Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Driving on the assault course

UNEMPLOYMENT is a serious worry for Weymouth and Portland but not if you are in the shock absorber repair trade which probably can’t hire enough people.

Go down routes such as Spa Road, Radipole Park Drive, Barrack Road and Goldcroft Road or sites such as Asda supermarket and you’ll know just what I mean. Bone-shaking jolt after bone-shaking jolt awaits motorists driving in these areas.

It doesn’t matter if you do just 20mph because you still find your teeth smashing together and if you slow down altogether to five miles an hour then every loose object in the car seems to take off like a cautious example of pancake tossing.

The effect on vehicles forced to use such routes regularly is bound to be damaging. Measures such as “sleeping policemen”, metal curves or shaped concrete hillocks were brought in with the best of intentions to improve safety, but I feel it is a solution done on the cheap.

In tight areas maybe such constructions are the only way to get people to slow down although, if it is tight, they should hardly be speeding in the first place.

On more open routes surely chicanes or priority stop-go areas would be better since it would help public safety without exposing drivers to assault course conditions followed by the need for emergency dental treatment.

Is your elderly neighbour starving to death?

WHEN I first read it I thought the British Diabetic Association had sent me a massive misprint, but it really is true that one million elderly people daily suffer malnutrition.

This naturally includes a number of such cases in Weymouth and Portland, but what it doesn’t include is older people in hospital or a care setting. The figure is purely for those older people living in our community, many of whom eat less than one meal per day.

These people are the so-called “invisible population” and the BDA is trying to highlight the issue in Weymouth and Portland as part of its national campaign which can be viewed at

It stresses that malnutrition is not a problem facing third world countries but is alive and well here affecting some of the most vulnerable people in our society, costing the NHS £13 billion annually, a figure similar to the cost of obesity.

So as you fork the next mouthful of your evening meal food into your mouth make sure you keep an eye on elderly neighbours to ensure they are get something as simple as at least one good meal per day.

COMEDY comes in all walks of life but it can sometimes come into your own life when you least expect it.

I’d taken advice from some Weymouth builders and DIY sites on how I might best treat a concrete floor to prevent dust going everywhere and give it a hard working surface.

They all recommended using a special paint which sets like rock, the type you often see on the floor of commercial garages which get a lot of heavy use.

No problem, I thought, so off I went and bought a can of this stuff, opened doors and windows, cleared the floor area and began to paint while listening to a nice Kraftwerk album followed by a bit of Stravinski’s Rite of Spring.

Then I became aware that all was not well.

Now I know what you may be thinking. You’re wondering if I’d somehow painted myself into a corner. Even I’m not stupid enough to do that, but I am stupid enough not to have realised that by the time I completed the last few brush strokes I could no longer reach the window to close and lock it... nor could I reach the music deck power point to switch it off.

So my decorating triumph got a classical music encore...and again and again and again.

In fact this went on for nearly six hours by which time the floor was dry enough to tip toe within reach of the switch and turn off the deck. Believe me, silence is golden!

Just don’t bother us with the silly stuff

WE can all relax a bit now after the Health and Safety Executive contacted me to say national claims they tried to ban pins being used to secure remembrance poppies are wrong.

They also said that a local painter I highlighted who claimed he’s been warned off hanging his works over a staircase because of concerns they might drop on someone’s head had nothing to fear from them because “HSE has not made any such requirement and would not give any attention to such trivial risks”.

Their spokesman Max Walker said: “Health and safety is very often mis-used as an excuse for any unpopular decision made for other reasons entirely such as insurance costs.

“I would be very surprised to see any evidence of HSE staff giving any “silly” advice as they are busy investigating fatal accidents and very serious injuries and have no time for getting in the way of perfectly sensible and normal every day activities.”

So, now you know. Poppy pins and hanging paintings are OK.

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