Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Holiday high jinks are in full swing

WELL in to the school break now and plenty of evidence of unsavoury holiday high jinks. Weymouth’s shopkeepers are battling to keep their heads above water and definitely didn’t need one annoying six-year-old boy who grabbed a sandal from a pavement stand display as he walked by a shoe shop and danced along St Thomas Street with it on his head.

His mother then shouted at him to join her further up the street, so he simply let the sandal drop to the pavement and ran off to join her. She didn’t tell him off for taking the sandal nor did she tell him to replace it or make the effort to replace it herself. Good parenting.

Elsewhere those leaving the multi-storey car park were startled to see a woman in a people carrier emerge on to Commercial Road having driven the wrong way down St Alban Street! Always nice to see a motorist doing their bit to keep other drivers on their toes.

Then we had mobility scooter madness with pedestrians having to leap out of the way when an ageing speedy Gonzales suddenly decided to turn sharp left in a crowd. A few promising ballet stars revealed there.

Finally there are the “Un-Dead”, those visitors whose minds haven’t just been put on holiday stand-by but have been switched off altogether.

An absolute classic example of this came at Weymouth Railway Station where a couple, suitcases by their side, were engaging in a lively conversation.

Nothing wrong with that unless the conversation was conducted while they stood in the middle of the only available public car parking spaces seemingly oblivious of several drivers politely waiting for them to move out of the way. They only got the hint when one driver drove into a space and almost right up to them.

Be on your guard. These challenges are out there and they don’t take prisoners.

Not such a secret military mission after all

THE American military, eh?! Overpaid, oversexed and over here giving ordinary English residents a hard time.

A Weymouth woman was in a car driving along a country road in Dorset when a weird machine came overhead and proceeded to hover over a field to allow soldiers to abseil down. The plane then landed and the soldiers were taken on board, the procedure being repeated.

The unusual aircraft, tentatively identified as an Osprey, has propellers which act like a helicopter to lift the aircraft into the air. The propellers can also swing into their traditional position on a wing to propel it forward.

Naturally such an unusual occurrence saw the woman’s car pull into a layby to join a number of other interested onlookers.

Enter the American military – guests in this country – who then proceeded to order onlookers not to photograph the aircraft and the operation as it was secret, classified or some such nonsense.

Only the Americans would have the gall to suggest that something displayed and carried out next to a busy public road was secret.

If it was secret then hold it in a remote place and cordon it off, but don’t go round telling ordinary residents what to do in their own country when you are a guest.

As a footnote, the Americans walked away and shortly after that a man with a large camera lens took great pleasure in snapping off dozens of photos.

Perhaps he could sell them to the Americans’ PR department which clearly isn’t that busy!

Hidden history at museum

WEYMOUTH’S Chapelhay area is well known for suffering houses reduced to rubble because of bombing during the Second World War but it actually has much older ruins.

In fact, the remains in question go back nearly 2,000 years to the time of the Romans. Invading legions scorned using Weymouth’s boggy location for anything other than a supply port to serve the seat of power they set up in what is now Dorchester. No change there then!

But as time went by at least one leading Roman felt the effort to live in Weymouth was worthwhile and had a town house or a small villa built in what is now Chapelhay.

We know this because a section of mosaic laid down in one of the rooms is actually on display in Weymouth Museum at Brewers Quay.

Even the colours are still striking despite the passage of nearly two millennia and it provides a fascinating window on just how mosaics were made.

It just goes to show what you can discover with a stroll round your local museum.

‘Must have’ for OAPs

WALKING canes are the subject of this week’s Growing Old Disgracefully spot. Apart from helping to prevent pavements being strewn with overbalanced pensioners, a little bit of adaptation can turn a walking cane into a very useful weapon for the elderly in this age of assaults on vulnerable people.

Get approached by some cocky street thug asking if you’ve “got any spare change” and it is a delight to watch his smirk dissolve in a cloud of MACE released from the bottom of the cane by pressing a simple button on the handle.

Other uses include twisting the cane handle to pull out a sword to help create space in queues at the chemist and another button which activates a concealed flatulence horn, so useful in clearing people away from tables in a busy cafe.

Yes, the walking cane is this year’s “must have” for OAPs. Don’t leave home without it.

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