Summer 2021 • Modern-day Seaside Stories
SEARCHING FOR MERMAIDS
CAN WE BE OF SERVICE?
One takeaway’s solution
A quest for meaning
At St Peter’s Sausage Company
What is takes to be a butler
Jon Key Chosen Family No. 2 (Sharina) 2020
Breakfast Under The Tree
curated by Russell Tovey
5 June – 15 August 2021 CARL FREEDMAN GALLERY 28 UNION CRESCENT MARGATE
Editor Melissa Todd
Founder & Publisher Clare Freeman
Co-founder & Advertising director Jen Brammer
Publishing assistant Design director
Welcome to our summer issue!
Social media manager Melissa Todd
Contributors Joshua Allen Daisy Cutter Zoe Davies Maggie Harris Timothy Lauret Anthony Levings Eileen MacCallum Lannah Marshall Matthew Munson Connor Peake Daniela Ribitsch Seb Reilly Selena Schleh Christine Tongue
Illustrators Nigel Adams Tyler Bates Shannon Renwick Fuentes Irina Shuvalova Brooke Sinclair Tevi Sisowath
cover image Flotsam & Jetsam by Ade Davies
Print Mortons Print
The Scoop – new shops, restaurants and businesses getting us talking round town
Seeing is believing – Seb Reilly on the man who fell in love with a mermaid
behind your bangers
15 A rising tide – Selena Schleh visits the Broadstairs sailing club
18 Can I be of service? – John Pettman serves up the secrets of buttling on a silver salver
20 A thousand faces – from heavy rock to From the Editor
Photographers Ade Davies Alanna Georgette Oliver Kebbel Glen London Joshua May Ryszard Paszkowski Connor Peake
12 Have a butchers at St Peter’s Sausage Company – Zoe Davies meets the men
5 Hotlist – what’s on in Broadstairs this summer Eileen’s escapades
he human capacity for selfdeception is infinite. We believe what best pleases us, shape the facts to fit our preferred story. And a story told artfully can often prove more illuminating than the truth. Certainly more palatable. Alan met a mermaid off Viking Bay. She told him a secret which transformed his life. Seb Reilly heard that story, then wrote it exclusively for us. Read it on page 9. Mermaids have captivated our imaginations over the centuries, appearing in mythology, literature and popular culture, as well as
heavy concept, Matthew Munson in conversation with Phil Lanzon
popping up on Broadstairs walls. They represent freedom, a desire to escape, a lack of boundaries; danger, desire, impossibility. The headline story in Broadstairs concerns life becoming possible once more. There are art exhibitions, theatrical performances, oodles of new shops and restaurants. There are college students keen to make it as journalists, having a go on page 26. There are also college students keen to enter into service with the rich and famous, competing for a scholarship for the prestigious Exclusive Butler School, run by John Pettman who worked at Buckingham Palace and Sandringham, and gave us an exclusive interview on page 18. Broadstairs is once again bustling and busy all over, keen to make up for this last year’s long sleep. Hopefully this issue of the Beacon can help direct you towards a few of the treats that await you. I’d love to hear your stories too. Do send them, along with any comments or thoughts, to firstname.lastname@example.org Enjoy your summer. Melissa
23 The plaice to be – the changing mores of fishing off the Broadstairs coast
26 The heart of the community – Flotsam &
Jetsam is a new takeaway tackling the plastic crisis affecting our oceans
28 Broadstairs College takeover – the media and journalism department wrote and designed us two pages
31 What bees can teach us – Melissa Todd
meets the bees keeping pupils at Wellesley House nurtured and nourished
34 On with the show – Michael Wheatley Ward of the Sarah Thorne Theatre tells us what brought him to Broadstairs
36 Daisy’s in the garden – Daisy Cutter on eco-gardening
38 Our green paradise! – Christine Tongue on her vision for a future green Broadstairs
40 A slice of English… and of the languages around the world – Daniela Ribitsch,
professor at the university of Pennsylvania, on “mondegreens”
41 Broadstairs and the RNLI – Anthony Levings on the work of the RNLI and a dramatic rescue from 2018
42 Fiction and poetry 45 New art in town – Lannah Marshall on
the gallery on Albion street committed to bringing art to every corner of our town
Summer 2021 – June to August
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Published by Brightside Publishing Ltd © All rights reserved Copyright 2021
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FRESHLY CHURNED... EVERY... SINGLE... MORNING
Village Open Gardens Day
St Peter’s Village Tour
Broadstairs Folk Week
Look out for the regularly changing visiting exhibitions. In June, Katrina Dallamore abstracts; July, Heather Defferary, layered landscapes full of texture; August, Carl Scarlett, vibrant and lively oils. Read more about the gallery on page 45.
Tickets £4 in advance or £5 on the day available from St Andrew’s Church Office, 01843 609513. Refreshments and lunches available. Nine gardens and Taddy’s allotments all within walking distance of the church.
Meet costumed characters from across the centuries, see the flint church and hear of conditions in the workhouse, famous (and infamous) local residents and our ancient seat of local government for the area.
The group is looking for new members. They are meeting at 2pm at the Crampton Tower. Refreshments and a raffle; speaker TBC.
Reading Street CT10 3AZ
1 July - 16 September
A mainly outdoor event this year, using venues and spaces that will allow them to implement social distancing. Featuring George Hinchcliffe’s Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Breabach, The Young’uns, Merry Hell, Track Dogs, and many more.
3 July 10am to 4pm
Broadstairs Water Gala
Kids’ Rock Festival
Plenty of stalls from fruit and veg to gifts and games. Refreshments available in the community hall.
Broadstairs Water Gala has a full fun-filled programme of free activities and things to do and see on Viking Bay, Victoria Gardens, and the original Victorian bandstand... Celebrate the best of the traditional British seaside!
Kids’ Rock are back this summer with an amazing family rock music festival for all ages!
St. Andrew’s Church, Reading Street CT10 3AZ 24 July 11am to 3pm 01843 609513
n’s e e il
E s c a pa
28 July 8am-10pm facebook.com/ BroadstairsWaterGala
26 June thehomeofplay.co.uk
A brief on Broadstairs life from a lady about town
New Kent Art Gallery
Offering a range of activities and games for the whole family, Emma Blackburn is hoping that by September she will be providing childcare, including two afterschool clubs based around the wonder of nature and free play. Her aim is to encourage positive wellbeing and a love for the great outdoors.
Come and Play Family Day
revious readers of this column may recall I missed going to the pub during lockdown. Believe it or not, I also missed eating out. (Surprise! You too?) These days, the thrill I get from having someone bring me food I didn’t cook remains immense. I’ll probably feel this way all year. We shot out of the blocks at the official starting
Diamond Anniversary Show
Celebrating 60 years of ROS at the Sarah Thorne Theatre. Featuring the very best songs from their greatest shows, including Fiddler on the Roof, My Fair Lady, South Pacific and Oklahoma.
21 August 12pm-8pm
Joss Bay, Broadstairs fatsoma.com/e/ix4ps142/kidsrock-festival-joss-bay-2021
pistol. It was touch-and-go with a hypothermic bum at times. So I perfected my thermals and tartan rug combo for al fresco socialising just in time for the weather to perk up. When we got to eat inside, I loosened my layers in ecstasy. Life got better and better. The number one pastime became what can we eat, where and who with? This game was not without a bittersweet tinge, of course. Should we start with the old favourites or the new places? Even at the best of times it’s tough to choose between an oozy cheese ’n’ jalapeno toastie from Smiths, or a BLT-with-a-view at Louisa Bay Café. Or the divine scampi at the Tartar Frigate. Or… decisions, cheesy bacon-y decisions. Our dilemma wasn’t helped by the fact that many eateries woke from their enforced sleep with new paint, new plans, and, in some cases, enticing new business models. Welcome to Wyatt & Jones’ seafood and frites Covid baby Flotsam & Jetsam, and the reinvented feelgood cuisine down at the Table. After some thought, we decided the trick was to treat every trip as a 2021 first. So we enjoyed first coffee in an actual cup at Smiths. First drink with pals in (okay, outside) a pub at Neptunes Hall. First family meal out at Posilippo. You get the picture. Handily, this flexible-slash-random approach eased the guilt of not being able to (re)discover and support everywhere at once. Our lockdown bellies have bravely risen (inflated?) to the challenge. We have stuck our faces in steaming cups, fragrant plates and vinegary cardboard cones all over town. Superfood haven Namaka, sister of lockdown stalwart Salt of the Earth, popped up on Albion Street. Longawaited seafood restaurant Kebbells finally launched on Victoria Parade. More must-try options for the list. Pretending to sea swim was the ideal excuse to
savour a first cinnamon-bun-with-sea-view from the Funicular team down on Viking Bay. And streetlong queues at Morelli’s confirmed I wasn’t the only one dying to guzzle my first ice-cream sundae in a twirly coupe. I’m not drooling, YOU’RE drooling…
“Our lockdown bellies have bravely risen (inflated?) to the challenge” We’re pacing ourselves of course, but over time our range of criteria is narrowing. By the time we get to “first tub of Solley’s ice cream on the beach while wearing orange flip-flops” we might have to think about going for seconds. Or forget the game entirely. Because who doesn’t want the limits on our social lives to be anything but a far-distant memory? It’s all go round here, and we’re going everywhere. Enjoy. @smiths_coffee_bar
Find Louisa Bay Café on Facebook
Affinity Affinity 116 High Street
Affinity Affinity began in 2016 in a shipping container in Tottenham. After being awarded best new brewer in London 2017 by ratebeer.com, Affinity grew and moved to a railway arch in Bermondsey. Since the pandemic it’s gone through some major changes. The brewery now resides in the Grosvenor Arms in Brixton; its first retail shop is based in Crystal Palace and, happily for us, it has just opened a second beer shop in Broadstairs. Open 1-7pm Wednesday-Thursday, 12-8pm Friday-Saturday, 12-6pm Sunday.
Three Graces 7 High Street Formerly of the Broadway, specialising in artisan and ethical gifts and greetings cards from home and around the world, owner Lulla says: “My vision is to open a shop where people can pop in and browse at gifts which may be different from those they may find locally, in an exciting friendly environment. I would like to sell beautifully made gifts in the knowledge that they have been ethically sourced or handmade, and that I am not exploiting those who have toiled to make these beautiful products.”
Kope + Loko 136 High Street
You heard it here first
Writer Melissa Todd
Blue Studio Interiors 8 High Street This UK-based interior designer focuses on specialist craftsmanship and luxury design. They say: “We aim to provide an outstanding level of service by understanding our clients’ needs and desires. Our exceptional luxury designs and architectural services ensure the highest possible standards are achieved. Providing both residential and commercial interiors, our focus on exceptional interior design and architecture offers our clients a complete transformation from conception through to completion.”
Creta Restaurant 140 High Street Traditional Greek dishes, lunch menu and specials are available every day are using fresh fish and meat bought from local suppliers. Try the Greek meze to share, kleftiko, stifado, and delicious baklava. Eat in and takeaway available.
