Letters to the BV Editor November 2022


On Ramblers
This weekend I passed a group of what I took to be a group of ramblers – 12 or so people of retirement age, all in stout boots, wearing sensible waterproofs and carrying backpacks.
However – I was driving, and I slowly passed them on a narrow single track lane. The issue was that most scattered before me to both sides of the lane.
Surely it is a hikers basic 101 knowledge that on a road you walk in single file, and keep to the right? By scattering on both sides they made it far harder for me to pass them all safely. Some had unnecessarily launched into the hedge, others stood to the side of the ride, others, busy chatting, edged over but stayed side-by-side.
Please walkers – by all means fill a quiet lane when there is no traffic, but do us careful drivers the courtesy of moving to just one side, in single file, when you allow us to pass!
Alan Moreton

On the politics
Great to have Simon Hoare back in your politics pages again – I, like Dr Mathews in your September issue, had noticed his absence.
His column (p.22 The BV, Oct 22) was apposite as the Westminster Circus continues to play out this month (as I write Liz Truss is still PM, but will she be tomorrow? By the time this is printed I suspect she will not be). I did feel that perhaps Ken Huggins column from the Green’s this month was unusually underwhelming – his is usually one of my favourite viewpoints to read, and I wonder if perhaps his actual views on the current Tory Mess may have been a little too strong for The BV’s pages?
Tony Barratt
Nr Verwood
(I couldn’t possibly comment either way on that – Ed)

Farm cruelty
I have been horrified to learn of the case of farm cruelty in West Dorset recently. The cruelty and suffering appear to have been bad enough, when it came to light in the court case. But what is worse is that this was a Red Tractor certified farm – which had been visited repeatedly by Trading Standards due to concerns over the animal welfare for six years!
Quite why it took so long for the situation to be resolved and the animals properly cared for is beyond me. How can a farm with such ongoing and long-standing animal welfare issues still retain its red tractor status? And more importantly, how are we supposed to now trust this alleged beacon of shopper security? Once earned, do red tractor not return and check up on its certified badge wearers?
Once again we are fooled by the marketing. How lucky we are in Dorset to have such a wealth of local options to buy direct form producers, and not have to trust that the blurb we read is actually true.
Alan Pinman
(Andrew Livingston’s Farm Tales column this month discusses this very case – Ed)

Are Warm Hubs being set up in Dorset for the vulnerable th is winter? I can thus far find no mention of an organised, unified project to do so, though I am aware of certain individual businesses and community organisations who are offering a warm space to those who find themselves alone and cold and probably hungry through the coldest months.
Obviously a collective effort is most effective, but if there are numerous disparate groups setting up individual hubs, then a central resource to know where, when and what is available would be incredibly useful to share among those who may well need it. I fear the coming winter will prove difficult and long for many many of us.
A Harding

Thank you for your feature on Mike Howe the thatcher. I always enjoy the craftsmen and women featured in Tracie Beardsley’s excellent articles, but this one particularly struck a chord as my grandfather was a thatcher. I remember being in his dusty shed, playing with the very ladders and tools you showed! It’s also very encouraging to see such an emphasis on apprenticeships and true training – the old skills aren’t just a nice bit of history, they’re essential for so many things and I fear that every year we lose so much knowledge before it has been passed on to future generations as the young people are driven to university, bypassing fulfilling crafts and trades.
Anne Ryman
Chalke Valley


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