Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Desperate times call for desperate measures

AN emergency sale of surplus council objects is to be held as part of desperate attempts to fund the town’s economic recovery and repairs to the ailing harbour walls.

Star item at a forthcoming auction will be a 1933 signed copy of the great economist John  Maynard Keynes’ work, The Means to Prosperity, which the council apparently no longer needs.

Other meaningful memorabilia include a rare sepia print of the town centre without a traffic queue, historic 2011 documents from when the authority was master of its own destiny and two threepenny bits found down the side of the chief executive’s sofa.

Sadly, while these items may raise a groat or two here and there, you wouldn’t hold out much hope of it meeting the bill for all harbour wall repairs which could be up to £70 million depending on which wild-eyed council accountant you are listening to.

There are even those grimly smiling council critics who suggest that the authority should practice what it preached at Castle Cove, accept it can’t afford the repairs and allow nature to take its course and reclaim the harbour.

Certainly those using the harbour at the moment, such as fishermen, face the unusual prospect of attaching their mooring ropes to a structure which could easily be somewhat less stable than their own vessels and which has more holes in it than a Swiss cheese.

The only solution not yet touched on is to resort to tried and trusted methods and use convict labour to carry out the repairs.

With a bit of co-operation from police it should be possible to rush through a few bylaws to harness the current rush of tourists, charging them with having too good a time but offering to spare them jail if they donate a couple of days labour heaving a few stone blocks into place or doing a spot of sheet pile riveting.

Desperate times call for desperate measures so, if you’ve got family or friends in another part of the country, invite them down for a few days!

THIS column has commented before on the ludicrous situation of cyclists choosing to ride in the road when they have a perfectly good cycle path right next to them.

It appears that the situation has not got any better and my thanks go to several readers who have contacted me about their experiences.

Of particular note is one driver’s comment about Weymouth Way, scene of two recent tragedies.

He was frustrated at a cyclist he couldn’t get round because of oncoming traffic, vehicles being backed up behind the rider because he chose to pedal along in the road and not on the new path nearby which had been specifically provided for cyclists at great cost.

It was a similar tale on Portland Beach Road where another cyclist headed a giant queue of fuming drivers also unable to get round him because of heavy oncoming traffic.

This cyclist seemed oblivious to the fact he was riding right next to recognised cycle routes on to the island.

I think authorities are going to have to campaign to highlight the need for cyclists to make use of the facilities provided for them because some of them are clearly not going to do so without a nudge or three.

Steve joins cyclists on the Tour de France

WELL-known Weymouth council events manager Steve Davies is never happier than when he is on a bike, so he jumped at an opportunity for a brief break up north during which he could see several stages of the world famous Tour de France.

Inevitably he wasn’t content with just watching and was actually able to join a number of other amateur cyclists riding up one steep Tour climb called Holme Moss.

He was absolutely amazed by spectators two or three deep along the entire route and said: “It was the only time I have been cheered by crowds in my whole life!”

The whole get-away was a revelation for a man steeped in Weymouth tourism life because it was like experiencing the scale of Weymouth Carnival crowds everywhere he cycled.

Even Steve, no stranger himself to the bizarre, couldn’t believe what he was seeing at one point when he met a “French” cyclist decked out in beret, onions and striped shirt on an old bike going up Holme Moss by pedalling backwards to thunderous applause.

A bit of a breather was needed later, so Steve dropped in at a hospitality area....which had been set up in the forecourt of an undertaker’s business. Only in Yorkshire!

Wash your hands!

DON’T read this if you are about to have a tasty meal or a much needed snack.

Gone are the days when pub goers were treated to free little bowls of peanuts and crisps.

That loss was bemoaned in a recent pub conversation in Weymouth where staff in the hostelry were asked what had caused landlords to stop making such popular offerings. The reply when it came caused a few looks of disgust.

Apparently such treats were withdrawn after Health and Safety tests on the remnants of such snacks revealed traces of 17 different types of urine in one bowl alone!

It seems that some drinkers were going to the pub loos, coming out without washing their hands and were then dipping straight in to the snacks, adding a certain piquancy to nibbles consumed by pub goers who tried the snacks after them.

Worryingly, publicly available research reveals the same problem with things such as children’s play equipment and cinema seats! Not surprising when figures show one in three men and one in eight women don’t wash after going to the toilet.

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