A Travellerspoint blog

Bidding war blues

Picked up that bloody bicycle. Covered in rust. Don't ask how much. The man that sold it to me was a definite prototype for a character that has appeared in numerous sitcoms. He dropped it off at Canterbury West station for a fee of seven pounds. Asked me for positive feedback. In his description of the bicycle he neglected to mention the rust but he did say it was great for going the last mile to work. In my feedback I put very friendly guy, went the extra mile.
Whilst I was waiting for him I popped to Sainsbury's Local to grab a sandwich and on the way was approached but a tatty looking fellow who appeared to be an alcoholic or drug addict with neurosis.
“Excuse me sir, please forgive me...” he said in local-working-class-aggressive tone.
I feel bad about this but after a micro pause I just walked straight past. I didn't feel like giving him five quid for a bus fare or whatever the story was. I had to go see a man about a bicycle.
“Every one!” I heard him shout after me, aggressively. Meaning, I suppose, that everybody he approached ignored him.
Here is my problem. My instant impression of him was someone that wanted money for something but would tell me a lie about what for. A person who hated people like me but asked them for money. A person who probably wouldn't give money to strangers in need himself. What is the solution? Perhaps charity should not come with all sorts of uncharitable preconditions. Just hand him a couple of quid and off you go? You do your good bit, his lookout if he doesn't do his. Yep, not rocket science, James. Mm! I go round and round in circles on this one but maybe I'm approaching an answer. Anyways, I know I probably didn't handle it right by just walking past him. (I was asked for sixty pence for a phone call the other day in Margate, but that's another story).
I went back to the train station to wait nearly an hour for the train back. There were loads of Italians and other continentals and a few Chinese as well. A gorgeous fat one got off a train that terminates and trundled off somewhere with a slimmer friend, unaware that we were made for each other.

Posted by safemouse 07:46 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Living like common people

Went to the laundrette in Westgate-On-Sea to wash my sheets, picking up some books in the library on the way. Kent Libraries let you take 30 out at a time, which I think you'll agree is quite enough to be getting on with and considerably more than Surrey's generous 9.

Later on I walked into town to look for some picture hooks. My first port of call was WHSmith. There was nobody in there. There never is these days. They've still got the best selection of magazines and stationary you can't buy in Pound Land but the fact is the discount stores have scooped up most of their business, Amazon has probably taken a massive chunk as well. Frankly I can't see them lasting. They just seem to be persisting in selling the same stuff they always have without having noticed the competition are outdoing them. They didn't have any picture hooks.
I then wandered over to the Turner Gallery via an emporium in the old town. It only had 20 minutes 'til closing time but that was more than enough to have a quick scoot round and check the gift shop out as well. Yep, yep, yep...yep. That's all the pictures done. I don't see that standing and looking at them slowly would have enhanced the experience. (Mondrian exhibition).

What to put on my own walls? A print is a cliché. I found prints of Turner's steam train in the mist were reduced from a fiver to 3.50 but I've seen that picture so many times it's practically imprinted on my memory. (I suppose I could just hang the picture up back to front- reduced price tag and all- and call it modern art.) I think I'll get someone on Fiverr to draw me something.

As I left the gallery there was a big perspex box with money in it and a sign saying 'Keep me free'. Obviously the only way I could keep the visit to the gallery free was by not putting any money in the box and I duly obliged. I stood on the embankment looking across the harbour to the bar and lighthouse and thinking for a while. My stomach then led me in the direction of the chippie and later on I bid for a fold up bicycle on Ebay.

Posted by safemouse 07:43 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

2 weeks later

Well, it seems a once idle fantasy is taking shape. I spent so many years fretting about whether to stay or go in China and perhaps in the end losing my passport gave me the shove I needed. But I knew if I were to give up my shenanigans abroad I should at least not make a full return to normality. I would live in a salty seaside town. I fantasised my way through Brighton (too expensive) and South Shields/Sunderland (too far from mum) to get to this reality. And talking of fantasies that morph into reality, when I came back to the UK I also started thinking about the kind of flat I wanted. I thought on the top floor of an old Regency building. And that is more or less what I've got. Seaside resort, top floor of old old building, so old my floor is warped. I think this is early Victorian and actually I'm one down from the attic but you see that is perfect because the attic only has one window (on each side). I have three large sash.
Add to that a beach behind my house, a railway station 2 minutes walk away (nice for Canterbury), a town centre five minutes walk away (about this to the Victoria Jubilee clock) and it's all starting to look like a sweet deal. Well almost. The downside is, it's quite a rough area. How big a downside that proves to be remains to be seen. I've not walked into, started or witnessed an actual fight as yet but I've heard plenty of mouthing off and seen a couple of black eyes.

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The view from one of my windows

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The beach behind my apartment, low tide

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Margate

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I live in this terrace that overlooks the beach. My building has scaffolding on it (but I live on the other side)

Posted by safemouse 07:41 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

The advantage of living in Kent

Kent is a beautiful county but some don't like it. Well, in its defence one should point out that it's near Europe. I was walking to ALDI and got waylaid as I saw this Tudor house and explored further. Ended up spending a couple of hours talking to one of the volunteers who mans the place at the weekend and frequently travels to Germany. He says that it's likely Manston airport- a stone's throw from Margate- is shut down for good and only cattle get ferries from Ramsgate these days. Dover is close but there is no direct route from here by public transport. However, Ashford International railway station (Eurostar station) is only 48 minutes direct from Margate, hourly. I am 2-3 minutes walk from the train station-add an extra minute for all those stairs from my lofty apartment. So in theory (inclusive of waiting around time) a door to door trip to Paris or Brussels is around 3 hours, Amsterdam and Northern Germany 5-6. If you're going much further it makes sense to go by plane but otherwise the train is hard to beat because it takes 2-3 hours just to get to London City Airport,Gatwick or Stansted from here and you've got the extra expense of getting there.

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Built in the 1520s

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The ceiling touched the hairs on my head

Posted by safemouse 03:14 Comments (1)

Thought for the day

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Posted by safemouse 07:02 Comments (0)

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