A Travellerspoint blog

Hot under the collar

Colourful language on Union Crescent this afternoon. Those present: two dog walkers with their Chihuahua and St. Bernard and a mother with children, one in push buggy one older about 6 or 7. The man with the St. Bernard walked 50 metres down the road but his partner and the woman with buggy carried on arguing. A lot of insults were traded back and forth and then it looked liked it was about to end but the man had to have the last word.

Man with dog: Leave it Lucy.....it's only a tart.
Mother: I'll kick your dog up your cunt. Why don't you do one? You fucking bush pig.

Mole, if you're reading this in plain English 'I'll kick your dog up your vagina! Why don't you leave swiftly? You wild boar!' (Potamochoerus larvatus)

More arguing and then the woman with pram charges after them.

I didn't see the genesis of this or indeed stay to watch the end of it but it seems it may have started when the dog took a dump and the owners were going to walk away without putting it in a doggie bag but did so when asked. If it was done by the St Bernard it must have been huge. And on a hot day too. Now there's a thought.

Posted by safemouse 10:49 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Online

I've just had internet installed and activated and that means you may well be hearing more from me. (Especially if you read my blog). Not only was it inconvenient going to the library, it was too much trouble to load all my pics on a USB stick and then bring that with me. The only thing is, I don't know if anyone is reading this. James is usually reliable in this respect but he has left no comments and Mole is looking at lotus flowers. The idea of writing the blog is just to keep in touch with family and friends that may be interested in my experiences.
That said, I don't think anybody is blogging about Margate- at least in an extensive way with social commentary and humour. Did you know that Karl Marx, author of “Das Kapital” & “The Communist Manifesto,” spent a convalescence in Margate in April 1866? Staying at the King’s Arms, his holiday seems to have been particularly beneficial and his letters speak enthusiastically of the ‘delicious’ sea-bathes, the ‘wonderful air’ and vigorous long walks. I didn't know that, either, until I did a search on blogs about Margate and stole it off someone's blog. (http://birchington.blogspot.co.uk/)
So- my other numerous projects notwithstanding I've started thinking about blogging for a wider audience. If I migrate to another platform so that I can generate income from adverts you probably won't be able to access the site in China. The obvious choice is 'Blogger' (used by the blogger above), which IS blocked, so what I would probably do is publish the blog on the both. I'll keep you posted.
Now, it's just over a month since I moved in. I have a lovely old flat. I still don't have a fridge or washing machine. I do my washing at the laundrette in Westgate-on-Sea (see previous posts) and my food is mainly tinned or bought fresh and consumed fairly quickly. (Some food lasts longer than you think if stored in a dark cupboard). I can comfortably live on 2 pounds a day, just by avoiding the numerous temptations the supermarkets offer the poor- like chocolate, pastries, ready made meals,fizzy drinks, alcohol and so on. My usual meal is porridge with apricots, honey and garlic (yes) for breakfast. Chunky veg soup and bread for lunch. And for dinner potatoes, three bean salad and pilchards. (Now that I'm back in the UK I've gone back to being pescetarian. Let's hope it's not a slippery slope. I had a dream about a double hamburger with scrambled egg this morning.) My one indulgence is tea and at 27 pence for a box of 80 bags it's not really an indulgence. (Don't know what it's costing in electricity though).
In some ways, it's like going back in time here. At 375 a month the rent is really cheap and I probably could have got it cheaper if I hadn't been in such a hurry. I think it's true value is about 350. By way of comparison I lived in a smaller attic flat in London 15 years ago and the rent was 500. (And that was flea pit cheap). And there are at least two charity shops that sell clothes for a pound. However, wages here are also a blast from the past. Especially my 'wages'. You may have guessed that I'm now living on Housing Benefit and Job Seeker's Allowance. I'm very grateful for this and I hope in due course I can get a job and start being a taxpayer again. (I am a tax payer now but as all my money comes from the government is like they're taxing themselves). But in the meantime money is a little more scarce. Until very recently a pound was something I parted with very easily but now it has assumed greater importance. Look after the lost and founds- I always say- and the monkeys will look after themselves. Job search wise it's a little tricky because I've not been in administrative work in the last 3 years getting back into that is not as easy as it was. I would like to get some more qualifications with a possible view to higher education but right now I'm thinking of doing a GCSE maths course, as I got a D in maths all those years ago. I'm not sure if I could do any better this time around but I might have fun finding out.
I leave you with some pictures of two recent events in Margate. A piece of experimental theatre and the Margate Carnival.
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Carnival procession from my window.
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Some of the costumes didn't leave much to the imagination.
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Ohhhhh..plump girls. (Moderately, anyway. On left).
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You can see the Jubilee Clock there. Most of the floats were promoting local businesses.
There were also Miss World floats. Miss Sheppey, Miss Sheerness, Miss Sittingbourne etc
pictures of which I cannot be bothered to upload because the girls were thin.

