Wednesday 29 June 2016

Ramsgate Harbour suddenly seems much smaller to the aspiring watercolourist, I dream of seven thin books in the bookshop, even a Manston update as no blog ramble here would be complete without one.

With the painting lark, you sit down in a nice comfortable café with a drink and a bite to eat, in this case Enotecia overlooking Ramsgate Harbour, you get out your sketch pad which is a bit smaller than A4 and paint the nice big window frame on it.

The idea was to then paint the view of Ramsgate Harbour as seen through the window, suddenly the window panes on your pad seem very small and the harbour seems very big.

I suppose the silver lining is that all this makes you feel very small, so it went a bit better than I expected over my lunch today.

Here are the reference/progress pictures

My bookshop is closed tomorrow and I feel the day off is fairly well earned this week, lots of books got priced and put away in the last few days, theoretically we are just coming to the busy part of the year in terms of in shop book sales, although how brexit will affect this is an unknown. My take is that there will probably be some sort of economic recession, but as we have the cheaper end of the market fairly well covered, if this happens we should score on being the cheapest source for quality books. Here are the books that went out today

One interesting thing about retail is you get to talk to the public and so I have been asking customers about how they voted and how they feel about the result. My key question being. “Who gains from brexit?” no answers to that one so far.

A couple of very quiet days on Monday and Tuesday and then a fairly busy day today, but still very early days, only time will tell.

On the Manston front having emailed RiverOak about three weeks ago and got this reply:-

 Sent: Wed, 8 Jun 2016 14:43
Subject: RE: Your email has been received.
Dear Mr Child

George Yerrall has asked me to respond to your e-mail. I can confirm that preliminary consultations will indeed be held in the population centres most directly affected by activity at the re-opened airport.  Full details will be announced in the next couple of weeks.

Kind regards
Tony Freudmann

I sent off a reminder yesterday

Hi Tony et al
I don’t seem to have heard anything and as the "couple of weeks" have elapsed and we are pretty much up to three could you kindly send me an update, even if it is just a delayed announcement date? 

I have been busy recently so if there has been a media announcement I may have missed it, so I would appreciate it if you could also add me to your mailing list for updates relating to the Manston consultation.    
Best regards Michael

And got this reply by return

Dear Mr Child

A series of events have been organised commencing on 12th July.  We are currently awaiting confirmation of the date of sixth and final event whereupon all the events will be advertised both in the press and on social media.

Kind regards
Tony Freudmann

Monday 27 June 2016

Thanet District Council and their planning website, an unusual view of Ramsgate and I finish a painting of Canterbury.

I honestly don’t know what the council are doing here. I asked them for some advice about their planning website and would normally have expected a reply within 10 working days, well I haven’t had any answer from them.

The first email below, outlining my questions, was sent to the council’s planning department at their request because they didn’t have the information I asked for to hand when I telephoned them.

The difficulty I face here is essentially that the main planning application it relates to has a fairly short window that you can respond in.

Here are the emails I sent them.

-----Original Message-----
From: michaelchild <>
To: <>
CC: iain.livingstone
Sent: Wed, 8 Jun 2016 11:58
Subject: new planning website

Re my phone call about comments on using the new planning website; I am writing to request the information that wasn’t immediately at hand to the officer I spoke to, at his request.

With respect to public comments, (these were not previously published in the way they are on the new planning site) meaning that the way they are handled is pertinent to using responding to applications.

1 Comments appear either to have the respondents name and address redacted to the street name, or to have no respondents name or address. Does this mean where comments have no respondents name or address that neither were supplied to the council, and if so are these valid comments?

2 Are the comments weighted to the respondents location, and if so by what method? To expand on this would UK taxpayers opinions be of more significance that those of foreign nationals and TDC council taxpayers and local residents be of the most significance?

3 Does the council have some method of ensuring that multiple comments are not made by one respondent under different aliases? For instance, without one, the applicant could make multiple comments supporting their application and so influence the planning committee.    

As discussed on the phone it is my intention to comment of some live applications, using your new website, and as these have relatively short time windows during which I can comment, your prompt reply would be much appreciated.     
Best regards Michael

From: michaelchild
CC: iain.livingstone
enquiries ;
Sent: Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:54
Subject: Re: new planning website

Hi Ian, et al

I don’t seem to have had a reply to this one, could you kindly chase it up for me as it relates to whether I take the trouble to respond to various local planning applications including the redevelopment of the Manston Airport site.

The bottom line here being that while I am happy as a local resident to take the trouble to read 272 documents, for this one application alone and produce some sort of response, I am not prepared to do this if it counts the same amount as say:- An anonymous contributor, a foreign national, who has never visited the area, someone making multiple responses under various aliases.

