Your letters to the Herts Advertiser...
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Alan Bunting’s comments regarding council waste in his letter in the Herts Advertiser of November 3 are spot on.
St Albans district council has just spent much time and money in re-laying the pavement alongside the now-former Post Office in Station Road, Harpenden: it was a job well done but, within a few days, various paving stones were showing cracks due to the now national obsession of off-road parking.
Many more have appeared since then.
It is, of course, an unnecessary cost to council taxpayers - but, crazy-paving is often expensive.
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Arden Grove, Harpenden
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My husband and I would like to thank so many kind people who helped and phoned an ambulance when I fell at Park Hill near Tesco’s Harpenden on Tuesday morning. I also fainted and so the paramedics insisted on a full MOT but everything was fine Everyone was fantastic. Thank you.
JENNY JOHNSON By email
Judging by the response this week to my cyclist’s letter, I seem to have hit a rather large and particularly raw nerve.
Ouch - but before you all congratulate yourselves on eliciting a counter from myself, please read on and learn, for the respondents were not so clever and clearly just responded to my name without thinking through the content of my words.
Firstly, Dr, I mean Stephen Honey (perhaps attracted to my mention of the word “wasps” in my letter) has likened me to several obscure and disparate historical characters.
To take them in turn: Henry Root’s letters, would you know, have been cited by many as works of “pure genius,” the Pub Landlord was a balding xenophobic whose raison d’être is animosity towards the French and Germans, believing that anything the Brits do is better. I’m actually the complete opposite.
I have a glorious mane but personally think this country is finished rather than mainland Europe which is in sel- destruct mode currently.
Stephen aka Dr Honey, a person who I bet gets a buzz out thinking up his witty ripostes and has a ‘hive’ of them stashed away on some external hardrive painted yellow and black, believes that I should perhaps take up cycling to cure my blood pressure.
Despite my many ailments, I am happy to say that presently my blood pressure is tickety boo, Doctor, You needn’t worry yourself.
Then we move to Mike Hartley of “Pond”field Crescent who has the temerity of accusing ME of being a “toad.” Pot, kettle black Mr Hartley - your useful and inflammatory comments about me also being brainless (I have an IQ of 140) were as unfounded as your cheap jokes were ‘rivet’ing. Perhaps next week you might ‘spawn’ something slightly more witty.
Moving swiftly on, Julie Mumby, READ MY LETTER CAREFULLY! The reference to wasps concerned the black and yellow striped jerseys the cyclists who cut me up were wearing, not that they were offensive little winged insects that needed a good swat (me thinks perhaps though that if the £1 shop sells a cheap swatter I should keep one in the car, just in case.)
Finally, we have Rona Wightman’s two paragraph “telling off” for my failure to understand the Highway Code. Well I do understand it Ms Wightman. It is not a law book but a book of guidelines for road use.
Of course cyclists can ride two abreast, but if in doing so the space between them takes over the whole bloody width of one carriageway, as the Freds did in the story I was telling, then that, dear reader, DOES constitute dangerous use of the road.
And doubly finally, to all you who mistook my comments about cyclists being road taxed, it is a combination of all the taxes we pay which, in part, contributes some towards the little that is done to keep our roads in good order. So, before you all write in en-masse to slag me off again, perhaps think carefully about your name or occupation in relation to your road name, it could get you into hot water - and please do observe my RAT formula for letter response writing - READ, ABSORB, THINK, before you reply and remember, unless your pen has a diamond tip, it is not even going to get close to making a mark on my Teflon coating. I thank you!
Head full of hair, a high IQ, average ego and complete non cyclist
Green Lane, St Albans
Cycling on a Sunday morning is usually a great experience on the lanes north of St Albans towards the Chilterns. More and more people are taking to these routes. Lately though this experience is being spoilt by something which doesn’t seem to go away and in fact is becoming more common. I have noticed an increase in fly-tipping which is worryingly becoming more prevalent.
A couple of Sundays ago the route between Redbourne and the Chilterns on Gaddesden Lane was blocked by a ton of garden waste which necessitated the closure of the road for a few hours.