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There were lots of musicians. Some disco funk, some latin, some drumming.

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This is the Tate Turner gallery with a retro hamburger van parked outside on the left.
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Turning round we see the people lining the road waiting for the precession.
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There was also a DJ prior to this playing music in the square to the left. You can just about see the black awning of the stage behind the umbrellas. It was very loud and actually nice to have a little wiggle to. DJ's patter was okay as well.

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Ah, so that's why I thought the chimes were too quiet and ethereal. They're electronic! I blame the Credit Crunch.

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These ladies dressed in red scarves and holding red bags simply stood motionless in the park. One local asked another drinking a can of beer on a bench what they were doing. "I think they're going to take their clothes off," he replied.

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Film crew on beach. The beach in itself would make a good blog. All sorts of stuff going on. I think there's a fair just up the road, as well, and I'm sorry to say I've probably missed it. I meant to go but got caught up doing other things.

Posted by safemouse 01:41 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (3)

The Two Noble Kinsmen, with added seagulls

I'm sorry I missed Romeo and Juliet on the beach on the 19th, didn't know it was on, but today I at least made it to Canterbury to see the Two Noble Kinsmen in the graveyard. The train carriage on the way was full of Oi Ois and similar on the way back. The train conductor bid them not make so much noise. He might as well have asked them to recite the prologue to the play I went to see. Which wouldn't have been THAT difficult, as it sounded Fletcherian. You know you're living in a rough place when its senior citizens are not shaking their heads lamenting 'the youth of today' but drunk and disorderly themselves...
Here are 3 snaps taken in the town centre. Very heavily bombed by the Germans and then kicked when it was down by post war town planners (well I'm sure they had their reasons) but still plenty of old buildings.

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Built in the 1500s

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Guess it must be getting on for a 1000 or so... when the gate built in the 1500s was built this already seemed ooooold. Thomas Becket was buried here after he was murdered.

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And this a random tower I can't tell you anything about but looks nice

I stopped off at a charity shop that sells VHS movies for 10 pence each and bought five, then the library (WiFi still won't work), then the Costa above Waterstones (Waterstones WiFi worked). I also had a slightly more expansive stroll round. One thing I noticed this time and last: Canterbury is full of Chinese and not just students. In fact, it is quite cosmopolitan. You have your local white man, tattooed, no top on and shoulders swinging from side side, f-ing c-ing this and f-ing c-ing that and young mothers smoking and then you have your tourists and students and fairly recent economic migrants, many from Eastern Europe. People often call such places a melting pot. But that idealistically suggests they are all interbreeding and that is decidedly not the case. What we all need is an event that brings us all together. Like a...massive solar flare that knocks out all the power stations. Although it may just result in people fighting over dwindling supplies of food and the spread of cholera and crime as 'civilization' as we know it breaks down. After Waterstones I had a cider in the 3 Tuns 15th century pub and tried to read my book. I was distracted by 3 interesting characters by the window. One said someone he knew “basically fucked off to the Phillipines and shacked up with some bird” leaving his wife the house as his pension was enough to live on out there.

Now the play. It started with a jig and only Hamlet would deny the entertainment value of this. And I loved the mixed-race girl who played the gaoler's daughter. She played a dotty, love sick teen to near perfection. The gaoler was also excellent, finding humour in the dialog where there was none and a stalwart repertory actor if ever I saw one. Some of Fletcher's dialog is so lightweight it has to be said exactly the right way otherwise it shows actor and playwright up but this chirpy soul had great timing and emphasis. The brother that ends up dead because he fell off his horse (if I understood rightly) was pretty good. Shame that when he requested a kiss from Amelia (think that's her name) as he died all he got was peck on the forehead. I think he died of disappointment. (Another mixed-race guy). It was a good idea to turn the doctor into a drunkard (if that's not already suggested in the text) because he had no funny lines, otherwise. The other suitor was probably the best of the rest. Some struggled with their lines, delivery or remembering. But everyone was outdone by the bloody seagulls, who were engaged in a drama of their own thirty or forty feet up in the sky and at times making so much noise you could barely hear the actors below.

