Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Your letters...

Your letters...

Dog owners, please think

Sir, — The town of Henley-on-Thames is blessed by lungs all around it, the most prominent of which is Remenham where most notable events occur — Henley Royal Regatta, the Henley Festival, Henley Half Marathon, Henley Women’s Regatta, Henley Masters Regatta, Rewind etc.

Remenham offers the good people of Henley many tens of miles of footpaths and country roads to walk, cycle and jog in largely unspoilt rural landscapes, which are breathtaking for their beauty and tranquillity.

Thanks to the landowners, these footpaths are looked after and accessible. Most of the use is by Henley residents crossing the bridge.

All that is asked in return is that visitors leave the countryside as they found it.

Regrettably, that is far from what happens today.

Dog walkers pick up their dogs’ excrement and leave the bag either on the footpath, hanging on a bush, flung into a hedge or field or tossed in the river.

Remember, plastic bags are not biodegradable!

When hedges are cut, the bags are cut as well, creating an unpleasant surprise.

Why on earth would anyone go to the trouble of picking up just to leave it in the countryside?

Who do you think is going to pick up your poo-bag? You would be very angry if poo-bags were tossed into your garden or home, so why do you do so to landowners in the countryside?

In addition to poo-bags, it seems that the good people of Henley find it impossible to walk without a cup of coffee, can or bottle, which when empty is flung into the river, thrown on to the towpath or into a field or hedge.

There is no known history of terminal dehydration in Remenham.

In the summer, picnickers kindly leave their detritus and litter in neat piles for someone else to pick up.

Strangely enough, they also think burning someone else’s field with a barbecue is okay when they would not do it at home.

Remenham residents are very arduous and spend much of their lives picking up your litter. (I will regularly have 200 litres of other people’s litter per week with my rubbish.)

In addition to the volunteers, the village employs a litter-picker, has a dog poo bin at the village hall (emptied twice per week) and is planning more.

Of late, however, it has become an insuperable task as in particular there are too many inconsiderate dog walkers.

We note the increasing frustration and exasperation in the landowners, who see the only solution is to reduce the amount of countryside available.

We are reluctant to place a huge number of litter bins as it will urbanise the rural nature of the parish and empirically those who are inconsiderate will not use bins.

So, if you value the amenity of Remenham, please take your litter and poo-bags home with you, respect other people’s land and the countryside.

Otherwise, sadly, it will be increasingly inaccessible. — Yours faithfully,

Councillor John Halsall

Chairman, Remenham Parish Council, and member, Wokingham Borough Council, Remenham Lane

Misbehaving teenagers

Sir, — Henley has the luxury of two beautiful parks as well as acres of land where you can run, picnic and hold events.

The playgrounds we have are different in their activities, allowing babies to be safe and secure while providing older and more adventurous children with a space suitable for more vigorous behaviour.

Yet, sadly, that isn’t enough for some people.

I have had to ask numerous teenagers to leave the toddler playground in Mill Meadows after they paraded themselves immaturely, screaming, running around and jumping all over the equipment meant for smaller children.

My daughter Arwen, who is only 13 months old is too scared to approach the slides and swings because of these young adults who come into the playground — while parents and small children are present — and behave rudely.

I am also wary of these people.

When spoken to politely, these teenagers are rude to my face, mocking me while walking or running away.

Yet many of them complain they are not being treated like adults or say they are not treated fairly.

I feel strongly that the behaviour of young adults is developing for the worst and is out of parents’ control as they go wherever and do whatever they please.

I am very concerned for the safety of younger children, especially if these teenagers feel it is acceptable to do anything they want with only a quick text message to their parents saying they are “okay”.

Do we blame the children? Do we blame the parents? Do we have to monitor every part of the area to make sure people are conducting themselves appropriately?

Do we give up and avoid venturing out all together?

We provide good spaces for children of all ages. Please can we respect this and not cross boundaries we know shouldn’t be stepped over? — Yours faithfully,

Jessica Sierpowska


Councillor Kellie Hinton, who chairs Henley Town Council’s recreation and amenities committee, responds: “Jessica’s point is fair and polite.

“I have come across teenagers (not all) in uniform in both parks and they are normally defacing or misusing the equipment.

“I have always said something and about half of the time get a load of abuse back.

“Luckily, I have the council’s parks team available on my mobile phone and did have to call them once when my daughter and I were surrounded by aggressive boys who didn’t like being told to behave.

“I will let the parks team know to keep an eye out for this, although hopefully the colder weather will be a deterrent. If anyone has issues like this or any other issues with our open, green spaces and parks, I would be happy for them to email me on me and I can either pass it on to the parks manager to deal with or put on the agenda for one of our committee meetings.

“Thank you for bringing it to our attention.”

Bring back the benches

Sir, — I note with some dismay that the benches in Reading Road, Henley, opposite the row of attractive cottages that comprise Gladstone Terrace, have been removed without any consultation, debate or discussion known to me.

It may well be views have been aired on the matter, but none has come to my notice. Can someone clarify the position? Are there plans to replace them?

With an ageing population such as ours, such furniture is essential, not desirable, as I found recently recovering from an illness that impaired my walking ability.

There was no doubt that the presence of the benches attracted loud and occasional antisocial behaviour on the part of a minority of residents.

But this problem of the wrong sort of bums on the benches can be dealt with by other agencies like the police, for which we pay.

Sadly, a fine tree near the site of the benches died recently, a casualty of the drought. I hope another will be planted. Can we be assured this will happen? — Yours faithfully,

Colin Barker

Norman Avenue, Henley

Henley town clerk Janet Wheeler responds: “The two benches have been taken away to be refurbished and will be put back when the work is done.”

