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I wonder if Michael Walker thinks that in addition to pubs, there are also now too many coffee shops in St Albans?

After all, we all can go to the supermarket and buy coffee at a fraction of the price that it is served for in the numerous new ventures sprouting around the city.

By staying at home to enjoy cheap supermarket products, he is surely missing the very point of pubs.

They are, and very much have been for centuries, central to life in Britain.

They are the hub of the community, a meeting place, often a refuge from the madding crowds, a place to discuss the latest events in the community and the world at large, a place to have a laugh and swap jokes, to enjoy and celebrate a special occasion, or indeed a place to share sorrows.

A place to get advice, or find someone to help with an odd job, a place to help with charity events, participate in a quiz, practice a foreign language, enjoy cheese or books through various special interest clubs, to improve your darts or dominoes skills, or to grab a refreshment after a good ramble or cycle.

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Of course, one may also enjoy a filling meal locally produced pie, or interesting snack, the latest or a favourite real ale, cider, wine or new gin, listen to a local band, watch sport, and make new friends…

The pub is also a place where young people can learn to drink alcohol in a social environment rather than glug cheap supermarket booze unsupervised behind closed doors or in the back streets.

A recent study from Oxford University found that drinking in moderation with friends actually seems to improve overall wellbeing, with people who drank regularly at their local being happier and more satisfied with their lives and having more friends by promoting bonding.

St Albans has for centuries been renowned for its many pubs, and despite more than a dozen closures over the past 10 years, is still high on the list for pub-going visitors from across the land and even abroad for the variety and history they offer.

I’ll drink to that, but not at home !

IAN BOYD St Albans

When the Rev John Churcher claims the EU “represents an astounding contribution to development and prosperity” (Herts Ad, April 6), he forgot to add “… for people like me in the industrialised northern countries”.

The EU is run in the best interests of large, multinational companies at the expense of small businesses, the rich northern states at the expense of the poorer southern ones, and the tariff-protected EU28 at the expense of the world’s developing nations – all of which are regressive strategies.

Thanks in part to the straitjacket of the euro, youth unemployment in Italy is 40 per cent, in Spain 43 per cent and in Greece 44 per cent.

The free movement of people, introduced to provide cheap, disposable labour for the prosperous north, is economically depopulating eastern Europe, while the free movement of capital benefits bankers, hedge fund managers and multinational corporations, which move locations in search of cheap wage bills, leaving a trail of zero-hours workers behind them.

I doubt that Jesus Christ would have approved of any of this.

Rather than making divisive, negative and antagonistic remarks about “liars” and “jingoistic” Leavers, Rev Churcher should stick to doing his job: preaching the Bible and praying to God (who, as far as I know, has yet to deliberate on Brexit).


Hatfield Road, St Albans

It is always a challenge to read Barry Cashin’s correspondence without emitting some instinctive guttural response. His letter in a recent Herts Advertiser (“A failed experiment?”) has compelled me to respond in kind: not to his premise, but rather to his presentation.

There will be others – better informed than I am – to argue about the root causes of Europe’s economic woes and the rise of terrorism, or whether the EU was, at least in some part, fundamental in developing the “freedoms we have all enjoyed since the end of WWII” (Mr Cashin’s words). I would suggest, however, that the evocation for Britain to again “rule the waves” might not be the most appropriate rallying cry for the 21st century.

No, in this instance I am more concerned with how the message has been presented, and not the message itself.

The random casting of commas and metaphors throughout his letter sometimes makes it difficult to understand the point being made. “…Europe’s economies … are fit to burst…” implies a very healthy state of affairs, which I am sure was not Mr Cashin’s intention. And many of the sentences are not really sentences.

Is it necessary to say that dogs die organically? And what is a divorce if not a “conscious uncoupling” of a marriage? I do not believe that the dictionary was “much more simplified” before the EU; it may have had fewer words in it, but this is not the same as simplified.

I do not want to be considered a pedant, but I feel passionately that the correct use of language is important, whether in rhetoric or in journalism.

We may not have much left here that is our own, but we are custodians of the English language and we have a responsibility to use it effectively and clearly.

Finally, a point of contention. If the Sky News poll did indeed record 50 per cent happy with the triggering of Article 50 (with 36 per cent being “unhappy”), then this is lower than the 52 per cent who voted Yes last June.

Of course, it could be argued that the 14 per cent of poll respondents who did not reply Yes or No would not have voted in the referendum, thereby giving 58 per cent Yes and 42 per cent No.

But then, it could be argued that the two questions posed are very different from each other anyway.

Hey ho, that’s why we all love statistics.


Runcie Close, St Albans

Can I thank the Herts Ad for highlighting the increased noise and number of flights routed over St Albans in its April 6 edition.North St Albans has been subject to a year of increased flight at a lower level, with higher noise levels day and night.

This is only going to get worse if residents do not object on the CAA consultation, which closes on June 30.


Gurney Court Road, St Albans

We’ve streetlights going off at ten

And potholes inches deep,

The council’s plotting ways to cut

For what they sow we reap.

Our verges grow like jungles

And country paths are thickets,

The bloomin’ men in blue and gold, love giving parking tickets.

The market’s getting leaner

As stalls begin to go,

And casuals wait in line no more

For the regular no-shows.

It’s “Panda bowl” and pound shops

Succeeding in our city,

No class to match the affluence

I say, and more’s the pity.

The town hall clad in boarding

For a year or so and for what

Another damned museum

And art gallery - so what!

The pubs are closing one by one

As communities resort,

To a pack of four convenience store

Where one can buy the lot,

From nappies to a sirloin steak, fish fingers and some tissues

Where customers just stop their cars causing multiple parking issues.

Our lake is full of toxins

I find it rather fitting,

That the Canada geese who die from this

Blissfully carry on sh***ing.

Sinkholes to the left of me, corruption to the right

Is it any wonder that the lights go out at night!?

It’s not all bad here though, I say, I shouldn’t have a pop

For Snorbens has a plethora of wonderful coffee shops.

Where brats can rant and babies cry and mother get their baps out,

The shock of breasts at half past two enough to make one pass out!

So I sit at the back and seek some peace

Instead find a group of millenials

Discussing work and mortgages, these problems are perennial.

St Albans, what a place to live

We’ve really got it made,

Don’t go, don’t go, you’ll miss these things, and wish that you had stayed.

I thank you!

BARRY CASHIN Green Lane, St Albans

Many of your readers will have participated in Sustainable St Albans Week 2016, and enjoyed your excellent round up of the 100-plus events organised by all kinds of organisations from all around our district.

We would like to thank everyone that nominated the week for a Mayor’s Pride Award and to share with your readers the news that Sustainable St Albans Week won in the “Environmental Champions” category for the second year in succession. This is a tribute to, and recognition for, every organisation that participated, and to everyone that helped, both front of house and behind the scenes.

After due reflection, we are moving Sustainable St Albans Week to the spring, so the next one will be in 2018, with warmer weather and lighter evenings, and plenty of time for existing and new groups to plan their contributions.

Many of the Herts Ad stories rightly feature battles to prevent environmental problems in the making.

Sustainability, though, is also a perpetual task and Transition St Albans remains on the case. We have packed away our thermal imaging cameras (borrow one in the autumn to find out where your home or workplace is wasting heat) and are moving outside. Our season of Open Food Gardens is just beginning, so come along and be inspired to grow more of your own.

Do look out for these events and more by searching online, and join us in any way that appeals to you.


For Transition St Albans (key organisers of Sustainable St Albans Week)