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‘EAST KENT LIFE AT ITS BEST’ ISSUE NINE / SPRING 2014

The Social Issue

Pin Ups: Bowie, Twiggy and Me Paul Hollywood Q&A Frontline Kent Revealed Magical St Margaret’s Bay PLUS: Really Wild Food / Coffee in Canterbury The A–Z of Kentish Beer / Ann Barnes / DJ Jon Holmes

www.weekenderonline.net


DEAL FESTIVAL

FESTIVAL BOX OFFICE 01304 370220 www.theastor.org OPENS 6th MAY

www.dealfestival.co.uk

10 days of music & the arts in Deal, Dover & Sandwich including: Julian Lloyd Webber Trish Clowes Trio Aurora Orchestra The Cory Band Gavin Esler Maksim Štšura Harry the Piano and many more...

27 JUNE – 6 JULY 2014


Contributors

This issue’s contributors reveal which clubs they would really like to join ‘EAST KENT LIFE AT ITS BEST’ ISSUE NINE / SPRING 2014 / FREE

Johnny Homer is a journalist, broadcaster and brewery guide. He is a regular voice on BBC London and was Sports Editor of the Canterbury Times. He is writing a novel set in Margate and London. www.johnnyhomer.wordpress.com Do you belong to any clubs or societies? I’m with Groucho on this one; I wouldn’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member. What (if any) clubs would you most like to be a member of? The Diogenes Club sounds like it could be a hoot. Which club would you definitely not join? I’m not sure how my Che Guevara T-shirt would go down at the Bullingdon Club.

Editor’s Letter Welcome to the spring issue.

Lily Guy-Vogel studies English and American Literature at the University of Kent, Canterbury. “After university I intend to travel to Australia and make my way back through Asia. Eventually I hope to become a journalist or fiction writer.” Do you belong to any clubs or societies? I’m the president of the university’s UNICEF on Campus society, which coordinates and organises fundraising and awareness events for UNICEF UK. What (if any) clubs would you most like to be a member of? I would love to be a member of a dance club—unfortunately I have two left feet! Which club would you definitely not join? I’m not a fan of shooting or hunting clubs.

Richard Reader is a Rochester-based photographer and participant in the annual Medway Open Studios. His work has featured in a number of publications, and appears in an art museum in Turin. Do you belong to any clubs or societies? I belong to a martial arts dojo, practicing iaido (Japanese sword). I am also a member of a society promoting bagpipes, and I am a musician with a local morris dance side (not playing bagpipes!). What (if any) clubs would you most like to be a member of? A photographic society/camera club if I had the time. Which club would you definitely not join? I would avoid anything with a political agenda. on the cover:

David Bowie & Twiggy pose for the album cover ‘Pin Ups’, Paris, 1973 Photo: © Justin de Villeneuve

This time around we are mucking in, teaming up, enlisting, enrolling and getting on the right side of the club secretary—that’s right, it’s the social issue and clubs and community-spirited organisations are firmly on our radar. We’re not talking pipe smoking gents in leather arm chairs and strange hand signals, but clubs that have their own unique approach—read our story on established East Kent institutions ranging from a light orchestra to cycle polo club and volunteer beach cleaners (page 24). And in this spirit of rolling up our sleeves alongside like-minded souls (just don’t call it the Big Society!) we join a group of food foragers in the woods and coastline around Deal (page 48). Does our intrepid food writer Tom find his lunch or will he go home hungry and empty handed? Meanwhile, fashion photographer and all round 1960s swinger Justin de Villeneuve describes his passion for bird watching. Although practically invisible to the mainstream public (not to mention the birds themselves), bird watchers number around 3 million in the UK—as many as there are footballers, anglers or model railway enthusiasts. Of course back in the day, Justin made his name promoting ‘birds’ such as Twiggy, but now it’s all about the feathered variety—read his story on page 7. Elsewhere in the magazine we meet Kentbased TV baking wiz Paul Hollywood (page 13), our Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes (page 52) and The Now Show comedy writer and radio DJ Jon Holmes (page 54) plus there is the fascinating tale of the Denge Sound Mirrors and a round-up of Front Line Kent locations and events (page 28).

We also take to the streets of Canterbury to go coffee tasting with the connoisseurs (page 32) and, for those who prefer something cooler, we introduce our brand new column on Kentish beer on page 38. With all this wild drinking and socialising, it is a relief to get away to lovely St Margaret’s Bay where we find some dream homes by the sea (page 40)—did you know that here is the shortest distance from the continental coast, just 20 miles as the crow flies? You may have noticed also that after eight issues going back to Autumn 2011, we have decided that it’s about time we had a redesign. We think the new format is somewhat handier for a handbag or back pack and just as effective when delivering our regular content to you— the most influential and independently-minded readers in East Kent. Join our club again in July!

Editor

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7–19 OUT & ABOUT

21 OPINION

News, views and must-do events

Jane Wenham-Jones on why she would never join a writers’ group

Photo story: Justin de Villeneuve New music venues Paul Hollywood Q&A If you are only going to do 3 things this spring… Books round-up It’s a Numbers Game: Clubs East Kent Original Danish Collectables

11

23 LOCAL HERO Hewlett Johnson, the Red Dean of Canterbury 24–27 PEOPLE Three local clubs open their doors to The Weekender 28–31 TALE The Sound Mirrors of Denge The List: Frontline Kent 32–39 FOOD & DRINK Canterbury’s exciting new coffee scene Let’s Make: Bacon and egg pie The A-Z of Kentish Beer The Perfect Weekend… Cocktails at The Goods Shed

28 monkeepuzzlephoto.com

24

photo:

Publisher and editor Dan Synge dan@the-weekender.net Graphic Design dan@danadamsdesign.com Contributing Editor (Food & Drink) Tom Moggach

© richard reader

Contributors: Jane Wenham-Jones, Peter Cocks, Jo Willis, Lily Guy-Vogel, John Butler, Richard Reader, Johnny Homer, Paul Hollywood, Peter Cassidy, Mollie O’Connor, Jerome Dutton, Tracy Brunt, Monkeepuzzle Photography

The Weekender is a free independent magazine distributed to over 350 select outlets in and around East Kent. Copies are available quarterly in Canterbury, Faversham, Whitstable, Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate, Sandwich, Deal, Folkestone and beyond. Subscribe to The Weekender for just £16 a year* (4 issues) *includes postage Details: info@the-weekender.net

4 The Weekender


Contents Issue Nine / Spring 2014 14

40

40–45 SPACE Living by the sea at St Margaret’s Bay Six homes with spectacular sea views The Curio 46–47 DIRECTORY Your very best local shops, businesses and services 48–51 ACTIVITY

32

A foraging weekend with The Wild Kitchen 52 JUST THE JOB Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner 54 MY EAST KENT LIFE Comedy writer and Canterbury resident Jon Holmes on getting his big break in student radio

13 See the issue online at: www.weekenderonline.net Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/theweekendermag Or follow us on Twitter @kentweekender For advertising enquires please contact: advertising@the-weekender.net For editorial enquires please contact: info@the-weekender.net

The Weekender 5


Kent’s Exclusive Vitra Dealer. · Inspirational furniture pieces. · Design led kitchenware. · Educational and creative childrens toys. · Contemporary homeware. Visit us: Opposite The Turner Contemporary Art Gallery 40 Fort Hill, Margate Old Town, Kent. CT9 1HD T · 01843 220088 www.papilloninteriors.co.uk

Steven Harkin leather bags Revived mid century furniture Homeware – lighting – gifts – art 15 Tontine Street, Folkestone CT20 1RN T: 01303 487690 www.anecdotesdesign.com facebook.com/AnecdotesDesign @AnecdotesDesign


NEWS, VIEWS AND MUST-DO EVENTS / OUT & ABOUT

My Famous and Feathered Friends

Once he was the king of Swinging London, meeting everyone from Fred Astaire to the Kray Twins. These days Justin de Villeneuve is happier snapping birds in Sandwich Bay. Peter Cocks meets him


photo:

© justin de villeneuve

Previous page: Twiggy wears a fitted satin evening dress, 1970 Photos clockwise from left: Twiggy wearing a pair of bespoke shoes by George Cleverley; Justin today; black swan; mandarin drake; Marsha Hunt as she appeared in the musical Hair, 1968

F

airground boxer, hairdresser, photographer, manager and stage and film producer, Justin de Villeneuve was known by several names, lived several lives and made and lost as many fortunes before he decamped to the Kent coast six years ago. “I first drove down here in the 1960s with Ned Sherrin to see an artist who had a cottage in Middle Street. It was grimmers, with coal conveyor belts going across to the slag heaps off the Deal to Sandwich Road; it looked like the opening scenes of Get Carter. I expected Michael (Caine) to pop out with a shooter at any minute.” Justin’s conversation is peppered with star names going back to the 1960s and beyond. Not that he is a name-dropper; these are his mates and associates going back to the Soho days of Billy Hill and Jack Spot and the Mayfair salons of Mr Teasy-Weasy, Vidal Sassoon and Leonard. He is as likely to mention Bernie Ecclestone or Sir Peter Blake as he is Twiggy, the model who made him famous. As a wartime child (born Nigel Davies) he was evacuated from the East 8 The Weekender

End to writer JB Priestley’s house, an experience that polished his vowels and taught him the correct use of a fish knife. He must also be one of the few to people to have worked with both the Kray Twins and Fred Astaire. “I was producing a film with Fred in Hollywood after I co-produced The Boyfriend with Ken Russell. The Boyfriend opened doors for me and Twigs in the States. Sonny and Cher were our mates over there, and through them, I met Tony Curtis and Fred. The film didn’t get made as Twigs and I parted but I became chums with Fred. He was immaculate, the best dressed-man I have ever seen, although he advised me that, whenever he bought a new hat, he danced on it first: ‘Knock it about kid, make it look lived in.’” Justin himself has always been a snappy dresser and he was a proto-mod in the late-1950s before graduating to Savile Row suits and handmade shoes by George Cleverley. Even in his seventies, he still cuts a dash, channelling country squire in tweeds, given a twist with a French beret, watch chain and a flash of silk at the pocket. The thornproof tweeds are not a pose, as when asked what brought him to the Kent coast, he

replies cryptically: “Wuzzoes.” Justin, you see, is one of the few remaining masters of Cockney rhyming slang. His hat is a ‘titfer’, his car a ‘kipper’ and his dog Kai is his ‘cherry’. Questioned further about wuzzoes, he elaborates: “Richards.” (Richard the Thirds = birds. Birds in French is oiseaux, hence wuzzoes). Birds were what made Justin famous in 1966 when, having discovered and managed Twiggy, he picked up the camera himself and snapped some of the famous beauties of the day including Pattie Boyd, Marsha Hunt and of course ‘Twigs’ herself. “I saw what Bailey and my other East End pal Terence Donovan were doing and I thought, ‘I can do that.’ I studied Bert Stern, Avedon and Irving Penn then got snapping.” David Bowie’s famous 1973 album cover for Pin Ups was originally commissioned for Vogue magazine. Inspired partly by Japanese theatre masks, Justin took the shot and Bowie liked it so much he sold it to him for the album. “Vogue got the terrible pip about it because David was going to be the first man on the cover. They got very grumpy when I flogged it to him; crash, bang, wallop, two kippers and a bon-bon, how’s your father, done and dusted. I didn’t work for them again!” Justin worked for all the other titles and with all the other models however, and his photos and face (along with Twiggy’s) were rarely out of the magazines. He went on to manage musical acts, such as Tim Hardin and Jack Bruce of Cream, and rode several reverses of fortune—Peter Cook referred to him in Private Eye as Justin de Vilepoove around the time he owned a King’s Road hairdressers De Nerve in the mid-1980s. Having gained something of a reputation with them in the 1960s and 1970s, it is with pleasing symmetry that birds brought Justin to East Kent. Living just outside Deal and just a


photos:

