Friday, June 29, 2007

Seaside Postcard 11 - A lovely pair of lovelys

Wooden Hut Postcard This pair of beach-lurking beauties seem to be lacking a certain moral fibre. The costumes are distinctly racy (and lacy) and the stockings held up with a very cheeky ribbon.

I think this one dates to before the First World War, and was clearly intended to make it very clear that if you weren't on holiday, you were missing out on a very very good time!

Broadstairs - advertising centre of Europe?

Brilliant advert from Eon about wind farms and renewable energy shot on location in a gale-force Broadstairs. Saw it for the first time in the middle of Big Brother this evening, apologies if it's old news, but I loved the advert - it made Broadstairs look like an excellent place to have a hurricane! Much better than the Churchill advert for views and scenery. If I find it on YouTube or Eon Corporate Web Sites I'll add a link.

So far recently it's Broadstairs (Churchill), Ramsgate (Waitrose) and Broadstairs (Eon). Any more we should know about? Good work by filming location people...

**Update** It's now viewable on YouTube

A quiet meal for two . . . thousand!

Dreamland Catering Brochure

I came across this leaflet the other day, aimed at organising secretaries, those lucky people responsible for organising the perfect works outing. I couldn't help panicking slightly at the sight of hundreds of chickens lined up in the kitchen - obviously this dates back to pre-history, when every factory in a town took its fortnight holiday at the same time. Happy days...

Dreamland Catering Brochure

And of course it wasn't just the food - there was the funfair, the Beautiful Girls, and the parking. They had it all in those days. I grew up in Jersey and spent the 70s and 80s in York, with frequent and regular trips to Scarborough and Bridlington, so this is all happily reminiscent of my distant youth. Except the mass chicken thing, I'm still scared by that.

Dreamland Catering Brochure

Being fairly new to Thanet, I don't have the personal memories of the glory days of mass tourism, so postcards and leaflets will just have to do for now...

Congratulations, you're a winner!

Woohoo! I won the lottery - well, I got 4 numbers on Wednesday, a fabulous win of £75. I'd give up the day job if I had one . . . Still that'll show those doubters who think I've been wasting my £2 per week for the last 5 years. Luckily my maths is as selective as my memory - that's the way us very poor gamblers are meant to think - just remember the wins, and try not to think about the losses. Still, there's always tomorrow. And next Wednesday. And next year's Grand National. Oops, I seem to be addicted...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Cor Love a Duck

All the papers (well I've seen it in The Times, Daily Mail and The Sun so far) today report that the Duck Armada is approaching! Over the summer some of the surviving ducks from the container spill in the Pacific 15 years ago are likely to melt out of the arctic ice (which carried them round the top of Canada) and start to drift ashore in the South West and Welsh and Scottish west coasts. The US company that was importing them offers $100 reward for each one you find, and collectors (i.e. eBay) allegedly pay up to $500. So if you're at the seaside this summer watch out for floating riches... (as well as the other floating stuff you normally watch out for of course).

This was mentioned in a blog a few weeks back, but it's suddenly hot news (or else the UK papers have only just seen the story, one or the other...).

Seems to me a certain Thanet blogger called Emily should be exploiting all this free publicity. Or maybe she's the evil genius behind the whole thing anyway!

Instant Sunshine

sunflowerDespite cloudy skies and record-breaking rain, June has one thing going for it in our garden - the arrival of the sunflowers. Our first summer in this house, and mostly only using tubs, but we seem to have hit some reasonable heights.

Even on the greyest day, one look at a sunflower is enough to raise the spirits. Unless that sunflower has a little green monster inside of course - any ideas what this little darling in the second picture might be?

I'm guessing he's not good, as he doesn't look like a bumble bee, even in my limited understanding of wildlife, but will he and his chums cause the premature loss of seeds in the sunflower, or can I sleep at night.

It's all very worrying this gardening stuff, I'm not at all happy with the levels of fear and loathing that flying and sliming things generate... and I'm starting to feel guilty at the number of snails that have flown over the wall recently. Still, the sunny bits are good while they last.


