Thursday, November 15, 2007


Phew! What a Summer. Unfortunately main highlight was unscheduled emergency visit to QEQM where I spent some time in Birchington Ward. And what splendid, unfussy care I received. Many thanks for putting me back together again. I was far luckier than a fellow two beds down who gave up the ghost one morning - chatting and eating right as rain during the day, then "out brief candle".

Did get to Folk Week beforehand -which could perhaps have brought on my "turn". Vague memories of hanging around in inclement weather outside various hostelries, people staying over, digging out old Ten Pole Tudor and Arlo Guthrie records, waking up with hooden horse in bed etc. Probably best left to the young folk next year.
In my absence I see that Harpies, our local nod to 24/7 cafe style drinking is under some threat from, amongst others, the neighbours opposite. As they say, people who live in glass houses shouldn't...I mean they just shouldn't.I like the place and I am sure it makes many more peoplke happy than otherwise. Still, the objectors do have a case as the CCTV image below of last Friday's 2am clearing out shows.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Summer time - and the living is ....well not so bad. Picture (Viking Bay) was actually taken last summer (March 2007) before the winter storms ( July 2007). Main beach packed with people these days - as it should be - best Summer for years I'm told. Number 2 in the recent Guardian poll of posh resorts obviously kick starting economy here.

Smoking do-dah not withstanding, all pubs are looking their best - special mentions in this dispatch from the Front go to:

The Tart and Frigit - Yet newer management, but otherwise life goes on... "Oh and how their life goes on ". Trans-sexual -Flamenco -Karaoke (Now Friday AND Sunday evening). Concessions and OAP discounts available.

Broadstairs's Harbour Master - step forward Andy. With a few more like him we would have been No.1 (Bloody St. Ives indeed!) And well done for securing a boat !

Jim' s Burger Bar on the beach - (The one right in front of the multi costly apartments featured in "The "Times" and next door to the public lavatories) -great food and novel approach to smoking ban. Picture to follow.

Fireworks over the Bay - every Wednesday... for some reason. OOOHHH!!! Where do they all come from?

STOP PRESS: The annual Water Gala has been scheduled by TDC for..... low tide

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Walking all the way to the bank

Further to my last entry I am reliably informed (by the man with three dogs in the pub) that our new boardwalk in Viking Bay was laid at a cost of £26,000! Somebody somewhere clearly isn't as thick as two short ones... just us.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Walking The Plank

With Summer just around the corner (or possibly in anticipation of a Somme like Bank Holiday weekend) Viking Bay in Broadstairs now has several yards of duckboard with polite passing bays at regular intervals. Designed no doubt to facilitate wheelchair and Isuzu 4x4 Buggy access it runs from the tea hut/concrete chalet complex the steps at the harbour next to the public conveniences. Presumably the more sensible option of continuing it to the harbour slipway was rejected because of other interests/concerns but you never know here. It certainly makes the journey from the Tart and Frigit to the sands carrying six pints of Bulmers chilled apple juice a lot easier.

And continuing my personal if somewhat misleading tribute to the most welcoming haunts in the town a good opportunity here to plug: NO. 8 - The Sasha Distel Coffee and Cake Emporium. This delightful Italian parlour is spotlessly kept by the charming ladies who dish out very good coffee and an art gallery assortment of cholesterol soaked confections to the strains of the late French crooner and other contemporary songsmiths. Not usually my cup of tea but on a quiet morning with the sun sparkling on an azure sea containing a solitary sailboat on the horizon it is easy to drift off into a Mediterranean reverie ZZZzzzzz.........

Sunday, April 1, 2007


Now, where was I or indeed where am I. They've increased the medication but I still have escorted town visits. And here is the news from the front....
THE TART AND FRIGIT.... has drafted in Flamingo Dancers on a Friday night - sandwiched between two sessions from Uncle Carl Fogarty and The Ozark Mountain Contempis it was all a bit disjointed but the senoritas themselves were urgent. (Now under new management, Wurlitzer friendly)
THE IMMORAL.... has had new flooring laid (Underlay! Underlay!) - I know I should get out more, just try telling them! So this exquisite little lily scented High Street winery is even better to slide around in (Dubious to v. good "Jazz", Thursdays; eclectic and powerful selection of electric soup)
HARPIES... is back in full swig. Open late...oh yes...But now with Two Loos (so no trek). Mine gracious hosts Caroline and Dan welcome all during the hours of darkness (NB: advisable take own coffin and homeland earth).
THE I'LL HAVE A HALF NELSON.....This week's free papers have arrived!....Mafeking Relieved...Suez Crisis.... Property Prices Soar.... Man Found Dead in Bus Shelter