© justin de villeneuve

photo: mike owen

NEWS, VIEWS AND MUST-DO EVENTS / OUT & ABOUT

© justin de villeneuve

“I expected Michael Caine to pop out with a shooter at any minute”

photo:

short distance from the Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory (SBBOT), he speaks of birds with an enthusiasm you imagine he once reserved for their leggier, 1960s counterparts. “Like Groucho Marx, I’ve never wanted to belong to a club that will accept me, but the SBBOT is a hideaway for me and my fellow birders—a sanctuary for us as much as it is for the wuzzoes. You can see all sorts across Sandwich and Pegwell Bays: Sandwich terns, golden plovers, avocets, curlews, all manner of rare seabirds.” On his daily outings to the observatory he braves all weather conditions in his tweeds with telephoto lens at the ready. While his archive has recently been exhibited in London’s Proud Gallery, it is his bird pictures that are now getting the attention. “I call them ‘bird portraits’,” he says. “I like to bring out their personalities.” Blown up to grand scale, they sit somewhere between Audubon’s 19th century watercolours and Andy Warhol’s Endangered Species series. In fact, Justin’s bird portraits hang in the foyer area of the new WWF Headquarters, opened by Sir David Attenborough. He is proud also of the fact that they were also shown at the Natural History Museum in an exhibition Birds of Barnes—Barnes being his bird sanctuary of choice when he is ‘up the smoke’. As I try to steer the conversation back to that lunch at St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat with David Niven—Fred Astaire introduced them, of course—I get the impression that Justin is every bit as happy, tucked away out of view in a hide looking at birds, as he ever was in the glare of the flashbulb and spotlight of the era he helped define. Follow Justin’s birding exploits on his blog: www.justindequack.com For more of his photos: www.justindev.com Prints are available for sale through Proud Galleries, www.proud.co.uk

The Weekender 9


Deal — The Daily Telegraph High Street of the Year

112 High Street Deal Kent CT14 6EE

dunlin & diver contemporary art and craft

Online shop now open at www.dunlindiver.co.uk

GREAT BRITISH GIFTS GREAT BRITISH HOMEWARE GREAT BRITISH ART GREAT BRITISH FUN GREAT BRITISH CRAFTS GREAT BRITISH INSPIRATION GREAT BRITISH COLLECTIBLES GREAT BRITISH TALENT GREAT BRITISH JEWELLERY GREAT BRITISH MAKERS A collection of individual and sometimes unique pieces, sourced within the UK, to inspire and delight a discerning audience.

info@dunlindiver.co.uk Telephone: 01304 373121 dunlindiver @dunlindiver

17 The Old High Street, Folkestone CT20 1RL www.thegreatbritishshop.com


OUT & ABOUT

PLUG ME IN! BY LILY GUY-VOGEL

A Nod to the Nautical

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ot just a place to view great art, the Turner Contemporary in Margate has launched its first online shop showcasing female artists and designers whose work reflects the local area. Whitstable-based Fawn and Thistle formed by friends Kirsten McNee and Sangita Southgate are inspired by folk tales and quirky animals, particularly stags and seagulls (above). Meanwhile Sonia Uddin and Leah Elsey are fine artists with an eye on the political statement. Their Uddin and Elsey slogan door hangers (below, left) have been screen printed at Hello Studios in Margate. But if jewellery appeals more, check out Lady Muck of Whitstable (Esa Evans) whose creations (below, right) involve both a nudge to nature and a nod to the nautical. www.turner-contemporary-shop.myshopify.com

East Kent is truly on the map as the up-and-coming place for live music. We now have an exciting range of new independent venues offering a truly eclectic mix. Passion for real music is the driving force behind the scene, and these spots are providing a platform for local bands (as well as those from further afield) to display their talents. And for those who just want to listen, they provide an opportunity to see some brilliant gigs in some very unique spaces.

local bands and DJs a stage to perform, and a place for people discover top notch music. The acoustics are amazing and this, added the intimacy of this 125-capacity venue, allows you to truly engage with the artists. Coming up: Pontiak 13 Turner Street, Ramsgate ramsgatemusichall.com

DUKE OF CUMBERLAND

The laid-back Duke is the perfect place to see live music in the heart of Whitstable. The emphasis is on local acts (Nagasaki 3, Hullabaloo etc), but touring ones put this venue into their schedules too. Highlights have included British Blues Award winners Ian Siegal, world hip hop duo Joe Driscoll and Sekou Kouyate and alt folk bands Cocos Lovers and Felix Fables. High Street, Whitstable thedukeinwhitstable.co.uk

THE BALLROOM

A former 18th century ballroom, this intimate venue is more like a massive sitting room with velvet curtains, posh chandeliers and ornate mirrors. Musically they cater for a wide range of genres; from blues, jazz and indie to DJ sets at weekends. 15 Orange St, Canterbury theballroom.co.uk

THE LIGHTHOUSE

Opening towards the end of last year, this seafront venue works closely with local promoters including Smugglers Records, who are famous for their festivals. Expect to hear folk, jazz, blues, world, roots and alternative music, and their weekly Reggae Roast (on a Sunday, of course!), is not to be missed. Our verdict? Fun, friendly and firmly rooted in the community. 50 The Strand, Walmer, Deal thelighthousedeal.co.uk

RAMSGATE MUSIC HALL

Set up by four dedicated music fans in late 2013, this venture is all about giving The Weekender 11


OUT & ABOUT

I EAST KENT ORIGINAL Name: Charlie Chittenden (aka The Wimpy Pimp) Age: 33 Profession: Artist and Musician Home: Deal

consider myself to be a hybrid of musician and artist: expressive lunacy in equal measure. Artistically, I like the colour red: claret, violence and lust in equal measures. Red is the most appealing colour to the human eye, which is why it’s used for fast food logos—the hungrier you become, the more it appeals. I like that; primal conditioning becoming creative mesmerism. I like to situate myself amongst artistic ears and eyeballs; the geography is irrelevant, but the quality of the mob is all. My family is essentially a motley crew of creative brains, all spewing out music, art and literary novels from the same gene pool. In that way, I am blessed. Are you an East Kent Original? Email a photo of yourself and a brief description of what makes you stand out from the crowd to info@the-weekender.net

GALLERY

Designer-made Jewellery

Open 7 days a week 10am - 5pm, Mon-Sun

in the heart of Whitstable

Ticket Prices

Join us for a journey through the history of Britain’s best loved toys!

by Barbara Bertagnolli

Exciting contemporary jewellery made by inspirational independent British Designers Open Sundays and Bank Holidays 1 Horsebridge Road 01227 272358

12 The Weekender

Featuring rare products from the Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix and Corgi archives. Track the history of Hornby’s iconic model trains from Frank Hornby’s early home-made toys in sheet metal, through the development of Hornby ‘O’ gauge

Adults-£5 Child (Ages 5-15) and OAP-£2.50 Family-£12.50 (2 Adults and up to 4 children)

and Hornby-Dublo. Don’t miss the spectacular model railway layouts. The Hornby Retail Shop offers an extensive range of Hornby, Scalextric, Airfix, Humbrol and Corgi products.

www.hornby.com/visitorcentre I Tel: 01843 233524 E-mail: visitorcentre@hornby.com WESTWOOD I MARGATE I KENT I CT9 4JX On the A254 Ramsgate Road, between Westwood Cross Shopping Centre and Margate.

www.facebook.com/ hornbymodelrailways


OUT & ABOUT

Paul Hollywood The Great British Bake Off star was born in Cheshire but has lived in Kent for the last 15 years. A champion of artisan bread and do-it-yourself baking he ran an independent bakery in Aylesham near Canterbury before telly stardom beckoned. He embarks on his nationwide tour Get Your Bake On! Why do you think baking is so hot right now? Because it’s simple, it’s cheap and most people have all the ingredients they need at home. There’s also the smell, the enjoyment of making it and the fact that you can decide what ingredients you want to use. Baking teaches children about what goes into our food, and I think that’s critical. What do you get up to at the weekend? Do you have any favourite spots? I love going for country walks around Wingham and heading out towards the Downs. I love the area around Dover and walking along the cliffs or riding my big Ducati motorcycle to the beach at Birchington. I can happily ride my bike for hours!

What do you like most about our local food culture? East Kent is a real hive of food. The apples and strawberries are fantastic; I always get my strawberries from a friend who is a farmer. The locally-grown potatoes are awesome and so is the sparkling wine from Tenterden, not forgetting the oysters in Whitstable. Have you introduced Mary Berry to the delights of East Kent? Actually she has friends down here and she’s already stayed a couple of times with me. She likes Kent a lot! You are credited with baking Britain’s most expensive loaf. What other creations are you proud of? That was the world’s most expensive loaf actually! I’m

really into my pies and puds and I tried water buffalo in a steak and ale pie recently. We got the meat from Scotland. I like taking normal products and trying something different with them. I give it the Hollywood twist. Do you make a mean hot cross bun? Of course! I use enriched dough with orange zest and orange juice. I then add fresh apples along with sultanas and mixed peel. You get a gorgeous flavour coming through as well as the sweetness from the apple. Are you looking forward to touring? What challenges do you expect in front of a live audience? For the last 10 years I’ve been giving demonstrations at the BBC Good Food Show in front of audiences of up to 3,000 people, so I’m used to it. I love doing live stuff and I want it to be fun and interactive. If people enjoy the show and then start baking at home then I’ve done my job. Will there be any onstage bake offs? No, but I will be teaching people and telling the story of my life as well as passing on the tricks I’ve learnt along the way. I want people to go out and bake and

If you are only going to do 3 things this spring… Go shopping in Deal High Street, recent winner of The Daily Telegraph’s High Street of the Year Award. Where independent retailers meet your every need. Says Esme Chilton from the Deal Town Team: “There’s a buzz on the high street and people seem happier to spend a bit more.”

encourage their local bakery to make different things. Have you been to Margate recently? It’s looking very chic but it could do with a few more shops. I’m looking forward to seeing Dreamland open up again because I remember it from years ago. It’s part of our culture, isn’t it? Going down to Margate to get a stick of rock—what’s wrong with that? For dates and ticket details for Paul Hollywood’s Get Your Bake On! go to paulhollywood.com or theticketfactory.com

Watch Eric Morecambe come to life in a new play starring Bob Golding who is ‘spookily brilliant’ as the late great comic. Bound to bring some sunshine to Canterbury. Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury. 16 April www.marlowetheatre.com take a Clock Tour at Belmont House near Faversham, home to one of the finest private collections of clocks and watches in Britain. Join Jonathan Betts, Senior Horologist at the National Maritime Museum. t: 01795 890202 www.belmont-house.org The Weekender 13


Book NEWS

SO SQUARE

T

he godfather of abstract art is famous for threecolour, linear works such as Composition with Large Red Plane, Yellow, Black, Grey and Blue (pictured) but his earlier, more earthy paintings are examined in a new exhibition Mondrian and Colour at the Turner Contemporary, Margate. Featuring 45 paintings from collections in Europe and the USA, it shows that Mondrian isn’t all about the maths. 24 May–21 September

Where would we be without the so-called Nanny State? Whitehall ministers might argue that without it, we’d be nation of incompetents— eating the wrong food, spending our hard-earned money on the wrong things or driving like maniacs on state-funded roads. This view was none more widely-held than during the post war years; ‘Clunkclick’, ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ and other government missives helped to keep the ignorant and irresponsible in check. Now these, and other posters from The National Archives, appear in a fascinating collection complied by social historian Dr Hester Vaizey. Don’t say you weren’t warned! Keep Britain Tidy is published by Thames & Hudson All eyes are on Brazil when the 20th FIFA World Cup finally kicks off in June. Of course the locals have always loved their football but a new book by photographer Christopher Pillitz uncovers the true heart of the Brazilian game. His thrilling journey takes you from stadiums to prison yards to a deep sea oil platform and the Santo Tomás de Vilanova seminary where the robed priests are every bit as skilful as their yellow and green-shirted idols. Brazil: The Beautiful Game is published by Prestel

Broadstairs author Keith Nixon’s modern day morality tale The Fix pits his main character in a world of murder, theft and corruption prior to the financial crash of 2007. Set on the seedier side of Margate, it’s an acerbic look at life and its human frailties. Next up is a series of novellas. Says Nixon: “Dickens wrote his novels in a serialised fashion and it’s a method that appeals to readers today who want to read shorter snappier chapters and books.” The Fix is published by Caffeine Nights, www.caffeine-nights.com Ever needed an authoritative book on witchcraft, allotments or garden gnomes? Chances are that it’s published by the Shire Library, producers of over 1,400 specialist titles in their 50 year history. Originally available in museums, country houses and other visitor attractions, these handy, home-spun volumes have undergone a 21st century makeover with a selection of new covers designed by Peter Ashley, author of Unmitigated England and Preposterous Erections (an illustrated book about towers). Titles such as Horse Drawn Farm Machinery or Betel-chewing Equipment of East New Guinea, illustrate the niche appeal of Shire, although the popular Timber-framed Buildings and Hallmarks on English Silver have sold a staggering 200,000 copies each. Five million Shire books have been sold worldwide.


