Letters to the Editor

A bumper mailbag this month

Dear Ray,

Regarding your editorial in October on the subject of road works. Surely, you must have seen the Great Depression in the verge just outside Crimplesham?

No doubt to rectify this the Council, having some spare time and money, thoughtfully used this in order to clear a few spaces alongside the A134. These spaces to be used by tractors to give them a few places to pull into and so allow the faster traffic an easier passage.

Perhaps they will be signposted later? Maybe even a sign design competition!

Well that’s my view unless someone has a better explanation.

John Baxter

Dear Ray,

Can somebody please tell me why pheasants are so stupid? They see a car coming and run hell-for-leather across the field towards it. It is no wonder that Norfolk’s roads are littered with their remains.

I write with bitterness as I have just hit one at 60 mph. It was the size of a small ostrich and has damaged the front of my car and the repair will be costly. I know of other people who have had similar expensive experiences, but I know that nothing can be dome about the situation. Oddly enough, my lasting feeling is of sadness for having taken the life of a beautiful creature.

Anyway, as I started, is there anybody out there who is an expert on the brain of the pheasant? If not, I suggest that some medical person gets studying – it would be fascinating research.

Yours,

Graham Forster

Dear Ray,

A lot of people have said that it was a disgrace that a young tagged offender was allowed to buy a lottery ticket. They were further infuriated that he scooped the £10 million pound jackpot. I cannot see anything wrong with this and hope that the money will help him create a fulfilling life for himself and his pregnant partner. But he will need financial advice from Camelot for this to happen. The list of big winners is littered with broken lives and alcoholism (one man actually died).

Surely a better way to tackle this is to reduce the maximum prize to £1million – that must be enough for anybody to have a wonderful life-style no matter how old one is. This would enable the other prizes to be increased and, to my mind, make the lottery a lot more attractive. Other people’s thoughts please!

Yours Sincerely,

Graham Forster

Dear Ray,

Now personally I don’t have a problem with children coming round trick or treating, except that personally at the moment I cannot afford to give anything. But, in my opinion, knocking on people’s doors and expecting sweets or money is a form of scrounging. Yet when I ask someone to buy me something from the Methodists Canteen I was called a scrounger! Yet, on 31st October every year, children can go round trick or treating, getting the old folk to come to the door and part with something they cannot afford!

Personally, I feel they should have a Halloween Party in a Hall and have a good time. They could ask then if anyone wanted to donate something to help their evening go well; I am sure they would end up with more than enough sweets. And there could be a raffle to help as well and a few prizes say for the best costume or whatever. Now I may he called old fashioned and I still miss my dear mother but I do try to help anyone old or young the same.

The reason I have been so hard up is mainly because of miss-management of money but, hopefully, one-day I will be able to go out and about a little more than I do at the moment.

Your friend as always,

John

Dear Ray,

On 13th October 2002 I was taken by Ambulance to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. I was admitted in the MAU (Medical Assessment Unit) and I was put on a drip for dehydration and a drip to help to slow down my heart-rate, it was called a heart-flutter. This was caused by an histamine tablet called Telfast, the side effect of that tablet caused my heart flutter. If I had not been ill with sickness and diarrhoea and ringing the Medicom help line and Doctor Scott from the Bridge Street surgery and checking me over, I would have never known about my heart flutter. I had my heart checked out and there was no sign of angina or risk of Cardiac arrest (Heart Attack). It is simply my heart is beating too fast for which I am taking a tablet called Digoxin for regulating my heart-beat and Warfarin to thin my blood.

I have to visit the Hospital on a weekly basis for a blood sample. I do not seem to have as much get up and go as I had but I do not feel so depressed as I was before going into Hospital. Mind you. I am not taking as many pills as I was, and I am glad of it. My first pill of the day is Digoxin at 6 a.m. and the second pill of the day is Warfarin which I take at 6 .p.m.

