Friday, 29 February 2008


I wish I could share the enthusiasm of Victoria Pomeroy and Cllr Bill Hayton as planning is approved for the Chipperfield glass blocks to be built down by the harbour in Margate.
We are 15 years on; £7,000,000 spent with nothing to show and a cost that has expanded already from a further £15,000,000 to almost £18,000,000 and a road alteration costing £750,000. Visitor projections are almost as fantastic as the farce this whole process has been. I would rather believe in The Tooth Fairy than think that this un-inspiring building spoiling the quaint Margate sea-scape is actually going to attract 130,000 visitors per year(or has the projection gone back to 150,000?).
I wish I could believe that people from London, the South East and hell, why not the whole world, will say in 2010 , "Darling, there's a super gallery called The Turner thingee, down in little old Margate, lets pop down there for a couple of days and visit the place". In my dreams perhaps.
Lets assume, that 130,000 per year do decide to visit Margate specifically for the TC; it will be 8 years before we hit the 'extra million' visitors attracted to Margate. Allowing for subsidised running costs (do we really belive it will cover its costs?), each of those visitors will have cost the taxpayer a subsidy of almost £30 each. Is this a sensible way of attracting visitors?
So I hope every-one with a vested interest in The Turner Fairy Story is not too disappointed when the reality becomes The Turner Nightmare for the Thanet council tax payers.
The words of Simon Moores in 2004 are so true:
"Why the fiscally challenged planners at Kent County Council in conjunction with Thanet Council, believe that opening a gallery in a famous artist’s name, with none of his paintings on display, will suddenly transform Margate into a cultural Mecca and attract hordes of cultural day-trippers is anyone’s guess. It’s all rather like the fiasco of positioning the Royal Armouries in Leeds and not London with the net result that it’s losing money hand over fist because nobody wishes to visit Leeds when it’s cheaper and easier to visit sites such as the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao."


My worst suspicions about the Da Vinci replacement for my Sopwith were confirmed today over Maidstone Gaol. Got to 500 feet, levelled out and unfurled the duvet cover on the first pass and then swooped low over C Block with message fluttering nicely; picked up some turbulence between C and D Blocks and with duvet cover wrapped round my head, began to lose height rapidly. The rest is too uncomfortable to relate. The Gazunder team were on hand to catch my arrival at hospital as the picture above shows.

Have sacked that idiot apprentice ,Chav , whose bright idea this farce was and to add insult to injury a sheet was apparently hung out of a cell window with " No way- you fat cow" on it and another one appeared with "Should have gone to Ace-Ads". I now have plenty of time to consider that delivering messages like some bally Cupid is not worth the bother.

Thursday, 28 February 2008


Interested readers of aviation matters, will know that I have spent the past 12 months preparing assiduously for and carefully studying how to follow a BA flight into the new Peking (sorry, its Beijing now) Airport from our patch here at Manston. I am afraid that disaster has struck! My groundcrew overtightened the elastic band on the Sopwith and when I shouted 'contact' this morning, there was an almighty bang as the damn thing snapped. We are grounded! Its going to take at least 3 days to replace, so Reg my engineer chap, tells me and we have insufficient funds to pay for a new one.

Thankfully, our young apprentice, Chav, (an awfully keen lad despite the unfortunate name) who has the benefit of a day release at Thanet Tech to back up his practical skills, came up with an alternative solution and its from an old design first tried out circa 1500 AD. The lads are working on it in the hangar tonight and hopefully I take to the skies tomorrow.

In addition, Chav came up with a brilliant idea to raise some funds quickly tomorrow to get a replacement elastic band. "Boss", he said, "tomorrows the 29th Feb and my mum's desperate to get married to the latest 'uncle'. She'll stump up the fifty quid for a new elastic band if we can get a banner over Maidstone nick, saying ' Bill Sykes, will u marry me - Luv Nancy'".
So , despite my serious misgivings, you might catch me over the Maidstone area tomorrow trailing a duvet cover with a proposal of marriage from Nancy painted on it.


You will need to click on this 'Letter of the Week' from Your Thanet to read it clearly. I hope you will.

I was very moved by the simple cry of anguish contained in this letter from Pauline Dunnill of Pauline's Cafe in Margate High Street. It should be a reminder to us, when we see shops closing in our High Streets around The Isle , that real people are having their hopes, dreams and hard work for little reward shattered by the impact of Westwood Cross. The impact on Margate has been horrendous and the failure to sort out Dreamland and the great glass hope for the future, the TC, means that it is going to get worse before it gets better. Every independent trader still hanging on in the Isle needs not just our moral support but our patronage and some of our cash.

I commented else-where, some time ago, that February and March this year would see the closure of businesses that have managed to hang on through 2007 but have no more capacity to sustain losses. Is reduction in Business Rates not a possibility that TDC can consider? It does beg the question of who do the Councillors of Margate think they represent?

