Sir, — This was a view of the gardens at Greys Court. I believe the arch is a crab apple tree.
The gardens are beautiful and on our doorstep. Shortly, the wisteria will be out (looks like a week or so to me), which will be a glorious sight.
These National Trust gardens are well worth a visit. — Yours faithfully,
Blighted by barbecues
Sir, - I have to agree with your correspondent Raelene Clarke regarding barbecues in Mill Meadows (Standard, May 17).
These aren?t barbecues - they?ve become full-blown, unsightly, smelly, littering cooking fests!
I thought I?d follow the "Rules and regulations" and dutifully contacted the council. Alas, I wonder why I
"We are a group of six - can we have a barbecue at the park?" I politely enquired.
"No," came the reply, "although we do have one designated area in the far car park but due to health and safety, fire regulations, consideration for other park users and the problem of littering, we are strict about observing this policy... sorry, only in the one area."
Well, blow me down with the aroma of an onion bhaji and samosa. So much for adhering to strict policy and procedure for, on shambling down the park every warm day last summer and slowly re-emerging now as I saunter along the towpath, I wonder? is that the smell of the river, mown grass, distant bonfires or the odd damp dog? Alas, no.
Is that river mist rising from the fields in the afternoon? No, it is the less romantic thick drifting waft of pungent, barbecue smog.
Has our green and pleasant park become a campsite? Fear not, it?s only a throng of extended families enjoying a day?s grill-up under the odd gazebo or two... but I?m sure it will be serene tomorrow.
However, as day breaks, other questions arise. Did I forget it was bin bag day? Have the dustmen altered their route to include black bag pick-ups at the base of the trees and do they now litter pick through the daisies?
Have there been Druid celebrations or is this a new scorched earth experiment or are these black charred soil circles mini-sacrificial areas?
How beautifully the sunlight catches the dew, or is that a ring-pull and shard of glass I spy glinting? Hey ho, it?s okay, it?s just the council following and enforcing policy and procedure for those that are courteous enough to ask!
So here?s to holding a barbie nosh-up and sizzling those pork chops this summer down the park with no fear of recrimination or cries of "Call the fire brigade, get the police, notify the dustmen, find the park keeper or inform the council."
Bon appetit! - Yours faithfully,
Duke Street, Henley
Sir, - I was so pleased to read the letter concerning barbecues being used in Mill Meadows as I have been meaning to write to you on this subject for several years.
The council notice board near the pavilion toilets clearly states that barbecuing is not allowed yet week after week they appear at weekends with no apparent attempt by the council to stop them.
They are quick enough to penalize those without parking tickets, so how is it that people barbecuing are allowed to continue this intrusion in our open space and fresh air? - Yours faithfully,
Name and address
Keeping our verges tidy
Sir, - For some years I have noticed an elderly gentleman scouring the verges on either side of Gravel Hill between Ancastle Green and Pack and Prime Lane to keep that approach to our town looking neat and tidy and I think his efforts should be acknowledged.
He bears a resemblance to a fading Swedish tennis star and given that I have not seen him at work for a while, I can only hope that he is not suffering from tennis elbow. - Yours faithfully,
Ancastle Green, Henley
Sorry to see shop close
Sir, - It was with immense dismay that I read that Revolution, the best shop in Henley in my opinion, had closed and so suddenly too (Standard, May 10).
I didn?t even have a last chance to visit (I only go to Henley periodically these days to meet up with friends but Revolution was always on our list of "must-dos").
Please, Claire MacEwan, listen to your staff and at least explore the possibility of opening elsewhere.
There must be a landlord somewhere with some sense of decency who would charge a reasonable rent as opposed to an extortionate one - surely they can?t all be greedy, can they?
In this day of such wastage and what has become a throwaway society, it really was a delight to be able to purchase fabulous quality clothing and accessories at great prices.
Talking of waste, Trashed with Jeremy Irons and Candida Brady was superb. - Yours faithfully,
Watlington Road, Lewknor
Sir, - I sympathise with your correspondent Richard Jones about his dissatisfaction with the bad service at Henley post office (Standard, May 17).
At 2.15pm on May 17, I was third in the queue at Sonning Common Post Office. After some minutes, we realised that no one was serving customers. The three of us left, disgruntled. We did not even have sight of a "Position Closed" sign.
It will be interesting to read the response of an anonymous Post Office spokeswoman. More platitudes will not suffice. - Yours faithfully,
K B Atkinson
Red House Drive, Sonning Common
A Post Office spokeswomanresponds: "We take customer care very seriously. We will work with this newly located branch to ensure there are sufficiently trained Post Office staff."
Wonderful steam fair
Sir, - What a wonderful afternoon we had on Saturday at Fawley Hill. We arrived just in time to see the Spitfire flying around and what a wonderful sight it was.
There were so many attractions that we could not mention them all.
Our highlights were a ride on the wonderful stream train and a "safari experience" with a very interesting commentary from the lady who was driving us round.
