August Blog

Tuesday 21st

Camping on the Marsh

Some holiday on the Mediterranean others in Florida or Far East exotic locations. Marge’s Sisters have opted for the local option and taken their little people to Dr Syn Country and set up camp. The Romney Marsh was renowned for smuggling, particularly in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The only smuggling likely to be going on here tonight is sweets for that midnight feast.

Monday 20th

Kofi Annan 1938 – 2018

Over the weekend we learnt of the death of Kofi Annan the only black African to hold the post of Secretary General to the United Nations. As a Nobel Peace recipient and a softly spoken gentleman he proved that it’s not necessary to shout to deliver a strong message. His tenure at UN was over a very turbulent period including, as Under Secretary the genocide in Rwanda (1994) and the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia (1995) which the UN failed to prevent even though troops had been deployed to prevent both. Subsequently as Secretary General two major events, September the 11th and the second Iraq War. In respect of the latter he accused the USA (G W Bush’s Administration) of committing human rights abuse in the name of fighting terrorism.

R. I. P. Kofi Annan

Sunday 19th

Allourlives Sunday Quiz

Can you name this iconic national museum? As a clue, it’s the largest of its type in the world.

Post your answer or best guess at the bottom of the page on the comments facility. We will then see who is first with the correct answer and how many got it right or wrong.

Answer to last weeks quiz


The RNLI Lifeboat was Margate’s Mersey Class 12-20 Leonard Kent


No entrants this week.


Saturday 18th

Another Canterbury High Street Casualty

Today we learn that another Canterbury icon, Nasons is disappearing from the High Street after nearly 90 years. It’s a shame but I guess we are all guilty of shopping on-line for convenience and looking for that special bargain. The store also has some responsibility, as it isn’t joined up technically detracting from the shopping experience. Some parts will be sorely missed others not so. The ground floor café being an example, smelling of scorched milk as you walk through rather than the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. The Toy and the Cook shops will both be much missed, reducing our options in the town. The burning question is what will take its place? Yet more coffee shops, restaurants, another Wetherspoons or the ever-changing pop-up shops? Time alone will tell. Apart from Barretts at the bottom of the town this must be the last family company that was remaining in the centre of Canterbury.R. I. P. Nasons Store.

Friday 17th

Aretha Franklin 1942 – 2018

We learnt yesterday of the death of a true icon of the music and civil rights movement, Aretha Franklin. She finally succumbed after an extended period of dealing with Pancreatic Cancer. To get an indication of her power with the voice click on the link of the Kennedy Center Honors 2015 and see a Precedent wipe away a tear.

R. I. P. Dear Lady.

Thursday 16th

Eric and Colin’s Jaunt

Following on from last Thursdays wet experience and further rain predicted for today we elected for an indoor experience and returned to Faversham and the Creek Creative Gallery.  Their current exhibition is abstract paintings by Liverpool artist Robert Young. An interesting range of images some understandable others, perhaps not so much. As previously reported the Gallery Kitchine Café as a venue is a perfect match of a café culture and art gallery, tasty morsels’ to delight your taste buds and interesting art to stimulate your senses.

On a grey August morning Abbey Street looked quite lovely, interesting how these small towns are slowly reinventing themselves.

Wednesday 15th

August Birthdays just keep on coming

Andrew is very special in this family and is always supportive of everything and everybody.  Whether it’s travel, IT or finance he is your go to person. Most important of all he has time and care for all, young and old alike and for that we are all truly grateful.

Yesterday he celebrated a special birthday and it would be rude to disclose his age but he has now entered into his third score year period. Enjoy your on-going celebrations Andrew.

Tuesday 14th

A Cool Cat in a Pool

When the weathers chilled and the little people have returned to their gadgets it opens up an opportunity for a feline. With a pneumatic rim we have to hope it’s all paws and not claws. A cat will always take advantage of a neighbour’s garden.

Monday 13th

Boris and the Burka

A week on from Boris Johnsons’ article in the Daily Telegraph in which he was supporting the right to wear the burka but used disparaging language in describing it, I decided to let the story run it’s coarse but now feel it’s time to comment.