Offering homeware, fashion, jewellery and excellent coffee, pastries and cakes. The seating area outside the shop is always packed with happy customers guzzling gooey goodies. Owner Scarlett says this is her first shop, although several members of her family have worked in retail. It has been a longstanding ambition of hers to bring something unique to our high street. Watch it develop on instagram @kopeandloko
The Store 52c High Street A family-run business offering quality food, charcuterie and pickles, vegan cheese, artisan sourdough, pastries and tasty herby oils – not forgetting their wonderful cruffins! The Store looks forward to welcoming you for a coffee and the chance to make your own sharing platter or cheese board to take home and wash down with a bottle of vineyard wine.
The Mermaid 37 Albion Street
Kebbells Seafood Bar & Restaurant 8 Victoria Parade
Harmony Hills is a collection of three self-catering apartments that have been designed by Karim Mezeli, a designer director with over 15 years’ experience. Karim says: “A lot of love and attention to detail has gone into each apartment and we want people to enjoy and love the spaces we have created. We are a small family-run business based in Broadstairs and our holiday let business has been born out of Covid.” See more at harmonyhills.co.uk
The food is locally sourced and seasonal, the menus are carefully designed to create a balance of good old-fashioned comfort food (triple cooked chips – need I say more? !) and delicate dishes such as tuna tartare with brown crab meat tapioca crackers. The restaurant itself is beautifully designed; the interior looks like it should be in a glossy magazine, yet the vibe is relaxed and welcoming. The head chef has taken the owners’ favourite ingredients and given them a new and exciting lease of life. With over 20 years of experience across the globe (including London, Europe and Asia ) behind him, Christopher Branscombe-Ling has created a menu using locally sourced ingredients that would not look out of place in any trendy London restaurant, while maintaining the family feel that Sarah and Richard Kebbell both feel so passionately about.
Traditional chippy with a beautiful eye-catching mural outside, painted by Karen of the New Kent Art Gallery – see her interviewed about the process on page 45. Plenty of seating inside if you fancy sheltering from the sun’s glare – or a downpour! A varied menu of uniform, first-rate quality, and very friendly staff. Highly recommended.
T Levels are full-time post-GCSE qualifications that provide you with a perfect balance of classroom learning and real-world experience. The qualification
T Levels provide with 250 leading skills employers for the world of
the same UCAS points as 3 A levels and are designed employers. This means the courses focus on the need today and work placements get students ready work.
More Than a Foot in The Door
Students leave with hands-on experience, valuable industry contacts and genuine insight into their chosen sector, giving them a head start and making them far more employable.
We offer the following T Levels at Broadstairs College • Digital Production, Design and Development • Education and Childcare Apply now for September: broadstairscollege.ac.uk T Levels.indd 1
S TA P L E STORE
SPECIALITY COFFEE • PASTRIES • CAKES • LITE BITES • WINES • COCKTAILS • MONTHLY DJ NIGHTS
A Bakery and Cafe located on Reading St, Broadstairs. A selection of homemade cakes, pastries, coffee, sandwiches & sourdough bread.
Mon - Thur 8am - 5pm Fri 8am - 4pm • Sat 9am - 5pm • Sun 9am - 3pm @smiths_coffee_bar 8 DUNDONALD ROAD, BROADSTAIRS
March Opening hours: Friday & Saturday 8am-3pm April Opening hours: Thursday - Saturday 8am-3pm & Sunday 8am-1pm 30a Reading St, CT10 3AZ staple_stores
Seeing is believing Writer
Shannon Renwick Fuentes
Off the coast of Viking Bay, in a meeting that changed his life, Alan encountered a mermaid. Seb Reilly traces his seaside epiphany
he sea glistens in the morning sun as the clouds break for a moment. The breeze is cooled by a slight rain which brushes against my skin as I wait on the Viking Bay sands. A dog runs past, its paws splashing as the sea reaches out with a paper-thin hand to slide over the wet shore. The sea recedes but the dog runs on, its tongue trailing from its open jaw. A woman follows, waving and smiling at me. Alan, the man I am waiting for, should be here by now. This is the seventh day in a row I have come to the beach for eight o’clock in the morning, the time when he would usually be at the edge of the waves. He used to stand by the shore every day, waiting for the mermaid. Maybe she came back for him. I first met Alan in 2008. My life was very different then – I lived on the fringes, in the dark shadows that most people fail to see. I was renting
a small flat in a building populated mostly by criminals and outcasts, where the corridors permanently smelled sickly sweet from crack smoke and the ground floor was stained purple from blood that was never cleaned up and had soaked into the walls. Like everyone else there, I was hiding from something, and that pit was the only refuge for us. In a society where everything was questioned, freedom was a place where no one asked. I had been there for a few months when Alan moved in. The building was something of a stop-gap, and it was relatively rare for the transient people who passed through to stay longer than their six-month contracts specified. Alan was the oldest resident by a long way, to the point where I assumed he was retired. Initially he seemed reserved, though polite and tidy. He looked like he was in the wrong place. ►
One Wednesday evening, the young lad in the flat next to mine went up and down the stairwell, knocking on doors. He had three bottles of gin and a case of lager, and wondered if his neighbours would join him for a drink. Most accepted his offer, me included. I found myself talking to Alan and the heroin dealer that lived on the top floor about the financial crisis and how it would affect future generations. Both men were quiet, soft-spoken characters, and seemed to be cut of similar cloth, though Alan stated his distaste at the dealer’s vocation.
“She had a thin face. Pale lips, pink but paler than normal, you know? Smiling” After a while the dealer left to serve some customers who were knocking on the door downstairs. Alan took the opportunity to tell me he’d been married and had a son, but the relationship with both had broken down and now he was single and had not seen his boy in years. His work was banal and routine, he didn’t have many friends left, and he felt like his life was spiralling towards rock bottom. I realised I had never seen him smile. Two weeks later, the dealer was arrested in a dawn raid by armed police. They found two kilos of heroin in his fridge. Alan moved out shortly afterwards. The wind over Viking Bay picks up and the sun is hidden once again beneath the churning blue-grey of the squall-cloud sky. My coat whips around me and my hair lashes my face as I look for Alan, but he is still not here. Ryszard, the photographer accompanying me today, is crouching in the sand halfway across the beach, his camera lens taking advantage of the moody sky. It was five years before I ran into Alan again. The days of darkness were long behind me and my life had taken a very different turn. I was living in a much nicer flat, and although it was still in the cheap streets, it was in a better location than the last.
The only smoke in the corridors was from cigarettes or burnt toast and the walls were dressed with soft yellow paint. Folk Week had rolled around, and so I ventured into Broadstairs for an opening night drink. I found myself in the Chapel on Albion Street and there, stood amongst the crowd, was Alan. I hardly recognised him at first as he was smiling at me. “Seb!” Alan said with great enthusiasm as he grabbed my hand and shook it. “Made it out, then? Of that hellhole?” He bought me a drink and we reminisced about the old building. Alan was still working, though he had suspicions he would be forced into retirement soon, but that no longer bothered him. He seemed genuinely happy, and I told him I was glad. “I’m free,” he said. “I’m in love, son.” He asked me to meet him one morning that week on Viking Bay, near the tidal pool, at 8am. A few days later, true to his word, there he was, staring at the sea through a pair of binoculars. It was a hot summer morning and the sun warmed my face as the tide rolled in. “I like to come down here every morning, in case she comes back.” Alan hung the binoculars around his
neck but kept his sight fixed on the waves. “There.” He pointed at the disappearing pool. “The tide was out. She got stuck, couldn’t swim away. I waited with her, by the wall, ’til the sea came back in.” Alan looked me in the eye. I’ve been around enough liars to know when someone is telling the truth, and in that moment Alan was entirely convinced that the next words he said were an absolute. “She’s a mermaid.” He paused then, perhaps for me to laugh. Instead I took out my notebook – the only item I carry without question everywhere I go – and waited for him to continue. “God, she was just beautiful. She had these big eyes, bigger than normal, deep brown and wide. Prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.” Alan turned back to the sea, watching the waves. “I can still see her now. Her skin was sort of opalescent, if you know what I mean? Pale white, like mother of pearl. It shimmered, looked smooth.” He smiled a little. “She had this thick matted hair, like seaweed, she did. Somewhere between brown and green.” I realised he stood braced for arctic winds even though it was the height of summer. He was used to beachside
Stone Bay Montessori and Beach School
Opening on September 1st at Holy Trinity Church Hall in Broadstairs. Our experienced team of Montessori teachers will follow the Montessori method and ethos of our long-established Montessori School in Barnes, London. If you would like to get a feel for what we do in our current setting, which will be replicated in Broadstairs, please see our website http://www.stmichaelsmontessori.com where you can find a registration form. Or contact us on email@example.com. Alternatively, if you would like to speak to us on the phone, please call Emma on 07801 562142 or Debbie on 07739 361587.
storms. “It was now, you know, the time, but the tide was getting low. She was gathering mussels, she said. The pool was full of them back then.” Alan lifted the binoculars. “I noticed her hands first. Dainty, very feminine. Thought she was just a girl out for an early dip.” He stops talking and stares at something in the water, then after a moment continues. “She had a thin face. Pale lips, pink but paler than normal, you know? Smiling. Only saw her arms, she was in the water, ’til she could get out. She swam off, out to sea.” Alan looked at me again and his eyes shone with tears. “I saw her tail. Her feet were webbed together, like a fish. White, like the rest of her. Pure white. Beautiful.” I stopped writing. “She told me a secret.” Alan smiled then, joy spreading across his face. “Set me free.” He put his binoculars away. “She’s not coming today. Try again tomorrow.” I had to get to work, and the next day I had an early start so I couldn’t return. A few days passed, then a week, a month, a year, and soon it was nine years later and I still hadn’t gone back to find Alan. Then, in 2021, I was walking along Albion Street when I spotted the mermaid painted
on the corner of Dickens Walk. It first reminded me of the old topless mermaid that was painted for many years on the corner of Alexandra Road, on the side of what is now the New Kent Art Gallery, whose curator painted the new mural. Then, of course, I thought of Alan. The waves swell and crash, spraying salt into the air as the weather turns and the sky darkens further. It’s almost nine, so seems unlikely he will arrive now. Perhaps the mermaid came back after all. Alan spent years stood on the beach, staring at the sea, waiting for someone who never arrived. I am struck by the notion that I have taken his place. I don’t know his surname and I can’t find any records of tenancies in the building where we met, so all I can do is stand here, every morning, until he returns. The wind fades to a soft breeze and the clouds break again so the sun bursts through. I shake my head at Ryszard. Alan isn’t coming. As we leave, I wonder what the secret was that the mermaid shared. The only way to find out would be to come back tomorrow. Maybe I don’t need to know. Freedom is a place where no one asks.
