Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Why didn’t workmen finish the job? 

DOESN’T Abbotsbury Road in Weymouth look nice now it has been given a brand new surface.

Gone are those monstrous potholes and a surface which rattled teeth fillings to be replaced by a smooth black top, a smooth ride... and a stream of water across the road for ages after work was finished.

Even in a heatwave the water was able to flow steadily from a metal plate area which I presume was damaged, fractured or otherwise interfered with.

A few dribbles might be missed but this was a steady stream for days, enough water to splash the road when you drove through it or obscure your windscreen if you were behind a car driving into it.

So why couldn’t those responsible finish the job properly and act quickly to deal with this leak?

The answer is that, having made a public statement and resurfaced the road, that seemed to be it as far as they were concerned.

It follows the same line as other public statements including that infamous pre-Olympic utterance by the Games bosses and our councils that we should be suitably grateful to get 20 years of roadworks done in advance because we could all enjoy a roadworks-free period afterwards.

That statement merely confirmed what every moderately intelligent person in the entire town knew, namely that officialdom promises are just not worth a splash of tar.

To be fair, we did get a roadworks-free period. It was one Tuesday afternoon about four months ago. Since then it’s been steady mayhem.

Now we have Boot Hill meltdown courtesy of utility company works yet, while projects to bring the town to its knees can be started at the drop of a hat, it seemed impossible to plug a simple leak to finish works already carried out in Abbotsbury Road.

Those responsible did finally seal the leak, but thank God autumn and winter are not too far off.

That seems the only way to me to stop this tidal wave of tarmacing and road works. There doesn’t seem to be quite so much enthusiasm for digging things up when it’s poor weather.

Sorry mum... there are still five weeks of holiday left 

ANYONE heard the moaning of anguished parents recently?

Yes, the school summer holidays are with us again and scores of mums and dads are going into therapy.

Their little darlings need to be kept occupied for weeks ahead and it is all proving a bit fraught.

There are bound to be a few “we’ve nothing to do” comments from kids, so try some of these helpful suggestions to fill a few happy hours.

Ghoul in the Garage: This exciting game involves taking your children out to the garage and locking them in. They are then told that a key has been hidden in there with them and they’ve got to find it... before the ghoul finds them. Played out in pitch darkness, the screams of fun can be heard right down the road.

Doctors, Nurses and Televisions: A sure-fire winner this because Tim the Telly is dying and may never work again. Only your children can save it because the more washing up and dusting they do then the better Tim gets. Parents please note this only works for a while. Children catch on quickly

The Grumpies: This real-life socially interactive game has mum and dad not getting up until midday, moaning because their breakfast pops cereal isn’t ready for them when they do and complaining that they don’t get enough pocket money and how’s about £20 till Friday. 

Should strike a chord with most teenagers... if they’re up.

Finding a few games ideas of their own can be a lifeline for parents and, if they need an incentive, it is this. 

There are five nerve-jangling weeks of holiday still to go!

Tourists on their best behaviour?

WE are now in the height of the tourist season and every Weymouth and Portland business orientated to serve such people is on its best behaviour... but are visitors?

The answer would seem to be a clear and aggressive “No!”

Locals are being forced to bite their tongues and smile through the pain as some tourists - not all, but definitely some - display the sort of behaviour that no one likes to see never mind experience first hand.

Typical examples that I have seen range from confrontational approaches where tourists take exception to something and try to humiliate the member of staff they are talking to, right up to open abuse.

Minor examples include dismissive behaviour where a member of staff was actually trying to be extra helpful, but their efforts were belittled by visitors, and other incidents where, without being abusive, the visitors in question were just plain rude. The worst incident I have come across saw a tourist actually throw food at staff on being told that those particular items were not for sale.

Residents living in a seaside tourist town must accept that their lives are inevitably going to be disrupted by the annual influx of visitors, but visitors must accept that behaviour they would not condone in their own town does not suddenly become acceptable in someone else’s. 

Arrows please the crowds

IT may not have been the biggest audience on record and it may not have been the bluest sky, but the Red Arrows are always a top crowd pleaser.

I woke up on Friday to a glorious blue sky and thought it was a perfect day.

I was also hopeful that, with new camera in hand, this year I could get that iconic shot of the planes zooming over the Cobb with a sunny backdrop. Harder than it seems, my front page picture looks a little more grey than hoped!

Nevermind... as the clouds drifted into town so did thousands of visitors keen to see the Red Arrows’ ever-popular display. 

