Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Quickest granny in town

Sir, — I enjoyed reading the double page spread detailing the success of Henley residents in the London Marathon

Sir, — I enjoyed reading the double page spread detailing the success of Henley residents in the London Marathon (Standard, April 26). Well done to them all.

As a former marathon runner, I know only too well the pain of both the training and race day and applaud anyone who has the guts to get up off their sofa and give it a go.

I would like to draw your attention to a local runner who will be a very familiar face to many people who will have seen her running around the town for more than 15 years... a pretty petite blonde called Carrie Hoskins, who loves to run and is damn good at it!

I thought your readers would be interested to know that this very modest lady (who is also a granny!) finished the marathon in the fantastic time of three hours, 15 minutes and 47 seconds.

She was the 231st female home (putting her in the top nine per cent of finishers) and she was 27th in her age category, which I’m sure you’ll agree is an incredible achievement.

She is not good at blowing her own trumpet, so I’m doing it for her. On behalf of all the people who have loved running with her over the years (we just have never been able to keep up), well done, Carrie! — Yours faithfully,

Polly Kemp, Berkshire Road, Henley

Triumph over adversity

Sir, - It is a challenge to respond briefly to the gallimaufry of sentiments, assumptions and factoids in John Pears? letter (Standard, April 19) but here goes, starting with his factoids.

First is Arctic ice. The National Snow & Ice Data Center reported on April 2 that "between the 2012 summer minimum and the 2013 winter maximum, sea ice extent increased 11.72 million km², the largest increase in the satellite record and only the third winter in history when more than 10 million km² of new ice has formed." The ice cover is very healthy.

Mr Pears seems to forget that ice melts in summer and, despite all the recent blather about an ice-free North Pole (summer only, of course), that observations of summer melts opening the pole for shipping were made between 1817 and 1822 while the official end of the first successful Northwest Passage voyage was celebrated on August 31, 1906 by Roald Amundsen of South Pole fame.

Second is the suggestion that the BBC is balanced in its coverage when, as a result of the infamous conference of 28 "experts" referred to in your columns a few weeks ago by Mr Reid, it is the corporation?s policy not, with rare exceptions, to give any air time to those who doubt the "scientific consensus".

It is worth recalling the 2003 address to CalTech in which Michael Crichton, scientist and author, said: "Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled.

"Whenever you hear that the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you?re being had... the greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

"There is no such thing as consensus science... consensus is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough."

Likewise, Richard Feynman, the great Nobel laureate physicist, opined to CalTech in 1974: "Scientists need to go the extra mile in self-

criticism before they submit their work for publication.

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you?ve not fooled yourself, it?s easy not to fool other scientists."

Would that the "the science is settled" cabals at the BBC, the Royal Society, the Met Office and in government had taken note of these men among many others.

Now to sentiments and assumptions. I fail to understand why I might expect temperatures to go down if climate science was all a myth. Without some external forcing I would have absolutely no reason to expect that, although I could observe that over the millennia our planet has spent many more years wrapped in ice than as a blue ball.

Mr Pears seems to believe that those sceptic of and apparently terrorising the so called "climate community" are pursuing a Right-wing agenda rather than the truth.

We, taxpayers and energy consumers, are doomed to pay a staggering price for the Climate Change Act and now the carbon floor price.

Avoiding that waste seems rather like common sense to me. Implying that I might turn to either the Mail or the Telegraph for factual enlightenment is both insulting and akin to suggesting that the Guardian, the BBC?s house journal, has an impartial view on this topic.

In his final paragraph, Mr Pears says that "where there are uncertainties the logical way forward is to increase research". Spot on. There is massive uncertainty over the whole warmist proposition about man?s effect on the climate. That unproven theory looks increasingly threadbare but it remains worthy of serious research, not of crippling our economy.

In the real world, Germany, panicked by the unsupportable costs of renewables, has just announced that it is to build at least 12 new coal-fired power stations (remember Didcot?) plus 27 gas-fired ones. They won?t try to use carbon capture and storage - an unproven technology which, if it ever works, would almost double the cost of electricity. Naturally, our deluded snollygosters continue to shovel money at it!

