Wednesday, 4 June 2014

A dangerous walk along trail

HE WAS clearly doing more than 30mph, others were not going much slower and it was all an obvious danger.

Incredibly I am not talking about motorists exceeding the speed limit and putting people’s safety at risk but about cyclists whizzing along the Rodwell Trail in Weymouth.
We went out for an evening walk recently, the first along the trail for some time, and the difference we noticed was startling.

Certainly the route is much smoother and much more user-friendly, but not for ordinary pedestrians just out for a stroll as we were.

The speeding cyclist in question appeared out of nowhere, shot past us and was gone almost before we realised he had arrived. 

Other cyclists coming up behind also startled us because, with one exception during a half hour walk, not one of them bothered to ring a bell or shout to warn us they were coming past.

Adding to our nervous “watch your back” feeling were joggers. We often missed their soft-shoed approach and, while our safety wasn’t at risk from them, our nerves were.

All in all, the route offers a lovely stroll in the evening sunshine, but authorities have got to do something about the speed of some cyclists and ram home to them they must alert pedestrians to their presence.

Hold on to your Euros or it could cost you

IT has been said that the only people to be able to afford a truly exotic foreign holiday are figures in the finance industry.

And it is easy to see why since holidaymakers in Weymouth and Portland don’t have the same currency problems facing tourists planning a trip abroad.

A simple check at a variety of finance points from banks to travel agents and the Post Office revealed some startling facts including just how important it is to keep an eagle eye on the rises and falls of the currency you are interested in.

For the beginning of the week in question £3,000 would have bought you 3,348 Euros, but just three days later exchanging the same amount would have given you 3,600 Euros, a staggering gain of 252 Euros.

But the real money making – for the banks, travel agents and the Post Office -- comes when you arrive home from holiday with spare Euros you want to change back into pounds.

One classic example is provided by the Post Office. It was prepared to sell me Euros at a rate of €1.18 to the £1 but was only prepared to buy them back for pounds at a rate of €1.39 to the £1. Translated, it means that buying £400 worth of Euros gets you €472 but returning the identical amount – €472 – would have seen the Post Office offer you less than £340 for your unspent holiday cash, so you effectively lose more than £60 which is their gain.

Nice work if you can get it which is why it pays to shop around if you must exchange back or, if you can wait, hang on to the Euros for your next holiday and ensure you lose nothing.

Seize the moment

IF there was ever a perfect illustration for the expression – Seize the Moment – then this tale has to be among the frontrunners.

A Weymouth woman was just getting all fluffy and warm in her night gown after a late night bath when someone knocked on her front door.

Her husband answered it to discover a neighbour outside wanted them both to come round to his greenhouse even though it was nearly 11pm.

Mystified but intrigued, they both got dressed and went round to his garden where they were shown a special orchid in full flower.

The urgency came from the fact that it took this orchid a number of years to flower once briefly and tonight was the night.

They were duly impressed and it was just as well too. The orchid flowers were dead by morning but the memory of that night still lingers on.

WEYMOUTH railway station appears to be too much of a challenge on three counts for some visiting motorists.

The first aberration I saw during a recent visit involved not one but two drivers parking to block a barrier in front of which was written on the roadway in large yellow letters: “EMERGENCY VEHICLES”. They missed or ignored the warning right in front of them despite the fact it was clearly visible to me 50ft away.

A train passenger then getting in to one of the two same cars clearly didn’t bother about litter laws because they bent down and put an empty soft drinks can in the road before being driven off, leaving the can in the middle of the parking area. Why not try something ground-breaking and take the can home?

Finally three drivers did their best to crash into each other by all reversing out of spaces at the same time. You had to see it and even then you couldn’t quite believe the simultaneous stupidity being shown.

I made absolutely sure no one was going to execute a handbrake turn or drop off some luckless passenger by hurling them out of the door as they shot past before I risked pulling away to the safety of the open road. No wonder they encourage people to take a train. It’s too dangerous to go anywhere in a car!

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