Opinion with Jane Wenham-Jones: One Glass was Never Enough when I worked the bar at Harpers….

A trip down memory lane to Harpers Wine Bar

After the furore last week when I wrote that I’d love to fly from Man**on again (I had forgotten!) I determined this week to expound on nothing more controversial than fluffy kittens and my special recipe for carrot cake.

Unfortunately, the cat has upped his game and his latest offering was a (mercifully dead) young rat – he was so thoroughly pleased with himself it could have been sweet if I hadn’t been screaming – and we are fresh out of carrots.

So let us instead, go down memory lane.

In the usual way, this would be a challenge. Nothing gets me muttering at the TV quicker than when a screen detective turns up at the house of a murder suspect, fixes them with a narrowed-eye stare and enquires with menacing courtesy: “And one more thing, Sir, where were you a week last Tuesday?”

“I was watching paint dry with my wife,” Mr Dodgy will reply. Or  “I was in the Horse & Gristle all evening,” he’ll declare, even if the offending date was months ago. How on earth does he know? I’d have to look in my diary to tell you what I did the day before yesterday.  And if I haven’t written in that lately – no chance!

I can however tell you, with almost 100 percent certainty, what I was doing 18 years ago. If you’re reading this early on a Friday evening, I’d have been layering on the slap, preparing for a night at Harpers Wine Bar, in Harbour Street, Broadstairs, which I then co-owned. My business partners, Jacqui and Wendy, did all the hard graft day-to-day, but I popped the corks and pulled the pints on a Friday. It was the highlight of my week.

We’d been open about three days when I knew the bar would be the setting for my next book. As anyone who has ever worked on a licensed premises will know – all life is there! You hear secrets, witness romances, make judgement calls over whether “just one more” will lead to the customer falling off her bar stool, and learn to keep your mouth shut when the chap who usually comes in with his girlfriend turns up with the wife.

One Glass is Never Enough (and it usually wasn’t) was first published in 2005. And yesterday – to my great delight – it was re-released with a lovely new cover.

And oh, how life has changed!

The story is still set when it was written, because updating the technology would have taken me till Christmas, and the lack of it, in one particular incidence, is fundamental to the plot. Revisiting those pages of the first novel I ever set in Thanet, has reminded me of how Broadstairs has altered too. Remember when it was the Roger-family-owned Marchesi’s gracing Albion Street, instead of the chain Prezzo?  When Folk Week started with a torchlight procession?  I mention long-established hostelries, The Tartar Frigate and The Dolphin, that are still here but the coffee lounge La Joules has since closed, and my beloved Albion Bookshop is very long gone.  I still think fondly of those old-fashioned shelves and legendary manager Vanessa, who I’ve seen source a book without its title, ISBN, or publisher, simply from “they were talking about it on the radio – it might have been about someone called Margaret”. Particularly if I’m eating tapas in Albariño, which is now in its place.

Strangely, Man**on Airport doesn’t get a mention at all. Probably because, at the time of writing, EUjet had yet to begin flights. Or possibly because I simply didn’t dare…

BORIS Johnson has announced his plans for a “significant return to normality … possibly in time for Christmas”. I have stopped trying to follow what we are/aren’t allowed to do and won’t even attempt to get my head round why we can suddenly use public transport willy-nilly and the responsibility is back on employers to decide where their workforce hang out, when nobody seems sure if Covid cases are falling, rising or staying the same. Or whether a second wave is likely to slaughter the NHS anew or remain a figment in the minds of the over-anxious. So I have only one thing to say on the subject of the Premier’s latest outpouring. Please don’t make it all worse by bringing up the C word. Not in mid-July.

One Glass is Never Enough is published by Headline Accent in paperback and on Kindle. You can see Jane talking about the new book and Broadstairs here


  1. You should have ever right to fly from Manston Airport. What you should not have to put up with is your right to fly put in question by a an extremely selfish self centred individuals who care for no one other than themselves. They could not care less about east kent jobless or the lie they chant about environmental Issues they are left wing agitators who are trying to undermine democracy.

    • Jane Wenham-Jones’ views on flying have never been flattering to her. She needs to think about the effects of aviation, not just about what she wants to do.

