I have been interested in crafts and engineering for as long
as I can remember, I was – in that other country that goes under the name of
“the past – the small boy who took the clock apart. Not as it were looking for
the tick but to see how it worked.
This means that my bookshop has a fairly extensive craft
section covering most aspects of most crafts from the social history through to
“how to do it books” but. What does this mean? An example – if you want to know
how our society developed through charcoal burning and early iron smelting, I
will probably have a book on it. On the other hand if you want to make your own
charcoal, smelt your own iron ore and learn to be a blacksmith then I can
probably provide the literature.
I am not obsessive about this in a bookshop with about a
1000 shelves perhaps 40 are devoted to craft.
Anyway I was put in mind of misunderstandings about planes and particularly Manston today by the customer who wanted to look at a book in
my section of rarer books. He was under the misapprehension that various
editions of British Planemakers from 1700 were aviation books.
As you can see from the pictures of the books surrounding
the plane books, were. What? Stanley not Wright and I had to do some mental
gear changing to deal with this one.
We do have a fairly substantial aviation section but there
are surprisingly few aviation books that go in the rare book section, perhaps
the print runs are about the same with most aviation books, but for the most part even early aviation
books are not rare books.
Now to some people this may seem like, I am delving into
anorak land, but you and I are. What? A long time dead. Perhaps. This may have
something to do with the enthusiasm of the Manston supporters who are. What?
Plane spotters perhaps.
I take the view that someone who has reached the third
decade of life without developing any serious interests to the point of having
a collection of books about their interest – apart from the universal interests
of sex and death which to some extent don’t count – is going to be a person
that I will find. What? Dull perhaps.
Anyway on the Manston front the following post has been
doing the rounds on the SMA FaceBook page, I have published it here small and
in red; assuming that everyone interested has already read it anyway:
A post from this morning from R. John Pritchard that I think
I had a long chat with an experienced TDC Councillor this
morning about Manston and RiverOak. This Councillor speaks with the benefit of
having had years of experience in the City of London and feels sure that
everything would have gone smoothly if RO had registered a company in the City
of London and put it in funds. My informant believes that may have been a fatal
mistake, and that it is what firms like Pfizers, Roche, etc., have always done
when investing in the UK.
All of this, the Councillor feels, has taken far too long,
Councillors are no longer reading stuff that comes in on Manston, and that the
steam is just going to fizzle out of the campaign. On the doorstep, people are
responding to questions on things like street lamps, bins collections, above
all immigration issues and NHS services, job opportunities, but Manston is now
regarded as yesterday's issue and people are fed up with it.
The Councillor suggests that only a miracle or perhaps
central Government intervention or some dramatic development affecting the
existing owners will save the situation now.
Point-scoring in relation to different pro-Manston groups, I
am informed by every Councillor I speak to, is regarded as totally
counter-productive and something to be resisted absolutely and with great
determination. They tell me that the great schism was perhaps fatal to our
campaign, but that at the very least we mustn't keep on sniping about each
I do not share all of this assessment but there is much
there to take to heart.
If the Councillor whom I spoke to this morning is right,
RiverOak really need to listen, not dictate. If RiverOak are right, the
converse is true. Both sides need to cite their authorities, and to go the
extra mile to listen so that in their attempts to find common ground, policies
and decisions taken jointly are evidence-based.
We know that RiverOak is prepared to put the Council in
funds to secure INDEPENDENT legal advice of the highest calibre that RiverOak
believes will convince Councillors and persuade Officers that in times of
financial stringency, Councils up and down the country are successfully
obtaining Compulsory Purchase Orders in partnership with private investors in
the manner that RiverOak is convinced Thanet District Council should appreciate
is now regarded as best practice. We know that ministers and officials in London
are reported as having despaired at the advice Thanet District Council officers
are giving to our Councillors in relation to that process.
We also believe that Thanet District Council officers really
do need to share with RiverOak the advice that they've received from their own
legal advisers (because there has been little or NO direct contact from the
Council's legal team about what external advice they've received). Without
sitting down at a conference table and working out an agreement, we are going
to lose our struggle to preserve OUR airport.
God help those who fail to rise to that challenge. This
campaign still has overwhelming public support. The negativity around is a
product of despair, not a change in the outcome that the overwhelming majority
of people who live and work in Thanet truly want.
I can perhaps add to this that talking to some of the people
involved, two major factors in making the situation impossible to progress have
been that the RiverOak site use has been too similar to the Discovery Parks
site use for Manston to make a cpo in any sense viable and that RiverOak have
set up a “Delaware LLC” to deal with TDC. I guess this is something like an
American district administration starting dealing with a small British finance
company that suddenly finds that they are dealing with a small British Virgin Islands
finance company. I am not going to labour the point here, google “Delaware
LLC” if you don’t follow what I am
Back to Mill for me another confusion that occasionally occurs
in the craft world of bookselling is the one between the mill and the mill.
Earlier today I was collating a 1930 first edition of D. W.
Pinkney’s book “Rope Spinning” all 96 pages of it, which culminates in the
reader developing the ability to launch a lasso with their foot, when I noticed
it has a chapter entitled, The Throw-up or Hoosh.
So on to moving this blog. An interesting thing about
paranoia is that occasionally someone may actually be following you.
Recently the council have bought the large shop opposite
mine, which is in an otherwise fully let shopping parade, and have very
recently granted themselves planning permission to turn it into social housing.
Then in the last week I have had two letters from the council’s solicitor
threatening me with prison if I didn’t remove items from thanetonline blog. It
has dawned on me that the council may not like me very much and it further
occurred to me that if the council backed by a high court judge were to ask
Google to remove thanetonline blog then they probably would.
Personally it wouldn’t worry me much but over past few years
it has over a million and a half visits and many of these relate to local
history posts there, so I have moved my blog here.
I will endeavour to sort out links and so on here as I
get the time, I will also try restoring anonymous comment, although I will
leave comment moderation on.