LETTER: ‘Thank you, coronavirus’

cobbWHY ‘thank you’? It’s quite simple. I am a resident of Lyme Regis and during the last few weeks I have seen a Lyme Regis I thought would only be possible on the big screen of a feature length film.

It’s been simply beautiful – a place where I would love to live my life. The town has been empty of cars and buses fighting for their space to move and park.

A walk down the high street and you find yourself stopping and admiring the quaint architecture even though it’s always been there. Carry on down and walk along the front and the effect is even more amazing – hardly a soul.

As you walk you might pass a couple coming in the opposite direction. They actually look and smile at you. They know you live in Lyme, as you know they do.

You not only share but you find yourself wanting to share a warm acknowledgement of each other’s existence – this is our town – we are a part of it.

Out on the shore the waves are lapping against the sand and shingle – stop and you can hear it. No herds of ‘penguin people’ clamouring and fighting for a space, not to breed, but just to claim as theirs for that day.

Even the seagulls have gained their respect again and stopped being scavenging vultures crazily fighting for every morsel of fish and chips that the packed in ‘penguins’ do not want.

Where are the seagulls? They are where seagulls should be – down amongst the rock-pools look for looking for real ‘seagull’ food.

I know there are those who will say that Lyme Regis needs the income from the ‘visitors’ but I think it is only the business people who are the winners, not the residents, the people who live here.

Less could be more. Instead of a Hi De Hi, cheap parking, pack them in and pile them high tourism approach, the town could return to a place where fewer people would come but spend more per head.

This virus has shown that having a totally tourist-dependent economy is unsound. The poor quiet resident who, uncomplainingly pays their huge council tax and water bills, has to sit on the side and can only wish and hope for recognition.

The people who live here and spend money every day of the year are never considered. The town only considers the wishes of bucket and spade day trippers.

But like all things these strange times will pass and be forgotten. In this last week you can already see the a change. I can almost hear the packed out cars queuing up out of sight over the hill waiting to get the ‘all clear’ and our Lyme Regis will be gone again.

I do not think that in my lifetime there will be a visit by a cousin of COVID-19. So that is why I say ‘thank you coronavirus’. You have brought a lot of misery but like a Biblical warning you have shown us how important we are to each other – we must value each other.

This time we will be given a second chance – but will we take it?

Raymond, a resident (full name and address supplied)

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