‘Pancakes’ she said. Pancakes? Why on earth is this rather odd, flatulent and hairy old specimen shouting Pancakes at me? Well that’s what my inner dialogue thought, and frankly, why wouldn’t it. Its not often I’m stopped in the High Street by a wildly gesticulating person with an aroma of stale ‘Crawfords’ biscuits seemingly demanding to know the answer to the the phrase ‘Pancakes’. What can one say to such nonsense but ‘Shrove Tuesday’. So Shrove Tuesday is what i said, shrove being the past tense of the verb Shrive, which apparently has something to do with pancakes, look, really, I don’t know, don’t put me on the spot.

Why is it that mad old biddies are allowed to parade in full view of the more sane members of the general public, why are they allowed to carry what could be termed an offensive weapon in the form of an iron skillet, and why on gods green and tarmacced earth does someone feel the need to rush up and down throwing a flour and egg based product into the air whilst members of the local press gaze on with their Mega-pixie digital thingummies taking inane snaps of those poor unfortunates unable to fathom the travesty of serving a chicken ovum without devilled kidneys.

Be warned dear reader, there is clearly something askew with food nowadays. Yes I realise the old pancake tossers come from a bygone age of making do and using up what’s in the larder, but that doesn’t explain the need for them to carry on this way in this age of microwave technology and fully nutritious ready-meals. In my humble experience of using up the leftover supplies I’d say the best recipe I could come up with was to empty the contents of the broken teacup at the bottom of the fridge into the jagged tin of baked beans of indeterminate age and cook it in a pot until it stops wiggling, of course always go for the subtler hues when it comes to cooking as the fluffy green look tends to taste a little musty, a bit like Benson the butler after he locked himself in that cupboard for a week, (he survived by sucking on mothballs and the turf from the bottom of my wellies).

‘Shrove Tuesday’ is what I said, this stopped the harridan in her tracks. Confess your sins is what it meant, Confess foul harridan, confess and weep for thou art a sinner, oh and stop throwing that batter mix in the air and pass me a lemon.

Yes, to shrive is to confess ones sins. Shrove Tuesday falls before Ash Wednesday, which presumably falls before ‘Who’s going to clean this batter and soot mess up Thursday’ and ‘I’m not speaking to you’ Friday. These odd, everso slightly beffuddled days are the precursor to Lent. Lent being a period of time in the christian calendar when you it’s acceptable to retreive those garden implements that next door borrowed from you back in August last year.

It’s also a time when it’s suggested that for spiritual and mental health we should ‘Give something up’, a tradition I wholeheartedly embrace each year when for about a month I abstain from Gin. Spiritually I feel refreshed, invigorated and cleansed from this foul spirit, however, in contrast my absinthe consumption does rise dramatically, as does my need for psychiatric help. An old chum of mine swears blind that the hallucenigenic additive ‘Wormwood’ which gives the aforementioned spirit that extra zing and also quite readily sent the likes of Modigliani and Van Gogh to an early grave is a fine way of combatting the rigours of modern life, a fact that is bourne out by his ability to ignore the sort of mad old dear in Broadstairs High street who regularly acosts gentlemen of easy persuasiuon such as myself.

I guess it’s a little akin to the pussy drug ‘Catnip’ that my old moggie ‘Mr Bix’ laps up in great quantities from within the tightly crochetted cat toy her ladyship often knocks up for the ginger beast. It certainly creates one space cadet fluff ball of dribble and claws. However one mans meat is another mans poison (or should that be poisson), in that, the other family pet ‘Molly Measles’ (feline, female variety) who doesn’t get it at all, instead looks on in wonderment and shame at the male in the family making such a fool of himself on a cheap addictive drug.

It’s almost like they’re human

As for the woman in the street, she eventually left me alone, probably on account of her pancake ending up in my pocket for later along with half a lemon and a sachet of sugar, it’ll go nicely with a half pint of Wormwood liquor.

But only during Lent of course.


Snuggle up

How to stay warm

Winter winds have already begun worming their way through the knarled wood of the ancient sash windows up at the manor house. To make matters worse Benson recently informed me of the increase in the costs of logs from the local woodcutter, which suprised me as I assumed Woodcutters died out once fairytales had stopped being told. I didn’t know woodcutting was still a viable business, especially in Thanet, if anywhere was ever going to live up to that line about ‘Tree Museums’ from the Joni Mitchell song then surely we’re living there.

