Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The busy summer that Weymouth needed

WEYMOUTH has just had what it needs above anything else, a good summer season.

There was some confusion at the start when the sun came out and no-one knew what it was, but the town’s tourism industry was soon in full swing with hoteliers and guesthouses reporting brisk bookings and attractions doing a roaring trade.

Seafront businesses did particularly well, a vital fact of life for them since they, like grizzly bears, tend to hibernate during the winter and need summer fat to see them through.

But it is the little things that show how well Weymouth has done, those aspects of resort life that don’t catch the headlines.

Take car parks for instance. When you see the white signs and lines at entrance points starting to wear and blur then you know that the sheer volume of parking is responsible which means it has been a good season.

Then there is any normal walk down St Mary Street. 

If you can do that easily then it is worrying times for tourism, but it was impossible to do so in 2014 because the street was frequently choked with people and you had to dodge, duck and weave your way to make progress.

Some outlets said their business was up 20 percent, others that they were just clawing back what they had lost during the Oympics.

Anyhow, the town seems to have been given a summer shot in the arm and is more than ready for the next big rush. Have you seen how many shops are already selling Christmas stuff?

No wonder. Christmas Eve is just 15 weeks away today!

Why work twice as hard when you can get by?

A DAMNING indictment of modern society’s approach to encouraging people to work has emerged through a Weymouth man who is happily living off wages earned from just 16 hours work per week as a barman.

Out of that he is docked various things including rent and council tax while he has £14 a week – or a miserly £2 per day – for food.

Quite clearly he would welcome more money to make his life a little easier, but he has chosen to carry on with his current lifestyle because there is just no incentive to work harder.

He explained that he could easily get more work to increase his earning power up to 40 hours a week… but he said that if he did so he would actually be worse off!

He’d calculated that only by working 42 hours a week could he increase his income… by about £5 per week.

Apparently the reason behind this is that he could sharply increase his wage by working the extra hours but not as sharply as the drop off in the benefit money he receives.

He is not against working but neither is he stupid and he has no intention of swapping a frugal lifestyle gained by working 16 hours for a frugal lifestyle plus £5 for which he’d have to work 42 hours.

As he said: “I get £2 per day for food and that’s easy if you’re sensible. I buy a chicken and have the legs one day, the breasts another day and boil the carcass up for soup stock with the remaining meat on another day. I can effectively feed eight people on my money. Thank God the other seven don’t turn up!”

A climate of its own

A PORTLAND phenomena much like Table Mountain recently showed just how much its climate can differ from Weymouth.

It was a miserable day with a heavy drizzle as I drove over to the island, looking ahead to see the top of Portland sheared off by a flat bank of gloomy grey cloud which made for the comparisons with Table Mountain.

But incredibly, like someone shutting off a tap, when I got within 100 yards of Victoria Square all the drizzle stopped, the whole place brightened up and all the roads and pavements were dry!

In fact, by the time I got to where I was going the sun was coming out which was just as well really.

Conditions were still balmy with some soft sunshine when I came to make the return trip about an hour later, but the cloud slowly loomed over me and by the time I got home I could barely get inside before down came the rain again.

There are stickers saying “Keep Portland Weird”, but I’d rather be weird and dry on Portland than wet and normal in Weymouth!

Some need a map to navigate car park

RESEARCH shows that two out of five people don’t know how to navigate using a traditional map.

This comes as no surprise to the residents of Weymouth during the tourist season who regularly get stopped and asked for directions, but just recently tourists have been getting lost in the town’s multi-storey car park!

Britannia Parking has done its best with a simple circular system to go up or down through the structure, but three times in recent weeks I’ve been ascending an up-ramp only to meet a flustered driver coming down.

Comments have ranged from “Took the wrong turning!” to “Sorry, we’re on holiday here!” as if this afforded some sort of special dispensation.

So be warned. You appear to need your wits about you in a car park as much as you ever do on the open road.

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