Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Is this a flock of birds or a shoal of fish?

NASTY home truths about local reaction to the Olympic Games are starting to haunt Weymouth and Portland.

I have warned before that local rows which previously stayed local could not continue to do so once world media began to focus on the borough and we’ve now had several tastes of that bitter pill - and there are still nearly five months to go.

National coverage has broadcast the disgruntled reaction of some local businesses to all the disruption for the Games - news features which have gone round the world - and one of the latest dollops of egg to be left on our faces predictably concerns the new relief road sculpture.

Quite how those who approved this monstrosity were stupid enough to think it was safe from instant ridicule is beyond belief.

At a time of national belt tightening, nothing was more calculated to start the sharpening of vitriolic quills than more than £330,000 being spent on putting some rocks on top of some metal pillars.

What few national hacks were still prepared to give the sculpture the benefit of the doubt rapidly changed their minds when told that “Jurassic Stones” is supposed to represent a flock of birds or a shoal of fish. In a pig’s ear it does!

The only birds it looks like to me are pigeons coming home to roost!

No wonder the nationals were baying about “waste on an Olympian scale” and calling for a hunt to be started to find the “idiots” who agreed to pay for it.

On top of that, the embarrassment of having to remove passenger information pods from bus stops because of noisy fans has travelled far enough to become a talking point in San Francisco.

Staying with the negative theme, a number of businesses have contacted me to say they don’t like the negative approach some outlets have voiced over arrangements for the forthcoming Olympic sailing events.

They say they feel this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and a little inconvenience is more than outweighed by the fact that Weymouth and Portland will be showcased to the world.

They may still feel that way despite recent national and international ridicule for the borough, but some businesses are right to ensure they know where they stand, that they can still get deliveries in and that staff working won’t be hit and turn that golden opportunity into a lead balloon.

There isn’t any one size fits all solution to any problems with arrangements and local Olympic bosses are doing their best to talk personally to as many people with problems as they possibly can, hopefully to iron difficulties out quickly while avoiding some of the more sculptural pitfalls.

Be careful - you are what you eat!

WEYMOUTH food outlets sell millions of pounds worth of rolls and sandwiches every year, but perhaps hungry people don’t look closely enough at what they get.

For a start, many outlets just serve such items in a paper bag because they are often freshly made, so the only chance a buyer gets to really know the ingredients in what they’re eating comes when their roll or sandwich is packed with a label showing those ingredients.

I was peckish the other day and got myself a torpedo roll with salad from a reputable Weymouth outlet, but it wasn’t until I’d eaten most of it that I happened to glance at the ingredients label.

They included emulsifier E472, flour treatment agent E300, preservatives E202, E272 and E250, antioxidant E301 and E385, stabilisers E450 and E451, flavour enhancer E621, colour E160c and E160a, acid E260 and E330 and thickener E415 and E412 not to mention various other colours, emulsifiers and chemicals. Oh yes... there was also a bit of turkey, bacon and lettuce.

By now my snack didn’t taste so good and I can only hope that the ingredients listed above stayed within acceptable food controls as I’m no food scientist.

Regardless of this, it beggars the question what we eat in similar circumstances when there are no labels to tell us what might be in our snack and fast food since I doubt building site workers or shoppers grabbing a bite to eat in a hurry ask a sandwich bar for a detailed breakdown on exactly what’s in their fillings.

Where are our twin towns?

TIMES are hard at Dorset County Council where everything is under the microscope to see where cuts can be made.

Some shrewd individual made their contribution to cutbacks... by leaving the names of Weymouth and Portland’s twin towns of Louviers in France and Holwickede in Germany off new signs for Weymouth relief road.

That has undoubtedly saved ten pence worth of paint but how much will it cost the authority in man hours and communication response to deal with angry twinners who want the signs repainted with the names on.

It’s a case of Mon Dieu! or Mein Gott! as our twinning friends across the water might say.

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