Letters, August 5, part one

Vetting the news

Vetting the news

SIR – It was with shocked disbelief that I heard the name Medivet linked with alleged malpractice in last week’s Panorama on BBC TV.

Our six-year-old degu Twang needs a minor operation every month and has been taken to the Fleetville branch of Medivet at least 60 times at extremely reasonable cost. The practice has been staffed by a succession of vets over the years and in our experience every single one of them has been skilled, professional and caring.

Degus are highly sensitive creatures and the operation is something of an ordeal but Twang always appears completely relaxed about the whole process thanks to the gentle handling by Medivet.

I would like to take this unexpected opportunity to publicly thank the brilliant Mikel who recently returned to his native Poland and his equally marvellous successor Katrina for their first-class service.


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Cotlandswick, London Colney

Wonderful school

SIR – On July 9, Townsend School was open to the senior citizens of the New Greens Estate.

The pupils served us with tea, coffee, squash, cakes and biscuits and they also chatted to us. The pupils then entertained us with dancing, singing, comedy and a piano recital.

A wonderful morning was had by all so thank you to staff and pupils of Townsend School.


Carnegie Road, St Albans

Horse rescue thanks

SIR – I would like to thank publicly, through your column, all the services, namely the police, fire service and the RSPCA, for their rapid response to an incident I reported last Saturday morning.

On my daily dog walk along Alban Way and the adjoining fields we have been taking a carrot for a large horse we meet.

On that morning, I was unable to see her but I could hear her sounding distressed and found her between the two fields with her front legs through the metal barriers separating the fields.

She appeared unable to go forwards and backwards without assistance. I tried to lift her legs but as I’m nearly 75 years old and am not really au fait with horses, I was unable to extricate her. As she was obviously distressed on my return home I telephoned the RSPCA.

Unfortunately I had used an old number so was unable to contact anyone immediately, therefore I telephoned the police who were most helpful and I was contacted soon afterwards by the fire brigade.

I accompanied the fire lady to the site but before arriving there she was contacted by a colleague on her radio to say he had arrived ahead of us to find the horse back in the field, having either been helped by her owner or possibly extricating herself.

After apologising to the firemen, I arrived home where I received a call from a RSPCA lady who had eventually received my call and promptly responded by attending the site and finding the horse had returned to the field.

Apologies to all concerned but many thanks for the efficient response from everyone involved.


Firwood Avenue, St Albans

Nelson’s retreat?

SIR – The Nelson Inn, Wheathampstead, is shortly to reopen as an Italian restaurant. Whilst it was a shame to lose this small friendly local, it seems to be a sign of the times that they will succumb to this change.

When it was run properly by Steve and Wendy, who now run the Swan in the village, it was a vibrant and friendly local which served the east end of the village well and the sign of the Nelson right at the edge of the village with the countryside was a welcome sight to those returning home from work or walkers and cyclists visiting the surrounding countryside.

In reluctantly accepting the change, I find it difficult to accept the complete loss of the name (it is now to be call L’Olivio), which evocative though it is of warm Italian climes has little to do with the history of the village or the nation.

The Nelson is known to have been standing as long ago as 1835 when it was named The Lord Melbourne.

No-one knows when it was renamed, certainly beyond living memory of the oldest villagers and probably from not long after 1835 when Lord Melbourne, one time Prime Minister, was hit by scandals, not unfamiliar to politicians of today. That it was renamed after arguably England’s greatest hero is not surprising.

I earnestly hope that the new owner will find it in his heart not to completely expunge this little corner of our village’s and country’s history from our memory. Could he please consider keeping the name and possibly image of Lord Nelson in some form visible at the site?

Whatever he does, I am sure that most of us wish him well in his new venture.



Call for peace and quiet in libraries

SIR – As a regular user of the library for the past 40 years or more, I feel I must contribute to the correspondence on this subject.

First of all I sympathise with the A-level student who first sent a letter. Why should he find another place to work when the library is meant to be used for this purpose? Reference books are to hand and he or she can work undisturbed. Or can he?

I am all in favour of children being familiar with the library from a young age and I think that the sing-songs and stories are a wonderful and educative idea, but an open plan library is not designed to accommodate this activity, and as the children’s section is right next door to the reading and supposedly quiet area it makes concentration impossible.

Not only that, but the library in general is not a peaceful place any more. Adults talk and shout to each other and children are allowed to behave as they like.

Bring back the separate rooms and let’s have a bit of peace and quiet! Maybe notices could be put up to remind users how to behave.


Fishpool Street, St Albans

Inaccurate signs

SIR – I’m sure someone thought the electronic parking signs were a good idea, but if they are not giving accurate information they are worse than useless.

Twice lately we have noted the one outside St Peter’s church has on a weekday morning displayed FULL in the shopability car park only to find it was practically empty.

On another occasion 29 places was displayed only to find it half empty. The sign does not tell where the said car park is located which isn’t very helpful for visitors to the town and giving false information can only be detrimental to the prosperity of local businesses.


Jennings Road, St Albans

Classics success

SIR – As president of Harpenden Village Rotary Club may I through your letters pages thank the many thousands of local residents who visited Harpenden Common last Wednesday, July 28, for Classics on the Common and gave so generously to our collections for charity.

Early estimates suggest that, overall, we have raised more than �10,000 for donation to the three main charities we are supporting this year, along with other good causes supported by Rotary.

May I also thank more than 70 local businesses, other local voluntary groups, Harpenden Town Council, Hertfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Highways. Their ready support ensures that we are able to stage in Harpenden, for the enjoyment of its citizens, what is probably the largest midweek event in the UK classic vehicle calendar.


Harpenden Rotary Club

Gardens of Rose need your support

SIR – I am much in agreement with the Editor’s Comment about Butterfly World. We all look forward to the completion of this attraction, which will bring more people into St Albans with all the consequent knock-on benefits.

However we must not forget the major attraction next door, The Gardens of the Rose, which seems to have lost identity in the shadow of this new attraction.

The Gardens of the Rose have long been prominent in St Albans and it is still an important, attractive, colourful and restful area of calm.

On a day I visited two weeks ago a coachload of Japanese visitors were there and I understand coach parties do visit fairly frequently.

On closing day, a minibus of older folk had travelled from Epsom.

St Albans must support The Royal National Rose Society in its endeavours and ensure that its car parking application is allowed.

The two attractions are mutually exclusive, and by their very nature will be attracting different sectors of the wider visiting population, with the Gardens of the Rose attracting adult visitors and rose enthusiasts; and Butterfly World attracting family groups of all ages and school parties.

They could however be mutually supportive and every effort should be made and facilitated by SADC to ensure that this happens to the greater good of both areas.


Jersey Farm

Reunion appeal

SIR – Are there any former pupils of Holywell House School out there? We are keen to trace any former pupils who attended this school during the 1950s until it closed in the 1960s.

Please contact Jillian Thomas (now Anderson) jtarka@yahoo.com or Penny Nichols (now Davy) pennydavy@hotmail.com mob 0774989626


Abbey Mill Lane, St Albans