IT’S that Condor moment. No! Not the old tobacco advert but the new life – or resumption – of Condor Ferries’ operation in Weymouth.
Well, it may be a new look, a fresh start and a new hope but it would appear that old problems die hard.
Condor made it pretty plain to Weymouth and Portland council that one of the main complaints from passengers was gridlock conditions as they tried to drive away from the ferry along Weymouth Esplanade or quayside.
Even a council which had ignored harbour wall maintenance for decades until part of its ferry port threatened to fall into the sea could spot that Condor had the whip hand.
So there was much mumbling about new road measures, assurances that “matters were being taken in hand” and a great deal of talk about how much everyone was looking forward to welcoming back Condor whose presence in the town was greatly valued.
Yes, but what work was carried out to solve the gridlock conditions facing motorists as they tried to drive away from the ferry? What was actually done?
Precious little it would seem or, to be fair, precious little that had any worthwhile effect.
Politicians are the greatest mutants on the planet because they are animal, vegetable and mineral, having the hide of a rhinocerous, the brain of a pea and hearts of stone.
So it is hardly surprising that they said whatever they felt needed saying just to get Condor back in Weymouth. After all, now Condor is back it is unlikely they will suddenly up-sticks again soon which gives the council a bit of breathing space.
They are going to need it according to seafront stallholders who have seen it all before many times because traffic goes right past the front of their businesses.
They say that, whatever political measures were rushed in to placate Condor they have, like a flashy Bonfire Night firework, not worked very well.
But even the unsatisfactory situation on the Esplanade paled into insignificance the other night when quayside crowds were treated to a spectacle involving the irresistible force of Condor traffic meeting the immovable object of Weymouth Bike Night.
The bikers had right on their side because they were there by permission of the council, but it didn’t cut a lot of ice with fuming ferry motorists held up while classic cars eased into position to join their two-wheel associates.
It let to an interesting exchange of views, at least I think it was views.
Organisers stoicly completed their marshalling as quickly as they could and tried to ignore increasingly blunt comments which started with four-letter words involving one irate motorist with a screaming “baby” and descended into the use of other words of the same length which are not for an erudite blog like this to relate.
Suffice to say the motorists weren’t impressed, the bike night organisers weren’t impressed and I’ve no doubt Condor bosses won’t be too impressed if they ever see a video of the evening.
Since that clash there have been numerous gridlock incidents to show that Weymouth’s much vaunted new traffic system is about as much use as a plastic traffic light toy found in a cornflake packet.
The scenario doesn’t get any better when you sketch in the worrying news provided by ex-South Dorset MP Ian Bruce that he has just photographed another harbour wall crack.
Mr Bruce, now a Weymouth and Portland councillor, says his photos of the split on the landward side of Condor’s existing berth have been handed to council officers to investigate if there is now a second “collapse” problem beginning to loom for the embattled authority to tackle.
This “Is it, isn’t it?” timebomb doesn’t do much to calm nerves, so if you want a piece of worthwhile advice then try and stay clear of the seafront-harbour battleground around ferry times because, sooner or later, it is all going to end in tears.