Wednesday, 10 December 2014

BID badly bothered

WEYMOUTH Business Infighting District (BID) has recently been going through some acrimonious times.

Anyone at its recent annual meeting was left in no doubt that there was ‘trouble at t’mill’ with the BID’s leading violinists getting a lot of ‘oompah’ from the rank and file wind section.

Each side loudly proclaimed that it was only interested in what was best for Weymouth yet both succeeded in portraying what was worst for Weymouth, namely a clear impression of stark divisions within the business community.

Equally clear was that both sides have some good ideas but have gone about the whole process of trying to put things right in the most damaging way they possibly could.

The BID board’s record for communication with its levy members has been, how shall I put it, ‘sparse’ and members were right to berate directors about it.

But both joint chairmen have resigned and there is a feeling among other directors that they are being pilloried for trying to do their best for the business community.

Against that is many levy payers’ feeling that they have been ‘short changed’ by BID benefits they feel don’t stack up to what they have had to pay.

At the moment there appears to be a lull – at least until any threats materialise of calling an extraordinary general meeting in the New Year.

If that does happen then more directors who have put a lot of work into the BID might be ousted to be replaced by... whom?

Someone has to run the BID unless opponents are so hacked off they want the whole thing wound up.

And if levy payers do want the BID to continue, then who is going literally to step up to the Board?

One of the comments made at the annual meeting didn’t get much air time and it was this.
Dorchester was widely praised for its very successful BID, yet it had the sort of bitter start very similar to what Weymouth is experiencing.

The thrust of the comment was that there were teething problems but things got better. 

Perhaps all those involved might take notice of that.

Happier ignorant

NOTHING is certain except death and taxes, said Benjamin Franklin, but government capacity to rub salt in that open taxation wound comes close to being a third certainty.

All of us are getting a natty little document through our letterboxes explaining what the tax money we have to pay is being spent on.

This is either bravery on the government’s part or rank stupidity... My vote goes for stupidity.

Bad enough that we should have money taken away from us for some less than popular purposes but far worse, for the government, to spell out what that money is being splurged on.

I now know that two percent of my tax is being thrown at overseas aid and that oh so deserving UK contribution to the EU budget.

That alone was enough to get blood pressure rising and it was stoked by another revelation that 2.1 percent of my tax money is being spent on... ‘government administration’! Not the sharpest knife in the block at the best of times.

The final bitter pill to swallow came with the news that a monumental seven percent – or roughly £1 in every £14 of my taxation money is being spent on... paying off the interest on the national debt!

Given politicians’ abject incompetence when it comes to almost any form of finance then I’d like to add a suggestion for the fourth certainty in life, namely that it will get worse before it gets better and it might not even be that good!

Don’t mess about with our traditions!

IS nothing sufficiently sacred about Christmas that it can’t be changed by some ‘progressive’ person looking to make a modern point?

I speak of the news that modern nativity plays are being ‘tweaked’ to include a few famous personas... such as Wayne Rooney!

Now the last time I looked, Rooney may be a saint to United fans but he has been guilty of some very un-saintly behaviour in the past.

However, it is the season of good will to all men, so how might a modern nativity play be rewritten to include him?

Well Bethlehem is out for a start. I suppose the star descending in the east over Old Trafford might catch on, perhaps swapping the inn for no room in the Stretford End.

And for three kings we might have worshippers in the stable adopting a 4-3-3 formation with Joseph and Mary written out in favour of Van Gaal and Giggs although Giggsie would have to be in drag.

That leaves Wayne to play baby Jesus which, with his wispy hair, shouldn’t be too much of a problem while in place of gold, frankincense and myrrh we could have a new five-year contract at £300,000+ a week and three A-boards to display sponsors names.

Yes, I think the idea is beginning to grow on me. After all, so many of the true values of Christmas have been dumped, why not this one?

That just leaves the three shepherds to sort out, unless Lineker, Shearer and Savage? While the role of God should be easy to fill. Just quietly slip Sepp Blatter a few quid and problem solved!

Personally I think the original nativity concept is the only one which matters.

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Tracey West & Teresa Fowler

THIS week’s joint 60 Second interviewees are Tracey West and Teresa Fowler, from Uplyme and Lyme Regis respectively. Tracey, who previously worked in the care industry, and Teresa, a florist who will be marking the 18th anniversary of her well-established Lyme business House of Flowers this month, have recently paired up to launch Feel Fabulous, a new beauty business offering a vast range of treatments.

