Wednesday, 30 June 2010

VIEW PROFILE: Chetna Lawless

Spiritual journey ends in Lyme

THIS week View Reporter PAUL CROMPTON meets Shaman CHETNA LAWLESS who talks about following her spiritual path around the world, ending in Lyme Regis

TALES of apocalyptic global warming dominate headlines; multi-national corporations leak thousands of gallons of oil destroying huge swathes of marine life.

At no time in the last 2,000 years have peoples’ awareness of the precarious nature of the planet they inhabit been so pronounced. Even Lyme is not immune with Church Beach and Monmouth Beach named and shamed for their poor water quality in the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Beach Guide 2010.

For many people the burden of guilt is transferred and the enormity of the situation overwhelming, but co-founder of the Lyme Regis based Laughing Rainbow Mystery School, Chetna Lawless is using her gifts as a shamanic practitioner to teach people Medicine For The Earth, the art of healing the planet through transmuting personal and environmental toxins.

Any town is more than the sum of its parts: people, scenery, proximity to nature, architecture and history all conjure up a sense of place, but for Chetna, having lived in the town for over 20 years, Lyme Regis is all these things and more.

“Dorset is just wonderful, there’s an incredibly rich history in this landscape. Walking the cliff paths and fields and surrounding hills, there are just amazing views. If you relax and observe and listen to the sounds, hearing the birds and the sound of leaves and trees, that is nature helping us all the time,” said Chetna.

“I love Lyme, the land here is amazingly healing. There’s a history of it. People used to come here for hundreds of years for healing.”

Having been on a spiritual quest around the world, from Scotland to South East Asia’s Buddhist monasteries, Chetna found herself in Dorset on a week-long workshop led by spiritual therapist and healer Golden Cobb.

Chetna says; “When I travelled to England it was for a course Golden Cobb was leading in Dorset; he asked me to quit my job in Japan and work full time with him. I said, ‘yes’, and we co-founded the Mystery School in Lyme.”

Chetna decided to follow her destiny and travel the path of a mystic and shamanic healer when she was 21-years-old, but had been aware of her calling from a very young age.

“My experiences of the invisible realm began as a child, and continued intensifying. The veils between the realms were very thin for me with regular out of body experiences, and visits from my departed grandmother, who also had the gift,” said Chetna.

“I knew after graduation that I had to find teachers to help me develop and nurture my gifts in a disciplined way, rather than let them impinge and overlay themselves on to my ‘normal’ reality. I booked a round-the-world ticket and went in search of my teachers,” said the American ex-pat who completed a degree in Industrial and Labour Relations at America’s Ivy League Cornell University.

Having worked with and taught mystic and shamanic practices since 1987, shamanism, according to Chetna, is a way of living that requires one to respect, and be in harmony, balance and co-operation with all of creation; it is a way of life that brings healing to ourselves, our friends and families, our communities, and our planet.

Shamanism dates back over 40,000 years and at its core is the understanding that humans are part of a web-of-life that includes all plants, animals, other life forms and nature. The belief all things have a spirit we can interact with, and work with, is fundamental to shamanism.

The modern western resurgence of interest in shamanic practice over the past 40 years is timely, says Chetna, becoming more animated, crumpling the purple throw as she crosses her legs underneath herself. The search for solutions to current environmental challenges finds inspiration and guidance from this ancient tradition.

“We’ve lost connection with a part of ourselves, and people are longing to get back to that internal harmony. The chaos people feel inside is the chaos they see outside in the world,” she said.

“When we find harmony and peace within ourselves, we project that to the outside world. This is at the heart of the planetary healing work.

“Shamanism helps people make their own connection with the divine. Once that connection is made a whole new universe opens up to people. It is a path of direct revelation. People experience a divine love that is greater than any human love. To me, brought up Catholic, I call that divine experience God, and my God is formless.”

The cornerstone of all shamanic practice is the shamanic journey, during which the practitioner alters their state of consciousness in order to access information and healing from spiritual dimensions, and bring it back to this reality. This is achieved through a process akin to meditation.

