Thursday, 27 September 2012

Get the tills ringing . . .  it’s only 13 weeks to Christmas!

BUSINESSES claim that they are rushed off their feet now the trading vagaries of an Olympic and Paralympic summer are over.

Seafront businesses went from despair to joy in a few days once organisers changed signage and sent messages out encouraging people to visit during the Five Rings period, but further into town there remained a lot of grim-faced businessmen and women.

There may still be a few of those left, but traders away from the seafront tell me their tills are now ringing as well or even better than this time last year now that the Greatest Show on Earth has left town.

I suppose it just goes to show that you can be a victim of your own success.

There can be little doubt that the massive visitor response for most of the Olympics was a feather in Weymouth and Portland’s cap, but the bulk of attractions were seafront orientated.

People were actually drawn out of the town centre and on to the Esplanade by everything from big television screens showing sports to a hugely successful arena where they could actually try a few of them out.

That left a sort of vacuum in the main shopping area and many was the time I had my ear bent by worried traders pointing to near deserted pedestrian areas.

All that has now gone and businesses are having to cope with an autumn rush of visitors perhaps keen to snap up a few stocking fillers with less than 13 weeks to go until Christmas!

So, whose beach is it anyway?

MUCH has been written down the years about dogs on Weymouth beach.

Fouling, the threat to children’s health, the injustice of banning dog owners from certain sections at certain times of the year and the risk posed by dangerous dogs are just some of the topics which have cropped up.

To that canine catalogue you can now add this rather unsavoury tale about dog owners apparently abusing organisers setting up the Paralympic beach sports arena.

Believe it or not, those dog owners adopting this belligerent stance did so because they felt their rights were being infringed because a small section of beach was being cordoned off.

I understand this was done to prevent members of the public wandering through areas being used for sailing, canoeing and windsurfing where the safety of users, particularly the disabled, had to be considered.

Yes, the dog owners do actually have a case. Their rights were infringed by this minor restriction, but it was so small, so necessary and for such a good cause that you wonder how much sticking up for their rights has cost them in good will.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes come the next council debate on exercising dogs in public places before someone claims their rights are being infringed by dog owners letting their animals roam at will on the place in question. 

What price rights being infringed then?

Right on target

BARNES Wallis has become a legend for his ingenuity in devising a bouncing bomb to destroy several dams in World War II Germany which was the last word in pinpoint bombing.... until now.

He was eclipsed the other day by a seagull which, according to its victim, made Barnes Wallis look like an amateur.

Wallis’s task was to deliver a large bomb in such a fashion that it could hit a dam hundreds of metres wide before sinking to a set depth at which point it exploded. The seagull’s mission was much harder.

It had to let go its stinking “payload” of dung while on the wing in such a fashion that it could somehow synchronise with a 4x4 car moving at 30mph and drop that payload through its sunroof no bigger than a suitcase before splattering about inside to devastating effect.

It succeeded so well that a grim-faced neighbour of mine needed a bucket of water and a large sponge to deal with the results which would have delighted Bomber Harris but which left my neighbour with something less than a smile on his face!

HUMOUR knows no boundaries which is especially true when it comes to passing wind. Children get convulsed with laughter by it, many people smile at such sounds while trying to pretend they haven’t happened and a number of others openly laugh when someone lets rip.

Leaving aside the human race’s preoccupation with bodily functions, it was perhaps inevitable that manufacturers would come up with a joke shop-style device to mimic farts.

One boy in St Alban Street was delighted that this must-have toy was finally in his clutches and he lost no time giving several prolonged and very loud trial runs. It captured attention for yards around him.

Teenagers grimaced in disgust, families looked around to try and find a culprit and pensioners stoicly proceeded along in an orderly manner as if nothing had happened.

The boy was delighted at public response to his efforts and could be heard for some time sharing his new skill with all and sundry.


