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A Sea View of Progress

Winter has returned and with it, the howling North-easterly wind which is swirling the exposed edges of my two hundred year old home.

The house was originally the local Coastguard Station as far back as 1791 and in those days, the view of the sea was uninterrupted by the row of later dwellings closer to the beach. In fact, before this very Georgian-looking structure appeared, there was no town, nothing but a track down to the beach and before that, a stream that once fed an iron- age settlement, the muddy remains of which are sometimes exposed at very low tides.

Once upon a time one could gaze out of my study window and see history sailing past. At the beginning of the century, what was to become Manston airfield was a seaplane station in front of the house and all that remains now is a single aircraft slipway on the beach and what was the Officers Mess, is now the site of the tennis court.

I think we’re all set for the eCrime Congress on Tuesday. As I type this entry on my lap in the living room with my wireless connection giving me the kind of mobility I only dreamed of ten years ago, the occasional email appears from conference delegates about to leave for the airport on the other side of the world.

It’s ironic, that I can’t depend on a train from Margate getting me to London’s Victoria in time for a meeting anymore. A hundred years ago, when they layed the tracks to the coast, running the trains on time was a matter of pride. Today, it’s a matter of luck.

So on the one hand, you can instantly correspond with anyone on the other side of the planet and on the other, basic infrastructure, trains, planes and automobiles are becoming increasingly less reliable. It’s called progress of course and it’s a wonderful thing don’t you agree?


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