Classically shamans achieve their meditative state (the shamanic journey state), through tuning into a percussive beat of a drum or rattle being played at between four and seven beats per second. This changes the brainwaves from Beta, the brain’s waking state, or Alpha, the brain’s meditative state, to a Theta wave pattern. Delta, the brain’s dreaming state, is closest to Thea.

“Plants, trees and nature are in the Theta wave pattern, so being in the shamanic state of consciousness is when we most easily fall in tune with nature. Theta is a deep state in between being awake and asleep – and it is a fully altered state of perception,” said Chetna.

Although some people are more pre-disposed to the shamanic way, Chetna says anyone can be taught to journey, “because our brains are hardwired to do so,” adding, “It is also a wonderful alternative to meditation – if you don’t get on with traditional meditation, it is another way to practice relaxation and relieve stress.”

Apart from the planetary healing work, modern day western shamanic healers practice a whole variety of ancient healing methods - one of them is Soul Retrieval. What psychiatrists may refer to as disassociation, which can happen when a person experiences trauma, loss, or shock, shamans refers to as Soul Loss, which can lead people spending the rest of their life feeling a part of them is missing.

In such situations the shamanic practitioner can work with spirit guides to track down the soul parts that have been lost (or disassociated) and exist somewhere in the field of consciousness, and return it to the person. What present day psychology describes as the field of consciousness, shamans call the web-of-life.

“This kind of shamanic healing is another example of the support and co-operation that exists between the spiritual dimensions, and between us humans and the spirits of nature, which is why the respectful and loving treatment of the environment is of utmost importance to a shamanic practitioner,” says Chetna.

“The plants, animals and trees are connected in the web-of-life. We depend on nature for everything, on all the elements to live: the food we eat, the water we drink; everything is connected and interdependent. In science we call it ecology. In shamanism we see it as a spiritual reality. It is vital to our survival for us to respect and honour everything in that web.”

People are waking up to the damage they are creating in the world, through their thoughts as well as their actions, says Chetna, and people are realising they don’t want to be part of the problem anymore; they want to be part of the solution.

“I have witnessed many people reconnecting and developing a greater love and appreciation for the place where they live – and this has led them to taking greater and care of it.”

Chetna added: “The challenges we are facing today demand new and creative ideas. When it comes to healing the planet, there’s not one answer, but many answers that lay in each one of us. We each hold pieces of the jigsaw. The idea is to come together as a community and share our ideas in order to create a new reality – to dream into being a better experience for our planet. That visionary power is within each of us. As a shamanic practitioner, I help people to experience that.”

For more information on Shamanism, call Sui Anukka on 07740 307362 or e-mail


STUART Lovell is busy preparing for this weekend’s Bridport Charter Fair where he will be stewarding for the third time.

Having moved to Dorset from the New Forest, for his work as a Landscape Gardener, Stuart fell in love with the county.

Since moving to Bridport in 2000 Stuart has nurtured his love of live performance working backstage for Encore and Bow theatre companies and, for the past three years, as a steward at the Charter Fair.

Stuart took to the stage just once in an Encore production of 'Katherine Howard' which won three awards at the Llandrindod Wells Drama Festival.

With a 100 per cent success rate on the stage Stuart now gets his enjoyment watching from the wings and stage managing.

This year’s Charter Fair will take place in Bridport this Saturday, July 3rd.

WHAT first attracted you to Dorset?
My business actually brought me to Dorset. It’s a lovely area and you can’t get away from that fact, that’s what kept me here. Where I moved to in Dorset, was very similar to the area I was brought up in when I was young and before I moved to the area I was living just outside Southampton was becoming more and more built up. Down here you drop back about ten years, it’s a lovely area and there are no two ways about it.

WHO did you first get involved with the Bridport Charter Fair?
I had always attended the charter fair but it was only about three-years-ago I got involved with it. I was there first thing in the morning because a friend was doing a craft stall and Arthur Woodgate was there. I said ‘you could do with a bit more help’ and he said ‘next year I’ll give you a ring’, consequently I have been involved for the past three-years.