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Train fare 5.40
Videos .50
Tea 1.75
Cider 3.20
Ticket 8.00
Seat 1.00

Total 21.85

Posted by safemouse 08:01 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (2)

Potatoes not Prozac

Of course I am grateful for David coming down (at his expense), the advice is just something I have to live with and accept as a part of him which is easier to tolerate if I am in Margate. I think he was a little hurt that I was in a hurry to leave Farnham but he has been great, coming all this distance to help with things and eager to help again. Mum rang me up today to check I was ok, or rather to tell me she was ok if I was wondering, and David sent me a lovely text message which I couldn't reply to because I am not giving Tesco mobile another cent. I've spent thirty or forty quid on their tariff this month already. And they won't let me buy any more data bundles, the meanies. I'm charged at the standard rate. Well we'll see who's laughing when I switch to another telecoms provider for EVER AND EVER AND EVER.
I don't have internet at home at the moment, Wifi in Costa doesn't work properly, doesn't work at all in the library as far as I can tell. (A staff member confirmed it's not reliable). So my only internet is one of the library desktop PCs. Now that's excellent and better than nothing but it is rather hindering my attempts to buy a Fleshlight, as the Ann Summer's website was blocked. My fantasy, besides living in a seaside town, was to play bingo and buy a Fleshlight. I think that's about as much fun as I can hope for. But should other possibilities also be available I'll do my best to track them down. I picked up a copy of the Margate summer theatre guide in town, I also popped into the bong shop- a local legal highs shop which was raided recently and had all its legal highs taken away by the police. (I read about this in the Thanet news). Still, it was only out of idle curiosity. Perhaps it's a sign I'm getting old but I don't think I'm really interested in legal highs that the law have simply not got round to making illegal. On balance I agree with the setiments of a book I picked up in a charity shop called potatoes not prozac. I've got a whole bag of potatoes I bought from Aldi and not an anti-depressant in sight.

Posted by safemouse 07:52 Comments (0)

