Local News May 30 to June 6 2019

Our round-up of local news across the area this week including Hungerford’s blooms, Newbury’s students, East Garston’s film, Shefford’s llamas, Highworth’s democracy, Theale’s clean up, Marlborough’s plaque, Thatcham’s Mayor, Aldworth’s award, Wantage and Grove’s extravaganza, Swindon’s surgeries, Compton’s rubbish, Crofton’s engineer, police and travel updates, municipal co-operation, election maths, 0.00016%, £4.4bn, dogs in holy orders, the delayed green paper, lion tamers, D-Day, Psycho and a happy man.

Click on any highlighted and underlined text for more information on the subject. Some will link to other pages on this site, others to pages elsewhere.

Police, transport and council contacts

Information on police, transport (including roadworks) and district councils can now be found on a separate page here.

Links to the websites for town and parish councils can still be found in the appropriate sections below.

Across the area (and further afield)

• British political life, already about as convoluted and confrontational as an episode of Game of Thrones, is about to have a fresh twist with the election for a new leader of the Conservative Party who’ll then become the new PM. You might think that it’s odd that a party can ditch a leader who won an election (just, in Mrs May’s case) in favour of one who hasn’t; and you’d be right. However, this has happened six times since the war, while three of the last seven Prime Ministers have assumed power in this way. The ever-increasing list of candidates (only two supporters are required for a nomination) will be whittled down to two by the 313 Conservative MPs, with this choice then being put to to the party’s 125,000-odd members in a postal ballot. The next Prime Minister will thus be chosen as a result of decisions taken by, respectively, 0.00016% and 0.2% of the population, the later group being entirely self-selected.

It was announced this week that one of the candidates, Boris Johnson, will as a result of a private prosecution, face charges of misconduct of public office relating to his infamous claims that £350m a week were being sent to the EU and could instead be spent on the NHS. Johnson’s camp has claimed that this is ‘politically motivated’ and ‘a stunt’ and that ‘it is not the role of criminal law to regulate political speech.’ Maybe not: but it does have a role in deciding matters of truth. One way of dealing with this would be to make all statements uttered by candidates during an election subject to the laws of perjury. 

• And if further proof were needed at just how disjoined, volatile and confusing our political system is, the European elections resulted in over 70% of the votes being cast for five parties or groups (Brexit Party, the Lib Dems, the Greens, Change UK and Brexit) which between them only have 3.5% of the seats in the Commons. The campaign was seen as a great triumph for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party – and one has to salute a party which wins a national election only a month or so after it was founded – but the votes cast for the pro-Brexit parties (UKIP and the Brexit Party) were only about 2% more than for the anti-Brexit ones (Lib Dems, Green and Change UK): not much has changed since 2016, in other words. I’ve ignored the votes cast for the Scottish, Welsh and Irish parties as most of us don’t get a chance to express an opinion on their views. I’ve also ignored the Conservatives, who are leaderless and have no clear view on the issue of Brexit, as has been amply proved over the last three years; and Labour, who despite having a golden opportunity to say something coherent at the Euro election, failed to do so. Labour’s only action of note since then has been to expel Alistair Campbell from the party for having voted Lib Dem. It’s hard to think of a time when not one but both of our major political parties were so out of favour with the public or so uncertain about what they believe.   

• This week’s Newbury Weekly News reports on what appears to have been an ill-tempered debate at West Berkshire Council during a meeting to approve Council’s 2019-23 strategy which was consulted on before the election. You can read it here. The document itself seems quite vague and aspirational – stronger words were used by the opposition – but I suppose such things often are. Leaving that aside, three things strike me as odd about this. First, the Conservative councillors appeared angry that there was no spirit of co-operation. The job of an opposition – now considerably increased – is to oppose. With one party having had 90% of the seats for the last four years this idea might take a bit of getting used to. Secondly, it seems strange that the Council’s strategy for the next four years was consulted on and effectively decided before the election. Surely this should have been the first job of the new council, not the last job of the old one? That way, there would have been some chance that something could have been issued which all agreed on, or had at least discussed. As it is, any divisions have been intensified. Finally, Councillor Hilary Cole said it was ‘not good’ only 156 people had responded to the consultation. She may well be right. This rather suggests that other ways must be found to publicise the Council’s activities and consultations, perhaps with more local public meetings. (The paper also reported her as saying that 156 was 1% of West Berkshire’s population: it’s actually 0.1%.) 