WHAT makes the charter fair special?
Just the atmosphere I think, especially in the last few years when it has been revitalised.
I always look forward to seeing more people get involved, especially the young people. The original charter was granted in 1253, I think Arthur Woodgate was there when it was originally created, so having been created 700-years-ago it would seem sensible to celebrate it as it is Bridport’s link to its heritage.

WHAT are you looking forward to this year?
I think all of the rights respecting community events that are taking place. I would love to see that work out successfully in its own right. It would be nice if that was the success I hope it will be, I’m sure it would make the town a better place.

WHO would be your three dream guests at a dinner party?
I would have loved to have conversed with the late Ronnie Barker, I think that he was such a tremendous all round entertainer. Kenneth Williams, I think you would only need to say hello to him to get him talking. The third guest would be Victoria Wood. She is a lady who is extraordinarily talented, Dinnerladies was a wonderful series, I’d love to meet her.

WHAT are the best shows you’ve worked on locally?
From Encore the most rewarding show I did was with the late Tony Anthony when we did 'Noises Off'. That was quite something to put on and a lot of people said we could not make the set, which we did and it worked. From a personal point of view that was quite something. I also enjoyed 'Little Shop of Horrors' where I operated the plant because it was a little unusual. I enjoyed both of them in particular I think.

WHAT was the last book you read, CD you listened to and film you watched?
At the moment I’m reading Alan Bennett's 'Untold Stories'. When you read Alan Bennett you can almost hear him saying the words. The last CD I listened to was probably Dire Straits, I listen to them on a fairly regular basis and Brothers In Arms is a particular favourite. I enjoy sixties and seventies music, Queen, Status Quo and things that aren’t particularly fashionable now. The last film I watched was An Education over in Lyme Regis.

WHICH three items would you put into Room 101?
People who speak on mobile phones all the time. Mobile phones are a wonderful thing but when you walk through the street and you see people shouting and waving their arms about, it’s terribly annoying. They have got a place and in some cases that is in the bin. The other two would be people who allow their dogs to foul the footpath and people who don’t show respect for others.

Please take your rubbish home

RSPB staff at Weymouth Wetlands do a wonderful job in the reserve at Radipole Lake, but I doubt they’d be too pleased at what I saw.

The wealth of bird and mammal life in such a lovely natural setting in the heart of town had clearly proved a magnet for a certain types of visitor who had unfortunately left their calling cards behind.

Top of the list came seven empty cartons of a favourite fast food type of chicken which had just been chucked on the path or tossed casually away out of mind to decorate nearby undergrowth.

A close second in this litany of litter came waxed cartons for coffee or fizzy drinks, many still with a straw punched through their lids. There were about a dozen of these.

Add to that the inevitable sweet and crisp wrappers and the route is clearly a victim of its own popularity.

The problem is that if it gets much more popular then drifts of litter may well obscure the very attraction people have come to see.

I’m bound to say that the nature of the litter I saw indicated it was more of an evening takeaway nature than the sort of wrappers bird watchers might discard during a day visit to the reserve.

Whatever the source, it is unacceptable and people should do their best to take rubbish home with them.

The munch bunch in the car in front

REMEMBER when motorists were threatened with death or worse if caught using a mobile phone while driving?

There were television campaigns, newspaper campaigns and a number of high profile poster campaigns yet you can still spot drivers on the old mobile dog and bone almost wherever you go.

Deterrents clearly aren’t working, so what chance do you think I stand in interesting the Government in a campaign to clamp down on Crisp Man.

Dangerous as mobile phone use is, it pales into insignificance when faced with an oncoming two-ton van driven with one hand by a lobotomy case using his other hand to hold a bag of crisps which he is hungrily upending into his mouth while turning right at a junction. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Such idiocy would have to be attacked by a very high profile police campaign, perhaps fronted by Gary Lineker being mown down by said van driver.

Unfortunately, the reality is that nothing will be done unless offenders are stupid enough to drive and munch in front of a patrol car.

Striker's sausage

BUTCHER Dennis Spurr cheered on England with his special three foot long sausage creation, the Rooney Rocket.

He hoped his meaty masterpiece would make the Three Lions roar and see Germany’s challenge go banger.

But England came off bratwurst as the teutonic terrors sent them crashing out of the World Cup with a 4-1 victory.

