Bruv, Geez, and oi spent much of the period between 11pm last night and 4am this morning being loudly incoherent at each other in this part of Ramsgate. Waking late and feeling rather frail we headed away from Ramsgate to the more affluent civilisation of Whitstable. This is ironic really as when I moved here about a quarter of a century ago Whitstable was pretty much falling apart and Ramsgate reasonably prosperous, now Whitstable is a town with little in the way of graffiti, derelict buildings, litter and loitering Bruv and Geez.
Don’t get me wrong here I am not saying that one place is all perfect and the other all bad, but here in Ramsgate we are developing some problem pockets in the town centre and this in tern is damaging to trade.
As I sit here writing this Geez is kicking his football around in the street outside, often against shop windows Bruv and Babe are communicating with each other in a series of incomprehensible loud noises punctuated with all too coherent obscenities.
When I arrived back this evening the road behind the shop was strewn with rubbish, this isn’t encouraging.
It looks like Your Thanet has gone altogether, this weeks new e-edition should have appeared on their website, but hasn’t.
I then had a most bizarre telephone conversation about this with the KOS news desk, they told me that they didn’t know if Your Thanet had finished altogether, but would phone me back later with the information.
I wonder if the council are still paying to advertise there and sending them press releases, there is a certain irony at the moment in the council dealing with a local paper that doesn’t appear in any form at all.
Update today’s edition of Your Thanet has now appeared
OK I suppose it is an ugly concrete structure, but I suppose we have got used to it, plans are to demolish it in September or October.
The inner sanctum of engineers reckon this will be a tricky job, one of the cooling towers has to be demolished with explosives before the chimney. If you don’t get the demolition of these just right they tend to twist and go everywhere, careful arrangement of charges and det chord is critical.
At the time of writing the date for the demolition hasn’t been set.
I keep a sketch book like Turner did, unfortunately there the resemblance ends, but I have used a sketch to illustrate the post as I know aspiring art critics will all have a mental picture of the power station and immediately have modifications.
I was on the far end of the western undercliff promenade on Monday when my children spotted what looked like diamonds in the adjacent caves, so I sketched the power station while the climbed down and retrieved what transpires to a sea worn house brick, now a prized position.
I finally got to grips with the time I have been wasting blogging on my ancient laptop and decided that either I replaced it or stopped blogging. I opted for a replacement laptop, so this may be cause for celebration or regret.
The trouble with buying new technological items is that it is very difficult to try them out first. With laptops the snags that the various people I know have seem to be, too heavy, no camera card reader slot, irritating fan noise, overheating when resting on ones legs – probably due to all the vents being where the legs go, no usb3 socket, the operating system being Linex, short battery life. Built in mouse that is effected badly when you type, supplier problems when things go wrong, no webcam
Anyway I shopped around and bought the following laptop: Acer Aspire 5750 Laptop, Core i3 Sandybridge 2310M 2.10GHz, 4GB RAM, 320GB HDD, 15.6" LED, DVD±RW, Webcam, Windows 7 Home Premium
price £315.81 or £388.80 inc vat.
I bought it online from Ebuyer.com, I opted for Acer partly because I had tried an older model belonging to someone else and partly because they were very good when one of their products went wrong, and Ebuyer because they have sorted out problems in the past and I have bought from them in the past without problems.
OK I am not saying that this is the best deal around or anything like that, but so far, last 24 hours it is proving to be an excellent computer and doesn’t seem to have any obvious snags.
I think this may be my fault for not explaining things properly, as Simon certainly hasn’t come up with an explanation of the way the council website promotes leisure, that I can understand.
This time I will use a picture of the council’s homepage (taken today) – click on it to make it bigger – to explain, as best as I can, what is wrong.
The council promotes events in three different places on the homepage of its website, so I will go through them one at a time, I have ringed them with different colours for clarity.
In the green ring the header banner, to get into this prime spot on the council’s website the council has to have spent a lot of money on the event, the event should also be in Margate.
In the red circle is a section called events, further investigation of this part of the council’s homepage shows that it is generated automatically by an even more bizarre part of the council’s website http://communityportal.thanet.gov.uk
In short this particular piece of council IT is so dreadful that it means that events in October, November or even next year are promoted on the council’s homepage, while the main event this week is often missing.
I recommend that you click on the link to the community portal and try out this site, it is an excellent example of a bad website, and an appalling breach into the council’s homepage. If you join it allows you to write content onto the council’s website homepage.
You may ask why it is there at all, my guess is that a lot of funding has been spent on it, there may even be people in some TDC offices somewhere being paid to administer it.
The blue circle, right at the bottom of the page takes you the tourism site, one wonders how many tourists get as far as this.
Sorry there haven’t been many posts this week, I have been busy, with other things today is market day here in Ramsgate so my bookshop is too busy for me to get on with anything much apart from write this post, which I expect will be fairly fragmented.
The history of this press release thing goes back quite a long time, during 2008 I made various attempts to get the council to publish their press releases, in a timely manner, with the associated pictures – which are paid for by us – on their website with proper feeds.
In November of 2008 I decided it would take a long time for the council to achieve this and started publishing them on this blog.
I continued trying to get the council to do this, my recommendation to the council was that they set up there own blog, on blogger and embed it in the council’s website as this wouldn’t cost the council anything, would allow for the free hosting of large image files but most of all produce the most advanced form of feeds.
For some reason that I have never understood the council decided not to do this and instead tried to improve the way the put press releases on their own website. Not surprisingly they weren’t as good at doing this, as Google are who operate blogger.