HOW did you both get into beautician work?
Teresa:  I have always loved everything “nails” and always done my own and friends and family, so thought I would train professionally (we both have). I love the fact that the design aspect and trends with nails keeps changing, similar to with flowers, so I can be creative with them and try new ideas. We work as a team together but separately.
Tracey: I have always worked in the care environment and beauty is something I've always wanted to do. It gives me great satisfaction. I also sell Tropic Skin Care products and offer mobile treatments too. We do pamper parties together which is good fun. 

WHAT made you decide to go into business together as Feel Fabulous?
We started training at the same time a couple of years ago without knowing it, it was quite funny when we mentioned it to each other! We were already friends and this was just the right thing to do. We both provide different treatments and believe in natural and kind products and together we are Feel Fabulous. We both thought it was a great name for nail and beauty and Tasmin. Teresa’s daughter, made us the logo.

WHAT treatments do you offer?
Well, that's a very long list but most popular are the massages, facials, threading, waxing, spray tans, lash and brow tints, lash lift and lash extensions, nail extensions and enhancements, the long-lasting gel polish, nail art, parafin manicures and pedicures!  A full list of treatments as well as loyalty cards and gift vouchers are available at House of Flowers in Broad Street. Skin and nail health is something that needs to be maintained and we give you all the advise tips and info you need .

WHAT’S been the reaction of customers so far?
It's been great! They love coming here, they say it's "handy"! The reaction has been very positive and supportive and they love that we are doing it. We are becoming popular with both locals and visitors, and people are taking the time to leave great reviews so we are very grateful.

HOW does Feel Fabulous tie in with Teresa's existing business at House of Flowers?
Teresa:  Perfectly! I have a nail bar in the shop and it's a lovely setting to sit and have your nails done surrounded by the scent and vibrancy of the flowers.  Both nails and flowers are both very creative professions and the two go together "hand in hand"! I get inspiration from floral designs and have had some lovely feedback. I keep up to date with all the latest trends with both. It's house of flowers 18th anniversary this month, I can't believe I set it up 18 years ago!
Tracey: It's a convenient drop-in place to make appointments and pick up a price list. I also sell Tropic Skin Care which you can order and collect from there, or you order via our Facebook page “Feel Fabulous”.

DO you have any plans to expand further?
Yes, there’s much more in the pipeline.  We are always adding new treatments, you can never stop learning, especially as it's a forever-changing service.
Tracey: I’ve just started offering lash extensions.
Teresa: I can convert your ordinary nail polish into a gel. We have both have regular clients and acquiring a good reputation is what we are concentrating on.  We do have access to beauty rooms locally but also offer mobile services.  We are both fully qualified and insured.

HAVE you any special offers in the run up to Christmas?
We both have had special offers on already and always probably will.   
Teresa: I have been offering the paraffin mani and pedi as it's ideal for this time of year. It's good for dry skin, stiff joints, soothing pain from arthritis, improves circulation, cleansing relaxing and stimulating. In fact, I did this on a recent pamper evening and sent everyone to sleep! 
Tracey:  I have been offering spray tans and lash extensions They make such a difference and ideal for all the Christmas parties. Christmas bookings are already getting busy but we will both be doing some January special offers too so if you're stuck for a present a voucher would be a good idea! We have offers displayed in the shop and on our Facebook page where we regularly run competitions and display photos of our work.

WHAT are your personal interests?
Teresa: I love spending time with family which means regular weekends in London to see my daughter who is at uni studying graphic design and my son is doing an apprenticeship as a joiner, they are both very creative.  I regularly visit relatives and love walking my dog Poppy, there's so many different walks here.
Tracey: I have two young boys that keep me active, Charlie attends Mrs Ethelston's and William is waiting to start pre-school. I enjoy running, spinning and socialising with friends! 

WHAT do you like about living in Uplyme and Lyme Regis?
For a small town we've got it all, including a cinema and great local shops! We must all continue to support everything we've got.  We don't like the empty houses as it's not good for the economy so rent them out and get them lived in! We love the summers and swimming in the sea, the sandy beaches, lovely walks and we also like the winters here! It’s such a great place to live. 

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Community spirit shines in Axminster

MANY of our readers in Axminster would have been thrilled to read last week that the town’s Flamingo Pool won its bid for a share of the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘People’s Millions’ to go towards their aqua gym project.

But what we didn’t know at the time was how many telephone votes the Axminster project actually received.

