Archives for posts with tag: Ramsgate

You know how much I love Whitstable?  That would be one of my ‘weak tea‘ successes:  my relationship with Whitstable.

I love it there.  I know everyone.  We really know each other.  For good and for bad.

Well, today I received some very, very sad news.  My Mother‘s friend Carol who owns the Tudor Tea Rooms on Harbour Street…well..and this is terrible…her son Tony died.

Known affectionately as Wally to everyone who knew him, he was only 40 years old, tall, gentle, ran his mother’s business with aplomb.

When you order a pot of tea at The Tudor Tea Rooms you get a pot of tea made with loose tea and a strainer.  Quality.

We used to say that they served school dinners at the Tudor but we loved going in there.  Fire burning in the hearth all winter.  Closed on a Wednesday.  Real steak and kidney pudding with a thick suet crust.

Wally was killed during the day on the train tracks at the end of Glebe Way.  Struck by the coast-bound 11.22am Victoria to Ramsgate train just before 1pm.  I have no idea if he committed suicide or not.  That’s what people are saying but I really don’t want to believe it.

He was such a nice man.  Wally and his sister Sue had run that Tudor Tea Room since they were kids.  Since we were all kids.  Serving Steak and Kidney Pudding…opening the tea garden.  He was the sort of bloke you’d see in Prezzo Pizza Place with his young family.

As every Whitstable pub and every other shop front became yet another super chic gastro pub or seasonal/organic eaterie…the Tudor kept the same decor, the same menu, serving the same Whitstable us who didn’t want the bother of seared scallops or poached samphire.

My Mother and I saw Wally just a few weeks ago when I was home for Christmas.  He served us a good old-fashioned English roast.   My mother mocked me for drinking tea with my lunch…like ‘some one from a council house‘ she said.

He stood at the till and asked after my life in LA.  I felt embarrassed to tell him what my life was like in California.  What he didn’t know…what he could never have known…was what I was thinking that cold December day a week before Christmas:  that I would have quite easily traded my life in Malibu for a chance at running the Tudor Tea Rooms.

From where I was standing…his life looked perfect.

When I was a kid we would sit in the Tudor Tea Rooms and spy on Peter Cushing eating his poached eggs.

Poached eggs on toast.  Every day.

My mother accidentally pushed Peter Cushing off his bike one day when she was getting off the bus from Canterbury.

Anyway, Wally was killed on the railway lines.  The third person killed in the same spot in less than two months.  What’s happening?  What a waste of a good life, a sweet family man.  I feel for his wife and children, his sister Sue and his lovely mum Carol.

If you get the chance listen to this Jellybotty’s track, Peter Cushing Lives in Whitstable.

It mentions the Tudor Tea Rooms.

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Goodbye Wally.

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I love Shoreditch too.  I love Soho.  I love rioting students.

I love (particularly) the paint splattered Rolls that the parasite Prince Charles and the hag Camilla were caught in the other day by the ‘off with their heads’ militant protestors.  hahaah.

I am really loving being home. It has settled something in me.

After my fuck session (which will do me for some time I might add) I wandered happily all over Shoreditch.

I stopped in at a number of cool looking shops:  like the funky Japanese run clothes shop that sold padded linen overwear, the odd man’s pop up shop that sold Swedish soldiers head-gear and ‘vintage’ socks.

A shop that sells second-hand mens socks.  Eww.

I dropped into White Cube and resisted calling Jay.  The show was spectacularly lame.   The entire space devoted to a 37 year old artist called Rachel Kneebone.  Lamentations 2010 is the name of the downstairs show.  Huge white porcelain tangled/mangled/reconstituted genitals on huge marble plinths set against slate grey walls..beautifully lit.  The usual soulless, inchoate nonsense you might expect to find in White Cube.  They reminded one..obviously of the Chapman brothers and their obsession with the dark, chaotic imagery of the unconscious.

White Cube

Jay is already showing new artists who cannibalize existing White Cube artists.  Apparently Kneebone is expressing the ‘trauma of death, loss and grief’ and shown differently these works might very well have achieved her aim but so elegantly displayed they had the guts knocked right out of them.  I went upstairs to see the rest of the show but was told to leave as I had the dog with me.  I wasn’t leaving the Little Dog outside so I left.

I wandered around.  I met a man in the street who offered to blow me but I hadn’t showered that morning after a night of sex… I declined more for his benefit.

I found a wonderful shop called Labour and Wait which can be found at:

Labour and Wait

This charming store is really worth a visit.  I thought, when I found the 1940’s lilac, enameled milk-boiling pot pictured below:  Oooh, I thought, my friend Marilyn Phipps would like this.

As if by magic..who did I bump into today?

Marilyn Phipps!

Marilyn has the most wonderful home in Seasalter called The Battery.

The Battery, a nineteenth-century naval building, is a huge, bright blue, wooden house that sits right on the Whitstable beach and faces onto a 120ft secluded sea-front.  The Battery is a shrine to Forties ‘utility’. The kitchen was put in during the Forties when the house was used as a holiday retreat for disadvantaged children.

Marilyn has carried on the Forties theme throughout the house. The two huge wooden doors between the dining room and kitchen were made in the Forties for Ramsgate post office. The kitchen walls are lined with teapots, sugar shakers, vinegar jars, and salt cellars.

A huge kitchen clock was bought locally and the chunky table was already there.

The Battery can be incredibly hard to keep warm. Marilyn solved her problem by installing an enormous wood-burner for the dining room. She painted it midnight blue, making it more abstract sculpture than functional heater…she calls it The Beast.

The Battery has a fascinating history and features in the book Wooden Houses. It was built as two big wooden sheds at the end of the nineteenth century.  The first housed two cannons, the second was a drill hall for sailors, and during WW1 it was a convalescent home for wounded soldiers.

Marilyn still get’s people visiting who remember it from their childhood holidays in the Forties, saying they had the happiest time of their life here.

Wait!  Did I tell you that they found a strangled woman in the room I was staying in at Soho House NYC?  I can’t wait to stay there again.