Meet the parents

My mother and step-father came down to see me today. They are separated but still friends. In today's diary entry I'm going to give you a hint- just a hint, mind- of the trials and tribulations of family life.
I had set off early to do chores like buy Aloe Vera toilet roll in Aldi. I bought a dish drainer for 2.99 in a bric-a-brac shop and asked the man where he was from. He said he was from Afghanistan, had I ever been?
“No.”
He said I should go there on holiday.
“But it's dangerous, isn't it?”
No, it's not all guns and tanks.
“Have you ever seen guns and tanks?”
Yes, he said. He also said China is a good country. (I think they supply weaponry to the Taliban).
Later my mother and step-father came. The first task was to get my mother up the stairs. She has MS (unpleasant disease) and uses a stick. Unfortunately the fire alarm was going off, although there was no actual fire. We began the long climb up the stairs. “That fire alarm is you. You've done something.” I ignored this. We got near the top, mum slipped once. “I think that fire alarm is you. You did something,” Mum said again.
“Mum, if you say that again and I'm going to get angry,” I said, already angry. My mum looked at me, shocked. I felt bad, as usual. Actually, very bad. No need to be so highly strung. My mum chips away but that's just how I'm perceiving it. In her world, she's just making witty conversation. “I was only joking.” My mother said. Still, it had turned out that I had left burnt toast on in my flat the first thing my mum would have said was “I told you it was you.”
I tore some tissue and put it in my ears, my mum did the same. Then I shut the lounge door but still the sound of the fire alarm came through. I rang the letting agency to let them know about the fire alarm. After heaving some of my stuff up to the apartment we had to do my step-dad's tools and he had brought rather a lot of them. A woman downstairs asked me to turn the fire alarm off. Back upstairs my mother asked for a water a couple of times and then said it was “rubbish” when I mentioned that she'd asked for a drink. Mum got her rubbish water. Spilt some of it on herself and screamed. (MS effects co-ordination). My step-dad, David, still had more stuff to get, I asked if he needed a hand.
“No, I can do it myself boy. You do the washing up.”
He went down all those stairs alone. Came back up. He'd forgotten his car keys. Went down again. Eventually I went down to see what was taking him so long, needed a hand taking stuff up. He couldn't get back in the building this time. We carried more stuff up. Finally, that damn fire alarm was turned off. It had done something unpleasant to my ears, which waxed up like they do after a plane journey. My mum said it had given her a headache and we were reminded she had a headache throughout the day.
David set to work on putting shelves in my kitchen units, as the landlord had given me kitchen units without shelves, missing screws here and there and so forth. I said I'd found a place David might found useful. He was unable to sell his paintings of unhappy clowns (one painted entirely in blue) on Ebay a few years back and there's an emporium in town that will give you 50 percent when they sell something of yours. They sell borderline antiques, clothes, records, paintings, radios. It's an emporium. In my view, as David's unique, original paintings are far superior in finish and originality to the usual thrift/junk store prints they currently have on sale I'm sure they'll take them. But David said 50 percent was too high a cut and didn't care if he was cutting his nose off to spit his face, he'd rather give them away. Had it been David advising me he would haven't let the matter rest there. (See further below).
It wasn't long before my mum started talking about lunch. Her way to say she wanted lunch was to say that David wanted lunch. Knowing my mum, these calls for lunch were going to become as persistent as that fire alarm. It was lunch time anyway and I wanted to treat them both so I suggested I take them out to a restaurant.
“What about the cavity wall plugs?” David asked. We needed some because the two spots in my flat that the book shelf can go on are cavity or partially cavity wall.
I thought it best to satisfy my mum and get lunch out the way. David did not protest.
I took them to the very finest. A restaurant and cocktail bar with a first floor (second floor) balcony overlooking the sea. My Slovakian waitress was not impressed that I could order fries in Czech. There was a 23 percent discount because it was 23 degrees, though my step-dad checked on his vintage iphone and it was actually 24. My mum had tuna steak, my step-dad real steak, I had risotto.
David stage manages absolutely everything I do. He is the living embodiment of Harry Enfield's bloke who says “You don't wanna do it this way, you wanna do it that way.” In fact, he is far worse. It's not that there isn't some wheat amongst a lot of chaff but that he protests strongly if you choose not to something his way, be it ever so small. He often later had to quietly admit he was wrong but it never changes his character, his incessant series of tips for a better life. For example, he got it into his head that he could help me do the move (not wise, he's had a heart bypass) and when I arranged for it to be done by man, woman and van for the bargain price of 180 pounds he told me several times that I should have listened to him and hired a van for five days and the two of us could have done it ourselves. Actually he never suggested any such thing until after I went ahead-having sought his advice- with booking my team.
But anyway, hiring a van for five days, plus petrol would have cost- probably more than 180 pounds- and then it would have taken- 5 times longer- and we'd have had no help carrying very heavy stuff up lots of stairs. I never did see the logic of that one.
So naturally when I ordered the risotto with fries- he had to suggest that rice plus fires is carbs plus carbs therefore I should order salad. There was a method to my madness. I don't trust restaurants to make a decent salad unless I see it and you usually get something salady with the dish anyway. But brow beaten by David I did what he said. The risotto came with something salady and so I now had two salads. And the side salad was a not a good (worth paying for) salad, as I suspected. David said he'd make it up to me by buying me some chips at a chippie but my mum interceded and ordered my fries from the waitress, what I wanted in the first place.
It was nice to be sat there on the balcony enjoying the sea but having gone to all that expense my step-dad said he was getting sunburnt and would have been happy with a sandwich. Mum was quiet. Probably a bit sloshed on her seven quid cocktail. (Truth be told it's the MS. It's a constant battle for her these days.) She came back down to land on a mineral water. I had two bottled ciders, David has an ale, because he actually thought we should have gone to Wetherspoons (this was repeatedly mentioned) and hung out with all the drunks shouting across the room at each other.
The bill was ok- 49 pounds plus a fiver tip for the waitress. I spoke to the barman who was from Latvia and told him I'd been to Riga. He said Margate is “terrible in many ways” but it's ok because he has fun within the cocoon of his Eastern European colleagues. (Paraphrasing).
We still had DIY stuff to do, my step-dad said we should have gone and bought the cavity wall plugs first. We took mum back to the flat and this time she did find it a tremendous struggle getting back up those stairs. Then we went to B&Q. David said I should have followed his advice and bought a bathroom cabinet he suggested at 22 pounds.
“You won't find a better one anywhere at that price. But it does need modification because it's not good enough. What I do to it is...” He's told this story many times but I can't remember it because I don't care. What he is referring to is a white MDF cabinet without mirror, which is quite ok but I doubt is the best you'll find anywhere at the price.
We arrive at B&Q. As he's looking at plugs I run over to the bathroom section and pick up an Oak veneer bathroom cabinet (reduced twice) with mirror on front. 20 pounds.
“Good for the price, isn't it?” I say to David.
“I don't care,” he says, like the relative value of bathroom cabinets never has been of any concern to him.
Unfortunately he doesn't have time to put it up because my mum, who was as quiet as a mouse at lunch- the time to talk- but has been firing off her own suggestions and questions like a machine gun whilst we've been trying to do things- wants to go home.
It's been a typical family day. Me way too highly strung, my step-dad full of take or take it advice and my mum just wanting some attention and also to have all her advice followed. I wave them off, go to Tesco to get a 'meal deal' and sit in my flat, forgetting to eat it. I feel very sad about my mum's condition and how she has ever decreasing quality of life. It's a bit late in the day for me to have realised that. My mum hasn't really realised, either. Today she brought her swimming costume. As if...

Posted by safemouse 07:48 Comments (3)

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