OUT & ABOUT

It’s a Number’s Game: Clubs

Vitra Wall Shelves

N

ot exactly your regular shelf, Corniches storage ledges are that practical and stylish place for a set of keys, toothbrush holder or collection of decorative objects. Designed by brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, they are made from high-quality plastic and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Now, where are we going to put them? £45 www.papilloninteriors.co.uk

151,000 sports clubs in the UK 50,000 book clubs 437,800 involved in amateur dramatics groups

12.6% of UK population members of a health club/gym

6,400 members of UK triathlon clubs in 2005

15,274 members of UK triathlon

Glass Half Full

clubs in 2012

68 years wait to join Melbourne Cricket Club, Australia

Marine Drive is Margate’s latest bar hot spot thanks to the opening of The Glass Jar, run by partners Tom Betts and Debbie Tantardini. Serving cocktails on the traditional side — bar manager Betts’s Mojitos and Singapore Slings (pictured) are the talk of Thanet—it’s a place both for an early evening pick me up or late night shot or two. They also serve a regular selection of tapas dishes. With its sophisticated setting, handbuilt American-style bar and comfy seating, even Don Draper from Mad Men would approve. the glass jar 15 Marine Drive, Margate

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Cocktails, coffee, tapas 15 Marine Drive, Margate

www.twitter.com/The_Glass_Jar www.facebook.com/TheGlassJarMargate

DANISH COLLECTABLES

DANISH COLLECTABLES 7 Broad Street, Margate T: 01843 292417 M: 07428 370291 flemmingmoberg@hotmail.co.uk stores.ebay.co.uk/Danish-Collectables

16 The Weekender


OUT & ABOUT

DANE BY THE SEASIDE

Forget Lego, lager and moody crime dramas, the Danes also do a decent line in decorative ceramics. An exciting new shop showcases the iconic Royal Copenhagen range

M

argate is an increasingly attractive magnet for speciality shoppers. Among the lanes of the Old Town, a day tripper can find all kinds of unique items be it vintage clothing, kitchenware, art, jewellery or design classics. The most recent addition satisfies yet another specialist interest—Royal Copenhagen China and other niche buys from Scandinavia. Brothers Flemming and Michael Moberg opened Danish Collectables in October last year. The shop is the physical recreation of their successful online business. Their Broad Street premises (located directly beneath the Pie Factory studios) displays a colourful and eclectic display of Scandi artefacts; glass, porcelain and stainless steel pieces rub shoulder-toshoulder atop neat mid-century teak and rosewood tables and cabinets. In fact the set-up is so cool and so Danish that it’s like walking onto the set of The Killing, but without the novelty knitwear. “I got into collecting Royal Copenhagen when I was 17,” explains Flemming Moberg, who is from Holbaek near Copenhagen, cradling a 1960s decorative bowl designed by Nils Thorsson. “I came across some blue fluted porcelain and was mesmerised by how much money you could get for it. Then I started getting into the figurines and Fajence bowls from the

mid-century period. There are so many elements of the company to collect and they produce everything from full dinner sets to single commemorative Christmas plates. Every Danish home has at least one piece of Royal Copenhagen.” For those unfamiliar with this great Danish export, Royal Copenhagen has manufactured hand-crafted ceramics since 1775, originally under the patronage of Queen Juliana Marie. Over the years, many talented artists have been employed by the company and their designs adorn stylish homes the world over. Danish porcelain is especially hot in Japan and America where, right now, single items change hands for thousands of dollars. Moberg reckons the most soughtafter piece is a five-armed candelabra in blue fluted lace. These fetch up to £5,000 each for examples dating back to the 1880s. Other items to get excited about are the Flora Danica porcelain collection (originally made as a gift for Catherine the Great) and their annual Christmas plates which were first produced in 1908. “Dealers charge up to £4,000 for the first issue.” When it comes to replenishing their

stock, Flemming’s brother Michael makes regular sourcing trips to his homeland. Although there are occasional rich pickings (the brothers once acquired 486 plates from a German auction house for the price of 186 due to a misprint in the catalogue), the profit margins aren’t as high as they once were. “Ten years ago you could find pieces in boot fairs for 50p and sell them for hundreds of pounds,” recalls Moberg. “Nowadays dealers must expect smaller profits.” That said, investing in Danish and Scandinavian homewares remains a relatively affordable interest. In the Moberg’s shop there are also stunning examples of vintage Holmegaard glass, Arne Jacbosen kitchenware and the kind of teak cabinets and chests of drawers that are the bedrock of any mid-century modern interior. “These items were made for the mass market and so they are affordable to collectors. In the 1960s you could buy the furniture in instalments at the supermarket. Today you can buy a Danish dining table with chairs for less than £1,000.” Why has he chosen Margate for this adventure in face-to-face retail? “It’s a very up and coming area with a lot of young artists trying hard to make a living. All this generates a lot of interest in the town and many of my customers (some of them from London and further afield) are willing to travel here just to have a look.” Danish Collectables, 7 Broad Street, Margate, t: 01843 292417 www.danishcollectables.co.uk

The Weekender 17


Do you like theatre, opera, ballet and concerts? Come to the Carlton Westgate for the best in live shows

relayed from Las Vegas ... National Theatre ... Stratford ... & the great opera houses of the world!

Do you like your movies pin-sharp on the big screen? Come to the Carlton Westgate for Kent’s amazing cinema bargain Just £2.50 weekdays, £3.50 weekends, for the latest movies & digital projection on all 3 screens

SITE INSPECTIONS INDEPENDENT SAFETY INSPECTIONS, TOOLBOX TALKS KPI ANALYSIS, RPE FACE-FIT TESTING

CONSULTANCY POLICIES & PROCEDURES, COMPETENT ADVICE, GAP ANALYSIS, MANAGEMENT SYSTEM REVIEWS, COMPETENCE ASSESSMENTS, RISK / COSHH ASSESSMENTS

TRAINING ACCREDITED CITB SSSTS, SMSTS, CIEH, VARIOUS OTHER SAFETY & BESPOKE TRAINING COURSES

CDM CDM CO-ORDINATOR, CONSTRUCTION PHASE PLAN DEVELOPMENT

And whatever you like best ... you’ll experience our unbeatable friendly service and great refreshments, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks you can take to your seat.

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ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION SPECIALIST INDUSTRY ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION

RECRUITMENT SERVICES STAFF SELECTION, CV SCREENING, INTERVIEWING, TESTING, PSYCHOMETRIC PROFILING, REFERENCE CHECKING

EMPLOYMENT SERVICES & TRAINING CONTRACT WRITING, HR SUPPORT, INTERVIEW COACHING, CV PREPARATION

Between Herne Bay & Margate Westgate station/easy parking nearby See our programme at:

westgatecinema.co.uk 01843 832 019

CARLTON Cinema - Westgate-on-Sea

All Enquiries Office 7, Town Hall Building, 31 St Mildred’s Road Westgate-on-Sea CT8 8RE

Tel: 01843 832449

E: admin@hksafetyservices.co.uk

Tea Room

31 St. Mildred’s Road, Westgate-on-Sea, Kent CT8 8RE Tel: 01843 834725 E: frederickstearoom@btinternet.com Like us

Fredericks Tea Rooms

‘anytime is tea time’


ADVERTORIAL

The Town Hall That Never Was BY MOLLIE O’CONNOR

W

estgate-on-Sea boasts several architectural and cultural gems, notably its well-preserved Victorian shopping parade, proud seaside villas and promenades and its church bells and minarets as eulogised in the famous Sir John Betjeman poem. But the building that most visitors are drawn to is the beautiful and iconic Grade II-listed Dutch Gothic-style ‘town hall’ on St Mildred’s Road. This remarkable building has served as Westgate-on-Sea’s entertainment hub for over a century, survived two world wars and now houses a diverse range of local businesses. The story begins in 1908, when local developer Sir William Ingram commissioned local builder Alfred Ross to submit plans to build a town hall on land that would include a clock tower, three ornamental shop fronts and a fire station. A competition was also held for a new coat of arms for the town, which was won by a Sister Mere St Pierre of the nearby Ursuline Convent. Her design incorporated a portrait of St Mildred with a deer, a Kentish horse, a galley and the Latin motto ad portam occidentalem curro (I hasten to the west gate). Her design is echoed in the external plasterwork today and St Mildred is seen also on the south side of the building. Angels appear at the top of the building and the clock tower is adorned with a bronze statue of an angel holding a trumpet. It is thought the various angels represent Ingram’s grand-daughter, who was born in 1909. Ingram referred to her as his ‘angel child’. When the building was completed in 1910 Ingram contacted the local council about taking up occupancy. There was a battle over the rental rates, however, so the council remained at 4 Cuthbert Road—from here on it was known as ‘Town Hall That Never Was’. Ingram therefore opened the space as an entertainment venue called The Concert Theatre, changing its name to the Town Hall Cinema in 1912. It was originally equipped with a main screen with theatre boxes above it and it had a flat maple

wood floor which was used for roller skating. The intended fire station, meanwhile, was let as an office. The integrated shops included Kelsey’s Bakery (the name ‘Kelsey’ remains etched in marble where the entrance to the shop was) and The Bake House which now houses The Westgate and Westbrook Residents Association. The Mildred’s Road side was occupied by Mrs Cornford’s Florists, which became an estate agents and then Frederick’s Tea Room (which still stands today). Frederick’s was named after Frederick Cornford who acquired the building in the 1950s. The tea room/café retains an impeccable Edwardian feel and offers traditional teas and cakes. The adjacent Carlton Cinema dates back to 1932 and in those days seating was on one level. In 1957, when CinemaScope was installed, major alterations were made, the most significant being the reversal of the auditorium. Run for many years by Reeltime Cinemas, it has been refurbished to modern standards. In 1998, a second screen with a seating capacity of 55 was added in what had previously been a shop unit. Since then a third screen has been added. In January 2010 it was taken over by the Picturedrome Electric Theatre Company who have brought the cinema up-to-date with the digital age while keeping prices affordable enough to attract regulars from the local community. Not only do they offer the latest film releases on three screens but there are also exclusive live performances from the National Theatre and the Royal Opera House in London. While the building has come a long way from its intended purpose, it remains close to its roots and is able to flourish in the 21st century by housing a healthy mix of businesses—from cinema to tea room to osteopaths, opticians and a health and safety company. ‘The town hall than never was’ is a worthy landmark of this unique coastal village making Westgateon-Sea a must place to visit—for a movie, a cream tea or both!

The Weekender 19


SPRING SUMMER EVENTS

Mari Wilson

Toyah Wilcox

Albert Lee

Mark Steel

MAY Friday 2 I, Elizabeth Friday 9 Jim Creegan & Ben Mills Saturday 10 Ben Hart Saturday 17 Tosca Thursday 22 Talisman Friday 23 Martin Turner sings the songs of Wishbone Ash Thursday 29 Mark Steel

JUNE Friday 6 Albert Lee Friday 20 Liane Carroll Saturday 21 Toyah Wilcox Saturday 28 The Mods JULY Saturday 12 King Pleasure & the Biscuit Boys Friday 18 Kakatsitsi Ghanian Drummers Saturday 19 Mari Wilson

THE ASTOR COMMUNITY THEATRE Stanhope Rd, Deal T: 01304 370220 www.theastor.org


OPINION

Jane Wenham Jones To join or not to join?

