Friday, 25 November 2011

Winning back some favour for Weymouth

JUST a week or so and it will be time for us all to collect a rebate on our annual bill for car parking in Weymouth and Portland.

That is because we're are all being given several hours free parking on eight days in December at all council owned car parks and on-street sites.

The council committee debate that awarded this seasonal windfall made much of handing back something to the community and no one can say this is not a laudable sentiment.

But cynical old me did raise a wry smile at one snippet of the debate which dwelt on the boost to the town from its new relief road.

One councillor beautifully summed it up by saying that the relief road has been hailed as a vast improvement to allow people swifter access to shop or visit the town . . . but it also provides people with a faster way to get out of town!

It seems that those fed up with never-ending roadworks and a new traffic light system which impartially delays everyone are now increasingly voting with their feet and dumping Weymouth in favour of going shopping in Dorchester.

The road to Dorchester — if not Hell — is clearly paved with good intentions and the town may yet rue the road and Olympics work.

Giving people several bites of free parking in the run-up to Christmas will help long-suffering residents and traders have welcomed the move, but it will take more than a few hours free parking to heal the wounds in residents’ memories from what has gone before.

Don’t tarnish the image of the torch

WHEN I first saw details I thought it was some sort of sick joke being foisted on this country’s long suffering public.

It seems that the purity of the Olympic ideal has now been bastardised so much that the torch relay for the Games can be hijacked into the script of Eastenders!

Is nothing sacred? I appreciate that, for millions of discerning viewers, the antics of various cast members perfectly reflects modern life, but there are limits.

If a sacred symbol such as the Olympic torch can now be viewed as something commercial to cash in on - and that has to be the reason for storylining it since ratings will rise sharply for that episode - then where will it end?

Can we all now look forward to Weymouth and Portland’s Olympic sailors appearing on Masterchef to whip up a quick omelette cooked over the Olympic torch?

The possibilities seem endless in a world where everything is there to be exploited and God alone knows I’ve sat in on enough recent meetings where Olympic marketing opportunities were discussed.

But the question is this. How far do we allow marketing to go? I’d suggest using the Olympic torch in a programme like Eastenders cheapens its image.

It tarnishes the majesty for which the torch stands because, whatever else Eastenders may stand for, majesty it does not. BBC take note.

Mind the gap!

IT is the measure of a determined politician that they can soldier on even when faced with a complete lack of support.

Such was the case with Weymouth and Portland management committee chairman Councillor Mike Goodman, a seasoned veteran of life and many a political clash.

He didn’t allow lack of support to affect his commitment to the items being debated by his committee and manfully stuck to his position in the seat of government despite very trying circumstances.

So what point of view was he propounding that saw him get so little support?

Well, it wasn’t so much a view as the fact that his chair was collapsing around him.

Perish the thought that Mr Goodman might have a weight problem – which he doesn’t – but I have to confess to a certain morbid fascination as I watched the joint in his hardwood chair take on softwood proportions.

Wider and wider gaped the gap, Mr Goodman being saved by the closure of the meeting if not the joint of his chair. It was clearly one piece of furniture missed in the recent “minimalist” upgrade of Committee Room Number 1.

Number one son

WELL, my son is now officially a graduate and entitled to have the letters BA (Hons) after his name.

Fatherly (and motherly) pride was much in evidence when we attended the awards ceremony at Worcester Cathedral whose stunning stained glass interior was packed with close to 1,000 people.

Son’s ten seconds of fame was just that... ten seconds, because hundreds of others were also graduating that afternoon and the degrees fairly rattled along.

Still, that ten seconds meant all the world to his parents who had ruthlessly arrived early to get good seats, guarding them carefully for nearly two hours in the run up to the ceremony.

Well done, son, for three years hard work and well done Budmouth for seven years schooling ahead of his degree.


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