Elizabeth……………

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Who are you?  The Lady Christophine – Performance artist, comic psychic, writer, maker of things, collector of stuff, keeper of the animal. Worker in The Kitchen Community Cafe. Co-director of Penny Dreadful Inc.

Why Ramsgate?  Beautiful Georgian property, gorgeous harbour, the sea….the best charity shops that Lady Christophine has ever had the pleasure to grace with her presence. The psychic energy and the ever-present possibility of astral projection. Age and Son.

How do you define style?  The Lady Christophine is fond of definitions and of giving her opinion, however, she considers that style is a personal matter and unless her delicate sensibilities are really offended, by say, a union jack cushion, a cupcake or stand up letters spelling ‘LOVE’ she will keep quiet. However, since you are kind enough to ask – perceived good taste is the death of eclectic originality in both the home and in personal dress. So there. 

If you were an animal, what would you be?  Lady Christophine sees herself as a steppe wolf. However, one of her friends said a pink poodle.

Favourite place to think?  The loop bus – what a treat! So much inspiration to be gained from the sea, the towns and the rolling cabbage fields of Thanet. Or my bed. Numerous coffee shops and The Great Tree pub.

Object of desire? A Henry Tuke original, a nice nudey one. It is needed it for the cover of my next book. That’s true. Really.Yes. And a carpet with giant pink cabbage roses on, and like Eleanor Glyn, a tiger skin…..

Favourite Shop? 99p shop, High Street Furniture, Ramsgate, Herbie’s shop on Queen Street, Tony’s shop in Cliftonville – he moved it recently but it’s still great! Out of area, The Old Cinema, Chiswick.

What building would you like to be locked in overnight?  The Old Gaol in Margate. Not quite sure why, like many things, it just popped into Lady Christophine’s head. 

Where do you go for a nightcap?  The Great Tree on Margate Road – a wonderful mix of people and truly individual. The Rose of England on occasion. I keep meaning to go to The York Arms, as it looks an interesting place and I have heard they have good music. The animal likes Caboose because he can ‘sing’ at poor Ernie.

What would buy if you won the lottery? First of all, Lady Christophine would take her lovely, lovely best friend and business partner Julian, to Tibet and then to Guatemala and stay in lovely, lovely places. Then, she would take all her friends, old and new, to Egypt dispensing both luxury, culture and knowledge, for unworthy as they are, Lady Christophine is nothing if not bountiful to her pals. Being refereshed and rested, then Lady Christophine would buy a whole doll factory in Ramsgate producing glorious Penny Dreadful dolls for all that we deem worthy of possessing one. And not everyone will get it.

What do you collect?  Hmmm. Let’s just say ‘kitsch’, eh? Spanish dancers, plaster figures, cruets, linen, things with ‘A Present From…’ on, Girardi porcelain, china in general,china ladies in particular, Victoriana, dolls – many and varied, but especially things that have miraculously survived, even damaged, like my plaster fairground fawns. 

What was the first Interior decision you made when you moved to Ramsgate? The fitted kitchen had to go! Along with the gargoyles in every room. ( There were 9 of them in total; I have no idea why….) Colour had to come in, and although I was at first dubious of Julian’s suggestion of black paint work, I am so glad I did it! I wanted a house like a box of liquorice allsorts…. we’re getting there!

Best and worst thing about your move to Thanet?  No down side at all – except possibly there is not a Japanese restaurant here. But one must make small sacrifices and there is always Age and Sons and Cafe GoGo and The Kitchen plus others for all kinds of food. I’m hardly deprived! Best things? My lovely workmates and the customers in the cafe, Hayley’s cakes, The Great Tree, the Ramsgate Women’s Fiction group and Spee’s support in writing. It is the best thing I ever did! No regrets at all….

First Ramsgate memory?  Lying in Julian’s garden in the sun on my first day here alone and thinking ‘What the hell have I done? I know no-one here…’ That feeling lasted all of 15 minutes….

Biggest extravagance?  My Deco ‘Cloud suite’, which has been re-upholstered in lilac leather.

Best advice you’ve been given?  Watch and pounce…and then Catch Night Flying Spirits Softly. (This is the advice Lady Christophine gives and she is more than prepared to take it  herself.)

Favourite space in your house?  My living space – it is where I spend most of my time, if I am home. Open fire in winter, plenty of room and two of the most comfortable armchairs in the world. In summer with all the doors open, the courtyard becomes part of the room, and all year round I love to look out at the Lion’s head on the wall – the house guardian.

What would you do if you were Mayor of Ramsgate for a day?  Make sure the passenger ferry to France gets running asap! Can’t wait….

Describe your perfect day.  Oh my! Well, Lady Christophine is easily amused…she would wake early and dash off 2000 words of brilliance on her new book. At 9:30, she would meet a few friends for a real breakfast in The Kitchen – proper food, and coffee. A nice long walk with the animal, although he does not care to walk, but weighing only 4lbs he can be carried. Late lunch, maybe at the Harbour Brasserie, looking at the sea and drinking champagne. Dress up and go out for more champagne with bestest friend and a gorgeous dinner. Check email to find lucrative booking for Lady C, advance on book and massive order for new doll and sponsorship for festival! That would make a perfect day, but most days are pretty good anyway.

What are your goals for 2013?  The absolute first priority is work on our new doll production, to make the most gorgeous fashion doll available today – and she ain’t going to be a skinny stick – we like curves! Mandy Mouse is coming….! Lady Christophine will be seeking to offer her services in the world of psychic entertainment, both amusing and educating and advising ALL AT ONCE! More writing, more singing, more making of everything and more magic….Oh yes, and organising an absolutely unique festival come the autumn.

ROUND-UP: This Georgian cottage tucked away in Ramsgate is packed full of character, architecturally & of course Lady Christo­phine brings her own character! This house is all about colour and kitsch collections. The 50’s inspired kitchen is a bold statement with bright yellow vintage units and chequerboard floor. The vibe con­tinues with brightly painted shutters, fun furnishings, pink and yel­low bedrooms offset boldly with black woodwork. This is definitely a statement interior – in Lady C’s words “a house like a box of li­quorice allsorts”.

WHERE TO BUY:  High Street Furniture, 86 High Street, Ramsgate.

WHERE TO EAT: Lady Christophine recomends The Kitchen, 29, King Street, Ramsgate.

Age & Son, Charlotte Court, Ramsgate.   www.ageandsons.co.uk

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To take part in the Curio contact: thecurioinmargate@gmail.com

All images ©Jo Willis

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