Friday, 6 May 2011



Is living a health and safety issue?

I’M indebted to Weymouth and Portland Deputy Mayor, Graham Winter, for this one after he highlighted the farcical line that some modern thinking has taken.

He was involved in a debate at a planning committee about a large new council structure proposed for the seafront which would have housed a new beach rescue centre including RNLI, canoe rescue, first aid and lost children facilities as well as toilets and a café.

This monstrosity attracted a storm of protest including more than 90 objections and the meeting rightly threw it out.

But Mr Winter produced his own storm, this time of laughter, by highlighting one of the comments he had come across which apparently informed members that “launching lifeboats was a health and safety issue”!

If that is how modern thinking is being coloured by this most invasive of institutions then… watch out! Who knows what may be next.

Perhaps children could be banned from playing on the same beach because the holes they leave are an H&S issue, perhaps golf should be banned because the holes it leaves on green and fairway are an H&S issue and perhaps roadworks should be banned because of the holes they leave everywhere.

The potential list is endless but what thins that list down to reality is a critically important sense of proportion, something H&S has never been renowned for.


Can I get back to a world without a wedding!

YOU must forgive me a few literals but it is difficult to type through the tears of joy I am still shedding at the Royal Wedding.

An estimated two billion people watched the event, marginally more than for my wedding but then I’d only been able to sell viewing rights for our big day to a Japanese local television station specialising in selling tyres.

William and Kate – I can be that familiar because we all know them so well – managed somewhat better coverage for their big day at Westminster Abbey which was piped to the entire world including a big screen on Weymouth harbourside and yurts in Mongolia.

So it was a great delight to me that officialdom didn’t let the majesty of the ceremony go to their heads but banged off a quick press release urging all and sundry to be sensible and make sure everyone cleaned up properly after their street party!

Work meant I had to wait until the evening for my celebrations which consisted of taking my shoes off, wiggling my aching toes a bit and collapsing in an armchair with a gin and tonic of Household Cavalry proportions.

Then I spoilt my oasis of calm by being stupid enough to switch the television on only to find the Royal Wedding on every channel. Even the adverts had a wedding theme!

But it’s all over now and we can get on with the more minor issues of life. Aren’t there some elections or something on today?


Opening my eyes to what some people endure every day

MANY are the stories I’ve written about facilities for the disabled but they took on a whole new light when I suffered a hip problem with a trapped nerve.

Suddenly I was in agony and I couldn’t drive, could barely walk to the front door and needed help to dress myself.

My long suffering wife had to drive me to my jobs but it was the physical demands of those jobs that were a real eye opener.

Suddenly access became a real issue because I needed to be dropped off as close to the job as possible while a simple set of entryway steps took on the challenge of a cliff.

These sort of issues dominated my life for days on end until my hip problem cleared up, but what about people who are truly disabled and have to cope with their condition for years or even a lifetime?

I can only take my hat off to them because the amount of pain and inconvenience I went through over a very short space of time really opened my eyes to their bravery in dealing with such existences as a permanent way of life.

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