G

roucho Marx famously said that he’d never belong to a club who would have him as a member. I don’t get it! I would be thrilled to belong to any number of swish private member’s clubs, of the kind I could drop into for a chilled glass of champagne, to be waited on by obliging staff and have a sink into a sofa, should funds, opportunity— and membership policy— allow. But that’s where it ends. In all other contexts, the word ‘club’, tends to be horribly synonymous with the word ‘committee’, which immediately evokes my inner cringe. “Do you belong to a writer’s group?” I am frequently and cheerily asked, my enquirers looking perplexed when I give an involuntary shudder. No, I have never belonged to any sort of writing circle, but I have visited many of varying sizes and abilities, to give talks, present prizes or judge competitions. It was on this basis that I offered the following overview in

my book Wannabe a Writer? (Accent Press 2007, in case you feel so moved to wanna be one yourself!) “The Writers’ Group,” I wrote, “is presided over by someone of a certain age and girth, who wears a sensible skirt and is often called Betty or Doreen. She is very thick with a bloke called Brian or Stan who has written a History of the Town, and is an expert on pretty much everything. There is usually also someone who once had a travel article published, someone (male) who is writing their memoirs and a very old woman who is now deaf called Sylvia, who sold knitting patterns to Woman’s World during the war. There is invariably a pimply young man called Tarquin who is writing a fantasy novel and has been for several years, and often you will find a new member—a young girl who’s just joined because her mum thinks she should get out more. She’s shy but actually writes rather beautifully but you never find that out because Stan and Brian talk over her. If you are lucky, the rest are the sort who at least go to the pub afterwards. If you’re not, it’s instant coffee and Rich Tea biscuits—for which you contribute a pound (Doreen or Betty will keep a record of this in a notebook). There is a definite hierarchy in place which extends from who reads first to who has to wash up the cups and throw away the biscuit wrappers.” I then went on to cite examples of various bonkers behaviour patterns which illustrated the veracity of the above, and, in the interests of balance, quoted a selection of writers who loved and adored their groups and were vehement in their protestations about their supportive nature and instructive role. This did not stop the wrath of a dozen Hon Secs—mostly called Betty,

Doreen, Brian or Stan—coming down on my head, with bells on, for daring to cast aspersions in the face of my total lack of personal experience of a writing club’s joys. So just as well I am very happy sitting and writing in splendid isolation on my own at home. For to sum up and corrupt the musings of Mr Marx, I am unlikely to find a club that would have me as a member!

The Writers’ Group is presided over by someone of a certain age who wears a sensible skirt and is often called Betty or Doreen

100 Ways to Fight the Flab (and still have wine and chocolate) is published in paperback by Accent Press (£7.99) Jane will be teaching creative writing at Chez Castillon, France (see www. chez-castillon.com for details). The Weekender readers receive a 10% discount The Weekender 21


Make a difference this summer Pilgrims Hospices provides free services for thousands of patients and their families in east Kent. Whether you give money or time we would love to hear from you.

What will you do?...

Volunteer

Support local people by giving your free time.

Fundraise

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Join the 20,000 members who play our Lottery each week.

Donate

Regular giving or leaving a legacy: be sure your kindness will count.

Support our Shops

HAVE YOU SEEN OUR BRAND NEW DIRECTORY?

Donate pre-loved items or enjoy retail therapy in one of our shops.

Take a challenge

We run events all year to cater for everyone – fun guaranteed!

Please contact us on 01227 812621 or eastkent@pilgrimshospices.org

www.pilgrimshospices.org

Whether you’re looking for bike repairs, a studio space or a new place for coffee, we list local businesses, shops and services that really have something to shout about Simply turn to pages 46–47 for a selection


LOCAL HERO

#9

Hewlett Johnson BY JOHN BUTLER

T

he Very Reverend Hewlett Johnson was one the most prominent and most reviled characters in English public life. As Dean of Canterbury Cathedral (1931–1963) he became known as the ‘Red Dean of Canterbury’ because of his outspoken support of communism. He was convinced not only that communism was closer to the spirit of the New Testament than capitalism but that Stalin’s Soviet Union was actually a more Christian country than Britain as it strove to create a just and equal society. And he said so from the many pulpits he occupied throughout the world. Inevitably, Johnson became the target for both rapture and wrath. Moved to fury, Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher castigated him in the House of Lords as ‘blind, unreasonable and stupid’, and John Junor witheringly described him in the Sunday Express as ‘the aged cockatoo of communism’. But others praised him for speaking out on behalf of the poor and underprivileged and many admired his courage in resisting the Establishment. Depending upon where you stood on the political spectrum, he was either the Prophet of the New Jerusalem or the Preacher from Hell. There was precious little middle ground. Hewlett Johnson was born into a wealthy family in Manchester in 1874. He trained as an engineer and read Theology at Oxford before being ordained a priest in the Church of England in 1906 and becoming vicar of St Margaret’s Altrincham, one of the country’s wealthiest parishes. He was appointed Dean of Manchester Cathedral in 1924 and, seven years later, Dean of Canterbury Cathedral. Six years after arriving in Canterbury he made the first of many visits to the Soviet Union. He was in Moscow on VE Day in 1945 and later that year had a private audience in the Kremlin with Soviet leaders Stalin and Molotov. In the course of a long career that did not end until his retirement in 1963 at the age of 89, Johnson also had meetings with Mao Tse-tung, Chou En-lai, Fidel Castro, Josip Tito and other communist big wigs well as being received in the White House by President Truman. He was among the first Britons to witness the liberation of Auschwitz and he twice spoke to ecstatic audiences of twenty thousand in Madison

Square Garden in New York. His second speech there in 1948 was heard by a young journalist from the Manchester Guardian, Alistair Cooke, who used it as the basis for one of his earliest ‘Letters from America’. Unsurprisingly, the secret services followed Hewlett Johnson’s activities with interest. He first came to their notice in 1917 when he organised a meeting in Manchester (at which Bertrand Russell was the principal speaker) to congratulate the people of Russia on their revolution, and he remained on the watch-list of MI5 until 1952 when Churchill’s cabinet decided that he was no longer a danger to the nation and was best ignored. In fact Johnson was neither a spy nor a traitor, but because of his outstanding gifts as a preacher and orator he was an immensely effective mouthpiece for Soviet propaganda in the Christian West. In this he was actively aided and encouraged for 30 years by one of the Kremlin’s secret organisations for the recruitment and support of ‘conduits of influence’ for the Soviet Union in Western Europe and America. Johnson was one of a large army of Western intellectuals, known as the fellow-travellers, who believed in the Soviet experiment, who went to witness it in action, and who evangelised about it on their return home. Sadly, history will probably not remember Hewlett Johnson kindly. His disastrous errors of judgement over Stalin and Mao Tse-tung overshadowed much that was fine about the man and good about his priestly career. He always looked for the best in others, even when he doubted it was there, and he bore the slights and insults to which he was repeatedly exposed with magnanimity. His leadership of the Canterbury Cathedral community though the dark days of war was inspirational, and his patronage of the arts in the years of peace helped to build Canterbury’s reputation as a centre of culture and learning. In an age where deeply held convictions have become suspect, Hewlett Johnson is a treasured reminder of the days when people in public life were passionate about their beliefs and fearless in pursuing them. He deserves to be remembered for that. The Red Dean of Canterbury, The Public and Private Faces of Hewlett Johnson by John Butler is published by Scala The Weekender 23


PEOPLE

Join

Our

Club!

Whether it’s golf, singing, salsa dancing or cross country running, it’s good to be part of a group. But what if you’re looking for an altogether different kind of social buzz—one that takes you out of your regular comfort zone and pits you into the heart of your own community? We discover three not-so-secret organisations who reckon they have the answer BY JO WILLIS AND DAN SYNGE

24 The Weekender


PEOPLE

NO STRINGS ATTACHED

Hailing from an area hardly known for its contribution to classical music (other than Alfred Deller, the first countertenor), Thanet Light Orchestra (TLO) stands like a beacon of civilisation in our cultural landscape. Led by Ben Jones, who is also a translator and champion of hoodening (East Kent’s wooden horse folk ritual), the group of 20 to 30 amateur musicians meet regularly to rehearse and perform locally. Members include several teachers, two doctors, a fireman and a model, plus a diplomat whose work only permits him to play weekend concerts. Their ages range from 18 to over 90 years, although they also welcome younger instrumentalists via the George Turnlund Memorial Fund. TLO’s origins stretch back over 60 years. In 1946 former Royal Marines bandmaster Captain LP Donne OBE created what was then the Broadstairs Philharmonic Orchestra. There have been many incarnations over the years but few changes of conductor. One came under pressure when a brass player brought his own flask of tea to a rehearsal and the others protested; since then, a mid-session tea break has become a mainstay of their weekly gatherings. “It tends to be a play through and social get-together rather than a rehearsal,” explains first violinist Jones. “Members are generally Grade 5 or higher and good at sight reading. We’ve a huge repertoire ranging from Haydn symphonies through to songs from the shows, as well as some sadly neglected 20th century ‘light music’.”

At a midweek rehearsal in the austere setting of a school gym near Broadstairs, Jocelyn Emptage unpacks her violin. Along with her husband Ken, she has been part of the orchestra for over 40 years. “I first joined as a teenager and my grown up daughter also plays with us,” she says. “I teach the piano and play in string quartets too, but here it’s purely for my own enjoyment.” Performances are restricted to the local area including regular concerts at St Nicholas-at-Wade’s 13th century church and the Sarah Thorne Theatre in Broadstairs. Every Christmas they play at Buckmaster House retirement home where, for the pensioners, they will reel out favourites such as The Blue Danube or Jingle Bells. Conductor David Pestell, who many years ago played double bass in the National Youth Orchestra, stresses that the varying abilities of the members doesn’t compromise their overall performance. “It always sounds better than the rehearsal before,” he laughs. “In a performance you feel the sheer zest of playing and often it’s an entirely different interpretation. Of course we do serious stuff such as Schubert, but we also do the silliest of pieces—things that were written 60 years ago for a palm court orchestra!” Are they happy to take on newcomers, especially those whose playing ability might require a little fine tuning? “Absolutely,” he says. “This is a ‘light orchestra’ and we play for fun—we never have formal auditions. We do have several virtuoso performers of course, but most of them are doing it purely for the community. We’re not snobby at all!” Thanet Light Orchestra meet on Wednesday evenings at Wellesley House school. For details contact Ben Jones, t: 01843 847701

Photos (this page and opposite): Thanet Light Orchestra members rehearse in the austere seeting of a local school gym

The Weekender 25


PEOPLE

“The power of the poster is greater than Twitter”

DAWN PATROL

We are blessed with over 10,000 miles of coastline in Britain, but not one mile of it is free from litter. With reduced resources to combat the problem, little is being done to protect our beaches and the marine wildlife that they are home to. Fascinated by his local beach and specifically the abundance of seaweed on it (Thanet gets between 6,000 and 7,000 tonnes of it every year), Dom Bridges decided that it must have uses beyond compost making. He began producing seaweed soap for friends before launching Haeckels hand-made organic skincare products derived from locally-sourced seaweed and other ingredients from the surrounding coastline. Seaweed also led Bridges to play an active role in the future of his beloved beaches. As the newly installed beach warden for Cliftonville, his first task was to register his local beach to take part in a national survey, but he soon discovered that others shared his desire to do something positive. Volunteer Jason Hughes explains: “I got involved in order to improve civic pride and find a feeling of community. Left in the hands of the many government agencies at both a local and national level, these areas are both failing and falling foul to a general apathy of neglect.” The first clean-up was a very early morning outing due to tide times, but despite this, a willing group of 15 turned out. There was a real sense of camaraderie and many of the group ended up in a local café for a well-deserved fry-up. The second meeting was to clean the area around Newgate Gap in Cliftonville. This included picking up litter as well as weeding and other gardening duties.