Friday, February 23, 2007


This little boozer is so good that the image above has been digitally remastered to render its name and location particularly obscure. Aficionados and serious good time seekers will of course be able to recognise all the locations which I would like to single for particular praise for making my resettlement in Broadstairs so welcoming. Others will just have to "rootum" out.
General: Enjoying a new lease of life under a new Anglo/American partnership, this is a no nonsense back streets haven of all things essential for a really fine pub. Real open fire, large long well stocked bar, boarded floors, high ceilings, dedicated seating and games areas, regular music (both live and respectfully streamed) and most important of all very welcoming hosts and bar staff. Rated 5 stars by CARP (Campaign for Real Pubs).
Beers: Shepherd Neame - don't touch the stuff myself - but Shaun pours the best pint of Guinness in town.
Food: Never eaten there and not seen food - but does not mean not available. My view is you go to a restaurant or cafe to eat.
Specialities: Snuff and pickled eggs (available separately)
Music: The pub is large enough to do justice to the many excellent local blues/rock combos that perform here (Saturdays and Thursdays) and at such times the place really comes into its own. At other quiet times one can be gazing reflectively at the burning logs in the open hearth and have the strains or an early Dylan or half remembered Neil Young song transport you back to happier days.
Loos: Clean and well maintained as is the rest of this refreshingly honest place
Clientele: Salt of the earth and seas
Outside : I understand there are plans to develop a patio area but at present the exterior is dominated by a large and seemingly endless hole which allegedly has something to do with bringing the new fangled gas lighting to the town. Watch out on way home!
Overall Mouse Rating :10/10 - Jolly well done and thanks to Tom and Jenny at the Wrotham Arms (Blast! - given the game away!)

Sunday, February 4, 2007


Just as I have it in mind to post some appreciative lines on my favourite places in town as a way of paying back some of the warm welcome I have received a local rag "Thanet Madscene" goes and steals my thunder. Still, there is more than one view of things as the blurred image above demonstrates. So....and in line with the anonymouse policy employed here...

No. 32 - "The Old Contact Mine and Kiosk"

General: Picturesque pub and seafood restaurant with excellent views over (occasionally pongy) harbour. Thorley Tavern (Master Brew, IPA, usual amber fizz). Pool table, darts, good (but strangely muted) Wurlitzer, smallish open plan bars with 3 distinct areas (locals, pewters,visitors); friendly helpful bar staff; excellent food (bar snacks 12-2pm, restaurant check and book early!). Loos; adequate.

Ambiance: Dark Eyed Sailor/Wild Rover; Haunted

Clientele: Upwardly mobile (usually to superb restaurant)

Music: Friday night; usually good local talent (Flamenco dancing coming soon!)

Overall Mouse rating 10/10 - Jolly good. I thank you.

Saturday, January 27, 2007


" .....her passport shows a face from another time and place she looks nothing that". Silly of me not to have realised before that if you want to relocate people with a past anonymously then you carrol them in one place. She is very nice tie and Panama hat.

Now then, a job to support us....ghost writer, mystery shopper, shadow boxer...

Ooh Er! Here comes the chopper to take us to bed

Friday, January 12, 2007

When I was One I had Just Begun

It's my new birthday this weekend. That is to say that it is the anniversary of the DOB that appears in my new papers. My Minders say I should put the past behind me (as if there was anywhere else to put it) but I couldn't but feel a tinge of regret as the actual anniversary of my entry into this veil of tears passed unceremoniously recently. At least I am still a Capricorn ("serious minded, extremely hard working, patient, careful, humorous; prone to colds and knee problems in later life") as I would be hard put to swing it as, say, a Leo ("brave, generous, born entertainer; high risk heart disease and eye problems"). As with any lie, it is always best to keep as close as possible to the truth or at least a plausible version of it.

Still, it all depends on what is in the 'bin' at the Passport Office at the time. So I have gained two years courtesy presumably of some other poor old goat who had a terminal knee condition. But I do get a visit from one of the few people whom I previously knew in my former life. She is being flown into a local airport and of course I wouldn't give the details of what's planned even if I was privy to them but I can't wait to see how sexy she will look in her Hijab.

Monday, January 8, 2007

The Real Identical Man

A lovely sunny morning so off to the front for a stimulating cappuccino and make a start on the life of Charlie boy so refreshingly pictured above in the 1945 autobiography by the wonderfully named Una Pope-Hennessy. I am a great admirer of the great man and have always enjoyed his films and musicals. But I confess his written work has been literally a closed book since my unfortunate introduction to him through cramming Bleak House as an 'A' level English student. I think I was able to opt out of Great Expectations at 'O' level (and indeed opted out of most of the early seventies) so first came up against him in the form of a two year struggle with Bleak House .
Now I daresay that as originally published monthly in 20 illustrated pamphlets of 32 pages each it was as eagerly awaited and devoured by his adoring public as anything put out these days by Marshall Cavendish. If they had been so minded and able no doubt his publishers too would have included a free diecast model of the novel's characters. But in a fat, ink stained, plastic wrapped unillustrated school issue tome it did little to inspire the febriled mind of this teenager. The book's central theme is a satire on the gross inefficiencies and social inequalities of society as typified by the tortuous machinations of the Court of Chancery. The language is one of fog, mist, mud and human despair. And for two years it was subjected to such a line by line word by word autopsy of methodology and imagery as Dicken's himself would have railed to the heavens about. I think I finished about a third of it, scraped a 'D' (equivalent to Grade A 5 star unleaded under the present system) and waited for last year's BBC production to find out the end.

