Thanet Star

Cold Feet

There's something about the cold that I just love. Going outside in the frozen air, wrapped up in a thick coat and scarf and gloves; it's bracing yet refreshing. And then, of course, you get to go back inside where it is warm and cosy. Crank up the heating and cocoon within a solid building.

At this time, though, I always think of those who aren't inside, or cannot turn up the temperature.

Many years ago, in my foolish youth, I got into a situation where I had to make it outside overnight. It was this exact time of year; there was frost and ice and snow, and I had no chance of gaining proper shelter. It was very late on a Sunday night when everything for miles was closed. This was a town far away from Thanet, that I didn't know, back when you needed a computer and a cable to connect to the internet. Plus I was out of battery on my brick-of-a-mobile phone, had no access to money, and there were many other extenuating circumstances.

I walked as far as I could, for hours into the darkness, but was surrounded by a bitter cold that sunk into the bones and drained the muscles of energy, sapping the life out of the body.

Fortunately, when I had reached the point of exhaustion, I found a car that had been involved in a crash. It was all dented and one of the windows was smashed, and it looked like it had rolled over a few times. It clearly wasn't going anywhere. I opened the door, climbed into the back and out of the weather, and tried to sleep for a few hours. In the early hours of the morning I left and never looked back.

I do not claim to have a detailed knowledge of sleeping rough, nor do I expect sympathy or anything like that. I am simply sharing my meagre experience as a way of identifying with those who are in the same situation, or worse.

Around here there is plenty of support for people trapped outdoors, with the first port of call being Thanet District Council. There are also many charitable organisations, including Thanet Families in Need, Porchlight, and Shelter, amongst others, all of whom do good work and put the people they are helping before anything else. If ever there was a need for these types of charities, it is during this time of year.

Perhaps that's why I like the cold. It reminds me of when I had nothing, when I was forced to sleep in an abandoned car. It brings me back. So whenever I turn my thermostat up a degree, or feel the rush of warm air as I open my front door, I feel for those without that heat that nourishes us in winter.

About Seb: When he is not writing guest posts for Thanet Star Seb Reilly is a fiction writer and occasional musician from Thanet. Seb maintains a website at www.sebreilly.com.
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2016 sort of foretold

Each year I take a guess at what will happen in the coming year. This year is, by far, the hardest to call.

A lot of things that I would normally write about could go either way. 2016 will be interesting, if nothing else.

Amapolas magicas * "Entre amapolas"

...

» Continue Reading: 2016 sort of foretold

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Labour win by-election but lose moral high ground

I was at the count for the by-election in Newington.

The results proved hard to call right up to the end when Labour finally took the win.

That means that UKIP have lost another seat and overall majority at TDC. It is starting to seem that any hope of stability at our district council is a fiction as the purple hold on the council becomes increasingly fragile.

The following observations are entirely my own opinion.

Despite a little inter-party tension early on the ballot was, overall, a civil affair. That is unless you happen to be in a place to earwig on conversations between candidates and supporters.

The bitter tribalism seen in council chambers was in full swing, albeit masked by pleasant smiles and every attempt at good manors. At one point I thought that Labours army of rosettes were going to start an argument with the venue managers over their tenancy to crowd the entranceway. Sure, it was very cold but the polling station is not an appropriate place for a political party to hang around in large numbers.

That's not to say that individual members of these groups were not, on the whole, apparently decent people but as a group this was less apparent.

The comments from the ex-conservative UKIP leader, Chris Wells, in Kent online seem to me to be equal parts sour-grapes and paranoia. The Labour comments, on the other hand, seem equal parts premature celebration and unnecessary crowing. Nether the winner nor the looser in that election can hold any claim of being a good sport - UKIP being a bad loosers and Labour very poor winners.

I understand that politics can be a passionate issue but every single person there is a human being, even if they do hold ideas that are next to impossible to agree with. Also, as representatives of the people (apparently), we should be able to expect better behaviour from our political parties.

Labour might have won the election but they seem to have been willing to needlessly surrender the moral high ground while they did.

We need change at TDC and, right now, I do not think that we are simply not being offered it.

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Sleepwalkers

Thereís a strange lull that occurs in the first few months of the year. The festivities are all passed and spring is a good few months away still, so everyone enters a kind of hibernation phase. People work, go shopping, follow the usual routine, but no one really lives. Itís too early for a holiday and everyone is focused on the year ahead.

We become zombies.

Good times are coming, donít worry. Easter isnít far away, Valentines before that, but until the second week of February we seem to run on autopilot.

The main problem with zombies, other than the consistent need to devour our brains, is they are very difficult to stop en masse. Itís like half the population of Thanet are suddenly mobilised in a dozing, mindless quest to plough on until the next excuse for a party. Maybe weíre all just really hung over from New Year.

A lot of people, however, would rather not become zombies. Even though itís cold and the weather is awful and everywhere is shut some people still want to live instead of sleepwalking through the next month.

Should we all just lock ourselves into a supermarket and construct rudimentary weapons out of gardening equipment and kitchen supplies to defend ourselves from the shuffling hordes?

Probably not, that usually gets you in trouble.

Instead, what about going out into the local community and doing something? There is so much Thanet has to offer at this time of year, or at any time of year, so why not get involved? It will keep your brain alive, at least.

About Seb: When he is not writing guest posts for Thanet Star Seb Reilly is a fiction writer and occasional musician from Thanet. Seb maintains a website at www.sebreilly.com.
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From Thanet to Calais

Jordan Williams shows us that compassion is alive and well in Thanet.

For months I have tried to put into words my experience and time spent in Calais. Even now I cannot truly express what I have seen and also learnt from everything Iíve experienced since the summer of 2015.

It all began back in the Summer of 2015 when the media started show daily coverage of the refugee crisis happening across Europe and right on within arms reach in Calais, which on a clear day I can say of the coast of Ramsgate, my home town. It dawned on me proactive action was needed and if the government was not going to proactively help then I should at least try and do whatever I could.

Jordan Williams, Lib Dem Candidate for Newington, writes about his time in Calais.

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Byte Sized

Hyper-localism

For those interested in blogging local news in and arround the UK this BBC article from last year is sure to be of interest.

General
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Did you know?

Margate was the first seaside resort to introduce deck chairs way back in 1898.

Facts
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Did you know

MP Roger Gail (thanet North) wanted to increase VAT

Facts
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Did you know

MP Roger Gale (Thanet North) has never voted on measures to reduce tax avoidance

Facts
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Too popular

On Wednesday 28th May the article The staggering truth about Gloag's Manston deal was so popular that it was briefly unreachable as the server could not supply pages fast enough.

Facts
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Did Labour Lie?

Who actually believes TDCs Health and Safety line? Comment now on Thanet Star.

Questions
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MRP Minutes

All of the Margate Renewal Partnership Board Meeting Minutes (Via FOI)

General
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Manston Airport

Two weeks to find Manston Airport buyer says North Thanet MP (via BBC)

General
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CCG to review

Thanet CCG told by High Court judge that policy on assistive reproduction technique is ďunlawfulĒ. [link]

General
 
 

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