TAE kwon-do instructor Gerry Waugh teaches in Charmouth and Bridport, as well as across the Devon border in Axminster and Sidmouth. Having grown up in Scotland, he moved to Devon in the 1980s. He trained in the martial art at local classes and became a full-time instructor last year. Gerry is married to wife Vanessa, who helps with the admin side of his classes, and they have a 21-year-old son, Robbie, who is currently at university.

HOW did you become interested in tae kwon-do?
I had dabbled in other martial arts, first judo as a young child and then karate as a teenager, but I didn’t stick with them.  I discovered tae kwon-do at a TAGB demo in Honiton in the 1990s. My son enrolled in classes and, as there are some similarities to karate, at least in the basics, I was able to help him at home for a while. But, as he moved through his first few belts, the differences became obvious and I was out of my depth, so I joined too. By that time, he no longer needed my help and I was doing it for myself. I have never regretted it. Obviously, as my son started training first, he got his black belt before me, but I have very much enjoyed training alongside him.  As well as being a tae kwon-do instructor, I am also a qualified tournament referee and officiate at competitions all over the country.  

TELL us about your tae kwon-do classes...
Apart from Axminster, I also teach in Sidmouth, Charmouth and Bridport.  Adults and children train together and we have quite a few family groups, which pleases me, as I originally trained with my son.  I think it helps to have someone at home who shares the interest, so I offer a discounted training rate for family members training together. All my classes are part of the Tae Kwon-Do Association of Great Britain (TAGB). There are more than 600 TAGB schools in the UK, with around 20,000 students training.

WHY would you encourage others to take up tae kwon-do?
Certainly for fitness and flexibility. When I started, I was in my thirties and had a very sedentary office job. I was overweight, very unfit and extremely inflexible – I could barely kick above knee height. Anyone, with enough dedication and effort can go from that as far as they want to take it. For the kids, it also brings confidence, respect, discipline, coordination and good mental focus.  

DID you watch the Olympic tae kwon-do and what did you think about Jade Jones' gold medal?
When I first started watching the Olympic matches I hated it - too much hopping and cuddling! The kicks were technically superb, incredibly fast, powerful and accurate, but they were so few and far between that, as a spectator, I found it very dull to watch. I was frustrated as the art offers so much more than the limited window you see at the Olympics. Tae kwon-do translates, very loosely, as the “Way of the Foot and Fist” but, in the Olympics, punches to the head are not allowed, which gives a very restricted view of the dynamic and exciting art that I know. The later rounds, especially the finals, were more exciting.  However, sparring is really only a tiny aspect of the full range of tae kwon-do and anything that raises awareness is a positive thing. 

DO you think the Olympics has inspired others to get involved in the sport?
I certainly hope so. I hope it has inspired a whole generation to get more physically active. As I said, however, tae kwon-do is much more than just a sport. Anyone who wants to try it out is welcome to come along for a couple of free, no obligation trial sessions. You can find out more at or call me on 01297 639830.

WHAT are your other personal interests?
Tae kwon-do takes up most of my time but I also love music. I have only limited musical ability, but I like to try to write songs. There are lots of open mic sessions in several venues around this area and they are a great place to try out new material. Nobody is judgemental or critical – we all just share in the experience and support each other. Those nights are a lot of fun. I also freely admit to being a computer nerd.

WHAT do you like about living in this area?
The Devon and Dorset coastlines are amazing. Millions of people come here on holiday just to see them. Even travelling between my classes several times a week there can be times when I can turn a corner and catch a view that takes my breath away.

WHAT would you add to or change about the local area if you could?
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is the saying that applies. I love it here, so why change anything?

WHAT three items would you want if stranded on a desert island?
My wife, my son and a crate of sun cream. I’m a Scot, we’re not genetically designed for sunshine!

