Your letters to the Herts Ad...

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 December 2016

The Duchess of Sutherland - picture by Richard Kirk.

The Duchess of Sutherland - picture by Richard Kirk.

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The Duchess of Sutherland - picture by Richard Kirk.The Duchess of Sutherland - picture by Richard Kirk.

Steam returns to the Midland main line on Saturday (December 17) when Coronation Pacific 46233 Duchess of Sutherland pauses at St Albans en route to York with an excursion.

Introduced in 1937 the 38 ‘Corros’ hauled the heaviest expresses for the next 25 years along the main line from Euston to the north - some loaded to 16 carriages. For the non-stop 401.1 miles from Euston to Glasgow the tender carried 10 tons of coal - a steam-operated coal pusher being installed to help bring the coal forward at the end of the journey.

The tender also carried 4,000 gallons of water which was replenished every 40-50 miles by lowering a scoop into a water trough situated between the rails.

‘Corros’ were to heavy to run on the Midland main line - even our own ‘Corro’ 46253 City of St Albans could not be named at St Albans.

The Duchess is due at St Albans just before 8am and will be cruising in from the south. However, north of the station if will be on full regulator as it gets its train underway.

HOWARD GREEN
Jennings Road, St Albans

Driving around St Albans these days it occurs to me there is more than just too much traffic blighting our lives - there is also an increasing selfishness that puts lives in peril, but with little risk of reprisal to the culprit drivers.

We are moving into the age of the contemptuous U-turn it seems, where drivers too impatient to make their way round the inner city road system simply swing the wheel over to go the other way, whatever the inconvenience to oncoming traffic.

I stood and watched a van do this at the top of Victoria Street. This U-turn featured a smooth pavement mount on the other side of the road, a manoeuvre brought to an abrupt halt however when the driver realised that if he did not hit the brakes he would knock down two young boys. All this just yards from where the police station once stood.

The cockiness takes other forms.

In London Road, heading into the city centre, but halted in a queue some way from the Watsons Walk traffic lights - along with several drivers waiting in front of me - I watched in amazement as a car overtook us to pull in at the head of the queue. The car drove about 120 yards on the wrong side of the road.

In similar vein, driving up Verulam Road and halted at the pedestrian crossing by the clock tower I rubbed my eyes in wonder again as one of the people-carrier taxis pulled out from in front of me to drive right up to the traffic lights. There, the driver reversed into the gap he had spotted at the far end of the lay-by outside the restaurants and shops on that side of the High Street. Another 100 yards of impunity.

Many drivers will have been inconvenienced by the taxis using this drop-off and pick-off point. When the taxis are jockeying for a place they can block High Street to traffic approaching from London Road. Then, when the lights change, cars find themselves stuck in the middle of the junction as angry drivers in High Street and Holywell Hill try to cross. I know, it happened to me. An unpleasant experience.

That this two-fingers driving style is ever-more prevalent underlines how little police authority there is on our city roads.

Perhaps the answer lies in identifying the villains via CCTV street cameras, but I doubt it. Someone monitoring camera screens all day? Far too expensive.

But something should be done. Removing that High Street lay-by would be a start. The restaurants might not like it but our roads weren’t built for the benefit of the taxi firms. The traffic needs to flow.

JOHN COLE

Mile House Close, St Albans

Steam returns to the Midland main line on Saturday (December 17) when Coronation Pacific 46233 Duchess of Sutherland pauses at St Albans en route to York with an excursion.

Introduced in 1937 the 38 ‘Corros’ hauled the heaviest expresses for the next 25 years along the main line from Euston to the north - some loaded to 16 carriages. For the non-stop 401.1 miles from Euston to Glasgow the tender carried 10 tons of coal - a steam-operated coal pusher being installed to help bring the coal forward at the end of the journey.

The tender also carried 4,000 gallons of water which was replenished every 40-50 miles by lowering a scoop into a water trough situated between the rails.

‘Corros’ were to heavy to run on the Midland main line - even our own ‘Corro’ 46253 City of St Albans could not be named at St Albans.

The Duchess is due at St Albans just before 8am and will be cruising in from the south. However, north of the station if will be on full regulator as it gets its train underway.

HOWARD GREEN
Jennings Road, St Albans

A very big thank you to the fire service, police, St Albans district council (SADC), Herts county council (HCC), security and all the utilities and BT Openreach and Virgin who attended on October 1 2015, when the road collapsed in Fontmell Close, some staying until the following day to make sure everyone was safe.

Trees and fencing were removed on the day of the collapse allowing residents to walk and drive out of Bridle Close.

Taxis were provided by the council to take residents to Batchwood Sports Centre for food, drink and showers and to arrange alternative accommodation if required.

A shuttle service was arranged to take residents out of the close across a temporary road – the drivers were very helpful, taking residents’ shopping to their doors.