26 The Weekender

“I discovered that the power of the poster is greater than Twitter,” recalls Bridges. “A lot of new people turned up including some Polish and Russians plus some volunteers from the Maritime Volunteer Service. It was amazing.” Friend Kate Harrison helped to drum up some interest on what turned out to be a cold, bleak day. She says: “Projects like this are so important. They not only help the community to tackle local issues themselves, but in doing so, it gives them a sense of pride and responsibility for the area they live in.” Roberta Pozzoli, who lives in Ramsgate, also came along to help. “Our beaches are incredible but they are often forgotten and overlooked,” she explains. “People love going to the beach on their day off, but they should expect them to be clean and safe.” Keen to capitalise on his success, Bridges outlines his vision for the local coastline: “I’d like to see our beaches become fit for year-round use with a trade that isn’t tied to a particular season. With Haeckels meanwhile, I want to inform visitors and locals alike that Margate and its surrounding areas are places of genuine raw natural beauty.” A third beach clean will coincide with the Thanet Coast Project and national Big Spring Beach Clean organised by Surfers Against Sewage. For more information: www.haeckels.co.uk www.thanetcoast.org.uk / www.sas.org.uk

photo: jo willis


PEOPLE

Opposite page: Volunteer beach cleaners led by Dom Bridges in Cliftonville. This page: Canterbury cycle polo players make maximum use of their five-a-side football pitch

the annual UK Championships as well as tournaments in Hamburg and Brussels. So why should we have a go at this game which they describe as ‘the greatest sport you’ve never heard of’? “In the city centre, we’re always on the look-out for likely-looking people on bikes,” says Barnes. “Not only is it a great way to keep fit, but it’s a sociable, high-adrenaline sport which is completely addictive.” Throwins are played on Tuesdays from 6pm until late www.cccpolo.co.uk

PEOPLE LIKE POLO

When, in 2010, a small band of cycling enthusiasts discovered an unusual YouTube clip, they immediately decided to form their very own club—Canterbury City Cycle Polo. Kristian, Dan, Philip, Colin and other devotees of the sport now meet every Tuesday evening for a throwin (casual game) at the Riverside Youth Centre. For anyone still puzzled about the connection between the words ‘polo’ and ‘cycle’, this variant of the sport usually played on horseback, actually has origins going back to the 1890s. Some forward-thinking Irishmen armed with mallets mounted their penny farthings and brought the game to the UK, Europe and America, and the game even featured in the 1908 London Olympics. There is currently no official body governing bicycle polo in the UK, but a revival in the 1990s of polo’s gritty urban cousin spread to many English cities, and Canterbury is no exception. Player Nick Barnes says that the game is relatively easy to pick up and requires no special skills other than to be able to ride a bicycle competently. “It’s simple. If you can ride a bike, you can get involved,” he explains. Mountain or track bikes are best for the job because they are light and solid, but the club can supply spare bikes and mallets for those without the basic equipment. Wearing a helmet and some good gloves are essential as the game is played on a Tarmac five-a-side football pitch. He adds: “Normally we play games of three-a-side; you need a minimum of six players to have a proper game. It ends after 10 minutes or after one team scores five goals. We also have throwins with the teams mixed up so that beginners get to play with the better players.” Recruiting largely from Canterbury’s Boho café which is owned by co-founder Kristian Gill, the club has so far attracted a diverse membership. The players’ ages range from 17 to around 45 years. They are now good enough to send teams to

monkeepuzzlephoto.com

The Weekender 27


TALE

MINISTRY OF SOUND

Deep in the wilds of Romney Marsh are a bizarre trio of giant concrete structures. But why were they built and what is their legacy today? Peter Cocks investigates

28 The Weekender


TALE

D

enge. The word clangs like a doleful bell across sparse Romney Marsh; a shingle no man’s land between the inverted beauty of Dungeness and the strip of seaside suburbia that runs from Greatstone to Romney Bay. Denge. Walk up behind the bungalows and caravan park, cross the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway track, then over the extinct Greatstone line and you will find yourself at the edge of the Dungeness Nature Reserve. Denge. There is an unnatural feel to the landscape, a stark, Dr Who location stillness. The reclaimed marshland stops abruptly, giving way to two manmade lakes, north and south. These deep, black �D

all photos:

© richard reader

The Weekender 29


TALE

waterholes were created when gravel pits closed in the 1970s having churned out a million or more tons of gravel for sea defences against a legendary 1,000 year flood tide. But the Romney Tsunami never came, and today the lakes sit, flat, deep and black, the ideal habitat for the ‘Laughing Frog’ and the medicinal leech. Look again, and directly ahead, on an island, you will see what at first appear to be a flat wall and, to the right, nudging above the trees, a hemispherical shape – an observatory, space craft or tomb? Adding to the sci-fi dystopia of this abandoned area, these are the Denge Sound Mirrors known locally as ‘Listening Ears’; names that, along with this post-apocalyptic lakeside vision, can induce a mysterious frisson or involuntary Quatermass shudder.

“Imagine a modern satellite dish as designed by The Flintstones”

WALLS WITH EARS

Built between 1928 and 1930, the Sound Mirrors were designed as an early RAF warning system against enemy aircraft, researched at Biggin Hill Air Defence Experimental Establishment and commissioned by Director of Acoustical Research, Major William Sansome Tucker. Tucker had been experimenting with vibrating wires and rudimentary microphones to detect enemy movement from behind the lines since 1916. The year 1928 would seem like an odd date to start a surveillance system. It was 10 years after the First World War and several years before another serious German threat, but perhaps it gives us an insight into the cautious mindset of a nation that would create such a defence strategy, having been so closely and recently challenged by developing technologies, both civil and military. And developing technology is key to the short story of the Listening Ears. Two prototype ears measuring just 20 feet in diameter were built several miles away in West Hythe in 1923 (you can find their crumbling remains in a sheep field overlooking the Royal Military Canal) but were soon surpassed by the larger and more powerful Denge versions. The idea is a simple one; imagine a modern satellite dish as designed by The Flintstones. Sound waves (rather than radio waves) are received from a distance by the dish and are then reflected to a closer focal point—where a microphone or listener with a stethoscope is placed. The sound waves are thus measured and an accurate location given, well in advance of the visual appearance of the craft. With 30 The Weekender

the sound waves relayed to an operator, anti-aircraft defences could then be deployed some 15 minutes in advance of a potential attack. By trial and error, 15 minutes was then increased to 20 or so with the building in 1930 of a second concrete dish, next to the first, now 30 feet in diameter and angled more effectively to receive incoming engine noise. In the white heat of such exciting development, the third was planned and, abandoning the dish shape, a curved wall, 200 feet long and 26 feet high was built alongside the first two; a beautifully-formed, elegant big sister to two, stunted, froglike first attempts. This third sound mirror was equipped with microphones at focal points along its length, enabling the listener to pick up approaching aircraft from 24 miles away, crucially as they left the coast on the other side of the channel.

REDUNDANT BY RADAR

Technical advancement rarely happens in isolation so, as fast as new Listening Ears could be built, new aircraft technology was creating speeds that would significantly reduce the amount of time taken for an aeroplane to cross the Channel. Critical minutes, particularly if loaded to the gills with explosive hardware. Also, operators of the Sound Mirrors had found it increasingly difficult to distinguish between variable aircraft noise and the rumble of shipping constantly at work through the Channel.

While Sound Mirror operators may have grumbled in their bunkers at the confusing vibrations created by a passing dredger, it was a gentleman named Robert Alexander Watson-Watt who, in February 1935, swiftly and finally made them, and the Listening Ears, redundant. A Scottish physicist (aren’t all electro-audio pioneers?) Watson-Watt demonstrated to the Ministry of Defence that his new Radio and Detection and Ranging, with its neat acronym RADAR, could not only detect oncoming thunderstorms for airmen, but could be used, with pinpoint accuracy, to detect other aircraft. Listening Ears/Sound Mirrors versus RADAR? Such poetic metaphors counterpointed against the clinical modernist acronym tell you all you need to know about the change in technological climate. And while the details of the crossover are lost somewhere between time and the lower intestines of the MOD, it is clear that the Listening Ears became suddenly, rudely, defunct. The more glamorous RADAR was already in place by 1939 and, in timely fashion with the help of valiant pilots, went on to win the Battle of Britain, fought over the heads of the three, concrete monoliths who must have stared sadly into the sky with feelings of lumpen inadequacy.

STONEDENGE

We must not, of course, undervalue the contribution made by the Listening Ears of Denge. They were a valuable building block in our progress towards the magic of radar and radio surveillance, but somehow they belong to an even earlier age. Somehow, despite being younger than a century, the Listening Ears retain some atavistic pull; like pre-historic stones during a Harvest Moon. Visit them, or approach as close as you can, late in the day as the sun sets across Dungeness and the marsh, and challenge yourself not to be moved, or at least slightly spooked, by the combination of God’s ancient landscape and man’s progress and folly on its face. Maybe one day the Listening Ears will have their own car park and visitor centre; an opportunity for a cappuccino, tea-towel and a ‘Romney Marsh Cream Tea’. Or perhaps they should just be left as they are, forever in splendid isolation. For details about guided walks to the site, contact the Romney Marsh Countryside Project. www.rmcp.co.uk


THE LIST

Front Line Kent

Commemorating 1914 & 1939 Visitor Attractions Wartime Tunnels Dover Castle's tunnels were originally built to counter the threat of invasion from Napoleonic France. Expanded and updated in World War Two, they became the headquarters where the Dunkirk evacuation was planned and commanded. Witness the Operation Dynamo: Rescue from Dunkirk experience, which combines original newsreels and recordings and special effects to deliver a vivid account of what Sir Winston Churchill called a “miracle of deliverance”. english-heritage.org.uk/dover Bouncing Bombs You have already seen The Dam Busters starring Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave, but did you know that Herne Bay has two fascinating links to the daring raid of 1943? Inventor Barnes Wallis’s bomb was first tested at sea off Reculver and many of his prototypes were retrieved years later from the beach. One example survives in the Herne Bay Museum and Gallery, where you can also see the posthumous medal for Conspicuous Gallantry awarded to local Dam Buster pilot Warner ‘Bill’ Ottley. canterbury.co.uk/museums/ herne-bay-museum Maunsell Sea Forts Designed to protect the vital Thames estuary from air raids, the network of forts at Red Sands and Shivering Sands can be found roughly 10 miles off the coast at Herne Bay. The brainchild of engineer Guy

Maunsell, the towers housed both gun platforms and troop billets and managed to help shoot down 22 enemy aircraft and 30 V1 flying bombs before being decommissioned in the 1950s. For boat trips to the forts: greta1892.co.uk horizonseasafaris.co.uk

Little Ships of Dunkirk Moored in Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour, the Sundowner served in two world wars rescuing 130 men from the beaches of Dunkirk. The vessel forms part of the Dunkirk Little Ships flotilla, an association of over 100 surviving boats who rallied to the call in 1940. ramsgatemaritimemuseum.org 2014 Events Anniversary Tours See the house that hid code breakers, the coast where bouncing bombs were tested, tunnels from where Operation Dynamo was masterminded and airfields from which Spitfires and Hurricanes flew. visitkent.co.uk Ramsgate Blitz Walks Guided walk around one of the most heavily bombed seaside towns in the UK. Hear stories about ordinary people on the front line and visit the places that were most severely devastated. summerof40.webeden.co.uk

Fighter Planes RAF Manston was once the closest airfield to the enemy coast, bearing the brunt of the first Luftwaffe attacks in the summer of 1940. Housed at the Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial Museum are examples of two of World War Two’s most iconic fighter planes, while at the RAF Manston History Museum, there are aeronautical relics dating back to 1916. The former RAF Hawkinge, now the Kent Battle of Britain Museum near Folkestone, displays several iconic pieces as well as crashed enemy planes and other wartime memorabilia. spitfiremuseum.org.uk rafmanston.co.uk www.kbobm.org

