Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Cold enough to freeze a horse!

OSMINGTON White Horse now has a stunning new viewpoint but the opening ceremony was more noted for pinched white faces and shaking white hands than for a white Ancient Monument.

Guests invited to the opening looked like they all had bit parts in some obscure western film where the cowboys had circled their wagons ready to fight off an Indian attack.

Conditions were appalling with a 25mph bitter east wind slicing across an exposed hill to send temperatures plunging to minus 8 Celcius with windchill.

So it was perhaps no wonder that vans and cars had been hastily arranged to try and form some sort of barrier so guests could huddle in the lee and try and get a bit of protection from the freezing conditions.

It needed little urging for common sense to take over with the welcome kept to a few brief words before Dorset Lord Lieutenant Mrs Valerie Pitt-Rivers bravely stepped up to the viewpoint’s exposed new information boards to cut the official opening ribbon.

Seconds later everyone gratefully clambered back into their vehicles and adjourned to a warm place indoors where all the delayed speeches were made where they wouldn’t be drowned out by the noise of chattering teeth.

The viewpoint itself is a great achievement and will improve safety in the area no end because drivers previously could often be seen pulling up in the road and causing all sort of dangers.

Now they can turn into the viewpoint parking area, get out and stretch their legs while enjoying the sight of the giant chalk figure of King George III on a horse... provided it is a bit warmer than the launch!

Council slurps 20 milk pints at meetings

SEMI-skimmed and full cream are oiling the wheels of political debate in Weymouth and Portland.

One recent evening saw Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors arrive at the council offices on North Quay to take part in several meetings.

This political chit chat is thirsty work and members made time for cups of tea or coffee to whet their whistles and ensure that throats made dry by doing their party duty received a bit of lubrication.

Everyone survived and duly went home that night, but the really interesting figures from those debates didn’t emerge until the next morning.

It was then that council staff had to replenish refreshment supplies, discovering that the thirsty meetings from the previous night had slurped their way through nearly 20 pints of milk!

The dairy drain was so great that the usual daily order had to be doubled to 40 pints!

You can keep your transport legacy

HE was all decked out in a bright yellow warning jacket and was squatting down near the new Westham traffic lights in Weymouth.

He seemed to be using a clipboard to take notes but he certainly wasn’t recording motorists’ appreciation.

Just hours before at 7.10am I was attempting to drop someone off to catch a train at the station when I arrived at the bottom of Abbotsbury Road.

There wasn’t a single car in sight for as far as the eye could see in any direction yet the lights promptly changed to red as I reached the junction.

They stayed red for ages, all three other junctions remaining totally deserted, and I was just about to cast doubt on the parentage of those who designed this transport abomination when the lights grudgingly changed to green.

This sort of delay happens all the time and can be worse down at Boot Hill where one driver told me his attempts to get through one set of lights there often lasted several minutes.

We know many drivers are avoiding these new junctions like the plague because the county council’s own figures show traffic flows are down as drivers seek another route. 

When is authority going to listen to drivers instead of forcing something on them that they don’t want?

Not soon, I bet, because that would involve admitting that a mistake has been made, forcing drivers to lose hours of precious time every month being held up by Weymouth’s Olympic transport legacy. 

If that’s a sought after legacy you can keep it.

Spring is in the air!

SPRING must be in the air because no sooner did I start trying to clean weeds out from round my raspberry canes than I attracted a colourful little helper.

The robin was bold as brass and sang from an apple tree barely six feet away from me before flying down to see what food I’d uncovered for it with my digging.

At one point the robin was foraging almost within arm’s length and it stayed with me for quite a while until it had pecked up all the available food.

Less welcome were the antics of a flock of gulls which screamed and squabbled, swooped and fought low in the skies above me. It won’t be too long before they become everyone’s early morning squawking alarm clock at 5am. Won’t that be fun!

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