WHERE is your ideal holiday destination and why?
I love to visit France. I’ve been there many times, although not for a couple of years. I lived and worked on the Swiss/French border for a while several years ago. I love the French way of eating out – a meal is about much more than just the food. It is a social experience. The pace of life, even in some of the cities, is more laid back and it is really nice to fit in with that for a while.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

I’m with Daryl on this one...

IN 40 years of covering local government I’ve sat through some pretty controversial debates so I was disappointed to have missed Councillor Daryl Turner tearing a strip off his colleagues last week over procedural matters which, I believe, has done the current town council no good at all.

Reading our report of the discussion on page 3, however, I am left wondering if I have witnessed a more comprehensive condemnation of councillors by a colleague.

You have to get up early in the morning to pull a procedural wool over the eyes of Daryl Turner.

But this current council seems to give little credence to knowledge and experience.
Since becoming a town and district councillor, Daryl has done more than any other councillor I can remember in getting to understand how local government really works - to such extent that he has studied for a BTEC in the subject.

He is rarely, if ever, caught out on matters of procedure and one thing you can be sure of, if his words are not heeded he will never roll over and say, “OK, have it your way”. 

The subject that has perplexed him most over the past few weeks has been the handling of the dispute over whether the council should have supported the local police in their request for a Designated Public Place Order to allow them to confiscate alcohol and move on over 18s if they believe they might cause trouble.

To most people this would have been a no-brainer but the council was split on the matter and required the Mayor, Sally Holman, to give her casting vote in favour of the police request.

As soon as the mayor’s casting vote was recorded, one would have assumed that was it. But, inconceivably, the matter was then referred back to a committee for further discussion and eventually rejected on the grounds that the police had been unable to prove there were any real problems in the gardens.

Councillor Turner immediately disputed the manner in which this was handled and was eventually told that advice had been received and that the council had “done nothing wrong”.

That report, however, was only seen by the Mayor and when he wanted to seek further advice he was told he had to go through the chairmen’s committee, which meets in secret.

Councillor Turner, rightly in my opinion, interpreted this as “double standards” and showed no respect to the public.

He urged his fellow councillors to seek further legal advice from the appropriate authorities but they declined to do so. It was a clever move, putting the matter back into their court - but I doubt whether we have heard the last of this.

As a journalist I have always been opposed to councillors meeting in secret. There are procedures that allow them to go “into committee” to discuss certain matters which are usually, but not always, justified. 

Leading councillor Mark Gage has intimated that he sees no problem with minutes of the meeting of chairmen being made public and I hope this transpires.

There has been all sorts of comments and rumours about members of the current council, especially the new members, meeting in secret before meetings particularly immediately after the election. 

They certainly voted together in those early days, which is understandable as they stood as a group in the election. Virtually every vote in the weeks following the election was won 10-4.

Again, this is nothing new and many people will remember the former Reform Group which stood as one doing likewise.

Eventually, such groups peter out as individual members follow their own course and this will probably happen with the current members. 

At least I hope so.


UNUSUALLY we cross the Devon border for Event Of The Week.

On Sunday evening I was invited to compere a hugely entertaining evening at Axminster Guildhall featuring cricketing commentator and legndary raconteur Henry Blofeld in his one-man show.

An archetypal English eccentric, his presence attracted an audience of 240 and helped to raise £2,000 for the ARC counselling and pyschotherapy organisation which does such great work in and around Axminster.

The event was staged by the ARC committee to engage with the community and heighten their profile with huge help coming from Tom O’Donnell, a London-based events organiser whose family, as you all know, run the Volunteer Inn in Lyme.

Tom is highly experienced in running very high profile events and it was a pleasure being connected with an event which went so smoothly.

A number of familiar cricketing faces from my playing days supported the event, including a contingent from Lyme.

Blofeld, who was celebrating his 73rd birthday, was in splendid form, regaling the audience with cricketing tales, being a member of the BBC Test Match Special team, and his experiences of a hugely colourful life, which have included lunching with the Queen Mother, honeymooning at James Bond creator Ian Fleming’s “Goldeneye” home on Jamaica and regular dinner dates with Noel Coward and Sir Laurence Olivier.

