This morning I had to go into town. The weather was warm and sunny so I thought I'll go along the cliff top and walk down through Madeira Gardens. A left turn at the harbour by the old NatWest Bank brought me to the cafe culture overlooking the casino. I admired the efforts of a few industrious outlets with their chairs and tables on the pavement with a few spartan customers. Maybe, I thought work will have started on the Pleasurama site! No, not yet there are some new hoardings but that's it... Turned round and walked by the harbour admiring the various boats moored there. Time for a sit down on the granite benches to admire the view. Good idea those benches, bit cold on the bot but totally vandal proof, cos they've been there a while, too heavy to lift and impervious to graffiti.
Ten minutes later I crossed at another useful innovation; the pelican crossing outside the Royal (well done Frank and Co). There were benches and tables outside with more people enjoying the sunshine and having some refreshment while enjoying the view.
Walked into Harbour Street and the old indoor market site was alive with industry turning it into a cafe/restaurant/bar (somebody, like me and with more money to invest believes in the place). All the little shops looked good. The burnt out restaurant was advertising that they had premises in Broadstairs and they'd be back soon but all customers were welcome at their alternative premises. Next door, the bakers, was shrouded in scaffold where changes were taking place to rebuild the premises and they would be opening soon (belief again).
Turned right into King Street where all the shops on the pedestrianised paved area were alive and busy. The new fishmongers (more belief) looked as though it was a Friday (fish day) they were busy but what a good site to open a wet fish shop! True the occasional empty shop is waiting for the right trade to arrive there. At the end of the paved area, the shops are being turned into accommodation which will change the town by reducing its shopping area. Do we need it I ask myself, with all the 'out of town' development and the Loopy buses to get there and back?
The transition that is taking place here shows that if it's needed it will survive, we the Ramsgate people decide with our custom. There is a choice here and given time and investment in the right schemes our future is assured... Thirty years on, I've seen some changes from when I first arrived from north London with my young familyand at last in my retirement I can honestly say 'I don't want to be anywhere else, but here'.