Monday, 02 August 2021

Sunflower keeps producing heads

Sir, — Since sending in a photo of my sunflower with 20 or so heads (Standard, October 4), the plant has been producing more and more flower heads and now there are around double the number I first counted a couple of weeks or so ago.

Sir, — Since sending in a photo of my sunflower with 20 or so heads (Standard, October 4), the plant has been producing more and more flower heads and now there are around double the number I first counted a couple of weeks or so ago.

I have counted the flower heads every day this past week without once getting the total to add up to the same figure as it is hard to do so accurately on one’s own.

I asked my neighbour Margaret McDonald if she would count them with me and she came up with a figure of 38 or so.

My previous best sunflowers averaged about 20 flower heads or less. The best ever was 25, making this one seem well in line for a record. Or maybe not…. I bet someone will most likely come up with more. I look forward to any feedback. — Yours faithfully,

R E Cooke

Northfield End, Henley

Signs should be cleaned

Sir, - I wholeheartedly agree with Donna Guile that something needs to be done about the disgraceful condition of the road signs in this area (Standard, October 4).

In fact, I had been having just such a conversation about this just a few days before your article was


There is barely a clear sign in the entire county and many are now so engulfed by plant growth as to be invisible.

Mind you, that being said, I wonder if there is any point in the signs anyway.

I say this because, despite the huge new (clean) signs at Crays Pond that inform motorists that Whitchurch Bridge is closed for the next six months or so, there is still a considerable amount of traffic that gets to the bridge and drivers surprised they can?t cross the river!

I know, from the aforementioned conversation about sign cleaning, that there are definitely a number of members of the public who would voluntarily help clean the signs in the county - assuming that Oxfordshire County Council would allow the public to do such a thing, of course.

The council does seem to have some silly rules, so I wouldn?t be overly surprised if it had objections.

However, as they don?t do anything about people illegally attaching advertising to road signs (take a look at the permanent road signs at the Crays Pond junction for several examples of this), I?m sure we would get away with it!

I?m pleased to note that county councillor David Nimmo Smith supports the clean-up, although I would like to point out that Oxfordshire has thousands of miles of roads, not thousands of kilometres.

This is the heart of England, sir, not the Continent! Such language has almost put me off my 568.261485 millilitres of beer! - Yours faithfully,

Simon Brickhill

Goring Heath

Don?t blame the innocent

Sir, - I felt I must express my anger at the view expressed by defence solicitor Janick Fielding in the case of the cyclist death (Standard, October 4).

How can he blame the boyfriend for taking out an adult cyclist on the highway where cyclists are legally allowed to ride and when she was old enough to decide for herself if she was competent?

The boyfriend cannot possibly be more to blame than the motorist coming around a corner and overtaking without being able to see far enough ahead.

Mr Fielding seems to believe that cyclists should not be allowed on the road, so he should not be allowed to pass opinion in cases involving cyclists.

Motor vehicle drivers need to give cyclists at least as much space as they would a car and be aware they can be affected by strong gusts of wind and potholes, which may cause them to swerve.

To all motorists out there, please show more care and attention when overtaking cyclists than Dr Helen Measures did. - Yours faithfully,

Julie Rayfield

Binfield Heath

Jury verdict was wrong

Sir, - I refer to your report about the driver Helen Measures being cleared of causing the death of Denisa Perinova who fell from her bicycle.

It would appear that no one in court was familiar with the rules of the Highway Code.

I quote from rule 163: "Overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so. You should give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car (see rules 211-215).?

Rule 211 reads: "It is often difficult to see motorcyclists and cyclists... be especially careful when turning and when changing direction or lane.?

Rule 212 reads: "When passing motorcyclists and cyclists, give them plenty of room (see rules 162 to 167). If they look over their shoulder it could mean they intend to pull out, turn or change direction. Give them space to do so.?

Rule 213 reads: "Motorcyclists and cyclists may suddenly need to avoid uneven road surfaces and other obstacles such as drain covers or oily, wet or icy patches on the road. Give them plenty of room and pay particular attention to any sudden change of direction they have to make.?

