Monday, March 24, 2008

Ramsgate Spring Festival

Here’s something exciting for your cultural and creative diaries – spend most of your May evenings at the Belgian Bar amid a display of words, art and music…
easter flowers

FESTIVAL LAUNCH NIGHT: 1 May 2008 from 7.30PM

FESTIVAL VENUE: The Belgian Bar, Ramsgate Harbour


To Spring - Spring - A Spring
I Spring -You Sprang - We All Sprung Together!

Every Thursday evening in May at 7.30pm, All Styles of Music
COME & LISTEN OR MAKE YOUR OWN MUSIC. Open Mike arrangements.
Contact Ruth Cutler: 01843 591081 to book your place.

EXHIBITION OF VISUAL ARTS From 1 May to 31 May 2008 at The Belgian Bar. Work Invited based on Festival Theme of SPRING. Reception Days: 29 & 30 April 10.00am – 5.00pm.
A Cash Contribution to the Belgian Bar is requested for any work sold during The Festival.
Contact: Ruth Cutler: 01843 591081.

On the Festival Theme of SPRING. All work must be typed, no more than 40 lines per poem. Your Name and Contact Details on the reverse side of each poem. Maximum of 6 poems per entry. THERE IS NO ENTRY FEE

Winning Poems will be read at The Belgian Bar by yourself or a nominated reader on Wednesday 21 May 2008 from 7.30pm - CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRIES: 30 APRIL 2008
Please send your entries to:
Margaret Swan, 20 Pegwell Close, Ramsgate, CT11 0NB

So that was Easter

Slightly startled to see snow on Easter Sunday, although it's not actually as rare as a white Christmas, apparently. The earliest Easter for 95 years and it won't be that early again for another 200. A weird way to run the world, and a very hesitant start to the tourist season, given that nothing will happen now for a few weeks until it warms up a bit. This was the view through the doors to our garden at mid-morning:

Easter snows

The continental market at the Harbour was notable by its absence, presumably stuck the other side of the very windy channel on Friday and Saturday. Shame, although maybe they were just confused by the dates advertised on the poster - just when is the 21th?

Harbour market
I see the pink cadillac that often sits down at the end of Harbour Street has been replaced by an Impala. More elegant streamlining (with abit of rust and wear, but still some spectacular chromework).


Still, I'm typing this looking out at the sunniest and clearest morning I've seen for a while, so we might venture out for a stroll today - the bitter icy wind may have something to say about that, but we need a bit of bracing Thanet occasionally...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Margate Hospital - as it was meant to be

Here's one to make you weep - a postcard of Margate and District General Hospital from the early 1930s, freshly built, without a single annex or 'temporary' extension to be seen. And no car parking issues. No car park either! Presumably the only vehicles were the occasional ambulance, and a few consultants' rolls-royces parked at the front door. The second picture is how it looks today. Much better for patients and the community, a staggeringly better range of treatments and services, but architecturally - well, you decide.

Just one more day, Happy Easter

Three lovely French Easter cards are here today (my last Easter cards, I promise). All fluffy chicks, naturally, dating from 1928 and 1929, sent to a Monsieur Raymond Courtecuisse in Paris.

Last day at work, then a few days off (actually a whole week as I have to use up my leave, hooray!). Plenty to do - Continental Food Market, Thanet Beer Festival, family visiting, Pettmans auction next wednesday and a day trip to France on Thursday. Yippee...

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easter hurtles closer . . .

Happy EasterAnother sweet little Easter greeting, this time from 1907.

Does anyone know when chicks became the symbol of Easter? Or eggs for that matter? Both eggs and chicks are produced throughout the year - why not lambs? or some other once-a-year ofspring? Just windering...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Easter still approaching . . .

Happy Easter Easter is getting closer, religious-themed drama starting to appear on TV and the weather seems certain to turn wintry by the weekend. All is normal then.