To add to our woes i hear that some rather mean minded executive types in nasty shiny suits have decided that a few Gazillion pounds profits isn’t quite enough to satisfy their cravings for all things diamond encrusted. I am of course referring to the top dogs at the energy companies, a band of individuals whose moral compass long since broke, probably in an avalanche of gold ingots.

They then have the nerve to attempt to throw us off the scent by suggesting that it’s all to do with the wholesale price of energy and of course the green subsidies that they say should be cut, thus reducing our bill (And upping their profit). So according to them we shouldn’t worry about finding ways of creating renewable energy or investing in a cleaner future. As we wouldn’t want to upset the shareholders would we.

Sorry that all sounds a bit lefty doesn’t it, we can’t have someone being a bit lefty of they’ll be accused by the popular press and Con/Libs of being a Socialist, a Stalinist or even a Commie – which makes it all the more gobsmacking that the government have chosen to have the first new nuclear power station in Britain in a generation built by a consortium of French Socialist state owned EDF Energy and Communist China backing.

It doesn’t really say a lot for our free market capitalist system when we wholly embrace the idea that state ownership of energy actually manages to work for other countries.. It says even less that we are willing to accept Communist China investment in our own infrastructure.

French energy prices have risen in the last year (by about ten percent), but on average French prices are around 15 – 20% cheaper than UK tariffs. And who gets the profits? The French population of course as the state owns the Energy companies. Recent polls suggest that around 60% of the UK population agrees that Energy should never have been sold off to the highest bidder but should have remained as state owned.

The argument for public ownership has always jiggled around with the idea that private ownership is much more efficient, with a better service for less cost. This idea has been shown to be absolute tosh on every level. From railways, where state subsidies on the rail network alone have doubled since privatisation, to water companies which were privatised in 1989, yet to this day are still losing 25% of the total water distributed to leaks.(German state owned Water companies have a much reduced 10% loss) In 2006 Thames Water was fined after losing 900 Mega Litres per day for three consecutive years without any improvement – a state of affairs that resulted in a lack of profit you might assume. No, not a bit of it, that year Thames Water declared a 31% rise in pre tax profits to £347 Million. Water companies have since posted pre tax profits of around £2 Billion pounds with £1.5 Billion being paid out as dividends. That’s whilst you water bill has risen by approxiomately £64 per year for a service with virtually no overall discernable improvement. You might argue that there has been definite water improvements locally from the days where sludgy grey sand on Joss Bay made making sandcastles a rather sloppy smelly experience, and yes that’s sort of true (Although they still can’t manage to stop discharging raw sewage at times). But many of our water companies have relied on government subsidies to fund major projects, whilst making huge profits and paying out dividends.

The Energy companies all but stopped investment in future energy production as soon as they got their sticky little mits on the Booty, they’ve since pretty much created a monopoly where shopping around for a better deal has become a near pointless exercise as prices have merged into one average price controlled solely by the ‘Big Six’. Whilst profits, dividends and golden handshake payouts have reigned free just as the cost to you has skyrocketed off the chart nearly doubling over the past seven years. And yes, just like the water companies they go cap in hand looking for government subsidies every time there’s a project that needs completing.

What can you do about it?

Well here’s my top tips for a cheaper warmer winter:-

1. Threesomes. Look it up on the Internet thingy. All that extra warmth at night from another body, if only we could harness the friction.

2. Knitting. Whilst your loved one (Male or Female) is clacking away with their knitting needles, quietly pop down the pub. Its warm down there.

3. Set fire to stuff. We live in a throwaway society apparantly. So don’t throw it out – burn it. Old sofa’s, Broken I-Pads, your collection of ‘Only Fools and Horses’ videos and back issues of ‘Build the Tower of Babel in five hundred and sixty parts’. They can all be burnt – though you might want to open a window to let out the poisonous fumes.

4. Gin. There’s always Gin. Just make sure you drink it in bed.

5. Artichokes. Coupled with an as yet undesigned contraption that harnesses the explosive wind formed from these starchy trouser trumpet inducing tubers and hey presto your gas bill will be as light as a balloon filled with methane.

6. Neighbours. Everybody needs good neighbours. Why use two houses when one will do. Overwinter with old Mrs Huggins. Sure, she smells a bit like old biscuits and ‘Vim’, but that three bar electric fire is enough for two

7. Move south. The Isle of Wight is about as far south as you can get in this country. It’s even possible that their energy bills are much cheaper over there considering most of the place is stuck in about 1955.