Quex Park Revisited— The First World War Belgian refugees and wounded servicemen began to arrive in England in 1914. The first group were brought over by a British aid organisation and taken to hospitals in Kent. The Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) hospital at Quex Park was one of 80 such establishments. An exhibition that tells the story of this troubled time. Until June 2016 quexpark.co.uk

World War One Centenary Commemoration Weekend Visit Belmont House near Faversham and step back in time to experience what life was like on the frontline. Features displays of weapons and equipment. 17–18 May belmont-house.org 1940s Weekend Experience life as it was in the 1940s on the Kent & East Sussex Railway at Tenterden. There are flying displays, dancing and wartime cookery demonstrations. 17–18 May kesr.org.uk World War Two Weekend Witness an explosive battle and soak up the atmosphere as the castle returns to the 1940s. Walk through military encampments and get up close to a full size replica Spitfire, step inside a bombed-out shop and discover the austerity of the war years from the Ministry of Food. 24–26 May english-heritage.org.uk/dover The War and Peace Revival Featuring military and civilian re-enactments plus dozens of military vehicles, vintage entertainment and a funfair. 16-20 July thewarandpeacerevival.co.uk

1940s Wartime Weekend Dover Transport Museum commemorates the vital role that Dover played at hub of national defence during World War Two. Features appearances by the late Queen Mother (played by a local historian) and a band playing 1940s dance music. 26–27 April dovertransportmuseum.org.uk The Weekender 31


FOOD & DRINK OUT & ABOUT / NEWS, VIEWS AND MUST-DO EVENTS

THE WIDE AWAKE CLUB Rich dark flavours are wafting through the cobbled streets of Canterbury and, with a caffeine hit now available on practically every corner, aficionados have never been better served. Welcome to the city’s new ‘coffee quarter’ where freshly roasted beans from the heart of Africa, the Far East and South America meet the latest trends in artisan coffee head on. We sort our flat whites from our macchiatos and meet the roasters and baristas leading the vanguard of independent coffee making here in East Kent

32 The Weekender


FOOD & DRINK

Photos from left: a warm welcome at Willows; the impressive menu board inside; Josh Brown serves up speciality coffee by the river; Burgate Coffee House is just a few steps from the Cathedral

WILLOWS SECRET KITCHEN

opened by stuart and sarah wilson in january 2012, Willows is the place to go for an authentic Aussie Latte (with double shot of espresso) or Affogato (double scoop of ice cream and double shot of espresso). Located on a quiet corner off St Margaret’s Street, this small but comfortable café offers espresso, cafetiere and vacuumed coffee as well as a range of teas and cakes which are baked by Sarah’s mum. Be sure to catch their Black Sheep Coffee van on the high street. why not try their… Guest espresso from micro roasteries around the country. 42 Stour St, Canterbury t: 01227 788777

BROWNS COFFEE HOUSE

josh brown serves up speciality coffee in a riverside coffee house which he has shared with the Canterbury Punting Company since March 2012. With customers ranging from academics to students as well as those waiting to board a punt outside, his mission is to introduce Canterbury to good tasting coffee from all corners of the world. His supply comes from four main roasters and most days there is a new coffee on the menu. Brown regards his café as a relaxing and friendly place to hang out for coffee and cake, but hasn’t given up on his true aim in life—  to produce ‘the God shot’ of espresso. why not try their… Single origin filter coffee served in an Aeropress. Water Lane (off Stour Street) t: 01227 464797 www.brownscanterbury.co.uk

The Weekender 33


FOOD & DRINK

Photos: Not your average latte — a freshly brewed cup at Browns (top); Roaster Nick Chasteauneuf serves another customer (bottom)

MICRO ROASTERY

not just a coffee shop, but a place where authentic coffee beans are roasted on site, Micro Roastery was opened in August last year by Faversham-based enthusiast Nick Chasteauneuf. “I have both the knowledge and passion for coffee,” he says. “Our coffee is sourced directly from the farmer and it’s freshly roasted.” Aficionados of the coffee bean can choose from a wide range of different blends or simply sip espresso made from his La Marzocco machine which is calibrated to serve the perfect espresso. why not try their… Cup of Excellence from Brazil. 4 St Margaret’s Street t: 01227 634419

BURGATE COFFEE HOUSE

the most recent addition to canterbury’s thriving coffee scene, and located just a few yards away from the Cathedral, Burgate Coffee House offers a wide choice of speciality coffee and tea in a stylish contemporary setting. Owner/head barista Jodi Maddix is from York and cut her teeth in the business working for New Row Coffee in London’s Covent Garden before opening up on the Burgate site. “All our coffee is hand roasted and our staff are trained baristas,” she says. The café also serves Kentish cheeses, sandwiches and snacks. They make their own gluten and dairy-free almond milk, which goes down particularly well in a cappuccino. why not try their… Revelation blend, a dark roast espresso giving complex floral aromatics, ripe red fruit notes of cherry and a dark caramel treacle-like body. 43 Burgate t: 01227 764946

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“Our coffee is sourced directly from the farmer and it’s freshly roasted”


GARDEN Beach Road, St. Margaret’s Bay Kent, CT15 6DZ

Come and visit our friendly Tea Room, famed for its home cooked lunches and generous cakes. Next to the beautiful Pines Gardens. The perfect reward after a walk down to the beach or along the cliffs. Dog friendly.

open

Seven Days a Week Easter - October 10.00am – 4.30pm

pinesgarden.co.uk

01304 853 173

Pines-Tea-Room-181x123.indd 1

13/03/2014 11:05

Have you tried The Shakespeare Wine Bar and Coffee House yet? In the heart of Canterbury City Centre overlooking the Cathedral. We serve delicious coffee and cakes by day and a vast variety of the finest wines, local beers and champagnes by night…why not come and find out for yourself?

Tel: 01227 463252

40 Burgate, Canterbury City Centre, Kent

www.shakespearecanterbury.com

@ShakespeareKent

info@shakespearecanterbury.co.uk /shakespearecanterbury

Customer

Shakespeare 1-2

Publication

The Canterbury INDEX April 2014 - Issue 32

Date sent

14 March 2014


“Hilarious.” THE TIMES*

Morecambe WED 16 APR

The Olivier Award-winning play. marlowetheatre.com (bkg fee) 01227 787787 (bkg fee) *Review for original West End production


FOOD & DRINK

This is a delicious savoury pie that really makes the most of the winning partnership of egg and pork. I love the way the whole eggs are hidden beneath the crust—if you get one when you cut into it, it’s like winning a prize. Serve this hot for supper or cold for lunch.

Let’s Make: Bacon and egg pie

serves 6 For the rich shortcrust pastry: 275g plain flour Pinch of fine salt 135g cold unsalted butter, diced 1 medium egg, beaten 1 tsp lemon juice 2–3 tbsp cold water For the filling: 1 tbsp vegetable oil 1 large onion, finely chopped 1 garlic clove, crushed 200g unsmoked streaky bacon, diced

200g pork loin, cut into roughly 1.5cm dice 5 medium eggs 100g cream cheese 100g mature Cheddar, grated 1 tbsp chopped chives Beaten egg, to glaze Salt and pepper To make the pastry, put the flour in a bowl. Add the diced butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, do this in a food processor or a mixer and then transfer to a bowl. Mix the egg with the lemon juice and water. Make a well in the centre of the rubbed-in mixture and pour in the egg mix. Now work in just enough liquid to bring the pastry together. When the dough begins to stick together,

use your hands to gently knead it into a ball. Wrap the pastry in cling film and put in the fridge to rest for about 30 minutes. For the filling, heat the oil in a wide frying pan over a medium-low heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook gently for about 8 minutes, until soft. Add the bacon and pork, increase the heat a little, and cook for about 10 minutes, until any liquid from the meat has been driven off. Leave to cool completely. Heat your oven to 200°C/ gas 6 and have ready a 20cm loose-based sandwich cake tin, 4cm deep. Beat two of the eggs with the cream cheese until smooth. Add the Cheddar and chives and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cooled bacon mixture. Roll out two-thirds of the pastry and use to line the cake tin. Roll out the remaining pastry ready to form the lid. Put the filling mix into the pastry case. Make 3 evenly spaced depressions in the filling and crack the remaining eggs into them. Brush the rim of the pastry with egg and place the lid on top. Press the edges to seal and trim off the excess neatly. Brush the top of the pie with egg and make a steam hole in the centre. Bake in the oven for 50–55 minutes, until golden brown. Leave the pie to settle for at least 15 minutes before cutting. It is delicious hot or cold. Extract taken from Paul Hollywood’s Pies & Puds, published by Bloomsbury (£20)

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FOOD & DRINK

The A to Z of Kentish Beer

A

by johnny homer

is for Ale, the drink of Old England, quaffed with gusto by poor and rich alike. It was brewed using malted barley, water and yeast, designed to be refreshing, nutritious and safer to drink than water. Add hops to the list of ingredients and you got beer, more bitter in taste than ale—which was often sour—and with a tendency to last longer (hops have preservative qualities). For many years ale and beer were different; two distinct drinks in their own right that divided opinion. Shakespeare loved his ale and many of his characters sing its praises, but he also used some of his plays to dismiss beer.

Hops were viewed by some with suspicion so it took time for them to become established, and it was not until the 15th century that they really began to make their mark, introduced by merchants from Holland and Flanders. Some of the earliest hop gardens were established here in Kent and the county continues to produce some of the best quality hops anywhere in the world. Slowly, as drinking fashions changed, the terms ale and beer became synonymous with each other and today they essentially mean the same thing. Faversham’s Shepherd Neame brewery, for instance, proclaim their range of traditional bitters as Kentish Ales. The county of Kent has always enjoyed a good reputation for the quality of first its ale and subsequently its beer, something which is as true today as it ever was.

see also...

Ales of the Unexpected: a new micropub located in a former fishmonger’s in Westbrook, opposite the Royal Sea Bathing Hospital. Further evidence that Thanet is a hotbed of micros. Audit Ale (6.2%): a strong award winning beer brewed by the Westerham brewery and a popular tipple all over East Kent. A complex and heady brew made with two varieties of Kent hops, this powerful pint is bursting with concentrated fruit flavours that really warm the cockles. Auburn Copper Ale (4.2%): Faversham’s Mad Cat brewery have quickly earned themselves a reputation for producing some excellent beers. Auburn Copper Ale is one of the best session bitters I’ve encountered in a long time. Well worth tracking down!

Go on, you know you Wantsum!

LOCAL LOBSTERS & CRABS CAUGHT DAILY

www.wantsumbrewery.com wantsumbrewery@gmail.com 0845 0405980

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FOOD &DRINK

The Perfect Weekend… Cocktails at The Goods Shed words and photos by tom moggach

It was bizarre luck and brave instinct that brought us

Wild Goose. Lucy Proud, a young chef from Kent, was happily working for a restaurant in London. Travelling home by bus, she idly scrolled Facebook to glimpse a post by The Goods Shed food hall in Canterbury. It advertised a rare vacancy for a new bar business to join a thriving restaurant, butcher, fishmonger, Spanish deli, wine merchant and other handpicked specialists trading under one roof. “I had a very instinctive mood that I had to go for it,” Lucy recalls. “I had never experienced that before. It was quite profound.” She drafted her email proposal while still on the bus. Unsurprisingly, competition for the spot was fierce: “I felt out of my depth—a 25-year-old with little experience compared to Michelin-starred restaurateurs.” She won, of course, and Wild Goose opened in February this year. A dozen or so bar seats overlook a small kitchen and bar from which Lucy and chef Sam Martin serve a succinct seasonal menu of creative cocktails and small plates of glorious food. Pick your moment to visit, as the atmosphere shifts subtly through the day. Evenings are best for a glass of fizz or a cocktail or two, shaken-up with Lucy’s homemade syrups and sprits, many with foraged and garden flavours. My favourite was a mix of fennel gin, sloe gin, raspberry liqueur, lemon and clove syrup, served with a floating violet and slice of cucumber (£7). The food is equally adventurous. Their signature dish is the most visually dramatic: a small cauliflower, roasted whole with cumin and served with a tahini-spiked yoghurt (£4.90). “It takes on a flavour all of its own,” Lucy explains, in part due to a cunning preparation of pre-poaching in a light stock with flakes of red pepper.