This Sunday I took a ride down Punchbowl Lane and this is like taking a trip down Tin Pan Alley.
I counted no less than seven separate eyesore piles ranging from washing machines, dishwashers, old lawn mowers and umpteen bin bags of rubbish.
The cost of clean-up plus the damage to our beautiful countryside (and our wildlife) must surely mean our council needs to take more action to stop this horrendous activity.
For example how much does it cost to deploy two CCTV cameras at either end of the lane to root out or deter the perpetrators?
I also urge people to use the contact points to report activity. I did so myself last year when a van was driving very slowly down beautiful Symondshyde Lane one late afternoon clearly looking to off-load their carriage in amongst the woods.
Finally a plea to the fly-tippers themselves. Why do you do it? There are refuse sites at Garston and St Albans for all this waste. Surely it doesn’t take much to drive over to one of these sites. Is utter laziness. I find it an utter contemptible thing to do.
I would like to take issue with the letter from Mrs M. Hoskins in your edition of October 27 in which she complained that our MP, Mrs Anne Main, failed to turn up to Parliament and vote on a motion relative to EU nationals living in the UK.
It is sensible and reasonable to withhold guarantees for EU nationals in the UK until similar guarantees have been received from the EU for UK nationals living in the EU. What would Mrs Hoskins say to UK nationals deported from Europe who could not be protected because of a prior unilateral guarantee by the UK? Do the people who keep bleating about bargaining chips realise that we are in negotiations? What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
From her comment about Mrs Main’s lacklustre record in defending the interests of her constituents and the general tone of her letter it is reasonable to assume that Mrs Hoskins supported the clamour for Mrs Main’s resignation on the grounds that she did not represent the majority view of her constituents on the EU referendum. Clearly Mrs Main is at fault for failing to have the clairvoyant powers of her critics and being in possession of a cracked crystal ball. I wonder if there would have been the same clamour if she had supported the Remain side and there had been a majority for Leave. It was a free individual vote and absolutely nothing to do with representation of views. Mrs Main was as entitled to her own opinions and to express them as anyone else.
I have had a considerable volume of correspondence over the years with Mrs Main and she has always replied promptly and in full. She even took the trouble to telephone me on one occasion. I also know of several cases when she really helped individual constituents and so has earned my respect.
Fiveacres Avenue, Bricket Wood
On a visit to England recently and having seen criticisms of the Ambulance Service and the NHS, I have to say that my own experience was entirely favourable.
After suffering with severe chest pains for several hours, I rang the 111 telephone service for advice. The operator asked several diagnostic questions and an ambulance appeared outside my brother’s house before the phone call had finished. The friendly paramedic crew performed some tests, suggestingthat the pains were not a heart attack but still needed hospital attention.
At Watford General Hospital, I was admitted to A&E, was examined by doctors and given a bed, followed the next morning with various scans and tests. After a further period of monitoring, I was discharged.
At no point could any of the staff involved have done any better. They seldom get much praise but I would like to put my appreciation on record.
ANDREA AMERIKANAS (MRS)
On Tuesday last week I was caught up in the evening traffic gridlock caused by Thameslink train delays, which you subsequently highlighted on your front page.
It took me 35-40 minutes to drive across town to get home. I worked out that it must have been train delays to blame; but never mind, it was never usually this bad.
But, of course, it is often very nearly as bad, when there are roadworks lasting days or weeks. The road system is regularly throttled.
It is inevitable. Houses and flats have been rammed in and around this overburdened community for decades and still it goes on. Soon we will have to cope with hundreds more city centre cars from the monstrous, out-of-scale development opposite the Odyssey cinema, and, dozens more from the Ziggurat office block conversion just down the road, and so on and so on, as the recent excellent analysis by Debbie White pinpointed.
If the government and Hertfordshire councils contrive to position tens of thousand more homes in the countryside around St Albans, there is far, far worse to come.
Is there a solution for St Albans? Not within the city. But how about a second rail-way station on the proposed rail freight interchange site at Park Street? To re-duce the pressure on the city station, and offer some semblance of sanity in our planning.