  2. Sorry Ann but it was devicive journalism. Manston was never going to work as a passenger airport due to it’s location and limited catchment area. We all saw the pictures of half empty flights and in a climate emergency that just simply doesn’t stack up. Even Simon Calder said it wouldn’t work https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/simon-calder/simon-calders-holiday-helpdesk-why-is-manston-never-mentioned-as-a-london-airport-option-8340767.html
    We need journalists to start being accountable for what they write and by getting people excited about flights which aren’t going to materialise is just fueling the hatred towards those who saw through the lies and are defending their right to a quiet and pollution free life. We all saw the benefits of clean air during lockdown, so why are some hell bent on ruining that and welcoming suffering for those children trying to study under the flight path and those who will suffer adverse health effects by the increase in pollution. There has already been uproar by the news thousands of homes are planned for Shottendane road, Westgate, birchington and other locations, but had those who supported the airport read the facts they would have realised it was far-fetched. A large proportion of those homes could have been placed at Manston resulting in less being shoehorned into the rest of Thanet. But alas Thanet’s future is now deemed to be gridlocked and polluted, it’s hardly what tourists want to see and will have a dramatic effect on the income we currently enjoy.

  3. Realistically is not is something you should use in your name tag. You are are talking about something you know absolutely nothing about I could sus that out within reading the first two lines of your uneducated uninformed post.
    By all means have a sensible chat about Manston Airport but don’t try to pretend you know what you are talking about.
    Oh so the “experts” tell us that during the lockdown when hardly any vehicles were allowed on the road that surprised surprised the air was a bit cleaner, no s**t Sherlock. I bet when the lockdown was lifted you never sold your smelly polluting car did you. If you want to really see pollution try going to India or China then you would see pollution like you have never seen before, oh sorry you will have to fly there, it would take you ages to walk it. I bet you can’t wait to the winter comes so you can join the other snow flakes. I bet you are yet another newby who think you can change the world to suit your own ends.

  4. That’s it Ann, carry on with spouting hatred. I’ve seen your posts and already concluded you are just a bitter lady. No I haven’t sold my polluting car, but I have been able to negotiate a new permanent work from home contract which means I use the car only once a week. I am also walking more and spending more money in local shops rather than the big supermarkets. So I have seen the opportunity the lockdown has brought and utilised it to make a better change to my health and the environment. Realistically if you continue to believe the lies spun by RSP that PINS (the experts) couldn’t agree were founded, then it says more about your narrow mindedness than me. Get back to under your bridge you nasty troll.

  5. Un-Realistic. So you are going to work from home, well I hope you tell the council and your home insurance that you are using your home as a place of work as well as a domestic dwelling it should increase your council tax and increase you home insurance payments as well as increase your water and electricity use. Also don’t forget in the winter months being at home you will be using your heating more polluting the atmosphere. Don’t forget if you are not going to work and meeting with others it will increase your likelihood of affecting your mental health. Also when you have traveled to Gatwick Airport or any other airport for that matter to go on holiday I bet you have not given one micro second thought of those who live near that airport no of course not. Before one accuse others of telling lies you need to take a look in a mirror.

  6. I liked “Perfect Alibis” best. Manston isn’t in that as far as I remember … It’s all about lying.

  7. No Ann it doesn’t increase your council tax and the insurance company have agreed at the same price so quids in. Regarding heating, we have a very energy efficient home (we understand the climate crisis and have adapted our home to reduce emissions) so there won’t be much of a rise in costs. I get plenty of interaction with my friends,family and fellow allotment users so no need to be concerned about my mental health, plus I have a large team who are also home working and do Skype calls with them daily. We work for a progressive company which also realises the climate crisis and has embraced the need to work from home. In turn they have seen a 10% increase in productivity as we are all so much happier. Personally I have only flown twice and found the experience quite strange. The difference being that Heathrow has been a commercial airport for a number of years which has proven to be successful, unlike Manston which kept operating at a loss due to a lack of demand due to it’s limited catchment area. My husband and I are conscious of our fellow citizens and never booked our flights in the night time. Anything else you want to dissect?

  8. The weakness in your position Ann is that experts disagree with you. Drinking Water Inspectorate and expert inquiry into maternity tragedies. I have some sympathy with your sentiments about Thanet Lefties. The “SONIK” and Cllr Constantine judicial reviews of Stroke Unit decision concealed environmental hazards to health which include Manston and its water supply aquifer.

    “SONIK” instructed Leigh Day. A company who concealed evidence for nine years that the five Iraqi “Farmers”, shot by soldiers, were in fact armed insurgents. I think they drew nine million in legal aid to pursue British soldiers. They have a track record for concealing evidence.