A chicken dish (£5.90) was no less successful. Marinated first in Seville orange juice, the roasted bird arrives on a slice of clementine, lightly charred and caramelised, surrounded by fennel and a flourish of flaked almonds. Other temptations include lamb cutlets with salsa verde, squash with Parma ham and herby goats’ cheese, an olive oil confit of cod, or seasonal vegetables with a Provençal anchovy dip. At weekends, a brunch menu offers eggs Florentine, chorizo and scrambled eggs, smoked mackerel and more—a perfect reward after a flurry of gourmet food shopping. As a first solo venture, Wild Goose is seriously impressive. The food is imaginative and exciting, well-cooked and well-priced. All credit to Sam, too. Choosing the right chef is crucial with such a tight working space, and his relaxed style perfectly suits the informal atmosphere. It must be deeply satisfying for Lucy to think back to that decisive moment on the bus. Wild Goose at The Goods Shed Station Road West, Canterbury t: 01227 459153 www.wildgoosefood.com

Photos clockwise from top: Lucy and Sam behind the bar of their new venture; homemade syrups and spirits; the kitchen features a unique menu board; roasted cauliflower with cumin; time for a creative cocktail

The Weekender 39


OUT & ABOUT / NEWS, VIEWS AND MUST-DO EVENTS

BOLTHOLE FOR BOND A property hotspot with the feel of an exclusive seaside retreat, magical St Margaret’s Bay sounds too good to be true. By Dan Synge

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Nestling in the white cliffs countryside between dover and deal and squaring up to the English Channel and the Pas-de-Calais coast (it’s so close that visitors can expect a French mobile phone signal on arrival), there is a decidedly other-worldly feel about St Margaret’s Bay. Chancing upon it for the first time, you could be excused for thinking you have arrived in some farflung corner of Cornwall while its many tall pine trees remind you of a classy Mediterranean resort. The area actually encompasses three distinct settlements; Nelson Park nearest the A258 Dover road, the main village St Margaret-at-Cliffe and St Margaret’s Bay with its wooded glades and imposing, individually-styled seafront homes that line up along the cliff face. For such an out-of-way kind of place, there are a surprising number of draws: a local primary school, five pubs/restaurants, a sheltered shingle beach with childfriendly rock pools at low tide, the Pines Calyx conference and events venue and café and a spa at Wallett’s Court Hotel. The most exclusive properties lie in the stretch between the Dover Patrol Memorial and the National Trust’s South Foreland lighthouse. Stunning fivebedroomed villas with vast lawned


SPACE

Photos from left: The Art Deco beach houses which once served as weekend retreats for Noel Coward and Ian Fleming; the bay at low tide with crossChannel ferry heading back from France

gardens and panoramic views sell for around £1m while a more affordable three-bedroomed family home further inland can be snapped up for less than £350,000. This secret and dramatically-poised location was for many years the preserve of fishermen and smugglers until Earl Granville, the then Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports turned it into an upmarket Victorian holiday resort. Such was its reputation among weekending Londoners or those whose gilded lives veered between the south coast and the Continent, that it was dubbed ‘Piccadilly of the sea’. Two literary giants of the 20th century, Noel Coward and Ian Fleming lived, at separate times, in one of the Art Deco houses built on the beach and Peter Ustinov bought his home The Gun Emplacement from the Ministry of Defence in 1946. Fleming even featured St Margaret’s in his 1955 book Moonraker; James Bond is forced to clean up at The Granville Hotel following a cliff fall before ordering three ‘stiff brandies-and-soda’ at the bar. Baddie Drax’s rocket research centre, where Bond later returns, is at a secret location on nearby Kingsdown Golf Course. Sadly, the days of cocktails and canasta at The Granville are gone (the building was demolished in 1994 and redeveloped into a complex of 31 apartments), but stars who are helping to revive the village’s long-lost age of glamour include film star Miriam Margolyes and Madonna and Cheryl Cole’s jeweller Stephen Webster who

invites Tracy Emin over for weekends. The area is also rich in natural beauty. Not just because of the iconic White Cliffs of Dover and the unspoilt chalky grasslands, but for the rare butterflies and orchids that thrive in this micro climate. “There is a magic to St Margaret’s,” says Perry Mercer of Marshall and Clarke who has sold properties in the area for 23 years. “Living here is like being on holiday, and because of its close proximity to London, weekends are very do-able.” Mercer believes that buyers who are drawn to the area are looking for a quieter, more secluded life than can be found in nearby Deal or further up the coast. He says: “It’s a private and slightly staid kind of place where people leave you alone if that’s what you want. And when you open your curtains in the morning you get the benefit of a truly iconic view.” Rumour has it that a Russian banker, who naturally flew in by private helicopter, has paid over £4m for The Front, an estate high up on the cliff complete with outbuildings, swimming pool and its own disused lighthouse— how very James Bond! Perhaps our modern day celebrities—the successors of Coward, Fleming and other resting stars—have found their spiritual home?

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1

BAY WATCH Six homes with spectacular sea views South Goodwin House, Granville Road Substantial detached marine property totalling over 3,000 square feet. £1.15m FOR SALE www.marshallandclarke.com

2

Moonraker, Granville Road Contemporary-style Bond-ish lair. £999,500 FOR SALE www.marshallandclarke.com

3

Eldama, Bay Hill Charming early Arts and Crafts home set in a stunning hillside location. £699,950 www.colebrooksturrock.com The Pines, Cavenagh Road Unique 1970s architect-designed property looking out across the Channel. £645,000 FOR SALE www.marshallandclarke.com The Anchorage, Bay Hill 4/5 bedroom house in an elevated position with a commanding outlook. £625,000 FOR SALE www.chestertonhumberts.com Colton, Granville Road Five-bedroomed Edwardian seaside villa with a large garden and panoramic views. £975,000 www.colebrooksturrock.com

4

5 6

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ADVERTORIAL

A Place In The Sun

S

t Margaret’s Bay is bang in the middle of the First Light Coast—the first place the sun’s rays hit the British Isles each morning. The coastline of France, which is only 20 odd miles away, is visible on all but the foggiest of days. It’s this proximity to mainland Europe which has shaped the village of St Margaretat-Cliffe’s long and remarkable history, particularly during World War Two. Between 1939 and 1945 the majority of the civilian population left the village, leaving only 350 to run the pubs, shops and services for the 1,500 marines who took their place. Surrounded by airfields and under constant fire and airplane crashes, the local farmers continued their work to produce food for the community, with Gilbert Mitchell being awarded the George Medal for farming under shellfire. The troops built and managed several cross-channel guns and armoury installations, including the famous ‘Winnie’ and ‘Pooh’. One of the large artillery guns was in fact a dummy, made of wood. Legend has it that the Germans got wise to the trick and dropped a wooden bomb to let us know that they knew. The village on the beach at St Margaret’s Bay was once home to a small community and a rather racy hotel for the rich famous, The Bay Hotel. This, alongside many of the houses, the tea room and the pub were used as a training ground by the British Army and were left so damaged that they were demolished after the war. Only the Art Deco houses at the end of the beach, once home to Noel Coward, and later his friend Ian

Fleming, remain from that era. Tales like these are just a small taster of the area’s fascinating history. You can find out more by visiting St. Margaret’s History Society site at www. catalogue.stmargaretshistory.org.uk or stroll on down to St Margaret’s Museum on Beach Street. The museum, which is adjacent to the Pines Garden Tea Room has an exhibition, Hellfire Corner, devoted to the World War Two period and plans to create a new exhibition devoted to the unique story of this frontline village next year. The museum is run by the Bay Trust, the environmental education charity who also manage the Pines Garden and award-winning Pines Calyx conference centre, both excellent examples of modern day sustainability. Last September, the Pines Garden played host to the hugely popular Home Front 1940s Weekender. This free event focused on the positives from the war time era; Digging for Victory, Make Do and Mend, the music, the dancing and of course the fabulous clothes. This year the event will take place on 13 and 14 September. Contact tracy@baytrust.org.uk if you want to get involved. Come and visit the Pines Garden this Easter and get free entry to the Pines Calyx, where artist Sue Toft will be creating a Camera Obscura in the lower roundel of this unusual chalk built building. Called ‘A Point of View’, the exhibition will feature a site specific installation by Sue Toft and photographic works by Kevin Francis. 18–21 April, 10am–4pm www.pinescalyx.co.uk

Photos clockwise from left: Just 20 miles from the Continent — the shingle beach at St Margaret’s Bay; a ‘land girl’ works the local fields; all dressed up for a 1940s Weekender

photos: jerome dutton


SPACE

“I learnt that you could cook practically anything from a tiny table in the hallway”

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SPACE

THE CURIO BY JO WILLIS

Designers Clare and Ian Youngs and their four children inhabit a Victorian house in Broadstairs. Inside, it is bright and spacious and their love of pattern and print is evident throughout; colourful artwork, fabric, books and paper pieces made by Clare (author of several craft books) are offset against the white walls and simple furniture

from the 1950s and 1960s. We also like vintage children’s books, especially those illustrated by Martin and Alice Provensen. What inspires you? So many things; Scandinavian design, world textiles, folk art, Japanese craft, interesting typography, or it could be a pattern that catches the eye on a wrought iron balcony or tiled floor in an old Spanish bar. If you could change one thing about your house what would it be? Nothing. Two years ago, I would have said I couldn’t live with a great big black, ornate fireplace. Ian persuaded me to let it stay and I’m glad now.

www.thecurioinmargate.com

How do you define style? Being individual and being able to put things together—not because they are trendy, but because you love them. What were the best and worst things about your renovation experience? Living without a kitchen for two months, which really wasn’t that bad as we got to know the local restaurants and cafés. Plus I learnt that you could cook practically anything from a tiny table in the hallway with a kettle and a mini microwave. Do you have an object of desire for your home? More art. Something by painters William Scott or Howard Hodgkin would be nice. What do you collect? Tissue fruit wrappers, printed fruit crates and Czechoslovakian matchbox labels The Weekender 45


DIRECTORY Are you a local business, shop or service with something worth shouting about? Then try our new Directory pages. Place your ad here for just £55 and reach the most influential and independently-minded folk in East Kent. For details contact advertising@the-weekender.net

A new independent shop open at weekends, offering decorative furniture, carefully selected old objects, art and a gallery space for inspirational local craft people. In balance, in harmony and in proportion, HAIKU aims to offer a shopping experience in the spirit of a haiku. 6b Strand Street, Sandwich Find us on Facebook: Haiku_on_the_Strand

Micro love fresh coffee

4 St Margarets Street Canterbury T: 01227 634419 coffee@micoroastery.co.uk

Rennies Seaside Modern are based in Folkestone. Working from a ship’scabin-of-a-shop, they are purveyors of English comfy modern — that’s vintage seaside posters, textiles, ceramics and objects for your home, beach hut or garden shed. Not forgetting vintage Hermes silk scarves for those blustery days at the coast.

www.rennart.co.uk

Road - MTB - Hybrid and lifestyle cycles Expert workshop facilities Tip top service 103–105 High St, Whitstable 01227 272072 www.herbertscycles.co.uk

46 The Weekender


RESORT

studios gallery workshops margate

Modern British Jewellery Gallery Bespoke Design – Commissions – Repairs

membership/hire: resort.studios@gmail.com print enquiries: www.helloprintstudio.com

13 Oxford St, Whitstable, Kent, CT5 1DB Tel: 01227 277985 www.teresasamson.co.uk www.madelinecolesjewellery.co.uk

Purveyors of Taste Sensations

BISHOPSBOURNE CRICKET CLUB New Players Welcome Sunday matches at beautiful ground with great local pub

104 Tankerton Road Whitstable, Kent CT5 2AJ

Contact Sean 07811 885426

Tel: 01227 77 3141 www.wine-room.co.uk

St. Margaret's Bay T: 01304 853176 www.thecoastguard.co.uk

VALENTINES MAKE YOURS A HAPPY HOME

Valentines is a retro/vintage furniture shop based in Whitstable, Kent. Stocked with affordable items of modern design, we specialise in British & European Mid 20th Century furniture, homeware and clothing. We also have art for sale by local artists. Our stock changes daily so why not pop down to sunny Whitstable, say hello and have a browse.