And he was kind enough to give me a very acceptable bottle of his own label white Burgundy, wine being his other great passion in life.

YESTERDAY’S news that Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Healthcare had been awarded the contract to run the Lyme Regis Medical Centre for the next five years has been met with a great deal of suspicion and concern that the bid by local doctors was rejected. 

NHS Dorset say the decision was made after taking into consideration the views of local people.  


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

My Dear Old Thing blows in

CRICKET has always been one of the passions of my life so it was especially enjoyable to be asked to compere an unforgettable sporting evening at Axminster Guildhall on Sunday.

Like all cricketing fans, I’m a huge admirer of BBC Radio’s Test Match Special and if I could choose my dream job (other than editing Pulman’s View, of course), I would like to be a member of that commentary team.

A key and legendary member of the TMS team is Henry Blofeld, a wonderfully eccentric English toff who has a worldwide following and who is in much demand on the speaking circuit.

Henry - or Blowers as he is known to his fellow commentators - was booked to appear at Axminster on Sunday in a fundraising event for the locally-based ARC charity which offers counselling and psychotherapy, helping more than 200 local people every year.

It says much for the universal appeal of Henry Blofeld, whose catchphrase is “My Dear Old Thing”, and the admiration for the work of ARC, that 240 people bought a ticket for £15 at a time when it’s very difficult to fill a hall for any event.

The evening was superbly organised by the ARC committee, led by Catherine Davies and helped by Tom O’Donnell, a professional events organiser in London whose family run the Volunteer Inn in Lyme Regis.

I arrived early to meet Henry before the show started and he told me he was feeling a little “fuzzy” because he had been celebrating his birthday the night before.

“It turned out to be a seven bottle job, dear boy,” he told me in those distinctly rich and plummy tones. Henry, of course, is renowned for his love of wine and even has his own label which he sells at his speaking engagements.

He kindly gave me a bottle of a very acceptable white Burgundy.

Test match commentaries from Henry and his colleagues are about much more than just cricket. As regular listeners will know, the delivery of various cakes to the commentary box at Test matches is the subject of much discussion and enjoyment; even the Queen gave them one on a visit to the Lord’s Cricket Ground. 

Henry tells a lovely story of how fellow commentator Jonathan “Aggers” Agnew asked the Queen, much to the embarrassment of his colleagues, whether she made it herself. To which Her Maj replied: “No, but it was prepared under close personal supervision.”

Henry could have been a professional cricketer himself, having played for Eton and scoring a century at Lord’s for the Public Schools XI,  a feat only equalled by cricketing greats Peter May and Colin Cowdrey, had he not been involved in a serious accident when he was knocked off his bicycle at a young age, putting him in a coma for a month.

He dabbled with banking after being sent down from Cambridge but loathed life as a city gent. Cricket was always going to be his future, as it was the only thing he was good at, and after writing on the sport for various national newspapers he finally got his big chance to join the Test Match Special commentary team. He readily admitted that you can’t really call it a job as they had so much fun.

Henry has undoubtedly had a colourful life, to say the least, chronicled with great humour and pathos in his biography A Thirst For Life, copies of which, along with his other books, he sold after appearing at the Guildhall on Sunday.

Whilst there were a number of familiar faces from cricketing circles in this area (Les Haynes is pictured chatting with Blowers after the show), including several from Cloakham Lawn and former Chardstock stalwart Frank Huddy, the audience also numbered many of the fairer sex for whom Henry clearly had great respect. 

He spoke for more than two hours and recalled a number of non-cricketing episodes in his life including staying with Ian Fleming on his honeymoon and some hilarious tales when he dined with Noel Coward and Sir Lawrence Olivier, which the ladies clearly loved. They did not seem to be too offended by his fruity vocabulary either. 

