Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Cemeteries becoming a disgrace due to litter

SOME of the cemeteries in Weymouth and Portland are becoming little short of a disgrace because of litter.

I walked through one near where I live and counted more than 150 items of rubbish strewn about close to the path.

One area alone had more than 20 beer cans or bottles, but there was everything lying about from sweet wrappers to empty cigarette packets as well as less savoury offerings such as dog mess half collected in a plastic bag and just dropped on the path.

The owner of that may well have been too exhausted to finish clearing up after their pet because a few yards later they tried to recharge their batteries with a packet of sandwiches, the wrappers for which had just been tossed on the ground.

Litter is annoying at the best of times – my front garden attracts hundreds of offerings every year – but this was a cemetery which was being turned into a tip.

Council cutbacks at local and county level mean maintenance and upkeep staff have never been under greater pressure, so we can’t expect such sites to be as pristine as they have been in the past.

That said, everyone should know not to dump litter in a cemetery and until some system of spot fines – with all the usual officialdom rows over how to administer it – is brought in then the careless people who caused the problem in the first place will just carry on being careless.

Warning: Read at your own risk

OUR iron died on us the other day but, when we bought a new one, the manufacturers were taking no chances on us suing them for even the tiniest thing which might be laid at their door.

They had come up with every conceivable type of warning in their product literature including, believe it or not, “Don’t iron clothing while it is being worn. You’ll injure the wearer.”

Well blow me down with a wet pair of Y-fronts! Who’d have thought that using a red hot iron to get a few creases out of my shirt while I was wearing it might injure me?!

That’s like telling a pedestrian: “Don’t walk slowly across the M1. You might get knocked over and killed.”

It should be self-evident, but we live in an age of litigation and quite clearly manufacturers are taking no chances.

So, before all your solicitors get in touch with me, I have to warn you that reading the View might give you paper cuts this week as the Editor’s secretary is on holiday and we don’t have her emery board to smooth down each print run.

What a bargain?!

NEVER feel sorry for big businesses because they use their dominant market position to charge pretty much what they like for what we want… but every now and again one gets its cum-uppance.

A Weymouth man had a set of high quality saucepans whose handles were coming to the end of their useful life, so he wrote off to the manufacturer to enquire how much four new saucepan handles would be.

When the big business wrote back the man was so horrified at the price they quoted that he was determined to make his own handles.

So he bought himself a woodworking lathe and some hardwood, cut the wood roughly to size and then carefully turned it so that each piece slowly emerged as a replacement saucepan handle.

He then smoothed all four pieces into their final shape before drilling and fitting them into position, ensuring that he and his wife were able to enjoy many more years of use from their saucepan set.

Now the lesson from this story is that the man paid out a total of approximately £104 for the lathe and wood plus, of course, his time and skill in making the saucepan handles.

But he still ended up saving himself a staggering £56 because the saucepan company had quoted him £160 for four new handles, a whopping £40 each.

Not only did the man have handles he knew were well made, not only did he save himself £56 but he also got a nice new woodworking lathe out of the situation – and you don’t see that sort of special offer in any saucepan manufacturer’s Spring sale!

It’s all in the name

WHAT’S in a name? Well, quite a lot if you happen to be Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

The authority is currently reorganising itself ahead of selling off the council offices on North Quay and debate has included discussion of sites to rehome various staff including the Mulberry Centre in Weymouth and the infamous – and distant – South Walks House in Dorchester.

But there is also a third site which is featuring large in talks to get staff relocated.

It certainly got Councillor Ray Nowak’s support because he quite rightly pointed out it was good to use building assets which were closer to North Quay to minimize disruption and inconvenience to staff.

However, as he pointed out at a recent council committee: “It is a good idea to use our assets, but the depot at Crookhill does have an unfortunate name for our offices!”


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