WHISPERING SMITH: Signing off the old year with a book and a bite

WRITING this column each week invites all kinds of ‘whispers’ from readers, some real and others downright mischievous, and sorting out one from the other can be a problem.

A recent whisperer suggested to me that the swimming centre will indeed be rebuilt on the existing site but that the popular and highly successful Windmill Entertainment Centre has no future at its current location.

I do not know about the leisure centre but I have long suspected that Arun District Council will not give up the Windmill site easily and will do its level best to close it, probably with the empty promise of developing a cinema, somewhere, sometime in the distant future.

We will have to wait and see if that particular whisper is indeed a shout. What we can do is to make a note of this now and remember it come the local elections in five months’ time…

LAST week I was in my favourite Oxfam shop, looking for a copy of a Dylan Thomas book – the only place you are likely to find one in Littlehampton – when the manager told me that she had a pristine copy of one of my western novels in stock.

I asked the manager if she wanted me to sign it and was informed that it was already signed. In Yoda speak, mystified, I was. She produced the mint copy and, sure enough, it was not only signed by me but I had also warmly inscribed it.

Mortified, I was. What was even harder to take was the fact that it cost me two quid to buy it back in order to keep it off the shelf. Sometimes yesterday’s warm gesture can be tomorrow’s cold bite on the backside…

THREE last groans for 2014: I could not help but notice an improved police presence in the town centre over the last few days and at one point they seemed to outnumber the members of the Littlehampton Wine Club. Great pity that this appears to be a one-off Christmas effort.

Watched this morning as a family of five rode their cycles through the crowded town centre under the eyes of two police community support officers.

Yellow lines around dog poo? Surely better to paint the buttocks of the culprits, the irresponsible owners…

Happy New Year, folks.