As an example, this weekend, over at Margate's hartsdown leisure centre, the much-respected martial arts instructor, 'Kyoshi' Carl Long, is here from the United States, conducting a two day, expert, Japanese swordsmanship seminar (Iaido) for practitioners and instructors from across the UK and Europe.
|Kyoshi Long with fellow US instructors at Hartsdown|
Meanwhile, up at Anfield, this afternoon, it's another plane banner day, this time commissioned by a Liverpool fan from Singapore. There's been some chatter on the fans forums as to whether its appropriate or not but it's certainly not as controversial as the Moyes banner flown at Old Trafford two weeks ago.
There's a whole run of these now coming-up at football matches over the next month as either businesses or lots of fans groups crowd-source the funds to have their own flights. On one particular afternoon in May, I have three aircraft, over three matches simultaneously. These things run in cycles and I was amused when the UPS delivery driver delivering some new banner kit, a West Ham fan, realised that I was responsible for the legendary 'Avram Grant, Millwall Hero' flight in 2011. He promptly asked if I could fly over his wedding.
A week ago, I was deeply pessimistic but since then, I've found more room for optimism as a broad church of interests suddenly realise what might be lost for ever if the the airport is closed. Of course, what's needed is an interested party and a sensible business plan, with the money and vision to make it a success and the political support to achieve it. Without these essential ingredients for recovery, it's all talk. However, I would like to pay credit to both our Members of Parliament, who have been working very hard behind the scenes to try and find a solution and presently I would describe Manston as hanging-on by its fingernails.
'Why', one American visitor asked astutely yesterday, 'would you close the airport? 'There's not much going for the economy here apart from tourism is there?' 'It's a long story; I replied 'and might take rather longer than you have to listen, with a plane back to San Francisco on Tuesday.'
|Cherry Blossoms in Westgate|