Letters to the Editor April 2023



Is it just me, or does March seem to have been just one step too far? We weathered the winter with its relentless rolling onslaught of bad news. March started with optimism, and we all turned our faces to the sun, feeling that perhaps things were finally brightening. But no, silly.
That was just a lull.
The punches keep on rolling.
On the national and international stage the news is perennially worrying, unsolvable and uncomprehendingly BIG.
Here at BV Towers we’ve been forced into a new car purchase, and our son in America has had a traumatic couple of weeks (parenting from across the world is HARD when what he needs most is someone to just pop in, put the kettle on and share the load for a bit). And like every other household there are other personal bubbles that insist on suddenly popping.
And yet – as always, I look for the silver lining. The sun is shining! We have been shortlisted for a major national award as Regional Publication of the Year!
Spring is finally upon us, and with it comes a new sense of energy and hope. I try to count the small daily wins. I watch the imperceptible greening of the hedgerows and the bright scattering of yellow primroses and celandines as Dorset wakes up. On a walk this month we both stopped and gaped at countless skylarks overhead – all simply shouting lark-swears at us, no doubt, but we were thrilled nonetheless (and then it hammered down with rain, but I’m keeping it positive here) (did I mention that we’ve been shortlisted for a national award?!).
I’ll leave you with my son’s cat.


Two weeks ago Mochi fell four floors from the apartment window. Miraculously, she suffered just a cracked pelvis, one snapped tooth and a fractured elbow – for which she has one leg in full plaster cast shoulder-to-toes and is confined to a box. Yesterday, in the few nanoseconds they took their eyes off her, she wriggled her broken leg OUT of her cast.
Yet another emergency vet dash, and now she sports a new up-to-her-chin chunky,
un-escapable cast.
Mochi is not happy …

On farming
Thank you for covering Minette Batters speech at the annual NFU conference, and also for providing the link to the full speech. I was impressed by her passion, knowledge, and commitment to supporting our industry, but what impressed me most was her ability to connect with the audience and to speak directly to the concerns of farmers. She was engaging, thoughtful, and genuinely passionate about the future of our industry.
Diane Creed, by email

The European Union is by no means perfect, but in leaving it the UK really did cut off its own nose to spite its face. A promise by those behind this Brexit Government that EU funds would be matched if we left has been broken. There’s only so much repetition of the empty “levelling up” slogan that ministers in Rishi Sunak’s administration can do to obscure that truth. Anyone in a rural community can see that farmers continue to bear the brunt of the empty promises and the shambles that is the current (non-existent) ELMS replacement.
It was good to read George Hosford’s column last month, sharing some positivity around the fact that at least some departments within DEFRA are keeping themselves up to date with soil health and environmental issues.
John Napier, Mere

What good sense we can read in Minette Batters statement to the NFU conference. She painted a stark picture, reminding the hall that input costs had jumped 50 per cent, posing a threat to domestic food security and supply. We have the lowest egg production in nine years, salad production is down to levels we haven’t seen since the 80s and many beef and sheep farmers are planning to reduce numbers.
Let’s hope the government were listening when she demanded they ‘start putting meaningful, tangible and effective meat on the bones of the commitments it had made.’
What a shame that Therese Coffey couldn’t show her the respect and professionalism she deserved. How embarrassing that a Wiltshire tenant farmer puts the Secretary of State to shame just in the simple matter of good old fashioned manners.
Angela Carrows, by email

Walkers be aware
I have read this week that the Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) has been detected in Dorset. It’s a very small risk, but better safe than sorry as the consequences can be extremely serious. Most people are aware of tick bites causing Lyme disease, which is a treatable bacteria infection, but are seemingly not so aware that though the chances of contracting TBEV are very low, the subsequent viral infection can be life threatening.
Obviously it’s a small risk, but worth covering up if spending time in long grasses, using insect repellant (or the SAS’ allegedly preferred repellent, AVON’s Skin So Soft moisturiser!) and just keeping an eye out on your legs after a walk.
Mary James, Shaftesbury

Dogs behaving badly
I am writing to express my frustration and concern regarding the behaviour of some dog owners on the trailway in Sturminster Newton. While I enjoy taking walks on the trailway and appreciate the ease of access to the beauty of the area, I have recently encountered several incidents involving poorly behaved dogs and their owners.
On numerous occasions, I have encountered dogs running off-leash and causing a nuisance to other walkers and their dogs. Some dogs have even chased after cyclists, putting themselves and the cyclists in danger. In addition, I have seen owners not cleaning up after their dogs, which is both unsightly and unhygienic.
As a dog owner myself, I understand the importance of exercise and time spent outdoors for our furry friends. However, it is the responsibility of the owner to ensure that their dog is under control and not causing disruption or danger to others.
I urge all dog owners to please keep their dog on a lead and to clean up after them. It is important that we all respect the trailway and each other, and ensure that it remains a safe and enjoyable place for everyone to visit.
Annie G, by email

CONGRATULATIONS, Laura and Courtenay! It’s great that you’re on the shortlist with two other top regional publications.
(for the NMA2023’s Regional Publication of the Year – Ed) I wish you both all the very best on your great achievement so far and hope you win.
Sheila L, by email

I thought your readers might be interested in the above photo. It was taken by my father, Geoff Mallett, who was the headmaster at St Mary’s Junior School (as it was then) in Stalbridge, from the 60s through to the early 80s. On the transparency slide is written:
“Lower juniors trip to Portland 1966“
Chris Mallett, by email

This laughing donkey was submitted to our Reader’s Photography this month. It didn’t make the pages, but it was just too good not to share! Thanks for submitting Debs Baker.


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