They weren’t able to complete their full repetoire of aerobatic tricks but the Arrows never like to disappoint and returned, having assesed the cloud after their first half, to perform it all over again resulting in one of the longest displays in the 40 or so years they have been visiting the town (27 minutes, I am told).

They finished with a spectacular fly-past over the Cobb with full coloured smoke, winning huge cheers from the crowds and giving me my only useable shot of the display - much to my relief!

Red 10, Squadron Leader Mike Ling, provided commentary throughout the display on top of the seafront shelters and was presented with a photo of the “Spirit of Loch Fyne” lifeboat by the crew’s youngest member, 18-year-old Peter Cable, as a thank you for all the money the Arrows had helped the RNLI raise over the years - it must be tens of thousands.

Although they do the same all over the country, all year round, Lyme Regis seems to hold the Arrows close to its heart as one of its favourite and certainly most popular events of the year. 

This sentiment was echoed when a balloon launch was held in Lyme to remember pilot Jon Egging - Red 4 - after his tragic death in 2011.

I don’t think I have ever watched the Red Arrows anywhere but Lyme Regis, except on the television, but it must be one of the best and most beautiful arenas in which to see them... cloudy or not!

The bathing machine is back...

IT’S probably been sometime since Lyme Regis has seen one of these on its shores, but the traditional bathing machine is back thanks to local artist Sarah Thomas.

Sarah has created this full-sized bathing machine, alongside several handmade deckchairs, as part of Lyme Regis ArtsFest’s re:collection project, a collaboration with Lyme Regis Museum in which artists take inspiration from museum artefacts to create new bodies of work.

Sarah has turned her bathing machine into a mini-museum, with shelves full of modern “artefacts” created by local young people in workshops led by her this past spring. They vary from sculpture and textiles to story-telling and sound recordings. 

The deckchairs have also been turned into storybooks with each fabric strip depicting different aspects of Lyme’s heritage.

Both installations will be on the Cart Road throughout Lifeboat Week and Regatta & Carnival Week.

What I’m doing this week...

TOMORROW I am off on my annual trip to the Camp Bestival music festival in the grounds of Lulworth Castle so fingers crossed for good weather, as I’m not really a happy camper in the rain!

While I’m away I’ll also be hoping the sun shines in Lyme Regis for the finale of Lifeboat Week and opening of Regatta & Carnival Week - another busy weekend for those of you staying in town.

Before I leave, I’m covering the town council meeting tonight (Wednesday) but hopefully I’ll also be able to head down to the Cobb Arms for the Yard of Ale Competition (just as a spectator, of course!), starting at 8pm, followed by music by local band Delta Tango 7.

There’s more Lifeboat Week entertainment tomorrow night with the famous Nag’s Head Barbecue and music by Real World, starting at 8.30pm.

The week finishes on Friday with the duck race at 12noon from Windsor Terrace, music by the Blackdown Steel band at 7.30pm and fireworks at 10pm.

There’ll be no time to rest and Regatta & Carnival Week immediately follows on Saturday with a packed programme of family fun.

It’s also the annual Charmouth Fayre, starting with a parade down The Street at 1.45pm to Barrs Lane Playing Field for the opening at 2pm and Party in the Park at 7pm.

Back in Lyme Regis, carnival highlights will include the family dog show and huge variety of children’s activities. 

I’ll be home in time to dash alongside the Wheeled Derby on Monday night - one of my favourite Lyme events - starting at 7pm from the Ship Inn in Coombe Street and heading along Marine Parade. Don’t miss it!


NIGEL Reed, 55, was born in Weymouth and was educated at Holy Trinity Primary School and the Royal Russell School in Croydon. He worked in Information Technology and then ran the cafe, The House on Pooh Corner in Weymouth’s St Mary Street during the 1990s before joining Basepoint. He was a county councillor for four years and a borough councillor for nine years including two as leader of the council. Nigel is married with five step-children, his interests include golf and skiing and he is a Chelsea supporter.

WHY do you live in Weymouth?
I was born here and, while I have spent some time away, there was always the pull to come back.

WHERE do you go for your holidays?
Anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes I just have a couple of weeks off in Weymouth or I might go on a golfing holiday abroad.

WHAT is your favourite time of the year?
I like May and June when the days are long before the nights start to draw in.

WHAT is your favourite film?
Star Wars because I am a big science fiction fan.

WHAT is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
Nothing really. I have torn my knee but I am still waiting for the ultimate shock.

IF YOU could live your life again what would you be?
I would be an MP because I just think that, after being a councillor, it is something I am interested in and that I would like to try politics at a higher level.

