying for my bookshop in Ramsgate and a ramble.

This drawing is of Rose Square in Canterbury in the Whitefriars shopping centre from the seating outside the M&S café £1.80 for a pot of tea, the most expensive part of the picture.

And this one from the garden outside St Thomas’s Roman Catholic Church, which I didn’t get a chance to finish, but wasn’t going that well anyway.

Here are the photos for any art critics the second picture needed two photos as I was too close and didn’t have the wide angle lens attachment for my phone

Pigeon chick in Canterbury expand picture to view

The last baker in Canterbury town centre has closed, an ominous sign of the times

I have been having a bit of a go at other social media, I turned my FaceBook notifications on and tried commenting on a few of the popular local facebook groups lat week, which in tern meant other members of the groups put links on the facebook posts to this blog. it can be a bit shoot the messenger out there and you need a fairly thick skin if you get involved in any debate, but the thing I found most interesting was how few people seem to be reading the posts. On a day like yesterday when this blog got about a thousand page views, which is about normal, I was having a hot debate on the local facebook group with the most members SMA, well I normally get about 30 page views that come from facebook anyway, but with several links coming from that group my webstats for the day only rose to about 80.   

What this boils down to is, lots of people going to the trouble of writing stuff there and hardly anyone reading it, although it looks as though there is a lot going on, there doesn’t seem to be anywhere you can access the web statistics to see how many page views and where those views are coming from.

I think this is most of the books I bought for my bookshop in Ramsgate today

As far as the pen sketches go, the main cost for me is the a seat that is comfortable enough to sit on for about an hour, which is about how long it takes to complete an A4 pen sketch, this usually involves buying a cup of tea

   and the equipment for 48 sketches a £3 pad form The Works and a £2 pen from the internet, if you fancy having a go it is imperative that you get the right pen and pad, so look carefully before spending your fiver. You can do it with a more expensive pad, not so sure about the pen.

More later perhaps.      

Saturday 27 June 2015

Andy & Linda Grayling at The York Street Gallery in Ramsgate

The current Exhibition  is an Exhibition by Local Artists Andy & Linda Grayling. A varied collection of styles and media. Various Metal & Wooden items from Andy and paintings and prints by Linda. The exhibition runs  24th June - 1st July. Exhibitions change weekly on Wednesdays.

Friday 26 June 2015

Minor Manston update

On 10th June I phoned the council to ask what the situation with the Manston cpo was.

Eventually I was put through to democratic services and the officer I spoke to asked me to put my questions in an email, here it is.

From: michaelchild@aol.com [mailto:michaelchild@aol.com]
Sent: 10 June 2015 10:31
To: ********
Subject: Manston

Hi *****, could you kindly let me know what the situation is with the Manston cpo issue, i.e. as much as you can tell me about the issue given the constraints on releasing information about it?

Also a couple of direct questions which hopefully you can answer.
1 When will the issue go to Cabinet?
2 Is there any reasonable chance of a way forward on this one, has the situation re an indemnity partner changes, if not could councillors move forward in any way without officers producing and acceptable indemnity partner? 

Best regards Michael

I got the following reply

From: *****
To: 'michaelchild@aol.com'
Sent: Wed, 10 Jun 2015 12:00
Subject: RE: Manston

Hi Michael

I have forwarded your query to the Chief Exec’s Office for a response. You should get a response directly from her office.

Thank You

From: michaelchild@aol.com [mailto:michaelchild@aol.com]
Sent: 10 June 2015 13:03
To: *****
Subject: Re: Manston

***** I do hope that they understand that this relates to considerable comment and concerns on the local internet about the cabinet meeting next week and don’t see it as something they need to answer in 20 working days time. 

Best regards Michael

From: ******
To: 'michaelchild@aol.com'
Sent: Wed, 10 Jun 2015 13:19
Subject: RE: Manston

Hi Michael

I have again forwarded this email to the CEx’s Office for her to take into consideration when she responds to your initial query and do hope that she will respond timeously.


Dear Mr Child


Thank you for your email received on the 10th June 2015, addressed to ****, Democratic Services Officer.

Please be assured that the matters you have raised have been referred to the Chief Executive who will send a full response to you in due course.

