Letters to the BV Editor December 2021


I am writing, I’m afraid to say, with a complaint: I have very much missed the column from Vineyards in the last couple of issues, and demand its prompt return. I enjoy wine, but in all honesty I know little about it. I have always been happy to simply grab a good-looking bottle with a familiar name in my local supermarket.
Since I have been reading your wine column over the last year I have been fascinated – what was once a rather intimidating landscape has become more understood, and I have become more adventurous in my choices. I have also been encouraged by the apparently genuine friendliness and charm of the column to bravely visit my own local independent wine shop – and was relieved to find it as friendly, welcoming and helpful as I hoped.
Please bring Vineyards back. I require more education and good suggestions!
Mr A B, Shaftesbury
(it wasn’t by choice that they went away! Vineyards have recently moved premises in Sherborne, and the understandable upheaval meant they needed a little time. If you turn to the Food & Drink section, you’ll find them back with some excellent advice for your Christmas table! – Ed)

For those who unbelievably still refuse the vaccination for Covid, here’s an extract from The Times newspaper of November 24, 2021 in their leader column.
“Those dying in hospital have sometimes admitted they were to blame for refusing vaccinations. Exhausted doctors have given vent to their anger that they must still treat people whose plight was largely avoidable. Statistics show that almost all those now in intensive care, apart from those with underlying conditions, have not been vaccinated.”
And for those who have had their two jabs, The Times adds (leader November 22nd) “A third dose takes protection from infection from approximately 50% to more than 93%.”
We have just returned from M&S in Blandford. Approximately 50% of customers were not wearing masks. This is despite the fact that not only is the infection still with us, there is a more transmissible variant creeping across the world.
Writing in The Times, a pharmacist, Dr Brian Walker, adds, “…global research has found that masks can slash incidences of coronavirus infection by 53%. The study found that masks are more effective than social distancing and hand washing. Other than vaccination or drugs, masks offer the best protection available.”
And still we have aggressive and selfish idiots (Piers Corbyn comes to mind) with no scientific and medical knowledge who think they know better than the world’s leading medical professionals and scientists.
BJ, Shaftesbury
(since receiving, masks have again been ruled as mandatory – Ed)

What a lovely article on page 28 of your November magazine about the old Co-op in Child Okeford (see Roger Guttridge’s Looking Back article here) . What a surprise for me to see the photograph too, showing the staff line-up at the time. The young lady on the far right is my aunt Mary Wareham (later Mary Day) who lived just along the road from the Co-op at the Barracks, Upper Street. She worked there for many happy years and was well known in the village. Thank you for the memory.
Judy Waite nee Wareham.

I am sure others will already have told you but the plane in the readers photos section in the October issue is a Tiger Moth, not a Swordfish. The CAA have a database called G-Info and anyone can look up any CAA registered plane (starts with a G-) and ‘EMSY’ comes up as a Tiger Moth to prove the point.
Turns out I am a plane geek after all!
Thanks for the Magazine.
Colin O, Hinton St Mary
(you are correct Colin – I actually received rather a lot of corrections. I didn’t feel it needed me to print them all… – Ed )

David Warburton MP has been vocal in his concern at the lamentable condition of our increasingly polluted rivers. And yet he voted against the amendment to the Environment Bill that would have prevented water firms discharging raw sewage into our rivers.
Why would Mr Warburton and his colleagues want to stop water companies from having a legal obligation not to pump raw sewage into our inland waterways?
In 2020 alone raw sewage was dumped into rivers more than 400,000 times, at enormous ecological cost.
If the financial sustainability of a privatised water system depends on the wholesale dumping of raw, untreated sewage into our rivers, then that system is not fit for purpose and should be replaced by a model of public ownership that prioritises ecological sustainability and public health.
Our precious countryside deserves so much better.
Mr A Fletcher
Milborne Port

I’m excited at the prospect of Aldi opening a superstore in the retail park just outside Stur – it’ll be great for the town and will bring jobs and people to our area.
I’ve worked with town planners and retailers up and down the country for 25 years and there is concrete evidence that such new openings has a wider beneficial effect on the community.
Let me give you a very small example: I talked to a group of publicans in a rather down at heel seaside town who were horrified at the news that Wetherspoons was going to open a superpub right in the middle of them. Wetherspoons famously stocks a huge range of drinks at low prices and their menu is absurdly inexpensive. ‘They’ll undercut us all,’ was the publicans singular message.
I visited the area a year later to interview these publicans.
They were all still there.
All their pubs were thriving – as was Wetherspoons. Thousands more people were flocking to the place as ‘Spoons acted like a huge magnet and some people – after visiting the cavernous superpub preferred a quieter more cosy pub even though their drinks were more expensive. As for food sales, the old pubs upped their game by providing a more gourmet alternative to ‘Spoon’s canteen-like offering.
Those who run Stur Biz are doing a good job, but they cannot make people open new jobs and businesses in the area. These will only come when entrepreneurs are convinced that there will be a market for their products.
Yes, there are one or two tired shops in Stur that may be hit but businesses must evolve.
AP Hazelbury Bryan

I was frankly offended by Andy Palmer’s story in Tales from the Vale (Nov issue) about him checking out his friend’s new girlfriend. It was patronizing and sexist, and I hope you won’t publish degrading ‘tales’ like that again.
Name and address withheld.
I think if you read it again (see Andy’s Nov column here) you’ll see he makes exactly the opposite point – that the men involved were completely outwitted by more socially and emotionally sophisticated women who clearly possessed the upper hand – (your female) Ed

We loved your Tales from the Vale piece about giving birds in your garden individual names. Eg Andy Palmer calls the wrens, René, Renata and Renoir, which my children love and they’ve started to do it, which is driving me slightly mad, so thanks for that!
But my wife wondered, when the birds disappear for a while does Andy sing, ‘Wren, will I see you again. These precious moments etc’. She also added, ‘bet they don’t publish this!’
BB, Sherborne
I hate to disappoint your wife.
But I did.
And knowing Andy, I can categorically comfirm that yes, he does – Ed.

he Sherborne Antiques Market is! Thanks to your article last month, I went into Sherborne especially to visit it – and I’ve been back twice since.
And while there I’ve stopped for (excellent) coffee in two different coffee shops, discovered a number of other small independents and managed some of my Christmas shopping.
This is the very best of an independent high street in action, one excellent shop drawing in visitors who then explore further, and in turn bring in more custom as they tell their friends and family. Thankyou for highlighting not just this fantastic shop, but all the small independent shops you share every month, it really has opened my eyes to the diversity I have found since moving to what I’ll admit I thought was a ‘quaint sleepy area’ for my retirement.
Janet H


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