Dennis, who runs the Fantastic Sausage Factory in Weymouth’s St Mary Street said: “Fans were taking the World Cup so seriously that I decided to have a bit of fun.

“Thank God the England cricket team beat the Australians!”

Roundabout fun

ROADWORKS for Weymouth’s transport package may not be every motorist’s cup of tea, but they have certainly sparked a few artistic ideas among children.

Removing the brick-walled planter that was Harbour Roundabout involved digging out the old circular foundations and then laying a fresh surface to link up with surrounding roads.

All the workmen beavering away were watched with some glee by two schoolboys on their way home.

They liked all the noise and destruction they were watching but of much more interest was the giant circle of fresh black road surface they were watching emerge.

Did they like it for the new look to the harbour? Did they like it because traffic might benefit? Not a chance!

They liked it because a large unbroken pristine flat surface could have one use and one use only. What a great place to chalk a giant smiley face!

As they moved away they were discussing whether blue or yellow chalk would be best to use. I suppose it beats asphalt machines chalking “No entry” all over the place.

Overhead scrap

HE gleamed in all his finery and she was plain by comparison, but the two of them created a stir when they began to fight.

At the heart of the dispute was a takeaway that neither was prepared to give up.

The only problem for spectators was that it was a bit difficult to call the police as the couple’s dispute was taking place about 15 feet off the ground!

These were a pair of blackbirds and they and every blackbird for miles around seemed to be visiting the cherry tree in my garden to snap up its red fruit.

I presume the scrap had something to do with territory, feeding rights or even pecking order. Whatever the reason, it left us with a bit of a problem.

You see, our washing line is not too far away, eating fruit can keep you regular and we unfortunately had splashes of... well let’s say a few clothing items had to be washed again.

Forget the past - let’s all pull together

THE future of the Club For Young people remains the main topic of debate in Lyme Regis.

The news that the under fire trustees had decided to withdraw the Church Street premises from auction and sell the building to Lyme Regis Development Trust for £60,000 was greeted with a huge sigh of relief.

One of the trustees told me they were forced into putting the building up for auction because no offers had been forthcoming and action needed to be taken to prevent the club from deteriorating further.

The very act of going to auction had brought the matter to a head enabling the decision to be made to sell to the Development Trust.

The £60,000 asking price is to go into a fund to enable the trustees to make grants to local youth groups until the money runs out.

That seems a reasonable solution and the fundraising to raise the £60,000 has already started. However, there is a growing swell of public opinion who are saying, “Hang on a moment, the town raised most of the money to buy that building in the first place, why should we have to buy it again?”

There is huge support for another course of action, supported by former trustees Barbara Austin and Derek Hallett, who both resigned over the delay in meeting the town’s wishes, to sell the building for just one pound.

This will enable any money raised by the Development Trust, either through grants or fundraising activities, to be used to get the club premises habitable again.

Surveys carried out by Dorset County Council estimate there needs at least £250,000 spent on the former Church Hall, although many feel this is a gross exaggeration and that much of the repair work could be carried out by voluntary labour.

There are also many in the town who believe that if the trustees had exercised their duty of care, the building would not have ended up in the state that it is in.

Much of the dampness inside the building has been caused by blocked gutters. I understand that representations have been made to the Charity Commissioners about this issue.
Feelings did run very strong at the recent public meeting, called by the Lyme Youth Club Action Group, and I understand there are a few solicitors’ letters flying around.

I was at that meeting and whilst there were some very critical comments expressed about certain trustees, I don’t believe any of them were defamatory and therefore actionable.
It would be counter-productive if the animosity that clearly exists is allowed to fester.

All those who want the best for our young people need to forget the past and look to the future.

Two weeks ago there seemed no hope for the Club For Young People. Now there is.

Co-operation is the only way forward to provide the young people of Lyme with the youth club they need and deserve.

Lyme asides . . .

DISAPPOINTED and totally disgusted by England’s shameful exit from the World Cup, I decided to go for a walk on Sunday evening.

After a hugely hectic day on the seafront, Lyme looked at its most serene in the evening sun.
We strolled through the gardens and admired the new floral display marking the Guides’ 100th anniversary at the entrance to Langmoor Gardens.

