Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Supermarket food for thought

SHOPPING just got more diverse after the latest round of permissions were granted for a new Sainsbury's supermarket on the New Look development in Weymouth.

But it won’t just be shoppers queueing for groceries because the new supermarket is barely 100 metres from an existing Morrisons supermarket and, if both are well patronised, then the volume of traffic in the area will skyrocket.

Turn off Manor Roundabout and drivers meet a set of traffic lights controlling the junction with Morrisons but just past that is a second set of traffic light which will control a minor junction to Sainsburys and New Look when the new supermarket is built. Shoppers’ main entrance will be from a spur off the new relief road.

Those second set of lights on Dorchester Road rarely delay traffic at the moment but that will not be the case once large volumes of shoppers start using the new store since some traffic is bound to enter via the Dorchester Road entrance.

There is even a third set of traffic lights just past that near Spa Road and, while it is for pedestrians, it will just add to the checks facing traffic on this route in the future, particularly if some shoppers are visiting the supermarket on foot.

All in all, the combination of increased road and pedestrian traffic in the area will certainly give residents living nearby some supermarket food for thought.

The times they are a changing . . .

TAKE a walk along Weymouth Esplanade and you can see how times have changed, but not all the indicators are in view.

Oh, it is easy to point to traffic, laser lights and new-look beach furniture and businesses but I’ve recently been told about a less obvious indicator.

It is the last set of wooden steps leading down to the sands from the Esplanade near the Pavilion.

Take a close look at them and you will see the risers actually go down into the sands.
Mildly interesting, I thought when told, imagining the years it must have taken for the level of the beach to slowly rise and cover the bottom steps... then I was hit with the punchline.

One of Weymouth’s senior figures told me that at the bottom of the steps under the sands there is a small landing-like area from which another set of steps goes even further down into the beach.

I’m told he remembered it that way as a boy when the bottom of the steps was at least 15 feet below its current level! 

Now that’s a hefty bit of beach reclamation and a sign of just how much and how subtly the face of the sands has changed over the decades.

Dinner for crows

WEYMOUTH Esplanade has been turned into a giant dining table.

You won’t find place mats, pepper, salt or a candelabra there but you will find copious evidence of the diners... which are crows foraging the seafront.

They have realised that the hard surface is ideal for smashing open shellfish by picking them up in their beaks, flying above the Esplanade and then dropping the shellfish to break them open.

I watched one group of crows do this time and time again with great success and it is clearly something they are doing on a regular basis as I counted more than 200 empty shells in an area near the Jubilee Clock.

I’ve also seen gulls use the same technique but these diners were crows who clearly relished the near-deserted area as an ideal and inventive chance to create a meal for themselves.

TIME goes by and people you once knew or worked with drift out of your life.

So the other day I was a bit startled to get an email with some good and bad news about two people I hadn’t had contact with for 25 years.

The first person is now working in China and was delighted to chat with me about old times and the people we’d both worked with back in the 1980s.

Unfortunately he also gave me news of what had happened to the second person I mentioned earlier who had apparently found life a bit too much to take and had committed suicide earlier this year.

The news was a bit of a shock balanced by my interest in renewing an old acquaintance and it just goes to show how times can change people, the one now enjoying a strong professional life and the other clearly affected by later events who felt that life was no longer worth living.

Sharp intake of breath

MUSIC is now threatening to cost some people their life.

Motorists negotiating Weymouth seafront the other day has to brake sharply when a man communing with his iPod crossed the road by stepping off the pavement first and only then looking to see if there was any traffic.

Of course, because of his head pieces and music he couldn’t hear cars nearby and this isn’t the first occasion pop fans have nearly paid with their lives for listening to their choice of music.

Sooner or later someone is going to be killed. It will probably take that before the problem is treated seriously.

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