Firstly, in this country we have free speech and always had the ability to mock ourselves, with some success. In this case we have a privileged white male apparently joking at the expense of someone’s religious belief for political advantage. However, this is not a new phenomenon as Institutions, including religious ones have been the bread and butter of the musical theatre and satirist for millennium, often becoming a great leveller, so why should his remarks make such a kafuffle? The answer I guess is we are afraid of Islam in this age of Islamic conflict. There’s a plethora of jokes about nun’s habits, clerical collars etc. so why should comments about Islamic clothing be any different? We’re able to discuss both abortion and birth control, which are highly contentious in some faiths but we’re grown up enough to have that debate without fear.

Were his comments insensitive?         To some, yes.

Were they blasphemous?                     I don’t think so.

Were his comments calculated?          Without a doubt.

Should he apologise?                           I don’t think so.

If all the purveyors of religious jokes had to apologise every time they made a joke we would lose our national sense of humour and part of our unique culture. Should we therefore differentiate between comedians and politicians in respect of humorous/controversial comments? Historically many high office politicians have made far more controversial comments without this furore.

Have we arrived at a time when a minority in a religion can gag free speech? Are we not allowed to observe what anything looks like? Can we not have an opinion?

In the final analysis why are we getting all upset about a Boris’ alleged diatribe when as a country we have ‘The Life of Brian’ as one of our all time favourite films? I appreciate it is a film parody of a white mans religion written by white men but it upset a lot of those white people. As a stereotype white middleclass male I don’t make a judgement here but do defend our openness as a country. For an alternative observation on the wearing of the burka click on the link below for a female Muslim’s view, which includes the dangers: –

Yasmin Alibhal-Brown

The item is not new but relevant to todays subject.

Sunday 12th

Allourlives Sunday Quiz

Where would you be if you were this Kent RNLI Lifeboat?

Post your answer or best guess at the bottom of the page on the comments facility. We will then see who is first with the correct answer and how many got it right or wrong.


Answer to last weeks quiz

The Kentish Beach the Lady Irene was on was Deal

Two correct answers this week, Pam and Louise. Pam was first back so is the winner this week. Well done both and thanks for entering.

Saturday 11th

Once a Showman always a Showman

This little chap has always been special but a little extravert entertaining all of us around him but rather than dressing up now he try’s hard to look like Mr Cool. Today he celebrates his Birthday and has made the great age of thirty something. Does he achieve the Mr Cool look? I will leave it to you to decide.

Happy Birthday James, have a great day.

Friday 10th

Blooming Runner Beans

With a full day of rain yesterday the current Mrs Smith is hoping the moisture will set the bloom on her runner beans. She has had one picking so far but it was only the one bean. Don’t think she will be entering the longest bean competition any time soon.



Thursday 9th

Eric and Colin’s Jaunt

So here we are in the middle of a long hot summer but today our original plan had to be abandoned because of rain. Fortunately us two old codgers had a plan ‘B’, which involved a chat and a coffee at JD Wetherspoon’s Royal Victorian Pavilion in Ramsgate. In the words of the late, great Terry Wogan, ‘mustn’t grumble’.

Ramsgate in the summer rain

Wednesday 8th

It’s all Gnashes and Ganache at Smith Towers

There’s Delia and then there’s the current Mrs Smith, but when it comes to birthday cakes the latter is always up for the challenge. Two days on from Erin’s birthday it’s time to judge the Neapolitan extravaganza. General consensus was it was a success and a tasty delight, although Mrs Smith was not happy with her Ganache. It looked and tasted lovely so passed the Smith Kid Test with flying colours. I wonder what delight will be requested for the next birthday to challenge Mrs Smith? For the moment the feeling here is get your gnashes round your Ganache.

Tuesday 7th

Cicadas sing  for Madame Ophilie

Madame Ophilie our French correspondent has been monitoring recent blogs and was pleased the UK was also experiencing very hot weather. Temperatures in her Department (Lot) have reached 41° in the shade and the cicadas sing loudly. Fortunately Château Bernard-Spiers has an 11,000-litre rain catchment tank, which has brought some comfort for the kitchen garden and thirsty flowers. If the weathers hot and there’s plenty of water and you’re a Tomato then you’re in Tomato Heaven. Just right for a sad ballad or is that a bad salad? Now that’s a very old joke.