Then we walked into Broad Street - and it looked like a bomb had hit it. The whole street was covered in litter where the seagulls (at their most annoying this time of year) had scavanged every bag put out by the traders.

Church Street was no better; in fact, it was worse. Some of the more responsible traders cover the rubbish in sheets or cardboard, but the worst offenders of course are those who stay in self-catering accommodation.

Pity the poor dustmen on Monday mornings.

Event of the week

SHE’S going to kill me for writing this but here goes...

Anyone who knows Jean Heppenstall knows that when she puts her mind to it. no challenge is too great.

Jean was the driving force behind the Lyme Community Players who over ten years raised thousands of pounds for local good causes.

She has an uncanny knack of getting people up on stage, discarding their inhibitions and having a good time.

Some have gone on to be very accomplished performers’ others enjoyed an experience they thought would come their way.

Sat watching the massively moving repatriations at Wootton Bassett, Jean decided she just had to do something.

That something was the two-night ENSA-type concert party at Uplyme Village Hall last week which raised over £3,000 and still counting for the the splendid Help For Heroes campaign.

It was unashamed nostalgia which was hugely entertaining, organised, as always with Jean, with military precision.

Jean enlisted some help from a few close friends and persuaded a number of those she has tutored and directed over the years to get up on stage again.

Well done to them all, especially Jack Marshall who is still tinkling the ivories and the grand
old age of 96.

Event of the week? More like event of the year.

Summer break

THIS will be my last column for a couple of months (thank God for that, I hear the chorus!).
I’m handing this page over to my daughter Francesca for her “Summertime in Lyme” column, so popular last year.

Francesca is back in Lyme for the summer after completing her second year at Southampton University and a spell on work experience at The Mirror in London.

It gives me a chance to take a breather for the summer months - and provide you all with a welcome respite from my weekly rant.

Have a great summer.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


NEIL Vincent has been working at the Woodroffe School in Lyme Regis for the past four years where he is head of the maths department.

He was born in the Midlands but moved to Milton Keynes where he lived throughout his teenage years before going to the University of Nottingham where he studied for a degree in maths.

He now lives in Stockland, near Honiton with his wife, who also works at the school, and their daughter Rosie.

Mr Vincent is a sport enthusiast, with a special passion for running. It has played a big part in his life for the past 12 years and this year he was granted the chance to run in the London Marathon.

WHAT do you like about your job?
I like working at Woodroffe because it’s a great school in a great area and I enjoy motivating students and helping people to understand why maths is fascinating and how much they need it for working life.

WHAT would you change about the school if you could?
I would like to see more cross-curricular projects where the students have more flexibility and choice about what they do.

WHAT are your main interests and hobbies?
As everyone knows I really enjoy running, and cycling as well, most sports to be honest.

SO, you ran the London Marathon recently, why did you choose to do so?
It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s taken six years of applying before I got a place. I ran for Macmillan Cancer Relief because of people I know who had lost their lives to cancer.

WHAT did you wear for the run?
I wore the Macmillan bright green top, which was great because they have cheer stations along the way and everyone cheers you from Macmillan and having about 100 people cheering your name as your running along is fantastic

WHAT was your training like for the marathon?
I trained for about four months, running four times a week, sometimes at six in the morning and built up my distance to just under the distance of the marathon. If I get a place, I’m planning on running the London Marathon again next year and I might do some local runs in the meantime.

WHAT is your ideal holiday destination?
A lovely coastal town, somewhere in Morocco

IF YOU could play any character in any show, who would it be?
I think Gavin out of Gavin and Stacey is quite funny so probably him.

WHAT would you do if you won the lottery?
If I won the lottery I would probably buy a few nice things like a bike and a big house and then put the money into a savings account and think what to do.

WHAT three items would you take with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
A calculator! No, I would probably take my digital radio, a surfboard so I can enjoy the surf and a lighter so I could cook anything that I would catch.

To drive or not to drive

WELL, it had to happen I suppose because if you talk about mayhem often enough then people are likely to believe you.

