Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Not so artful traffic dodger

ALREADY traffic is beginning to choke the life out of Weymouth, clogged by an influx of summer visitors.

Even cunning old hands like myself are getting caught out.

The recent Bank Holiday saw me working on one side of town with my next job on the other side of town, but I reasoned that the seafront King Street area would be gridlocked, so decided to travel a little further round in order to ensure I got to my next job on time.

I planned to drive away from the town centre up Dorchester Road and then loop round the 
relief road to Southill and on to my job instead of taking the much shorter road down King Street, over the Swannery Bridge and on to Southill. I should have known the gods were watching.

My little smirk at the obvious Greenhill queue I was dodging must have enraged them because I was barely able to get as far as Spa Road before I joined my first traffic jam, halted by a queue trying to get to the Manor Roundabout junction.

Spa Road seemed jammed as well, so I grimly ground on, finally getting on to the relief road at about 1mph. It stayed like that all the way to Southill where I dodged away, leaving behind me a queue of at least a mile and a half.

An hour later I had no choice but to join the queue into town for my last jobs, fuming at the way traffic lights did nothing to ease congestion. Their cycle clearly hadn’t been adjusted and non-existent traffic on empty junctions was still being given time to come across even though there was nothing there!

Visitors unaware of our prized new traffic system could be seen choosing one lane only to produce horror-stricken faces as they realised they were in the wrong one. Their attempts to switch saw them caught between two lanes, jamming the system up even further.

Similar scenes happened with the first May Bank Holiday, they happened again here and all this before the school holidays even start. The originators of this system have a lot to answer for... but then they mostly live in Dorchester!

Civilised decision-making

IT was high noon, the stakes were on the table and a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

But this was no scene from a spaghetti western, no dramatic Las Vegas casino clip from a Hollywood blockbuster... it was far more serious than that.

This was a Conservative confrontation, a tense Tory tustle for leadership of the party on Weymouth & Portland council.

In the blue corner was Councillor Ian ‘Diamond Jack’ Bruce and in the... er... other blue corner was Councillor Kevin ‘Full House’ Brookes. Only one of them would walk away from this.

The niceties of voting had been observed, but this had left party faithful with a problem since it didn’t take a Returning Officer to work out that it was a tie, each having polled five votes.

What to do? Well clearly there was only one decent thing left to do in the complicated tradition of local politics... they tossed a coin.

Mr Brookes called heads, the fifty pence piece they were using landed on tails and so Mr Bruce is now leader of the Conservative group on the council, telling The View that he always knew his double tailed coin would come in useful!

But he is not the first to risk all on the toss of a coin.

Years ago there was a borough council election to be councillor for Wyke Regis which produced a too-close-to-call result between incumbent Arthur Sheppard and challenger Doug Hollings.

They held a recount and couldn’t be separated and then a second recount in an incredibly tense atmosphere and still there was nothing to choose between them, so they agreed to decide the result on the toss of a coin.

Now at the time, Mr Sheppard was also deputy mayor and was just a few days away from assuming the full office of mayor... but he lost the toss and with it his council seat and his chance to be mayor. 

Who said local politics was boring?!

Rover comes home

A PORTLAND man’s love affair with one car makes unbelievable reading.

More than a decade ago he really fancied a specialist Rover, but it would have cost £28,000, which he couldn’t afford.

Then there was a financial crash which saw vehicle prices plummet and he was able to pick up the vehicle of his dreams brand new for £10,500... only for him to worry when prices fell even further!

Things did pick up and a couple of years later he sold his beloved car and was delighted to get back virtually what he’d originally paid for it.

He kept in touch and, when the car recently came on the market, he bought it back for barely £1,000!

The deal got even better because the previous owner mistakenly thought the clutch was going and paid for a brand new one to be installed at no small expense.

The icing on the cake was that, even after more than a dozen years of use, the car barely had 60,000 miles on the clock.

The man proudly pointed out his beloved vehicle in a Portland car park and told me he was delighted to be reunited with his old car at so little expense and with it in such good condition. I’ll bet he was!

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