Friday, May 30, 2008

Seaside Postcard 87: cats, cats, cats...

Ramsgate Comic Seaside PostcardRamsgate Comic Seaside Postcard

A regular theme in cards, cats seem to bring luck to whatever resort they are associated with - on the postcards anyway. Perhaps we should encourage more cats to visit Thanet...or perhaps that wouldn't help. Anyway this 1924 card continues the theme, and although a bit battered, opens to reveal a strip of photos ofthe town, harbour and beaches.

One includes the Sands and West Cliff Promenade with a pier - I hadn't realised there was a pier at the West Cliff end. I must get a book about piers from Michael's Bookshop and fill this gap in my knowledge. And the promenade pretty much ends at the Paragon (or maybe at the lookout), as the full promenade that goes past the boating pool (bandstand as it was then) wouldn't be built for another few years.

Ramsgate Comic Seaside Postcard

That book will be A Fateful Finger of Iron (which is about the main promenade pier at the other end of town). No doubt pictures of Ramsgate piers feature in many of the other titles.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Zumi - almost a grown up

Not interesting to anyone but me, but this blog was 1 year old on Friday 23rd, and some time today or tomorrow will pass the 10,000 views milestone. And they were'nt all me, honest (and not all Google, although many do seem to be..). Not exciting, important or useful, (the milestone, as well as the blog), but as so many blogs spring in to life for just a week or two, and then wither away for lack of attention I felt stupidly pleased with myself for lasting this long...

Kent Garden Show, Detling - flowers and stuff

Kent Garden Show, Detling

Some truly stunning displays - and that was just the commercial sales stands outside! It was like (actually it WAS) seeing dozens of garden centres all next to each other, competing for custom with the quality and range of their stock. Some things we'd never seen before, some stuff we wish we could fit into our little garden, and some stuff that was just beautiful...

For exmple, Kangeroo's Paw, which had a really interesting furry flower:
Kent Garden Show, Detling

And the jaw-droppingly lovely wall of fuchsias in the flower show. Dangerously, that gave she-who-loves-fuchsias some worryingly extravagant ideas, so we might be attempting a mini-version of this next year. And I didn't even think I liked flowers and gardening. Well I don't, to be honest, but these were stunning.
Kent Garden Show, Detling

Kent Garden Show, Detling

Also in the show building were some really interesting and beautiful displays, including the carnivorous plants, and some others I forgot to identify...
Kent Garden Show, Detling

Kent Garden Show, Detling

But my favourites, for a change (not) were the bonsai trees, from Whitstable Bonsai (and the last picture is from Derby Bonsai's stand). Elegant, timeless, just gorgeous.
Kent Garden Show, Detling

Kent Garden Show, Detling

Kent Garden Show, Detling

Kent Garden Show, Detling

And another Garden Show at Detling in the Autumn. And the Kent Show in July. Where will this madness end?

Kent Garden Show, Detling - the odd stuff

Looking out at the heavy rain this morning, I'm very pleased we managed to get to Detling for the Kent Garden Show yesterday. I even got sunburnt... Four and a half hours ambling around hundreds of exhibitors, a few necessary purchases and a few less necessary - still, what's a garden show for if not to stock up on fudge, a blouse, slippers and two tablecloths? I foolishly thought it was about gardens, but she-who-never-misses-a-shopping-opportunity soon put me right on that naive idea... and we did get some plants too.

But the main fun is to be had just looking and wondering how - and why. Why would you need a large rabbit made out of a hedge for example? Or a life-size metal giraffe?

Kent Garden Show, Detling

Kent Garden Show, Detling

And here's a shed or playhouse that looked how it would if I tried to make a proper one. Quite cool, we thought.

Kent Garden Show, Detling

Kent Garden Show, DetlingAnd first prize (from me) for innovative use of a horsebox goes to this nursery selling quite large trees.

A great day out, a few ideas and a few things for the garden, and sunburn. What more could you ask? And even though we were as far away in the car park as we could possibly be without actually being on the next door airfield, we didn't mind. Now THAT's the sign of a good day!

Eurovision - nearly good fun...

Another fun evening of Eurovision, marred only by Terry Wogan's constant wittering, usually after the singers had begun to sing and always after their music had started, and his constant complaints about 'political' voting. During the interval entertainment of Serbian folk music that might have been quite pleasant, he didn't stop talking for a second, mostly about the retirement of someone no-one had heard of. Presumably it's only political if it's not to our advantage - when we picked up votes for our completely bland, pointless and crap song, he just chuckled whimsically (well that's how he thinks he sounds)... and in the good old days, when Cyprus, Malta, Ireland and one or two others still liked the UK enough to vote for them I don't recall any complaints...

So we aren't likely to win ever again. Wow. So just enjoy the camp, colourful, occasionally tuneful spectacle. We did. And if Terry no longer finds it fun, then for God's sake go and leave it to Paddy O'Connell who clearly enjoys it for what it is.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Seaside Postcard 86: nice week...

Ramsgate Comic Seaside Postcard A slight gap between blogs this week - my birthday on Wednesday which sent me in to a slight state of shock, as I couldn't work out how I had got quite this old so quickly. Nope, still can't understand it, maybe next year I'll have reverted to my proper age, which is clearly at least 10 years younger than the passport suggests...

And off to Boulogne today on Speedferries. Fingers very firmly crossed for a smooth crossing...