So it was with the dreaded Weymouth Transport Package roadworks which started last week. Flashing light signs dominated the town with their lurid warning about forthcoming delays and-or the end of the motoring world as we know it and people really paid attention.
But the way they paid attention was to avoid the entire area like the plague and stay away by the thousand.

Normally gridlocked Boot Hill was like a ghost town at 8am when it all started while there was a sharp and obvious increase in the number of cyclists.

However, drivers have short memories and the usual evening mayhem swiftly clogged up the Wyke area followed by enormous traffic problems in the Lanehouse area.

Since then it has been a mixture of horrible queues and quiet periods as wary motorists slowly get to grips with the roadworks.

And the best is still to come… the King Street roundabouts loom large in December and January. Merry Christmas!

Definitely a three-flag driver!

A TRANSPORT initiative has been relaunched to target bad drivers who overtake in dangerous places, speed in residential areas or follow the car in front of them too closely.

The campaign aims to identify poor drivers so the majority of road users can recognise them and be on their guard.

To do this poor drivers will have to display white flags with a red cross on them signifying their inability to drive properly.

These flags must be clipped to a car door and be visible to all other drivers and pedestrians. Those drivers who have shown particularly poor driving skills will have to display a flag on each side of the car to indicate their greater lack of skill and general lower intelligence mindset to the general public.

All this, as most people will be aware, is just a joke circulating now the World Cup has started. But is it a joke?

In a single day I saw people driving cars with flags on them carry out some horrendous manoeuvres.

Examples ranged from overtaking a bus straight into the path of a lorry to looking left at a junction before turning right straight in front of oncoming vehicles which had to break sharply.

One bright spark – who incredibly also had a sticker on his windscreen and dice dangling from his mirror – should be forced to display three flags.

He overtook one car only to pull in to the side of the road 100 yards ahead in front of the same car on a sharp bend so he could chat with a friend he had seen. He then seemed to wait until there was a decent amount of traffic before pulling sharply away in front of it. Definitely a three flagger!

Booked for parking in the mayor’s space

WEYMOUTH and Portland Mayor Paul Kimber has received his first award since taking office - a ticket for parking in the mayoral space!

Mr Kimber drove to the council offices on North Quay so he could send a get well card to a sick colleague.

He parked as usual in the Mayor’s official parking space that he had been using since taking office in May and walked inside the building.

Mr Kimber said: “I did my card, but when I came out I found that I had been given a parking ticket.

“It is the first time that I have ever heard of the Mayor getting a parking ticket in the Mayor’s official parking space!

“I have been assured that the matter is now being dealt with, but the parking people were not very happy.

“The funny thing was that they were quite put out that I had parked in the Mayor’s space because, at that time, they didn’t know that they were talking to the Mayor!

“When they found out that they had just booked the Mayor I think it was a case of “Yikes!”

“They are now dealing with the ticket and I hope to hear that there will be no further action taken against me.”

NOTHING seems to get people going more than a good row over parking.

There have been protests against pay and display, fury at loss of spaces and anger at restrictions in various streets, but one motorist underlined why we have to have parking laws “for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men”.

He seemed to be in a bit of a hurry as he turned into the street I was in and he was clearly looking for somewhere to park.

Double yellow lines were everywhere, but this was his lucky day and just before the restrictions began there was a large empty space big enough for several cars.

He then drove right through the unrestricted spaces in favour of parking smack on the double yellow lines.

I couldn’t believe it and another pedestrian summed up the situation nicely when he said: “Let’s hope he gets a ticket.”

WEYMOUTH and Portland is on the crest of a tourism wave with the resort winning awards, improving facilities and generally doing everything it can to welcome visitors.

So it was with some amusement that I saw Weymouth literally try to cultivate tourists.

On a glorious sunny afternoon when the beach was packed and every seafront bench and flat topped flower planter had people sat on them.

Enter workmen turning over the flower beds into a fine tilth ready for the next lot of flowers.

Tourists and residents alike taking the sun watched this with mild interest until they realised that the cultivator was heading their way.

Then they began to get nervous about moving, where to go and will I get my seat back, rather like a flock of birds waiting until the last moment to take wing as potential danger threatens.

