Thursday, 6 October 2016

National Poetry Day

Celebrating National Poetry Day ~
Rumplesongs: Kentish Poems / Poems of Kent: So, it seem s a good idea at the moment to start collecting a set of my poems written in and about Kent and putting them all together here. ...

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Manston Airport

Once again, Manston Airport is in the news (BBC) and once again there is the danger that a golden opportunity to bring long term jobs, infrastructure and prosperity to the Thanet region is likely to be overlooked in favour of an easy, short term political solution of housing and light industry. Of course, once the housing is built the construction work dries up, and any light industry park/shopping units will be in direct competition for occupancy with Discovery Park at Sandwich and Ramsgate's Westwood development.

Manston's long runway make it ideal for long haul and freight services and a post-Brexit Britain may well want destinations such as China, Australasia and the Americas to be fast-tracked via air. It is also ideally positioned to be a staging hub for freight to Northern Europe and the rest of the UK and the building of rail infrastructure to the Channel Tunnel and local ports would make it a connected, efficient, specialist hub.

A London shuttle-plane service to the City Airport would connect the airport to the city centre if necessary and the extension of fast train services from the channel tunnel to Sandwich Discovery, Manston, Ramsgate and Margate will open the region up to investment from firms looking for good connectivity.

I have blogged before about Manston and airport hubs in the South east here and here. I am naturally cautious about any airport expansion in the South East, particularly at sites such as Heathrow due to overcrowding on the M25 and nearby housing or in vulnerable estuary marshes like Grain, believing, if we need more airport capacity it would be better to focus on under-utilised existing sites such as Manston where investment and long term vision could help to turn Thanet into a real success story for the future.

Friday, 9 September 2016

The First Leaves of Autumn

The first leaves of autumn are falling, beginning to drift up in the corner of the drive with a restless whisper, reminding me to hurry up with all those final summer tasks before the weather breaks and winter rain and winds return. Deadheading, scattering seeds, clearing weeds, mowing, raking, picking any hops still clinging on in the tree. The list will lengthen as the days shorten. So, just time to sneak in a quick look back at summer...

 bluetits nesting
frog visiting the pond

new rose


japanese anenome


brimstone butterfly
white rose

new pink climber rose


comma butterfly
french marigold

red admiral
snap dragon

click for short video of  bees and birdsong in the garden

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Movie review & DVD round up

Star Trek Beyond (12A)

Director ~ Justin Lin
Website ~ StarTrekBeyond

Three years into their five year mission, the USS Enterprise arrives at Yorktown space station for some R&R after failing on a diplomatic mission involving a mysterious artifact. When a rescue pod is picked up, the survivor claims her ship and crew are stranded on an unknown planet in a nebula and the Enterprise is dispatched to rescue them. Once there, they encounter a ruthless enemy, Krall, who will stop at nothing to obtain the artifact to create a weapon of ultimate destruction.

A high octane movie, heavy on special effects for its thrills and spills, the cast ably run around ships, planets and space stations as they battle against a hungry foe. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella all star to make this an enjoyable chapter of the Star Trek franchise.

Three out of five stars,

DVD Round-Up

The Dressmaker (12)
Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse

Revenge comedy set in a small town in 50's Australia. Dressmaker Myrtle Dunnage (Kate Winslett) returns to her home town to get revenge for a murder she may or may not have been sent away for as a child. Looking after her ailing mother and making outfits for the locals she tries to exact revenge while unravelling the secrets of the past. Hugo Weaving is the cross dressing local policeman, Judy Davis is Myrtle's mad, bad mother and Liam Hemsworth is the local love interest. A chick flic with unusual twists and turns, it keeps the attention and does not end up where you think it will. There are also some gruesome deaths along the way.
Four out of five sequinned spangles.

Bridge of Spies (12)
Director: Steven Spielberg

Superb portrayal of real events during the cold war when Colonel Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance) is arrested and accused of being a Russian spy. He is defended by lawyer Jim Donovan (Tom Hanks) who defends him successfully enough to avoid the death penalty. Donovan is then recruited by the CIA to organise an exchange of prisoners in East Berlin as the wall is being built and tensions mount on both sides. Brilliant, do not miss it.
Five out of five unofficially sanctioned stars.

The Hateful Eight (18)
Director: Quentin Tarantino

Didn't get past about the first half hour, which was slow, dull and, er slow...
Zero stars out of five.

Also recommend:

The Lady in the Van (12) ***** 
Trouble for Alan Bennett when a homeless woman parks her van outside his house. 

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (12) *****
More teen distopian scifi action.

Conviction (15) *****
Solid court drama as sister tries to overturn her brother's murder charge.

Sicario (15) *****
Bleak look at the violent world of the Mexican/USA border through the eyes of a young FBI agent.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Of Norfolk

The whisper of silver leaves under wide skies
In ancient tongues asking me
Where are your dreams now
Wild lass, wild lass
 Only wreathed as silver strands in your hair
The willows are calling me
Back to the water lands
Windmills to the sea
Where river and sand flat and blue martins ply
Under the old cobbles
A shore of brick and stone
In memory of a place once we called home

Where are your dreams now
Wild lass, wild lass
Only wreathed as silver strands in your hair
Lost to the pine wind in the wild sea air

All your dreams travelled
A gathering storm
But your heart is a vaulted cathedral where angels sing
And love, ripe red and burnished
Beats to the steady drum
And here is hope, the living prayer, unfurled to the wind

The whisper of silver leaves under wide skies
In ancient tongues asking me
Where are your dreams now
Wild lass, wild lass
And I shout into the returning tide
Of the mud and salt and iron hard bone
Of barrel wood, frayed rope
And shells turned to stone
Of the stained glass and old songs
And cornfields' ripe gold
Where river and sand flat and blue martins ply
Under the old cobbles
A shore of brick and stone
Now memories of a place once we called home