FOOD & DRINK
Have a butchers at
ST PETER’S SAUSAGE COMPANY Writer
When local, ethically sourced sausages proved elusive, Wally and Oliver started making their own
e Bradstonians are selective with our sausages. We won’t settle for any old banger gracing our grills. Fortunately this is where Wally and Oliver at St Peter’s Sausage Company have us covered. Necessity plus desperation proved the mother of their sausage-based invention. Oliver runs Beaches Café on Albion Street, purveyors of exceptionally good breakfasts, of which the sausage was always the star turn. “They were the highlight of the breakfast. Customers were forever asking where we got them from,”
Oliver told me. “They were handmade, just round the corner, by Nick the butcher at WA Hazell’s.” Then Nick retired and closed his shop. Olly looked everywhere for a locally produced, ethically sourced sausage to take the place of Nick’s beauties, but sausage came there none. If Beaches needed them, the Beaches boys would have to make them, with their own inexperienced paws. Nick agreed to pass on his authentic sausage creation techniques, and St Peter’s Sausage Company was born. Conveniently, Wally works in agriculture. “We had my contacts with local farmers so we could buy the best
quality pork. Knowing the welfare of the animals and ensuring that they were all outdoor bred, fed well and not given growth hormones was important to us. Nick was mentoring us. We had Oliver’s connections with the food industry. So we thought, let’s just do it!” Wally says. They bought a small table-top mincer to start with, but it quickly became apparent that it was not up to the job. Happily, Nick still had his big sausage making machine and mincer. Lockdown left Oliver with a heap of time on his hands to learn some new skills, and unlike most of us he didn’t squander it. He got on
to the food hygiene people at Thanet District Council, started squidging pigs into different skins, found a place to squidge them, and signed the lease on their property just as the second lockdown began. Then they took time to properly learn their new trade. All their sausages are made in the traditional way. Hand-tied, too, which is more work, but more authentic. “It wasn’t easy! Actually to start with it was like a scene from the generation game. Now, after months of practice, we can tie sausages in our sleep. We are going down the more artisan route of high-quality handmade sausages
with a high, at least 85-90%, pork content.” Alongside their “original” sausage, which was Nick’s own recipe, they wanted to experiment with flavours and create something unique to them. Following the success of their pork and wild garlic combination, they started working on spring onion and wild herb, while outlining potential future flavours, including honey and mustard, which is perfect for the barbecue season. Soon after they created tomato and basil for summer, then pork and apple for autumn. “Seaweed sausage next, I reckon,” says Olly. “No shortage of seaweed in Broadstairs, and loads of our regulars fancy the idea. We want to have a different flavour for each season alongside the traditional favourites. It’s really important to us to keep food miles down to a minimum. Everything is either foraged or sourced locally.” The friends’ success thus far has led them to explore other avenues.
FOOD & DRINK
Observing the local market has led to the discovery that there is a lot of call for Italian sausage, so they spoke to a Sardinian chef friend and learned how
“We are learning all the traditional methods because these subtleties make all the difference”
to make it properly. “We are learning all of the traditional methods because these subtleties make all the difference. If not, why would people have been doing it for hundreds of years?” Oliver says, explaining that you can definitely taste when these methods have not been observed. The Italian sausage has become really popular and they are selling it to various pizza restaurants in Thanet. They’re now working on a traditional German bratwurst, perfect for hotdogs, and hope to have them for sale on their stand at the Broadstairs Food Festival later in the year. “We want to keep experimenting and establish ourselves into the local multicultural food scene,” Wally tells me, explaining that they are also currently researching merguez, a traditional North African spicy sausage, made of mutton. St Peter’s Sausage Company isn’t just about the finished sausages though. Sausage meat is becoming
increasingly popular with local bakeries, who combine it with beautiful homemade pastry to make the perfect sausage roll. Quality charcuterie is next on the list. They even offer gluten-free sausages: the most succulent and tasty I’ve ever tried. To buy their sausages you can message them on Facebook, Instagram or email and collect them at Beaches Café on Saturday mornings. They are also available at various farm shops, including Rose Farm shop, Kent Fresh and at Cliftonville farmers’ market. The thing that I loved about these guys was that despite all of the success they have had in the past year they still tip their hats to their mentor. As Oliver says: “After all, the whole reason we wanted to do this is to get a sausage as good as Nick made.” Facebook: @StPetersSausageCompany Instagram: @stpeters_sausage_company Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kebbells Seafood Bar & Restaurant has landed! After an impossibly long wait we are so pleased to have been able to open our door and welcome people inside. Our aim was to evoke feelings of the continent with our small and sharing plate menu a British seafood tapas if you will! Add a glass of beer or carafe of wine to the equation along with that postcard view and we're confident you'll match many happy holiday memories. That said, it's equally important to us that we can help create new memories here in Broadstairs. Although lovers of seafood we have taken careful consideration with Chef to appeal to meat eaters and vegans alike. Also, the menu is nearly entirely gluten free. If you'd like to take a little vacation here in Broadstairs we take bookings for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Saturday and on Sundays for lunch. Well behaved dogs are most welcome too. You can book via our website or reach us on 01843 319002. We look forward to seeing you soon, Richard & Sarah
(WHATEVER IT IS, WEʻVE GOT YOUR BACK)
//CREATIVE //GRAPHIC DESIGN //WEBSITE DESIGN BY THE SEASIDE//MARGATE WWW.BUBBLESTUDIOS.CO.UK
ON THE WATER
A RISING TIDE Writer
Counting a former prime minister among its members, Broadstairs Sailing Club has been a mainstay for local boating enthusiasts for over 80 years. With the 2021 season underway, the club’s inclusive approach and committed volunteers are helping put wind in its sails
t might be a hoary literary cliché, but the truth is there is absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Broadstairs Sailing Club (BSC) has facilitating that noble pursuit for over 80 years, and after a year in the doldrums thanks to the pandemic, the waters around Viking Bay are once again dotted with the colourful sails of one- and two-handed dinghies, as members take to the sea to compete, to train or to simply enjoy a pootle around the bay. “I love the fact [sailing] is so simple: you are on the water, you are in control of the boat, it’s tremendously thrilling,” says secretary Tessa Mellish, who joined the club after attending one of its Push The Boat Out taster sessions. Although racing is central to BSC, with organised sailing dinghy races taking place on Saturday afternoons, on Sunday mornings and Thursday evenings from April to October, equal emphasis is placed on training and development. As a Royal Yacht Association (RYA) approved training centre, BSC runs an annual six-week training course for members, from beginner to race-ready through the RYA Level 1, 2 and 3 programmes. Alongside this, there’s a thriving social scene based at the clubhouse on Harbour Street, which, as well as boasting some of the best views of the bay from its tiny balcony, offers an intriguing slice of local history: as the Chinese Lantern Café, it was the ►
ON THE WATER
site of an infamous murder in 1927. It’s now a cosy, atmospheric spot where salvaged ship’s bells, cabinets of trophies and nautical paintings sit cheek by jowl with screens showing footage of the races – though rumours still persist of a “presence” in the ladies’ toilets. Undeterred by its dark past, the clubhouse plays host to a regular array of events, including preand post-racing meals, festive suppers and even the odd jamming session during Folk Week. Remarkably, the club is staffed entirely by volunteers, who cover everything from training, setting the racecourses and competition scoring to driving the three RIB rescue boats and manning the bar and kitchen. Set up in 1935, when sailing was very much a gentleman’s sport (former prime minister Ted Heath was a member), BSC has worked hard over the years to change elitist perceptions and adopt a more egalitarian, familyfocused ethos. Commodore Josh Lidstone believes sailing is a great leveller: “[At BSC] you’ll have refuse collectors sailing alongside CEOs.” Nor should people be put off by the perceived expense of sailing, adds longtime member Elena. Admittedly, the annual membership fee is no longer the bargain sum of one guinea, but compared with a private paddleboarding lesson, it’s relatively affordable. Plus, there’s no need to own a boat or buy huge amounts of kit, as members can rent one of the club’s 30 dinghies. When it comes to watercraft, sailing at Broadstairs is predominantly in single-handed dinghies like Toppers and Lasers, which demand a different skillset to yacht sailing. As well as the physical demands of launching and recovering your boat, “you have to know how to respond to changing weather or water conditions: how to manoeuvre and make maximum use of the sail,” says Tessa. Dinghy sailing is perfect for independent types, like social secretary Peter Noble: “You’ve got no one else to answer to, and you don’t have to rely on someone else turning up.” It’s also good for building younger children’s confidence and resourcefulness, says longterm member Elena Setterfield, who works closely with the junior squad. And for those who want a taste of big boat sailing with a crew, BSC has a reciprocal agreement with Ramsgate’s Royal Temple sailing club. Over the past few years, the committee has been actively raising the profile of BSC locally and improving accessibility through schemes such as Push The Boat Out taster sessions (this year’s dates are still to be confirmed – keep an eye on broadstairssailingclub.com). Covid restrictions forced the cancellation of last year’s Women on Water, an initiative designed to encourage more women into sailing, but this summer
sees the launch of a mixed-level development group, which aims to help both new and existing members who’ve completed their training to brush up on their sailing skills and build up the confidence to enter races. While the club has its fair share of seasoned racers, the new generation is equally promising, says Elena. Provided they can swim, children as young as eight or nine could be heading out on the water by themselves, albeit monitored by a trainer, one of the club’s three RIB safety boats and volunteer spotters on the beach and jetty. The club has an impressive track record as an incubator for talent: its junior squad has close links to the Kent Schools Sailing Association, and many alumni
“It’s so simple: you are on the water, you are in control” have gone on to compete at county and national level. It’s not just the technical skills and experience of learning to tie knots, understanding how the water and winds combine and key manoeuvres on offer at BSC. Being part of the club is like being part of a family, says Tessa, with its different generations. And whether you’ve been a member from birth, like Peter, or are a newcomer to the area, the vibe is inclusive and welcoming. Many of the elderly members, who no longer sail, rely heavily on BSC for social interaction: when events were cancelled during lockdown, the committee provided support with shopping and collecting prescriptions. A monthly newsletter also helps the community stay connected. “I’ve made some good friends over the years I’ve been there,” says Josh. “People are happy to help others out.” From its roots as an elite club to its inclusive modern incarnation, BSC has seen many changes over the past eight decades. But, concludes Elena, the fundamentals of sailing remain the same: “You’ve still got to want to go out, get wet and be brave!” Annual memberships start from £55 (from June 2021). Discounts are available for joint, family and junior memberships. For more information, visit broadstairssailingclub.com
12 ADVERTORIALbeacon broadstairs
Margate Mercury ADVERTORIAL 17
Making The Move BEAUTIFUL BEACHES, INCREDIBLE PROPERTIES AND A FRIENDLY, CREATIVE COMMUNITY PERSUADED THIS FAMILY TO MAKE THE MOVE TO THANET FROM LONDON
FINDING THE PERFECT SCHOOL WAS THE ICING ON THE CAKE
BY SHAHLA RUSHWORTH Kate and Simon Moore dreamt
moved to the area through their
opportunities to broaden their
of family living by the sea. They
contacts in the advertising
children's horizons through a
craved the big skies, space and
industry and so they were able
wide range of subjects and
the calming coastline to
to integrate into the
activities. They considered state
nurture their young children
community very quickly, They
and independent schools in the
and give them a childhood to
were very surprised how
area. Upon a visit to Wellesley,
cherish. Lockdown gave them
friendly and open people were.
its superior offering made the
the nudge that they needed to
Being creative people
decision easy. They discovered a
make that move from London
themselves, they particularly
nurturing, child centred
and move to sunny Thanet.
loved the lively arts scene.
environment. Every child is
The first step was finding their
However what about schools?!
treated as an individual and
perfect home. They found the
Their children were attending
educated as such. The weekly
most stunning Georgian home
Dulwich Prep, a very well
Beach School was a great draw,
that was more than 3.5x the
regarded school with excellent
as well as the wrap around care
size of their London house -
outcomes. Simon and Kate
that included a wide range of
(included 2 offices for
wanted a school that had
extra curriculum activities.
homeworking) but for a fraction
similar outcomes but also
Simon says they now have to
of the price of its equivalent in
reflected their values -
"drag their children home" from
the city. They already knew a
kindness, enthusiasm, respect,
school. "Wellesley really has
couple of families who had
teamwork and with lots of
been the icing on the cake".