In order for us to respond as efficiently as possible, please ensure that you quote the above reference number in all communications relating to this matter.

In the meantime, if you need further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

PA to Director of Community Services
Thanet District Council
Cecil Street, Margate  Kent CT9 1XZ
Direct dial: (01843) 577071

From: michaelchild
To: *********
Sent: Mon, 22 Jun 2015 13:43
Subject: Re: Thanet District Council - Correspondence Acknowledgement

Hi *****

I don’t seem to have had a response to this one yet, as it is/was just intended to so I could put an update on the Manston situation on my blog, which as I guess you know a lot of locals read, about 30k page reads in the last month, according to the page counter which I don’t trust and probably exaggerates, I thought I had better chase it up.

There is a fair amount of public interest in the Manston cpo issue, although it is a bit hard to tell how much as the council haven't held any public consultation on this issue although I guess they will in fullness of time.

I have put my original 10th June email below, just in case it has gone astray somehow:

"Hi *****, could you kindly let me know what the situation is with the Manston cpo issue, i.e. as much as you can tell me about the issue given the constraints on releasing information about it?

Also a couple of direct questions which hopefully you can answer.
1 When will the issue go to Cabinet?
2 Is there any reasonable chance of a way forward on this one, has the situation re an indemnity partner changes, if not could councillors move forward in any way without officers producing and acceptable indemnity partner?" 

Best regards Michael

-----Original Message-----
From: ***** <********>
To: 'MichaelChild@aol.com'
Sent: Mon, 22 Jun 2015 15:09
Subject: Manston CPO - Executive Correspondence ref. 77775

Our ref:        77775/3003061
Your ref:     

Dear Mr Child,


Thank you for your email of today's date and apologise that Madeline has not been in a position to respond to your communication dated the 10th June, 2015.  I have forwarded your email onto Madeline and can assure you that Madeline will reply to you as soon as she is able.

Yours sincerely

E xecutive Support Unit

From: ******
To: michaelchild
CC: Madeline Homer Sent: Fri, 26 Jun 2015 10:39
Subject: Manston Airport CPO

Hi **** I guess that the aspect of this one that the coucnil are treating as a customer feedback request, which I guess has to be all or most of it, has now timed out because the ten working days has passed.

Normally at this point I would either be happy with the council's response or I would ask for the council to have a further review of my customer feedback request.

Obviously the council could treat part of my enquiry as an foi request and if this is the case could the council tell me which part and I will be happy to wait the twenty working days for that part, but as much of my enquiry seeks an opinion my guess is that the council will have to treat is as customer feedback.

My problem now is I don’t know what action to take, or what my options are with no response, could the council kindly explain them to me?

I should point out here that the indecision over the Manston is having an adverse effect on Ramsgate, which could find itself at the end of the runway of an airfreight hub with no passenger flights resulting in property and business blight, reduction in life expectancy caused particulate air pollution.       

Best regards Michael
Dear Mr Child,

Thank you for your email of the 10th June sent to the Chief Executive which she has passed to me. Can I first take the opportunity to apologise for the delay in providing a response.

The Council’s position on Manston airport is that set out in the report to the Extraordinary Council on the 21st May 2015 which is available on the Council’s website. In short, Cabinet in December 2014 agreed to take no further action on a CPO and the Extraordinary Council in May 2015 agreed to recommend to Cabinet that it review its position. A report will be put to a future Cabinet meeting on the matter and in the meantime the Department of Transport has just published its review into the indemnity partner process for Manston airport.

Best Regards


**** ****, Solicitor
Head of Legal and Democratic Support and Monitoring Officer
Thanet District Council

Hi ****

My request was a direct result of having read cabinet papers and then having also read the papers for the extraordinary council meeting 21st May 2015.

As I guess you know I write a local blog http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/ which according to page counter has a substantial readership, so I can publish your response which in view of question 2, the lack of any answer from you would I guess be seen by some readers as an answer in itself. To me it seems to be saying that you don’t really know, others may be less charitable.

I read the PwC report yesterday, which in short seemed to be saying the council should have spent more money by using PwC for specialist advice and as the report cost £70k I doubt the council could have afforded to.

