Letters March 17 2016
PUBLISHED: 10:52 07 July 2016 | UPDATED: 10:52 07 July 2016
Invasion of the coffee shops
SIR - Yes, they’re at it again. The young mothers of St Albans and surrounding locale with their double Bugaboos rammed full of screaming babies... interfering with mine and many others’ peace and quiet and cappuccino. The other day, I thought I’d sneak into Caffe Nero and have a relaxing cup of coffee with the missus. We were in luck - the place was empty. No sooner had I taken the first bite out of my chocolate twist though than the door opened, then again, then again - one after the other of young mothers, baby ephemera and pushchairs. Soon, the whole place was heaving with coughs, splutters, screams, babies wailing, staff’s tempers frayed, young naughty brats running around the tables of hot drinks without a parental care in the world and a whole load of mess on the floor. It was like a mother and toddler group without a leader to keep the little darlings in tow. With discipline a total anathema to today’s modern parent, the whole atmosphere and ambience of the coffee house was spoiled in a matter of moments - the once relaxing music barely audible above the din of the under five invasion. And it’s not just Caffe Nero. All coffee houses everywhere seem to be blighted by this mother and infant invasion hell bent on destroying the peace of those who just want to chill out, zone out, read a book or, in the case of hard working staff, just want to have a nice day at work. Jeez, I know that a lot of SureStart centres have closed recently and that private nurseries cost a bomb these days but why oh why oh why do you young mothers insist on spoiling the peace of others? That said, I do appreciate that no-one has a divine right to silence. However, customers do have the right to enjoy their coffees in relative peace and quiet. If the noise were being made by teenagers, I’m sure that they would be shown the door. I have a cure. If some bright entrepreneur out there could open up a mothers-only coffee shop with sound insulated walls, toy boxes, an indoor sandpit and a sign on the door saying no miserable middle aged gits welcome here, I for one would cheer from the rooftops. Until then, please, if you have to visit with an under five whilst I am trying to read a good book and enjoying my brew, do think twice about coming in to shatter my silence. You’ll know what I mean in about 30 years time. I thank you!
Green Lane, St Albans
All change at the ticket office
SIR - I’m writing about the proposals to semi-close the ticket office at Harpenden. It took me a long time to decipher the deliberately complex wording of the announcement, but I got there in the end. I can see why the proposal makes sense commercially, shame though it is. I do have one request, though. Currently it is impossible to buy a ticket from the machine that allows you to travel into London at off-peak times and back at peak times. You have to go to the ticket office, where they serve you a cocktail of single tickets. Will Govia be updating the tickets that it offers through the machines when the office closes?
MATT LYNCH East Common, Harpenden
Why my dogs should be allowed on buses
SIR – Re: C Boville’s letter headed ‘Get off the bus! (Herts Advertiser, March 3), what is this person living on, Cloud Cuckoo Land? I am the person he is writing about and I do not take my greyhounds for outings on the bus. First of all my vet is five miles away in Smallford and I am not leaving my vet. Second, I take my greyhound to visit the elderly in Hatfield Nursing Home where my late mother stayed which is nine miles away and third, I live a mile and a half from the town centre. I am a 66-year-old pensioner recovering from cancer! I have no family in St Albans to help me. I don’t drive and can’t afford taxis. What does he expect me to do, sprout wings and fly? If there is a service dog on the bus we don’t get on and the buses are allowed to take one pet dog not a menagerie. My greyhounds do not upset people with allergies so what’s his problem? Travelling with a service dog is no different to travelling with a pet dog. Perhaps if he has a car he should offer to help me! PS: The last time I was refused travel on the 653 I had not got my dogs.
MISS M G FOSTER Arundel Grove, St Albans
Filling in the blanks
SIR - Regarding David Willacy’s letter regarding the vehicles in the image of Holywell Hill (March 3), since I sent in the pictures perhaps I can shed some more light as regards dating the image. The van closest to the front LH side is a Bedford DoorMobile as is the the one further up the hill on the same side these vans had sliding doors for easy access in confined spaces. Possibly hence the model name. Just behind the second van in an Austin or Morris 1100, close by is a Mini just ahead of a a Morris Minor 1000 van, which is ahead of a Triumph Herald. To the right of the Morris Minor van is a Ford van parked near a lamp post. On the extreme right of the picture is a BMC group Wolsley or Riley difficult to tell without being able to see the front grill as the cars were basically the same except for cosmetic differences. I’m unable to identify the older car tucked in behind the Bedford van, it appears to be a car from the thirties. As I was learning to drive in a Triumph Herald when I was about 22 years old in 1961 and as Mr Willacy suggests the date would have to be in the early to mid sixties. When I sent you the copies of these pictures I did indeed say that I couldn’t give the date they were taken, however I was refering to the much older images of St Albans. The pictures taken much later with cars like the Mini, E Type Jaguar and Morris Minors etc., can usually be dated with some accuracy due to the models manufacturing date and some times the registration numbers. It’s comforting to know that your readers take an interest in these images. For some of us in our later years we don’t always think that these pictures are all that old! Thanks for publishing the pictures, keep up the good work.