Wellesley House is an outstanding school for 2 to 13 year olds in Broadstairs. To find out more, visit www.wellesleyhouse.org/virtual-open-day Private tours are available. Call 01843 862991 THE CLIPPERS
Can I be of service? Writer
Images courtesy of
Exclusive Butler School
John Pettman of the Exclusive Butler School tells us what makes the perfect Butler, and why he’s so keen to give back to Broadstairs
ohn Pettman went to Thanet College’s catering department in the 1990s, hoping to become a chef. There he spent three days a week cooking, two days learning how to offer front of house service, quickly discovering this was the aspect of hospitality he preferred. After a few weeks his lecturer, who had formerly been employed as one of the Queen’s pages, asked if he’d be interested in working at Buckingham Palace. He would regularly take his two best students to help at events and large functions. “There I was, a spotty 16-yearold, serving the Queen canapés! It completely blew my mind. And I was good at it, too. Once I’d got over my stunned bewilderment, I found I could do it.” Infuriatingly, he refuses to give
me more details. We won’t hear about Prince Charles’ small talk or how Princess Anne likes her cocktails from John. The most prized characteristic of the butler is discretion. He will not gossip. He won’t even give press interviews, usually. I’ve only wangled this through knowing a friend of a friend, and also because John is keen to give something back to Thanet, particularly its young people: inspire and encourage them to pursue a dazzling international career akin to his, should they choose to. He’s never stopped being grateful that Thanet College – now East Kent College – gave him his start. At Buckingham palace he worked as a footman, serving drinks and canapés, opening car doors. It was very much a part-time job however,
broadstairs beacon and he still studied at college most days of the week – until Sandringham rang the college to ask if he could be spared to work there full-time for a month. Aged 17, he found himself serving the Queen and her family three meals a day. Indeed, he was asked to remain with them permanently, but instead elected to work at the British Embassy in Paris. He wanted to see new countries, learn new languages. “I’d done the Royal thing already,” he explains. “It’s a big world, and at 18, having achieved my qualification, I wanted to see as much of it as possible.” In Paris he discovered that the head butler, who’d been there forty years, was also from Thanet – indeed, he had also attended Thanet College. He had created a work experience scheme in association with them which has been thriving for 20 years. Each summer he took two students – those who wanted it, those who showed most promise – and put them to work in the British Embassy. For the last fifteen years John has worked in recruitment. He’s run a company called Exclusive Household Staff for ten years, and often finds work for Broadstairs college students. Recently he placed an 18-year-old with a royal family as his first job, and another with the British Embassy in the US. He told me more people
“There I was, a spotty 16-yearold, serving the Queen canapes! It completely blew my mind” he’d supplied with staff, names that made me gasp, but sadly I was sworn to secrecy. Discretion, you see. Big household names. Big as they get. Whatever you’re thinking now, bigger than that. Try doubling the size, you’ll be halfway close. He set up the school because he wanted to give something back to young people, as well as to the community which had supported
him and provided him with such a staggering, thrilling career. It’s a “not for profit” academy, with four teachers, three of them trained at East Kent College. They visit the Yarrow Hotel one day a week to train the students in butler service. “It’s time to modernise the students’ training. What they are being taught has changed very little from what I was being taught 25 years ago. We don’t really have silver service, or offer Irish coffees, or filleting fish at the table – any theatricals that are offered nowadays tend to be offered by the chefs, not the waiters. The waiters are meant to be invisible. We bring that level of practical, contemporary knowledge to the students’ learning.” He teaches top-level service, ideal for the finest hotel or restaurant, or indeed private house – but once you know the best, you can adapt it to any place or business. Not all his students go on to royal households or British embassies. Many choose instead to work somewhere less formal. He can help and encourage there too. The school offers a place for one student per year, for a two-week course that usually costs £7,000. The student must go through a tough interview panel. It also offers a yacht training course for those hoping to offer stewardship on board luxury
yachts. It runs the school three to four times a year, and has given away three scholarships so far. The academy offers a royal dinner at the Yarrow Hotel, where you can eat as if you were in the Queen’s company. They use established butlers, and college students as under-butlers. You get bubbles on arrival, four courses with four different wines, petit fours, entertainment, all for around £50 a head. The students get to practise cooking and waiting skills under the watchful eye of a mentor. “Hospitality has been hit hardest by the pandemic. There could well be a boon post-pandemic – we’re all dying to get out, have some fun, socialise. The majority of top staff in London are foreign, but post-Brexit that’s bound to change – there are great opportunities for students, and an almost cast-iron guarantee they will never be out of work. “I wanted to give something back. I’ve been so immensely fortunate. And so grateful to the college for training and supporting me throughout my journey.” To learn more about the Exclusive Butler School, visit exclusivebutlerschool.com For the recruitment agency, exclusivehouseholdstaff.com
A thousand faces Writer Matthew Munson
Photographer Alanna Georgette
From heavy rock to heavy concept: Phil Lanzon of Uriah Heep discusses his young adult sci-fi trilogy
It’s like Mount Vesuvius erupting and the San Andreas fault shaking at the same time.” I’m interviewing Phil Lanzon, member of classic 70s rock band Uriah Heep and the author of a trilogy called Evil With A Thousand Faces. He began by holding forth on how Brexit and Covid impacted when simultaneously hitting the creative industries. He’s a fascinating man. I interviewed him for hours and feel I barely got close to unpicking his fertile, febrile mind. “My mum got me piano lessons when I was eight.” Phil recalls. “I soon discovered that music was in my blood. Part of the deal is performing in festivals and touring around the world. Uriah Heep has played in sixty-four countries. However I’ve not been anywhere for the last year, and that’s hard. I love the passion of a live performance. I miss it terribly.” So music came before writing? “I’ve always written. Being a songwriter was a lever into writing stories. It started when I was on tour some years ago, by accident, to be honest. We were playing word games – spoonerisms, that sort of thing – and I was using a Psion, one of those portable handheld computers that used to be popular. I started out just writing nonsense on it, but then found myself writing a story while we were waiting for our next performance or on the tour bus.” Was it something you continued when you were home? “No, frankly. I forgot about it when I was home, then picked it up again when the next tour came around. It was a touring thing, but eventually that turned into a book.”
Phil began to explain something of the book and its sequels: “It’s about a young girl called Elin, who can physically see as well as hear music; it’s magical realism. Her father was an illusionist, but she has the ability to make her father’s musical illusion come true, and use its power to end disharmony in her world.” I asked Phil if, when writing it, he planned for the entire trilogy. “No way, not at all. I felt like I had more to say with the characters and the concept, so I started working on a sequel. But that second book kept going, and I knew it needed to be
more concise if it was going to be published, so I found a natural stop and then realised that I had enough for a third book.” How were your publishers about that? Had they agreed to a multi-book deal? “Not at first. Pegasus agreed to publish my first book, and when I told them about the next two, they were keen to publish them as well.” I’m fascinated by stories where the protagonist is a child or a teenager: many writers find it really difficult to write from that point of view. I put that to Phil and asked what prompted
“I’ve always written. Being a songwriter was a lever into writing stories”
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him to write that kind of character. “Because I’m a dad, a granddad, and a great-granddad, and child psychology really interests me. I feel that children aren’t always listened to or asked what their feelings and thoughts are. When they want to share something, and we’re sometimes too busy to listen, those moments are lost forever. Children are learning about the world, they have their own language, and their own meanings. I wanted to empower them with something outside of parental intervention.” And lastly, you haven’t always lived
in Broadstairs? “No, my partner and I moved down here 17 years ago. We’re DFLs! We were looking for somewhere away from all the pollution. The original plan was to get a bolthole here and split our time between the two, but the allure of the area proved too strong. We love the place.”
You can order Phil’s books from pegasuspublishers.com and all major retailers (physical and virtual). For his artwork and solo albums, take a look at his shop, phillanzonwordsandmusic.com
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THE PLAICE TO BE
▲ Image by Connor Peake ▼ Lobster by Brooke Sinclair
When it comes to fishing, Broadstairs is a minnow compared to its neighbour Ramsgate. Yet it’s also home to Thanet’s last remaining fishmonger and a small but passionate group of shore and boat anglers
rom the picturesque cluster of fishing boats moored in Viking Bay to the glistening counters of local fishmonger Fruits de Mer, heaped high with ocean bounty, Broadstairs has always been synonymous with fishing. Founded in the 12th century as a small fishing hamlet, the town’s continued links to rod and hook were noted in 1723 by author Daniel Defoe: “Broadstairs has a population of around 300, 27 of them being in the trade of fishing.” (The remainder had “no apparent
means of support” – and were suspected of smuggling.) Nowadays, due to the tidal nature of Broadstairs harbour (boats can only depart and land at high tide), the vast majority of commercial fishing fleets operate out of Ramsgate and Deal. But pleasure anglers can still be spotted on the jetty and, at low tide, on the rocks in the surrounding bays. With a small but dedicated membership
of around 30, Broadstairs & St Peter’s Sea Angling Society holds regular competitions in Thanet, and welcomes new members, whether beginners or experts. Long-standing member Dave Andrews, a shore angler with over 50 years’ experience, goes fishing twice a week and jokes that seawater runs in his veins. “In a world where everything’s controlled and online, it’s the challenge of trying to catch
something that’s completely random,” he says. “And I enjoy doing something that people have always done.” Despite being part of a tradition going back millennia, Dave says local fishing has changed a lot: “When I first started I was catching fish for the pot. Now there’s been a sea change in fishing to ‘catch and release’ competitions – where the fish are measured and then put back.” “I’d say 99.9% of the fish caught by the shore [angling] club are returned,” adds Steve Brenchley, another longtime member who enjoys both beach and boat angling. “The club has had to adapt – people are becoming more conservationminded.” The angler demographic is also a lot older nowadays, notes Steve, with a “noticeable” shortage of younger people coming into fishing. Partly that’s due to cost – with mooring, fuel, insurance and maintenance expenses, boat-angling can be an off-puttingly expensive hobby, which is why a cheaper and increasingly popular alternative is chartering a pleasure fishing boat from Ramsgate. Then there’s the competing lure of digital devices. “Fewer children go fishing now, whereas when I was ►
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young, you didn’t have computers or mobiles, and it was a good outside activity,” says Dave. Nonetheless, he adds, one silver lining of the pandemic has been people’s renewed appreciation for the great outdoors, with fishing being one of the few sporting hobbies permitted throughout the various lockdowns: “The word from all the tackle shops was that they had a rush of newcomers during the first lockdown. So all is not necessarily lost.” The biggest change, both amateur and commercial fishermen agree, is the species of fish frequenting Thanet’s coastline. In summer, sea bass, sole and skate are all plentiful, with the latter being the prized catch among anglers. However cod – once a mainstay of winter fishing – has almost disappeared locally, replaced by the less exciting whiting and dogfish. Dave remembers catching his first cod off Broadstairs pier, but these days, says Steve, “you’d have to go out a long way into the Channel, and then you’d be lucky.”