I don’t see how the PwC report contributes to the council's position in any meaningful way as it doesn’t say anything which changes the indemnity partner situation.

My own take is that saving the airport has become a cover for building a freight hub and that the council should hold a public consultation to see if council taxpayers actually want the council to engage in a cpo to build a freight hub rather than a regional airport that passengers can travel from which does seem to have local support. 

As far as I can see the existing and prior use which would protect the council from compensation under planning law don’t seem to apply under cpo legislation, which looks like compensating anyone who suffers any loss and some future losses as a result of the cpo taking place compared to it not taking place.

My guess the two main areas of interest would be the reduction in property values and the reduction of life expectancy due to particulate air pollution.

There is also now after a year of the council failing to draw a line under this one, a sense in which the ongoing uncertainty is causing blight in itself.

Anyway if there is any chance you could have a go at my Question 2 I would be extremely grateful.       

"Hi ******, could you kindly let me know what the situation is with the Manston cpo issue, i.e. as much as you can tell me about the issue given the constraints on releasing information about it?

Also a couple of direct questions which hopefully you can answer.
1 When will the issue go to Cabinet?
2 Is there any reasonable chance of a way forward on this one, has the situation re an indemnity partner changes, if not could councillors move forward in any way without officers producing and acceptable indemnity partner?" 

Best regards Michael

After sending this I phoned him up, he did confirm that the Manston cpo issue will be discussed at the extraordinary cabinet meeting 14th July http://democracy.thanet.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=151&MId=4157

Basically they are pondering the situation at the moment to see where we are going on this one. It seems anything they come with won’t appear until the last possible moment i.e. 5 working days before the cabinet meeting.   

Painting of Ramsgate Maritime Museum, Clock House from Miles Bar this morning

I am not really a mornings person as you can see from the painting, note the upstairs windows on the left that missed the front of the building and landed up partly on the roof. Click picture to big it.
 Art critics will notice the blue van moved 

I also photographed the Clock House thingy from the bottom of the pond 

difficult to get it to keep still

Oh well back to work in the bookshop

Thursday 25 June 2015

Manston Airport cpo update

The Price Waterhouse Cooper gubbins, report thingy that we may have all been waiting for has just been published, there are over 100 pages to digest.

As I have been saying in previous posts, the key to this one is liability, so be prepared for a brain numbing read, here’s the link to the report in pdf format on the UK Government’s website https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/437886/manston-airport-cpo-indemnity-partner-review.pdf

My understanding is that this report cost £70,000 paid for out of UK taxes, having skimmed though it I have to say that I don’t really see what it is that the report was supposed to achieve for this amount of money.

It certainly doesn’t seem to be a mandate for any further action by either TDC or the government. 

This report however is funny, has Chris Wells crossed the floor again:

"Conservative leader of Thanet District Council Cllr Chris Wells said: “I believe the report gives us an opportunity to review the approach taken by Thanet District Council in the last year, which is in line with the request from full council for cabinet to review its decision of December 2014.
Given the need to formally review the observations in the PricewaterhouseCoopers report in detail it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.” 


My own thoughts on the PwC report are that is summarises as: TDC should have spent £70k on using PwC to give them advice on checking their indemnity partner. However PwC wouldn’t have endorsed anything in case PwC incurred any liability.

Wednesday 24 June 2015

The Ramsgate Society is tinned and other thoughts

I guess most people will remember last year when we has the Ramsgate Society shop with the stained glass Edwardian shop front in Harbour Street, now of course all ripped out and I am sure in the fullness of time we will get a nice new plastic one.

Anyway you may be wondering what's happened to The Ramsgate Society, well the answer is they have been tinned.

Take a town like Ramsgate, find a position with one of the finest views in the world - overlooking The Royal Harbour - find a shipping container and in no time at all you have a room without a view.

My take is that the town council, tourist information office, the TDC office in Ramsgate and The Ramsgate Society should club together and buy one largish shop in the town that they can all operate from. 

Anyway if you want to visit The Ramsgate Society it's in the container by the Maritime Museum or Clock House at the harbour.  

Historically in Ramsgate the locals have been tinned or boxed and then left well alone, see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/laptop710/id5.htm some years ago a couple of these were robbed an once the lead lining had been broken the bodies inside started to go off and had to be removed because of the smell.