Wednesday, 27 February 2008


Some may see a passing resemblance to this fencing at Dreamland and what is now in Culmers Land, Cecilia Road and in Dane Valley and around the Securitas Depot, Tonbridge, but I want to to talk about Dreamland, as someone asked for an up-date, albeit on another site.

Readers, if there are any, will be pleased to know that 49% (okay, roughly half the site) will be built on with houses and that the other half will still be an Amusement Park! Why is this? Simply because TDC has now approved a Planning Brief on the matter. They ignored the advice of the Independent Planning Inspector who stated that the Dreamland site should be reserved solely for a major visitor attraction as it was integral to Margate's regeneration and was a key site in the town. Despite the people of Thanet overwhelmingly stating in a 'consultation process' that Dreamland should be reserved as a visitor attraction site, our elected Council, TDC, has chosen to ignore the wishes expressed.

Let me quote Cllr Roger Latchford, one of our elected representatives who clearly thinks that TDC knows best: " "People have made their views clear that they wish to keep an amusement park and THAT THEY WISH TO AVOID MORE HOUSE BUILDING" How clear is that when combined with an Independent Planning Inspectors recommendations? So half the site, lets not quibble about 1% please, is to have permission for house building. Why? Because, despite, the downturn in the housing market, developers like Persimmon, still expect to make at least a 20% profit on each house built. For a £150,000 unit that means £30,000 per house!

As for 'The Save Dreamland Campaign' they caved into Waterbridge and its 'Siren' voice a long while back. Nick Laister, their 'leader' said " We're happy with the brief......the amusement park will still be the dominant use ( by 1%!!! so big deal) and if that means that some of the site (almost HALF is some of the site?) is used for housing , then in my opinion, thats a compromise worth taking." What ideas do these 'anoraks' of 'Save Dreamland'( what an oxymoron that is) have of the 'new' Dreamland? They have proposed a 'heritage' site of knackered old rides that the average Londoner will laugh at and I wonder who the future 'Director' of this 'Heritage Collection' might be? I will not make clear my thoughts about the 'Scenic Railway' just in case I get a knock on the door after it suffers the fate of 'internal combustion'.

As our 'rulers' TDC seem to hold the expressed views of its electorate in contempt, they should not be surprised to discover that the 'contempt is mutual'.


As the blog war has resulted in a dearth of air news, unless you are happy to flog over to Zentelligence to see how Simon is getting on with twin engines, I thought readers might like to have an artist's impression of the new Peking (sorry, Beijing) Airport courtesy of The Daily T. Let alone making Manston International seem small, this monster of air travel can fit all 5 terminals at Heathrow in and is 1.8 miles long.

The first international flight into it will be a British Airways plane followed, I hope, by me in my Sopwith. The chaps are replacing the elastic bands as I write and I am doing some hard study of my Daily Mail Inflatable Globe and have dusted off the old prismatic compass and have spent most of the past 12 months studying the film 'Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines' for good ideas to get me there in one piece; not too happy with the 'down diddly down down' bit though.

The ' News from the Front' in regards to the 'Thanet Blog War' is quite sparce. Tony Flaig is clearly jarred off with it all and OVIT and ECR are in their bunkers with filter systems running full pelt. Simon Moores is still busy on Zentelligence telling readers about ID cards and showing a clip about his mate Simon who had the British Goverment, no less, snooping around his dhobi looking for any 'skid-marks'. I couldn't work out which Simon was making the real point about having their dhobi from the past being examined, it all seemed rather Freudian.

According to the DT, that nice chap in the USA, Barak Obama, is having similar problems with Hilary's lot sniffing around his dhobi and dragging up quotes from his past. Nothing new under the sun , is there?

Tuesday, 26 February 2008


I was waiting for the sky to clear this morning to launch my Sopwith down at Manston when this big red and white beast roared in and then proceeded to circle Thanet at 9 minute intervals. Shortly afterwards it was joined by another brute with a yellow tail that followed it in circles and was about 3 minutes behind it. For a moment I thought, how sweet, it must be spring and ECr's 'Oozalum bird' has a mate and then realised what must be happening over the houses in Ramsgate.

I love the idea of Manston having lots of flights in and out, after all it is an airport, but just wish that they were disgorging or collecting passengers and creating jobs for Thanetonians. Practising landings and take-offs to satisfy CAA rules gives us all the noise and pollution without benefit to the local community.

I couldn't resist going to the www to complain to them but got diverted when I found this job application below for a First Officer. What a pity I can't post it on Thanetlife (its suspended), as Simon obviously has plenty of time on his hands now that running Thanet's leading blog is history.


