Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Remembering all of those who lost their lives in conflict

WEYMOUTH and Portland’s recent Armed Forces weekend, forming part of commemorations for the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the centenary of the outbreak of World War I, was a huge success.

Uniforms were everywhere, displays and exhibitions entertained crowds in glorious weather and the air was full of nostalgia.

Two tiny incidents stick in my mind. One involved an elderly gentleman on the Esplanade who was keen to get a picture of the parade “because years ago I marched down there”.

The other was two children’s interpretation of all the warlike things around them, but it didn’t involve one kid brandishing a rifle pretending to shoot another kid with a pistol.
Instead Darth Vader was using his light sabre to bash the living daylights out of Spiderman!

Times move on, I suppose, but it was lovely to see the amount of real and facsimile documents which were available to help give the event realism and atmosphere.
People could see ration cards, colourful advertising posters for recruitment to the Women’s Land Army and read details about what to do if they came across an anti-personnel bomb.

The entire event was so broad that it really did have something for everyone from a chance to sample wartime bread pudding and potato scones on Portland to engineers laying out pyrotechnics beneath the sands of Weymouth beach.

The sad thing is that the veterans of World War I are all gone and the ranks of those who fought in World War II are thinning fast because, if you were 16 on the last day of conflict, you’d now be 85.

I talked with many veterans about the friends they had lost in recent years and what the future might hold for them and commemorations like this and they all seemed to feel that the baton of tribute would be passed on to veterans of the Korean War, the Falklands and Iraq.

It underlined that there will always be conflict somewhere involving military personnel from this country who, as they grow old, will be veterans that crowds will respect and cheer many years ahead to remember all those who gave their lives for their country and for freedom down the centuries.

Enjoy two hours parking for the price of three!

IF anyone needed any confirmation that Weymouth and Portland often has trouble with its finances then look no further than Portland Bill car park.

A local couple decided to enjoy a trip out to the Bill for the first time in ages and took some friends along with them for the ride.

They parked up near the lighthouse and bought a parking ticket for two hours for which they paid £1.50.

Sadly, when it was too late to cash in on the opportunity, they realised that the charge for one hour was only 50 pence and that they could have saved themselves 50 pence simply by going back as the first ticket expired and buying themselves another one hour ticket.

Not unnaturally, this caused a certain amount of consternation in official circles when I asked why the Bill had such apparently confusing rates of charges. It is being checked and if I get a response from the council I’ll let you know.

Gulls invading the home

GULLS are renowned for decorating cars with their droppings but one man found out they are just as adept at fouling living room carpets.

His family had gone shopping and left him alone in the house working away at his computer.

After a while he heard noises coming from downstairs, went to investigate and found they’d left the kitchen door open.

The tapping noise he had heard persisted, but he was able to track it down to the living room where he discovered a large seagull.

It was pecking at the French doors, asking to be let out, having by then done a fair amount of poop on the carpet.

The bird wasn’t frightened and the man was able to lean over him, unlock the door and free the bird.

However, he may find himself on the receiving end of pecking of different sort after he scraped up the pooh solids on the carpet but made a decision to leave his wife “to take responsibility for shamPOOing and hOOvering”.

She may laugh at his little joke… but I wouldn’t put money on it!

Last stop… Blackpool?

WEYMOUTH, this is Weymouth. The train now arriving at Platform 2… appears to be a bit off track.

So might the announcer at Weymouth Railway Station have billed the arrival of one train recently which caused confusion among every passenger who saw it.

Did its engine cab board detail familiar destinations such as Waterloo, Bournemouth or Bristol. No it did not.

Instead people were left scratching their heads at a sign which read: “Blackpool Pleasure Beach”!

Apparently rolling stock can be brought in from anywhere although whether this sign indicated an engine far from home or an engine driver who should be locked up in a home remains to be seen.

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