Inevitably, it would have to be secured by more housing but the apocalyptic freight lorry threat would be averted. And how about reserving space on the land for a ma-jor combined hospital/welfare services development serving St Albans and Watford, supported by appropriate levels of integrated services on the current hospital sites?
It is high time councillors put real energy and determination into safeguarding the health and wellbeing of existing citizens.
All they seem to have done in St Albans is roll over and let housing developers tickle their tummies. They need to make amends.
Even before the big gridlock, I was planning to write asking who monitors air quality levels in St Albans, in which locations and how often?
Why? Well, we all know that Holywell Hill and the Peahen junction are contami-nated, but I also drive regularly past the new free school at the city centre end of the ever-busy Hatfield Road and I wonder how our planners came to approve this roadside site for use by children?
Is the air quality there ever toxic? Was air quality part of the planning consideration? Perhaps someone at the council could enlighten us on what envi-ronmental checks are carried out on such planning applications and whether they take future deterioration into account.
I don’t hold my breath (no pun intended). Many weeks ago I telephoned the council’s recycling number to ask whether I could load lighter plastic flowerpots into the wheelie bin. An automated voice told me I could expect a reply within ten days. Still I wait.
Numbers - homes, cars, days - seem to be a weakness with the council. But maybe arguing for two railway stations would be easy enough?
Mile House Close, St Albans
On my drive home tonight I came across a muntjac deer quite nonchalantly strolling across ahead of me. It seemed unfazed by my headlights and I had to slow down to let it finish its crossing. How common are these deers in and around St Albans and are they a protected species?
I’ve come to the conclusion that, however wonderful our market is, it is domiciled by a bunch of misogs. No, not mysoginists, but miserable, moaning types for whom no trading day is ever a good one. Last Saturday, I happened to be passing some idle traders languishing outside their stalls all talking to each other. It was only 2pm. “I’ve never known it so tough,” said one of them to which came the reply, “yeah, I’ve had so many lookers today I ought to open up a stall selling spectacles!”
My advice is, based on many years of retail experience, to sell what the bloody public wants! Turned wooden olive salad bowls and hand carved tossers on a cold November morning aren’t exactly going to race out the door too fast, nor too are pots of marinated Nocerino olives when this is clearly a foodstuff better suited to being sold during the summer months.
Although not a big fan, the high street will be less rich this year with the absence of BHS. I wish its former staff well and hope they have all by now found jobs. Although not everyone’s cup of tea, English classics like BHS and M&S are a big draw for many people and it will be a disaster if the board pencil in our high street M&S for closure. Time will out, as they say.
The Post Office remains as inefficient as ever; a public mostly ignorant of how to use the automatic machines and of the six or so counters available, very rarely more than two or three of them open. I don’t expect things to change in the run up to the busiest time of year. Still, there’s always Noddy Holder’s annual Xmas muzak to heel tap to whilst waiting in line!
As we enter the final furlong towards Christmas, no doubt the carpers will continue, both market traders and retailers. The Big Issue sellers will be urging you to buy a copy, young fit things will be handing out flyers urging essential gym membership, Sky and Virgin hawking their TV services and buskers will be belting out folk songs, some talented, others no better than X-Factor rejects, to raise money for their next meal, their first car or, hopefully, for a worthwhile charity.
Harried, bad-mooded consumers with as much Christmas spirit as Ebeneezer Scrooge on Methadone will be rudely pushing their way through the crowds in typical ‘me first’ fashion and the St Albans light “extravaganza” will once again be performed by yet another unknown Z-lister in between performances of Cinderella.
But people, it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s always the Xmas market as an alternative: Homebase sheds replete with rip-off price decorations, rugby type men in check shirts with deep voices selling plastic cups of mulled wine and poorly cooked Kielbasa. Great fun for the kids but nothing but an expensive mud fest for the Bugaboo brigade of parents acceding to the will of tiny Tarquins as they demand this and grab at that. St Albans at Christmas time. Don’t you just love it. Bah humbug!
Green Lane, St Albans