Hopefully they will last a little while, because the Thanet microclimate isn't being exactly reliable at the moment.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What's in a name

How many Ramsgates are there? Just ambling around the web this morning, as you do, and I found The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN). A few seconds later and I have the vital knowledge that I seek. There are five Ramsgates dotted around the world, two of which I knew of (the Southern Hemisphere ones) and two others, in the USA.
  • Ramsgate, Kent , UK (OK, we know that one)
  • Ramsgate, in Province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  • Ramsgate, New South Wales, Australia
  • Ramsgate News, a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  • Ramsgate Spring, Yavapai County, Arizona USA

Has anyone been to any of these? Are they nice? Margate has a few more, a total of nine in fact, including Margate Swamp (South Carolina, since you ask) but I can't find another Broadstairs (well it is a very exclusive location, after all), or another Thanet for that matter. And 180 results for Kent, but that's for another day . . .

Seaside Postcard 10 - O Lucky Man!

Beauties Postcard Another delightful postcard from early last century. I'm not too impressed with the man's swimming costume, but it seems to be having the desired effect!

An interesting printing error here - well, interesting to me anyway: the word 'Ramsgate' is upside down at the bottom, obscured by the word 'Overwhelming', rather giving away the fact that these cards were of course produced for use in many resorts, then overprinted with the relevant town, and suitable photos inserted at the second stage of production. Oops. Unless it was made for the Australian market - there is a Ramsgate in New South Wales, after all, and they are all upside down, aren't they?

As a librarian type, currently making a living indexing and proof-reading books, this sort of stuff is interesting. It is. No really, it is. I'll be sharing pictures of printing type and bindings one day soon. You just wait.

A few hours to spare in Margate, so I took this picture of the Dreamland cinema and its looming neighbour, wondering whatever happened to architects to make them capable of delights like this. Presumably at some stage, an architect entered the council chamber proud that his design for that piece of land would really enhance the Margate seafront. And the council must have agreed. But I bet the views from the inside are amazing . . .

And as an example of the law of unintended consequences, I saw in the local paper that the Dreamland Bingo Club recently closed, partly at least in anticipation of the imminent smoking ban. According to the Guardian "The bingo industry emerged last year as the biggest casualty of the smoking ban in Scotland", as players use the breaks to go outside for a cigarette rather than play the instant-play machines or buy food which provide much of the profit. it'll be interesting to see (as a non-smoker) what else is affected for better or for worse after July 1st.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Seaside Postcard 9 - good things come in threes

Feast Postcard Today's card dates from August 1914, and was sent to someone in E Company, c/o Bull Inn, Eastry, presumably just about to embark with the troops, heading for a very uncertain future.

On a happier note, it's one of those weeks where auctions appear thick and fast: Folkestone today, Westgate tomorrow and Margate on Wednesday. Fingers crossed for some bargains - last month saw a £4 purchase become a £220 sale on eBay, and the previous month a £34 item sold for £370 so I'm feeling pretty positive - these were exceptional of course, I just struck lucky and no-one else seemed to be paying attention. And both items were'nt even listed in the catalogue, being just an 'extra' bit of their lots - you just have to look very carefully at everything. All those years glued to Antiques Roadshow, Flog It! and Cash in the Attic do make sense at last . . . And even if there aren't any bargains, the entertainment is still there, watching the interesting mix that makes up our local collectors, dealers and auctioneers.

My first Internet sale was back in web pre-history, in early 1995 (to a bookdealer in Maine, USA), and I've been buying and selling on eBay since 1999 - don't let anyone tell you this is a new phenomenon, it's been going for years! Well I have, anyway . . .

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Longest Day

cooling towers

So yesterday was the longest day (as well as she-who-must-be-adored's birthday) so at 10pm we found ourselves on Thanet's Balcony, at the back of the Bellevue pub in Pegwell, looking out over the bay watching the light fade gently in to the night. The cooling towers almost managed to look lovely, reflected in the shallow waters against the pale blues and greys of the sky. It was still light enough to read at 10.00 (although the picture was taken at 9-ish). Lovely... Still, back to normal today as the rain falls and wind blows, ho hum.

cooling towers

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Seaside Postcard 8 - The Wet Stuff

Feast Postcard Today's card dates from 1924, and portrays a gent (perhaps a local millionaire from days gone by) quenching his thirst in fine style. At least he was only wet on the inside, unlike the rest of Thanet this evening.

