Sir, — Teasels in the garden provide a lunch for nectar-seeking insects.
Bees, butterflies and hover flies are visitors.
In the autumn, goldfinch visit for teasel seeds, leaving niger seed provided in bird feeders for a more natural diet. — Yours faithfully,
Sir, — I spotted this Jersey tiger moth in my back garden.
It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like it. It’s a fascinating little creature and I had to look it up on the internet to identify it. I’m familiar with the common species like the red admiral or cabbage white but to come across this in your own garden is quite something. — Yours faithfully,
St Andrew’s Road,
Sir, — Here’s a picture of a 2in long colourful privet hawk moth caterpillar crawling up our garden path. — Yours faithfully,
Sir, — I took this photograph of some bracket fungus on my way to Greencroft allotments in Henley.
Over the years I have watched it mature into this magnificent specimen. — Yours faithfully,
Money wasted on survey
Sir, — I must congratulate your correspondent James de Jode on his succinct and accurate response to Henley Town Council’s ridiculous traffic survey (Standard, July 31).I intended to respond myself in much the same manner but the time passed me by.
I am in absolute agreement with everything he wrote — why on earth did the council deem it necessary to spend £50,000 of taxpayers’ money to come to the conclusion that the increase of new homes in the area would lead to extra weight of traffic on our main roads? For example, if Highlands Farm is deemed acceptable for a certain amount of new homes, is there any doubt that this would lead to an increased flow of traffic down Greys Road and possibly Gillotts Lane and, in turn, St Mark’s Road, St Andrew’s Road etc? I’m sure that any GCSE geography student would be able to come to the same obvious conclusion.
Would it not have been more useful and relevant to put the £50,000 towards the actual new infrastructure that we require rather than a report confirming that the infrastructure would indeed be needed? — Yours faithfully,
Keep recycling centre open
Sir, — I find it very hard to comprehend Oxfordshire County Council’s plan to close recycling centres, especially our local site at Oakley Wood (Standard, Auguust 14).This is the only such site in South Oxfordshire.It was upgraded only fairly recently and provides an excellent service to residents.
The alternative site at Redbridge, Oxford, would double my travelling distance.
Closure would almost certainly cause more rubbish to be dumped, wasting money to clear it up.Please keep Oakley Wood open. It is a much-valued facility. — Yours faithfully,
It’s cloud cuckoo land
Sir, — On a recent visit to Oxford city centre, I was amazed to hear the sound of a cuckoo calling most stridently
.Being in close proximity to the offices of Oxfordshire County Council and being of an inquisitive nature, I entered and enquired about the call, which appeared to be emanating from within the building.
I was informed that it may have had something to do with a meeting of the council officials who were considering closing recycling centres.So, the mystery was solved — they really do live in Cloud Cuckoo Land! — Yours faithfully,
Sad demise of our gym
Sir, — I have been a member of the Henley gym, most recently trading as LA Fitness, for more than 15 years, so I was very disappointed to arrive for my last visit on Friday, only to be turned away at the door as they had decided to close the gym to avoid the risk of a proposed “sit-in”! I have spent more than 5,000 hours and £8,000 frequenting the gym, have probably swum 2,000 miles in the pool, met many friends and in the early days enjoyed many social gatherings, Christmas parties and warm summer days around what was then the outdoor pool.
It is very sad that this town, which prides itself on its sporting legends, unique events and active population, has suffered the demise of what was a very popular and vibrant gym.Furthermore it is disgraceful that I, and many other members, have not received any direct communication from LA Fitness regarding the closure.
In this day and age, when so much emphasis is placed on customer satisfaction and personal wellbeing, this is shameful.This is by no means a reflection of the staff and instructors at the gym who have always been delightfully friendly and helpful and I am sure are equally disappointed and upset about the situation. I sincerely hope someone is able to revive the gym and restore it to its former glory. — Yours faithfully,
Investing in sport
Sir, — Your correspondent Tim Moore asks for my stance on the closure of LA Fitness (Standard, August 14). Your paper has already covered this and I have written to Mr Moore and set out my response to his original email to me on my website, www.johnhowellmp.com
Let me repeat: I am very much aware of the positive impact that sport can have on everybody. Part of London 2012’s bid was centred on the desire to use the power of the Games to inspire more young people into sport.I am therefore pleased that the Government is supporting this by investing £150million over the next two years into primary school sport, more than £100million of public and Lottery funding into the School Games over the next three years and £1billion over the next five years into the youth and community sport strategy.
This, of course, is aimed at young people and I am pleased to see that the sports minister has launched a consultation to explore how we can encourage more people to participate in sport. This will help inform future decisions on funding. — Yours faithfully,
John Howell MP for Henley,
House of Commons,
Bill that can save lives
Sir, — The Off-patent Drugs Bill will be voted on in Parliament on November 6.
I am campaigning in support of this Bill and hope that Henley MP John Howell joins me and lends his support to this vital piece of legislation, which could benefit hundreds of thousands of patients across the UK.Supported by Breast Cancer Now, the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, the Bill is designed to address the problem of making drugs that have fallen out of patent but have since proved effective for clinical uses outside of their original licence, routinely available on the NHS.
If it successfully enters UK law, it will improve access to low-cost treatments for a range of conditions including breast cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s.In order for it to progress a step closer to becoming law, 100 MPs need to turn up and vote for it on November 6.
