Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Wafting through the desert of Weymouth’s sandy streets
CAN you hear music from the world famous Lawrence of Arabia film?
Well even if you can’t, you could have been forgiven for behaving like an extra amid sand dunes on the streets of Weymouth.
Recent windy conditions gave pedestrians a mouthful of sand to chew on and sent skeins of sand snaking all over the town’s streets.
Sand drifted so deep it swiftly built up drifts to submerge the Esplanade beach wall and send stinging particles to form mounds to swamp car parking spaces near Alexandra Gardens.
Large sections of the Esplanade were completely covered and there were banks of sands near Marks & Spencer and the Black Dog pub in St Mary Street where drinkers brave enough to enjoy a pint at outside tables found themselves needing Arab dress to protect themselves from wind-driven sand.
Delightful I’m sure but, when sand is being sought in the summer, let’s hope we don’t have to wipe rain off our faces... again.
Maggie’s mad idea for Portland
MEMORIES have been stirred by the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
She ended her life as Baroness Thatcher but it was as Secretary of State for Education in 1972 that she set hackles rising on Portland with a proposal to bus over every child at Royal Manor to a new site at the old Weymouth Grammar School, off Chickerell Road.
Mike Jewkes, a former Mayor of Weymouth and Portland, was chairman of Westham School Parent Teacher Association at the time.
He said: “The proposal, to bring the children over on a convoy of double decker buses, was ludicrous and a group was put together to go up to London to see Margaret Thatcher about it on what turned out to be the day of the Old Bailey IRA bombing.
“She listened to what we had to say but refused to change her mind.
“But it was later pointed out that military vehicle convoys of more than 16 vehicles needed outriders and the proposed convoy from Portland would take 25 double decker buses to carry the children which would be too expensive so the idea was dropped. It was a mad idea anyway.”
Missing out on the Easter message?
EASTER in Weymouth proved a peaceful time to remember Jesus Christ’s death at Calvary and his resurrection, a peaceful time for families and children to be together for the exchange of Easter eggs... and hand grenades!
In this country Easter is traditionally a time to reflect on Christ’s sacrifice for us all.
So it required a very swift mental adjustment when, in the heart of Weymouth and in the middle of the Easter period, two children began throwing hand grenades at each other.
I should at this point hastily qualify that statement by saying that the hand grenades in question were toys they had just bought and were gleefully trying out in the street.
Despite that, thoughts did have to be juggled to embrace death and destruction being acted out just a short distance from several churches and religious sites during one of the holiest periods of the year.
Children will be children and no blame should attach to them, but you have to wonder whether the local economic situation is so bad that shops must offer fake hand grenades for sale as part of their Easter sales drive.
Perhaps we can now all look forward to the Christmas period when children will be able to snap up a few traditional offerings such as toy flamethrowers and assault rifles or perhaps a nice tinsel-decked anti-personnel mine?
Will it every get any warmer?
MARCH is now firmly behind us and latest figures show temperatures were well below normal for this time of year.
It was true brass monkey weather, not that we needed a meteorologist to tell us that.
One step outside the front door and the words: “I say! It’s a trifle brisk today” tinkled to the ground, frozen solid as soon as they left people’s mouths.
Among incidents was one child gleefully rushing round clutching a sheet of ice from a public water trough and people retrieving underwear from the washing lines so stiff it would have brought tears to the eyes of the wearer.
Pedestrians wore every stitch of clothing they could cram on and exposed faces were bleached white by the cold, hardly surprising as the wind chill factor in Weymouth went down as low as -9.2C on one day.
Even now – barely nine weeks away from the longest day – there is still a lurking suspicion that the weather is going to spring something nasty on us.
Perhaps the first 70+ Fahrenheit day will finally convince us that warmer weather has arrived... but that looks a long way off yet.