WHICH three people would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Mohammad Ali because I think he was a wonderful boxer and because he was a good advocate for his profession; Winston Churchill because I enjoy a glass of port and so did he; and Janet Street-Porter because I think that a dinner debate with her could be quite lively.

WHAT would you do if you won the Lottery?
I would probably set up a sort of Dragon’s Den enterprise to help budding small businesses, because to me that would have a benefit. All businesses start small. I’d also do all the main theme parks and golf courses around the world.

WHAT do you hope the future holds?
I hope I enjoy good health and that Weymouth realises the true potential that it has because this is something that I don’t think Weymouth has achieved yet.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013


ORIGINALLY from London, Pete Linnett has moved to Wales, Exeter and Monkton Wyld before eventually settling in Lyme Regis in 1999, where he set up the Lyme Voices choir seven years ago. Pete is a self-employed and, as well as Lyme Voices, is the musical director of Langport Community Choir and is launching a choir in Stockland this September. He also runs music and drama workshops for adults with disabilities and teaches music at Axminster Community Primary School. He is married and has a teenage daughter.

WHAT kind of music does the Lyme Voices choir perform? 
The focus in Lyme Voices is not just on performance: it's also about having a good time singing together. The essential feature is it's all taught by ear (and supported by parts recordings), so a good whack of the songs come from the repertoires of cultures where harmony singing is something done by everyone, or is not just the province of musicians - it’s people’s music in some way. For example Gospel and South African music have been formative for me and a recurrent part of our repertoire. We also sing lots of songs written or arranged by community choir leaders for community choirs like Lyme Voices,  including classic pop and all sorts of songs from everywhere - Georgian, Balkans, British folk-song arrangements etc. I also arrange things myself.

TELL us about your involvement in the recent 'Sing For Water' event in Bristol...
Sing for Water is a fundraiser for WaterAid that's been happening in various places around the country since 2002. Sing for Water West happens every two years in Bristol, but this is the first time we've taken part. I was bowled over by the enthusiasm of the choir for taking part!  I think the challenge and the whole fundraising aspect of it fired people up. We raised almost £200 from a busking event in Lyme (singing some of the Sing for Water songs), and choir members raised, we think, about another £300 from various projects - including hand-knitted socks and afternoon tea. On the day we gathered with about 1,000 other singers at the Harbourside in Bristol and made a huge sound! More than £3,000 was collected in the buckets but most of the money raised comes from sponsorship, that’s still being counted, but last time they raised £53,000.

HOW would you encourage others to join the choir? 
I’d just say that anybody can sing and you’ll find us a friendly and welcoming crowd. You don’t need to have any previous experience of singing in harmony with others. My own experience is that it’s uplifting and mood enhancing! Your first one is free, so you can try it out.

DO YOU have any more events coming up? 
Nothing is fixed yet, though there are various possibilities. We’ll doubtless have some sort of Christmas event (sadly, I’ve been planning Christmas for a while!). We meet after the summer break on September 12th and I’d like to talk to people about how we follow Sing for Water.

HAVE you always been musical? 
Of course, like everyone, I can sing but just never stopped. Music is one of those things I love and somehow need to do. I also play flutes, whistles and pipes, so over the years between gigs, ceilidhs, theatre and community choirs I’ve always been involved with music. The things that I do are often about bringing people together in some way, about music as a community activity, as something we do together. 

WHAT are your other personal interests? 
Increasingly I’m awe-struck by the rich diversity in our local environment. I’m particularly interested in the flowers, especially around Ware and along the water’s edge, but anywhere, really. It’s not about rare flowers for me - have a look at the thistles at the moment! I like literature, history and popular science books. I’m really enjoying doo-wop and that sort of thing from the 50s and 60s - though that’s a bit work-related, too.

WHAT do you like about the local area? 
That natural diversity I mentioned, plus I love to swim in the sea (in the summer!). I also love that feeling of being connected to all sorts of people that you get in a small, friendly place like this. Somehow all of us humans need to learn to get on with all and sundry. Of course we can have our problems, but there’s a lot of knowledge in places like ours about how to do this.

WHAT would you like to add to or change about the local area if you could? 
According to an article I read in the paper, Lyme Regis could fail new clean water standards coming in in two years time at Back Beach and we’ll be obliged to display a warning to visitors! I’m hoping the council is on the case with this...

