Sunday, 26 September 2021

Ted Dexter was a true gentleman

Sir, — I’m sure that you and your readers will have heard about the recent death of the well-known cricketer Ted Dexter. I’d like to augment the list of Ted’s many accomplishments with two stories detailing his thoughtfulness and generosity. In 1999 I was in charge of publicity for a quilt exhibition by the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles that was being held at Lord’s in London. The ...

20/09/21

Your letters...

Unfair way to raise tax Sir, — I fully support the Government’s need to raise taxes to pay for improvements to the NHS and social care but the raising of National Insurance is both unfair across the social spectrum and counterproductive. As a pensioner on a good pension, I am one of the one per cent of taxpayers who pay 30 per cent of all UK income tax, yet do not pay National Insurance. I am not ...

20/09/21

Rare event I caught on camera...

Sir, — This event, rarely captured on camera, records an episode of the very secretive annual Hambleden Blessing of the Carpets ceremony. Every year just at the onset of autumn, many good citizens of Hambleden have their carpets taken to church for a blessing. The origin of this tradition is shrouded in mystery but seems to have originated from the same source as the equally strange beating of ...

20/09/21

Chicken of the woods

Sharon Hewitt, from Wargrave, photographed this fungus known as chicken of the woods

20/09/21

Mooing morning

Terry Allsop, from Ewelme, took this picture while on a morning dog walk on Sunday

20/09/21

Woodmouse

Ian Shaw, from Aston, took this picture of woodmouse, saying it was about the size of a thumb

20/09/21

Pretty planting

Pretty planting at Wargrave station, says Charlotte Narula, who lives in the village

20/09/21

Rosy view

Peter Woolsey, from Binfield Heath, took these pictures of some of his roses. The one in the middle is called a whiter shade of pale

20/09/21

Your letters...

Plan ignores climate crisis Sir, — The Oxfordshire 2050 Plan, currently out for consultation, sets out three growth scenarios for 2020-2050; briefly 102,000 houses, 123,000 houses, or 153,000 houses for the county. To put this into perspective, the 2011 Census noted that there were 55,400 houses in Oxford. The plan document shows no understanding of the disruption caused by climate change. It ...

13/09/21

US hoverfly with patterned back

I photographed this hoverfly at the Laurelwood Arboretum in Wayne, New Jersey, last month. While you won’t find the Eastern Calligrapher (Toxomerus geminatus) in the Chilterns, it is something to look for if you visit the USA. The large shield on its back is called an exosceletal plate. The larvae feed on aphids and caterpillars, while the adults enjoy nectar, pollen and aphid honeydew. It’s ...

13/09/21

Stocking up for winter

Stocking up for winter: Charlotte Narula, from Wargrave, took this picture of a squirrel

13/09/21

Wild fruit

Wild fruit: elderberries and blackberries photographed by Sharon Hewitt, from Wargrave

13/09/21

Your letters...

Time to open up Britain Sir, — The Henley parliamentary constituency is home to a considerable number of workers in the aviation and tourism sectors. We sit in the Heathrow airport catchment area and our town lies beneath one of the flight paths for incoming aircraft. It is well-known that travellers returning from so-called “green” or “amber” (or whichever colours selected off the Dulux paint ...

06/09/21

Seeding teasels

These seeding teasels were photographed by Sharon Hewitt, from Wargrave

06/09/21

Underrated but important pollinator

Sir, — This small visitor came in from the garden on Friday and landed on the front door window. Although brownish and with a wing span of only 3.5 ms, it caught my eye. Not knowing much about moths, I contacted the Butterfly Conservation organisation which swiftly and kindly identified it as a willow beauty moth. I now realise that there is a huge variety of species of these underrated but ...

06/09/21

Striped fliers

Striped fliers: these pictures of a hoverfly and a Jersey tiger moth were taken by Rosemary Ruane in her garden in Henley Road, Caversham

06/09/21

Reaping the rewards of allotment

After all the hard work, the fruits of my allotment. It’s a great place to work and the rewards are fresh vegetables. — Yours faithfully, Lewis Every Swiss Farm, Henley

06/09/21

Foreboding clouds

Terry Allsop, from Ewelme, says: “This interesting the cloud formation looks like a nuclear explosion has taken place.”

06/09/21

British white

Jean Watkins, of Grove Road, Sonning Common, says: “We saw this little beauty at Chalkhouse Farm. It’s a British white.”

06/09/21

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