Neglecting the clinical benefits of off-patent drugs is a huge oversight, especially as these drugs tend to be very low-cost.Given the budgetary constraints on the NHS, surely this is exactly the type of opportunity that decision-makers should be embracing. I would encourage others to join me and add their support to Breast Cancer Now’s Unlock Drugs campaign by visiting breastcancerÂ now.org/unlockdrugs — Yours faithfully,
Heroes of Dunkirk...
Sir, — It was wonderful to see the “Little Ships” from Dunkirk once again at the Henley Traditional Boat Festival. I am not aware that any local boats made the long voyage to Dunkirk in 1940 but Henley and our nearby villages should be proud that many soldiers from our local regiment helped defend the perimeter of the port of Dunkirk to enable 338,226 British and French soldiers to return to England. The 4th (TA) Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, a volunteer battalion comprising men from Henley, Nettlebed and other local villages, went to France at the outbreak of the Second World War to help counter the advance of the German army sweeping westwards across Belgium.
In May 1940 the decision was taken to withdraw British forces from the Continent via Dunkirk and the 4th Ox and Bucks were assigned to set up defences in the hill town of Cassel, some 20 miles inland from Calais.They bravely stalled the German advance for four vital days but were eventually overrun and many were killed or taken prisoner. Only a very few men managed to get back to England.The “Little Ships” did a fantastic job ferrying troops off the shallow beaches to anchored naval vessels.The Royal Navy lost six destroyers and the French navy three, mainly in air attacks. A further 19 destroyers were severely damaged.More than 7,000 royal navy sailors lost their lives in successfully achieving the biggest combined military evacuation from a foreign shore in history. We will remember them. — Yours faithfully,
Member, Henley and Peppard branch, Royal British Legion,
...and Battle of Britain
Sir, — I had the honour of flying Hurricanes for the RAF as one of Churchill’s “few” during the Battle of Britain, which took place 75 years ago this summer. This week I marked the anniversary of what is known as “the hardest day” in that battle against German invasion. Sunday, August 19, 1940 was the day on which the Luftwaffe made an all-out assault on RAF Fighter Command, resulting in both sides losing more aircraft than on any other day during the Â campaign. As we recall those fateful days and celebrate the bravery of all those involved — many of them my friends and colleagues — we must also remember our enduring debt of gratitude to all who have served and who serve now.
The RAF Benevolent Fund believes it is important for the country to share in the memory of the Battle of Britain and the sacrifices that were made but it needn’t all be a solemn affair. That’s why I’m supporting their inaugural Great British Sunday Lunch — a chance for families, friends, and communities to gather together on Sunday, September 13 to host their own meal at home, in the local community centre, at the pub or in the park, to raise vital funds to support RAF veterans and their families. You can find more information or sign up to hold a lunch event at www.rafbf.org/gbsl — Yours faithfully,
RAF veteran Sq Ldr Tony G Pickering
Beware of pickpockets
Sir, — This letter is aimed at the lowlife who stole my 86-year-old mother’s purse while she was packing her shopping into bags at the till in Waitrose in Henley on August 12.She had just been to the bank and drawn out £300, so the thief got lucky. I always thought Henley was a nice town but there seems to be a small minority of scum living here who will steal when given the opportunity. I hope you can sleep well at night, knowing the upset and pain you have caused. To the shoppers of Henley, please take this as a warning and be aware of thieves and pickpockets while you are otherwise distracted in the shops. — Yours faithfully,
Flower spike theft is sad
Sir, — We were excitedly anticipating our huge orange canna lily spike coming into full bloom in our pavement garden, when in the night some “canny” person came with secateurs and cut it neatly off, no doubt to enjoy at home.
Now passers-by in New Street will not be able to admire and enjoy its glory.Hopefully another will try to bloom but I guess the same thief will cut it off in its prime.
How sad is that? — Yours faithfully,
Songs for a dog-lover
Sir, — Could I suggest a “Temple Island Discs” selection for our lovely town councillor Sam Evans, who is often seen walking with her dog Humphrey near this local landmark? I Wanna Be Your Dog by Iggy Pop; How Much Is That Doggie In The Window? by Patti Page; Puppy Love by Donny Osmond; Golden Brown by The Stranglers; I Love My Dog by Cat Stevens; Walking the Dog by Rufus Thomas; Running Up That Hill (from Hounds Of Love) by Kate Bush; Have You Ever Loved A Woman? by Humphrey (Lyttelton)
Finally, I’m sure Sam would save the Cat (Stevens) in a fire! — Yours faithfully,
When did we lose the ‘up’?
Sir, — I went into the Argyll pub in Henley market place a couple of weeks ago and noticed that it has a map of Oxfordshire circa 1864 which shows Henley as “Henley-upon-Thames”.
I have always known the town as Henley-on-Thames as shown on the entrance signs. Can anyone shed any light on whether it was Henley-upon-Thames back in those days and, if so, when it changed to Henley-on-Thames? — Yours faithfully,
Miss H Eggleton
Cricket’s not bad either!
Sir, — As president of Henley Cricket Club, I should like to thank your correspondent Rodger Stanier (Standard, August 14 ) for his very kind words regarding the welcome he received at the club and also the quality of the beer he was served.
The quality of the cricket is also pretty good and you are welcome any time, Mr Stanier. — Yours faithfully,