It was great to see so many charities supporting the event which raised money for charity.
We had a very relaxing cup of tea with biscuits and refills offered in exchange for a donation to the Railway Chaplins served in vintage china and by ladies in vintage costume.
The gurkhas were all so helpful around the grounds.
The weather was good and it was lovely to see so many people obviously enjoying themselves.
A huge thank you to Sir William and Lady McAlpine who organised such a wonderful event and allowed everyone to enjoy their estate. - Yours faithfully.
Blandy Road, Henley
Sir, - We felt we needed to voice our appreciation for Sir William and Lady McAlpine and the staff and volunteers for organising such a wonderful event last weekend.
My wife and I, our son and his two children, Callum and Hollie, visited on Sunday.
By the time we arrived the show was in full swing and the sight, sounds and smell from all the activity seemed to stimulate Hollie, 12, who unfortunately has been severely disabled since birth.
The sparkle in her eyes and the smile on her face told the story and her blowing raspberries was a sure sign that things were well.
Despite all the hustle and bustle going on around her, the blowing of steam whistles and what not, not once did she fit, which goes to show how engaged she must have been. Our thanks to the operators of the train who went out of their way to make sure Hollie had a prime position for her trip down and back up the hill.
The work involved in organising such an event must be huge but the benefits that the show must have brought to the many charities represented and the pleasure to individuals like us who were lucky enough to attend must be worth it. Thank you. - Yours faithfully,
Mo and Sally Croxon
No signs of impatience
Sir, - I was astonished at the comments made by your correspondent Richard Jones about the staff at Henley post office.
During more than 12 years of using it, I have never received anything but courteous, helpful service.
Everybody goes out of their way to be kind and friendly, even towards myself, an 85-year-old, tiresome old woman who regularly keeps them waiting while I fumble about finding my purse, card and money. There is never any sign of impatience. - Yours faithfully,
Paths are not for cyclists
Sir, - James Lambert?s suggestion of a code of conduct for cyclists (Standard, May 17) had some merit but both he and Leander Club are failing to acknowledge the basic fact that cycling on a public footpath is unlawful.
The law on this is very
Pedestrians have a right to be there and cyclists who have no such right are committing a trespass and, contrary to the opinion of many cyclists, a "towpath" as such has no legal status whatsoever. In law, this is a public footpath and designated accordingly by the normal yellow signage.
Cyclists should also remember that this footpath is part of the Thames Path National Trail with many walkers and often young families who have a legal right to "quiet enjoyment" and they should be shown every respect by cyclists.
There is no requirement for walkers to stand aside and give unencumbered freeway to cyclists.
Cyclists ringing a bell or calling out, while welcome, doesn?t change the fact that the cyclist is there unlawfully.
Notwithstanding these comments, I do acknowledge the long history of rowing coaches on this particular footpath but they, and the many weekend recreational cyclists, must accept these rather unpalatable facts and behave in a more responsible and polite manner. - Yours faithfully,
Remenham Lane, Henley
Metres need updating
Sir, - Why do the parking meters around the town (not those in the car parks) not accept the "new" 10p and 5p coins?
I am forever having to ask passers-by if they would be able to swap my new coins for the old ones and presumably they are coming more and more into circulation while the old ones are becoming less and less so.
Surely it would simply be a matter of tweaking the slot inside/the weights so that both types of coin would be accepted as they are in the car parks? - Yours
M de Normann
Nightclub in all but name
Sir, - Your Take Five feature about Magoos bar in Henley (Standard, May 17) posed the wrong question to the wrong people.
The bar already has a late licence to serve alcohol until 1am. The extension application before the licensing panel seeks to serve drinks until 2am and to accompany this with live music and dancing - in other words, a nightclub.
A very different situation from the mild words of your question. You would imagine that this question would be of interest to Henley residents but your respondents from Twyford, Goring, Remenham and Wargrave can hardly be seen to represent Henley opinion.
Every previous attempt to open nightclubs in Henley has ended in closure by police and the licensing authorities because of nuisance and law and order offences.
Mindful of this, residents of central Henley would probably have expressed quite different views. - Yours faithfully,
Hart Street, Henley
No decisions made yet
Sir, - I write on behalf of Sonning Common Parish Council to correct a misunderstanding in your report headlined "School offers land as possible site for homes" (Standard, May 17).
The neighbourhood development plan working party will be making, in due course, recommendations for consideration by the parish council regarding possible sites for development.
The council currently has no views on which sites should be considered for future development. We await the recommendations. - Yours faithfully,
Councillor Douglas Kedge
Chairman, Sonning Common Parish Council, Lea Road, Sonning Common
Sir, - It is just marvellous that a local paper like the Henley Standard can carry letters which have national, indeed global, significance. More power to your editorial elbow.
Your correspondent Richard Rule (Standard, May 10) asserts that the evidence for global warming is "irrefutable" and rightly so. He is joined in this belief by no less than those two great Nobel prize winners, Al Gore, for environmental issues, and that other chap, with his additional instant success for global peace, President Obama.