ERIC BUDWORTH Christie Downs, South Australia, 5164
A new service for child abuse victims
SIR - I am trying to begin a pioneer venture by making history in southern England. That is to set up a simple tea and biscuits club for adult survivors of child abuse. A simple place to chat about the day and to give hope to them. At present there is very little for them in this area and other areas as charities battle against resource cutbacks. In the past I have campaigned for road humps and begun a football club at a school that still runs to this day after 24 years. I am trying to enlist the help of a church to provide a hall for free. It is surely an act of kindness and love to help such people given the terrible stories we see and read about . If anyone out there who is an adult survivor of child abuse would like to contact me please email me on email@example.com
ANDY STROWMAN Roundwood Lane, Harpenden
No excuse for dumping litter
SIR - On Saturday, March 5, approximately 25 hardy souls myself included did a litter pick covering the New House Park estate. It was very encouraging to see such a good turnout and all worked extremely hard in cold, damp conditions to tidy up. However, it was disappointing to find such large amounts of rubbish ranging from discarded cans to a fridge freezer and shed panels and as I send this further dumping is occurring. There is no excuse for this and I would remind those who carelessly deposit their litter that fly tipping is a crime, punishable by severe penalties. Why not use the recycling facilities provided? Really, it is easy and does not take much effort. Much better than having a criminal record!
GERALD STONE New House Park, St Albans
City park in decline over recent years
SIR - Although we live in Harpenden, we like to visit St Albans regularly, as it is where our granddaughter is. We enjoy taking her down to Verulamium Park - or rather, we used to. Over the past couple of years, we have seen the rapid deterioration of the area and it is no longer our favourite go-to destination. This can be clearly traced to three sources: Firstly the installation of the cycle path, a monumental waste of public money, which ‘ran out’ before the project was finished, leaving the edging incomplete and had to be redone anyway, again at ratepayer expense, as the ramps proved too high for buggies and wheelchairs. Following directly on from this, the removal of the railings that protected the priceless Roman Wall, which has opened it up to vandalism as children climb all over it (why not?). We note that the council has now affixed BRIGHT YELLOW DAY-GO notices at regular intervals, declaring that the area is a Neighbourhood Watch area and is being patrolled. Apart from being a complete eyesore, you read the notices at your peril, as they are affixed to the cycle path side,and we have often seen selfish cyclists pedalling down at stupidly dangerous speeds, regardless of the fact that small children and dogs stray off the path. The third degrading factor is the polluted lake - this morning a sickly grey-green. Frequent pleas from local naturalists and biologists to drain or deal with this have been ignored. It seems that the Cabinet overlords know better than to listen to residents, whatever expertise they may claim to have. To prevent further pollution - though I’m not sure if that is possible, there are now BIG NOTICES ordering kids not to feed the ducks. Feeding ducks is one of the innocent pleasures of childhood. Apparently no longer. In St Paul’s Cathedral, there is a plaque to Sir Christopher Wren which reads ‘...if you seek his memorial, look around you.’ Looking around Verulamium Park, we wonder what the ‘memorial’ of this current district council Cabinet will be.
MARTYN & CAROL HEDGES
Coldharbour Lane, Harpenden
SIR - Thank you for printing the photo of my late father, Frank Corley in last week’s Yesterday Once More column. Please allow me to add to the photo. My father was called up to serve in the Royal Navy, and served from June 28 1943 until November 8 1946. During that time he served with distinction on Corvettes, frigates and destroyers, mostly in the Mediterranean, although on D-Day he was on anti-submarine patrol in the English Channel. At that time, his home address was 101 Camp Road, which is just a few doors down from Oakley’s Dairy, which stood on the site of what is now Orchard Nursing Home. The Post Office mentioned was always on the corner of Camp Road and Cell Barnes Lane. The photograph published would have been taken within a few days of his return in 1946. After three years away at sea, the only clothes he had were his demob suit and his uniform, part of which he was wearing in the photograph. Incidentally, the horse in the photo knew the round as well as my father. I have a photograph of dad with a couple of his shipmates taken in Beirut on May 25 1946. He never did explain why he was there. Thank you for your time.
MICHAEL CORLEY Hilldyke Road, Wheathampstead
SIR - We would like to congratulate all the hundreds of young people who took part in the Herts Schools’ Gala at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday. We’d been invited by friends, and had no idea what a treat was in store. It was an unforgettable and emotional experience. The standard of performance of the singers, youth orchestra and dancers was incredible. School concerts were never as innovative as that in our day! Thank you to all the amazing teachers and everyone else who made it possible. It was a truly life affirming and uplifting afternoon. Young people are brilliant!
VALERIE & DAVID NEWTON High Firs Crescent, Harpenden
Disabled bearing brunt of austerity
SIR - It is breathtaking that local MPs have voted for yet more cuts in benefits for disabled people (Herts Advertiser March 10) through a mean-minded cut of £30 in the Employment and Support Allowance. According to Anne Main MP, the money will be re-directed to help disabled claimants find work. But you don’t help people by cutting what little they have to live on. Many disabled people find it difficult or impossible to obtain paid work. Extensive evidence shows that disabled people and families with a disabled child are far more likely to be in poverty or on a low income than others. And disabled people frequently face additional living costs for essential items such as transport and food. Many are in fuel poverty, facing the invidious choice of heat or eat as they can’t afford food and heating bills. Disabled people are among those hardest hit by the amounts slashed from benefits in recent years. And more cuts are on the way: the Conservatives are intending to cut about £1.2 billion from Personal Independence Payments by reducing entitlement to help with aids and equipment. Presumably our local MPs plan to vote for this as well. Do we as a society think that it is acceptable for disabled people and others on low income to bear the brunt of the government’s cuts in the name of austerity? I wasn’t aware that it was disabled people who caused the global financial crash.
Beechwood Avenue, St Albans