“I’d say 99.9% of the fish caught by the angling club are returned” Jason Llewellyn, who has owned local fishmonger Fruits de Mer for over 30 years, believes global warming, rather than overfishing, is behind the change: “When I first started out, you wouldn’t get lobsters or crab throughout the winter, but now you can: the sea’s a lot warmer than it used to be. People blame overfishing, but [the cod] have just gone north where the food is. Now locally we’re getting more bass and soles than we did. There’s still plenty of fish out there: it’s just [the kind of fish has] changed.” Sustainability – the rationale behind catch-and-release in pleasure angling – is even more of a live issue for the commercial fishing industry, as Netflix documentary Seaspiracy recently highlighted. While he believes super trawlers “are wrong”, Jason points out that the fleet of 18 day boats which land their catch to Fruits de Mer (and virtually all the
broadstairs beacon ◄ Fruits de Mer by Joshua May
UK’s day-fishing boats) are small craft which do no damage at all to the seabed or the environment in general. Far more damaging was the EU quota system, which regularly forced his crews to dump fish they were unable to land. It’s no wonder, he says, that the UK fishing industry voted overwhelmingly for Brexit. Leaving the EU hasn’t been plain sailing, with UK exporters mired in post-Brexit red tape, delays and broken supply chains. But Jason, who exports Dover soles and oysters to France as part of his business, is confident that ultimately the UK industry will end up in a better place. Steve agrees, recalling super trawlers from Russia, Germany and Spain “all over the place” during his forays into the Channel. “Their catching capability is enormous: hundreds of tons a day. There’s a fear that they will wipe the Channel out eventually, if they’re allowed to carry on. It’s a good enough reason for Brexit.” Leaving political issues aside, there’s no doubt that fishing for fun – whether as a solitary pursuit or in the camaraderie of a group club competition – brings plenty of mental health and wellbeing benefits. “Catching fish is a bonus: it’s more about being outside and closer to nature,” says Steve. “You’ll always see something interesting when you go out, whether it’s an unusual boat or an oil rig being towed up the Channel. No two days are ever the same.”
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Heart of the community
Lead photograph Ade Davies
Images courtesy of Joanna Bongard
Forced to reinvent themselves, Flotsam & Jetsam initiated a new way for both itself and the planet to survive
estaurateurs Katherine and Jan moved to the area and opened Wyatt & Jones eight years ago. Quickly it became a true family affair, with three of their five children working key roles within the restaurant. Experience and warm welcomes, coupled with working alongside some incredible chefs, secured them an esteemed place in the Michelin Guide. Business was flying until lockdown hit and forced them to re-evaluate. “To be honest we enjoyed just taking some time out as a family.
Having always worked in hospitality, it was the first time in our entire lives we just stopped and took the time to really think about what was important. We started focusing on our staff, looking at how we can make their lives better, with set working hours to enable them to make plans and concentrate on their health. Then we looked at survival. We had wanted to do a take-away for a long time but didn’t have a chance to get off the hamster wheel of life to do it. When lockdown hit we still sat on it for a bit,” Katherine recalls. Flotsam & Jetsam was originally one of the names that they considered for the main restaurant, and it had suddenly become a whole lot more apt. “Flotsam and jetsam were things thrown overboard to save a sinking ship, which essentially, in lockdown, as a restaurant, described us exactly. So we threw everything out there to
help us survive as a business.” The risk paid off and within three weeks they were featured in the Guardian newspaper’s Top 10 Places to Eat. However success came at an unendurable cost. Their takeaway packaging was having a hugely negative impact on the local area. Plastic pollution in the ocean is everyone’s problem. Even if you don’t live by the sea, or visit it, or care about fish, still one in three fish caught for human consumption now contains plastic. So if you eat fish, you eat plastic. And in that plastic
you’ll find chemicals like DDT, linked to endocrine disruption and certain cancers. You kill fish, the fish kill you back, in time, and painfully. And even if your commitment to continuing to breathe means you don’t eat fish, 70% of oxygen is made by marine creatures, so plastic pollution in the ocean may well impact on your air supply. Cute creatures suffer, the seals and the seabirds, as well as all the slimy disgusting diverse beasts that make up the food chain. Plastic is an equal opportunity killer.
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Eight million pieces of plastic pollution find their way into the ocean every day. There is an average of 5,000 items of plastic pollution for each mile of beach, surely of particular concern to the many Thanet folk who rely on tourism for their livelihoods. Katherine and Jan made the decision to minimise their environmental footprint as much as possible and not use single-use plastics, or anything that could not be recycled. This included their food cartons. After discovering that their previously used cardboard containers were lined with non bio-degradable plastic, they researched alternatives. “We found Notpla, a company where all of their packaging is made from seaweed. So if it went out to sea it would disappear like a bit of fruit on its own, which is fantastic.” Notpla sourced its first seaweed for the project from Broadstairs beaches, so it’s a happy coincidence that Flotsam & Jetsam are now using its products back where it all began. The company claims that all packaging will completely bio-degrade within four to six weeks. However that still was not sufficient for Katherine and Jan. The bins near the restaurant always overflow in
peak periods and people leave their rubbish on the beach. “We have to take responsibility as business-owners and care about the local area. We do as much as we can on a day-to-day basis. At the end of the day, when the beach has cleared a bit our guys come out and do litter picks.” They are now working on a collaboration with 2 Minute Beach Clean to encourage people to do a quick litter-pick while they are waiting for food, as well as organising their own beach clean initiative. Having signed up with a company that provides loyalty schemes through an app, they can now send out notifications to say when they are arranging a beach clean. If you come along you will then receive a card which entitles you to free chips and sauce which can be redeemed within the next month. This will be open to anyone and is their way of encouraging the local community to help keep Broadstairs beautiful. They really listen to what the local people want and have developed their traditional seafood menu to include vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. What better place to eat than somewhere that not only has fantastic food but a heart as well?
BROADSTAIRS COLLEGE TAKEOVER Broadstairs College creative media students were offered two pages of the Beacon as work experience. Here are the results
reative Media at Broadstairs College is a practical-based course giving each student the ability to build on their photography, filmmaking and graphic design skills with industrystandard equipment. With specialist lecturers who have worked in the creative industries, alongside local creative practitioners, students have access to the materials, equipment and individualised learning. Each student is pushed to think relatively for themselves and encouraged to build their independence. Through
Moving to a new house by Connor Peake Moving to a new house is always stressful, whether during a pandemic or not, especially if it is to a completely new area. I myself am moving down to the beautiful town of Broadstairs all the way from Medway and thought I might take a breather from the hardship of moving and vocalise what I am most excited about. Obviously during the pandemic the number of possible outings was very limited. However, with lockdown being eased this summer, I looked at what activities would be most interesting to me. First of all, as someone who has never visited an escape room before, I was instantly captivated by the Bank Job, the first escape room in Broadstairs. Like it says in the name, it requires you and your friends (up to five) to break into a vault in a bank. The unique selling point,
client-based assignments such as the ones completed with the Broadstairs Beacon, students are able to demonstrate the skills learnt within the college to use for external clients and gain real world experience. Students come from a range of backgrounds and varying ability, as a result there are options to study a one-year Level 2 course, or a two-year Level 3 course. Many of the students within the creative industries department will progress onto university to develop their creative skills further.
however, comes with where in Broadstairs this is based, as the escape room is situated in a building which used to be a real bank, with you and your friends attempting to break into the real vault! If you’re looking for a challenge outside of the gym, then Revolution climbing centre and skate park is the place for you. As someone who has missed being able to climb around during the pandemic, this is definitely one of the first outings on my list. The most obvious changes from Medway to Broadstairs is the vast amount of jaw-dropping scenery and the coastal favourite, the beaches. Having Joss Bay in walking distance is fantastic for evading all those pesky parking issues. Plus there is Viking bay situated at the foot of the high street, making it a very popular spot. A late afternoon stroll in these locations combined with a vibrant sunset can result in a beautiful landscape which is a must-see for all!
Blissful Broadstairs by Joshua Allen A coastal town full of history and secrets hidden beneath the surface, Broadstairs is a town within the heart of Kent in the south-east of England. It is home to many who adore living by the seaside. Broadstairs has been popular to visit among the elite, such as Queen Victoria and author Charles Dickens. Dickens frequently visited Broadstairs, residing in Bleak House, which overlooks Viking Bay. It was here he penned his eighth novel, David Copperfield. He based one of the characters from the novel on a local resident called Mary. The famed writer once described Broadstairs as “one of the freshest and freest little places in the world”. One of the most prolific serial killers of all time, known as Jack the Ripper, was rumoured to have spent his remaining years hiding in plain sight, residing in the small town for decades.
His true identity remains a mystery to many true crime fanatics. In January 1807, Investigator Robert Barfield was called to investigate a murder of a local called Thomasina Ward, who had been murdered and left in a field sixty yards away from St Peter’s Road, where Hilderstone College stands presently. Thomasina Ward, who was 63 years old at the time of her murder, was battered and abused in her final moments. She had been murdered by a German soldier called Andrew Schestack who was in the King’s German Legion fighting against the French in the Napoleonic wars. Thomasina’s murderer was sentenced to death for his crime on 28 March 1807. Barfield House is one of the oldest historical buildings still standing to this day. Investigator Robert Barfield resided in this house, and it is rumoured that it is haunted by Thomasina Ward’s ghost, who roams the building still. These historic buildings all tell a story and hold decades worth of facts and myths. The stories are what made this town what it is today.
