Monday, 18 February 2019

Your letters...

I worry about medication

Sir, — I am writing regarding the possible disruption to prescriptions due to Brexit.

Theresa May has already highlighted her worries regarding the importation from Europe of her own diabetes medication. It is a very serious concern.

My own Parkinson’s disease medication is vital as it replaces the missing dopamine in my brain.

The medication has to be taken at regular intervals throughout the day. Without this drug, I am very severely disabled.

Several of my own medications come from Europe. I am concerned that I may struggle to get my medication reliably.

I also wanted to highlight the discrepancy of prescription charges. If, for example, you suffer from diabetes or cancer all your medication is free but this is not the case with Parkinson’s disease.

Surely if you suffer from a long-term incurable disease everyone diagnosed should receive their medication free of charge? — Yours faithfully,

Lisa Drage

Deanfield Avenue, Henley

Harmful nonsense

Sir, — What could we possibly gain from a second EU referendum?

I am glad that your correspondent Jon Hatt is so much better informed to make a choice now than he was at the last one but suspect that for many of us the issues are now more rather than less complex and confusing.

What would the question be? If the present deal put forward were rejected, would he suggest yet a third referendum so that the people could judge whatever is put forward in its place?

This is harmful nonsense. I voted to remain and still wish that this had been the outcome. However, I see another referendum as being yet more divisive.

Brexit was never going to be simple and was always going to mean compromise.

I wrote a year ago that most of us would be grateful for a situation in which party politics were set aside in favour of the best interests of the country.

This is not happening and it is to the shame of some politicians on both sides of the political spectrum.

I sincerely hope that when this comes to a vote in Parliament, party loyalties will be put aside and we can hopefully have some closure.

I fear that this may not happen. If it does, then it will renew my faith in those whom we put in Parliament to safeguard our interests rather than pursuing their own. — Yours faithfully,

Ann Law

Binfield Heath

Calamity for our nation

Sir, — “British man dies of rabies after being bitten by a cat in Morocco”. Complaints about this Mirror story flooded in.

Why? Because they should have splashed news about the deal for Brexit.

Seriously? The publicity for this horrific event against Britain, against democracy, against sovereignty, was identical to the reportage of Chamberlain and his famous agreement with Hitler.

Then came a day of “persuading” the cabinet to accept the deal.

For the first time since the announcement of the referendum, Lord Tebbit voiced his disgust at the calamity Theresa May has foisted upon the nation.

He said Britain should have walked out, shut the door and only entertained serious offers of trade and co-operation from the EU members, thus allowing us to say “yes” or “no” to the offers.

This would also have immediately unshackled us to create and, more importantly, complete and sign by trade deals with many willing countries around the world.

Mrs May has, in my opinion, guaranteed herself a place in history at Traitors’ Gate. — Yours faithfully,

Edward Sierpowski


Humiliation or chaos

Sir, — Theresa May repeatedly responds to critics of her draft deal with the EU by saying: “It is not about me, it is about the best interests of the British people.”

On the contrary, she has made it about herself by taking on the role of our chief negotiator but not having the requisite negotiating and personal skills to ensure a fair outcome for Britain.

Her best is not the best that could have been achieved by someone more competent.

What a tragedy it is that the total resolution she is showing in defending the deal was not there around the negotiating table, leaving us with the stark choice between humiliation or the chaos of no deal. — Yours faithfully,

Yvonne Kedge

Lea Road, Sonning Common

Woods have changed

Sir, — I was both saddened and depressed to read your front page article about Lambridge Wood (Standard, November 16).

Once again the poor dog walkers are getting it in the neck.

I have walked in those woods four or five times a week since 1979 when we moved to the area.

There has always been a group of regulars who change over the years according to circumstance.

We pick up litter, report the odd burned-out car (only twice in 40 years), reported an outbreak of fire, and try to rescue deer. We love the woods.

I would argue that our presence there deters those who might be up to no good — we have our uses.

The paths created away from the public footpath have always been there, certainly for the past 40 years and doubtless a lot longer.

The unfortunate initial act, on a change of management, was to “grade” the main footpath, presumably to mark it clearly for our benefit.

