Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Please can we have spring?

EVERY one of us is an expert on rain coming down but just recently one scene in Weymouth town centre made people an expert on rain going up.

So strong was the wind – clocked locally at nearly 80mph – that it was whipping the surface off large puddles in Bond Street and slashing water in to shoppers’ faces.

Torrential rain added to the misery by coming down so heavily in great drops that the force of them hitting the pavement bounced water into the air.

That briefly presented people with a sort of haze around knee height which was then snatched away by monstrous gusts of wind strong enough to knock pedestrians over.

To add insult to injury, the whole lot packed it in about half an hour later and sunshine broke out leaving me literally steaming in the car on the way home.

We had to open windows to quickly disperse condensation and more joy awaited me when I got home where the by now fierce conditions had started to rip the roof off our small side extension.

Only a wooden hammer and some hasty work on a large section of lead flashing which was starting to flap about saved the day… during which it poured with rain.

My neighbour solicitously asked how I was doing, so I told her. She left it at that, wished me well and retreated back indoors.

I hate being wet and worse was to follow when I had to get up in the middle of the night and repeat my wooden hammer repairs two days later when a colossal storm badly smashed up our garden and again threatened to tear the side extension roof off! 

Please can we have Spring?!

Celebrating Commonwealth Day

WEYMOUTH and Portland will be celebrating Commonwealth Day soon, an event which can trace its roots back more than a century.

Empire Day as it used to be called was first introduced in Canada in 1898 and in the UK in 1904, a celebration usually marked by fireworks or by people attending community bonfires.

It was not until 1958 that Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day and it was another 18 years before Canada’s proposal was adopted by all Commonwealth nations to generally unify celebrations on the second Monday in March.

Weymouth and Portland will be marking the occasion by raising a flag outside the council offices on North Quay.

This year’s theme is Team Commonwealth while previous themes have ranged from Music to Women as Agents of Change.

No wonder shops are empty

WEYMOUTH shops have not had the easiest of Christmases while January has been something of a disaster, so it is interesting to hear the council’s role in one tale of woe. 

Trying to make a bit of money to support their other business, a local couple rented out an empty town centre shop for seven weeks in the run up to Christmas to sell seasonal gifts.

They didn’t make a lot of money but at least enough to cover their rent and make a small profit to reward their long hours in pretty difficult trading circumstances.

But no sooner had New Year come and gone than the couple had a nice letter from Weymouth and Portland council dropping through their letterbox asking them to pay business rates for the seven weeks they had had temporary use of the shop.

Now I value my readers’ safety, so I want you all to sit down before you read the next bit as I don’t want you falling over and hurting yourself because you’ve fainted.

When the couple opened the letter they found that the business rates bill the council wanted them to pay for just seven weeks was £1,800.

It devastated their profits and they are still trying to work out if they’ve actually made a loss.

And the council’s response to this delay in payment? Well, they’ve threatened to take the couple to court for non-payment. No wonder Weymouth as a shopping attraction is on its knees!

I’m just a dedicated follower of fashion!

ANYONE been following the Spring fashions? No, neither have I.

Waterproofs are more my mark at the moment, but there were sharp intakes of breath in Weymouth town centre when a confident young woman briefly stepped out in a stylish dress which the gusty elements gave her a few problems with.

She was only in sight for about 15 seconds before diving into a shop, but her departure sparked keen interest among the women who had spotted her outfit.

Wonder where she bought that, I heard one woman ask her husband, as if he should somehow have such vital facts at his fingertips.

A couple of others both liked what they saw and said she was brave to risk hypothermia by wearing it in the cold and blustery conditions, but it was the men’s reactions I treasured, a sort of mass joyous disbelief followed by a furtive look sideways to make sure their obvious appreciation hadn’t dropped them right in it.

Naturally, of course, there was no danger of my own observations getting me into any hot water… well at least not until my wife reads this. 

I’m sure she’ll accept my explanation that it was purely for literary purposes and a wish to keep her up to date with the latest trends. 

On second thoughts, perhaps she won’t believe me.

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