Letters to the BV Editor September 2022


The energy bill
Is there any help on the horizon to mitigate the energy bills? How do we survive?
I literally don’t know.
My contract just came to an end, and my renewal offer to fix a rate for the next 12 months is over £700 a month. It is … ridiculous. I’m struggling to understand that it’s actually real, and not an admin error.
I’m a single parent to two. I work full time. I’m not on any benefits. My teens have part time jobs. We do OK – but how am I supposed to just whisk up an extra £500 a month?
I keep searching and hoping, but there seems to be no answers or help from any quarter. The government are silent – SILENT! – during a national crisis that is genuinely more frightening than any I can personally remember.
And if one more person tells me to get thicker curtains or to turn off appliances I’m not using, there may be bloodshed.
John Farrer

Our missing MP
I always enjoy Simon Hoare’s contributions to The BV – I admit I’m an ‘undecided’ voter but have always considered North Dorset lucky in their representative, and value his opinion and thoughts. But I can’t help but notice that he has been Missing In Action a few times in the last few issues.
Understandable occasionally – yet I have observed he doesn’t fail to appear in a certain fortnightly printed title under a similar name.
Can it be that he values the readers of that paper more? They will, inevitably, be the older demographic, and therefore we all know they are those most likely to vote.
The BV is by far the superior publication in terms of reporting and content – and when I stopped to speak to you at the G&S Show (you did an excellent job on the show magazine, by the way) I saw the stats board in your marquee; I know The BV’s circulation to be considerable. You only need to follow your social media to see your instant connection with your readers.
And yet Mr Hoare doesn’t appear to value The BV enough to commit to a regular contribution?
Or perhaps it is your (what I presume to be) naturally younger, more digitally-conversant readership – who we all know are less likely to make time to vote, especially when we are all so disenchanted and disenfranchised with politicians – that he feels no need to engage with?
And possibly rather foolish.
Dr Charles Mathews
nr Sherborne

Our missing government
What is happening with our zombie government? We have had weeks of this beauty pageant of two candidates. Our alleged caretaker PM is off on holiday (again). Meanwhile, inflation is at the highest rate for 40 years. Wages are so universally low they are unlivable, and we face a winter of increasing strikes (those old enough will remember how much fun that wasn’t in the 70s). Our energy bills are so eye-watering it is impossible to grasp the reality of them.
Local businesses are already closing down – the domino effect has begun, many many more are holding on by their fingertips, but there’s no way they’ll stay afloat when their current contracts run out.
The times are not ordinary.
We need an extra-ordinary reaction to them.
Why was our government allowed to simply wash its hands of the whole energy crisis and say ‘not my job, love, wait for the next guy’?
Why is the country looking to a powerless Martin Lewis for guidance?
I am so angry at them all.
Shona B
Nr. Shaftesbury

Truss and Sunak
Thank you for your coverage of Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak visiting Dorset. It was an interesting and balanced article (contrary to what one person amusingly seemed to think on Facebook, before admitting they’d not actually read the article in question!), and it should have allowed us to gain a small insight into their responses to a few pertinent rural issues.
Sadly by following their summer campaigns more I see their responses were simply their cookie-cutter ‘right, we’re in the country so we need to talk about how great farmers are’ responses. Genuine insight into what our next prime minister may do for deprived rural areas and deep-seated planning issues feel further off then ever.
Tom Brady

What a travesty that a residential home is closing in Shaftesbury due to the inability to fill beds and thus keeping finances viable. Working in the NHS and trying to admit very ill people to overcrowded hospitals, we are informed time and again that there are no beds because there are no available placements to discharge people to.
There have been eight empty rooms at Pepperell house. How can this be? Why have these rooms not been filled? Why is there not a long waiting list as there is in other care establishments?
Of course I don’t know the answers to these questions but would it not be worth a public enquiry to see if this hugely valuable resource could not be kept open?
I imagine it has been a difficult task for the trustees to negotiate the pandemic but there are other willing volunteers who would step immediately into the trustee roles that the present trustees are vacating. Is it not worth having another try to keep Pepperell open?
Shaftesbury has an ageing and ever-expanding population. Residential settings for our elderly (soon to include all of us) and especially affordable ones are like gold dust. They should not need to be closed down, they need to have priority status.
And the above does not begin to address the devastation to residents and families who are losing their homes with such short notice. No doubt it will be nigh-on impossible to find other suitable accomadation, let alone a new ‘home’ which is what Pepperell most certainly is for its very elderly residents. A safe home and an established community .
Dr Katherine Gowing
by email

May I thank you for your frank honesty in your editor’s letter this month?
I too am an overweight middle-aged mum (there are a lot of us out there), and your letter really struck a chord.
Why was I sitting at home waiting for the right body before I braved the outside world in some sportswear?
I’m not as brave as you; contact sport is defitely not my thing. But I DID used to love cycling – so I pulled the bike out of the shed and hit the road, lycra-clad wobbly thighs and all.
And it was brilliant!
I’m so angry at myself for forgetting how much I loved it. Yes, OK, I couldn’t walk for two days afterwards – but I was soon back on it again, this time with my teenage daughter alongside me.
It’s become a regular evening mum-and-daughter activity, just for an hour, and we’re both loving it.
My aching thighs thank you.
Charlotte L

I should like to express many grateful thanks to Laura and Ian of Swallowcliffe who came to my aid after a nasty fall outside of Tesco Shaftesbury on Saturday August 12th. They finished my shopping and escorted me home. I am glad to say that such great kindness exists. Ever grateful.
M. Forster


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