Old Bricks of Margate

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The Bongs of Big Ben

They rang out so loudly

For the stroke of 12 Noon

But we won’t hear them again

Anytime Soon

 

Four Years they’ll be silent

Until they ring out again

The sound of our History

The Bongs of Big Ben

 

No longer the sound

Of striking the hour

With workmen so busy

In Queen Elizabeth Tower

 

160 years rolled by

So much has happened since then

But whatever the year

We always will hear

The Proud Sonorous Bongs of Big Ben.

 

Copyright © IanmAllan 2017

 

 

High Noon in Eastbourne (part 2)

THE GHILLIE FILE

It came as a shock to discover that the monsoon season in Eastbourne fell upon the exact same week that we chose to stay there. There is nothing quite like a bracing gale force wind to send you upon your way. ‘Invigorating’ is perhaps not the first word that jumped into my mind as I descended the Hotel’s winding paved ramp down to a drenched terra firma.

Why would anybody want to trek all the way to sun-soaked Mauritius when it is twice as expensive to stay in pouring rain on a chilly day in flooded Eastbourne.  I was aghast to see that there were quite a few swimmers pitching and tossing in the waves which roared in from the English Channel ; presumably the thinking being that they were going to get wet anyway so why not do it in style.

After trundling along the pier to see if…

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High Noon in Eastbourne (part 2)

It came as a shock to discover that the monsoon season in Eastbourne fell upon the exact same week that we chose to stay there. There is nothing quite like a bracing gale force wind to send you upon your way. ‘Invigorating’ is perhaps not the first word that jumped into my mind as I descended the Hotel’s winding paved ramp down to a drenched terra firma.

Why would anybody want to trek all the way to sun-soaked Mauritius when it is twice as expensive to stay in pouring rain on a chilly day in flooded Eastbourne.  I was aghast to see that there were quite a few swimmers pitching and tossing in the waves which roared in from the English Channel ; presumably the thinking being that they were going to get wet anyway so why not do it in style.

After trundling along the pier to see if we could make it to the far end and back without calling out the Coastguard we made our way along undulating paving towards the town centre.  The dropped kerb situation in the town is very impressive whereas in comparison the other pavements previously encountered could perhaps be described as ‘Extreme Off-Roading’. The roads themselves are safer than the pavements notwithstanding the downside of having 20 ton lorries bearing down on you making the near death experience more interesting.

Another by-product of turbo-charged wheel-chairing is the realisation that not all areas are as accessible as they should be. It is all very well thinking ‘Have Wheelchair- Will Travel’ but the practicalities are often somewhat different. Busy and bustling shops often build displays right in the middle of what you anticipated would be a right of way. I have become adept at manoeuvring around these obstacles with such skill that I often do it at speed and see a quivering sales-assistant visibly unnerved.

While in Eastbourne I like to do some photography which usually is fine but with the inclement weather, this too proved to be challenging.  Why would I even bother studying how to produce a complicated yet stunning misty lens effect using neutral density filters when all I had to do was to forget to clean the damp lens ! It’s a no-brainer.

 

Copyright © IanmAllan 2017

 

High Noon in Eastbourne (part 1)

The minibus screeched to a halt outside our Eastbourne Hotel. I was shaken but as far as I could tell my wheelchair was still in one piece. The hotel occupied a prime seafront site overlooking the promenade gardens, the beach-huts and a flock of screeching seagulls.

Checking in we were shown our room which had been described as disabled friendly. This basically means that the bedroom part is the size of a broom-cupboard while the en-suite shower room is the size of the banqueting hall at Hogwarts. It has to be said that I didn’t know whether to shower, play water polo or quidditch .

During previous visits to the town I had become accustomed to the well positioned dropped kerbs enabling a reasonably safe transition from pavement to crossing the road. Unfortunately, due to financial cutbacks or global warming such provision is no longer guaranteed to be safe or indeed in place at all. As the pavement or road crumbles the resulting trench can produce a health and safety hazard of alarming proportions.

Crumbling pavements and roads are by no means the only problems I encountered. By far the most exciting challenge was avoiding trees which grew out of the pavement with such vigour that the roots had lifted the paving which now had seriously lifted cracks in it.

Having pressed the button and seen the green man I launched myself off the kerb onto the zebra crossing by an impressive shifting of bodyweight I embarked on this near death experience. Instead of hearing continual bleeping while crossing the road it would be far more fun to listen to the theme tune of ‘High Noon’ and a great deal more apt as one becomes a moving target.

While casually trundling along the promenade I turned around to see that speeding along and threatening to overtake me was an elderly lady on a mobility scooter. Her long white hair trailing behind her this demon of disability must have been doing about 80mph.

As she overtook me her scooter contraption was beyond description. It looked as if she had built it from meccano and balsa wood. It wobbled as it wound its weaving way along the promenade and out of sight.

Another great feature of wheel-chairing is the unbelievable joy of having people walking in front of you or stopping dead ahead and looking at you as if wondering why you were occupying their space. You feel like shouting to them “Go round !” which shouldn’t be necessary but apparently it is. My jet-propelled Tesco trolley does have a pathetic sounding hooter but it comes nowhere near the sound of an industrial strength two tone siren which I would like but have been banned from getting.

 

Copyright ©IanmAllan 2017

Whatever was there isn’t there now.

THE GHILLIE FILE

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Great metal structures with girders of iron
Built in a past age but crumbling now
Rusted and worn and no longer used
Whatever was there isn’t there now.

Relics of the times that now are gone
Gone are the men with sweat on their brow.
Victorian engineering at its very best
Whatever was there isn’t there now.

Built out from the promenade
Like a great branching bough
Consigned to memories gone
For whatever was there isn’t there now.

Copyright © IanmAllan 2017

View original post

Whatever was there isn’t there now.

IMG_4249

 

Great metal structures with girders of iron
Built in a past age but crumbling now
Rusted and worn and no longer used
Whatever was there isn’t there now.

Relics of the times that now are gone
Gone are the men with sweat on their brow.
Victorian engineering at its very best
Whatever was there isn’t there now.

Built out from the promenade
Like a great branching bough
Consigned to memories gone
For whatever was there isn’t there now.

Copyright © IanmAllan 2017

Beachcomber

THE GHILLIE FILE

Ghillie is leaving his quill and pot of ink for a week to explore the windswept beach of Eastbourne and the old Victorian pier. In the unlikely event that Ghillie survives the trip he is looking forward to sharing with you the edge of the seat excitement of wheeling a jet propelled Tesco trolley along the promenade without causing injury to innocent bystanders.

GF6

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