We have all been very lucky to have had such great support from SADC and HCC in what was a very difficult task that has been completed earlier than expected.

Many thanks to the committee who acted on behalf of Fontmell and Bridle Closes, with special thanks to Ray Postill for all his help, research and support, also to Julia May as communicator for both closes, David Walker who was in touch with the press for the committee.

The press have also been excellent to deal with. The main thing is nobody was injured and residents in both closes pulled together.

It is lovely not to have to look out of our home at blue fences – we now have a lovely view!

ROSEMARY AND DEREK BROOM

Fontmell Close, St Albans

Although I am not a conspiracy theorist I wonder whether the people responsible for bus stops know something that our council does not. There are now at least 10 brand new bus stops and modified kerbs between the St Albans Texaco garage and the ‘Welcome to Harpenden’ sign on the A1081 main Harpenden Road. At the moment there are very few residents along this piece of road and even fewer who would use the bus.

Should we expect to see a massive incursion to the green belt or have the people who look after bus stops just been allocated too much money?

There must be better ways to benefit both St Albans and Harpenden.

MILES SOPPET

St Albans

People using zebra crossings in the evenings are putting their lives in danger, as cars miss them by inches.

I have seen near accidents three or four times in St Albans and Harpenden in the last couple of weeks.

The cause is the fashion for wearing dark clothing from head to toe, which make pedestrians almost invisible.

People would be a great deal safer if they wore hi-vis armbands, or even pale coats or scarves.

I do hope people will stop and think for a moment: this is not the season to be invisible!

DAVID COLLINS
Milton Road, Harpenden

Once again a developer has submitted an application to cram a barrack-style development into the heart of St Albans Conservation Area. Plans have been submitted to build four-storey houses in Mount Pleasant which will dominate the surrounding terraces and take away views of the Abbey.

If you are fed up of seeing ugly overdevelopments crammed into inappropriate tight plots, losing our green spaces, having ever more cars choke our roads and not being able to park, then please take a few minutes to look at planning application 5/2016/3494 on StAlbans.gov.uk/planning/searchforplanningapplications and join the chorus of objections to this attempt to disfigure the Conservation Area/ our city centre.

NAME & ADDRESS SUPPLIED

I totally applaud the contribution by Alan Jackson re ‘herringbone parking’ in car parks.

This is a great advantage regarding capacity and ease of entering and leaving parking spaces and should be more widely adopted.

Costco car parks are one example of the USA-style parking which works so well and even allows better side spacing between vehicles without affecting overall capacity of the site.

PATT TRIGG

Chorleywood

I was inclined to write a lengthy letter in response to the latest outpourings of Barry Cashin (December 8). However, I decided life really is too short and so - while offering sympathy and support to Carol Hedges - will limit myself to the observation that this particular letter from Mr Cashin was one of the most ignorant (in every sense), unfair, ill-considered and intellectually feeble pieces of drivel I have read in a very long time. I hope Mr Cashin enjoys his visit to Poland so much that he decides to stay.

DAVID WATTS

By email

As we approach the end of the year, now is as good a time as any to reflect on the changes to local society over the past 365 days.

Here are my observations: There appears, for some strange reason, to be more young bald men walking around St Albans than ever. Conversely, many of these men are wearing ridiculously nest-like Edward VII beards. Very strange.

Almost every person under the age of 35 also appears to begin their sentences with the word “So.” There is no grammatical or other need for it save to annoy, but it seems to be common parlance.

The words “Crowdfunding” and “Brexit” are now in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Nurseries and Laura Ashley wallpapered lounges are not the number one place to find legions of buggies, prams, middle class, SUV driving mumsters and their screaming progeny. It’s now the turn of the coffee shops.

Our roads are still more pitted with dangerous pot holes than ever and the HCC fault report service continues to be a perfect match, i.e., useless. Pollsters have become a complete irrelevance. They often used to be on the money. Now they routinely get things wrong, spectacularly such as in the June Brexit vote.

The British once prided themselves on their good manners. Now, we take first prize for ignorance. It stems from a lack of discipline in the home and hamstrung teachers at school fearful of being sued.

In town, there seems to be fewer Big Issue sellers these days. Hopefully, they have all got homes and jobs as dog handlers given their propensity to own several dogs whilst claiming to be homeless.

First prize for superfluousness in our city is the 20mph sign near the Town Hall. Speeds average gridlock on most days and it is in no fear of being breached

Thanks must also go to the Eastern European fraternity who have done much to increase interest in sandcastle street art as well as reduce stocks of Canada geese down the lakes.

Goose cacca is much less of a problem these days but the lakes still remain a toxic sludge as the equally toxic pen pushers prevaricate on an effective solution.