8. Loft lagging. It works for lofts so why not for humans. One roll is all you need plus two bungee cords. Simply wrap around the body and hold in place with the magic bungees. Youll be toasty in no time and invunerable to damage when falling down the stairs.

9. Cats. You know that weird old biddy down the road with the thirty cats? She’s onto something there. It could get a bit niffy but you’ll be warm at night with thirty moggies fighting for space on the duvet.

10. Menthol and Eucalyptos. When we were nippers, we were so poor, Old uncle Joe would suck on a ‘Victory V’ and we would all sit round his toungue.


Water water everywhere and kicking up a stink

It were a grim day on the Foreland, the clouds had a heavy dull greyness about them, you could feel the weight of the water in the heavens about to download onto the waiting heads of those gathered to hear the latest news from head office.

‘It costs a lot of money turning sewerage into something non-icky’. Said Mr Said a spokesperson for a local utility company somewhere in Northforelandshire

“We’re very sorry” continued spokesperson Said.

“We’ve had a tough year. That money you give us each month via direct debit; well it just ain’t enough to cover costs of turning doings into non-doings. What we need is an increase in earnings before we can make a hole in ground any bigger, and as for the pumps, well the crossbeam is forever going out of skew on the treadle and badly needs replacement but that’s far too technical for people like you to understand, these things cost money y’know, and money is sorely lacking in the water supply business’. Only last month our chairman had to make do with the smallest of brand new Jaguars to ferry him from one meeting with shareholders to the next, and those meetings were held in only the lowliest five start hotels in Dubai and Hong Kong, very meagre rations indeed, i think you’ll all agree.”

At this point one scoundrel from a local village rudely raised their hands in the air, interupting the flow of interesting and informative information emitting from the humble representative.

The gentlemen in question was a Mr Higgins from Broadstairs “Excuse me” said the rude serf. “Didnt you make about a Gazillion Billion pounds profit just the other year?”

“In answer to that Ill informed question” Mr Said retorted “Don’t be a ridiculous buffoon, it was but a meagre one hundred and twenty six million profit, nowhere near as much as you suggest; Guards, take that man away and drown him”

“But my lord” replied the gruff, unshaven and sweaty looking six foot lackey in the grubby overalls. “Water costs twenty quid a bucket now, can’t we just pump him out to sea with all the other crap, y’know, like we normally do”

“Good point; take that man away and pump ‘im out to sea”

“Anyway, where was I, ……Ah yes, it looks like a fine drizzle is setting in ladies and gentlemen, Er, Im afraid i’ll have to retire inside now as, er, we’ve got some, err, terribly important paperwork to complete” And with that Mr Said dissappered to within the inner sanctum of North Forelandfordshire.

The fine drizzle now started to descend more rapidly, changing into a mild drizzle.

Meanwhile, Somewhere on a beach

Miss Dowra and her brave fellow Clancy are picnicking on a beach, having already parked their sign-written van on double yellows,……… it’s almost as if they’re waiting for something.

“Clancy, Oh Clancy, wherever are you Mr Clancy” ventured a pretty young thing searching high and low for her beau.

“Worry not your pretty little head Miss Docwra, I am a coming to see you now” came the firm and steady reply from a wirey yet muscular chap wearing a flowing white shirt with braces, revealing a triangle of firm toned chest.

“Oh Clancy, There you are, we’ve just had a call from a Mr Said, he warns us to be on the lookout for anything afloating past, he says we’d better do better than last time or it’s a horsewhippin’ for us both”

“Not again Miss Dowra, dont you pay that man no nevermind, nobody ain’t touching a pretty hair on your head, now get those thick rubber gloves on and brink yer bucket, there’s doings to be collected”

“Just wait but a moment Clancy, there’s another call coming in from Mr Said”

,….Hello, what can i do for you sir, it’s Miss Dowra here……..What? Stop what we’re doing and go home? Why sir, we surely will, we’ll make a long weekend of it, maybe go to the beach and enjoy the great British summer by the seaside, though not round here, there’s crap all over the beach y’know”. And with that she hung up.

“Well Clancy, looks like we gotta stop”

“But Why Miss Dowra, why on earth would he make us do a cotton-pickin’ thing like that”

“He says, dish out some hosepipes and buckets to the local serfdom, not only can they clean it up, but we can charge them for the water they use doing so now the meters are installed; Oh happy days Clancy”

“Happy days indeed” said Mr Said to another sullen employee as he gave the pump another kick….Just as the rain got heavier


Old bags – A reminder for those who get confused

Just for those of you who need a reminder about what goes in which bin / bag / box.

