Letters, December 9, 2010, part three

Can anyone solve our UFO mystery?

SIR – Me and my partner were up in the early hours of Friday morning at approximately 1am after watching a film.

Before turning off the television, my partner decided to look out from the lounge window to see how the snow was clearing off the roads. He said: “Hey what’s that?”

We both saw what appeared to be a golden diamond-shaped object just hovering in the sky, with four identical gold lights coming from each point. The lights did not flash and it stayed in the same position for approximately 20 seconds, and very quickly just flew into the distance, enough time to realise it wasn’t an aeroplane or the popular Chinese lanterns. I just wish I had my camera to take a snap but it was an extraordinary phenomenon to see.


Hillside Road, St Albans

Grammar corner

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SIR – The small word ‘hub’ has recently become used frequently in your paper and elsewhere.

Locally it seemed to start with the Oaklands College plans when there was some understanding that spokes would connect a central place or hub to points on a rim.

Then, among other instances, we have learnt that the council perceive St Albans to be a cultural hub, and in this case the connection is less obvious as most activities would be near the centre or hub.

From a recent public notice concerning the Jubilee Centre we learn that it is to become a ‘cultural hub’ as well.

I’ve heard of wheels within wheels, but hubs within hubs?

This time all the activities would take place in one location.

Then in your edition of December 2 your headline ‘New sports hub plan presses forwards’. Once again the activities seem intended to take place in one location, albeit on the very fringes or rim of St Albans.

There is no obvious connection to the centre of the city by way of a spoke.

There have been other instances of the use of ‘hub’ and it now seems to leap from the page demanding attention.

I would suggest that it is becoming overworked and its meaning blurred. It should be remembered that in most cases where ‘the wheels fall off’ there is a hub involved.


Holyrood Crescent, St Albans

(Editor’s comment: The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of the word “hub” states: “the effective centre of an activity, region, or network: e.g. the kitchen was the hub of family life”, which is the context in which it is being used in these articles.)

SIR – Interesting coincidence: your editorial (probably not for the first time, but not done weekly) uses a question mark after a sentence beginning with “surely” in the same edition in which your obituary column mentions the sad passing of a former English teacher who pulled me up for being so hesitant as to use that punctuation about something I am saying so surely!

This was before the Aussie soap-inspired use of the question mark inflection of voice in statements that has become rife in parts of our TV-influenced culture.

Anyway, I think Keith Finley was an interesting man (and local politician), and anyone taught by him will be interested to hear that someone who also taught religion has opted for a woodland burial with no service.

I hope his family can accept that and find ways of remembering his life together, assuming they wish to do so.


London Road, St Albans

Christmas invitation to Army’s party

SIR – Once again the Salvation Army in Harpenden at Leyton Green will be holding a Christmas Day party.

If you would like to come or know of someone who would enjoy being with us, will you please phone 01582 764879, or write to Winifred Golbourn at 9 Gordon Walk, Harpenden, AL5 1LQ.

Offers of help with transport would be appreciated. Please phone Barrie Hills on 01582 763581. We very much appreciate all the help given to us in previous years.


Harpenden Corps

Leyton Green