Saturday, 21 May 2011

All Hale The Post Office!


Against all advice, I have started doing the “Lottery”.

This involves sticking stamps onto envelopes and hoping against hope that they will arrive at their destination.

Now, having said that, we have been selling a few things on Ebay recently and one of them was a nice hand painted (By me) Barometer in the Roses and Castle style of the canals.

This had to be sent to the Channel Islands.
Unbelievably the postage cost is exactly the same as sending any other post around the country.

Not quite believing this, we sent our parcel from the local Herne Bay post office at eleven fifty am - which, incidentally, is staffed by the most miserable bunch of lemon suckers you could ever wish to meet - and it arrived in Guernsey first thing the next morning....Unbelievable!

Thinking about this, that parcel has had to get from our remote South East location in Herne Bay to an International airport, from there it has had to catch a plane out to the islands and from there be delivered by van.

The Post office did this easily enough within one day, but show them a bit of the fluffy white stuff and a simple letter can take two to three weeks to arrive here from Wales.

Consistency is obviously not their strong point!
Until next time…………………..


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Knock, Knock.

Is this a sign of the times or just plain silly?

We are having a real clear out of the clutter that we had put in store before we left on our adventure.

Digging through it all, I found a box of forty brand new door knockers on cards tucked away in a corner, ah ha thinks I, there are a few shops in the Bay that might just take these off my hands at fifty pence each. Bargain!
Only one hardware shop showed any interest, but, although they thought the knockers were a really good price the buyer would have to consult with his business partner…..!!
Could you leave a sample and call back in a couple of days? Says he.

Now, you can call me cynical if you like, but ten cards would be the grand total of five pounds. Five pounds is not worthy of consulting your business partner, it is not even worthy of bothering the petty cash tin, it is just loose change in your back pocket.
The upshot of this little episode was that when I called back, they bought…..drum roll please………….one! Yes…. ONE CARD!
This was to see how they get on.

Thinking about this, it took two established Herne Bay “business men” the best part of three days to decide to spend the princely sum of fifty pence.
This attitude might go some way to explaining why Herne Bay, which is only a small town, has sixteen charity shops, numerous pound and cheap card shops, two bookmakers and very little else.

Until next time………………….


Thursday, 12 May 2011

A Bit More About That Survey.

Sometimes you just can't make it up.......

The day arrived to begin, the man from Holland was aboard with his box of sophisticated tide measuring gizmo's along with four members of the council, numerous flasks of coffee and of course us.
Off we went!

The man opened his box and - I kid you not - produced two pieces of plywood about three feet square which fitted together to form an X shape. This had a line attached to a small marker buoy and that was it.
The idea was that this would be put in the sea whereby the "Vane" would sink down into the tide run and three shore based people with theodolites would take bearings at set intervals to see how far and fast it had moved.

Well....... we threw it in and of course wood being wood it floated nicely on the surface.
Waiting for Mr Dutch guy to produce all sorts of fancy weights from his box to get it to sink, we - the crew - started looking at each other with slightly raised eyebrows.
To cut a long story short the "Vane" left the boat with an assortment of rusty spanners and shackles - that were found in the recesses of the boat - tied to the bottom of it.

Off it went only for the radio to crackle into life as the shore based people informed us that they couldn't see it because the marker buoy was too small.

Much deliberation later and it was agreed that I would place the boat next to the buoy at a set place on the hull and they should be able to see it. At this point it is worth noting that this was one of the calmest days......... ever! The sea was a sheet of mirror glass.

As I went alongside there was this strange guttural noise from out on the deck, it seemed that Mr Finger in the dam was hopping about on one leg as he was terribly concerned about the two inch bow wave knocking the "Vane" off line and giving false readings.

It was at this point that we knew this was nothing more than a box ticking exercise and not a serious survey. We were at sea! As soon as any wind blows there will be waves, not little ripples, waves, and so it was.

Chatting to Mr Edam, it turned out his firm do current suveys on..........wait for it...........rivers. Oh dear.

One day we had to abandon half way through as the theodolite on the pier head kept blowing over in the South Westerly gale, this was much to the agreement of the council folk aboard that day as the waves were washing over the stern and running up the deck causing them to huddle in the wheelhouse. Aaaa.

I would think anyone looking at those results might just want to question why there is a distinct North Easterly flow in the tides over that survey period.

But.......all the boxes must have been ticked and all the relevent hoops must have been jumped through, because Herne Bay now has its own Harbour/Sea defence.

Just don't tell anyone.

Until next time.........................


Monday, 9 May 2011

It's That Arm Again.

But.......What is it now?

Many, many moons ago before this was built I used to own and run a commercial fishing boat from Whistable - or Whitstabubble as the infamous advert for the chocolate bar Aero called it - and one day I picked up a job to do the tidal survey for this arm.

This was a two week contract through the council of back then and a Dutch survey firm.

The whole project was to build a breakwater arm to protect the town when the gales arrived and would be funded more or less entirely by the government.
Provided......that this was not to build a harbour for the towns benefit but as a serious sea defence.

Any mention of this being a harbour and the funding would melt away, so keep it under your hat for now, Are your crew ok with this?  says the men  in black  from the council.

It's amazing what time and a few changes to those in charge can make isn't it.

You can't quite see the government trying to get it's money back now can you?

Sorry mate this is existing, on yer bike.

Until next time..........................


Saturday, 7 May 2011

Where Do I Begin?

At the beginning of course!

The old home town looked the same as I stepped down from the train, and there to greet me was..............

...... this monstrosity.

Ok, we actually arrived back in a van but people in the good old days did get their seaside "fix" by arriving on the train. Nowadays though most visitors tend to drive in to a seaside town, park up and settle for the day.

Parking on the seafront was quite free when we left therefore you could almost forgive the council for charging now especially in these times of so called austerity. 

What is completely unforgivable though is the swivel eyed lunacy of some group or other that decided you can only park for a maximum of ......Two, yes TWO hours.

By the time most families have unpacked the kitchen sink from their car to the beach they would then have to move on. 

I fear people are not going to bother! 

Until next time..................................



Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Lets Have A bit Of A Change!

Welcome to Herne Bay.

Where? I hear you ask, Herne Bay I say again.
This is the little seaside town where we live.

Having not Blogged for so long because there is not all that much going on with us other than the normal humdrum things that living ashore brings, I decided to have a little go at putting this place on the map.
Only because since we have been away, the - some may say loonies - have been wreaking havoc around here.

Just down the road for instance we have the Turner Contemporary. This  "Elegant Shed/Public convenience/Total waste of money"  building has just been finished and now there is a big broohaha to get Margate cleaned up for the booted and suited to visit.

There is lots more and I will have to change the title of this Blog to actually mention Herne Bay.
Herne Bay, Just past Whitstable - of Tracy Emin fame - and quite close to Canterbury - the boss of which was on the TV the other day marrying someone or other.

I'll give this a good go and I know it is not canal related but I hope you will still read.


Until next time..........................