A huge pat on the backs of the various action groups set up all over St Albans who have NIMBY’d their way to victory over their various causes in the past year. Well done you, treat yourself to an extra ‘humble’ mince pie for your endeavours.

Goodbye Homebase, Holywell Hill and hello Bunnings, an Australian outfit known for their sky high prices. I’m sure you’ll make a good fist of it. Just don’t stock Vegemite, we Brits don’t like it.

Finally, thank you to our wonderful council who continue to waste our money with an ease and profligacy that puts Italy to shame.

For our wonderful police service now comprising of just a couple of PCSOs behind a desk in the council offices, the traffic wardens whose deviousness continues to plumb new depths, road and ground maintenance staff whose efforts fall even lower than their predecessors.

To the refuse collectors whose attitude to some residents hides behind the shield of corporate dictat.

The increase in the number and use of recycling lorries whose combined emissions more than outweighs the aim of collecting our recyclables.

It seems the only really positive constant this year is the continuing excellence of our one local newspaper of any worth, the Herts Ad - which continues to offer news on the button, stories of relevance and is enjoyed by so many people in St Albans.

Here’s to 2017, a year apparently when America will be made great again, faceless bureaucrats will still be arguing over Article 50, hard and soft Brexit etc - and yet another XFactor final winner will fade into insignificance as fast as one can say ‘Pound Shop.’ I thank you!

BARRY CASHIN

Green Lane, St Albans

We are writing on behalf of our daughter Sharon Evagorou who is profoundly deaf.

Sharon and her parents Mr and Mrs Insley would like to convey our very sincere thanks to the very kind young man who came to Sharon’s aid on Thursday December 1 when her cavalier spaniel keeled over in the Jersey Farm Park.

He very kindly made a phone call for her,to her dad and then carried the dog back to her parents’ home.

In the confusion we forgot to ask the young man his name but he was so thoughtful, so as well as our thanks we would like to reassure him the dog is fine except for some rheumatism in her hips.

SHARON INSLEY & PARENTS
Jersey Farm

My name is Alan Young, born in Radlett in 1943. I am in my early seventies and I used to live in St Albans during my teenage years.

During the early 60s I lived in a very small bed-sit located in a grand house on Holywell Hill.

During this hard and challenging time of my life, I managed to keep my head above water by working in various factories during the day and as a bar man during the evenings.

As we are approaching Christmas on 2016, I remember the wonderful (and sometimes wild times) I enjoyed during this festive period spent in St Albans.

My heart is still in Hertfordshire (no pun intended!) and I often reflect on the times when I was living on the breadline but never crossed over to being totally destitute, thanks to some wonderful friends. I will always be in their debt for the times they kept me afloat!.

Eventually I left St Albans and found a good career working as a radio technician in the army.

Over the years I have managed to trace most of my early friends to offer my thanks and gratitude to those who helped me to shape my life.

There remains one, dear and lovely person who was particularly caring, she treated me like I was one of her own family. Her name is Anne and she used to manage a well-visited cafe in Catherine Street called Steve’s Cafe during the early ‘60s.

Often, Anne would accidently allow ‘too many chips or an extra helping of beans’to fall on to my plate.

There were times when she invited me to bring in my bag of dirty washing and give it to her as I made my way to the laundrette! She realised that I thought being clean sometimes became more important than being hungry! When my washing came back it was always pristine, ironed and presented in a brown paper bag. Truly an act of love!

Can anyone help me to try and find what happened to dear Anne? If she is still with us or not, I would be grateful to know of her whereabouts.

At the moment I am working as a missionary in Siberia. I have a small charity and we have been working with poor and orphan children in Russia for more than 20 years.I would like to think that the seeds of my calling to help other people, mainly children, were planted by the ‘Angel Anne!’

ALAN YOUNG
alan.young@footprints-in-the-snow.org

I would like,through your letters page,to say a big thank you to the kind person who handed in a small case that had been dropped in the car park of the City Hospital.

The case contained my credit and debit cards, along with various other cards without which I could not do my job.

You have restored my faith in human kindness.

It’s nice to know that there are still some decent folk about. Once again,thank you.

KEVIN REEVES
By email

I would point out to Ms Scaysbrook that it is much easier to see approaching pedestrians and cyclists on the pavement when reversing into a drive than when reversing out, and therefore safer.

I have lived in Beechwood Avenue since 1964 and have always made it my practice to reverse into my drive, except on the rare occasion when the traffic is really heavy, when I turn the car around on the drive.

When approaching the house the indicator is shown early and brake lights flashed on the final approach.

Then the moment the car stops the reversing lights are shown and I wait for the traffic to stop. Most times I am given space to get in, if someone is foolish enough to stop on my rear bumper I wait for him to sort himself out.

It works.

B HOY
Beechwood Avene, St Albans

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