Thursday, January 31, 2008

All Ship Shape And Broadstairs Fashion

I print the above picture in response to a recent letter in one of the local free rags complaining about "things changing"at the good ship HMS Fart and Leggit on Broadstairs jetty. The author, whose principal concern seemed to be to display his knowledge of obscure Dickens quoatations about the place, moaned that it had been painted a "dazzling white" so obscuring the centuries of grime and sea-shantiness soaked up in its hallowed walls. In fact the place was given a coat (possibly two in places) of your standard pub "cream" last Summer -which goes to show how regular the correspondent had been moved to visit. Having danced around the frighteningly jolly painters as they carried out the work during regular opening hours I can assure anyone concerned that even their efforts could not totally remove the nicotine layers of the years (Ah, happy days). Already the "cream" is clotting into a familiar pub brown sepia.
There was also the complaint that the "F" word was discomfortingly audible on a song playing on the (excellent) juke box. Short of getting rid of the juke or having staff vet all tracks supplied by the servicing company it is difficult to see how this offence (which I accept it is) could be prevented. I am sure some would favour the removal of machine music -and there are arguements both ways. But if I follow the sentiment of the letter writer correctly, the essence of the Tart and Biggot is that it is a pub that is in the heart of the community it serves and which has weathered the ravages of time largely unchanged. It still performs this function admirably today as anyone visiting the three very different bar areas downstairs or the top rated fish restaurant above will clearly see, provided they come with no preconceptions of a "Mr Pickwick Pub". As to the complainent's belief that in his time Dickens would have been very unlikely to have heard the "F" word uttered in the place, I think he has wholly the wrong idea about the sensibilities of the great social commentator of his day and the working class of his time.
If you want to complain about anything in the old tub then I (and many others) have brought the state of the "heads" to the attention of mine host on many ocassions.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


For reashons wisch I have no need to detain anyones with (hic), I appear to have come into recent posseesshion of the above prosthetic. Although I have never auditioned for the role of Tarzan I am fully equipped to do so and therefore have no need of the article. If any lady (gentleman?) recognises they are at a loss to the tune of one in the leg department then do respond herewith. Failing that, I intend to plant it up with primroses as centrepiece in my garden for this year's "Broadstairs in Bloom". Others may have other less prosaic suggestions. I expect nothing less. (With apologies for any unintended offence to anyone - should cover it, Ed>)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Nice to see the story about the Culmer's Land fencing has been taken up by other more committed souls - perhaps we have the making of campaign. Maybe we should learn from the Palestinian example, turn up en mass at the fence, picnic on the as yet unspoiled green adjacent, a few glasses of vino and just H-E-A-V-E...

There also seems to be growing grass root feeling that TDC is not delivering a "beautiful" place to live and work in and exasperation at the excuses trolled out for this....("all very difficult in local politics"..."competing priorities.." "...central Government policy/funding" etc...) And yet the fencing was it appears a local decision taken with scant consultation or any environmental impact assessment and for which a large amount of money was readily found. One can hardly blame Mr Geldof for his own somewhat badly articulated view that in Thanet the beauty of nature has to sit side by side with the ugliness man has created. As a tribute to Sir Bob his biggest chart success is to be re- released as "I Don't Like Margate":

The saithe and chips is all you're fed
Washed down with Aftershock
That's why no-one visits anymore
They prefer to stay at home
And Sandy doesn't understand it
He just wants the whole thing sold
And he can see no reasons
'Cos there are no reasons
What reasons do you need to moa-oa-oa- oa-oan?


That is why
I don't like Margate
That is why
I don't like Margate
That is why
I don't like Margate
I wanna bu-ur-ur-ur-ur-urn the whole place down


My 42" screen is kept so clean
Now I speak to the Kentish Weald
With the programmes so cheap
I'll be raking in a heap
And my thoughts'll turn to warmer climes
Apply sunscreen, even Peaches's keen
But it aint neat, opening mouth to change feet
What became of my reason
'Cos there was no reason
What reason did I need to say


Now all the buildings stopped on the Turner flop
The toys have been thrown out of the pram
And the knives are out early and soon I'll be learning
That the meal today is just humble pie
And then my mobile crackles
And the Doctor prattles
(With his problems of hows and whys)
For he can see no reason
'Cos he has no reason
What reason would he have to lie

Chorus (continue ad nauseam)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


...and on the subject of delightful views in Broadstairs we have...No. 11 "God's Own Chippy".

Situated at one end of the ugly new allotment fencing and Alexandra Road sits this wonderful mural advertising the spiritual benefits of the sea's bounty. JC is seen here handing around Saithe and Chip Butties (£1.75 on Tuesdays for OAPs) while his disciples gather up enough crumbs to make an apple crumble for pudding.

Behind the facade is one of the best chip shops in town and I have in fact seen upwards of 5,000 queuing of a Bank Holiday. The miraculous advertising reflects the owners' good works and and long may they continue to give us God Fish as they say in Greece.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I am moved to continue these ramblings by receipt of a comment (albeit mistakenly from a Jehovah's Witness creditor) and a rare sense of outrage at the spoiling of one of our town's pleasant pathway walks. I do not normally comment on the inadequacies of our local municipal bodies. Having been on the bridge of the SS Great Britain for many years and watched our "national interests" being ground upon the rocks of expediency and sheer bloodymindedness, the shortcomings of the deck chair attendants seem only to be expected. (Though I do read with interest those fighting the good fight).

But strewth! Who dreamed up the need for Category C prison style fencing "to stop vandalism" along the footpath which runs roughly parallel to Broadstairs High Street linking Alexandra Road and Vere Road via the Coach Park. This used to provide a very agreeable means by which I could reach my choice of harbour side alehouses with some charming views over the adjacent allotments and the north of town. Of a summer's evening, with the air full of birdsong and the smell of smoke drifting over from allotment bonfires one's heart was lifted a little as the donated memorial benches along the route bear testimony to.

Now, if you walk by or wish to sit and enjoy the views you are confronted by 200 yards of razor tipped slate grey fencing (at what cost?). If vandalism, presumably directed at the allotment sheds and small holdings, is a problem could not a more sympathetic/environmentally friendly solution have been found? There appears to have been no consultation and nothing was ever posted along the route advising of the work. Now it is there I suppose it is literally set in concrete. Of course it would be cynical of me to think there is any read across to the oft touted plan to put in a road linking Albion Street and Carlton Avenue.....