In other words, drivers of cars should give oncoming cyclists as much room as those ahead if they choose to overtake.

The Highway Code does not envisage a car sharing the lane with an oncoming cyclist. On her own evidence, Dr Measures should not have overtaken but fallen back.

The unanimous jury verdict was wrong and one wonders whether the judge?s directions to them were adequate.

Miss Perinova was not a child but she might have been. Therefore the conclusion is obvious. - Yours faithfully,

John Pavey

Berins Hill, Ipsden

Are cyclists above law?

Sir, - At last the penny seems to have dropped. Just Racing are apparently undecided whether they are welcome in Henley. From the amount of correspondence regarding this subject, I would suggest they are not.

Walking back from the Northfield End shop during this event, I was almost knocked over twice in this short distance by people cycling on the pavement and coming up behind me with no warning. Is this not a traffic offence and why was there nobody enforcing the law?

On approaching Leicester Close, a female marshal in a high-vis coat suddenly started to shout and scream and blow a whistle at a couple who were simply trying to cross the road. I do not recall there being any contestants in the vicinity at the time.

One question: if this main arterial highway is closed to traffic, why are these cyclists allowed to not comply with the Road Traffic Regulation Act, section 14 (1)? - Yours faithfully,

John Moore


More road closures

Sir, - As a local resident, I am conscious of the negative feelings generated by the various road closures set up by the organisers of the recent Challenge Henley triathlon.

I am writing as a member of the Rotary Club of Henley Bridge, which organises the Henley half marathon and 10km taking place on Sunday.

We, too, will have road closures in place and would like to remind residents of Henley that they can expect delays in and around Dry Leas, home of the Henley Hawks, the Marlow Road towards Toad Hall and through the town centre and across the bridge to Remenham Lane.

The closures will be in place from about 9.20am to 10am, although in previous years we have usually been able to lift the closure once all the runners have safely cleared the town centre by about 9.45am.

Notices about the possibility of delays are prominently displayed on all routes into Henley and, as this is the 31st year of the event, many locals and visitors will be well aware that it will be taking place.

While we will do our best to minimise disruption, we would ask residents, a lot of whom enjoy taking part, and visitors to bear with us and take a positive view that the many thousands raised each year are donated to a wide range of good causes. - Yours


Peter Wilkinson

Laud?s Close, Henley

What?s point of fence?

Sir, - Various people commented on the Gillotts School sports fields and fence in last week?s issue.

As someone who has lived close to the school for more than 33 years, walks regularly around the area and cares about the local environment, I wish to add a few remarks to the debate.

As a preface, I should say that two of my children attended Gillotts and we have a real affection for the school, which the family has supported in various ways.

For more than 30 years, and quite regularly, I have walked through the gap between the Blandy Road houses, crossing the bridle path into the spinney, skirting the sports field on the east and south sides, crossing Gillotts Lane and continuing south south west to Harpsden Bottom, crossing the road and continuing by footpath across the golf course and out into the country.

The way has always been open, no gates or fences. Indeed, until very recently there was a formal opening out on to Gillotts Lane.

I have never done any damage and never been told off. I choose times when the children are not around.

Others have evidently enjoyed similar benefits, including practising golf, picking blackberries, walking dogs, taking their grandchildren on exciting bike rides on the winding up-and-down paths through the spinney and climbing trees. The boundary of what is Gillotts was quite clear before the fence was put up. To do now the walk outlined above one has to duck under the wire and climb a wooden fence - not difficult but not so easy for the elderly.

Moreover, it looks as if the wire fence might be quite expensive to maintain. Police notices have appeared and perhaps there are police patrols also. Damage has occurred but without the fence there would be no damage.

What were the problems which arose before the fence, which the fence?s existence will eliminate?

Of course, Gillotts must look after its grounds but the school is there within a community. The community is the raison d?etre for the school?s existence and its style should be accommodated as far as possible.