He also had some wonderful stories about his much lamented former colleague Brian Johnson - “Jonners”.

Knowing Henry’s predilection for the finer things in life, the ARC committee presented him with a cake before the show and I got the audience to sing “Happy Birthday, Blowers,” which pleased him no end.

At the end of a marvellously entertaining evening, Henry spent a good half hour signing his books and selling his bottles of wine.

He was then off to stay the night at a B&B in Dalwood and then on to Truro for his two-man show with TMS producer Peter Baxter.

At the age of 73 he shows no sign of slowing down and does about 100 speaking engagements a year. 

A night to remember, my dear old things!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Serenna Davies

SERENNA Davies was born and raised in South Dorset before training as a nurse in Oxfordshire where she lived for nearly 30 years. After a spell in London she moved back to Dorset five years ago where she became involved with the Love Learning classes in Bridport. The 57-year-old now works for charities supporting bereaved families and vulnerable young people as well as offering a counselling service from her home near Winterbourne Steepleton. The mother of two grown-up daughters is about to launch a series of Bridport-based workshops focusing on life skills.

WHAT made you start this type of workshop?
I felt it would be a good idea to offer workshops for the community on issues that most of us find challenging and where there is not a lot of support. I have been learning Italian through Love Learning at the Olive Tree restaurant for a year now and have been very impressed with the teaching and what they offer.

WHO can benefit?
Parents wanting to learn more about parenting. Children of all ages (including teenagers) wanting help with specific issues or wanting support with these challenging years. Anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved-one and wants to meet people in the same situation and gain support and information on the grieving process. Anyone who has been struggling to lose weight and would like help with confidence and self-esteem issues while discussing why we comfort-eat and can’t say no to some foods.  Anyone who has recently retired and is finding it quite hard and is maybe feeling quite lonely. Anyone who is struggling with their work/life balance. Most people know things have to change but they can’t see how.

WHAT can people expect from one of your workshops?
The workshops will be relaxed and supportive. They will be interactive and we will work in pairs and groups. Participants will learn more about the subject being offered and they will get some ideas to help deal with the issues that they have come to discuss. The two-hour sessions will include a short break for drinks and home-made cookies. 

IS life more complicated today compared to days gone by?
I don’t think life is more complicated, it’s just different. I think we are all more open to accept that life changes and experiences are extremely challenging and most of us have not had the training to deal with them. We are more likely now to seek out a counsellor or therapist and accept advice and support. We also are more open to trying to get our needs met and not live our lives in sacrifice. Many men are resistant, but I find that they find sessions extremely helpful and start looking at things in a different way.

ARE there experiences that have changed the way you approach life?
I have experienced divorce and the death of family members and close friends. I have started a new life in London and now back in Dorset. The experiences have made me stronger, more positive and have made me feel very grateful for the life that I have. I now live in the moment and enjoy life to the full.

SPORTS psychologists have been in the news during the Olympic Games. Can counselling really improve sporting performance?
Counselling can definitely help performance. Most of us believe that we are not good enough, do not have what it takes to succeed. Working on our blocks can help enormously. Psychology of Vision worked with one of the crews on the Round the World Yacht Race. They ended up being the only crew that stayed together throughout the race and they did really well too.

WHAT made you start learning Italian?
I love Italy and have been to Tuscany, Bologna, Venice and Sicily. Languages don’t come easily to me but I have persevered, helped by great teaching at Love Learning in Dorset.  I  think it is important to make the effort when we go to other countries. We Brits assume that everyone can speak English.

YOU come from a family with some history in Weymouth. Is family history something that interests you?
My family has Weymouth’s oldest established business - I.J. Brown and Sons - which opened in 1882. My family produced the first qualified optician in the West Country and my father was the first to fit contact lenses in Dorset. It is believed that my ancestor Sir John Brown traded in silk and was an admiral in Elizabethan times at the time of the Armada. I like history generally. Recently I have been learning more about the lost village at Tyneham, where the families were evacuated during the war and were never allowed to return. It is a very sad story and seems very unfair. The MOD still own and use the land.

