Wednesday, 5 August 2015


Please help to save mobile library stops

BOOKS have been a much loved part of my life since I was a child.

When I lived in rural Devon and Wiltshire in the 1960s and 1970s the arrival of the library van in my village was quite an occasion.

Now I’ve lived in Weymouth for 35 years and the county council is asking everyone’s opinion over proposals to scrap three out of four mobile library stops and cut the number of mobile library vehicles.

I will be telling the survey that I don’t think this should be done, not because it will affect me but because it will affect those for whom this vital service is a literary lifeline.

The rural elderly in particular enjoy a book brought to their door, not least because they may not have access to or be able to use transport or perhaps because they can’t afford, don’t like or can’t use electronic books.

But my concern at this service threat goes a little deeper than that because those of us with long memories can remember a few years ago when the county council “consulted” us on the mass closure of libraries.

Much good our opposition to that did with nearly a dozen libraries being shut down in the name of making savings.

Now the dust has settled from that it seems that DCC needs to save a few more pounds and this time it is the mobile library service which is in its sights.

I said then – and I will repeat it now – that it is but a short step from scrapping books to burning books.

If the county council wants our opinions on whether mobile library services should be retained then don’t just say “yes” but tell DCC to keep its budget saving hands off the whole library service.

The authority promises that mobile library service users won’t be left without alternative access to the library service but, if a mobile library van stop at a remote point is withdrawn, just how are they going to keep those people in touch with books?

And don’t forget. The consultation has only just started yet DCC say they plan to complete it, go through all public comments, collate survey results, reach a decision on what to do and implement it all by the end of March 2016. Not much time, eh... unless they’ve already made their minds up.


Supermarket deals not such a bargain after all!

WHAT a surprise! Supermarkets have been conning us all about the true value of their “deals”.

An investigation has revealed that shoppers all over Weymouth and Portland and the rest of the country have been duped by honey-worded offers which turn out to actually cost people money instead of saving them cash.

This column has highlighted these so called offers on more than one occasion and pointed out that a decent grasp of arithmetic exposes them for the rip off they are.

Take this week. One supermarket had a 200g punnet of raspberries on sale for £1.50 yet its 300g one cost £2.50 or at least 25 pence more than it should have.

Not everyone is good at maths, can work out for themselves just what the saving is – if any – and is prepared to spend the time doing so, nor should they have to.

An offer should be clear and mean what it says not be an exercise in pulling the wool over shoppers’ eyes.

A couple of examples cited by the national investigation show one supermarket offering four tins of sweet corn for £2 and then offering a “bargain” of six for £3.59! Not even close to good value.

There was the inventive use of price rises employed by another supermarket which first increased the price of its pizza from £1 to £1.50 and then made a “special offer” of two for £2... which just happens to be £1 each or the same price they were originally charging!

Life is hard enough as it is without have to play guessing games with supermarket giants so, if you spot one of these fake offers, don’t just grumble. Report it to Trading Standards or Which? because they wield a much bigger stick than we do to keep the giants in line.


Leave it to a professional

THIS week’s Growing Old Disgracefully spot looks at hair rinses, blue and otherwise.

There is nothing wrong with elderly women – or men – seeking to change their growing amounts of white hair and shade them to the colour of their choice.

Young people colour their hair, so why not pensioners?

The only note of caution should be sounded in favour of getting it professionally done and not on the cheap in the bathroom with a packet of dye from your local DIY shop.

This can have horrendous results which can mentally scar anyone unfortunate to see the new style in the light of day. Army camouflage with a hint of fluorescent orange features in few hairdressing catalogues.

So take the trouble to go down to your local perm merchant. They need the money and always welcome a good laugh when you say: “It costs how much?!”

The results always pass muster in public and can be a talking point round the care home over the morning porridge.

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