This lowered its level against the surrounding land and thus it filled with water whenever it rained and became impassable.

I walk alongside it, following its line, and country paths have always been so.

Some new small paths may have been created by walkers trying to access the lane and their cars, which are now parked in passing places due to the welcoming attitude of the National Trust which has blocked off the clearing where we used to park.

Since English Woodlands sold the wood in plots there have been changes detrimental to its status as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. A large earth bank was installed, smothering any wayside flora, which I was told included some species of orchid.

The wood at one end has been “tidied up” and cleared of undergrowth while the many holly bushes were cleared in order, I was told, to encourage bluebells and foxgloves. Very nice, but that is gardening.

According to Professor Richard Fortey’s fascinating and informative book on the wood, holly is an integral part of the ecosystem and has its place in the scheme of things.

A large barred metal gate has been inserted in the bank and a passage created, presumably to give machinery access. The “scientific interest” is fading away into “neat and tidy”.

I have never seen a horse and indeed where the bank and access gate are it would be impossible for a horse to enter.

A human being needs to be a contortionist to pass through, so no horses could enter at that point but possibly further along.

I have met cyclists on the National Trust side or along the lane but cannot comment further as I was obviously there at the wrong time.

Complaints should surely be better voiced to get rid of the awful palisaded enclosure further down the lane on the opposite side. What is it? It’s a real blot on the landscape. — Yours faithfully,

Brenda Armati

Springwood Lane, Peppard

Please park responsibly

Sir, — Once again the need to highlight irresponsible parking in Deanfield Road by The Henley College students has arisen.

I realise parking is difficult and can even accept that parking on a yellow line where it clearly states “No parking between 10am and 3pm” is sort of acceptable.

But I cannot condone the totally selfish parking I witnessed on Friday whereby cars were illegally parked opposite each other, leaving just enough room for one vehicle to pass through.

No wonder the Henley to Oxford bus service has stopped coming up Deanfield Road as I doubt the bus would have got through. What would happen should a fire engine need access?

Why is there one rule for students and one rule for everyone else?

Surely it’s time this matter was addressed as it can only get worse now that students know they can flout the parking rules with impunity, safe in the knowledge that nothing will be done to stop them.

The time has come to issue parking enforcement notices and they’ll soon get the message. — Yours faithfully,

R Large

Nicholas Road, Henley

Student like rally driver

Sir, — A car was being driven like a rally car in Deanfield Road on Friday morning by a Henley College student.

He seemed to think the speed bumps were there to facilitate take off and he no doubt woke up a few late sleepers when the bottom of his car smashed into the speed bump by Tilebarn Close. It certainly got my attention and I was more than 150 metres away.

When I challenged him about his driving (he parked close to me) and suggested he slowed down his words were “are you having a laugh, mate?”

Perhaps the college could track him down using the photograph I supplied and reassure him that I am not having a laugh. — Yours faithfully,

Alan Draper

Deanfield Road, Henley

Please make town better

Sir, — The evidence for substantially reducing diesel and probably other combustion engines in Henley town centre continues to build.

Last week a professor from Birmingham University, also a public health registrar, advised Café Scientifique that air pollution kills.

The latest report from King’s College London demonstrated that the lungs of our 10-year-olds are just not developing as they should. The answer is we must evolve our behaviour and vehicle mix.

Our latest Clean Air for Henley campaign, to get drivers of cars, buses and taxis to kill their engines when parked, is beginning to help.

The primary schools we have visited have engaged with their pupils. Walking and scooting to school is becoming more popular but the number of inhalers appears to be growing.

Parents in turn need to be supportive. Displaying that “I’m no idler” car sticker would be wonderful in spreading the word. Many shops do and we appreciate their help.

This message is timed to coincide with the higher particulate measurements Henley gets in winter. In fact they are already way higher.

These particulates result in considerable health problems. So the next time you buy a car please give more consideration to children’s lungs by resisting the purchase of a diesel.

Ten German cities are banning diesels in 2019. Already China and Norway lead the world with over 50 per cent electric cars in their latest vehicle sales figures.