Mr Rule highlights an unanticipated result of global warming: that the UK will become a major immigrant "sanctuary" on the basis of our new warmer weather.
Many governmental actions, or indeed inactions, in relation to CO2 emissions do have unforeseen and unintended consequences and this may well be one of them, so let?s be prepared for the northern European rush to our shores.
There is the further matter raised as to rising sea levels reducing our nation?s physical size.
Mr Rule determines that our coastline is diminishing as sea levels rise. This could indeed cause "social unrest" as the country gets visibly smaller and presumably space on the beaches becomes less deckchair-friendly for the locals. We?ll just have to get up earlier with the towels.
I?m afraid it gets worse and Mr Rule, I?m sure, is as yet unaware.
There is apparently a clear case that "climate change" drives females into loose behaviour.
Ladies, cover your eyes. Gentlemen, pay attention - just published from the US: House Concurrent Resolution 36 of the 113th Congress ("Recognizing the disparate impact of climate change on women and the efforts of women globally to address climate change"), is dated April 26, 2013. Check it out on the web.
It?s going before Congress on the basis that climate change causes economic deprivation which forces women into desultory practices.
Mr Rule may have missed that resolution and perhaps also a law of physics: gravity.
All those "sanctuary" immigrants will patently put more physical weight on our land and we?ll sink further even without the sea rising. Nobody thought of that, did they? Just another unintended consequence of CO2.
But Isaac Newton and I are on the ball and I, at least, will be in touch with the relevant authorities on the matter. - Yours faithfully,
Reading Road, Henley
Festival needs more support
Sir, - It is good that the Henley Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society and the Henley Players did well at the Henley Drama Festival this year.
However, it is a bit shameful that the whole festival is so poorly supported by Henley audiences.
Acting groups come here from as far as Brighton, Didcot, Oxford, Beaconsfield and Ascot with a great variety of excellent dramas yet they play to a virtually empty Kenton Theatre.
When it?s our own drama societies that are performing, we support them a little better but it?s still not very impressive.
As your article headlined "Fearlessness and energy are praised by festival judge" (Standard, May 17) stated, the adjudicator had "an interesting and enjoyable week" and so did I because I went to five of the six nights that the festival ran.
With tickets at £8 for an evening?s entertainment of three plays (you could have had 15 plays for £40), it?s wonderful value.
There is huge talent out there and I?m sorry so many Henley people stayed at home and missed it all.
At 43 years old, the drama festival is Henley?s longest-running show. We are privileged to have it still, thanks to the hard work of a handful of heroes, such as Ann Dayton who heads the festival
It runs every year at the beginning of May and I think we should take more notice of it, although I suppose I?m biased as I write plays and am grateful for what the Henley Drama Festival has done for me. - Yours faithfully,
Northfield End, Henley
Sir, - Each week we readers are reminded of the few of our elders who reach their 100th birthday.
There are many reasons for people reaching this great age ? sensible eating and drinking, no smoking, early to bed and rise, being happy with yourself and enjoying your work and playtime with friends.
I?m often reminded of the wonderful ladies full of sunny smiles, Mabel and Doreen among many, and my dear mum Roma Mabal, who passed away just weeks short of her 102nd birthday.
In recent months, hard-working women of an age passed away. All will be missed by their families and never forgotten as their stories will be kept alive. - Yours faithfully,
Peter M Adams
Ramshill, Petersfield, Hants
Researching PoW camps
Sir, - I am a student at Bristol University researching First World War prisoner of war camps for my archaeology Master?s degree. By the end of the war there were more than 500 PoW camps across Britain, holding 250,00 prisoners.
One of those camps was in a farm building in the Watlington area, possibly near Brightwell Baldwin.
I would be very keen to hear from anyone who may have any information which might help me establish where the camp was located.
I?m particularly interested in any relevant local folklore or rumour, old photos or letters or diaries.
Likewise, if anyone is aware of any farm buildings (or any other buildings for that matter) in the area which have German graffiti that may also help.
Any help would be gratefully received and would help reveal a little known piece of the area?s heritage in time for the centenary of the war next year.
I can be contacted by email at email@example.com or call 07561 128038. - Yours faithfully,
Lucky to have this hospital
Sir, - My husband recently had another spell on Peppard Ward in Townlands Hospital.
We would like to say again how professional and caring the nurses are and all the staff across the board are so kind and attentive. Thank you, everyone.
Henley is incredibly fortunate to have such a supportive hospital on its doorstep. - Yours faithfully,
St Mark?s Road, Henley
Brevity is best, folks
Sir, - May I plead with your correspondents to try to be more concise?
Your printed request to "be as brief as possible" is largely ignored. Perhaps this ailment is the newspaper equivalent of liking the sound of your own voice.
All the letters are relevant, some are even interesting, almost all are unnecessarily long. I could go on... and on... and on... - Yours faithfully,