WHERE is your ideal holiday destination and why?
Anywhere I’ve got some contacts to get me into the local area. We went to Tamil Nadu (in India) a couple of years back. Amazing place - not exactly your comfy holiday though! We go to Voice Camp every year - bit of a busman’s holiday, there’s so much singing and a great feeling of celebration. And there’s a lot of opportunity to just hang out and chat. Of course, when the weather’s good, camping is bliss. And when the weather’s not good - well, that never happens in England!

WHICH three guests would you invite to your dream dinner party?
I like pretty low-key events with friends, and the famous are famous for different reasons than friendliness. But I reckon Chaucer, Shakespeare and Joyce would be good value if a bit overwhelming - three big-hearted and very human geniuses. I reckon the wine bill would be a bit steep, though. 

I’ve become a weather obsessive!

WHILE the entire nation has this week been gripped with baby fever, I have been hooked with a completely different, somewhat less interesting, obsession...

Since the thunderstorm hit on Sunday night and sea mist descended on Lyme Regis I’ve become a weather forecast obsessive!

I have two separate forecasts on my iPhone and a further two I check regularly on my computer at work (I just checked them again having written that sentence!). Everything is crossed for sunshine this weekend - the start of Lyme Regis Lifeboat Week.

This year, I’m looking forward to two friends from university visiting me for the opening weekend of Lifeboat Week, which is set to be filled with spectacular events, starting with the Red Arrows and RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team on Friday, a lifeboat display and the pretty Iluminated Boats on Saturday, and my favourite event - the Bathtub Race - on Sunday. 

Usually my friends only visit for my birthday in winter so I’m keen to show off Lyme looking lovely and, coming from London, they want to hit the beach. That’s why cloudy and showers just isn’t good enough! 

In amongst awaiting the royal arrival, obsessively checking the weather and, of course, finishing my pages for this paper, I’ve also been checking the Marine Traffic website and staring out of the window in anticipation of HMS Sutherland’s arrival in Lyme Bay. 

When writing this I was looking forward to going aboard on Tuesday evening for a sepcial reception and capability demonstration. 

While I have very little sailing or maritime knowledge, going aboard visiting ships and taking trips out in the bay for various events has become one of my favourite jobs as a local reporter over the past few years, although I am still quite wobbly on the ladders!

Commander Tom Herman OBE arrived in Lyme Regis ahead of the Royal Navy ship and joined the Mayor, Councillor Sally Holman, and harbour staff in congratulating the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Sally also wrote a message of congratulations which will be sent to the royal couple.

Now for the nation’s next obsession... baby names!

What I’m doing this week...

AS I'VE already mentioned Lifeboat Week kicks off this weekend and it’s dominating my diary.

Lifeboat Week and Regatta & Carnival Weeks are great fun to cover for the paper, as it means I’m down the beach for most of the two weeks rather that sat in the office!

Why not start your weekend off with the lifeboat crew’s barbecue on the Slipway, from 11am on Friday?

Things really get underway at 12noon when the Red Arrows are expected to fly-in for their favourite display, for which Lyme is always bursting at the seams.

Another favourite - the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team - will be dropping onto the main beach at 3.30pm. Don’t forget he lifeboat crew will start clearing the sand to make space for their landing zone at 1pm.

Events will continue throughout the weekend with lifeboat and coastguard displays, belly dancers, vintage car displays and children’s fun and games.

Highlights will include the Iluminated Boats at 9.30pm on Saturday night and the Bathtub Race at 11am on Sunday, starting at Cobb Gate - a must see for all visitors.

Don’t miss the Admiral Sir George Somers Commemoration parade on Wednesday, July 31st. This parade is set to be the biggest in recent years, with a much larger contingent than usual visiting Lyme from twin town St George’s in Bermuda, especially for the occasion.
The procession sets off from the Pound Street entrance of Langmoor Gardens at 11am. 

IF YOU'RE not into baby fever, what about guitar fever? The Guitars on the Beach record attempt, scheduled to be held on Lyme Regis Beach on September 7th, keeps growing and growing with well over the needed 2,000 guitarists now signed up to play Buddy Holly’s 'Rave On' and form part of Britain’s biggest ever band. Don’t forget to keep practising those three easy chords!

Life still goes on... even at 5am

LIFE goes on even while we’re all tucked up in our beds in the middle of the night, but I saw a different world when I had to hit the road on a job at 5am.

Out at Portland Bill it felt like a scene from some gothic horror movie with almost the entire lighthouse obscured by swirling mist... and then advancing menacingly towards me came the tap-tap-tap sound of a one-legged man with sinister intentions.