Cafe is a hidden gem

Sir, — Visiting Henley to go to the cinema one day last week, my friend and I parked at the rugby club as we came from the Marlow direction.

We saw there was a café on site. Intending to just have a coffee, we stayed for lunch.

It was very quiet and I wonder how many locals realise what a gem they have on their doorstep where they can park easily and eat good food without paying a fortune? — Yours faithfully,

Janet Rayner

Grange Drive, High Wycombe

Democracy undermined

Sir, — The Peter principle is a concept in management developed by Laurence J Peter, which observes that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their “level of incompetence”.

And in the UK we have the prime example of this in Theresa May.

I work with a few people from her Maidenhead constituency who were convinced of her suitability for prime minister based on her sterling work at that level.

Unfortunately for them and her, she has found her “level of incompetence”.

Tragically, in this instance, there are only two ways to stop her continuing the damage to UK PLC: a leadership challenge or a general election.

I don’t believe anyone wants the latter right now, at least nobody sane that is.

As for a leadership challenge? It might well be too late to repair the damage.

Mrs May has been evasive about her desire to “remain” but her language, bargaining methods and general obfuscation is plain to see. Leaving the EU was always going to cause economic difficulties in the short term, as did the sub-prime market and banking crash and Black Wednesday.

But get up, dust yourself off and rebuild, which we did in double quick time ahead of every other country affected.

In that time we also paid off our historic debt to America, which helped us fight to free Europe from the rampaging fascists and warmongers during that little event called the Second World War.

Have any of the “freed” nations offered to contribute to that repayment? No, they just want to reach into our pockets for more.

Our very democracy has been undermined to the point where many people have despaired of the process to the extent they will never vote again.

Democracy is dead; long live the new fascist state. — Yours faithfully,

Edward Sierpowski


I was Sixties TV ‘star’

Sir, — I am trying to access a copy of an article that appeared in the Henley Standard in the late Sixties.

The article featured the local filming of an episode of the BBC show The Forsyte Saga which was shot along the riverbank upstream of Marsh Lock on the Oxfordshire side of the River Thames.

The BBC had evidently arranged for an extra in the shape of a baby to appear in one shot but the extra did not arrive in time so the director sent out an urgent appeal for a stand-in baby, which turned out to be me as my mother and I were nearby with my grandfather.

I believe the date to be late 1966 or possibly early in 1967 but this is merely a guess as I believe I was around 12-18 months old at the time, having been born in December 1965.

If anyone might have any information as to how I may be able to source a copy of this article I would be extremely grateful. — Yours faithfully,

Roy Lawless

The editor responds: “Unfortunately, our old archive is not searchable without a specific date but if any reader can help, please let me know and I will pass the information on to Mr Lawless.”

Why not try allotment?

Sir, — Times have changed over the years for Henley’s allotments.

A few years ago there were long waiting lists but now there are usually a few vacant plots.

It’s easy to buy fruit and veg from the supermarket but this involves driving, parking (if you can) and buying greenery which has been sprayed and washed in chemicals and packed in plastic.

You can eat fresh, organic fruit and veg, which has no carbon footprint and is local, by growing your own.

By taking on an allotment for a small annual rent, you can keep fit in the fresh air while lifiting your spirits and unwinding from the stresses of life. Take the kids — it’s fun learning (or you can hide from the kids). You can take a picnic as it’s a peaceful haven.

Now is a great time to start an allotment to prepare your plot ready for next year’s produce.

The allotments are a friendly place and everyone is willing to give advice if needed. If you are interested, we have two sites — Greencroft, which is just over Henley Bridge, and Watermans, which is by the Tesco roundabout.

For more information, visit — Your faithfully,

Lewis Every

Site manager, Greencroft allotments, Henley

School sets the example

Sir, — I thought I would bring to your attention an event you may be unaware of, which I think deserves a mention in your newspaper.

Every Tuesday at 7.45am about 50 children from Shiplake Primary school take part in a running club led by volunteers and staff at the school.

There has been much attention on sport and fitness for schoolchildren but, as far as I am aware, this set-up is unique to any of the state schools in this area.

Due to the rural location of Shiplake primary, the children are able to use the surrounding fields and are fast becoming a sight and a talking point for all the local dog walkers.

There have been so many local people who have commented on how lovely it is to see enthusiastic children out enjoying their environment and there are several locals who now make a point of walking at this time to encourage and support the kids.

There are children as young as five, willingly running as far as 5km before school which, given all the negative press surrounding kids not getting enough exercise, is an amazing feat.

There is so much great work going on in this school and it is great to show the wider community that kids are not all obsessed with social media and technology, which is so often how they are portrayed. — Yours faithfully,

Katherine Rees

How to cure depression

Sir, — I have come across a simple, costless remedy that could dismiss the demon of depression in just 10 seconds.

In my view, it could save lives.

All you have to do, when depressed, is to look out a hexagonal pencil (these are best as they afford an easier grip) and place it, sideways, between the teeth.

You then, while biting on it, pinch up the skin just outside the eye sockets, using your thumbs and forefingers.

Now count to 10 slowly before releasing those three points that you were gripping. You should find that your face will light up in a spirit of true cheer.

What you did right was to send a direct message to your brain that all is well and there’s a full guarantee that the brain will react, with due accord and without any delay, whenever thus instructed.

What could be neater than that? — Yours faithfully,

Bernard Redway

Lieberood Road, Reading

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