I am grateful to the nurses and staff of Oxborough Ward and at the MAU Ward. Unfortunately, the night of my admission, a chap in the next bed to mine suffered a Cardiac Arrest and died before the machine was attached. I peeked through the curtain later, he did look peaceful; first time I had seen a dead body. The second incident was the Sunday night before my discharge on Monday in Oxborough Ward he also had a Cardiac Arrest. Now I felt worse for that situation and even now I get flash-backs of that evening. You may think me being paranoid, but as I do not cry for death or any upset, it takes me a lot longer to deal with. I have to take one day at a time and before travelling on an outing or just a trip to Stoke Ferry I get pre-travel nerves. But I do still say my prayers regularly and that helps.

Your friend as always,

John

Dear Ray,

Tim Gaunt Baker wrote in the November issue in support of the Liberty and Livelihood march. He claimed that it was not just about fox hunting, shooting and fishing but also about the decline in agriculture, the closure of village schools, post offices and banks, the exorbitant fuel tax, the lack of public transport and the escalation of rural crime.

Of course we are all very sorry to see the loss of so many rural services, but who is to blame? Local buses, village shops, pubs, post offices and banks have all closed because rural people have ceased to use them on a scale sufficient for them to remain economically viable. Villagers prefer to use their cars. They go to the supermarket, use their credit cards to obtain cash, have their bills paid by direct debit, their wages and pensions paid directly into their bank accounts and so on. What do the marchers want? Having allowed their services to die, do they expect the urban dwellers to subsidise village shops, post offices, buses etc for the benefit of the few in the country that still need them?

Exorbitant fuel prices affect many businesses a lot more than they do farming; they affect everybody, not just country folk, although the cost for the urban dweller may be more hidden. Taxes have to be raised somehow. The increase in rural crime is a worry to us all and we hope and expect that something will be done to reverse the trend. Nevertheless we do have the consolation that crime is still much less of a problem in rural areas than in urban areas.

It seems to me that the fox hunting lobby, in the guise of the Countryside Alliance, has amplified these questionable grievances in order to whip up support for the march and thereby exaggerate the support that exists for fox hunting.

Tim’s claim that rural areas are being depopulated because of the lack of employment and because houses are being bought as second homes is just not true. No doubt some houses are being bought as second homes, especially in coastal regions, but one only has to look at the scale of building in Downham Market and the surrounding villages, and to see the problems with overcrowding in schools, in hospitals and in doctor’s surgeries, to realise that we are in the middle of a population explosion.

It is true that farm incomes have fallen in recent years. I have lived in farming areas for over forty years, I have friends who are farmers. For almost all of that time I have seen them enjoying very good incomes and I have seen many of them grow rich. Some of them have grown very rich by selling land with permission for building. No doubt there are others less fortunate but many of those claiming to have a low income have their living accommodation paid for, whereas the cost of housing represents a large proportion of family income for many folk. Of course things are very difficult for the poor in rural areas and I would support more help directed towards the genuinely poor, be they in town or country. Poverty is relative of course, and it is very difficult for a poor urban dweller living in a council flat or struggling to pay off a high mortgage, to regard a farmer who owns a few hundred acres, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, as poor, no matter how much his income has shrunk. I have no doubt, however, that the present situation in farming fortunes will change. We all need farmers.

Turning finally to the vexed question of country sports. Tim Gaunt Baker makes the point that hunting is the least cruel way of controlling foxes. That may be true, I don’t know. Unfortunately there is some evidence that, rather than being concerned with controlling foxes, the hunting fraternity will allow them to breed in order to provide them with their ‘sport’. My objections to fox hunting have nothing to do with my perceptions of the type of person that goes hunting, or their wealth, as Mr Gaunt Baker claims. There are numerous pursuits, which are restricted to those who can afford it. I can’t imagine myself or anyone else objecting to the Royal Ascot meeting because those who choose dress up in their fineries are most likely to be wealthy, or to the Henley Regatta with those who like to dress in striped blazers. I can’t imagine protesters with banners at Cowes.

