Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The double-edged sword of visitors and behaviour 

ALL Weymouth and Portland residents must accept that their lives change between April and September when the area welcomes its annual influx of visitors.

However, this is a two-way street and visitors – no matter how much they are trying to relax – should show courtesy to residents and the place they have come to.

This was not the case the other day when at least four groups gave weekend crowds a wonderful example of their skilful use of the ‘f’ word.

I’m no shrinking violet, but can these people really do no better for a conversational style than f-this, f-that and f-the other?

Two of the groups concerned were young men with Midlands accents, one group was much older and seemed to have come down for the weekend and the final verbally challenged individuals were actually a mother and father in a family group with fairly young children. 

Really good role models there!

None of this should be taken as some sort of clean bill of language health for residents because they can swear with the best of them.

However, persistently offensive behaviour by a resident gets noticed and can be dealt with through various legal orders while the same style of behaviour by a visitor is rarely punished because they are gone almost before they have arrived.

Their impact as individuals is fleeting albeit annoying, but the general influx of visitors has a much greater collective impact.

I’d love to make some sort of comment that perhaps the council or the police could do something but that is frustratingly pointless when faced with the inescapable fact that if these visiting adults haven’t learnt how to behave by now then they never will.

Bird-brains and bribery

WE’VE all heard about the destruction that storms can inflict on people’s homes. Some people get flooded out while others are left struggling to repair damage, but I’ve never heard of a home which ended up on its roof until now.

A recent storm caused havoc for one farmer who went out the next day to find that his chickenhouse was upside-down on its roof!

So he realised that perhaps the area it was in was a bit exposed and he went to all the trouble of moving it and re-erecting his henhouse in a more sheltered spot.

But the chickens were having none of it. Having been mentally scarred by the experience of being in a tumble drier as their home was blown over by the storm, they were in no hurry to get back into such an unpredictable structure.

They flatly refused to have anything to do with the henhouse even if it was in a nice new des res area.

The farmer had to resort to bribery with grain to get them back inside. Just as well really as the alternative was the tender mercy of local foxes.

Children conned by cardboard

WELL, Easter is over and everywhere you go you can see children with the glum faces of someone who has been conned.

I do not speak about youngsters failing to believe that Christ rose from the dead after his crucification.

Oh no. I speak of the diminishing size of Easter eggs!

It was only when I saw mums at a supermarket, loading trolleys high with Easter eggs, that I took a close look at what was on offer.

Some of the ‘Easter eggs’ were the size of small suitcases, but the vast amount of product on show was just packaging, great elaborate swathes of plastic and cardboard.

Any child tough enough to battle their way through that would have felt cheated at their reward, an Easter egg barely one twentieth the size of its carton.

No wonder children were looking like they’d been short-changed.

Get kids outside!

IF you are old enough and lucky enough to have children then you may be shocked to find out that sons and daughters are spending less than half the time outdoors that their parents did as a child.

Research commissioned by the Eco Attractions Group showed that children splashing in the mud of Puddletown Forest or building a sandcastle on Weymouth beach may be becoming a thing of the past.

Many have never climbed a tree or planted a seed, preferring instead to play computer games, watch television or hang out with friends.

A study of 2,000 parents revealed that more than half their children hadn’t had a picnic outside their back garden, barely a third had helped to grow fruit and vegetables and barely a fifth had gone pond dipping.

Worryingly, one in four parents said they don’t live near a green space or somewhere with outdoor activities for their children. We know all about that in Weymouth thanks to recent developments!

The message is clear. Parents need to make the effort to encourage their children outdoors or there may come a time when they have to explain what a cow is.

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