Monday, 20 September 2021

Your letters...

...while thoughtless litterbugs do this

...while thoughtless litterbugs do this

Sir, — My husband and I were disgusted to see all the rubbish left by lazy people while we were walking in Mill Meadows in Henley on Monday morning. I thought I’d send this photograph as the mess made us quite angry. — Yours faithfully,

Jo May

Wilson Avenue,


Why can’t we see obvious?

Sir, — I recently spoke with a member of the Henley Tourist Information Office staff who told me that while they had worked there for the last 14 years they did not know how to contact the tour operators responsible for bringing foreign tourists with their spending money into Henley.

There was a large group of people on Thursday last week waiting for their coach to pick them up. A 59-seater coach (approx) duly came along at 1.30pm.

None of these tourists that I saw were carrying bags with purchases from Henley shops — why? Did they only have a comfort stop/lunch?

Until you have people who know how to put together a package to offer to incoming tour operators for their clients, Henley shops will continue to close because they will not be able to make sufficient profit to stay open.

This means speaking with all businesses in Henley to join together to put a leaflet with a map of shops together which can be handed to the passengers on their coaches when they are visiting.

There should be a guide to meet the coaches and give the visitors a quick tour of Henley, leaving them centrally at the shops.

At the moment we seem, in my opinion, to have the blind being led by the blindfolded, determined not to see the obvious. — Yours faithfully,

Gloria Wright


Officer was doing her job

Sir, — In response to the letter from Andrew Hamilton (Standard, August 12), I would like to point out that indeed the police community support officer had every right to ask that he move.

If everyone had his attitude the market place would become a free-for-all!

And double yellow lines actually mean “No parking at any time”.The reason so many shops are closing is nothing to do with the parking but with the high cost of both rent and rates.

To say that Machin’s lost out on his custom says it all as there are both short- and long-term car parks within a minute’s walk of the shop.We are very thankful that we have such PCSOs carrying out their jobs in difficult circumstances. — Yours faithfully,

Patricia Havenga


What makes you special?

Sir, — There are obviously very special people in Henley and then there are the average shoppers.

Your correspondent Andrew Hamilton must assume that he and his wife are special and live above the law.Double yellow lines exist for very good reasons and our police community safety officers are paid to enforce the law, not to guess whether a parking infringement may last two minutes or 30.

Machin’s is a very good butcher and worthy of a visit and as far as I can tell most shoppers park legally in the two car parks that are very close by and walk the very demanding 150m to the town square to visit the shops. Perhaps Mr Andrews should give serious consideration to the needs of other road users and, more importantly, the law of the land.

A very “special” man indeed! — Yours faithfully,

K C Bushnell

Lambridge Wood Road,


Good food, no parking

Sir, — After reading the recent accolade in The Times and other publications about the Miller of Mansfield being an excellent dining experience, and living a reasonable drive away, we decided to make a reservation for lunch.

When booking, we enquired about parking and were told that the Miller of Mansfield had two allocated spaces and plenty of parking across the road.

As these were all occupied when we arrived we drove around the village for 15 minutes but were unable to find any parking due to the fact that most spaces were marked with double yellow lines.

So much for being the Waitrose Good Food Guide 2016’s restaurant of the year as it is irrelevant unless you live within walking distance. — Yours faithfully,

P Riley


Trader needs new pitch

Sir, — A plea for market trader Brian Pool to have a space to sell his wares, which he has been doing for so long in Henley (Standard, August 12).

He is such a very helpful (especially to the elderly) and friendly man who has no allocated place as a result of the Market Place Mews redevelopment despite his longevity on site and our needs. — Yours faithfully,

Jill Irwin

Singer’s Close,


Let’s tackle diesel fumes

Sir, — Recently I have taken the opportunity offered to me to use a handheld particulate measurement device in 18 different locations around Henley. This I have done seven times.

The noticeable first conclusion is that the highest pollution level is found at the traffic lights by Red Lion Lawn, so I would recommend this location be added to South Oxfordshire District Council’s air quality management action area.

All diesel vehicles are the cause but just stand there and smell the difference when a heavy goods vehicle goes by.

It was estimated that they are four cent of the traffic but 30 per cent of the air quality problem in nitrogen dioxide terms.

This spot is closely followed by the bus stop outside Starbucks, the taxi rank in Hart Street, outside Hot Gossip in Friday Street and the police station in Greys Road.

There are other high pollution areas not in the action area, noticeably along Reading Road to St Andrew’s Road and also outside the Kenton Theatre in New Street through to Northfield End.

We need action to reduce the diesel fumes in the town centre to make it a nicer place to visit. — Yours faithfully,

David Dickie

St Katherine’s Road,


Invest more in railways

Sir, — The seventh most crowded railway train in Britain is the 07:07 from Henley to Paddington. The second most crowded is the 07:34 from Didcot to Paddington.Passengers have increased every year since 1995. Great Western Railway has increased rail capacity but never catches up with overcrowding.

In January UK rail fares will be increased by 1.9 per cent, despite already being the highest in Europe.

Both New Labour and the coalition governments raised rail fares by more than inflation. Since 2015 the Conservatives have raised them by “only” as much as inflation.

We are told higher fares fund investment but private investment in rail slumped 43 per cent from £743million in 2006/7 to £423million in 2013/14. It rose to £647million in 2014/15 but that is still 13 per cent lower than at its peak eight years earlier.

GWR does at least try, unlike CrossCountry which serves Reading with the same four- or five-coach trains it introduced 15 years ago. Overcrowding is endemic at weekends, not just weekday peaks.