    The same thing appears to be happening in the proposed judicial review of Secretary of State decision re Manston. Although I bunged in fifty quid I do think their cause as stated is a loser. I alse think if they amend, it would be a winner.

    I await a reply from Environment Agency about enforcement of United Nations Stockholm Convention on Manston, which will be coincident with RSP development phase. The fact being RSP plan was rendered obsolete, by expert UN decisions, before its ink dried. And it follows the SoS gave a decision based on an obsolete plan which concealed material facts.

    The expert inquiry into maternity tragedies has scheduled research into the Manston sourced “PFOA” environmental toxin which carries risk for foetal morbidity and pre eclampsia. And whether to test blood serum for PFOA.

    Leigh Day allegedly, having concealed PFOA risks re strokes, went on to conceal the risks from two maternity tragedy inquests. Solicitor Regulation Authority has been asked to investigate

    The Drinking Water Inspectorate was called in by me last year securing a ban on Manston aquifer as a public water source.

    You should understand that when DWI sounded warnings in 2007 TDC ignored them in spite of duties under Environmental Protection Act 1990. How much was it worth re Manston Development to leave public water abstraction continue (Never testing for PFOA) to leave ground water spread. To leave sea outfall spread. To leave airborne spread.

    It was worth probably over 100 million in saved remediation costs for Manston. I don’t know whether police economic crime unit inquiry has calculated this. But the inquiry is ongoing including when SoS took his decision. Which I suggest could cause him problems if faced with a properly constructed judicial review.

  9. Richard, However some try to drag out stall or stop Manston Airport the fact is they will not succeed. If a minority of protesters try to use the courts to overturn the majority and government then the courts need to have their powers of obstruction taken away. Brexit protesters lost Over £2million trying to stop Brexit despite the courts being on their side . The government in Manston Airport case does have an Ace card up its sleeve and it is that Ace card that they will use if need be.

  10. No doubt Ann you are aware the IRA were official allies of Hitler.

    And no doubt you are aware of the role of rabid anti semite Labour MP Richard Rapier Stokes conspiring with Lord Halifax and postwar settling a whole SS Division in England.

    Your position is that no matter how high you are the law must be above you. I agree. That is why Judicial Review is important !

    IN a previous comment your sentiment was that if courts reverse political decisions the courts must be set aside. Very Hitlerian.

    But Judicial Review does not reverse decisions. It sets decisions aside if the process was unlawful or irrational.

  11. So, Ann, you have suggested that the legal system is bad for democracy, that everyone opposing the cargo hub is a left-wing Brexiteer, that the crowd-funding appeal might have something to do with the Russians and now you compare seeking a Judicial Review to the Third Reich.
    Pause for a moment and consider whether the truth is simply that there are good people prepared to contribute their hard-earned money to try to protect the area they love.

  12. Ann, are you really comparing the Nazis to a local group who think (and with excellent reasons) that an airport would devastate the local area?

  13. Richard, I really don’t know what you are talking about when you talk of water? and maternity services ? Strokes?
    Where is your reference to these PFOA” environmental toxin which carries risk for foetal morbidity and pre eclampsia. And whether to test blood serum for PFOA. None of that has anything to do with the Airport. I can assure you that having worked in the NHS at senior level for just over 40 years, foetal morbidly and pre eclampsia have 101 causes
    An expectant mother’s walking into the town has a million times more chance of breathing in fumes from vehicles than living anywhere near an Airport. Even then it is unlikely to affect her or the unborn child when the time span would be no more than nine months.


  14. Ann, do you believe in ESP,Levitation,Alien abduction,a flat earth,the Bermuda Triangle and that Boris Johnson really is PM?
    If so, you are a true believer, and we are wasting our time trying to use reason,little things like facts, and expert opinion based on robust evidence, to persuade you that reopening Manston is not good for Thanet, the Environment or all those people who need decent well paying jobs.
    You won’t persuade us and we won’t persuade you, so why not shut up about Manston, and let’s agree to differ.
    If Jane Wenham -Jones is daffy enough to believe in RSP’s work of fiction, so be it.
    Let’s all shut up, and come back to this in 10 years time, Covid-19, or some other man made cockup excepted.My guess is that Manston will be the same old derelict wreck it always was, but hey! Perhaps pigs can really fly!