I am sure that while from your point of view it appears that this and other applications with responses on the new Thanet Planning website are being handled properly, legally and responsibly, however from the point of view of a member of the public this really isn’t the case. If you looks at the Manston application at you will see that the majority of “Public Comments” say:- “Customer Details, Name: Not Available – Address Not Available.”

The basic information as to whether or not the council has or has any way of validating the comments just isn’t there. 
Best regards Michael.

I don’t know if any of the councillors reading this want to take this one up, to my mind it is a very important issue.

Here is the view of Ramsgate, my guess would be 1820s

I think the 1822 map of Ramsgate may help with understanding the view

Here is the watercolour paining of Canterbury, the idea is that the people in the shop window are the reflections of the people sitting outside Chocolate Cafe, I did the painting from upstairs there.

Sunday 26 June 2016

Watercolour sketch in Belgian Cafe Ramsgate this morning

Different table today as the other two I have started sketches from were taken so I now have three sketches there underway.

Anyway here is this morning’s sketch in The Belgian Café Ramsgate

And here a few progress/reference pictures for aspiring art critics.  

Lots more books in my bookshop, see so we have been busy all round.

Next the two other Belgian Cafe watercolour paintings I have on the go at the moment 

Friday 24 June 2016

Phase one in which Boris got our votes, some reflections on the brexit results and a bit of watercolour paining in Ramsgate, Thanet Argus for 1909 adverts

I am suffering the stun of the outvoted today as I voted to stay in and as the public have spoken, out we come. I suppose my first thoughts are how to make the best of it, personally, for my business and how as a country we make the best of it.

At the moment I am wondering if this means Boris for prime minister and even Boris Island in more than one sense of the phrase. Always look on the bright side of life, comes to mind.

I didn’t get much painting done at breakfast or lunch today

A bit more on the watercolour of the inside of The Belgian Café here in Ramsgate over breakfast

A bit more of the watercolour from outside Enoteca or is it Οινοθήκη Café here in Ramsgate over lunch.

Painting in the people is the new and therefore tricky one for me with these local pictures,  

As there is a Thanet Argus for 1909 on my desk at the moment here are the adverts

Thursday 23 June 2016

Canterbury watercolour painting from Chocolate Cafe and ramble

Here is the watercolour painting of La Trappiste Cafe from Chocolate Cafe in Canterbury, well as far as I got during the hour and a half over lunch today.
 Reference/progress photos for any art critics reading this.

Apart from voting and buying a few books for my bookshop I didn't do very much today as the weather was a bit unpredictable.

Don't forget to vote today.

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Bookshops in Kent, Books about Kent, an English bookseller rambles

My bookshop in Ramsgate is closed tomorrow because it’s Thursday, so a bit of a my day in the bookshop today.

It started as many things do in the pub, I wake up – wrong words – I get up fairly early in the summer, grab my paints and brushes and go off to find breakfast (coffee toast and marmalade) and something to sketch.

Belgian Café in Ramsgate this morning from about 7.30 to about 9 I managed to get the table I had the other day and did a bit more to the painting I have already had a two or three breakfasts on.

Then off to the timber yard to get some wood to make more shelves 

The longest bit of wood that fits comfortably inside a Vovo estate is 9 feet long, so I take a tape measure and a saw.

We have had a big influx of books about Kent, if you look on the bookshop blog you can see that quite a few of them went out on our shelves today

Either bookshops are doing badly and they close, the largest one in East Kent the big Waterstones in Canterbury is about to close, or they are doing well which means buying lots of books and finding places for more book shelving.

I have been looking around my bookshop for places to fit in more shelves, last week it was making the maritime section taller today it was more space for aviation books.

This was the size of our aviation book section this morning 

on the end of the aviation section was this bit, the end of a wall the end of the 50p section
 it had become an area where old lumps of blu tack go to die

now it looks like this 
or this and should hold around 250 aviation books.

Tomorrow off to buy some more books I hope, a visit to some of the other Kent bookshops, here is the link to the guide not so many left now.

If you want a Kent bookshop, Oxford Street Bookshop in Whitstable is on the market at a very reasonable price.

Tuesday 21 June 2016

A few Ramsgate snapshots from my mobile phone

These snapshots of Ramsgate were taken yesterday and today, there is a new watercolour painting starting somewhere, I will try to put a bit of text in if I get time, I have been very busy at work in my bookshop, the blog for that should appear soon  at     

All the pictures should expand if you click on them 

 Toast and marmalade with hot cross bun. I don't know either
Another Belgian Cafe picture started as the seat I had yesterday was already taken