Thursday, 23 June 2011

Yachts pouring into Weymouth - and it’s still more than a year to go

YACHTS are pouring in to Weymouth to entertain passers by with their antics in a cabaret apparently known as “mooring”.

An appreciative crowd gathered the other evening to watch this entertainment which began with one young man nimbly hopping across the sterns of three yachts moored together only to stumble and nearly plunge into the harbour.

He was just saved by a swift grab at a rope followed by some sort of face-saving comment about one of the craft not being tied up tightly.

The stars of the show were two middle-aged yachties who seemed to be under the impression they were mooring a car.

One steered while the other lay flat in the prow and attempted to guide him in to their berth with loud cries about “left hand down a bit” and “no, reverse and try again”.

They then used a tried and trusted driver’s method of “parking by touch” and proceeded to ram their berth, bounce off a stanchion and grating their way into their final resting place with the pleased expressions of two seasoned mariners having executed a particularly difficult task.

So much history in the buildings around us

PEOPLE walk by historic buildings every day almost without noticing them while certain historic features are missed altogether.

One such building is St Mary’s Church in Weymouth which provides a fascinating record of local history going back to its first rector in 1299.

There are also wonderful details of the origins of many local charities recorded on giant boards in the entrance way as well as marble memorials and dedications spanning umpteen wars and events.

All this and a chance to enjoy a church of real character as well should not be missed. Nor should something few people ever notice because it is way over their heads. Just take a stroll up St Mary Street and, instead of browsing shop windows, turn your eyes to the rooftops where a whole world of history awaits.

There are carved stone figures and ornate stonework, lovely tiling, dates, weird and delicately shaped window structures and a number of unusual mechanisms attached to walls whose use can only be guessed at.

Ghost tours and smugglers tours are already held in Weymouth and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before some enterprising person adds a historical guide to the rooftops of Weymouth to the town’s list of attractions.

Just in case you don’t know

JUST in case there is anyone who doesn’t know, the Olympic sailing events are coming to Weymouth and Portland.

This is a twin-edged sword because with fame comes focus. Fame boosts our local profile, attracts massive Government investment and leads to a huge programme of improvements.
But with fame comes focus and Weymouth and Portland may not like the way it is rapidly becoming viewed on breakfast tables across the world.

Take America for instance, a supporter, a friend and an important source of tourism for this country including Dorset.

But the American branch of respected news agency Reuters recently ran a feature on Weymouth and Portland… and it didn’t concentrate on soft subjects such as sailing and how beautiful the Jurassic Coast is.

Instead it looked at issues that Olympic and council bosses would rather they hadn’t talked about, specifically the roadworks chaos and how, in some people’s opinion, Weymouth risked becoming a ghost town after the Olympics.

That remains to be seen, but crystal clear beyond any doubt is that the world’s communication organisations, whether papers, television or the Internet, will have a powerful influence on just what sort of legacy Weymouth and Portland reaps.

The borough will definitely need to increase its work on image because, as has been said, “perception isn’t everything but it sure is convincing”.

Long distance skateboarders

SKATEBOARDERS love their pastime so much that many are prepared to travel distance to get to a skate park.

But it now appears that some may be willing to travel distance to avoid certain facilities. I’m told that some Weymouth skateboarders actually find it cheaper to catch a train to Dorchester and enjoy free skate park facilities there than to bother pursuing their sport in Weymouth where they are charged for facilities which they claim are expensive, restrictive and poorly maintained.

Perhaps the council should check out skateboard facilities in Weymouth because there surely must be something wrong with a scenario where a round trip to another town is more attractive than the same facilities on someone’s doorstep.


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