IF you could run a workshop attended by anyone living or dead, who would be in it?
Judi Dench, Rowan Atkinson, Julie Waters and Michael McIntyre. It would be hilarious. We would spend most of the time laughing.

WHAT three new skills would you bring to a desert island?
Fishing, lighting fires and being alone.

Serenna is running a series of workshops as part of Love Learning at the Olive Tree restaurant, East Street, Bridport, starting September 26th. They cost £10 for each two-hour session. For more information visit

One way - the wrong way

EXPERIENCED local drivers are starting to relax a bit now that the Olympics, Paralympics and the main tourist season are over.

It has been a tense few months because a sharp increase in visitors – well, most of the time – brought with it a rise in visiting drivers.

Weymouth’s new transport system has actually attracted tourists in its own right and I spoke with one couple from Leicester who had specifically driven down to see this traffic light passport to permanent delay and nervous breakdown, but the new system is not what has been foxing visiting drivers. That honour goes to something which has been around for decades namely our one-way system.

There are a number of fingernail gouges in my steering wheel caused by meeting drivers where none should be met.

Two particularly fraught encounters saw me swing left down by the Crown Hotel only to meet one of our EU cousins accelerating at speed up to Town Bridge against the one way system while gesticulating forcefully to his front seat female passenger. He was only startled into realising I was there when I blew my horn at him!

The other occasion was slower but far worse as I turned right just past the Ship up from Custom House Quay only to meet another “visitor” coming down towards the quay. That snarled things up beautifully.

I couldn’t go back because of traffic behind me and it took a while to convey that he needed to reverse and slowly inch back outside the Golden Lion. After that I felt like going into the Golden Lion for a quick one to sooth jangling nerves.

My experiences are by no means the only ones and people have told me of meeting a sailing team minibus coming down from St Thomas Street towards the multi-storey car park!

There was one poor individual who approached King Street over the Swannery Bridge only to slam on his brakes as an Audi with foreign plates swerved across four lanes in front of him and finally there was that most dangerous of drivers – a battered Fiat flying a small Italian flag!

This flamboyant man cheerily drove the wrong way down Park Street and then turned right at the bottom – also the wrong way – before exiting on to Commercial Road. The only reason he didn’t hit anything coming the other way was that everyone was so stunned at his actions that they’d pulled up to watch!

So do keep a wary eye out next year for more of the same when all those legacy tourists we have been promised pour into Weymouth and Portland.

The nightmare in the bath!

AS welcome starts to the day went, this was a nightmare... because there in our bath was the largest single spider I have ever seen in our home.

You’ve all got coffee coasters in your house, well this spider was at least as big as that.
Having recovered from the shock there remained the problem of how to remove it without falling into its clutches and being dragged screaming down the plughole.

Luckily an old ice-cream tub under the bath was being used to hold cleaning materials, so I emptied it out and then realised that if I captured the spider it wouldn’t have to escape very far before it was running up my bare arm.

Stiffening my upper lip, I made a lunge and scooped up this web whopper which contracted on itself just long enough at first contact for me to hurriedly open the window and give it a free skydiving lesson.

That was unnerving enough but the first newspaper article I read that day informed me that poor weather had made this year a bumper one for spiders. Tell me something I don’t know!

It’s nice to see the family but . . .

FAMILY reunions can be wonderful occasions especially if members live some distance apart and don’t see each other for long periods.

One Weymouth man really looked forward to his family’s annual reunion....but it came at a spectacular cost.

He and several leading relatives have been taking it turn to foot the accommodation bill in a different country each year because family members have spread all over the world.

This year it was his turn and the family decided they would all fly in to France and meet at the Disneyland Paris attraction for a ten-day break together.

So he made the booking inquiries and arranged accommodation... for 48 family members at a personal cost to him of more than £18,000!