By May 2009 I decided that the council press releases, many of which have a “making more tractors” flavour to them were making this blog boring, so I set up the Thanet Press Release Blog, this link takes you to the posts there for this month last year http://thanetpress.blogspot.com/2010_07_01_archive.html
I added the latest planning applications, the latest documents about council meetings and other press releases, like the ones from the Labour and Conservative groups. I also deleted abusive and libellous comments, in fact did the council’s job for them.
Between then and last year the council have made various attempts to improve their publication of press releases on the council’s website, but they don’t seem to have managed to get this to work consistently and reliably.
Then in June of this year the council decided they would stop sending me their press releases, to me this was pretty strange as, as far as I could see, I was the only person publishing them in their entirety, with the images and with proper and reliable feeds.
As far as I can see on the one hand the council say they are spending about £100,000 per year putting information in the media and on the other they are stopping me from doing this for nothing, for them, just in case anyone reads it and they have to answer questions about this information.
Anyway I bunged off a response to the council’s reply, here it is:
Dear Business Information & Improvement Manager.
Further to your response to my foi request 14/06/2011 entitled “Freedom of Information Request 1” please could you clarify some points and respond to my recommendations.
The numbers refer to the numbers in the original request and may be helpful for clarification.
9 As the council incurs no extra cost for adding non accredited media to their mailing list, could you please restore non accredited media sources to your list?
9 Could you please clarify what managing this list involves?
9 In terms of enquiries resultant from press releases and other council information, I am assuming that the number of resulting enquiries is going to be directly proportional to the amount of coverage that the press releases and information receive.
6 As the council is spending £105,256.10 on advertising, it would appear that they would expect some response from this.
Could you please clarify the situation for responses resulting from press releases?
By this I mean that in a general sense the council is spending a considerable amount on issuing press releases and publicity, but also seem to be trying to limit the circulation of those press releases and publicity to prevent people from reading them and responding to them.
15 As evidently the decision to stop supplying non-accredited media with press releases wasn’t made at the request of elected members how was this decision made?
Best regards Michael
And have had this reply:
Ref No:28691 / 1808318
Dear Mr Child
Thank you for your communication of 21/07/2011 requesting further information about the councils press release policy.
Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.
If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.
Corporate Information & Communications Manager
I suppose that if they take another month to reply this is going to be a long conversation.
On to Ramsgate Carnival, I managed to locate the pictures I took of it in 2008, a series of linked webpages, links at the top, here they are http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/RamsgateCarnival2008/ they seem to be a bit on the light side, would they have faded in the computer?
It also occurred to me that the council not promoting the carnival on their website, se the last post , could lead to problems if they promote Margate Carnival and frankly a council not promoting any of the local carnivals does seem pretty strange, so I bunged off the following to them:
Subject: Re: Carnival
Date: 20/07/2011 16:28:17 GMT Daylight Time
Thanks **** I will add your comments (without your name) to the blog post about the carnival where I mentioned that I had asked the question.
It did just occur to me that if the council promotes one town’s carnival without promoting another it could cause problems.
My take on this is that if an event justifies the presence of the tourist information staff then they should ensure that it is publicised on the council’s websites.
Best regards Michael
Subject: Re: Carnival
Date: 21/07/2011 12:10:40 GMT Daylight Time
The carnivals are publicised on our Tourism website Visit Thanet:
On to shopping in Margate, on arrival I went straight to the little café off the side of the High Street, you know the one with the sofas upstairs, its been there so long that I don’t think I have ever mentioned it before.
Having had a cup of tea, on to the shopping, why would you need to go shopping in Margate? Is a question I have been asked so I have put my purchases on the till desk and taken photographs of them, I will endeavour to explain.
The first one was a paintbrush from Lovelys in Northdown Road, it wasn’t a very big brush and this is the only place you can try them out first.
To understand the buying of a paintbrush you are best to think in terms of the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
I then bought two postcards of the 1951 Ramsgate Festival of Britain illuminations, £3.50 each, a reasonable price for scarce cards, I thought.
This 1834 framed print of North Foreland Lighthouse for £12, I am pretty sure it’s one I haven’t got.
This picture of Margate Beach for £3 all of these pictures were bought in the old town, which is having something of a revival.
Some comments on the pictures that I took yesterday, link above.
The Joke Shop from the Arlington arcade has move into the lower High Street, with an associated Bong Shop section same counter two different shops, one selling jokes and the other equipment for the use of illegal recreational drugs.
Presumably this separation is because one is not a joke, or a different sort of joke, or possibly related in some way to appreciating the art in the Turner Contemporary – the stripes man, the mirrors – all very 60s, Metro revolution.
This brings a new dimension to cottageing in Margate.
While on the subject does anyone know what happened the Margate’s Gay Pride event, I thought it ought to be on about now, you may remember this time last year that as soon as I complained to the council that they were being homophobic, by not promoting it on their website it appeared there, as if by magic.
The pictures in this post are of the 1968 carnival taken here in King Street, click on them to enlarge.
There is a series of linked pages (links at the top of the pages)of last year’s carnival here http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/rc2010/id5.htm the image files were corrupted so I am republishing them, you may have to wait until about 5.30 for decent pictures.
I have asked the council if they will be promoting any of the Thanet Carnival’s on their website this year, I wouldn’t hold your breath for an answer though.
I have one foi request that is so late that it seems with my only recourse to questions from TDC being an foi request I may have to issue a foi request asking when my foi request will be answered.
Update I received the following reply about the carnival promotion from TDC:
Dear Mr Child,
The Thanet town carnivals are not organised by Thanet District Council but
instead by independent bodies.
Should the organisers wish for their events to be promoted on the TDC website
they can contact the council and this will be considered. They can also sign up
to our community portal and post their events. Once posted, they will appear on
the front page of the council's website under the Events category. We have not
received any contact regarding promotion of these events from any of the