  15. George. if we were daft enough to follow your logic nothing would ever be built or developed. I remember the protest to try and stop the tunnel to the Harbour, it was delayed so long with all the huffing and puffing that when it did eventually open the Sally line had already stopped sailing. The protest about the building Westwood Cross being. The protest and moaning about the Turner Centre being built. The protesters about Weatherspoon opening at the royal pavilion and recently about the Parkway Station.
    I don care what the so called “experts” said about Manston Airport they were rubbish in my view they had their own agenda I have my suspicions about them they were anti from day one, I wonder why???? Manston Airport was there before the so-called “experts” were heard of.
    It’s simply a case of Manston Airport REOPENING. It is NOT a new development It’s been an airport longer than you have been on this earth. If a ferry service restarted from the PORT RAMSGATE, I would not expect “”experts” being called in to say if they recommend the service start or not. in addition the Secretary of State is under NO Legal obligation to follow the “expert” advice. if we had a referendum in Thanet it would blow the snow flakes out of the water with a vote 90% yes for Airport. We have in fact voted for the Airport already by voting for the two conservatives MPs
    who made it very clear in the run- up to the General Election that they supported the REOPENING of MANSTON AIRPORT.

    • How do you know, Ann, that the experts “were anti from day one”?

      The aviation site at Manston was, for most of its active existence, not a commercial airport.

      How do you know George Nokes’ age?

      You have no idea how many people in Thanet would vote for the sort of airport RSP says it wants.

      Your theory about voting for an MP because of his stance on one single issue does not sound correct. Don’t people vote for someone because of their overall manifesto?

    • Interestingly enough, Roger Gale, MP for Riveroak, is quite keen not to see development of Heathrow.
      Because his children live under the flight path

    • Ann, you have answered your own question.The tunnel to the harbour,closed on a Wednesday due to a daft contract, and used more for adverts and feature films than for no ferry ferries.Westwood Cross a mares nest of bungled planning, which is more like a car park with a few shops thrown in, which has accelerated the decline in all 3 town centres.Turner centre a luvvies paradise and subsidized heavily by the taxpayers.Thanet parkway an unmanned halt to no purpose and now Gale’s folly.A full house of bunkum and bluster.
      They were not so called experts like you,the EXa were and are the experts,its just you don’t like the answers they gave.
      Elections: Get Brexit done and doing down Corbyn, well done.
      90% of people living in Thanet want Manston! Really?
      I rest my case you really are a believer,I am not huffing and puffing, I am asking a rather silly person to justify her words and of course she can’t; its all bluster,fake facts and innuendo.
      Let’s wait and see.The DCO gave permission as if it was anew airport forget all about Gales Biplane reminiscences,it has to conform to new standards not old ones.
      If you are right you can crow and say I told you so,if you are not, well?

  16. How interesting Ann. If you were a senior NHS employee locally then you know maternity doctors raised the question, of whether water supply is contaminated, long before TDC came up with aviation use only for Manston.

    I assume the senior NHs lacked the gumption to take the question further. One of those docs is now a consultant in midlands and I hope he will enthusiastically tell the story to expert inquiry QEQM maternity tragedies.

    If you were senior NHS elsewhere perhaps you would grace us with your explanation of what senior QEQM echelons should have done ?

    On the subject of tory MP Roger Gale a quick reference to Hansard 2000 shows his nibs lying to the Commons to conceal Sericol massive contamination of Rumfields abstracted public water supply. A wee fib Rog sustained even in his chats with SoS about Manston. The implication of sustaining the fib lays in law of cumulative health impact and precautionary principle. Gale is not the messiah he is a very naughty boy.

    • On the subject of Westwood Cross. The Boilermakers Union Convenor GEC reported the company for burying highly persistent toxic transformer oil at Westwood and at Pegwell landfill (Never licensed for such chemicals) He left GEC in 77 but continued to report until his death in 2012. An unsung hero of Thanet.

      In 1992 tests by KCC at Pegwell Nature Reserve (Former landfill) showed the polychlorinated biphenyls surfacing at twice the cancer causing threshold. In 1993 TDC decided to keep schtum to National Rivers Authority dealing with discovery of Sericol contamination of same aquifer, water supply source, accessible to polychlorinated biphenyls buried just nearby by GEC.

      KCC are now scheduling further tests at Pegwell “Hopeful” these will include tests for polychlorinated biphenyls.

      That is what is under Westwood Cross cheek by jowl with the anthrax burials.

      If the tour now heads to Margate pause and wonder at Thor Mercury, Weapons of Mass Destruction, products. They are expected to be ground remediating for decades .. conveniently situate up strata from the esteemed QEQM Hospital.

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