This card was sent from Canada in 1913, signed "from your litle friend Alfie". Cute. And a One Cent George V Canada stamp, which seems a bargain.

We've got a Continental Market again down at the harbour in Ramsgate this Easter (gales and storms permitting), combined with A Wee Taste of Scotland. Planned to run from Friday to Monday, there should be plenty of stalls selling German sausages, French tartiflette, Scottish potato and meat stuff (I forget what it's called, but I had some last year and it was yum) and much more. Fingers firmly crossed that the Thanet microclimate wakes up and does its stuff...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Fun by the seaside...

Speaking of boozy fun, has anyone any idea what is going on here? 'Ramsgate' is handwritten on the back of this photo, and it may be under the East Cliff in front of the old Olympia or Pleasurama site. One of the likely lads is clutching a giant bottle of Guinness, another is holding a cow, naturally enough, and they have hats (beer mats stuck in the rims) and grins that imply they're either a gang show or a bunch of students in Rag Week. Any ideas?
Ramsgate photo

Seaside Postcard 64: Straightlaced? Not...

Ramsgate comic postcards
This cheerful card dates from August 1929, and despite the red-nosed, lecherous groping by the bloke in the dodgy suit, our heroine dosn't seem too perturbed that her clothes are springing apart! Shocking, quite shocking...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Seaside Postcard 63: Flights of Fancy

Ramsgate comic postcards
Not wildly humorous, but a fantastic aircraft image from the early 20th Century, with a fold-out set of photographs of Ramsgate from around 1910. One for the local aviators . . . whatever size of aircraft they are operating!

And here's another Easter card, helping to build up to the excitements of next weekend.
Easter postcards

A disastrous visit to the postcard collector's fair in Margate yesterday - not disastrous for the dealers, but my wallet emptied rapidly as I greedily grabbed handfuls of comic, scenic and greetings postcards. I'll move on to some other obsession soon, hopefully a cheaper one, this one is getting far too expensive! Still, you'll be the winners, as I'll be sharing a few of them with you in the next week or two. Worth the wait - really...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

That's better... Easter approaching fast

Easter card A picture in the shape of a bell, on top of a little octagonal photograph, on a silver paper oval, on a silk ribbon, on this 1945 Easter card. Lovely. Looks like a personal hand-made card - nothing on the back except a handwritten date, so maybe it was a love token between the couple in the picture. I like to think so. There's nothing new about crafting your own cards!

Saturday grumbles

I'll put up a more cheerful post a little later, I promise. But first... grrr...

  • The nicest fish shop for miles around is closing at the end of the month, according to the local paper. Penn's in Southwood Road - great fish and a fabulous chippy - will soon be no more. Luckily a new fish shop appeared in King Street a few months ago, so there's some hope. And the reason isn't the new competition, just the proprietor's retirement and no-one in his family to take up the reins. It'll be missed.
  • Last week's Adscene managed a classic piece of sloppy editing: over the article about the one-day strike by the Coastguard Agency staff was a headline: "Lifeboatmen Strike". Memo to sub-editors - lifeboats and coastguards are not the same. There's a clue in how the words are spelt, if you don't know anything about anything. They are DIFFERENT. One is an almost entirely volunteer-staffed charity, the other is a staggeringly poorly paid but conventionally employed team working for a government agency. Are there ANY journalists (or even literate grown-ups) in the local newsrooms any more?
  • So the unexpired lease on the Pavilion is apparently worth hundreds of thousands. That rules out the local community (or even the local council) having anything to do with its next use then. Still, they'll be great flats until they're washed away next winter.

There, just the three grumbles this morning. Now I'll start scanning some nice vintage Easter Cards to start building a happy sunny mood for next weekend.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A blog to beat blog block - techie question

One of my new job's roles is to develop lines of communications with our library users - many other NHS library services use blogs (as well as printed newletters, user groups, the web site and so on), and this seems a sensible idea except... our local health trust's IT policy bans blogs, filtering all "social and networking sites" as undesirable. Although Facebook is ok, strangely. However it is erratic - if I go to the home pages of Blogger, Wordpress or Typepad they are all blocked. But some, and only a few, individual blogs are visible. For example is ok for some reason. Other typepad blogs are blocked however.