Monday 6th

Happy Birthday Erin

Once upon a time there was a little baby girl called Erin and then someone blinked and she was eight. How does that happen?

Have a lovely day Miss Erin; enjoy everything that comes your way today.


Lots of love

Nan and Granddad

xx xx

Sunday 5th

Allourlives Sunday Quiz

Which Kentish Beach would you be on if you was the Lady Irene?

Post your answer or best guess at the bottom of the page on the comments facility. We will then see who is first with the correct answer and how many got it right or wrong.

Answer to last weeks quiz

The Victorian Bandstand is on the East Cliff, Ramsgate

Two correct answers this week, James and Jo. James was first back so is the winner this week. Well done both and thanks for entering.


Saturday 4th

BREXIT and the Harlequins

Long before BREXIT some saw migration as a problem and in 2004 the Harlequins were introduced into the UK. This was pre the Banking Crisis so resources were at sustainable levels but still they came in. So who were the Harlequins? They were Harlequin Ladybirds originally from Japan, which have been introduced around the World to control Aphids and are now a dominant species in the UK, at the expense of our native Ladybirds. Spotted at Smith Towers this week hiding away in a Echinops Ritro was one such creature. RHS advice is because they’re here in such large numbers there’s nothing you can do to eradicate them so they have to be encompassed. Would BREXIT have prevented their introduction? Questions on a postcard to; Jacob Rees-Mogg or Sajid Javid or should it be to that nice Mr Gove (Govey)?

Friday 3rd

Antipodean Wildlife Observation

Jilly our Antipodean Wildlife Correspondent’s assessment of the decline in our bee population is the result of a virus, which up to now Australia had avoided but it has affected New Zealand.  This is correct for the Honeybee population but not the Bumblebee, their problem is the decline of habitat. One local success story is the reintroduction of Bumblebees on the Romney Marshes in co-operation with farmers and land owners and has had some success. Smith Towers’ bee population appear much stronger now with both Honeybees and Bumblebees, the result of a long hot summer? Maybe.

Thursday 2nd

Eric and Colin’s Jaunt

Today we ventured to Gillingham and the Royal Engineers Museum at Brompton. An excellent visit, but as is often the case too much to take in in one visit. The first impressive room was devoted to the Battle of Waterloo, with an interactive table, which provided excellent information making for a better understanding of events. This was followed by an account of the Rorke’s Drift attack by Zulus and Lt. Gonville Bromhead (Michael Caine to you and me if you’re a film buff) in particular. Currently they are running a special Victoria Cross exhibition, which is awe-inspiring but throughout the museum they kept coming up in display after display. The medal is quite small and modest in design but its significance cannot be ignored. Wheelchair access was good, although the lift to the cafeteria was out of action they had provided seating on the ground floor. The staff were very pleasant and helpful, well worth a visit but be prepared for a return visit as you won’t take it all in one.

Wednesday 1st

Canterbury City Council Need A Vision

Since the end of WW2 Canterbury City Council have made some poor decisions and failed to provide joined-up planning or a central focal point. In my opinion it’s rebuild has been developer lead providing a mishmash of buildings. The relief road built in the sixties was too close to the centre and stole our moat, which was a lovely green space and now they want to build more houses than the city’s infrastructure can support. One thing that has been a success is the pedestrianisation of much of the city centre, however it’s not without it’s problems. Every road junction has an expanse of Granite sets, which are difficult to traverse.  As a wheelchair user, mine is a self-propelled type with large wheels at the rear, which helps, but the sets are so uneven and aggressive that it shakes one up considerably. If you have an attendant propelled model with four small wheels it must be a nightmare. Running concurrently with pedestrianisation was a replacement program of the conventional paving slabs with York Stone style, which are equally challenging for wheelchair users. They do look rustic along with the granite sets and that’s nice but it all has to be practical also.

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