Monday, 31 May 2010

Bank Holiday Fun on the Isle of Thanet

I know, I know. It's been a while since I've blogged. I was on a roll, too, having posted eight entries in April, which is a real record for me. I could make excuses about the busy month we've had (and it looks like this summer isn't going to be any quieter), but I think I'll just get on with the post.

Today was a Bank Holiday here in the UK, so this weekend we had a little mini-break in Kent; the Isle of Thanet, to be more precise. Actually, it isn't technically an "isle" anymore, but it is still often referred to by this name. The seaside towns of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate all make up Thanet. My brother-in-law and his fiancée live in Ramsgate. This was our second visit there. Last summer, we ventured to Margate for my brother-in-law's birthday beach party. What a difference a year makes. There is now a high speed train from St. Pancras station to Ramsgate, so the journey only takes about an hour and a quarter (plus just 20 minutes from our local station to King's Cross/St. Pancas), making it a much more pleasant experience. And Crumpet was a little angel the whole weekend (except for a couple minor 20-month-old "moments").

Saturday evening we had dinner at The Indian Princess in Margate. This was certainly not your typical curry house; it was a true Indian "experience." In fact, the restaurant is even listed in the Michelin guide (though not starred). From the outside, it looks a bit shabby (and you certainly wouldn't expect to find food of this caliber in Margate, of all places), but the old saying is true in this case: "Don't judge a book by its cover." We enjoyed the pre-theatre menu, and I had dosa to start (little crepes filled with spiced potatoes and onions), Kentish lamb biryani for my main course, and chocolate samosas with cardamon cream for dessert. The best part was the little "extras" they threw in: little bites between each course. It was worth the trip just for this meal.

Sunday we took a walk along the cliffs from Ramsgate to Broadstairs. Broadstairs has a very continental atmosphere to it, with lots of cafes and pubs perched along the cliff and a sandy beach below. We had ice cream sundaes at Morelli's, which has been open since the 1930s (my parents-in-law visited the famous ice cream parlor 41 years ago while they were on the their honeymoon in Broadstairs), followed by a little play in the sand. That evening we had dinner at the Belgian Cafe, which was a bit of an unexpected find in Ramsgate.

It was nice to get away for the weekend and really feel like I had a proper break before heading back to work tomorrow. Luckily, we were able to avoid the tacky side of the British seaside and just enjoy the nice bits. It didn't rain, and it wasn't particularly crowded, so what more could we ask for?

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Fun With Politics

On this, the eve of the UK national elections, I thought it would be a bit of fun to pass on a link I was sent recently. Vote for Policies is a web site that allows you to compare policies of the six major UK political parties on a range of key issues, and, based on your answers, you're told which policy belongs to which party and, as a result, who you should vote for. Supposedly, it helps you make an unbiased decision. It's not scientific, but the results might surprise you. According to my results, I should be voting for the Green Party (that is, if I could vote).

So, even if you're not UK a citizen or you don't live in the UK or you don't even know anything about British politics, it's a fun diversion.