Since privatisation in 1995, rail subsidies have spiralled. In 2006/7 they peaked at around £6.5billion. They fell to about £4.5billion in 2010/11 but are now back above £5billion.

Operators confuse passengers with complicated fares. Passengers retaliate by “fare-splitting”.

In 2012 the coalition promised part-time season tickets for part-time workers but only C2C in Essex has introduced them, and only after four years.

Jeremy Corbyn would renationalise rail but this is not the whole answer. Between them, rail companies in the UK paid their shareholders £222million in 2014/15, only about 4.5 per cent of their total subsidy.

Cancelling HS2 would help more. The project is very bad value, but governments have spent £1.4billion on it since 2009. Its £55billion budget could be better spent on longer trains, longer platforms and re-opening railways closed and abandoned in the Sixties. — Yours faithfully,

Hugh Jaeger

Park Close,


Inadequate broadband

Sir, — BT/Openreach have baffled local plumbers in Sonning Common by having superfast broadband at both ends of Wood Lane (600 yards apart) yet nothing but medieval dial-up speeds in the village centre located between those two ends.

According to Archimedes, a pipe with a water pressure at both ends usually has water pressure in the middle too.

How quaint for BT to say this is adequate for the heart of a thriving business community (in a village which even has its own telephone exchange) and yet have no plans to resolve the matter.

But, of course, they still charge us line rental for a line which is incompatible with even the lowest broadband technology they wish to sell us. — Yours faithfully,

Dirk Jones

Kennylands Road,

Sonning Common

Preserved in old films

Sir, — With reference to your Hidden Henley item about the old airfield near Crazies Hill (Standard, August 12), when you next see a black and white Second World War film and it has a view of the tracking room with model aircraft being pushed around a map of the UK with large sticks, have a look at the airfield names behind. Very occasionally you will see “Henley” as it became an operational RAF airfield during the last 18 months of the war. — Yours faithfully,

Martin Akehurst

Two Tree Hill,


Inspirational teacher

Sir, — I was saddened to learn about the death of Marjorie White, who taught English to me and many others at Gillotts School in Henley.

Sometimes a Facebook post isn’t enough and I’d like to share with your readers the influence that she had on a generation of Sixties Gillotts’ pupils.

For me, most lessons were quite boring and I didn’t care for most of the teachers (the feeling was probably mutual) but each week I would look forward to Mrs White’s class.

She brought the English language alive and introduced me to all sorts of literature with the enthusiasm it deserved.Once, she asked the class who our favourite poet was and, it being the Sixties, I answered “Bob Dylan”. I remember her smiling but saying nothing.

The following week she had obviously heard some of his music (downloads were decades away so I always admired her for taking the time to listen to an LP) and asked me what my favourite song was.

I told her The Times They Are A Changin’ and she talked to me about teenage rebellion.

She shone, head and shoulders above all the other teachers during my time at Gillotts, and I will always be grateful to her for opening up a whole new world for me.

Her enthusiasm was limitless and her encouragement faultless.

RIP, Mrs White, you will never know how much you changed my young life but I will always remember you. — Yours faithfully,

Terry Custance

Isambard Way,


Surprised by family photo

Sir, — It was with shock and delight when I turned to the letters page to find an old photograph of my family displayed (Standard, August 5).

The photo is of my father George Henry Butler and his younger brother, my uncle Ken.

It was taken on the doorstep of Diamond Cottages in Warren Row, where they were born. My father would have been around four years old and my Uncle Ken about two. It would have been taken around 1925.

They both grew up to be strapping lads. My father served in the Coldstream Guards and my uncle was a giant of a man at 6ft 3in.

Both worked as landscapers and many local people will have gorgeous gardens created by my father. He had real visionary skills and had a beautiful garden at his home in Crazies Hill. The Henley Standard featured his work some years ago as he planted the oaks on Fair Mile for the coronation when he was working for Waterers Landscape.

They both loved life and were known for their sense of humour. Sadly, they are no longer with us and, along with their younger brother, my uncle Bob, they are all much missed.

How kind of Helen Chilvers to think about writing to your paper. I have no idea how the photograph came to be in the Sue Ryder sale.

There won’t have been many copies as my grandparents were working class and not well off, so it’s amazing that they had the picture taken. I had never seen it before.

The best shot of the boys is when my Dad married and Ken was best man.My sister Sue and I are so happy to have the photo back in the family thanks to the kindness of Helen. — Yours faithfully,

Janice Stow

King’s Close,


Simon saved my weekend

Sir,— Returning from work last Friday it was clearly an evening for a barbecue and good red wine.

Imagine my state of shock when I found that we were out of Pimm’s. The weekend hadn’t even started — I mean, really!

I hurried down to Tesco to look for manna from heaven only to find that they had seemingly run out. Only the rather lowly strawberry version was available.

I walked up to an employee who later identified himself as “Simon” and said: “Young man, you seem to have run out of Pimm’s.”

He replied: “Sir, this is Henley, we never run out of Pimm’s. Have you checked the rack?”

Here I must plead Scandinavian as Simon clearly is a male and I was slightly confused, having visions of the ladies from the Moulin Rouge doing the can-can down the aisle.

Simon noticed my confusion and led me to what was, sadly, just a display area. It was full of only the horrible strawberry Pimm’s (did anyone get hanged for inventing that?).

Aghast, Simon asked me to kindly wait while he went out back and saved the day by finding a whole box of the proper stuff. I bought the lot!

If the Tesco store manager reads this I hereby recommend tall Simon as employee of the month. — Yours faithfully,

Soren Nielsen

Belle Vue Road,


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