Furthermore, global investment in clean energy in the first quarter of this year was lower than in any quarter since 2009 - it fell by $40.6?billion (22 per cent) on last year - due to "a downturn in large wind and solar project financings", i.e. the subsidies offered from our taxes are looking less assured to those speculating on wind farms and the like.

Finally, look on the bright side. We now know that a two-degree increase in our temperature to somewhere near Medieval Warm Period levels will reduce UK deaths from cold weather by 50,000 per annum while increases in CO2 levels will raise the productivity of agriculture by making crops grow faster with higher yields.

Nil desperandum, Mr Pears - human ingenuity has always triumphed over adversity and will do so again if governments stop trying to stifle it. - Yours faithfully,

Philip Collings, Harpsden Road, Henley

Cinderella service

Sir, - For many years, the Henley community mental health team was based where one would expect, at Townlands Hospital.

This gave the feeling that mental health for the community was integrated where it should be, right in the heart of Henley.

Then, I am advised, against their wishes, the team was relocated to Wallingford.

As I understand it, the current resulting position is that some space is taken at the Bell Surgery, some home visits are made and the balance takes place at Wallingford.

I can only assume this may have caused some fragmentation of the service.

The question now must be what will happen when the new Townlands Hospital has been built a couple of years down the road?

Will the mental health team be given its fair share of the new cake or will mental health be treated as the Cinderella service, as is often the case, and made to make do with fragmented leftovers? In this connection, it is rumoured that they may have to compete with Royal Berkshire Hospital for five available rooms. I should like to encourage those responsible for allocating rooms to make sure that this is not the case.

In this day and age, when the community?s mental health is under ever-

increasing pressure, we should prioritise and reserve the very best integrated facilities for this increasingly important branch of medicine. - Yours faithfully,

Councillor David Silvester, Townlands Steering Group, Luker Avenue, Henley

Wasted time and effort

Sir, - I consider that debate among councillors should be conducted in the council chamber.

However, I reluctantly write in response to the letters from Councillors David Silvester and Stefan Gawrysiak about the Oxfordshire County Council consultation on the disabled parking space at the top of Hart Street.

What both failed to clarify is that the consultation was instigated by their own town council, whose parking superintendent wrote so eloquently about it last week.

The Deputy Mayor, for one, should know what is going on in the town council.

The county council is reluctant to remove disabled parking bays, which is why it has taken time for the consultation to proceed, and will not remove the dedicated bay if the town wishes the status quo to remain. But it begs the question of why time, money and effort are being wasted by the town council if its own proposal to remove the disabled parking bay is likely to be turned down by itself. - Yours


Councillor David Nimmo Smith, Henley Town Council and Oxfordshire County Council, St Andrew?s Road, Henley

No point to red lines

Sir, - If Oxfordshire County Council draws a red line around a pothole, does this legally absolve it from responsibility for damage to tyres, wheels and suspension motorists may suffer from them?

Otherwise it is difficult to see what purpose this action has as the council doesn?t seem to make any other effort to repair them. - Yours faithfully,

Eddy Holt, Crowsley

Hospitality appreciated

Sir, - An unusual queue of almost stationary cars along Fair Mile from the bottom of Bix Hill on Thursday afternoon last week caused my ancient Rover to steam in frustration.

By the time I turned down New Street, the steam was pouring out of the bonnet so I drifted along by the riverside to take stock.

In a matter of moments a young man nearby came over to ask me if he could be of any help. He checked the stream of fluid running from beneath my vehicle and assured me that it was water.

He invited me to Hotel du Vin, where he worked, to telephone for help.

His two charming lady receptionist colleagues were most welcoming and offered me refreshments - I accepted a glass of iced water.

In the event, the AA arrived within 10 minutes and I was bidden a warm farewell as if I had been a guest for weeks.

I was born locally and know Henley for its quality for more than 70 years and I am thrilled and proud that these standards are being maintained. Bravo, Henley. Bravo, Hotel du Vin. - Yours


Gilly Nester-Smith (née Hedges), Fulham

Thinking local?

Sir, - What an excellent letter from Lynne Lambourne (Standard, April 19).