First Officer (Ref. No. CRWFOFO8W88997)
Post Date: 25th February 2008


We are currently recruiting First Officers to be part of our dynamic and highly experienced team of B747-400 crew. Successful applicants will be based in Hong Kong operating ultra-long haul routes and will spend most of their time a long way from The Isle of Thanet. The airline is expanding rapidly and filling Captains positions from the ranks of First Officers. Requirements are:

At least 500 hours towing banners
Minimum of 1000 hours flying anything.
Experience as a Thanet District Councillor

1. Are you able to accept a Hong Kong Basing? Yes/No
2. Do you have at least 1000 total hours flying anything? Yes/No
3. Do you like going round in circles above Thanet? Yes/No
4. Do you spend your spare time tracking down bloggers? Yes/No

Monday, 25 February 2008


Despite Tony Flaig's attempts to steer matters in Thanet towards other issues, BigNews has erupted again tonight with a cyber-stalker importing ' I can track you down' stuff from Simon Moore's alternative 'Thanetlife' at Zentelligence.blogspot. This of course is not news to Thanet's bloggers who have have read it all before on the now 'suspended' Thanetlife site.

A brief recce over to Zentelligence reveals a rash of activity by Simon Moores on his 'other' site since he suspended Thanelife and one cannot help but get the impression that the need to blog is perhaps ingrained in us 'flying chaps'.

What is clear though, is that Simon is monitoring Bignews and that his latest offering on Zen is directed towards the Thanet blogging community. I liked the post on BigNews that ended with 'put up' or 'shut up' and trust that Simon Moores will heed the advice given. If he has enough material to back up his allegations on Thanetlife and in the press last week, then he should get on and give his legal beavers the go-ahead for a court order to track down those dastardly anonymous bloggers. I for one, or two, if I include the former journalist who has commented today, fail to see how anything since the 'Christmas Truce' has been out of the ordinary or illegal but I am not flying around to the press all the time with allegations in tow!

Just in case I get labelled as 'obsessed of 1.08' I had better finish this post quickly and I can think of no better quote (as Thanetlife has ceased to provide me with a good quote for the day) than from John Alden:

" There is great unwillingness amongst men to face the cruel facts of history and to accept harrowing experiences of the past as sure evidence of more to come."

Thanet Schools in the Limelight

I wonder how staff at King Ethelbert's School in Westgate (an 'outstanding' school) viewed the public relations blitz last week of Hartsdown's Principal to celebrate his school's 'good' rating from Ofsted inspectors? With almost full page coverage, I was expecting to read about an 'outstanding' report by Ofsted not just a 'good'. I felt quite let down. In today's world it is just not good enough to be 'outstanding' unless the whole world is told about it. Full marks to Hartsdown for a PR job well done.
In Westgate, however, The Ursuline College has more problems to think about, according to our Gazette. It does seem odd that an Ofsted Report of 'good' in May 2007 did not discover an impending financial problem. It is even stranger that one of our schools has to pay from its educational funding to make the turn into its site 'safer' by paying KCC 'Roads' a great deal of money from KCC 'Education' in order to build a 'turn' off Canterbury Road.
The sooner the mess is sorted out the better, so that Westgate can enjoy 'community use' of a splendid Sports Hall and the pupils at Ursuline can continue to use it. If TDC can look the 'other way' in regard to Planning when it comes to its ghastly fences sprouting up all over Thanet, then I am sure KCC can do likewise until there are enough 'groats' in The Ursuline funds to pay for a turn.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

What's Left When The Quad Bikes Go Home

YouTube - Margate - A Town on its Knees?: ""

The decline in Margate continues unabated as this clip from 'Skinnydipper' shows. (Click on Youtube to see the clip)

Will the Turner project turn around the remorseless decline that has been accelerated by Westwood Cross? We have 2 more years before it becomes a reality and will it be too much, too late? All we can hope for is some lovely summer weather in 2008 and 2009 to attract visitors to the 'free' natural assets of our beach and sea views. The fiasco of the Turner project combined with TDC's odd decision to ignore the Independent Planning Officer's advice on preserving the Dreamland site for 'visitor attraction' use only, has resulted in a decline that seems to be terminal. The present ducking and diving going on concerning the improved value (courtesy of TDC) Dreamland site, is not in the best interests of the town and its now too late and too costly to consider compulsory purchase. I wonder what horrors 'Skinnydipper' will be showing us in February 2009?

All Quiet on the Thanet Front?

Well, what an interesting two weeks in Thanet's blogsphere! The allegations have been flying in the local press and radio and I show an exclusive picture of a 'legal beaver' being consulted about the libel laws. As he is only a B.A Bombay (failed) he is unlikely to offer sound advice but who cares; its all got personal now and he is cheap at 100 rupees per call.

Thom Morris is on the case at The Isle of Thanet Gazette and the set grimace of Air-Ads director, chief pilot and Westgate Councillor, Simon Moores in the photograph attached to last Friday's article looks suitably hands on hip serious.

We have one suspended site; OVIT closed for business and ECR gone up-market but with
'the' still an avenue for blogger chat to the Eastcliff Mansion resident. Whats all the fuss about? There has been some sharp exchanges in the past few weeks but nothing that we flitters around Thanet's blogs have not seen before. It will all come out in the wash in due course but as some have found in the past, dirty washing is best left to the 'dhobi-wallah' to look after, not our friend the legal beaver.