Flamingo Pool manager Steve Buxton called Pulman’s View last week to tell us that out of the 114 local community projects up for the People’s Millions vote across the country - the aqua gym finished in third place overall! The project pulled in a staggering 13,781 votes. 

The gym was up against a project to create a sensory garden at a nursing home specialising in dementia near Truro, which managed just 2,511 votes in comparison.

It just goes to show what the local community can do when it pulls together, which I’m sure will boost the hopes of those campaigning to save key servicces in our area, whether it be libraries or in-patient beds at our local hospitals.

And, making a good news story even better, the sensory garden project in Cornwall didn’t miss out - the Mountford Makeover was given its £50,000 as a bonus award.                 

James Coles

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

60 SECOND INTERVIEW: Sam Wilberforce

RETIRED physics teacher Sam Wilberforce first moved to the area in the mid-1990s with his wife of 36 years, Sarah, and has recently been appointed chairman of the Transition Town Bridport group.

Mr Wilberforce is currently studying for an MSc in the Green Economy at Bournemouth University and hopes to help the organisation to continue its work finding local solutions to global environmental and sustainability problems.

Both avid walkers and fans of the West Dorset countryside, Sam and Sarah have two grown-up children – one a teacher in Brighton and the other a singer and conductor in London and Manchester.

WHAT brought you to Bridport?
We came here about 20 years ago to stay with a friend in Loders, and fell in love with the place. We had a weekend cottage in Netherbury and then moved to the Bride Valley nine years ago.

WHAT do you like about the area?
I am a keen walker and the scenery here is fantastic. I can walk from my front door in any direction and experience a different scenery. I like the people around here too - there is a straightforwardness and unfussiness that I love. I like the lively arts scene and the varied culture of Bridport, and the small businesses and shops. We have resisted the sameness that you find in most towns in Britain.

IF you could improve one thing about the area, what would it be?
I would encourage less use of supermarkets, and do more to boost our great local shops. We also need more opportunities for young people to gain skills and work in Bridport, rather than moving elsewhere.

HOW did you first come to be involved with the TTB group?
I have been interested in the environment for most of my life, and became convinced that our climate is going to destroy the civilised world we know, with droughts in many parts of the world and intense weather events destabilising many countries. I ran an ecology club at my school, but became increasingly depressed that few of my colleagues, let alone pupils and their parents, saw this as a problem. The Transition Movement, which has grown up in thousands of locations around the world, sees things in a more positive light. What sort of future do we want, and how can we achieve it? 

CAN you explain what the Transition Town movement is and what the Bridport group does?
It is a local solution to a global problem – oil has peaked, and will become increasing expensive; gas will peak in perhaps 20 years, even if we go down the fracking route. And the remainder of the fuel – 60-80 per cent of known reserves – will have to be left in the ground if we are to avoid a 4°C rise in global temperature.  If we can regenerate local economies, grow our own food, teach our youngsters new skills, and become less reliant on imported goods, food and energy, then we will have a resilient and sustainable Bridport. I want to live in a town in 20 years where all generations and classes of people have a stake in the community.

WHAT achievements are you most proud of since joining the group?
Open Ecohomes was such a successful event that I am surprised nobody thought of doing it before. Bridport is packed with pioneers, and those who have changed their lives to live a sustainable future are models for all of us.  The different solutions to reducing energy and use of resources combine into a body of practical knowledge, which people are happy to share. 

ARE there any current projects you would like to tell us about?
Apart from the skills sharing and ‘draughtbusters’ projects we have launched, the food part of the HOME in Bridport outreach project is doing really well. We have put up a polytunnel at St Mary’s Primary School in Skilling, and built a cob pizza oven for parents and teachers at the school. We are employing gardeners for the school allotment, running cookery courses for young parents at the children’s centre, and teaching St Mary’s parents and their children to cook from scratch. The idea is to show people how to eat good food on a budget by cooking from raw ingredients, avoiding ready cooked meals from supermarkets, and also to learn to grow your own. 

WHAT simple changes can readers make to their lives to live more sustainably?
Turn down the heating, wear a vest in winter, buy local and invest in your local economy, don’t buy too many imported goods, grow your own food if you can.

