The coastal town that they forgot to close down

Lately I’ve been saddened by the demise of another round of sublime toddler errata. I curse whoever is teaching these children to speak properly. Stop it immediately!

Amongst the recent losses are:

Fingersnails (possibly my all-time favourite. I weep for its demise.)

Brekstus (G liked this one so much that he introduced a morning ritual in which the microbe is required to feed the cats and call: “Harriet! Truffle! Brekstus!“)

Zoo (I am aghast that Helena has started calling me Sue. This is NO GOOD and must be rectified.)

In cheerier news, I’m really looking forward to our holiday in Broadstairs. Only 2 weeks to go!


All of our travel info is coming from the schizophrenic Internet.  My search for “Cornwall lite” culminated in Broadstairs, with a promise of sandy beaches, rock-pooling, seafood and pretty shops, minus the 6-hour drive. However I do remain slightly suspicious of a place that lists proximity to a shopping centre amongst its “attractions”.

If I restrict my reading matter to travel editorials, it all sounds dreamy and splendid:

“Broadstairs is brim-full of nostalgic, old-world, seaside charm.”

“Broadstairs is a bright, lively, colourful town, with seven spectacular sandy-beached bays”

“A wonderful promenade lined with fine landscaped gardens and a High Street packed with quirky individual shops.”

“Broadstairs was recently voted the 2nd best Seaside resort in the UK by a Guardian Newspaper poll” (behind St Ives)

“Broadstairs is unique in that it has retained its traditional Victorian resort appeal.”

“It is lovely. It has excellent crazy golf, a bandstand and a cute half moon of a beach. Over it all looms the brooding Bleak House, beloved holiday home of Dickens.”

“Broadstairs is a wonderful mixture of Victorian architecture, hidden cobbled squares, cliff top walks and blue flag sandy beaches.”

“The perfect place for chilled-out, family-friendly fun!”

Great! Then I usually like to prod around in Mumsnet – the land of the blunt, where punches are never pulled. Fortunately, opinions over there seem to be largely pro-Broadstairs too…


“It can be a bit twee”

“Fab beach, just a lovely lovely town.”

“Nice without being too posh”

“quaint, not kiss me quick at all, and a small lovely old wooden funfair”

“Just what I was looking for. Sand, boats and beach huts.”

“Lots of rock pools which are fab for exploring.”

But then I thought I’d prod a bit more – and ventured deeper into TEH INTERNETZ where it all gets a little bit darker… and more unhinged:

“Broadstairs really is a drain of a place it takes your soul, everyone there are fully dead on the inside.”

“I personally think it would be better if they stripped Broadstairs out, build a big wall gave one side to Margate and the side to Ramsgate and forget about the whole poncy whiny little ****** town with there folk week! SUCK YOUR NAN BROADSTAIRS”

“Although Broadstairs may look pretty on the outside – it is cold, dead and ugly on the inside.”

“It is a completely vacuous town, full of airheaded tourists and holier-than-thou residents who while away their days abusing the legacy of Charles Dickens”

(I actually laughed out loud at some of those)

Even more starkly contrasted are pronouncements on the nearby towns of Ramsgate and Margate, which I’d been pondering as possible day trips. If you read the tourism sites, you’d turn up expecting Britain’s answer to Cannes:

“Perhaps being so close to Europe helps infuse Ramsgate with a cosmopolitan vibe. Pavement cafes frame waterfront bars. A bustling harbour borders a yacht-packed marina. Awash with history and overflowing with continental charm, Ramsgate is a must-see historic port.”

“These days, Margate fizzes with artistic energy. To traditional, holiday-town charms, add a world-class art gallery. To sandy beaches and sparkling bays, add a cool café culture and tempting retro shops.”

Suffice to say – TEH INTERTETZ beg to differ (kindly pardon their French)…

“Ramsgate is a fucking shithole full of crims”

“Margate is a bit run down but the old town is good”

“it’s not a place I’d enjoy being around at kicking out time”

“Ramsgate harbour is quite happening as it goes”

“The bright kids all move away, leaving nothing but chavs and pensioners.”

“Ramsgate is nicer than Margate”

“You can’t get a decent meal unless you cook it yourself”

“Avoid Margate like the plague.”

“Tracey Emin grew up in Margate.”


I might just have to go and see it all for myself.  I’m also considering Deal (for Castles), Sandwich (because apparently it’s gorgeous) and Whitstable (which people on Mumsnet describe as “Islington on Sea“, “the Boden catalogue” and “lovely but wanky“.)


Back to Broadstairs. We’ve rented an airy 3-bedroom apartment near Viking Bay, whose publicity pics are a festival of beige…

Natalie + horde are joining us for half of the week – and Helena is staying on for the whole week, so I predict lots of sandy fun for the kidlets. We’re also celebrating Ben’s second birthday on the Wednesday and we might squeeze in some day trips to local castles, wildlife parks and possibly Canterbury.

The only thing that could really bugger our hol is British weather. So PLEASE pray to the weather gods for us, will you?

Moving on…

Yesterday I discovered a little cache of pics from a forgotten afternoon at Osterley Park. The boylet appears to be doing a fine imitation of someone playing croquet but I can assure you that, in reality, he is merely bashing the stick around aimlessly.

Last month we kissed goodbye to Auntie LJ who has jetted off to Buenos Aires to see what life holds over there. Before she left she gave the microbe a toy doctor’s set and he’s built up a surgery full of bandaged dinosaurs and a deer with a “sad temperature”. I’ve started calling him Doctor Flox (apart from when I’m calling him Hodor or Joffrey)

Then we had a weekend at Uncle Alistair’s, where the Microbe cornered the market in Playdoh, helped Auntie Sarah with some scissor-based gardening and went on a mini train ride that had an exciting derailment incident!

Back at nursery, the boylet took a tumble and gained a mess of little scabs all down his nose and was still scabby this weekend at Pops’s 70th party – a huge bash for a man whose progeny could rival that of the old woman who lived in a shoe.

These pictures represent a tiny fraction of the clan… (click for bigger)

Gatherings like these offer ample opportunities for the microbe to hero-worship his older cousins and hang around cougar town. It’s quite comical watching all of the cousins chasing adoringly after the next tier up in a sort of endless conga. Teenagers chased by tweens, chased by tweenies chased by microbes, chased by Ben.

Speaking of the Benbot, despite being not-even-two, he is as rockstar-like as ever. At the party he got hold of a tiny guitar and sang and strummed to a roomful of people. I give him 6 months before he’s playing chords! (Video still courtesy of Uncle R)


The evening ended with a candlelit tower of Jenga and a cousin-huddle outdoors, where Jimlet experienced his very first camp fire…


(FYI party attendees: full set of pics here)


About Susan Flockhart

Bonsai lady-geek and blogger. I can hardly recall what I used to blog about pre-microbes, but these days I generally ramble about motherhood, nonsense and whatever's going on the world of tiny people
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