Thursday, July 24, 2008

Folkestone Fun

A visit to Folkestone last weekend saw an unexpected treat - the annual Charivari parade. Hundreds of children had clearly spent many hours at school, or at least after school, creating costumes, rehearsing dance steps and generally building up to a great little parade. Each school (or most of them anyway) was preceded by a band of some sort ranging from one in historic military garb to others looking more bohemian. A fun, bright and cheerfully noisy event, watched by a large and appreciative crowd as they made their way from the harbour via the centre of town up to the Leas.

Some serious concentration on the choreography paid off here...
Folkestone Charivari

Folkestone Charivari

Great bands...
Folkestone Charivari

Some serious effort needed on such a blustery day...
Folkestone Charivari

Folkestone Charivari

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pier pressure - an accident waiting to happen...

Ramsgate pier wallSorry, I don't often rant and splutter about council workers, but this time it's essential.

A stroll on to the pier this afternoon, blazing hot day, plenty of people on the beach, quite a few swimming - some too near the pier - and a security guard and a movable barrier on the pier. This seemed to be expressly to prevent young people coming on the pier in their beach clothes, as these presumably were those most likely to jump in to the sea (or the harbour). OK, fair enough, good safety measure, but can you believe the way it was done?

Well, the guard stood with one hand on the barrier, and one hand on the pier wall - anyone prepared to get on to the wall (you know, the one with a 20+ foot drop on to the sands) was perfectly welcome to walk or crawl past him on top of the wall, and he didn't seem to mind at all. In fact, a few times it seemed he was telling them that's what they had to do.

Ramsgate pier wallWhen he opened the barrier to let a motorised invalid carriage through, or a car, or just adults, then kids would sometimes nip through, and once a couple of them just rushed him and squeezed past while we were there, but generally he got in their way - unless they got up onto the wall.

Clearly someone is going to slip and fall on to the sands eventually - so either make the pier wall impassable - a bit of curved fencing perhaps, or just give up. Encouraging kids to perform this mad stunt just makes it more dangerous and permitting them to try is just sheer lunacy. Don't say you weren't warned when we start to hear of the child with the broken back, leg or neck. Any day now...

And this isn't actually a rant about the poor old security guard, given an impossible task with no proper equipment. He was calm and friendly, didn't do any more than block those trying to get past, and didn't endanger those on the wall. But what a bloody stupid way to attempt to protect the public. Sigh.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Kent outings

A good weekend for outings, and a trip to Herne Bay on Saturday and Deal on Sunday. Curious to see th esimilarities between these two - long shingle beach, great seafront architecture, piers that - although modernised - still seem to look like piers, and plenty of visitors and residents enjoying themselves...

The old remains of the pier, isolated out at sea, yetstill showing how grand it must have been in its heyday...
Herne Bay

The 'new' pier, still looking impressive in the fading sunlight, although it helps if you like mid 20th Century architecture a bit...
Herne Bay

And this chap, gazing out to sea, with a lovely terraced backdrop. Aaaahhh.
Herne Bay

And then a Sunday afternoon in Deal (well Walmer, really) where the Band of the Royal Marines made their contribution to the Deal Festival with their annual visit to the memorial bandstand. Endless layers of memories and emotions here for those with local connections and longish memories, but a huge and appreciative crowd and some great music from a legendary military band.
Royal Marines Band at Deal

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Seaside Postcard 90 - 2d or not 2d

Ramsgate seaside postcard After a bit of a gap, here's another classic from days gone by...

This card dates from August 1921, although I'm not sure what cost 2d (tuppence or 2p for those who can no longer read old money). Presumably that was the cost of deckchair hire, but maybe it's the cost fo the card itself. Postage on this card was a penny-ha'penny (ok, 1.5p then).

And the weather of course was better back then: "I am quite red after one day.So I don't know what we will be after a week". Still we're not quite in August yet, so there's still hope.