Spectre of the House
Authors and photographers featured throughout the magazine
by Callum Brooks Excerpts from the Diary of Helene Smith
17 December 2017
8 January 2018
With the start of my new life in the town of Broadstairs I have decided to keep a diary and write my experiences to look back on the fond memories of past days. I have just finished unpacking all my stuff and have decided to go out and meet my neighbours. I hope I make a good impression for I now live alongside them and will do so for a long time. While out I explored my surroundings a bit and discovered an old house a few blocks from my neighbourhood. The house is old and falling apart and, I will admit, a little spooky looking, but after a few minutes of checking it out I moved on with my walk.
It is decided. Tonight I will go and have a closer look at the house. I am otherwise engaged for the morning and afternoon so tonight is the only time I am exempt from any responsibility. As well as satiating my curiosity perhaps this act will help my neighbours calm down a bit and make them realise that it is just an old abandoned building. IT IS NOT ABANDONED!!! I just came back from the house and boy am I freaked out. I went over the rusty fence leading to the front garden of the house but that is as far as I went. For as I approached, I saw someone or something move through one of the upper windows. Startled but remaining curious I froze, then slowly moved towards the house again, only to jump out of my skin when I heard a loud, sudden scream from where I saw the thing in the house. I quickly bolted away back to my home. While that was a scary experience I still had some semblance of interest in that house. Perhaps It was just some teens pranking me or something. But if so then they would have a lot of explaining to do to me and the townspeople. I’m getting to the bottom of this.
17 January 2018 It has been a few weeks since I had moved to Broadstairs, and while my neighbours were friendly enough, whenever I ask about the old house a few blocks east they always tense up and either ignore my questions, walk away or sternly warn me against talking about it, saying that that dreaded place is evil and it be best if I stay away from it. Despite my neighbours’ attempts to dissuade me from even thinking of that “cursed” place I can’t help but remain curious as to the story of that house and why people are so afraid of it.
12 January 2018 It took a few days for me to work the
courage to go back, but now I’m ready. Whoever is doing this is going to get caught. There are no teens, no pranksters, I just came from the house and I regret going back deeply. I entered and looked all over but there was no one there. I thought that perhaps the source behind what I saw and heard weren’t up for scaring people today so I made my way back to the front door. That’s when I heard it… the long, drawn out creaking of floor boards being stepped on behind me. I froze and slowly turned around. Why did I turn around! ? I saw behind me the face of terror, a spectral ash-coloured skull staring at me from the side of the doorway. I didn’t dare move and after a while that thing moved forward. Immediately I ran to the door, leapt over the rusty gate and rushed like a spooked horse back home. The thing didn’t follow me, thank god; I’m going to have a lot of trouble sleeping tonight.
19 January 2018 Always is it watching me from the end of my bed, always is it staring through my cupboard, always is it looking into my soul. Every time I close my eyes, I see its horrid face. I just heard my door open, it’s here, for real. Whoever is reading this, never go to the house, never explore its halls and rooms lest you become its prey, lest you…
Blissful Broadstairs Joshua Allen (Level 2 Creative Media) Moving to a new house Connor Peake (Level 3 Year 1 Creative Media) Spectre of the House Callum Brooks (Level 3 Year 1 Creative Media) Lobster Illustration Brooke Sinclair (Level 3 Year 1 Creative Media) Angler photography Connor Peake (Level 3 Year 1 Creative Media) Fruits De Mer photography Joshua May (Level 2 Creative Media) Boat Race photography Oliver Kebbel (Level 3 Year 2 Art & Design) Line drawing fish illustration Tyler Bates (Level 2 Art & Design) Channel 16 Timothy Lauret (Level 3 Year 2 Art & Design)
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What bees can teach us Writer Melissa Todd
Images courtesy of Wellesley House
How do you keep pupils and the planet happy? With bees!
nna Mouseddee, head of wellbeing at Wellesley House (or wellbeeing, as she now prefers) came up with the idea of a bee-keeping club, despite being extremely allergic to bees herself. “My husband said, what on earth are you doing? But I loved the pun! And I thought the benefits for staff and pupils alike could be absolutely phenomenal. In fact, it’s been even better.” The school has three hives, each containing around 70,000 bees, and last year they produced 120 jars of honey. I was privileged enough to be given one of the last remaining precious drops of gloopy goodness, and hurried home to slaver it on toast. It’s amazing stuff, floral, rich, delectable. “It’s brilliant for people with hayfever. The fact the bees take from local flowers means each jar contains a little vaccination against local pollens and irritants.” I don’t get hayfever, but it’s still brilliant, completely different from the shop-bought stuff. It’s unprocessed, just scraped straight off the frame and dolloped direct into the jar. “Bees encapsulate the five core values we espouse here at Wellesley,”
Anna explains. “Kindness, courage, respect, teamwork and enjoyment. Bees are fascinating creatures, responsible for so much of our food and drink, even the clothes we wear. They work together harmoniously and industriously to make it happen.” Christopher Waldie introduced trail.com, the school’s own version of Springwatch, available on the school’s website (wellesleyhouse.org) where anyone can see the bees getting busy, as well as the odd hedgehog, fox or squirrel visitor. A whole ecosystem has built up around the nature garden. “Many of our students come from overseas,” Chris explains, “so something like a squirrel, that might seem dull to us, seems incredibly exotic and thrilling to them!” I was shown the hives. They’re smaller than I’d imagined, with a tiny hole at the bottom, a queue of bees each side getting about their business, indifferent to my ogling. What joy to be a bee, and always feel confident about what you should do next. “You can tell which particular plants the bees have been targeting by the different colours and aromas in each jar,” Anna tells me. “It’s fascinating. They love the ivy, but also we have an orchard packed with apple and pear
trees.” The school sits in eight acres, so the bees have plenty to play with. “They’re remarkably systematic and efficient though. Having filled one hive, they move on to the next. If we were to move them about it would confuse them terribly. They’re very fixed in their habits.” Of course this all proves an amazing learning experience for the children – the study of nature, pollination, ecology – but also the legal aspects involved in selling a food product, the information that must go on the label, as well as designing and printing the labels. ICT, art, law, maths, science: amazing what goes into a little jar of goodness. “The children love it too. We have a ‘honey day’ in September where they get into production. And of course we leave enough for the bees to eat too. No sugar water for them! It all taps into our core values as a school, and our desire to develop global citizens who are concerned with the environment, working together to achieve results. And it gets them outside, connecting with nature. We’re a pretty outdoorsy bunch here at Wellesley. We visit the beach once a week too, rock-pooling, talking about rock formation, marine life, coastal erosion. Plenty more ways to learn
than sat at a desk!” Now pictures of bees are dotted round the school in places where children who feel worried or upset about anything can find someone to talk to, where they can be sure of a ready, non-judgemental listener. “Good mental health and mindfulness has been a really key issue for pupils and teachers alike over the last few years,” Anna explains. “Obviously the pandemic has added an extra layer of stress to everyone’s lives. The bee initiative has meant that mindfulness has become embedded in the entire curriculum. It’s not as if they have an hour’s lesson one term then it’s never mentioned again. We do deep breathing, listening walks, and talk to our pupils all the time. The children meet with their form tutor individually twice a day to discuss any problems or worries they may have, or whatever is on their mind.” “Twice a day? !” I stop scribbling to stare at her, convinced I must have misheard. I doubt I do that for my son twice a year. She laughs. “Yes, twice a day! For 10-15 minutes each time.” The Wellesley School motto is A Scalis Patulis Ad Astra, which roughly translates as “broad stairs to the stars”: partly in recognition that school days are just one part of their pupils’ journey through life, but also that expectations are high, and that the school will do everything possible to help them accomplish their ambitions and fulfil their potential. And, just as important, produce some delicious honey.
For more information go to wellesleyhouse.org
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Writer Melissa Todd
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All the world’s a stage, at least to Michael Wheatley Ward. Here he chats about his life, career and recent biography, Surviving in the Theatre
I can’t complain, can I?” says Michael Wheatley Ward to my enquiry after his health. “Nobody would listen!” The quiet self-deprecating ribbing peppers our interview, conducted in the box office of the Sarah Thorne Theatre, in Fordoun Street, Broadstairs. Michael is its manager, cheerleader, biggest fan, and has been for 15 years now, when he created it. I ask if he’s ever acted himself. “Only in front of the bank manager! Oscar-winning performances, every time! They say to me, we know you’re fibbing, but we enjoy the fibs and we want you to succeed, so we’ll keep backing you.” Telling entertaining fibs has proved the watchword of Michael’s career. At 18, when trying for an apprenticeship at ABC Theatres, he was asked if he’d failed any of his GCEs, and could answer honestly that he hadn’t – because he never took any. “I’m not an academic. My father was a scientist, became a headteacher. My sister was a brainbox too. She worked for AstraZeneca. But thank goodness my parents realised the value of my not slaving away at school when I was practical and passionate about theatre and not much else. Get out and start learning, my father said. So I did.” At 16 Michael was working on the stage lighting at a production of Widowers’ Houses in Stratford – although when they discovered his age, they threatened to chuck him out. As a child, visiting London with his parents, he always begged to be taken through the West End to look at the theatres. At home he had a puppet theatre, and experimented with the lighting and staging the way other boys might obsess over train sets. His dad had loved the theatre and cinema, and courted his mum at variety shows – “you always knew what you’d be seeing: Max Miller!” – but he was the first in his family to make a career of theatre. He was bullied at school, but when a bully asked him a question about stage lighting and electrics, he garnered new respect and the bullying stopped. He went on to become a theatre producer at a variety of theatres, but his dream was always to own his own theatre: “As a producer you’re always at the mercy of theatre managers. I hated that.” The Theatre Royal in Margate came up for auction, and Michael was one
Michael Wheatley Ward with Jasper the dog and Jay Thomas
of the investors who backed Jolyon Jackley to buy the beast. TDC wouldn’t give him a licence to run as a theatre, so instead he called it a club, running club nights that just happened to be theatrical performances. His tenure at the Theatre Royal was brought to an abrupt end with the arrival of the Turner, in a story that forms the centre of Michael Flagg’s biography of Michael, Surviving in the Theatre. “Michael Flagg wanted to write a book about my life, and I agreed, provided I could tell the true story of what happened at the Theatre Royal, the incredible corruption and mismanagement of the local government of the day. We ran it past a libel barrister first, who kept telling me, ‘I get what you’re trying to say, Michael, but try saying it like this!’” He’s been running the Sarah Thorne Theatre for 15 years now, alongside his co-director Jay Thomas, offering a spread of community and professional performances, plays and music – and, with the help of an army of devoted volunteers, managing to break even, more or less. “The Sarah Thorne is attached to Hilderstone College, so it can only offer weekends and holidays for performances. In some ways that’s a hindrance, but actually for an area of this size it seems ideal.” The in-house pantomime is truly brilliant and always sold out, with the Rotary Club and country councillors buying up seats for families who might otherwise not be
able to visit. They offer experimental pieces too, and those that are well received often move on to the West End or elsewhere. “I know so many Londoners who’ve bought flats in Broadstairs, and they tell me the theatre is a big draw. It’s a hub at the centre of the arts community here in Broadstairs,” says Michael. The Sarah Thorne is a crucial component of Dickens Week too, with a Dickens novel adapted for the stage every year. “The theatre intends to re-open as soon as Kent County Council Adult Education receive the go-ahead from HM Government to re-open the Hilderstone Centre. As soon as that is agreed announcements will be made on our website about our productions, from the summer rep season running up to our 2021 pantomime, Puss in Boots.” Michael Flagg’s book is available to buy at the Sarah Thorne box office for £11. It’s an astonishing read, absolutely compelling and essential for anyone interested in theatre, local politics or the Arts Council. But it also gives a profound, uplifting message of how anyone can accomplish anything they truly desire. “You can start right at the bottom, where I started, no experience, no qualifications, nothing on my side but enthusiasm, and you’ll have ups and downs on your journey, but you will get there. You will. With enough hard work and determination. You keep going, you get there.”