I think Thanet is taking this microclimate thing a bit far, quite frankly. At lunchtime, we were at a Pick Your Own farm on the way to Sandwich, hauling sizeable punnets of raspberries and strawberries to the till, and looking forward to going back in a few weeks for cherries, gooseberries, plums and courgettes; an hour or two later down at the harbour with a cold drink, enjoying the sunshine - and then before you know it, it's a monsoon!

The torrential rain, thunder and lightning are all inevitable, what with tennis on at Eastbourne and Wimbledon just round the corner, but there's still no need for it.

Turner Gallery design

Turner Gallery So here's the latest design, safely away from the waves, more or less, blending in with its environment (not) and bound to be great value for money (well, we'll just have to wait for the 10-year review). Big News Margate has a good review of the presentation, although it seems the architectural details are still a little way off completion or publication.

BBC Kent has a short report about the new ideas. Chipperfield Architects' own web site has yet to add much info about it, but presumably will do when plans make a bit more progress (see Projects - Project List - Current - Page 3).

All in all I have to say I'm for it - almost any investment should produce some benefit for the local area in terms of tourism, support businesses, cultural atmosphere and general PR. Whether the money could be better spent is another question of course... And whether the constant references to Bilbao, St Ives and Cafe Society are wishful thinking or brilliant foresight will only be known in a few years' time. I appreciate Margate bloggers will have a very different view - for me it's somewhere different to visit, and not in my immediate backyard so I'm quite ok with it (at least until I see the impact on my Council Tax).

Saturday, June 16, 2007

All the fun of the air...

red arrows

Margate's Big Event started off with some serious rain as we were leaving home, but very sensibly it dried up as we approached the site. Our first visit to this event, and hats off to the organisers for a seriously excellent community day: fair, fun, events, acts and an air show. And, even more amazingly, enough portaloos. Marvellous, and if we'd had the stamina I expect the fireworks would have been great too, but we were long gone by then.

red arrows

The favourite part of any event like this is the air display, and the centre of that is always, yes, always the Red Arrows. Middle-aged men next to us were going "Wow" with excitement, and the two- and four-year-olds with us were suitably excited and impressed - and who could blame them!

red arrows

A shame the wind meant that the Stearman, RAF Falcons and Battle of Britain Memorial Flight were unable to do their thing, but the other flights and parachutists made up for it.

red arrows

Due to the high wind we didn't get the RAF Falcons parachutists, but they did fly by in their Hercules, apparently standing at the rear ramp and waving at us. Hmmm.
red arrows

and not just in the air...

carouselQuite apart from the always amazing Red Arrows (see above) there was a great range of entertainment - decent-sized funfair and sideshows, live bands, and of course the simply bizarre in the arena.

A couple of eagles and vultures flew around a bit, and then once or twice decided they'd rather just walk rather than go to all the effort of getting airborne. Still, magnificent when they did.

Smokey the fire engine kept the little ones amused for a few minutes, and the Chinese acrobats turned out to be two performers doing five minutes in a dragon suit followed by a little dance by the lady. Sweet but perhaps a little underwhelming.

head balancingBut the true star of the bizarre is John Evans whose life mostly revolves around balancing ever more mad items on his head: hundreds of pints of beer, several kegs, a concrete mixer and finally a couple of cars.

Excellently weird, and a Guinness Book of Records record holder, so he was obviously very good, and seeing as he could fairly be described as a huge bloke with a very flat head, clearly built for the task.

And if you really need to know more, and you know you won't rest until you learn everything there is to know about John, go to his website. You just can't make this stuff up. Well I certainly can't.
head balancing

head balancing

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lists, lists, lists

Harbour phone boxes

Good thing - old K6 telephone boxes down by the harbour, nice shape, friendly reassuring presence. Bad thing - tatty condition, missing bits of glass, not as loved as they should be. Slightly surprising thing - they are Grade II Listed. A search of the English Heritage database shows 2,039 entries for a search of Telephone Kiosk. So not exactly rare then... but hang on, a search for "pair of telephone kiosks" shows only 35, so quite exclusive really.

not the Harbour phone boxesKingston town centre shows a different use for these old bits of street furniture - bit harder to make a call from, but probably more use after the pub kicks out.

And slightly worryingly, I can just about remember pressing buttons A and B after putting four old pennies in the slot.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

East Cliff B.F. (before fence)

Feast Postcard This one came to mind when having a look at the Eastcliff Bandstand event a couple of weeks ago. 1928 shows the East Cliff to be a calm and quiet spot, with a lovely view of the pier and something missing - that fencing (known to be a sore point to many - or most)!