Apparently he has also had words with other senior family members and said that next year it is definitely someone else’s turn to foot the accommodation bill.

Going to the polls next year?

IT DOESN’T seem 15 months ago that we were electing a new town council - and Lyme Regis could be going to the polls again next May.

That’s when Dorset County Council will be electing members for the next four-year term. Lyme comes under the Marshwood Vale county council seat and has been held for the last eight years by the Conservative candidate, Colonel Geoffery Brierley. 

The Liberal Democrats in West Dorset have already named former Lyme Regis district councillor Pat Hicks as their candidate for the Marshwood seat.

Mr Hicks, a former station officer at Lyme Regis Fire Brigade, has recently retired from business and is keen to get back into local government, having already represented the town on West Dorset District Council. He lost his district seat, along with Owen Lovell, when Daryl Turner and George Symonds were elected last year.

It is rumoured that Colonel Brierley will be stepping down next May but the West Dorset Conservative Association will not be naming their candidates until next month. Whoever replaces Colonel Brierley will be following in very big shoes indeed. 

He’s been an excellent county councillor for Lyme Regis and has won much respect for his no-nonsense way of telling things how they are, refusing to make false promises, which might well have something to do with his military background.

But he has fought hard for Lyme Regis over the years and the Colonel has had a number of successes along the way, not least the provision of a footpath in Charmouth Road which had been talked about for 50 years.

The clamour for coffee in Lyme

MUCH has been written and said about the changing face of Broad Street with the arrival of High Street giants WH Smith and Costa Coffee.

Costa opened their doors in the former Fortnam, Smith and Banwell estate agents, who have moved further down the street to the old Country Stocks Shop, on Friday of last week - and looked like being an instant hit.

The elegantly furnished coffee shop was packed on Friday lunchtime, mostly with locals, and looked to have been doing good business throughout the weekend.

There are many people in the town who wonder whether Lyme can sustain so many coffee shops. In the town centre alone (not including pubs and hotels) there are at least eight premises where coffee is served. Yet we don’t have a butcher’s shop.

However, I suppose we should be pleased that national brands are interested in coming to Lyme and, of course, they are providing employment all year round for local people. Better surely than more charity shops, which is happening in many towns.

Last week I had an excellent cup of coffee at the recently opened Amid Giants & Idols in Silver Street, also very busy and tastefully  furnished, and Jackie and I popped into Costa on Sunday morning. 

As to be expected of a company the size of Costa, the premises have been furnished to an extremely high standard and will undoubtedly be popular with visitors to the town.

... and now for Lyme’s Christmas celebrations

AT the recent town council Tourism and Economic Development Committee Council Rikey Austin reported than discussions were already taking place with the Lyme Traders organisation with regard to the town’s Christmas festivities.

She reported that they were thinking of organising a one-day event with late night opening rather than the four separate Fridays held last year. You may recall the View from Lyme Regis and this column in particular got itself into very deep water when we dared to suggest last year that four late-night Christmas shopping nights were too many, our opinion being based on previous experience.

Despite the hard work on the part of Rikey and her helpers,  the late-night shopping nights did not attract big crowds but created a good festive atmosphere in the town.

The other big event this Christmas will be the first ever Great Christmas Pudding Race in aid of Cancer Research UK, taking place on Marine Parade on Saturday, December 15th (see page 18). Full details on the website -

ONE of the most controversial issues in Lyme Regis over the summer months was the town council’s refusal to back our local police in introducing new legislation to curb rowdiness in the public gardens.

The situation was further confused when Mayor Sally Holman gave her casting vote to support the police but the matter was immediately referred back for further discussion when the decision was reversed.

I thought the matter was done and dusted - but clearly not.  At tonight’s Strategy and Policy Committee meeting Councillor Daryl Turner, a stickler for procedure, is requesting further legal advice from the National Association of Local Councils. Watch this space!