Can any of you techy types suggest how I can publish what looks and feels like a blog, easy to update and comment, without necessarily being produced by one of the blog services - all my audience will be within the same network so it's clearly pointless if they can't see the exciting developments that we have in mind for the library service!

Plan B is an old-style CGI form-based thingy, but that's not very Web 2.0

Plan C is to get them to whitelist my particular blog, but as I can't discover who to ask - and the IT service desk doesn't seem to know - that may take a loooong while.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Storms? Now THAT's a storm...

This picture just in by email from my brother in Jersey - looks like yesterday wasn't just a blustery day on the mainland. Jersey gets one of the highest tidal ranges in the world, and combine the power of the sea with a storm and a high tide and you get results to make some local bloggers quake in their boots. I mean, just how heavy is a 5 foot lump of Jersey granite? Quarter of ton, half a ton, more? And it's not like they are just lying around, they were concreted in to the sea walls last time I visited home... Eek. For those who know, this was on Victoria Avenue near West Park (just outside St Helier).

jersey storm damage

Monday, March 10, 2008

Seaside Postcard 62: if only . . .

Ramsgate comic postcard
Well we can all dream of the glory days when Ramsgate was full, although nowadays the only reason it might be full is that most of the guest houses no longer exist. Still, give it a couple of years - new flats and hotel down on the seafront, all those new-build flats sold and coccupied, a high-speed train link and a load of Chinese-backed companies clustering around an expanding airport and who knows?

This card was posted in August 1909 to a Mr Wakfer, Ingersoll-Rand in Lower Thames Street, London. And signed Yours, Harry Nob. You just don't get names like this any more...

Storms and floods everywhere this morning, let's hope Michael's direct predictions don't come true today!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Two steps forward . . .

A beautiful March 1st, a stroll through town, and some pictures that seem to encapsulate many of our current issues:

library rebuild progress

The Library rebuild is clearly progressing well, with a new modern framework sprouting amongst the old remains - whether that will be reflected in the drive to embed council services within a library setting and therefore destroy the ethos, ambience and effectiveness of a libary service remains to be seen. Certainly there are mixed feelings about Margate's new Gateway reported in the press, and as a librarian I think there should be a slightly clearer separation of services to enable both to be delivered to their best advantage. Sharing a building is one thing, sharing floorspace is quite another in a setting where calm, concentration and privacy can be beneficial (and that refers to both library and council operations...).

tug repairs

Interesting to see a tug on the slip at the harbour, getting an overhaul and repaint. A very chunky propellor in a protective housing which presumably helped it get through the sand bar at the entrance to the harbour. It takes a particularly brilliant council management to identify that dredging needs to be improved, and then as their first response to sell off the existing dredger, and only then start a long and protracted search for a replacement.

East Cliff Scaffolding

At least the scaffolding contractor will be pleased at progress with the Pleasurama development. I'm not sure the works entrance is going to do a lot for the trade of the catering cabins on the roundabout but at this stage it's a bit like my response to the Turner thingy - do anything, just get on with it, at least we'll have something better than the mess we have now. It could have been so much better, but maybe the next generation will get it right...


Annoyingly, I missed the auction of the casino's contents last week. Poker cbips, chandeliers and all. And now of course there's a for sale sign. Is this for the entire building as the councol has no need for it? Or just the unexpired portion of the lease of the casino's half? With Eastcliff Matters reporting a list of council properties now 'surplus to requirements' and therefore under threat from whatever seems expedient/profitable, it'll be interesting to see which offshore-registered yet strangely influential developers get their hands on this one...


It's not all gloom - at least Crusties is open again (even if they didn't have my favourite rum truffles yesterday) after the fire-forced refurbishment.