Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Ain’t it all a bleeding shame?

EIGHTY years ago London comedy singer Billy Bennett belted out a song which would now appear to have some significance for aspects of life in modern Dorset.

Entitled 'She Was Poor But She Was Honest', it told the tale of a pretty country girl who is lured to the bright lights of the city and is taken advantage of by a rich gent.

It coined the famous lines: “It’s the same the whole world over, It’s the poor what gets the blame, It’s the rich what gets the pleasure, Ain’t it all a bleeding shame?”

Present day Dorset is not short of people with a penny or three and I must say I found it amusing at a recent event to hear not that the county rich are still taking advantage of the poor but that they’ve actually become a victim of their own wealth.

Of course the not so well off are still the real victims, but the conversation I was involved in dwelt in part on the increasing difficulty being met by some well off people to find a gardener or someone to clean their house!

We all know not just about sky high property prices but about those who can also actually afford to snap up rural properties as second homes.

This clearly takes many properties out of the reach of ordinary local people but it appears that the well off may have painted themselves into a corner.

They’ve got their nice home in the country but it needs to be cleaned, maintained and its gardens looked after.

People with money don’t always look at the obvious choice of doing the work themselves, often preferring to use some of that money to pay others to do their work for them... but increasingly those others aren’t there.

Such workers have to have somewhere to live and dwindling supplies of affordable rural properties mean they’re forced to live more urban lives and cannot service rich rural residents so well because of accommodation and transport problems.

The conversation ended with comments about how a good gardener or cleaner was so rarely available now they were like gold dust, to which I’m bound to reply: “Ain’t it all a bleeding shame?”

Keep your feet well off the ground!

SHARED interests take many forms but one Weymouth man hopes that it will be a long while before his partner repeats a recent incident.

They had been cycling along a coastal path route and she was in the lead when she suddenly stopped and beckoned him in close.

He duly rode up and stopped behind her machine, asking what she wanted. She replied that she had seen a big snake and wanted to share the experience with him.

He hastily asked where and was less than overjoyed at the reply: “There, by your foot!”

When he’d finished telling me about this attempt on his life he added another, something which again happened while out cycling.

This time he was descending a very steep section only to become aware that the way forward was covered in adders.

He couldn’t stop and so lifted his feet out of the way while trying to weave his way through the creatures which were basking. Dangerous stuff this cycling!

False widows move into the area

MOST people don’t find the sudden appearance of a spider running over their hand particularly pleasant, but such incidents are now taking on a whole new importance.

Sightings of the venomous false widow spider are increasing so perhaps I should have exercised more care when I moved a small pile of bricks in my garden only to disturb a large spider with jet black legs and a black bulbous body with markings on it.

My interest in nature kicked in and I thought I recognised it as a false widow spider before immediately wondering if such a creature could actually be in my garden, but I did capture it in a glass jar and take it down the road to get a neighbour’s opinion.

He is Dr Phil Stirling, Dorset County Council’s ecologist and natural environment team leader, and within a few seconds he had positively identified my find as a false widow spider.

He also said the creature was present right through our neighbourhood, other neighbours confirming they had half a dozen in a pond pump box. Nice!

Apparently the spider only bites if mishandled or provoked and those who have been bitten say it is similar to a bee sting.

No one in this country has died from such a bite but it is described as “medically significant” by experts who say some people can develop a reaction. This includes a Dorchester man who spent three days in Dorset County Hospital after suffering a bite believed to be from a false widow spider.

The spider likes nooks and crannies like my bricks or piles of wood and is often found in sheds, so keep an eye out for them and treat them with respect.

Sadly stardom was too much for my specimen. The funeral was held in my garden last week and there were no mourners.


  1. Yeah guess that is a knock on effect if locals cannot afford the housing. Mind you I clean for very rich people but we do not live where they do and have to go 30 mins to their house.

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  2. I think it's rather easy when your head is in the clouds of wealth, and you don't have to walk through poverty stricken areas to claim that housing isn't a problem, it doesn't affect your day to day life whatsoever. Politicians need to know how to look outside their own personal experiences and embrace the plethora of thoughts as a whole.

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