OK, so I’m using a bit of licence here, but it was pretty eerie to know that someone was walking towards you just a few yards away yet you couldn’t see them.

So it was probably just as well that I didn’t shout out “who’s there?” because the person making their way towards me... was a seagull stomping about on top of a rubbish bin!

What’s more, the damn bird was a good hundred yards away. It only sounded so close because the noise of its feet was amplified by the mist.

As if I wasn’t jumpy enough, the lighthouse then fired up its foghorn which definitely blew away any lingering shreds of sleep.

The more I got used to my surroundings the more it became clear that there was a lot of action going on despite the early hour.

A fishing boat dealt with its marks offshore and was soon joined by two other boats working the area, the seagull had given up its bin perch and was now attacking every bit of rubbish it could find near a cafe in the hope of finding a square meal and a steady stream of vehicles began to appear at various enterprises at the Bill.

Loads of cyclists and dog walkers loomed out of the mist, a large fishing boat clanked by and it was clear that, while many were still in bed, the day had definitely started for a lot of people and, what’s more, at one of the area’s more remote locations.

As for me? Well, I completed my job and went home... where everyone was still asleep in bed. I wonder if they realised what a varied start to the day they’d missed.

MAMILs enjoying the freedom of the open road

WHEN I overheard this conversation I initially thought some new animal had been discovered in Weymouth and Portland.

But the “mammal” I heard being discussed was actually MAMIL, an acronym for Middle Aged Men In Lycra.

It seems that the Tour de France glory gained by Sir Bradley Wiggins last year and the extensive coverage of this year’s event has inspired scores of men in their 40s and 50s to take to the road in his wake.

Down the garden they go to rummage enthusiastically at the back of their shed before emerging triumphant with a Sturmey Archer-geared bicycle, often complete with wicker basket on the front.

It doesn’t take such lions of the road long to realise that their middle-aged dream perhaps needs more than a middle-aged bike to achieve it.

So money is spent on a posh road bike and some colourful lycra clothing so spectators can see they are serious and off they go.

The first one I came across was tackling a slight rise on Abbotsbury Road. He’d got about half way up before being forced to stop and hold himself for suspected rupture.

Then a friend and I on our way for a middle-aged pint came across another MAMIL example whose spare tyre wasn’t strapped to a panier but included as a personal extension of his stomach, my friend explaining that this man was only one of many now enjoying the freedom of the open road ahead of a posse of paramedics. 

Good luck to them.

It’s a mystery

A DISGRUNTLED Weymouth fishermen spent two hours on Chesil Beach trying for mackerel, didn’t catch a thing... and then his day got worse.

He became aware that some German children had come on to the beach and were starting to throw stones into the water, ruining his dwindling chances of catching a fish... and then his day got worse.

Within a few minutes more than 50 Germans were on the beach directly behind where he was sat fishing including a bunch of teenagers.

The first thrown stone missed him by yards, so did the second but others got closer and closer, the fishermen refusing to rise to his baiting until one smacked him in the back... and then their day got worse.

Enough was enough and the fishermen turned round, stormed up the beach and told the teenagers to stop. They looked stunned and he again told them to stop and, to reinforce the message, he said: “Now!”

Having shown he could not be trifled with, the fisherman returned to his seat.

A few minutes later he glanced over his shoulder and the teenagers had gone... and so had all 50 Germans on the beach!

He said later he was a bit startled why they’d all left and equally mystified why no adult had intervened to stop the teenagers throwing stones at him.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Tired councillors make tired decisions

DEMOCRACY is a funny old cause which seems to mean different things to different people.

Take a recent full council debate in Weymouth over the Local Plan which saw unsuccessful block voting by Labour over various changes they wanted made to the Plan before it was sent off to Government.

Some of their group then expressed concern at the way full council meetings no longer seemed to offer the pinnacle for debate which increasingly occurred at management committee.

Tory councillor Kevin Hodder - himself no mean debater - then caused a little stir by lamenting the loss of full councils past when debate waxed fulsome and passionate.

He wanted this decline over the last 15 or 20 years reversed with more final say for full council because, as a non-management committee member, coming to full council was his only real chance to draw attention to things he wanted changed.

Now I’ve got a great deal of respect for Mr Hodder who is one of the sharper politicians in the council toolbox but there is an old saying.......Be careful what you wish for. You may get it.

When I first started covering Weymouth and Portland full council meetings more than 33 years ago they were the kiss of death.

