Spent a great day down in Margate again today - this time I took my two daughters for some time at the seaside. And whilst I'm one of those people who usually loves seaside towns in off season - you know, cold, rainy, overcast - it was just great to drove along the Margate seafront on a hot, sunny day like today and to see the beach and the amusements crowded.
Interesting to see Shaw's Fair next to Droit House - coming from Tunbridge Wells, it was only a week or two ago that the Kent and Sussex Courier ran a front page story on Shaw's being banned by Targetfollow, the new owners of The Pantiles. Anyway, the kids had a go on some rides, then we went off to explore the trampolines (sadly Dad is substantially heavier than the nine stone weight limit).
But it's the shops and the back streets that I love about Margate. Unusual one-off shops that you don't find anywhere else. I love the fact that 'The Gallery', sets aside a whole session for service users from care homes, and that cheek by jowl with the kids and the parents were a small army of elderly people with the carers taking a stroll along the prom, stopping for tea at the excellent hut on the front opposite the station.
And you know what? On the way home, just near Thanet Earth, a squadron of what might have been Tornados performed a mini-airshow over the motorway - rehearsal or did we miss a show today? Maybe someone will tell me.
You know, Margate is everything it's always been - it's fun, it's honest, and it's accessible. And it doesn't deserve the elitist claptrap that some have levelled at it for some years now. To the detractors, I say get in the car and go. You might learn something.