I can only assume that initially something like the canning process for food was used, the contents being heated and then sealed, anyone have any ideas they would like to share on this one.            

Tuesday 23 June 2015

Some more progress paining The Royal Victoria Pavilion

Here is the sketch from Candy's café that I started the other day not far to go with this one now, see http://thanetonline.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/new-tdc-administrations-and-social.html

The picture for aspiring art critics, the square cloud and the triangular cloud where there when I painted the sky, honest guv.

All day breakfast and drink for £3 

Odd bit of architecture the Pav, I have just been looking through the architecture books in my bookshop and on the net for more information, no real luck so far.

Monday 22 June 2015

Nosh in The Belgian Café, in the clockworks of the bookshop engineering and science.

Here is the sketch from tonight in Ramsgate’s Belgian Café

This is what happens if you sit in low light drawing towards the light reflected off The Royal Victora Pavilion, basically you can’t see what you are trying to draw or what is going onto the paper, if anything useful.

The food was excellent, ham and cheese salad with everything fresh and crispy, steak you didn’t need a steak knife for, came to £22.something or other.

The fish looked good too. But looking at light is a funny old thing.

I bought some clock books for my bookshop in Ramsgate over the weekend, which when added to what we have in stock, means we have a whole shelf of them, something of a record, please look at them carefully if you are considering selling me clock books, as there are clock books and clock books.  

I have been called many things over the years, I don’t mean names here but before I was a shop assistant, engineer, scientist and even occasionally mechanic.

I worked for a while at the optical bench, which did have something to do with the clockmakers bench and the quantum mechanics toolbox.

Back in the early confused period accurate clocks when used with telescopes had as much to do with where you were as when you were.

This is to do with knowing the precise time, which can be determined by observing the rotation of the moons around planets through an optical telescope, this looks the same where ever on earth you are. So a moon that appears on the surface of a planet does so at the same time in Greenwich as in the newly discovered Americas, allowing you to set your clock accurately enough to determine the height of the sun at noon, which after a few sums tells you exactly where the newly discover Americas are.

This playing with clocks and light has lead to all sort of things, because looking at the way light behaves, which is a wavicle that can be waves or particles – depending on how you observe this light – gave us enough understanding of how electricity - could behave to invent the transistors that make your computer compute. 

Back in the swinging 60s bashing away at the optical bench we found that we could produce holograms, which are a sort of three dimensional TV, (oddly enough some peole could see them in colour and some only in monochrome)  there has been a delay in this appearing in your living room, partly because it uses lasers and the spies and the warriors became very interested in lasers and partly because inventions take ages to get into production.

Quite recently some scientists playing with the sound that you can’t hear that comes from the sensors that help park your car, discovered this can be focused into something you can feel, and I guess the chemists will find something in the air that will temporarily solidify, so don’t be surprised if we soon have a holodeck on starship earth.        

But what about these wavicles and why can’t we look at them properly. First we need an orange on the football pitch analogy because they are small and there are lots of them, well the football pitch isn’t big enough for this one.

How far is the furthest star you can see with the naked eyeball? About sixteen thousand light years away (V762 Cas, in Cassiopeia at 16,308 light-years away) and you can still see it if you shut one eye, so different wavicles are arriving at each eye.

As the wavicles are travelling at the speed of light, time, our time and maybe any time, isn’t happening for them, so if you do something to it/them, it was always done for the about sixteen thousand years, since an electron changed its energy level on Cas and made light.

The only thing we know we can do to light is polarise it, so if you were standing on Cas about sixteen thousand light years ago exciting the electrons that were reaching my eyes now, and you had the equipment to see which way the light was polarised, if I kept taking off and putting on polarised sunglasses in morse code, I could communicate with you back through time.  

Anyway we are now entering the age of the quantum computer, which allows for computers circuits to have three states instead of two, 1, 0 and peppermint sorry wosisname, not random but uncertain. 

I think I had better stop this, reality, especially the bit that isn’t experiencing time may be fragile and anyway I have been, wots the word – processing – nah not in a secondhand bookshop wosisnameing Enid Blyton books today.

But seriously looking at something that is baby baby out of time and expecting it to look like something…    

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