Proceedings still started at 7pm but, unlike modern meetings where an element of common sense prevails (well most of the time), press and public knew full well back then that three hours later at 10pm didn’t mean the meeting was nearly over but more likely that it was just getting started!

Midnight plus finishes were common and bad nights, such as those for budgets, could extend well into the wee small hours of the morning.

My point is that democracy doesn’t gain by tired people making tired decisions.

If Mr Hodder’s hopes are ever realised and full council does regain greater mastery of council decision making then someone somewhere has got to change meeting times from an evening start to an afternoon start because I have personal experience of seeing some councillors actually fall asleep at night because the meeting was so late and they were so exhausted.

Propose making that change to afternoons and Mr Hodder may well see a different sort of democracy... from colleagues voting against it because they can’t get the time off to attend during the day.

Democracy tries to be all things to all people but the bottom line is that the course chosen for it will be by majority and the council currently carries out its business the way it does because councillors voted to have it that way.

Need to encourage night time economy

WEYMOUTH has long wrestled with the problem of how to make more productive use of the gap between its shops closing and the night-time economy getting into gear.

That fallow period was never better illustrated than the other evening when sunshine drew me into town for a stroll along the seafront.

So I parked in the multi-storey about 7pm and walked out of it past TK Maxx and Debenhams, up past the White Hart pub, over St Thomas Street and St Mary Street and right to the top of Bond Street before going out on to the Esplanade.

The point is that during the whole of that walk I didn’t meet or see a single person. It was like a ghost town.

Various initiatives want to inject new life into this barren middle period, to encourage street events and the cafe culture and to have more going on so families are enticed in. That drive is clearly needed because if a sunny summer’s evening isn’t enough to bring people in to town then no wonder more ordinary conditions leave the town centre a deserted and unwelcoming shell.

What is being considered had better be year-round solutions because half the summer is already gone and it may already be too late for the tourist season. 

Before you know it Easter will be here

NIGHTS are drawing in now and it has been pointed out to me that Christmas is a mere 23 weeks away.

Almost incredibly, the reason why the festive season is registering with me is that I’ve also been told that certain shops are poised to take their first delivery of Christmas cards.

This beggars belief since we can presumably only be a few more weeks away from seeing Easter eggs in the shops!

I have commented on this blurring of the commercial season before, but it does seem to be getting worse.

Please can we, the long-suffering general public, be allowed a bit of a breather between each campaign to capture our cash. I would appreciate it and I’m sure many other people would too.

What a difference a year makes!

WHAT a scorching week it has been! As temperatures soared over the past week (and I soaked up the sun on the beach!) Lyme Regis was finally able to enjoy some real summertime weather. 

Last summer may have been Lyme’s most memorable but, let’s face it, weather-wise it was a washout. I can’t believe this time last year I was wading around the town in my wellies reporting on the worst floods Lyme had endured for 70 years, and later getting soaked to the bone and drowning my camera while photographing the Olympic Torch Relay.

Let’s hope the sun stays out for the coming weeks as there’s plenty to be looking forward to...

Next week will be all about the Armed Forces, which seems to be a regular theme in Lyme Regis these days as the town forges friendships with all sections of the miltary.

Royal Navy ship HMS Sutherland will be calling in on Tuesday (July 23rd) and I’m looking forward to going aboard with dad and other representatives of the community.

The ship’s arrival will hopefully stengthen links between Lyme and the Navy, made last year when HMS Edinburgh arrived for a pre-jubilee visit and re-naming of the Jubilee Pavilion. The ship returned to Lyme as its last port of call in May before being decommisioned in Portsmouth.

On Friday (July 26th) Lifeboat Week kicks off with “Forces Friday” and Lyme will be welcoming its summertime favourites - the Red Arrows at 12noon and the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team at 3.30pm (for full details on Lifeboat Week events, programmes are available at local outlets for £1.50).
  • Speaking of the lifeboat, take a look at this great aerial shot of the lifeboat returning to the harbour after an emergency shout last week. The photo was captured by David Walters of No Bounds Aerial Film and Photography, who were in town all week capturing Lyme from the sky.

Time for a little pampering

WHILST enjoying some time off last week I was treated to a pampering session at the new beauty salon at the Mariners Hotel in Lyme Regis.

The new salon is run by fully trained and qualified beautician Sophie Turton, who has worked at the hotel in other roles for several years. 

The Mariners have set up a relexing room at the front of the hotel, where you can escape the hustle and bustle of the peak season in Lyme.

I was given a French manicure, with my nails filed, buffed and polished to perfection.  Sophie uses the best products available and took her time to intricately paint my nails, with a range of colours and nail art designs on offer.