21 Oxford Street, Whitstable CT5 1DB T. 01227 281224/07802-275094 E. info@valentines-vintage.com www.valentines-vintage.com Open Mon-Sat 10am till 5pm, Sundays 11am till 4pm

The Weekender 47 VAL_AD.indd 1

28/03/2014 08:32


ALL THE WILD COURSES Foraged ingredients are high foodie fashion these days. Tom Moggach discovers the appeal of a day out in the wild

A

white-haired lady, strolling along the beach path, watched us with bewildered curiosity: “Excuse me, but can I ask what, exactly, you are doing?” You can’t blame her for asking. A dozen of us knelt in the shingle, carefully snipping at an unpromising clump of Alexanders, a plant whose culinary appeal has long since faded into history. Foraging, a human activity as ancient as the hills, is bouncing back. Across Kent and further afield, groups and intrepid individuals are scouring countryside and coastline for edible wild plants and other offbeat ingredients. What’s the appeal? It’s an intriguing question. After all, paying £48 and sacrificing a Sunday to gather wild leaves for lunch is not everyone’s cup of tea. “People seem to like doing an activity together with strangers,” explains our guide Lucia Stuart, a professional forager and chef. “It’s the equivalent of pre-industrial agriculture, when everyone met to thresh the hay.”

48 The Weekender

Lucia runs regular foraging trips from her base in Deal. On this trip, we began the morning under blue skies in nearby woodlands, harvesting the glossy green leaves of wild garlic, a pungent ingredient fantastic for pesto, stir fries or pairing with eggs, fish and potato. In Germany, she explains, the leaf is called bärlauch (bear leek) because it’s the first food wild bears eat after hibernation. “Nature gives us all of these wonderful flavours,” Lucia adds, pointing out clumps of violets and nettle tops. Looking around, it’s clear we’re a mixed bunch too. Of our dozen, some picked frantically while others took it more slowly. One debonair chap in sharp sunglasses resolutely foraged nothing at all, declaring he was more interested in an invigorating day out. Later, we decamp to the coast to harvest Alexanders, a Roman potherb related to celery with a distinct, aniseed flavour. Foraged wild ingredients are certainly high foodie fashion these days, which may explain part of the appeal. Alexander-infused vodka, for example, is a recent alcoholic trend. As we chat, one of our group confesses to paying £7 for a glass of hay-infused water at a London restaurant, much to the bemusement of an 80-year-old aunt whose birthday they were celebrating. “She came through the blitz and we gave her hay water!” �D


ACTIVITY

Photos clockwise from opposite left: A basket of freshly-picked Alexanders; rich pickings in the woods near Deal; wild garlic and potatoes for lunch; foragers getting busy under the shelter of a tree; glossy green leaves of wild garlic; Lucia Stuart is a professional forager and chef

The Weekender 49


ACTIVITY

“It’s like taking them back to childhood—it’s the buried side of people”

B

ack in Deal, we walk along the front to Dolphin Street. Lucia’s compact Georgian house is in a row once inhabited by ships’ captains. On the narrow street outside, she’s laid on a table with jugs of refreshing lavender lemonade. Inside the house, shelves are packed with foraged concoctions such as fennel sugar, nettle tea and laver seaweed. “My kitchen is my laboratory,” she explains. Theatrical memorabilia adorns the walls, including a 17th century porcelain handled sword, framed letters and impresario David Garrick’s walking stick. Her great-grandparents, she explains, were Edwardian musical theatre stars. Lunch is a blow-out, a five-course wonder: bowls of Alexander soup garnished with toasted sesame seeds and seaweed; pasta with wild garlic pesto; a spring leaf bacon roulade; Kentish cheeses; and a nettle and ginger ice cream to finish us off. “It’s quite a primal, thrilling thing to forage,” opines guest Anna Taylor, topping up my wine glass. “But it’s knowing what to do and having the confidence.” Her friend adds that she normally zones out when walking, lost in a world of her own. But today she had felt far more alert,

Above: The group enjoy an invigorating day out Right: Lucia’s shelves are packed with foraged concoctions

50 The Weekender

enjoying a heightened awareness of the natural environment. Stirring garlic leaves into a pan of sautéed potatoes, Lucia explains that foraging seems to tap into a deep part of our souls. She describes guiding people to hunt for for seaweed in rock pools: “It’s like taking them back to childhood—it’s the buried side of people.” Over ice cream, conversation flits to modern attitudes to food. “People are worried they’re going to ruin nature if they pick it. But it’s not just there for looking pretty,” says another forager. Lucia says that many foragers seem to be children of the 1960s. “We were the last generation connected to nature. People from the 1970s can work a computer.” She runs a variety of foraging day trips and weekends, including ‘Shellfish Special’ and ‘Flowers & Meadows’. Apart from the tours, Lucia also works for clients such as Brogdale Farm outside Faversham, home of the national fruit collection. Her book Eating Flowers: A Cook Book offers a selection of recipes based on foraged food. One memorable gig for the Idler Academy included foraging for limpets and seaweed in Devon. “We returned to the farmhouse and discussed philosophy through the ages. It really worked. The philosopher among us was eating limpets with a knife and fork.” The Wild Kitchen, t: 01304 369799 www.thewildkitchen.net


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The Weekender 51


JUST THE JOB

Ann Barnes,

Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent

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ollowing her appointment in November 2012, Ann Barnes is one of 41 elected Commissioners in England and Wales. She has no precise ‘job description’ but she is the most visible face of the police force with a remit to make the police more accountable. A former teacher, she lives in Lyminge, near Folkestone with her family. i don’t have a typical day, but that what’s so exciting about this job. I must trust in my own ability to make decisions and not be afraid of changing my mind. I’m a strong person and I’m very comfortable with people; as a former teacher I’ve taken more assemblies than I’ve had hot dinners! It’s also important to be flexible and you can’t be frightened of numbers—I work with an annual budget of £317m, so I do talk business. kent is a very safe place to live although it does have has its seasonal crimes. Forces reported a spike in violent crime last summer and there was a rise in domestic violence, which accounts for over third of all violent crime in the UK. I’m very happy for the reporting of domestic violence to go up and I also want to make sure that the reporting of crime is accurate. I will never ever allow the police to simply be a 999 response force—I want police officers working with local people to stop crime happening. i’m investing in new technology and police officers will get a tablet so they can write their reports on a park bench if they want. We’re also bringing in body worn video cameras and virtual courts where evidence will be given via a video link. Everything I do is to ensure our officers stay on the streets as long as possible. The police are an expensive resource and in the recent budget cuts we lost 20 per cent of government funding amounting to £50m in Kent. That means that 500 police officers and 1,000 police staff have gone and not been replaced. there is often a lack of communication with victims. I’m therefore giving each victim of crime an individual log on number so they can find out how their crime is being managed. I’m also setting up a victim centre here in Kent. There hasn’t been

52 The Weekender

one in the whole of the country. I want victims and their families to get more help. i have a good working relationship with the Chief constable Alan Pughsley. I set the vision for the police service but I cannot interfere with operational policing. We are like two co-pilots; each one does a bit of the journey and then, hopefully, we land the plane safely. the new youth commissioner is kerry boyd from margate. Kerry is a young face that I believe the young people of Kent will identify with. She is taking a gap year from her degree to commence the role. I think young people are quite demonised and, unfairly, they get a bad press. i drive out in my van every Friday. I’ve visited around 100 locations so far and it costs £15,000 a year which a very cost-effective way to meet the public. When I started, I promised to be the most visible PCC that there could be. I use it as a mobile office—people can come along and have a private chat. I go from Sheerness to Dover to Dungeness. I’m delighted that it’s me doing this job. I get up every day and can’t wait to get to the office. More and more people know that I’m here and know that I’m here for them. I don’t like it when I’m away from Kent— I was born in Lancashire but Kent is the county of my heart.

PROS Having people being at the heart of what I do

{ Being able to react quickly to issues affecting people here in Kent

{ The public now realise that I’m here and they take me seriously

CONS It isn’t good for the waistline. I attend lots of functions and they almost always serve chicken

{ The travelling can be tiring and I often arrive home late

{ It’s not a 9 to 5 job and not all my weekends are free


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MY EAST KENT LIFE

Jon Holmes

Famous for his controversial on-air antics, the comedian and broadcaster presents the XFM Breakfast Show and appears regularly on Radio 4’s The Now Show. His comedy writing (Dead Ringers, Horrible Histories etc) has won him eight Sony Awards and two Baftas. He lives in Canterbury with his wife and two young children RADIO DAYS I studied Radio, Film and Television at Canterbury Christ Church University. In those days, the university campus was tiny and you knew everybody by name. Student radio is a really good way of getting into the industry and amazingly, I got offered the breakfast show on my first day. I then realised that this was the shittiest job there was because no one else wanted to get up that early. I then did Saturday afternoons at CTFM (now KMFM) which was great until new management took over. The boss wanted all the presenters to say on air that listening to CTFM was ‘Kent’s best party’. He got very uppity when I suggested that Kent’s best party was actually in a crack house in the Sturry Road—that was the beginning of the end! CANTERBURY TALES It’s nice to live outside London, where I work. It’s exactly the right distance from London and you feel like you’re making an escape. 54 The Weekender

The only downside is that I have to get up at 3am in the morning in order to do the XFM Breakfast Show. A car picks me up as it’s before the trains are even running. Before we had children we used to drink at the Dolphin pub a lot; in fact we went so regularly, we were part of the landlord’s business plan! Going out these days is a rare treat. We’re off to Deeson’s in a few weeks and we often go out with Paul Hendy (producer of the Marlowe Theatre’s panto) and his wife. I used to work at the old Marlowe where I did their sound and lighting. We like going to Whitstable because of the beaches. We have a cocker spaniel who is insane. Even when you run a dog all day, you cannot tire them out! LIKE A VIRGIN When I got fired from Virgin Radio in 2002, the station was fined £75,000 by the authorities. I still hold the record for causing the biggest ever fine in broadcasting history. My remit from the

management was to push the boundaries and bait Ofcom so I feel I was sold down the river by them. It was a big lesson for me. My last book was called Rock Star Babylon. I researched it by hanging out with roadies and getting the stories off them—I would then run these past a lawyer, which always takes a long time. One of my favourite tales is about when Mötley Crüe went on a hygiene strike. They had a bet to see which of the band could go longest without washing or showering while on tour. Revolting! COMEDY GODS The Now Show is a brilliant platform for me and it’s the biggest comedy on the BBC with 4.5m listeners. It’s the most downloaded podcast in the world apparently. Every week I get the opportunity to shout about something – it depends on what annoys me that week, which can be anything from the government’s stance on Syria to Gary Barlow. TV pays better but radio

is a lot simpler and a lot more direct. Strangely, people do recognise your voice. For instance, I was hiring a car in Italy last year and was borrowing a pen from a woman in the queue. She said: ‘Are you Jon Holmes from The Now Show? Oh my God, you’ve just handed me a pen!’ Then came the inevitable question about my height, which is a running gag on the show. One person I have particularly enjoyed working with is Armando Iannucci— he’s a comedy god. When he phones you up and says ‘I like what you do, can you work with me?’ you think, ‘That’s the best phone call I’ve ever had.’


The Weekender, Issue Nine  

East Kent Life at its Best. Subscribe to 4 issues (print version) for just £16. info@the-weekender.net

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