Saturday, February 23, 2008

Extreme Privacy

I know things have got a bit steamy in the bloggy arena recently, so I can quite understand why various bloggers have turned on their comment moderation - but ECR has taken this to a fabulous extreme this morning - you need to be invited to actually read the blog itself! Maybe this is the future for blogging, a series of private clubs so exclusive that the crowds clamour to get in. It seems to work for some West End drinking clubs, but it may limit the impact of the satirical commentary if it's only seen by the author and his closest chums. Obviously I'm just jealous - I want to be on the inside looking out... but what if he's saying something really interesting? Or is he adopting the New Labour (and Old Conservative, before I'm accused of bias) approach to Freedom of Information?

Let us in!!!

On a more philosophical note - isn't is strange how you get a sense of ownership - and therefore grief at its loss (that might be over-egging it sligtly, but you get the point) - over something that you don't own/write?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Seaside Postcard 61: Large capacity

Ramsgate seaside postcard
This card, send to Dartford in 1919, cheerily claims there's room for all in Ramsgate. Nothing new there then - in the message the sender (a girl called Grace) says "there's crowds down here on the sands". Aaah, happy days...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Seaside Postcard 60: Yet More Fish

Ramsgate seaside postcard
Yet another fish-related card, one of several on the theme of 'a line from...' or 'only a line...' showing (a) the lack of imagination of postcard draughtsmen, or (b) the popularity of fish at the seaside. You decide.

This card was posted from Ramsgate in August 1909, going to a Mrs Jarvis in Wandsworth, London. Aother name you don't hear much nowadays, this was a 'Dear Maud'.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Springcleaning & Housekeeping

It's a bright and shiny Saturday morning so a good time to do some long-overdue admin.

First, change the password. What with the Thanet bloggy world getting a bit twitchy this week, it's a reminder that it's good practice to change your password every now and again, especially if you ever use publicly accessible machines in internet cafes or at work. And ALWAYS get a few numbers in there among the letters.

Second, back up your work! The loss of ECR's blog isn't just depriving us (temporarily I hope) of pithy comment and opinion - he had a lot of great pictures and insightful comments on there among all the other stuff. Although Blogger itself isn't terribly simple to back up (it involves making a new tamplate, saving the old one, replacing then exporting then replacing again and republishing - something like that anayway, I'd lost the will to live after reading through the instructions), there is a really nice and easy way to do it - it took me less than 5 minutes to back up my blog this morning.

Here's how: use a Firefox extension (what old-timers would call a plug-in) called Scrapbook. Instructions are all on the helpful Dummies Guide to Blogger where the download links for Firefox and then Scrapbook are in the third paragraph in the left hand column. I hardly ever use Firefox, but it's worth installing just for the occasional clever tool like this - each Month of your blog is saved with one simple drag-and-drop to the Scrapbook folder, and it's lightning fast.

I feel much happier now. Just off to change my password. Back soon...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Turbulent Times

Getting to grips with my new job this week, I haven't had the same time as usual to do much on the blog - more postcards to come tomorrow, I promise. It's my 5th day, and the NHS culture is not offering any unexpected challenges - of course that's just the first week, there'll be something confusing lurking just around the corner no doubt.

Speaking of confusion and lurking - there's been something of a bloodbath amongst Thanet blogs in the last few days: Thanet Life's owner has suspended his blog due to an excess of nastiness, some of which has spilled right over and hacked and deleted Eastcliff Richard's blog. Given these are two of the livelier ones, both quite good at breaking local news, this is a bad thing all round. Reading the comments on some recent postings, it's surprising anyone leaves the comments function turned on at all. People manage to get themselves very angry when sat alone at the keyboard, take things incredibly personally and chuck around all sorts of claims, accusations and insults.

Hopefully they will both make a reappearance soon - however irritating a certain political position is to someone who doesn't share it, and however annoying some witty and not so witty comments are, there should be the ability to share, oppose and discuss views and these without anyone getting scared, hacked or too furious.