A French manicure costs £20, although treatments start at £12.50 for a mini manicure. Other treatments on offer include pedicures, massage, facials, waxing and eye treatments. Sophie also hopes to soon become qualified in gel nails and spray tanning. 

To book an appointment phone 01297 442753 or 07795 311 745. 

What I’m doing this week...

SUMMER is now definitely in full swing as my diary is getting more and more full-up as the weeks go on.

This week, events will include St Michael’s Parish Church’s beach stall tomorrow (Thursday) in the Marine Parade shelters, from 10am to 3:30pm.

This weekend there is plenty to keep you busy, including Uplyme and Lyme Regis Horticultural Society’s 84th annual Summer Show, which will include fun for all the family on the King George V Playing Field, Uplyme, from 12pm to 5pm. 

As well as the varied classes to enter, attractions will include a family dog show, bird of prey displays, miniature steam train, live music, fairground amusements and sideshows, refreshments including a beer tent and lots more (see pages 14 & 15).

Who else is excited for the return of the Marine Theatre Discos on Saturday night? I’m almost too young to remember these but am so glad theatre directors Tim and Harry have brought them back folowing a suggestion from Lyme Regis Town Council. The first disco will be held on Saturday from 8pm to 1am with entry costing £5 (strictly over 18s only).

It’s back to Uplyme on Sunday morning for  Mrs Ethelston’s Primary School’s first fun run and 10k run named “Mrs E’s Big Wheeze” starting outside the school at 9.15am. 
Better go easy on those Saturday night cocktails then!


Dorchester’s current Mayor, Stella Jones, is now in her third term in the role – a feat equalled by her husband, Trevor. With 40 years to her credit she is the longest serving regularly elected member of West Dorset District Council and holds positions on many of the county town’s charities associated with children and families. A former teacher, she retired three-years-ago after 18 years at Damers Road School but now almost has a class of her own with four children and 10 grandchildren. She is hoping to involve young people in shaping the future of the town during her year in office, including setting up a Youth Council. Mrs Jones also plans to help raise the profile of a number of small charities whose work, she says, sometimes gets overlooked. She has been an East Ward town councillor since 1973 and today serves on both the town and district council and has been a county councillor in the past.

HOW did you come to be involved in local politics?
Through Trevor when he stood as a parliamentary candidate in Preston North. I helped out with the campaign and got involved in leafleting and so on. Then when we moved here, in 1971, people were being interviewed as candidates for the local election and I thought: ‘If they can do it, so can I’.

WHAT do you get out of your roles on the district and town council and, in this year, in being mayor?
I enjoy meeting people and helping people help themselves. We have a great community in Dorchester with so many people giving their time to help others. 

YOU do seem to have a full diary – why do you try and meet every request made of you?
Well, if you’re going to do a job you might as well do it properly…every event I go to is completely different and I can’t help being inspired by so many people. I was at St Mary’s church recently to hear about how a lady there was raising funds to help in Uganda. It makes you want to help as well.

WITH a large family and busy schedule do you manage to find time for yourself?
Yes – I still try and swim and play tennis. I also love reading and then there’s walking our latest dog, Rani, a Golden Retriever.

WHAT do you always make sure you have in your handbag?
A mobile phone because my car’s not been very reliable lately – and a comb because when you turn up as mayor you’re expected to look as smart as you can.

WHAT has been your favourite moment as mayor over the years?
That’s very difficult to answer. All the organisations I visit and people I see offer something which is positive. But this year at mayor-making was special because the whole family turned up, some of them travelling from as far away as the Peak District to be there. It’s not very often we all get together all at once – so that was a wonderful.

WHAT keeps you in Dorchester?
It’s obviously very beautiful in and around Dorchester and when you have small children it is such a wonderful town to bring them up in. The whole town is one community. There’s nowhere else I would rather be.

WHAT would you do with a big lottery win?
I’d probably give most of it away – it would be good to help schools in Africa where they have so little. It’s so important to have a proper education. That can make such a difference to your life chances.

WOULD you consider being mayor again – or is three times enough?
Trevor has done it three times as well. I don’t really want to do it more than him and besides there are lots of people who deserve a chance.