Henley’s hydrogen-gas powered bus is a great step forward.

Please help change Henley for the better. — Yours faithfully,

David Dickie

Clean Air for Henley

Have respect for others

Sir, — We live in Stonor, a small village in the valley.

On November 10 in the evening we were watching TV when suddenly there was a very large bang which shook our house of over 600 years.

We realised our cat was outside and she is terrified of fireworks.

We went out to find her but the bangs were so loud that even though we were shouting her name as loud as possible we could not be heard over the fireworks.

I did go down to the person who had the fireworks and tell them our cat was missing. If we had known they were going to happen we would not have let the cat out.

Also we think it was in bad taste to have such continual loud fireworks on the weekend of the centenary of the Armistice.

I have spoken to several other villagers who agreed the fireworks were too loud and thoughtless and in bad taste.

Another neighbour had her dog traumatised by this unexpected event.

Her dog was so upset that she had to get someone to look after it the next day because she had to go out and could not leave the dog.

There were some fireworks on Bonfire Night which we were prepared for, then a couple of other nights but on November 10 it was a step too far.

There should be a ban on these very unnecessary loud fireworks and people should have respect for their neighbours and animals and at least give a warning when this is going to take place, particularly in a valley where the noises are amplified. — Yours faithfully,

Margaret Messenger


Reining in developers

Sir, — I am responding to your request for readers’ views regarding the planning inspector’s dismissal of the appeal by Gladman Homes to build 245 homes north of Emmer Green (Standard, November 16).

I am wholly in favour of the inspector’s decision.

Protection of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty must take first priority. That requirement is clearly set out in the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework, which has recently been reviewed.

Real local need for housing is often vastly overstated and very different from what developers claim it to be.

Developers’ main interest is profit, regardless of harm to the environment.

We must support the planning inspectorate’s attempts to curb that greed. — Yours faithfully,

Derek James


People aren’t really ‘evil’

Sir, — In his Thought for the Week, Rev Jeremy Tayler claims that for Christians who reflect on the Bible, celebrate Holy Communion and have fellowship, Jesus “pushes back” the “evil” in them (Standard, November 16). Over the years, I have known a number of devout Christians and, with the exception of those who calmly maintain that unbelievers are justly hell-bound, generally found them to be likeable, decent people with no discernible “evil” (a very strong word) in them.

Much the same general picture, again with exceptions, is apparent among the huge number of people I have met who have no committed Christian faith.

Mr Tayler cites warfare as the work of “original sin” but fails to consider that devout Christians, as well as the irreligious, have been responsible for some appalling conflicts and horrors, for example, the Crusades, wars of the Reformation, the Inquisition. No “pushing back” of evil there, I suggest.

Committed Christian faith does not, in fact, appear to be even a remotely significant variable when it comes to decent behaviour. — Yours faithfully,

Douglas Kedge

Lea Road, Sonning Common

Real reason to be excited

Sir, — I write with reference to your article on Market Place Mews archaeology (Standard, November 16).

In my conversation with your reporter, I was most careful to explain to him that the find of a very abraded, small piece of possibly Roman pottery had no significance as far as the history of the medieval burgage plots is concerned.

And, yes, it is burgage plot, not burbage. The word refers to the burghers or citizens of a borough, who were entitled to occupy such advantageous plots in the newly laid out market town.

Although I have no other real concerns about the article, I was aghast that the Standard used (or rather misused) a picture of the eye-catching 17th pottery dish on the front page promotional panel next to words “Roman remains found”.

How many readers, who are not experts or have a particular interest in pottery, will have seen this and made completely wrong assumptions about this being an attractive “Roman” pottery dish?

And to refer to the actual small pottery shard on page 11 as “Roman remains” is a rather grand exaggeration, don’t you think? If we were in America one would probably be inclined to call it “fake news”.

The facts are that these are very exciting discoveries of the mostly undisturbed burgage plots and what the archaeologists may find during their ongoing excavations when they get down to the earlier below burgage plot wall foundations. — Yours faithfully,

Ruth Gibson

Secretary, Henley Archaeological & Historical Group

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