Pity we are being invited to spend almost £60 on a hanging basket from a company based in Slough. I would prefer to spend my money at Toad Hall garden centre. - Yours faithfully,

E Fearman, Henley

Positive sign at theatre

Sir, - When I think of theatres, I think of an illuminated sign, which epitomises what the theatre is about.

We have a lot of visitors to Henley who may miss the fact we have a theatre. An illuminated sign would catch the eye and remind us of what was on as we drove/ walked past.

Surely a sign for the Kenton can only be a positive step.

Come on, let?s live dangerously... - Yours faithfully,

Claire Shankland , Belle Vue Road, Henley

Disaster only just averted

Sir, - With reference to the fire at the Copas industrial estate near Watlington (Standard, April 26), is it not mandatory for commercial units of this size to have sprinkler systems?

Why were all these dangerous inflammable substances stored on this site? Imagine if those brave firemen had been unable to control the spread of fire, or had been seriously injured, or, worse, killed.

A disaster was averted but clearly this site is wholly unsuited to storage of combustible goods. - Yours faithfully,

Christian Wolf LaMoy, Couching Street, Watlington

Well done to fire service

Sir, - Following the fire in the flat above my shop on Thursday last week, I would just like to thank the fire service for the great job they did (once they got here) in making everything safe so quickly.

Thankfully, no one was hurt and if it wasn?t for what they did things could have been a lot worse.

Thanks also to everyone who has been in touch and showed such concern over what happened. I?m pleased to say that there was no adverse effect on my shop and it?s "business as usual". - Yours faithfully,

Laurence Morris, Laurence Menswear, Duke Street, Henley

Good luck to publicans

Sir, - Having just enjoyed a Sunday lunch of roast lamb at the Crown in Nuffield, I felt I had to write following your article saying it was for sale (Standard, April 26).

The pub is definitely open and trading and will, I believe, become a popular venue for food in the future as word get around.

It is hard to turn a rundown pub into a viable business nowadays - the number up for sale or to let speaks for itself and a pub company is not always right when it deems a pub is unviable.

Good luck to the new management of the Crown - may their hard work lead to success. - Yours faithfully,

Sue McGregor, Valley Road, Exeter

Editor?s comment: The Crown was indeed for sale, as we reported last week, but has since had new tenants as we report on the business page this week.

Remarkable midwife

Sir, - What a lovely obituary for nurse Mabel Robinson (née Davis) (Standard, April 26).

My first baby (a girl) arrived on December 22, 1951. My husband and I were then living at Kingwood Camp. Nurse Davis was my midwife and had to look after me for 12 days.

On Christmas Day, she came with her boyfriend, a chef named Bill Robinson. We all ate mince pieces he had made and drank ginger wine in my bedroom.

We hadn?t decided on a name so nurse Davis called her "Christmas Carol".

On the last day that she visited me, my husband said: "We are calling her Christmas Carole so we will always remember you."

A year later, December 5, 1952, I had a baby boy and we met Bill again and by then he had married nurse Davis.

When I had my third baby, a girl born on April 19, 1955, nurse Davis was still my


She was attending to me for the usual 12 days but was upset as Celia was born on her day off.

A remarkable nurse and friend. - Yours faithfully,

Mrs Sheila Hayward, Smith Close, Sonning Common

P.S. After the war, Kingwood Camp was home to 72 families who were on the housing list. We were there for four years and 10 months but a lot of them had been there a lot longer.

All cheer on the Hawks

Sir, - This weekend will see one of the most exciting games of rugby at Dry Leas for years.

The Henley Hawks are playing the promotional decider against league leaders Worthing.

The Hawks have been in the top three all season and are now in a very strong second place.

It now all rests on the final game of the season. If the Hawks beat Worthing we are automatically promoted; if not we go into the play-offs.

Every member of the team tells us how important the support is to them, so please go to Dry Leas (off the Marlow Road) for the 3pm kick off and let?s show the Hawks that the whole town is behind them.

I think it is also a good opportunity to let Nigel Dudding and the coaching team know what an amazing job they have done and how grateful we all are.

Come on the Hawks! - Yours faithfully,

Samantha Evans, Reading Road, Henley

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