Fortunately all went smoothly and the flock of visitors soon settled back on their perches as the workmen progressed.

Co-operation the key to saving club

EMOTIONS are running very high in Lyme Regis over the disposal of the Club For Young People in Church Street.

There has been near universal condemnation of the decision by the trustees to put the building up for auction on July 21st.

The recently-formed Lyme Regis Youth Club Action Group, formed to try and persuade the trustees to hand the building over to the town for renovation and re-opening as a youth club, are so incensed by the decision to go to auction that they have called a public meeting at St Michael’s Primary School for Wednesday evening (6pm).

I am told it will be a lively meeting, but it is unlikely that anyone from the much maligned trustees will be present.

A little bit of spice has been added by the fact that two trustees, former mayor Barbara Austin, and Derek Hallett, who have both given sterling service to the organisation, have resigned over the issue.

It has been common knowledge for some time that all was not sweetness and light on the trustees.

And for Barbara to stand down after working so hard for the youth club over a long period of time, you can be assured that things are pretty grim. It is not in Barbara’s nature to walk away from a sinking ship.

There are many questions which need answering and I am sorry I am not able to do so. The trustees choose not to use the columns of the View from Lyme Regis and therefore we don’t receive their press statements. That is their prerogative but the offer remains that we will be more than happy to give their side of the story should they so wish.

One question I would like answered is “Who actually owns the building?” There is talk of any money raised by the sale of the premises going back to the National Association for Clubs for Young People, although I understand that this would only be the case if there was no other site for a new youth club.

If my memory serves me right, the building was purchased with the help of a loan/donation from the Eyre family and a good deal of fundraising. Does that mean that any money raised by its sale should stay in the town, which is what most people want?

If the auction in Plymouth goes ahead, there is still a good chance that the former Church Hall building can continue its life as a centre for young people with involvement from the Woodroffe School.

Marcus Dixon, chief executive of the Lyme Regis Development Trust, is working hard to raise the necessary cash to be in a position to make a realistic bid at the auction.

Then there is the issue of how much it would cost to put the club back into good order. An original survey by Dorset County Council came up with the figure of £250,000. A more detailed look at the building confirmed this figure although the trustees have said it could cost as much as £300,000 with £6,000 annual running costs for the next 20 years.

If these figures are accurate, one can understand why they want to get rid of the building as soon as possible. But there are many who believe a great deal of the renovations could be carried out by voluntary labour and the final bill would be very much less that £250,000. This is certainly the view of the Youth Action Group.

The action group are urging the trustees to step aside and hand the building over to a new trust for £1.

I have no idea whether this is legal or not. Barbara Austin firmly belives there are younger people who could make the club work and that is one of the reason why she has decided to step aside.

I can’t see the rest of the trustees doing likewise, although I am sure there have been many times recently when they must have wondered whether it was all worthwhile.

If it is legally possible, I see no reason why they should not make way for those who think they can save the youth club.

The present trustees have worked hard for many years but sometimes you get to a point where it is impossible to move forward.

I experienced that with the Strawberry Field project and I finally had to admit I was not going to be able to see the project through to completion.

One thing I don’t understand, however, is the apparent reluctance of the trustees to talk to other parties. They maintain they have not refused to meet with MP Oliver Letwin and Marcus Dixon, as alleged this week, but surely there can be no reason why they should not meet the action group and listen to their ideas?

Co-operation is always better than confrontation.

Passing of so many characters

LYME has had its fare share of characters over the years, people whose very presence gives this town its heart.

Inevitably they leave a huge gap when they depart this life.

Recently, we seem to have had a spate of deaths which leaves the town a much poorer place.

The Cobb will probably never be the same again following the passing of Ron Bailey and last week Ronnie Higgs, two boatmen whose characters far exceeded their daily catch.

The esteem in which Ron was held was clearly evident at his funeral service.

To be in Ron Higgs’ company was often side-achingly entertaining. He had a joke for every occasion; in fact he had a string of funny tales for every occasion.

Ron would have made a brilliant stand-up comedian and going on one of his fishing trips was better than any comedy show on TV.