DO you have any life lessons that you stick to?
I was brought up in a home with the strong presence of my great great great grandfather, William Wilberforce, the MP who worked with others to abolish the slave trade. If he was alive today, what would he consider the major moral issue? He would probably be working to stop modern day slavery, trafficking and child labour. But I think he would also be concerned with our disregard of the rights of future generations, and the harm we cause by our unsustainable way of life. People in Britain in the 18th century were not wicked people, but slavery was happening far away and didn’t seem to concern everyday life here. Yet we profited enormously from the plantations and the slave trade. Wilberforce faced arguments that the economy would collapse if we freed the slaves, and had to fight against people who justified slavery, people with a vested interest in the plantations. People who say that climate change is not real, or that we can’t prevent it are making the same sort of excuses that people said about slavery. We can tackle climate change if we use the next 20 years to build up a green economy and a sustainable infrastructure based on renewable energy and better efficiency. I believe my ancestor would be part of the fight to protect future generations.

Courtesy goes wrong on the bus

MANNERS should be a crucial and welcome part of our lives, but all too often they get people into trouble.

Drivers who force their way through by inconveniencing others, people who queue jump in shops, those who play loud music without thought for others are just a few examples of selfish behaviour we have probably all met at some time.

But you don’t expect to draw wrath down on you when you are actually trying to be polite, to be kind and to display good manners.

So it was with an elderly man who gave his seat up for a woman on a Weymouth bus.

He was smiling as he rose and gestured for her to take his place, saying her need as a pregnant woman outweighed his need as an elderly person and, in any case, he was getting off in a few stops time.

The polite pensioner soon wished he could get off immediately as he was given a mouthful by the woman... who it turned out wasn’t pregnant just very obese! 

The joy of that bolshy bird, the robin

WINTER and Christmas mean different things to different people, but one of the iconic symbols of this period for me is the robin.

Its red breast, lovely song and cheerful perky movements all combine to lift spirits, but don’t be completely sucked in because the robin is one of the most aggressive members of the entire bird world for defending its territory.

That red breast is a warning to intruders that this spot is taken and, if they don’t take the hint, then fights can develop which have been known to be to the death.

Not quite so fluffy and cuddly now are they, but I still really enjoy their presence in our garden during the autumn where they forage over ground I have turned, during the winter when their antics brighten the day up and in the spring when their liquid song is a lovely herald for awakening life.

Spirit of Christmas presents

NOW you really do have problems! Only three more shopping weeks until Christmas!! There are still no general signs of panic, but a few shoppers are starting to develop a twitch if they have to walk past more than three festive windows.

Which gift do they choose? Will granddad really appreciate Gothic Ghoul’s new album Tales from the Mortuary and is buying mum an apron with ‘Your Place is Here’ emblazoned on it a hilarious gift idea or an invitation to “cook your own damn Christmas dinner!”

Christmas decorations have been out for weeks and they pose a real threat to shoppers as they try to weave their way through displays without snagging santas,  or shiny ornaments on their clothing. I’ve already seen one Christmas tree display demolished.

If you don’t like the Christmas rush then you’ve only got yourself to blame if you haven’t bought one or two presents during the year.

It really does take a bit of the sting out of the festive shopping fun such as having your foot trodden on in the chocolates section by overweight enthusiasts who shouldn’t be buying chocolate anyway. What do you mean, it’s a present. Who are you kidding?!

Finally there is the booze. A bottle of dry sherry for granny, some of that dark rum for Uncle George, some fancy cream liquer for Chelsea and a few cases of beer for Wayne. In your dreams.

If that’s all people bought things wouldn’t be too bad but I’ve seen families pushing not one but two trolleys loaded with alcohol which tipped the till at more than £400. Good God! You’d need a year to drink that lot by which time they’ll be doing it all again.

Do try and keep it simple. Buy only what you might need and, if you do over order, remember that my drinks cabinet door is always open to help you get rid of it. 

Just offering the true spirit of Christmas.

Driving me mad!

WHAT is it about people who own big cars that they seem to feel that normal parking courtesies don’t apply to them?

You can see it everywhere you go and one of its main hallmarks is that big car owners don’t think their parking through.

So when they approach parking in any walled or enclosed area they never reverse right to the back of their chosen space but stop short to avoid damaging the rear of their expensive vehicle.

But they completely miss, or choose to ignore the fact that this approach leaves the front two feet of their car sticking out into the danger area where other drivers come past.

So their efforts to protect against damage to the back of their car expose the front of the same vehicle to the danger of being clipped by passing traffic not to mention the inconvenience it causes to other drivers and the danger it poses to pedestrians who must walk into the line of passing traffic to get round the front of such vehicles.

I’ve just seen a Jaguar and a Volvo estate both parked within a few yards of each other and both with their front ends several feet out into the thoroughfare and it is pure selfishness, but since when have such people bothered about that?