It’s simple. The old Blue top bin is replaced by the Blue box bin, Brown and smaller Grey lidded bin. The big Black bin is still the big Black bin, but there’s more stuff now that can go in the Blue box bin and the Red bag bin – which incidentally are both green bins whilst not actually being green bins. The Red bag bin doesn’t replace any bin, as there wasn’t a bin for the items that now go in the Red bag bin. The Brown lidded bin is a larger, outside version of the Grey lidded bin, for food waste such as peelings and bones; this is used with small
bio-degradable bags, not plastic bags. Plastic bags go in the old Black top bin unless they are bio-degradable, they then can go in the Brown lidded bin. The Red bag bin is a Red bag, which is a bin for paper products but not cartons or big books, which go in the Blue box bin. The Green big bin is an extra bin you can buy for garden clippings etc., these clippings aren’t to go in the big Black bin or the Blue box bin or big Black bag or Red bag bin or any other bin.
The big Black bin or big Black bag is collected weekly, along with the Grey lidded bin which should be emptied into the Brown lidded bin. The Blue box bin is collected on alternate weeks to the Red bag bin, so these two bag/bins should not be put out together for the weekly collection.
Blue bins and Black bags and bins, blue and brown boxes and red bags should be retrieved into the boundary of your property as soon as possible after collection
Now, is that clear?

Rhyming nursery style

Just the other day we encountered a surprise visit from the eldest child , who had become bored with his offspring and had decided it would be best to bring them over to our retreat to gorge their way through my personal stash of sweets and cheese, yes, cheese. The smaller one of the two can sniff out a chocolate eclair at twenty paces, and I can assure you, dear reader, that once that treasure trove of confectionary has been sniffed out there’s no getting a look in, a plague of locusts are less hungry.
Now, to stop the little Herberts from going in search and probably discovering the stash of cherries in the bread bin, I attempted to distract the little darlings by reaching down nannie’s old book of nursery rhymes in the vain hope that some nonsense ditties from yesteryear might help them forget about their stomachs for five minutes.
What could be more harmless and cheering than a book of nursery rhymes you may well assume, as did I, that was until I was coerced into revisiting them by the two munchkins. Here’s what I learnt: two children allowed out on their own before a reasonable age are taught that the best place to find water is at a higher altitude than surrounding geography. The clumsy devils proceed to have an accident and consider the best treatment under the circumstance is to run home, go to their bedrooms and apply a solution of Acetic Acid with a sheet of Craft paper. Yes, we’re teaching our children to search for water up a hill and then to administer first aid thought up by an utter loon.
There’s young Tom, who I assume to be the son of a local plumber; well this little chap thought he’d ignore all the X-Boxes and mobile phone shops and go straight to the local live farmyard animal purveyor so he could snaffle a pig. What he was going to do with this particular member of the Suidae family I have no idea, but steal it he did and then attempted to flee the scene on foot. Of course, young Tom had no chance of escape and was soon caught up with, however, this resulted in no prosecution but instead domestic violence ensued and the pig killed and eaten – and this is what I sang to two under sixes. Little Tommy Tittlemouse (which caused much hilarity) stole from other people’s fishing lakes without remorse and a ‘Little Old Woman’ considered the best accommodation to bring up an inordinate amount of children in (whoever these children were, as the lady was clearly post menopausal) was a large shoe like structure. The woman clearly struggled with her life as an unpaid mother to so many children as she never fed them a nutritious diet and regularly physically assaulted them. Charges were never brought.
The oldest munchkin was soon bored with such rot and eyed me with a look of boredom and wry amusement, as if to say “what are you saying you silly old duffer”, and frankly she had a point, these rhymes seemed such fun when I was a nipper, suffice it to say, just like me, they haven’t aged well. Perhaps its time for some more up to date nursery rhymes involving ‘Chantelles’ who manage to get into a frightful pickle after spending all their cash on an online betting shop

Chantelle and Will,
Went on William Hill,
and both became terrible debtors.
Chantelle, no job,
Will – quite a slob,
Had ignored all the letters.
A loan was sought,
and online bought,
To pay for all their token.
Now they have to pay,
almost twice a day,
to stop they legs being broken