I was particularly saddened also to hear of the death of John Perry. I grew up surrounded by the Perrys and John’s parents, Bill and Freda Perry, were our next door neighbours for many years.

John was a great musician and a brilliant sportsman, excelling in latter years as a member of the Lyme Regis Bowling Club and as one of my boyhood heroes - goalkeeper for Lyme Regis Football Club.

They will all be greatly missed.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

What’s in a name?

IF you walk round Weymouth then you are bound to come across pubs and bars with some famous historical or unusual claim to fame.

The Black Dog and the Boot pubs are two with long and distinguished histories, but more modern watering holes sometimes have an interesting tale to tell as well.

Take the relatively new bar Boho in St Thomas Street for instance.

I enjoyed a drink in there one day and asked why the bar had such an unusual name, expecting to be given some explanation about it being an obscure village in Romania or a tribute to some family member. The truth of the matter was much more entertaining.

It emerged that all was going really well as staff prepared for the launch of the new Bohemia bar.

However, with just a few hours to go, there was panic stations when someone noticed that there was no name sign over the bar.

The upshot of this was that a sign was hurriedly constructed but they only had enough plywood available to make four letters, so the bar’s name was shortened to Boho!

Imagine that circulating as an historical yarn in a couple of centuries time.

Absolutely barking!

WHEN two dogs square up to each other there is going to be trouble.

So it was in a mismatched contest which entertained shoppers in Weymouth. One large slightly puzzled dog was being loudly attacked by a much smaller psycho dog.

The only problem was that there happened to be a large shop window between the two of them. This didn’t seem to matter too much to the larger dog but it completely infuriated the smaller animal which became almost hysterical in its efforts to get at an enemy it could see but not reach.

Time after time the smaller dog hurled itself against the glass, yapping and snarling, and time after time the larger dog just wagged its tail and looked pityingly at his smaller opponent.

Eventually the little dog worked itself up into such a rage that its owner had to break off shopping, come over and pick it up. Even then the small dog still tried to splutter defiance at his opponent while being carried from view. Absolutely barking.

A night to remember he’d rather forget

A WEYMOUTH man enjoying a night out while on holiday in Mexico saw people near him sampling an unusual drink.

He wondered what it was and asked the barman who explained that it was a special cocktail that he himself had made.

The man decided that this might be the perfect way to end his evening so he asked the barman to make him one too which he did.

A few hours later the man was back in bed asleep with his wife when he suddenly woke her with a terrifying scream.

She was gradually able to coax from him that he had had a terrible dream in which he had slowly been eating his right hand.

A day or so later after various inquiries the man believed that his dream had been caused by his cocktail of that night which certainly contained mescal but which may also have contained mescaline which is hallucinogenic.

Whatever the explanation for his vision, the man said it was the worst nightmare he had ever had and one he just couldn’t forget.

Traffic problems

WOE, woe and thrice woe! The time has come, the end is nigh.

Legend has it that this was how soothsayers warned people of impending disaster thousands of years ago.

That role appears to have been shouldered in modern times by the flashing messages of illuminated signs warning of work which has just started for Weymouth’s transport package.

Dozens and dozens of people have talked to me about this and the universal theme seems to be that they are pretty depressed about the whole thing.

No one seems very confident of anything other than massive traffic disruption despite a number of exhibitions explaining that this is “a golden opportunity” to solve Weymouth’s chronic congestion problems.

It has even become something of a joke for people to come up with fresh ways of avoiding the worst of the excavations.

The best I’ve heard came from one woman who said her solution would be to send her husband out to do the shopping instead!

Beer is proof?

IT was my birthday recently and a friend gave me a card on which was written: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”

Leaving aside certain obvious religious and philosophical talking points that this raises, I happened to mention the brewing card to another friend. He then told me this tragic tale.

Apparently a local man was working in a large brewery. He thoroughly enjoyed his job for which, quite clearly, there were certain obvious perks.

Unfortunately he had a bad day at the office one week and pressed a lever he shouldn’t have touched.

The sad consequence of his action was that 400,000 pints of lager were dumped down a drain!
So if beer is proof that God loves us, is this accident proof that lager Fosters mistakes?