Thursday 30 October 2014

A couple of sketches and a few photos of Canterbury today, the booksellers dilemma expressed through vernacular architecture, Poundland comes to Canters opposite the “noisy affair”, smoke over Manston, reflections on the moved blog, a ramble.

As I have said before, drawing is not like riding a bicycle, leave it off for a few days and it gets significantly worse.

Having slunk outside the cathedral after being overwhelmed by the complexity of the shapes and confused by students with tape measures, I was once again confronted by the artistic problem that there really isn’t anywhere within the cathedral grounds where you can get a decent view of the cathedral to sketch it.

Mainly it is just too big and one is too close to it, close up it is a bit too complicated for my liking,, or at least for my skill.

So here is a not very good sketch of Canterbury Cathedral.

I went and skulked around in the cloisters for a bit and inevitably wound up in The Chapter House, before the dissolution a chapter of the Benedictine rule would have been read innit, hence the name.

There was a reasonably good art exhibition in there mostly work by teachers at wot wos the tec, difficult place to exhibit because of the architecture, or is it the craft? The ceiling really, I guess speaking as one who is oft metaphorically lost in life’s maze, standing under this one produces juxtaposition inductive of inverted vertigo. It's just too much to compete with.

Anyway the words are getting complicated and I am getting to the point when I don’t really know what I am saying.

Here is my attempt at a quick sketch of the thing called the ceiling.

And here is a photo of it.

I went an skulked outside what Newman ibid Pevsner describes as “a noisy affair with plenty of half-timbering 1897-9 by A.H. Campbell” this was probably some sort of soothsaying related to removing the “silence” signs in public libraries, we all call it The Beaney.

Over the road the building, ghastly in my mind is quite deservedly to become Poundland.      

I am still trying to sort out what I would loosely describe as the arts and crafts book section in my bookshop and am continually being faced by dilemma.

Here is an example, books about thatch, do they go in the craft section or the architecture section? I have, as U C put one in each and gawn orf for a fink.

Smoke over Manston today, black though and not white, so no decision.

On the blog front things are much easier with the one thread of comment on one post situation here, comment moderation is so much easier when all the new comment falls at the bottom of the thread.

I am taking a much tougher line on deleting comment that doesn’t conform to the comment guidelines published here, I would say I have deleted about a third of the comment submitted.

Most of which is what I would describe as non commercial spam, mostly from individuals who don’t have the confidence in what they say to publish it themselves online and hope to publish here either under a pseudonym or anonymously.

Frankly writing and moderating this blog is something like what one of the Canterbury buskers was doing today, playing the violin while balancing on one leg on a tightrope. 

I may ramble on here    

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Plane Tales from the bookshop, the Manston Airport Endgame, The Throw-up or Hoosh and the blog problems.

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 needs reading.
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 other's campaigns.
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 talking about.

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. Coincidence? Perhaps.

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.