Letters to the Editor October 2023


Laura editor of the BV Magazine
Laura editor of the BV Magazine

It’s easy to get caught up with how terrible things are right now. How broken the world is, how hopeless things feel, how bad people can be.
The problems around us are massive – and mostly unsolvable by you or I.
And the constant battering of all that overwhelming hopelessness takes its toll. I start to avoid the news, actively switch off or turn away from terrible stories, and choose comedy over dark drama.
But that’s no answer either. As I’ve pulled together this issue, these thoughts have been percolating in my brain, even though I’m blessed with a naturally-sunny disposition (possibly annoyingly so) – I’m quick to see the good, take the positive, and let the bad stuff go.
As this issue grew, page by page, the answer was right under my fingertips. Story after story you’ll read about good people. Because we human beans, despite our constant bad press, really are innately good.
We will stop and wait as a slow-moving elderly person crosses the road. Pass an item down for a short stranger from the top shelf at the supermarket – and we will take our trolley back and park it neatly. We will run to pick up a hat that flew off and laugh as we hand it back. We’ll smile at the cat stretched out in the sun – and say the obligatory ‘Biii-i-ig Strrreee-e-etccchhhh’ when it gets up. We will say ‘bless you’ to a stranger when they sneeze and ‘I love your shoes!’ to a total stranger on the train station.
This month, among these pages, you’ll find a village which has simply scooped up a devastated young family and provided the support they needed. Time being taken to welcome and entertain refugees. The astonishing kindness of a donation more than 80 years ago, which was a thank you for a previous kindness, and is still creating ripples. Events made possible by huge teams working together – not because they’re paid, but because they believe that it’s worth doing. Communities supporting small local businesses – which in turn are run by good people working hard to do great things. And so much money being raised by good people for good things.
I don’t know anyone who simply gives up a little time occasionally for a good cause that regrets it.
Anyhoo. I just found the thought comforting.
I’ll finish with a little only-Laura-ism from this month. We went out to dinner – gorgeous food, and a proper date night for us, such a lovely time. Instead of dessert I chose the cheese plate – it arrived with four hunks of cheese, and I tried a bit of each in turn; camembert, Roquefort, cheddar… and a rogue one I didn’t know. I placed a neat chunk (creamy, soft, almost oily texture … intriguing) onto a cracker, and took a bite.
Butter. I had a chunk of butter in my
mouth. sigh

Laura x

Cox’s Orange anyone?
Thank you for your excellent magazine – the spread of articles introduces the broad spectrum of Dorset life and times, we love it! The September edition was particularly interesting for my wife and I because it covers some of the life and times of Alan Turing and his connection with Sherborne School.
I wonder if you could help – not a matter requiring a ‘Turing’ answer, but could your readers advise where in Dorset I can find a Cox’s Orange Pippin tree that I can plant in the Garden?
Tony Penn

Alweston will miss Jo
I feel that I must record for the history of Alweston that our friend and neighbour Jo has moved to pastures new. A loyal supporter of all things connected to our village, she will be much missed by us villagers, but will now live so much closer to her family.
Jo came to live in the village after her marriage – to live in the house that her husband’s grandparents had moved into when it was built and she has continued to live there ever since.
She was a stalwart supporter of the church, the village school, served on numerous village committees, was a parish councillor and assisted with the WI (country) market. Readers will no doubt recall meeting her at our famous car boot sales! We wish her a happy time in her warm and comfortable new flat, with lots of new adventures.
Shirley Warr, Alweston

Is Dorset’s local transport the worst?
In my personal opinion Dorset Council is the worst I have ever known. Vast cuts in public transport make it impossible for many to go anywhere on Saturdays – there is no weekend bus service any more. Non-drivers who live in Shaftesbury are effectively stranded at weekends, unable to get to Gillingham station. Tourists cannot get to Shaftesbury. Those who wish to attend educational and recreational courses during the day are now unable to do so because the bus service to Sturminster Newton has been cut, and the times of buses that do still run have been changed. There are no buses in the evening at all.
It’s awful for pensioners and young people attending youth clubs – what youth clubs there are – for they cannot get home and have to be collected by parents. This, at a time when we should be encouraging people to use public transport. A Conservative council. May it soon be gone with its Government.
Dick Lawrence, Gillingham

Blandford’s (lack of) clinic
Why are there no Covid vaccination sites listed for
Blandford Forum? I have received two invitations to have a Covid vaccination – one by email and one by post. I went online to make a booking and found that all the information was out of date and did not
relate to winter vaccinations.
I then tried the online National Booking Service and was offered a booking anywhere between Colehill in
Wimborne and Southampton, with no reference to Blandford Forum.
I spoke to a person at the National Booking Service and he offered me a booking in Verwood! When I asked about Blandford he said he did not know. I then went back online and found a reference to the
Whitecliff Surgery – when I phoned them, a recorded message advised me to press 1 on my key pad … which in turn referred me back to the National
Booking Service …
It would appear that Blandford Forum is being left out of the vaccination scheme?
John Draper, Blandford

  • Having spoken to the Blandford Group Practice, they assure us that there are flu and Covid vaccine clinics every Saturday – please call their dedicated booking line on 01258 444526 – Ed

Roger Guttridge
We have had so many messages on the passing of Roger, far too many to publish them all, but here are just a selection:
‘He was an exceptional journalist and will be much missed. Journalists as good as he was are few and far between now. Condolences to his family.’
– Damian Cullinane
‘A great Dorset writer who inspired me to write about my own county’s history and heritage.’
– Mark Vine
‘I remember Roger well, he was a really nice bloke. I worked in the darkroom at The Echo at the same time. So sorry to hear.’ – Chris Gill


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