Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Birdwatching’s a better harbinger

HOW many of you in Weymouth and Portland took part in the recent national Big Garden Birdwatch survey?

We did, scraping cobwebs off a couple of summer folding chairs and setting them up in our garden for the required hour during which we dutifully recorded all the birds we saw and then submitted them online for the survey.

God it was cold! The first quarter of an hour was not too bad, but having to sit motionless so you don’t scare off the very birds you are hoping will visit to be recorded took its toll and my feet and hands were frozen by the end of it.

All I had to show for a good while were the inevitable seagulls and wood pigeons and quite a few sparrows, but as time went on we also saw blue tits, a robin, a thrush, jackdaws and, most pleasing of all, a solitary wren flitting jerkily through the undergrowth.

It was great fun and the survey became even more worthwhile once the computer was cranked up and we found that surveyors wanted to know about things such as slowworms as well which do visit our garden occasionally as well as frequent visits by grey squirrels.

That early morning cup of coffee tasted even better than usual because this Sunday we felt we’d actually done something useful to earn it.

New herald of spring is power companies cutting our bills

LOOK out of your window and you’ll see a perfect illustration that spring is on the way.

No, I don’t mean those snowdrops poking up through the border. I mean the postman knocking on your door with news that the gas companies are kindly cutting their charges to us.

Who do they think they are kidding! A true cut of value to consumers would be made at the onset of winter not towards its end.

All across Weymouth and Portland you can hear the sound of sobbing from kind-hearted householders listening to power company fat cats say they only have consumers’ interests at heart and only wish they could make greater cuts.

They make the cuts at this time of year – if they make them at all – because they’ve milked shivering householders of every last penny they can at the higher rate. Making the cut when use will fall sharply in a month’s time makes them look good and keeps reductions in their income to a minimum.

They are in a ‘win-win’ situation, so don’t shed any tears for them over this clap-trap about advance bulk gas buying and being tied to what they paid. Every ‘hard times for the industry’ comment they make can be scotched by a single observation because if they were making a loss they wouldn’t be doing it.

The true situation is that if you don’t hear the word “billion” used when power company profit figures are released then its only because the word “billions” was used, so save your sympathy for us. 

We need it more.

Another ‘oops’ from the council

WEYMOUTH council offices have flown a red flag of embarrassment at half mast following yet another incident where the authority shot itself in the foot.

This time it was by grossly overcharging chalet users for their new lease (by around £200 each), but they picked on the wrong group to do that to because the chalet users group rounded on them like a pit bull terrier with a hangover and publicly ripped them to shreds in a searing criticism of the council.

Having to write a letter of apology to chalet users about the overcharging must have been bad enough, but the whole context of the mistake couldn’t have come at a worse time for the authority, arriving as it did shortly after councillors turned down users’ offer to run the chalets themselves.

The claim then was that if users failed it would harm the council’s good reputation, chalet users replying that the council didn’t have a good reputation to harm.

After this gaffe by the authority I will leave you to make up your own mind whether the council is still holding its head high on the moral ground or whether it is furtively rubbing its shoes on a clump of grass to scrape off the latest stink wafting from its reputation.

Thank you, councillors: phew!

COUNCILLORS have taken pity on audience members at the annual Mayor Making in Weymouth Pavilion.

Previously guests were able to enjoy all the pomp and ceremony associated with the occasion but then also had to sit through the election of the chairmen and vice-chairmen of various committees with all the riveting red tape that went with it before they could go to the reception.

That will no longer apply after full council approved ‘a short break’ between the two sections to allow those audience members not particularly interested in the committee elections to leave the Theatre and go for food in the Ocean Room.

Thank you councillors!

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