I open the biography, page one, line one " In Bleak House it is laid down as 'a melancholy truth'..... " . Better make that a triple espresso and six sugars.

Friday, January 5, 2007


My Minders have finally sorted me out a library card as I would have had some difficulty in furnishing the utility bills, passport, character references, DNA sample etc required to enable me to lend up to 12 items at any one time including 4 DVDs or music CDs. Honestly! It's easier to open a fraudulent bank account or to obtain a bogus passport. Believe me.

I love libraries. They are shrines to anonymity. And I suppose I can forgive my local one for following the trend to devote half the available space to a creche, a Blockbusters outlet and a typing pool. And the ubiquitous reference section which I presume is required under some statutory provision to hold the serried volumes of Halsbury's Laws of England and Meetings of Thanet District Council's Highways Committee.

But there are still books to read although these seemed to be arranged under the Hueyduey'odecimal system favoured by the second hand bookstores hereabouts. There are sections for "fiction" and "non-fiction" (no "facts" here Mr Gradgrind). Fiction is helpfully alphabetically arranged by author unless it is in "Science Fiction", "Adventure", "Crime", "Westerns" "Horror", "Historical" "Humour" or "Romance" which covers a fair old bit of the literary spectrum. Or it is by Dickens or Thackeray or Eliot (George or T.S.) etc in which case it is displayed museum style only lacking the admonishment "Do Not Handle The Exhibits". Non-Fiction is more orderly, as it should be, with sections labelled History/Science/Travel etc. But with the labels often at knee or shin height some migration and confusion is inevitable and could explain why Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" was in Cookery and Darwin's "Voyage of the Beagle" in Pets.

In the end I adopted a Vordermanesque approach taking one from the top two from the middle and one from the bottom. Yippee! A biography of our very own Chas!

Thursday, January 4, 2007


The plastic surgery seems to be healing well so I thought I'd show my (new) face in town and try out my adopted Scottish accent. Result. Within the space of fifty yards I am regailed as Lesley Howard (fine actor; deceased) and Gordon Ramsay (celeb.cook; vulgar). I oblige in the first instance with my indecipherable autograph and tell the group of local "yuts" to "F*ck Off!". Both seem pleased.

Entering Tescos for provisions I am struck by the paucity of goods on offer or even on the shelves. No Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall hand- hung venison or quail eggs here. But equally no milk, bread or other basic sustenance. Quite took me back to the 3 day week of 1974 when I worked weekend and school holidays for Tescos (well actually the "Home and Colonial Stores" which became International Stores before being taken over by Jack Cohen's mob). I still bear the scars from the Sugar Riots that accompanied each limited delivery of this vital foodstuff. Ah , but those blackout nights.

The Scottish accent will have to go though. I can't help but think that it will only draw undue attention to myself for the nice ladies on the tills to have to speak to me very slowly and loudly each visit before picking coins out my change as I am counting it - even if it is Broadstairs. To tell the truth I was getting sick anyway of the Sean Connery and Brave Heart videos so thoughtfully provided by the Minders.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

A Blog Is Not Just For Christmas

About all I got for Christmas was the idea for this blog. Still, I suppose it shows that my recent relocation to sunny Broadstairs under the Jehovah's Witness Protection Programme works. It's been under the Christmas tree for quite a while unwrapped whilst I considered the pro and cons of owning a blog. The cons appear to be:

  • It will need regular if not daily walking
  • Me and IT don't naturally "click" (as will doubtless become apparent)
  • There are already a good number of well written and amusing Thanet based sites
  • I already talk to myself as much as I need to (Too Bloody right mate I say)

But I am persuaded by the pros:

  • It wont cost much or need to be fed (other perhaps than the occasional slice of Humble Pie)
  • It might improve the old IT skills a little
  • I am not aware of a Broadstairs based diary style blog (although of course there are some excellent sites, particularly Stella -Maris
  • My minders visited for New Year and said I needed to get out of the panic room more.

To end this test transmission I would like to record my heartfelt thanks to the denizens of this charming town who have so warmly, if unwittingly, welcomed me to my new home. I have a long association with the town and trust that nothing I enter here will give rise to any offence (Fat chance mate!)