Thursday 31 March 2016

Folkestone, bookshops and bookselling a few sketches and a bit of a ramble.

We went to Folkestone today as my bookshop in Ramsgate is closed and apart from buying books for myself and for my bookshop I like to keep tabs on the other bookshops in Kent.

First stop was for a cuppa in The Chambers and a very quick sketch, about 4 inches square, took about 15 mins.

Much of this is about keeping my own bookshop up to scratch and my own bookshop I think is best described as a fairly large predominately secondhand bookshop.

The main bookshop in Folkestone Marrin’s is predominantly antiquarian the photographs of Marrin’s should help. They will expand if you click on them.

I would say that the nearest to describing my bookshop would be a similar stock to a big Waterstones like the one in Canterbury but with the books around a quarter of the prices.

Marrin’s is very different inasmuch as the majority of the books on the shelves are over a hundred years old.

Anyway I bought some books there and had an enjoyable time.

Next stop was the Oxfam bookshop, where I also bought some books and had a pleasant time. No real need to describe Oxfam bookshops, it’s a bit like the one in Canterbury and a bit like the one in Deal.

On to Googies for a burger and another very quick sketch.

Then to The Bookshop in Guildhall Street, this is all modern popular paperbacks £2 each or three for £5, I got my fivers worth.

Next a few photos of Folkestone.

I have been working away on the military books in my bookshop for the past couple of days, this is rather like the pruning and weeding that one does in the garden to produce a good crop of blooms or fruit.

The last time I did this to the military section was about two and a half years ago and then what I did was to look all of the books up on Amazon, cross out the price pencilled in them if it was higher than the Amazon and write in a price lower than the Amazon price.

This time evaluating book prices online is a minefield of poor feedback ratings, books with library stamps but no mention of whether they also have cancellation stamps proving they haven’t been stolen.

Evaluating the cheapest copy of the book you would actually buy takes ages for me, I wouldn’t buy from a seller with less than 98% good feedback, wouldn’t buy a second hand book where the description is a paste in saying may have umpteen faults, so it is obvious that the seller hasn’t looked at it properly.

This time it’s a mixture of, looking the book up online, looking at how long it has been sitting on the shelf, deciding if it is the type of book that has been replaced by a website like wikipedia or a book that falls into a non seller bracket.

The result of this process will be that something around 15% of the books in the military section will have their prices written down to less than a pound and sold off in a sale. At the same time another around 15% will get their prices reduced to make them compete with the internet.

The alternative i.e. leaving the books on the shelves alone, means that eventually all of the books in the bookshop become unsaleable, leaving no space for the books I buy in.

It is a no brainer really, even if you are a very experienced bookseller about 10% of what you buy will turn out either not to sell, or not to sell for the price you first put on it. This means that if you put out 100 books 10 will still be there when you put out another 100 books so then you will have 20 unsaleable books on you shelves and so on.

So these are pictures of some of the books now priced at less than £1

and these are pictures of some of the military books left after the pruning.

Unless you collect military books you will probably find it difficult to tell the difference.

I haven’t got much done on the sketching front because of being busy with my bookshop, I am still working up to doing my inside and outside pictures of cafés so have been messing about with interiors as well of exteriors of buildings.  

 This is a bit of the inside of The Mechanical Elephant in Margate

 This is looking out of the window in Chocolate Cafe in Canterbury I hope to add some inside to the left of the paper when I go there next time.

Tuesday 29 March 2016

Ramsgate Sprint Revival Cancelled

The 2016 Ramsgate Sprint Revival, scheduled for 13-14 August, has been cancelled due to increased activity at the Port of Ramsgate. Following the success of new car imports and the possibility of additional port activity, Thanet District Council has been unable to guarantee use of the port for a pit area as in 2015.

Plans to run the event again in 2016 were shelved back in November 2015 when Thanet District Council confirmed land hire for Government Acre had been granted to a long standing event, Lark in the Park. Following intervention by the Leader of the Council, a meeting was arranged in February between organisers of Lark in the Park, Ramsgate Sprint Revival and TDC when agreement was reached for the two events to share Government Acre.

Just two weeks later it was confirmed that business at the Port of Ramsgate was increasing and it was not possible to guarantee space for a pit area for the sprint bikes and their support vehicles. Initially it was agreed with TDC that Military Road outside the port could be used for this purpose but subsequently sprint organisers were told that this could only be guaranteed at six weeks’ notice.

Organisers of Ramsgate Sprint Revival would like to apologise for any inconvenience which has been caused by this outcome. A spokesperson for the sprint said “We have worked hard behind the scenes for a bigger and better event in 2016 but without guaranteed space for the motorcycles we cannot go ahead. Obviously the port must take priority and if TDC requires the space we have to accept that.”

Pictures of last year’s sprint 


Sunday 27 March 2016

Happy Easter, an Easter Card of The Red Lion in Ramsgate, photos inside Pierremont Hall in Broadstairs, Bank Holiday Weather Ramble.

Happy Easter to one and all 
The very rushed sketch of The Red Lion in Ramsgate, painted from Café Nero at the bottom of Ramsgate High Street is the best I could manage by way of an Easter card. 

My children were engaged in Ramsgate Easter Egg Hunt at the end of a very full day – mostly full of Easter Eggs – so I didn’t get much time before the café closed.

Some interesting old paintings and prints on the walls inside Pierremont Hall in Broadstairs, sorry the pictures of the pictures are not very good quality, the mobile phone camera isn’t the best tool for this sort of copying. The will expand if you click on them.

Easter Day with unpredictable weather and the Sunday trading law, which means that shops over 280 sq m/3,000 sq ft are not permitted to open, is a bit of a strange one in what is mostly a secular country.

Obviously the idea is that it’s supposed to be a day of leisure, the bars, restaurants and cafés were mostly open but the smaller shops were mostly closed. There wasn’t a great deal of all weather entertainment available, we no longer have large indoor venues apart from shops. I suppose a lot of people's entertainment now is in fact shopping, of course given more suitable weather the beaches would have been packed. There was a bit of a sense of Christmas without Christmas dinner or the tree.

It’s a bit difficult to see what else we could reasonably take from the Neo-Pagan holiday of Ostara and incorporate into Easter. Some sort of sabbat with maidens and the horned god to encourage fertility could easily get a bit out of hand.

The situation with Ramsgate sands and the missing sand is pretty serious, this is how it was around high tide in 2010

and now you can see that there isn’t room to turn a bike at high tide, let alone hold a beach cross event on the beach.

With the local government here having invested so much in Margate, from where Ramsgate is partly governed, one can’t help wondering about the accident or design element of this. TDC at Margate is certainly where the Thanet coastal engineers are based and sand on beaches is usually held in place by groynes. I certainly makes for a fairly unique conspiracy theory – The Council That Misplaced The Beach.

Once again my apologies that there hasn’t been much in the way of photos and paintings on this blog recently, this comes down to my bookshop being much busier than it has been for years.

I put this down to changing leisure activities, I keep having new thoughts on this and my latest is to do with the screen.  A hundred years ago one of the main leisure activates would have been the silver screen, by about ninety years ago cinemas started showing films with sound, by about fifty years ago most families in the uk had a television and the screen of one sort or another became the main source of leisure activity. Now a very large proportion of us spend most of our working lives looking at a screen of some sort. I am not so very certain that this means there will so much leisure spent looking at a screen, so perhaps this is the reason my bookshop is so much busier.

Here is the link to the pictures of the books that went on the shelves in my bookshop on Saturday granted a lot of local history, which isn’t going to be that easy to shop for online, but a lot of other books and maps too.