I'd try and inject some controversy into the area of Edwardian seaside postcards, but I'm not sure anyone would care!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Seaside Postcard 59: Keeping it straight...

Ramsgate comic postcardI have no idea what witty and obscene comments this card could provoke from some of the Thanet bloggers, and I'm not sure why simply bending should be punished by unceremoniously un-donkeying in this fashion, but that's how it was in the old days, apparently.

This delightful card was posted from Ramsgate to Luton in August 1909, and the correspondent tells of how lovely it was arriving by water - presumably train to London, then steamboat down to the Kent resorts.

And the look on the donkey's face suggests he (or she) had done this before to unsuspecting bendy riders...

Then again, judging by the right foot in the left stirrup, was the rider facing the wrong way?

Enough blogging, off to the first day in my new job. Eek.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Seaside Postcard 58: More fishy tales

Ramsgate comic postcard
Yet another fish-related card, this one by the master himself, Donald McGill. One of his earlier cards, this was sent from 4 Spencer Square, posted in 1910. Etty, who sent the card to St Johns, in South East London, was clearly having a fine old time: "Talk about boys, Mum's the word". Happy days.

Speaking of things fishy, the local sagas are getting ever so interesting what with illicit demolition attempts on listed buildings- for the full story (or as much as is publicly known so far) check out the two leading local blogs Eastliff Richard and ThanetOnline, with some informed input from Eastcliff Matters. The great thing about the bloggy world isn't just the blogs themselves, it's the comments they draw out - in this case we have interventions from councillors and architects, as well as reminiscences and real history from a previous owner of the building. Fascinating, in sad and angry-making sort of way.

The less great thing about the bloggy world is the speed at which people lose their temper, or the way they lack restraint when replying. I nearly had my head bitten off for a comment on ThanetLife (about China, human rights and international trade - interesting, huh?). I've always found Simon's management and writing of the blog reasonable (given his obvious leanings as a councillor and Conservative - nothing wrong with that in itself, but it does influence viewpoints somewhat), but he has quite an angry readership, it seems to me. Very quick to snarl and shout, and even he himself has a somewhat lively response whenever ECR helpfully lobs one of his little spiky comments in to the mix. Fun to read, if slightly worrying - are you all like this down the pub or at work? It must be exhausting... or maybe I'm just too sensitive.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

There's more than one seaside

Margate postcardHere's a nice old card from Margate, just to show I do look outside Ramsgate for inspiration now and again. A very laboured rhyme perhaps, but an attractive card nonetheless.

Posted in July 1913, to an address in hackey Wick, London, the sender was of course 'having a fine time'. This Valentine postcard has printed on the reverse 'Mail Novelty - shape passed by the GPO for a half penny stamp', implying that this sort of card was still so new that post offices weren't used to them yet!

The drop-down set of photographs includes Westonville Pavilion, Jubilee Clock, Westonville Sands, the Lifeboat Memorial, the Concert Hall in the Pavilion (which is the Winter Gardens), the Jetty, the Harbour and Palm Bay.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Seaside Postcard 57: Come and see what's left...

Ramsgate comic postcard
Another sweet image from the 1930s, inviting us to visit Ramsgate and see what the developers and council have kindly left standing for us to see. But hurry, it's getting less day by day...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Weather or not . . .

Ridiculous. That's the only word for it. Yesterday we spent the whole day expecting a snow shower, which never materialised. Today, after a stroll round Herne Bay, we sat on the beach at Whitstable to watch a beautiful sunset. What's wrong with this place - where's the horrible cold, miserable, depressing winter? Daft. Not the greatest picture, given that it was taken on the mobile phone, but it gives a flavour of the splendour of the view. And it was splendid.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Seaside Postcard 56: A Miss is as Good as a Mile

Ramsgate comic postcard
Ah, where would postcard artists be without the mighty pun? Here's another classic of its type, with lovely pull-out photos from the 1930s showing Ramsgate in its deco glory - the swimming pool, the Sun Cafe (Harbour Lights now) and the Winterstoke Memorial, as well as the more traditional delights of the harbour and sands of course.