Saturday, 17 March 2018

Painting in the Pav and other Thanet diversions

If Wetherspoon’s at The Royal Victoria Pavilion in Ramsgate has a snag it’s the breakdown of heating and ventilation around the upstairs bar area. However despite the beast from the east today, the other side of the balcony area was as warm as toast.

Toast and marmalade with coffee was what I had when I turned up fairly early this morning, having battled through the blizzard, found the town centre closed by the police, and very nearly had to set up base camp on Abbot’s Hill during my diversion.

I spent ages trying to sort out my sketch of the Ramsgate waterfront from out of the window there and then thought I would have a go at sketching down into the kitchen area.

Progress pictures for anyone interested 

On to Christopher Saxton who published the first printed atlas of the English and Welsh in 1579

 Every time a copy of one of the reprints comes in to the bookshop I mull over the Kent Map

 and eventually focus in on Thanet, as you see at his time Ramsgat pere was worth recording as was Broadstore pere.

When Henry VIII’s antiquary John Leyland visited Margate in around 1540 and wrote: “Margate lyith in S. John’s pareche yn Thanet… a village and a peere for shyppes, but now sore decayed.” So I assume in 1579 it had washed away to the point that it couldn't be used.

Funny thing spelling you know, it had it's innings from around 1730, and back in the 1960s it was still common in schools to be beaten, or at least feel the ruler across the hand for spelling mistakes, now of course consigned to whatever the mixture of predictive text, memory or whatever comes up with.

I suppose a modern but not a contemporary convention, irritating I suppose for those who put a lot of effort in to learning to spell, I find the inventiveness of the 16th century scholars Leyland and Saxton somehow more pleasing to read.

I was thinking that when the Thanet towns first appeared as destinations in around 1730 it was for the cure. Your physician would have sent you here if bleeding, the application of leeches and so on hadn’t worked. This would have involved sending you to one of the Thanet towns for six months or a year, every day you would have gone down to the beach where you would have stripped off, drunk a pint of seawater and professional dunkers would have then ducked under the seawater. Obviously your family and servants would have gone along to assist you.  

By 1809 the Thanet towns were called “Watering Places” which makes me think that the term watering may have been fairly proactive.

Back to the painting
and trying various ways of fitting Ramsgate onto a bit of paper, missing bits out, scrunching them up

On to today's photos, taken from the Royal Victoria Pavilion as I didn't venture out with the camera

 The snow covered the hands of the clock so that i couldn't tell the time.

 Watching the people on the east pier was; interesting.


Friday, 16 March 2018

A few old Ramsgate and Margate pictures

The old pictures of Ramsgate will expand if you click on them a bit

It’s British science week and I suppose I ought to say something, in my murky past I had a brushing acquaintance with science both as a potential experimental subject and as a mechanic of sorts.

Recycling is the subject of a BSA (British Science Association and not the well known motorcycle “Bloody Sore Ass”) survey that has prompted much interest and even more confusion.

I wonder if I follow this to the letter whether it agrees with the Thanet Council criteria, here is the link

It’s a funny old world but the younger people are the less they seem to be keen on recycling and yet the more the will be affected if we don’t do it properly. I had thought this was the case for some time and it’s wosisname to have this confirmed by the BSA.

 Ramsgate today has all the look of spring having sprung

 a small tweak to the phone's camera settings making it look positively caribbean
or at least summery, it's is very difficult to reconcile this to the BBC weather app saying it is going to snow here tomorrow.

Anyway here are the Margate pictures

We ate in Wetherspoons here in Ramsgate this evening and I am struck that the cleontel is very much families out for an evening meal in a clean and comfortable environment.

The bookshop was busy today although I am expecting tomorrow's snow or forecast of snow to make tomorrow a quiet trading day, we had some very quiet days during the last lot.

Here is the link to the pictures of the books that went out on the shelves today and if the weather is bad don’t risk it but contact the bookshop and we will reserve anything you want for you, here is the bookshop contact page

I am hoping to skive off and paint if the weather allows 

Janie Grout at Nice Things Harbour Street Ramsgate

Janie Grout exhibition at Nice Things Harbour Street Ramsgate

Dorothy Cashen & Jane Carle at York Street Gallery in Ramsgate

Exhibition by Dorothy Cashen & Jane Carle 14-21 March 2018

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Ramsgate v Faversham shops and shopping

 The old pictures of Ramsgate shops should expand with a bit of clicking although some of the pictures are larger than others, so it will be a bit variable.

I think one of the problems with selling things today is that people are prepared to work at selling things on internet sites like Amazon and Ebay for much less than the minimum wage. I think the most straightforward commodity I buy are 14ml tubes of Winsor and Newton watercolour paint, recommended retail price between £12.75 and £20 which I normally manage to buy new online for around £6.50 to £10 per tube including postage.

With the thing I most understand, books, even the most basic of children’s books like a Harry Potter book starts on Ebay in the murky world of an illegally sold pdf version, with the actual book normally being obtainable for under £2 including postage and packing.

I don’t think it will be long before the majority of my clothes shopping will be done online, the main snag with this at the moment is that the sizing say for a pair of Levis jeans on Ebay is just one great malfunction. What I mean here is that if I bung in 501 blue zip fly 34 waist 30 inside leg new tagged hundreds of pairs that are the wrong size come up and finding the cheapest would take too long to be cost effective. I am not prepared to go down the road of using up my time trying to buy something so the price difference comes out at less than the minimum wage, but then I work for a living and value my time.    

I would think that it won’t be long before the online clothes buying situation changes.

So what has this got to do with Ramsgate and Faversham? I think town centre wise Faversham seems be functioning and Ramsgate seems to be collapsing, there are various factors here, but on the face of it they are both fairly ordinary Kent market towns with a community made up from a cross section of society.

I think an obvious difference is that the infrastructure seems much better in Faversham, the wobbly pavements, dog poo, bags of rubbish are just not evident there in the way they are in Ramsgate.

The Faversham Society has a large and permeant home in a shop in the town centre.

The next will be the town council which has taken over a shop in the marketplace and will be open soon.

As I imagine most people are aware the big shopping chains in the UK are going down like flies and I would expect the greatest impact will be on the places that have the largest proportions of chain shops.

One area where Faversham has an advantage is that most of the shops are fairly small and so more suited to independent businesses.

I think it is also in a more prosperous part of Kent and of course there is a knock on effect where once you reach a level of closed shops it becomes impossible for most of the rest of the shops to trade.     

One option I suppose is to give up altogether on having a shopping centre and have a mixture of places to eat and drink with housing.

There may be a way local councils could cpo some of the shops and split them into smaller units, I don’t see the New Look site readily converting into anything much other than shopping.

I don’t think the charity shops are an issue either way as Faversham seems to have about as many as Ramsgate.

For the very keen here is the link to today's photos of Faversham

Food in Faversham was Wetherspoons
The quality of the food was about the same as the Ramsgate one but the pub is fairly worn and is probably due a refit soon.
It was fairly full, the more expensive options that I looked through the windows of in Faversham were fairly empty.
I think the £2.20 a pint and meals costing about half that of some of the opposition may be a deciding factor.