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Daisy’s in the garden Writer Daisy Cutter
Images courtesy of Nigel Adams
Daisy Cutter takes the back-breaking strain out of gardening
ello everyone! For those of you who don’t know me from the Broadstairs Beacon Facebook page, I am Daisy Cutter, the Beacon gardening correspondent. In other words, I do the dirty fingernail department. Now then, before we start, I am not a professional gardener nor have I ever been. I have no gardening or horticultural qualifications and I have certainly never exhibited my melons at Chelsea. Anyway, I am the best that they could find for the money. I was born in Ramsgate and have lived most of my life in Broadstairs. I have always had a garden, and until recently an allotment as well. So let’s just say I am a local gardener, with many years experience. I am emphatically not an expert. Ex is something that has been and spurt is a drip under pressure. And I, my lovelies, am neither of those things. My main interests are no-dig gardening, soil conservation and, most importantly, growing as much of my own fresh food as possible. Eighty per cent of the world’s microorganisms live in the soil and we have only identified a small fraction of them. Their importance to the health of our soil, to our own health and wellbeing, and ultimately the health of our planet, should not be underestimated. When I think of all the backbreaking digging that I have done in my long life, my heart breaks, still worse than my back. It was all entirely counter-productive! The first lesson
that you must learn is that digging harms the soil. Let the earthworms do the digging, darlings. That’s their job. The second lesson is, use lots of compost. It is more precious than gold. You can’t eat gold! Yes I know you can’t eat compost either, but you get the point. Let’s not be pedantic. So, let’s grow something! Lettuce to start, perhaps? The great thing about lettuce is that there are loads of different varieties to choose from, far more than you will ever find on a supermarket shelf. My absolute all-time favourite is a gorgeous little lettuce called Amaze. It is very unusual, being a red lettuce with a green heart, so you practically get two lettuces in one. You don’t even need a garden for this exercise. You only need some good-quality potting compost and a six-inch flower pot. (Do your own metric conversions, darlings. Daisy can’t be bothered.) Amaze is a Tom Thumb variety, but don’t be fooled: they’re not that small. Fill your pot to within one inch of the top, sow two or three seeds then, when they germinate, thin them to leave the strongest. It will take ten to twelve weeks to grow your lettuce. If you think that’s a long time, remember slow food is better than fast food. Remember too that lettuces don’t like it hot, and if their environs are too tropical they won’t germinate. Best fact saved for last: lettuce does not belong to the cabbage family. It actually belongs to the daisy family. I mean, how wonderful! Fill your boots, darlings. Until next time, happy planting and scoffing. All of the love,
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Our green paradise!
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Writer Christine Tongue
How might fifty years of green thinking transform our town?
ome with me into Broadstairs future. This is my report for the Beacon in 2071. Broadstairs has become a model of sustainable, green living. It’s at last living up to its Victorian reputation as “bracing Broadstairs”, where you went to cure your lung problems and recuperate from illness. Arriving by train, the tree-lined streets of Broadstairs lead you down shady boulevards and squares to a twinkling sea known for its clean water and pristine beaches. The most lush square is Crofts Place Park which began the trend to convert all open space into wooded public parks. It began with one person planting a few flower pots in the corner of what was then a car park – remember private cars? Huge areas had to be concreted over to house them!
Madness! Now every child who starts school has a tree planted in their name in the new urban forests and they take care the trees come to no harm. No vehicles are allowed anywhere that might pollute the air or the sea. Petrol has long gone but other fuels are also discouraged. Now our climate has changed, very little heating is needed, even in the depths of winter. Amazing new methods of insulation have made sure that even our heritage architecture is warm and cosy. New houses are all built to have no emissions and needing very little energy to run. Broadstairs has several homegrown eco-architects, trained in our award-winning Ecology College on Ramsgate Road, where students come from around the world to learn how we have put into effect the principles the whole country is attempting to to run on. They used to come to learn English, and now they come to learn how Broadstairs got it right. The college also teaches basic home maintenance – what to do if your solar panels need repairs, or your underground heat pump is heating you too much. Every house has solar panels, every garden has a wind turbine, all contributing to the common pool of electricity to run the transport system, the seafront lifts (year-round constant operation!), street lighting, sewage
processing, etc, etc. The sea is clean and free of contamination because sewage is turned into compost and used on our increasing numbers of community allotments. No rainwater is wasted and no water from our buildings is considered waste! Each house collects water to use in gardens or flushing toilets, or supplying the allotments. Of course with vastly increased summer temperatures we need buildings that are airy and gardens full of shady trees. Everyone contributes to the forestgardening project that was developed by the college, and by certain Ramsgate pioneers. Most of us now grow fruit trees and nut trees with an understory of bushes, currants and berries of all kinds and perennial edible plants. No one has a conventional lawn – it takes too much energy to cut grass and needs water to look nice! Same with golf courses – North Foreland used to have a big one, where the wonderful new rewilding centre now is, even if not everyone approves of wild boar sausages! We have meadows of wild flowers, and drought-hardy herbs like thyme and low-growing sage. We welcome the essential plants we used to hate, like dandelions and wild leeks. But we can also plan for oranges, olives, even pomegranates, as the climate heads toward the same as the
Mediterranean was 50 years ago. Broadstairs local wine is becoming famous! The Culmers vineyard is now where the ugly 60s flats were in the past, the rubble formed the southfacing hillside we now see the grapes growing on. Just like Westwood, old buildings have formed the basis of new infrastructure – old shops have become vertical forests selling their produce in weekly farmers’ markets that also attract the producers from the Manston community allotment project. That is finally “taking off ” after years of wrangling about whether air travel could be revived. The new workshops producing anti-gravity personal drones, developed during the now defunct space programme, have satisfied the last remaining local urges to get into the air somehow. These are a boon for the disabled and we are winning the battle against indulgent parents whose kids pester to have one “the same as granny”! But our kids are still not getting enough exercise – the only downside of the Broadstairs book boom! Many authors seek the peace and quiet of our forests and local publishers make sure we get their products first. Of all our many festivals, our book festivals do best of all, attracting visitors from all over the planet. Come and find out for yourself! Green Broadstairs, the place to be!
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A slice of English… and of the languages around the world Daniela Ribitsch
Every time he sings the words “Dirty Diana”, it sounds like German “Da geht der Gaertner”, meaning “the gardener is walking there”.
Katy Perry, Dark Horse
Chris Norman, Midnight Lady
What is a “mondegreen”? Linguistics expert Daniela Ribitsch explains
Michael Jackson, Dirty Diana
The way the line “There’s no going back” is pronounced resembles German “Willst an Gummibaer?”, which means, “Do you want a gummy bear?”
o you have any idea, dear reader, what Agathe Bauer songs are? Perhaps it helps to know that these songs are called mondegreens in English. Now, what are mondegreens? Well, they are words or phrases that we mishear as something else than what is actually said. The word mondegreen itself was coined by American writer Sylvia Wright who, as a child, kept mishearing the same line in the Scottish ballad “The Bonnie Earl O’ Moray”. Instead of the
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The line “Oh, my feelings grow” reminds of German “Oma fiel ins Klo,” meaning “Grandma fell into the toilet.”
actual line “laid him on the green”, she heard “Lady Mondegreen”. Equally, Agathe Bauer comes from the misinterpreted line “I’ve got the power” in the song “The Power” by Snap!, a German Eurodance group. Speakers of German have a lot of fun with their Agathe Bauer songs. Some radio stations even encourage people to call and share their misinterpreted lines with others. Those lines mainly come from English-speaking songs. Here are some popular examples:
Cutting Crew, (I just) Died in Your Arms The line “It must’ve been something you said” comes across as German “Du must besoffen bestellen,” which means, “You have to order boozily.” Such mishearings, as you can imagine, guarantee a lot of laughs. On the other hand, it is really hard to ever get rid of mishearings once you’ve learned about them. I’ll probably be stuck with Michael Jackson’s gardener for the rest of my life.
Daniela Ribitsch is a native of Graz, Austria, and came to Broadstairs on a school trip in April 2000. She and her classmates stayed with host families and attended Hilderstone College to improve their English. In 2009 she followed her American husband to Pennsylvania, where she teaches German at Lycoming College. She loves ecolinguistics, which combines her passion for languages and nature. Her texts on various environmental and linguistic topics are published in English and German
Image courtesy of Malcolm Kirkaldie, RNLI Ramsgate responding to a call at Broadstairs, April 2018
BROADSTAIRS AND THE RNLI
hen you sit at Viking Bay in Broadstairs enjoying the sunshine on a calm day, watching children bury each other in the sand, and licking your Morelli’s ice cream as it runs down a cone, it’s difficult to imagine the two thousand ships wrecked only a handful of miles away. I’m writing about Goodwin Sands, off the coast of Deal, which have been so renowned for so long that Shakespeare featured them in his plays. The sands are a place well known to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) station at Ramsgate. More recently, a film crew for the BBC television programme Coast attempted to reconstruct the annual tradition of cricket matches on the sands. These had their origins in the early 19th century and ended in 2003. The film crew’s refusal to end their game of cricket in July 2006, as they were urged to do so, was a moment of hubris. Everyone was saved but it was reported that £100,000 worth of filming equipment was ruined. They were lucky; the sea isn’t always this forgiving and so many have perished through misjudging it. In April 2018 the RNLI was called to the East Pier in Ramsgate where three people had been swept into the sea. Two of the three survived, the third sadly lost their life. There was a forcenine gale with heavy rain that day and the rescue operation involved three ambulance crews, two air ambulances, one HM Coastguard helicopter and several police. No sooner had the team completed the call than they
Writer Anthony Levings, Founder of the Kent Sea Swimmers
A look at the work of the RNLI and the vital importance of respecting the water were alerted to a surfer who found themselves in trouble at Broadstairs. They made their way up the coast in the awful weather conditions. Thankfully the surfer was safely on the shore when they arrived. Ramsgate RNLI is the same lifeboat station that was established in 1802 and is the closest to Broadstairs. Its two lifeboats, an all-weather one and a smaller inland vessel, are called out to around 100 rescues a year. When you dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard, the first person you will be put through will be someone from HM Coastguard, who will then decide which services should attend. This might include the RNLI, the ambulance service, the police, the Red Cross, and so on. It is the Coastguard who coordinates and requests the launch of a lifeboat. The RNLI isn’t all about rescue, it also does a great deal of outreach work, online and on the ground, to stop people finding themselves in trouble in the first place. In the summer, inflatables are a big danger, with children being swept out to sea. But it’s also possible to get into difficulties without even intending to enter the sea.