The existence of the fence gives a very hostile signal. Why not remove it and perhaps sign a permissive footpath along the route indicated which would give a pleasant, legal and reasonably safe way of reaching the footpath down to Harpsden Bottom without the hazards of walking down Gillotts Lane? - Yours


John Thornley

Makins Road, Henley

Allotments must remain

Sir, - Does the United! group know just how much time and effort it takes to keep allotment plots growing fresh and healthy food? It has taken some allotment holders a lot of time and hard work.

Allotments are great places for socialising and the exercise and fresh air are good for us too.

To uproot and move to a new site would probably destroy many plot holders? life?s work. - Yours


Lewis Every

Swiss Farm, Henley

Fruit trees for sale

Sir, - Henley in Transition has a scheme to encourage Henley residents to plant fruit trees in their gardens.

We can provide 4ft and 5ft bare-rooted fruit trees for £15. For more information and to place an order, please call me on (01491) 576929. - Yours faithfully,

Andrew Hawkins

Berkshire Road, Henley

Dedicated NHS staff

Sir, - I write following a recent visit to the adult day surgery unit at the Royal Berkshire Hospital and wish to offer my 110 per cent endorsement of Jim Hammant?s comments about the hospital staff (Standard, September 27).

I have attended the Royal Berks several times over the last four or five years and twice previously have been an in-patient after two other operations.

Every member of staff, be they consultant, doctor, nurse, clinician, porter, receptionist or trainee, has been professional, understanding and, above all, caring.

What is so impressive is their dedication and thoroughness from initial consultation, through pre-op and surgery - comprehensive and detailed patient notes were all checked and checked again, ensuring that care is provided in a reassuring and friendly way.

The surgery unit was busy from the outset at 7.30am but the prior organisation was such that, notwithstanding the variety and sometimes complexity of cases, all the day?s planned operations were undertaken without apparent delay.

I was one of the last patients to leave at about 6pm. The good humour, friendliness and morale of nursing staff was then evident as after another challenging day they clearly enjoyed a well-deserved 10 minutes or so together before themselves leaving for home.

Thank you, Royal Berks, thank you very much indeed. - Yours faithfully,

Roger Sayer

Queen Close, Henley

Care can?t

be rushed

Sir, - Further to the media interest in the provision of home care for the elderly in 15-minute blocks, I would like to point out that when Sandie Keene, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said that "it is totally wrong to believe that all tasks need more than 15 minutes to carry out?, she was missing a fundamental point.

That point is that care is primarily about caring and should not be task-based.

For this reason my company, Home Instead Senior Care, which employs more than 30 local caregivers, will not enter into local authority block contracts as we believe that they drive down the quality of care by forcing care companies to deliver short duration calls.

We have a minimum call duration of one hour as this enables our caregivers time to deliver person-centred care which focuses on the needs and dignity of the individual.

For many years we have been calling on local authorities to embrace the vision of personalisation and recognise that the types of support people receive should not be confined to personal care and should include a much wider range of options, including companionship.

Our social and health care systems need to evolve to provide person-centred care that is both age and stage appropriate and which support healthy ageing.

With ever-increasing life expectancy, "old age? now covers a huge spectrum and we need to innovate and take a holistic approach to meet people?s needs.

I firmly believe that instead of adopting a one-size-fits-all approach, local authorities and providers should be working together with those in need of support and their families so that home care providers have the freedom to innovate and use budgets flexibly.

It is, after all, about one thing - care - and it?s the care that?s important and that can?t be rushed. - Yours faithfully,

Paul Westgarth

Home Instead Senior Care, Henley

Helping to end polio

Sir, - On behalf of Henley Rotary Club, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to our collection at Tesco on Saturday.

We collected £306 which will go towards the worldwide campaing to eradicate polio.

Thankfully, we are now free from polio in this country but we need to continue the campaign to immunise children around the world to ensure that no child will ever again be paralysed by or die from polio.

Reported polio cases have dropped by over 99 per cent from 350,000 in 1988 to 200 in 2012.

Thanks again for your donations. - Yours faithfully,

David Rusman

Blounts Court Road, Sonning Common

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