Missing Issues and other stuff

The first sixteen page Broadie first appeared in June 2008. We were far from sure how the idea of a magazine for Broadstairs would go down, but after nearly five years we’ve been amazed how well Broadie residents have responded to their own little publication, what has especially been quite astounding is the way in which the mag’ seems to have been taken into your hearts, (And the lack of complaints we’ve had – except maybe a couple of threats of legal action)<!–more–>

At present the magazine runs between 24 -32 pages, but we are open to making it larger depending on how many people would like to contribute, and whether we can use the content that is contributed. We print 5000 copies which are mostly distributed free to homes in the CT10 area, we do however like to switch the areas that get free copies each issue so everyone gets a free one now and again, but fear not, there’s many places to pick up a copy, sometimes for free and sometimes for an excessively reasonable sixty pennies.

We really do enjoy getting new articles, it’s always a joy to read someone elses contribution, however, please don’t be downheatened if we dont use the prose that you’ve lovingly put together, not everything is always suitable, it’s sometimes very possibly libellous and on the occasion we dont believe ‘Broadstairs’ is quite ready to hear what some of you have got to say.

If you ask us why we haven’t used your ramblings we’ll gladly give our reasons and we’ll also suggest ways in which we could perhaps use it with maybe a few changes.

Okay, so we’re not professional journalist (‘Yes it shows’ some have sniffed) but that’s not what we’re about. It’s a community thing and we’re very proud to be part of your and our community.

There’s a few issues missing on the downloadable ‘Back Issues’ section. However we are working on getting them all together and publishing them for your perusal.

At the mo’ the font on the covers on some of the issues all looks a bit wafty. It’s okay, it’s not actually like that when you download it, we’re not 100% sure why its gone a bit skewy but we suspect someone will tell us.

metro map broadie

Remember this? Ooow this caused us a bit of a headache after quite a few people took the whole thing a bit seriously. Personally we thought that the adverts around the edge of the underground map might have helped to ‘Give it away’. Although the worrying thing is – those adverts were for real once.

Gentlemen, don’t forget:- When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler.

And ladies:- MARRIED? – No reason to neglect stockings!

Whatever happened to my typewriter

So here we are on that infernal contraption that she bought last year with her winter heating allowance. Typing out varying degrees of nonsense to a potential audience of billions which will be read by three slightly bored and dissappointed teenagers who’d mistyped ‘Boobie’ into their Google thingamy, (whatever the hell that means), and a couple of crotchety old fools, a bit like myself, who’ve got nothing better to do until ‘Countdown’ comes on.

So, what on earth are we supposed to put on this electronic wonderland that is our website?

Ever since the dawn of time when we bashed rocks against each other for fun, mankind has attempted to communicate – be that by painting terribly childish pictures on cave walls or by carving silly little pictures into bloody great lumps of rock in the middle of a dessert – ridiculous – they could build the pyramids but couldn’t spell the word sand without drawing four hyroglyphics. One particular Pharoah chap by the name of ‘Xerox’ invented paper, Caxton invented printing, and Peter, 42, from Ramsgate invented writing obscene messages on the back of the toilet door in my favourite watering hole, although quite what he expects me to do with the information he provides is beyond me. Yes, really physically beyond me.

But what these examples all have in common is communication, and my oh my, don’t we all like to communicate a lot in this day and age. I’m amazed how we ever survived, during my childhood when we were sent off for weeks at a time into the wild blue yonder with nothing but a wedge of Cheese, three stale loaves and half a pound of Beef dripping all lovingly wrapped in a canvas tent brought back from the Boer war. Father would hand out the guns as he said goodbye at the door of the manor house. “You can never be too careful of those Badgers” he would say “Now off with you, and dont come back till you’ve got some hair on your chin and some blood on your hands”. Of course most of us heeded his warnings of wild animal attacks on our camping adventures, all except young ‘Bingy Bingo’ who took great pleasure in poking at animal sets with his pointed stick – he came off a lot worse than that angry, angry Badger I can tell you, but did we have a telecommunication device to call for help? No. However, we didn’t really need one,  father came running when he heard the screams as we performed an emergency amputation to remove ‘Bingys’ four mauled fingers with a blunt scout knife. Still, he never poked at an angry Badger again. More to do with not being able to pick up a stick than anything else – ended up quite dead after dropping his rifle on the Sargeant Majors foot during passing out parade…..now there was an angry man.

But I digress.

Yes, what to put on here apart from the badly spelled and awfully punctuated ramblings of a silly old fool?

Ideas please?

The Brigadier