Along the Kent coast people find themselves cut off by the tides, stuck between the high cliffs and the incoming sea. A top tip for a visit to Broadstairs is for people planning a walk from Viking Bay to Dumpton Gap. It’s important to check the tides and aim to finish the walk a good two hours before high tide to avoid being cut off. The RNLI issupportive of all types of recreation at the coast and on the water, whether that’s walking, openwater swimming, sailing, paddleboarding or kite-surfing. Its outreach role through their Community Safety Team is to focus on making these activities safer. In the summer this can be as simple as handing out wristbands for children at Margate Station. The bands have a space for contact details, so that any child who finds themselves lost on the crowded beach can be easily reunited with their parents or guardians. The pandemic has been as unusual for the RNLI as it has for everyone else. The same safety measures of face masks and protective practices that all emergency services and other workplaces have adopted are in place,
and the station has been closed to the public and non-essential staff. This includes Ramsgate RNLI’s own press officer and makes the role of communication more difficult. Fund-raising was curtailed and faceto-face teams have not been allowed out and about, but things are slowly getting back to normal and, with more people having staycations this year, the RNLI expects to be busier than ever across the Kent coast.
The message remains RESPECT THE WATER:
1 Be prepared, take a fully
charged mobile with you and tell people your plans.
2 If you find yourself
unexpectedly in the water, float on your back to increase your chances of survival.
3 If you see someone else
in trouble in the water, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.
For more in-depth advice on cold water shock and keeping safe in water-based activities, please visit the Thanet RNLI Community Safety Team website: thanetrnlicommunitysafety.org.uk Thanks to Andy Mills (community safety advisor, Thanet RNLI community safety team), Karen Cox (lifeboat press officer, Ramsgate RNLI) and Mark Gambrill (station officer, HM Coastguard Margate)
Channel 16 Writer Timothy Lauret
hite surged and lowly rolled over the bow of the vessel. It pooled over the parapet before sinking into the shallow well at crates stationed in a tumultuous mirror that reflected only night. The darkness was strong and starless with a careless wind blowing from doldrums far off in the inky fields. Broadstairs sat at an unseen horizon like Christmas lights upon a shore; twinkling yet barmecidal in distance. It seemed a mere hand away but in all reality was a universe in the lolling waves. Lolling violently and shaking the hull as her great fin sliced the heavens with creaking and cries. She was a tin can in a washing machine. Inside the pewter cockpit gold spilled from the windows and set the waves alight in a yellow haze spilling
amber over the white vessel in a storm of fireflies illuminating the night. Silhouettes moved against the light in a puppet show and sat in anticipation at their seats with tea spilling over their stone hands. “It was a splendid sentiment Jones, but the waves seem to think overwise, eh? Sea salt tea isn’t exactly pleasant. Hah.” “Richard.” “Eh? “Richard, my name: Richard... Not that it does much good now.” Somber the words were and ill-timed as another white horse struck her stern violently sending the smaller sailor into the pond and disappearing beneath the puddle. “Do you always have to be so negative?” Pulling himself up from the water and sliding back with a
crumpled expression – the toes of his bright yellow boots planted in the pond. “No.” “Then make yourself useful and try the radio again, Captain.” Furrowing his brow Captain Jones goes to stand and rocks to and fro for a moment before taking a step forwards to the small ledge inside the cockpit where a VHF radio crackled faintly. Seizing the transmitter he calls like a lost boy in the vast depths of space, a voice, trying to navigate home without a body. “This is Starfish calling Broadstairs Harbour. Starfish to Broadstairs Harbour do you read me?” No reply “Mayday, mayday, mayday, Broadstairs come in this is an emergency! Come in!” No reply “Broadstairs Harbour do you read me? We’re going under!” Yet the only voice that comes through the gratings in a harrowing white static drowned by the bullets at the window – a crack splitting the glass in twain. Jones, Captain Jones slumps back in his chair and throws his face into his hand with a grim chuckle. “What’s so funny?” “It’s our comeuppance, god’s trial, he finally had enough of us!”
“I don’t th-” “Shush it boy, and use your brain for a second.” Jones snaps and glares to him with eyes alive with a deep mortal dread. “Cut the cargo loose” “Wha- I don’t think that’s a good idea Captain. It’d make this whole ordeal worthless! What’s the lifeboat going to think when-” “If.” “When! When! For the love ofplease, Jones. Those crates are the only reason we’re out here, and the only reason we are going to make it back.” The sodden sailor grits his bares his teeth and clutches his mug tightly whilst the ship continues to be tossed about across the waves. “Legal or not!” “Cut it loose!” “No, you do it!” “Fine!” The Captain rises from his seat and wades through their personal sea. There, at the far end a door with an unblinking eye seeing nothing but the sweet speckles of light at the horizon. Grasping the handle and flinging the door to him on its hinges. All at once a torrent of drab grey water surged over the stern’s pulpit and lapped into the cabin drowning the yellow boots in the abrasive liquid. Then he was gone. Taken into the arms of the early morning. Elsewhere inside the flooding
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cockpit the white static relented, and a fragmented voice bled though the gratings of the radio. “Star... co... in... life... on... way...” All at once the younger sailor surges from his seat and goes to throw the door open once more. Sending a wave rippling over his yellow boots. “Captain! We-re sa-” Looking out into the gloom there was little but the Prussian blue of dawn to greet him in the frozen air. Her bow laid uninhabited and unburdened. Free from cargo nor man as a glimmer of red bobbed at the twinkling lights of Broadstairs. Yellow boots caked in sand crunched against the dunes along Stone Bay, walking across the line where waves lapped at the golden grain and left behind traces of lost ships. As another wave chases him before pulling back in surrender it leaves a curious piece of its memory behind – a piece of glass. It shone beneath the sun above and punctured the untainted sands with a vibrant streak. Till now the grains were unadulterated and untouched by items of the world beyond, but now the beach was a menagerie. Both of beachcombers and a vibrant collection of antiques and oddities from far out, from a ship lost at sea.
Fox Writer Maggie Harris
▲ Image courtesy of Scott Walsh, Unsplash
Across the road from St Joseph’s, summer arrived with its heady scent and a proliferation of bees, rising from a thicket of saplings and shrub run ning the length of the fence – an overspill of vines, shoots, thorns and Queen Anne’s lace beautiful and deadly. The railway track from Broadstairs shuttles the Highspeed train through the last wild spaces of foxgloves and nettles disappearing into a vanishing point to Margate. He appeared suddenly, in a green space, as if he had been beamed there transmigrated from another world, filling the area with a luminous glow that sprayed the undergrowth with light. We both stood still, I with the race of traffic behind me, the Loop bus and speeding cars, the Number 9 to Canterbury, all receding in sound transfixed by his gaze, a gaze that held no surprise nor fear, but curiosity poised on a greeting of the kind that one encounters whilst walking country paths and cliffs, compelled to acknowledge the stranger bleeding out of a landscape of broom. Between us, the knowledge that we were both here, in this moment, alive, alight in a world where each thorn and thistle, even the bees, were singing.
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new art in town Writer Lannah Marshall
Images courtesy of Karen H-King
Margate and Ramsgate are renowned for giving homes to artistic communities, but Broadstairs is catching them up
ou’ll find New Kent Art on Albion Street, nestled between inns, pubs and cafés. Maybe you’ve wandered by here on your daily walks over the last year and noticed new art in the windows from time to time. “I did it to keep people’s days interesting,” says gallery director Karen H-King. We’re sitting at the back of the gallery. It’s long and narrow, with every usable wall and surface carefully curated to exhibit the art. The windows, a generous wall length of the building, are bathing us with warm May sunlight. Much of the art found in the gallery is reminiscent of my childhood: bright and unapologetically beaming with inspiration from the ocean. From resin koi fish art to a sea at sunrise, with colour that reminds me of how Turner toured Europe in search of brighter paints to capture the light he saw on Margate’s seafront, the pieces have me in awe. A friend’s three-year-old became entranced by a yellow-blue print of Dreamland’s helter-skelter slide (and unabashedly showed off the print of it I bought for her to everyone she can find) and a sculpture of a log and mushrooms takes my fancy. There are eleven artists on display here. Ten are regulars, including Karen, who has 30 years of art under her belt, with the final spot changing hands regularly. Locals are given priority, preferably from Thanet, but there have been some as far afield as Canterbury, and the gallery is keen to
exhibit more. “It works for us,” says Karen, gesturing to some of the larger paintings on the wall. “If someone likes a piece but it’s too big, I can call up an artist and ask if they have smaller prints. They can then pop-in on an afternoon or something and drop off a print.” The gallery is bursting with art. A lot of people spent last year with extra time on their hands, and you’d be hard-pressed to convince me that art doesn’t run through the veins of seaside towns. It’s there in the bold colours of fare rides and the advertisement posters aimed at holidaymakers from as far back as the 1800s. ►
Before the Turner Contemporary was built, I recall my art teacher telling the class how it would bring new life to Margate. It would bring artists and money. It did. It brought in grants and funding, and Londoners with the money to buy disused shops on the high street and turn them into gallery spaces. Ramsgate also has its toes firmly dipped in the art scene, but Broadstairs seemed perpetually behind its neighbouring towns, until now. “The secret is out though,” says Karen with a grin. With her sixth
“Art is something that touches people’s hearts and souls, both the creators and the audience” year at the helm of the gallery fast approaching, she’s optimistic that this will be their busiest year. “It’s like a year indoors and everyone’s clawing to get the beaches.” It might be why people are eager to take the work home with them too. The great expanse of the horizon will not be taken for granted so easily again. It is for this reason that Karen is eager to captivate the denizens of Broadstairs with art. On Albion Street, the Mermaid fish and chip shop has her art, a mermaid, on its blue broadside wall, as though to greet those turning onto Dickens Walk. Further down the road is a painting of a fisherman and a seagull - and Karen is eager for more, telling me, “Personally, I would also like to see more public art around the town. We’re keen for a trail of art that younger visitors could see around our historical town and harbour.” This desire is spurred on by the joy seen in the patrons of the New Kent Art Gallery. For many, art simply speaks to us on a primal level, and even if we cannot purchase the art itself, we leave happier to have seen it, and inspired and motivated to create. “Art is something that touches people’s hearts and souls, both the creators and the audience,” says Karen. “That is something truly special and to not be taken lightly. It’s more than a job - it’s an obsession. But I love it!”
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