Another pull-out card from the 30s - cats do seem to feature quite a lot of postcards, for no particular reason that I can see. Oh well, I suppose they're cute.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Seaside Postcard 85: Almost there...

Ramsgate Comic Seaside Postcard

Another day, another card, and we're approaching the magic 100 mark - and just another 10 days or so until the first birthday of my blog.

Today's card was sent by Etty in 1913, and reported "fine weather so far & are enjoying ourselves. You can guess there are crowds down here..." which summed up this weekend very nicely. Lovely weather, lots of people, all in all a taste of what Ramsgate was and should be.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Woohoo - a honey spoon winner!

There's something tragically exciting about having your name read out on radio as a competition winner - but I don't care, we won the BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House Honey Spoon Competition this morning and despite the humility and modesty of my acceptance speech, we're thrilled. Just to compound the sadness, we got a BBC jam spoon about 18 months ago in the same quiz - THAT's how sad we are. But happy. A funny way to start the day, and a nice day already started by the looks of it. Beach picnic already planned, apparently, so that's today sorted. Apart from the gardening, and there's a load of that to do. Ho hum. Enjoy the sun...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Seaside Postcard 84: Fun and Games

ramsgate seaside postcard This postcard was addressed to someone in the British Zone, Germany, which dates it to just after the war. The beach ("strand")was "wunderbares" which is reassuring, especially as it can't have been a straightforward journey in either direction...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Addington Street . . . dainty...

Ashwoods Laundry, Addington Street Not a comic postcard, but a relic from times past, when Addington Street was the centre of domestic retail and services for Ramsgate.

This card advertises Ashwood's Isle of Thanet Laundry - a Dainty Laundry for Dainty Folk. You can describe Thanetians as a lot of things, but it's the first time I've heard them called dainty!

Although the picture on the card suggests this is a Georgian scene, the back says "Please send motor van", rather implying we're in the early part of the last century, when Addington Street was a the commercial and retail hub of the town.

Located just far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the harbour (and near enough to the smart areas of Vale Square and Spencer Square) to provide genteel services for the local gentry, Addington Street was the proper 'High Street' of the town, when shops were all single entities, prior to the coming of the chains. Timothy Whites, Woolworths, the banks - their development around the market (where Halifax is now) would have led to the inexorable decline in Addington Street's fortunes, although it was still a street of shops as recenty as the 70s, so I'm told.

Of course this was in the days when you could post a card in the morning, and expect it to be delivered locally the same day. And there were enough post offices to provide the service.

Sadly Addington Street is now just a shadow of its former self - still pretty enough and full of delightful properties, but with no retail to speak of, and a vastly reduced street bustle to experience.

Ashwoods Laundry, Addington Street

Monday, May 05, 2008

No wonder the rare species are rare...

A Bank Holiday Sunday, so a day out with grandchildren, animals required for entertainment obviously. So off we went to the Rare Species Conservation Trust near Sandwich (just a few miles down the road from Ramsgate). Some beautiful and unusual animals, but for £7 (adult) and £5 (child) we would have hoped for a venue that required more than about 45 minutes to get round (1 ocelot, 2 bears, a few flamingoes, some lemurs and tamarinds, and a few birds, a small alligator and some tortoises. And that was the lot as far as we could tell). Wingham Wildlife Park could easily fill most of a day, for the same price. Wildood takes a couple of hours and to be honest we were a little disappointed in that (partly we're fussy, partly the attention span of 3- and 5-year-olds does pose a challenge). Still size and cost aside, there were some fabulous species to look at...

According to a discussion on the Zoo Beat forum, there are many more species listed and expected - well they weren't visible on our visit - they sound like twice the number we saw, so maybe we were just unlucky that they were away while enclosures were being developed. And the structures were beautifully done. Sadly, we're not likely to return to see... oh well...


sleeping bear


In fact the garden centre attached to the Zoo (or is it the other way round) was almost as rewarding - several tanks of goldfish, a pretty pond with some massive fish (koi carp?), some tortoises and a couple of ring-tailed lemurs - without the shock to the wallet...

sunbathing tortoise

Tortoise. Sun. Bathing.

And on the way home a visit to Pegwell, and a stroll around the highland cattle. Now they are worth seeing - huge, apparently amiable (but fenced in safely) and generally gorgeous. A great day out, great animals, a couple of nice pictures, and a chance to complain about the cost. All that was missing for the perfect Bank Holiday experience was the rain. Oh well, you can't have everything... Maybe at the end of May...

big beef

very big beef

Seaside Postcard 82, 83: more money woes...

A couple of cards from a familiar series, and on a familiar theme - not enough money, too much to spend it on... and a hint that Cliftonville was (is?) the place for young men to have a good time!

ramsgate seaside comic postcard

ramsgate seaside comic postcard

Friday, May 02, 2008

Seaside Postcards 80 & 81: The TV Age

Ramsgate seaside postcard

Ramsgate seaside postcard Another day, another crisis. The London Array wind farm has come under threat as a key partner seeks to sell its stake - with implications for all those promised jobs here... At least the sun is shining this morning, and of course it's always shining in seaside postcards. These two are from the 1960s, and if you squint a little you can see a thriving beach scene at Marina Parade with tables and chairs outside a cafe - now long gone inevitably, leaving that stretch of beach very lacking in catering and toilet facilities. Pity.

Still, look on the bright side, once the council have sold off those assets they claim not to know what to do with, we'll look back on 2008 as the glory days. Now that's a scary thought...