It took three hours by motorcycle this morning to reach the Microsoft Campus at Reading for a meeting. If I had tried the car, I might still be on the road, M20, 26, M25, M4, all with rain, road works and rush hour traffic that has to create a picture of abject misery for everyone involved.
Thanet, it seems is still very much at the edge of the known world and recent events seem to be conspiring to keep it there. As a businessman, EUjet, love it or loathe it, was useful. After all, Dublin to my front door in less than ninety minutes is rather better than Heathrow, where it took me another ninety minutes on Thursday to reach the end of the “Fast Bag Drop” line. Lord knows how long regular bag drop might take these days.
And now Ashford’s EuroStar service will be restricted when the new terminal opens near Dartford, eliminating another doorstep convenience for Europe at least.
No sign yet of a high speed rail connection to Margate and when it does eventually arrive, I wonder how reliable it will be, based on regular experience of the route to London; fallen trees, damaged bridges, iced rails, leaves; the list goes on.
Without the benefits of broadband internet access, Thanet is a very restricted environment for any service business and with unpredictable road and rail transport links, some might consider it close to unviable in terms of time lost en-route. That’s not good for the island and explains why it continues to struggle to attract new businesses that have the staying power to create jobs and improve local workforce skills beyond the rather limited horizon of Westwood Cross.
Having spent a couple of days speculating on the future of Europe 2020, I’m left wondering what Thanet will look like in the same timescale. Overcrowded, yes but with whom and doing what to support the local economy? More ‘Taverns’, superstores and perhaps a larger tourist economy but is that all we have to look forward to?
Anyway and to change the subject, as the magic 200,000 mark approaches, I’ve decided that I’ll shut-up shop here once it passes. I’m not ruling out a comeback but when I started this weblog there was nothing else and now we have a vibrant and frequently bizarre community of ‘Bloggers’ for you to choose from. Thanet Life has served it’s purpose, which was to encourage local debate and deliver a personal slant on local news stories but these days it’s taking too much of my time and I’m neglecting my other columns elsewhere.
So the local paper and several local ‘Bloggers’ can soon find something and someone else more interesting to occupy their interests and as Winston Churchill said: “Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others. “