The bandstand itself is clearly designed to cater for a small audience, with only space for two or three rows of chairs, unlike today's expanse of hardstanding which replaces all that lawn.

And you can see a busy beach just below the cliff, although the tide seems to be in, limiting the fun a little.

Seaside postcard 7 - U and Non U

Feast Postcard On the beach again with Donald McGill, and this fine-looking young lady clearly misses the attention of her young man. This one is to Gladys, and signed "I remain your old pal, Mrs Miles". Formal and friendly, all in one phrase.

It ain't over till...

All a bit blissed out after an evening at the opera in Canterbury - Marriage of Figaro at the Marlowe. Lovely, lovely, lovely! And later in the year Carmen and Nabucco to look forward to in September, yippee. And only just over half-an-hour away, so it counts as local. Normal service will be resumed shortly, I have occasional lapses into cultural nirvana.

Marlowe's June-September Season in full

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

An Idiot Speaks

OK, so I think I've finally added comments here - and there was me thinking no-one had anything to say till a friendly local zillionaire pointed out my invisibility to commenting. Sorry, but they're here now. Hopefully you can also add comments to older posts so have look back and let me know what you think. Sigh.

Obelisks and other things

This old view of the Obelisk at the Harbour shows how it was a while back - nothing much in sight under the cliffs (the sands railway station is just out of shot). Buildings protect the front of the harbour yard with gates - all now gone to be replaced by paving and some lovely concrete benches. Kent Terrace at the back, and the shops in front, and unless the Obelisk is being particularly obstructive, the lift is yet to be built, so this picture is prior to 1904.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

buzzing the street...

low plane
Aaaah, the sounds of a Summer weekend, the birds, the lawnmowers, the low-flying circling jets... I do enjoy the aircraft, but I wish they'd vary them more, maybe take it in turns or something? Couldn't they hire a comedy turn to break up the monotony or something (I'm sure one of our leading Thanet bloggers could provide a service here...).

Friday, June 08, 2007

Seaside postcard 6: sheer indulgence

Feast Postcard Today's postcard reflects the informal nature of seaside holidays - and the sheer indulgence of being away from work, indulging yourself and having fun, fun, fun.

This Bamforth card was posted in 1935, and the message on the back says very little, but says it all: "Having a good time".

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Faded glories

I know it's very backward-looking of me, but sometimes a look at past glories makes you want to weep. Today's picture is of West Cliff Terrace Mansions which you'll find by walking along West Cliff past the boating pool and greens, and at the end on your right there looms this lovely Terrace. The first picture shows it as it is now (well, on Boxing Day 2006 at least...)

the terrace as it is
Here's another view, seagull-style, showing the full terrace. I imagine the gardens originally stretched down to the cliff top, but were sliced through by the Royal Esplanade in the 1930s, but that's a bit of a guess.

the terrace as it is

And then look at it near the start of the last century, already 60 years old, but clearly a little enclave of elegant living, with carriages drawing up in the communal driveway, and parties on the terrace... Click on the picture below to fill your screen with Georgian/Victorian style (they were built c.1840, so it's Victorian builders using Georgian styles!).

the terrace as it is

According to their entry in English Heritage's Images of England, the Grade II listed terrace was built as a speculative venture (which never quite came off) for James Wire, Alderman of London. Clearly some restoration work has gone on, judging by the one or two (out of 24) that look freshly painted, and the cost must be eye-watering, so fingers crossed for future glories here.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Seaside postcard 5 - Sunny Weekend

Clerical Postcard Well it looks like a sunny weekend ahead, so keep an eye out for misbehaving clerics on the sands... This card dates from 1923, and seems promise a fun time at the seaside, no matter what your profession.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Bonjour encore...

Belgian Bar

Well it's back, after a short absence the Belgian Bar is open again. No Smoking throughout, in anticipation of the new laws in July, but that's just something we'll need to get used to anyway. Some new artwork, some new posters pasted to the pillars, but otherwise looks remarkably unchanged.

And quite how the sun can be shining on Harbour Parade whilst the pier head is obscured by an icy fog in the middle of an afternoon in June is a mystery, to me anyway. I'm used to sea frets, but there's just no need for it after the week we've had, it's soooo unnecessary...