HAVE you ever worked out how much time you devote to public services in a year when you are Mayor as well as a town and district councillor not to mention all the other groups you sit on?
No, it would probably frighten me, but I enjoy it. (At the Mayor-Making seconder Councillor Susie Hosford had worked out that Stella’s combined time on local councils amounted to 80 years of public service)

DO you still have ambitions for yourself?
I would like to learn how to paint and to play the piano properly. We have one but I know so little. It would be nice to be able to play well, but it would be only for my enjoyment, I wouldn’t want to play in public.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Great to see Theatre Square in use

I’M writing this week’s column the morning after B Sharp’s excellent Big Mix Festival on Theatre Square (no headache, I promise!).

This was a real summer treat, attracting hundreds for a whole day of free musical entertainment in the sunshine and a platform to show off some of Lyme’s most talented youngsters.

Popular acts included Lyme favourite Papa Le Gal, making their much-in-demand comeback, and sweet, six-year-old Darci Street. An exception to the minimum age rule was made for Darci to take part in the festival as she impressed audition judges so much with her singing voice. Organisers could be certain they made the right decision as she performed “Over the Rainbow” in Dorothy costume, complete with sparkly red shoes, on Saturday.

I can’t help but be impressed with B Sharp project co-ordinator Fran Williams and organisers - the event seemed to run smoothly and was a hit from start to finish. Well done to all involved! Hopefully it will become one of our regular summertime events to look forward to.

My only question - why can’t we do this more often? It was great to see the usually empty Theatre Square in use and the stage could be seen from the other end of Marine Parade, adding a prominent attraction to the seafront. 

Wouldn’t it be great to see something more permanent throughout the whole of summer, with regular outdoor gigs?

The area has been under-used in the past because of restrictions put in place by West Dorset District Council and South West Water, who need continuous access to the sewerage works below, but I hope other local organisations will follow Fran’s lead and negotiate with the local authorities to make use of this top, seafront venue. 

It’s such a shame to waste it!

Are you learning those three chords?

ANOTHER new event that Lyme Regis can look forward to this year is Guitars on the Beach this September.

This is set to be one of the biggest events Lyme Regis has ever staged, with 2,200 guitarists now signed up for an attempt to beat the record for playing the same song at one time - Buddy Holly’s 'Rave On'.

The song has been chosen as it is simple to learn with just three chords - G, C and D. Guitarists of all abilities and ages are invited to join 'Britain’s Biggest Band' on Lyme’s main beach. So get practising now!

The record attempt will be led by the Guitars on the Beach house band, fronted by star of the West End show 'Buddy', Billy Geraghty, and music will continue throughout the weekend with buskers all over Lyme and gigs in the Marine Theatre.

The event is gaining interest from across the UK and the world, with the house band and organiser Geoff Baker filming a music video to help promote it on the beach on Sunday.

So if you haven’t yet made a note of this in your diary do it now - the record attempt will be held at 5pm on the beach on Saturday, September 7th. This is one not to miss!

To sign up to 'Britian’s Biggest Band' - visit

What I’m doing this week...

THIS week I have a week off - hoorah! 

I think I have picked the best possible time to book a week off to relax in Lyme Regis, as the sun is set to stay out all week. So this week I will mainly be sitting on the beach!

However, I can’t quite tear myself away from Lyme events completely...

Anyone who knows me knows I love my food - eating out is my favourite thing to do and diets don’t go down well in my house! So the fact that Lyme is hosting three food festivals this year - last month’s Crab Festival, this week’s Mackerel Festival and the Food Rocks festival in September - is quite a treat!

This week I’ll be attending the two main Mackerel Festival events. The first is a debate on mackerel fishing followed by a mackerel feast served up by top chef Mark Hix and team, both in the Marine Theatre tonight (Wednesday). 

The debate starts at 6.30pm and the three-course dinner at 8pm. Last-minute tickets may still be available from the Tourist Information Centre.

The second fishy event is a cook-off on Marine Parade between Mark Hix and head chef of his Lyme Regis restaurant, Lin Pidsley.  The competitive pair will be cooking up mackerel treats and selling them to the audience for charity in the Marine Parade shelters from 1pm on Friday.

Since I’m on holiday this week I will also be pampering myself at the Mariners Hotel’s new beauty salon, open to guests and non-guests and offering a range of treatments. I’ll be trying out a manicure to review in next week’s View. 

Finally, don’t miss the 10th anniversary celebrations of Lyme Regis charity Lym Zim Link in the Baptist Church Hall on Saturday, from 10am to 1pm - lots of stalls, gifts and games.


Are you doing something special this summer? Does your business have a summer special or club have a new summer activity? If so, please get in touch and you could be in next week’s Summertime in Lyme column. To share your summer news email or phone on 01297 446154