Wednesday, 24 July 2013
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.