No! Tim Gaunt Baker is deluding himself if he thinks the objections to fox hunting are because it is “a chance to bash the toffs” as he puts it. It has nothing to do with that. The aspect of fox hunting that is so objectionable to the majority of people in this country is the fact that these people are taking pleasure from inflicting cruelty.

Ron Watts

Dear Editor,

At our recent AGM I was pleased to see that our advertising revenue had substantially increased, and that sales of The Pump had also increased, in addition I was equally pleased to see that profits were up on the previous year.

Present circulation we are told is some 275 copies per month, and I would hope our Management Committee would over the coming year address the question of how these sales can be substantially increased.

Of course some will say, ‘Should we want to increase Sales’, and my answer is we have no choice. A business, and that is what our Pump is, will not stand still, it will either go forward or backwards whether we like it or not.

In any event it has gone forward, if you consider the articles submitted by our main Contributors, of which I am one, the content of these articles are in no way parochial, they reach out to a much wider readership. A number of our new Advertisers which the Pump has attracted are not resident with-in the original confines of the Village Pump, in other words we have moved on.

With all of this in mind I consider it is now time to re-evaluate the Constitution of our Pump, time has moved on and so must we. What we should now be considering is a change of name, for example to, The West Norfolk Gazette, or whatever, we are no longer the parochial magazine that we were years ago.

If we are to increase sales then of course we must do all we can to maximise sales with-in our existing ‘boundaries’, but if those ‘boundaries’ are removed then the world is your oyster, and a very exciting future awaits us.

Les Lawrence

Dear Editor

May I be allowed to respond to Marion Manning’s letter to me in last months issue?

My article, which didn’t quite appeal to her critical eye, was the 76th one that I had written for our Village Pump, and I have to say that I find it somewhat disingenuous on her part that she refrained from commenting on the others. Maybe they were to her liking?

With regard to greeting someone with ‘watcha bor’, I’m sure that has some appealing feature; unfortunately I am at a loss at the moment to know what it is.

It could be that Marion is under the illusion that reading my articles is compulsory? May I assure her this is not so. Just because a good number of people tell me how much they enjoy and appreciate what I write, she should feel under no obligation to join what is in effect an ever increasing group.

Finally, our dear Marion still hasn’t got it right with regard to my ‘gorgeous woman’ observation. I can write about that subject with a certain amount of authority. I should know all about gorgeous women; I was fortunate to many one.

Les Lawrence

Dear Editor,

The feedback the committee received following this year’s Harvest Fayre indicated that some people were disappointed that it was a ‘music only’ event so for 2003 we are planning a return to a more traditional Fayre, with stalls and other attractions as well as music.

If readers of the Pump have any ideas about what they would like to see included or, even better, would like to help organise next year’s event they should come along the Harvest Fayre Committee’s AGM which will take place in the Bluebell pub at 7.30 pm on Thursday 12th December. We need your help to ensure this is an event for everyone in the village so please do come and make your views known.

Yours faithfully

Marion Clarke

Dear Ray,

Please could you find a little space in the Village Pump to say a big thank you to Richard and Stephanie Allen for inviting me and my family to their bonfire and fireworks on November 5th? It was a brilliant night and we all had a great time.

Thanks again,

Patsy, Kevin, Juanita, Kirsty, John and granddaughter Larrissa

Dear Editor,

It was a change not to read grumbles in the November Pump about Favor Parker. They provide work and have been here over 70 years. Obviously they have expanded that’s what one hopes business’s do. People who have settled here in the last 70 years must have noticed it here and should have thought again about coming to Stoke Ferry if the mill causes problems for them.

At the moment I am walking slowly with the aid of two sticks. On several occasions Parker’s lorries have stopped to let me cross the road and the other day, one lorry, which could have got by me, stopped to see that I got safely to the pavement.

Thanks very much for your consideration,

June Stocking

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