• I wrote last week about the Sandleford development in Newbury and how it seemed that the problematic relationship between the two developers had led to their joint application being ‘de-coupled’, so paving the way for separate applications to be made for the site. West Berkshire Council has commented that no decision has been made on this and that the matter is still being considered. Officers needs to be convinced that the stated intentions for the development will be fulfilled from two different approvals rather than one then any request for de-coupling will not be accepted.

In the same post I said that West Berkshire Council ‘had put all its eggs’ in the Sandleford basket and I concede that this was an overstatement. The 2006 to 2026 Core Strategy provided for 10,500 new homes to be built in West Berkshire (1,000 in Sandlford) and I believe that about 6,000 had been built by April 2018, so leaving West Berkshire with 4,500 to constructed over the next six years. Sandleford thus needs to account for about 22% of these. Each year that passes without it being built results in this percentage rising. Not all its eggs, I agree, but an increasingly large percentage of them are involved. 

• Two recent reports have highlighted related problems facing local councils. The first, from the Institute of Fiscal Studies, has painted a bleak picture of their financial challenges, with spending having fallen by 21% in real terms since 2019-10. The report asserts that ‘revenues from council tax and business rates – the two sources councils are set to rely on for the vast bulk of their funding in future – are highly unlikely to keep pace with rising demands and costs for public services.’ The preamble concludes by saying that some big and important decisions need to be taken on the issue of local-government finance: ‘this is not,’ the report warns, ‘just a technical issue – it will have profound implications for the type of country England is.’

• The second report, by The Health Foundation, speaks of a social-care funding gap of £4.4bn within five years and also points alarming disparities in the spend per capita in the four parts of the UK. The government promised that a Green Paper outlining the new policy for social care would be published ‘in the summer of 2017’: two years on and there’s still still no sign of it. Whoever takes over the role of PM will – or ought to have – at the very top of their in-tray. I spoke to John Prendegast, a Director of Bluebird Care, for his thoughts on this. “The social-care system is broken,” he told me. “There’s a prefect storm of falling funding and rising costs and demand. There are some tough decisions to be taken and it will take a brave politician to make them. The delay has gone on for too long.” Graham Bridgman, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Adult Social Care, commented that “The Council has considerably increased its spending on adult social care for this financial year, whilst still setting a balanced budget (not without pain and the forbearance of our residents, such as by charging for green waste collection), and very importantly maintained its general reserves. However, the Government’s review of ASC funding in the continually postponed green paper cannot come soon enough.”

• Next Thursday sees the 75th anniversary of one of the biggest single events in human history, the D-Day (or Jour-J as they say in France) landings in Normandy in 1944. If you see unusual planes flying overhead this might be the reason. We will actually be taking the ferry to Caen on that very morning as part of the Hungerford Twinning Association visit and so will commemorate the event in situ. There are a number of websites, this being one of them, which list the many events taking place to remember this day. See also this video about the making, partly at Membury Airfield, of Guy Martin’s D-Day Landing which will be broadcast on C4 on Sunday 2 June at 8pm.

• New grants could help West Berkshire residents meet  the cost of boiler upgrades, full central heating, loft insulation and cavity wall insulation

• The animal of the week is our grey hen who has selflessly spent three weeks sitting on some eggs (produced as as a result of sexual activity by a chicken owned by our friend and neighbour Hilary Re’em) and who now finds herself  a proud and attentive surrogate mother of four chicks of unimaginable cuteness.

• The letters pages of the Newbury Weekly News this week include two letters refuting a recent communication sceptical of climate change; an encouragement for more young people to join the Newbury Youth Council; praise for Newbury’s art scene and the Greenham Control Tower; a comment on the conduct and manners at the recent West Berkshire Counci meeting; and a photo of two black Labradors which seem to be waiting to offer people Holy Communion.

• A number of good causes have received valuable support recently, including: Alexander Devine Hospice (thanks to the boot camp at Henwick); Here4me (thanks to Persimmon Homes); Newbury Samaritans (thanks to shoppers in Newbury); numerous local causes (thanks to those who received sponsorship for the recent Werlford Fun Run and the ROC Newbury 10K).

Hungerford & district

• Please click here for the latest news from Hungerford Town Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Shalbourne Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Inkpen Parish Council.

• I mentioned in an earlier version of this post that a representative of CALA will be attending the Hungerford Town Council Environment & Planning Committee meeting on Monday 1o June at 7pm to give a brief update on the progress of the development at Salisbury Road, upstairs in the Town Hall. I’ve recently learned that CALA has sold or otherwise transferred its interests in the matter to Bewley Homes. Click here to the see the relevant page on the Bewley website. It appears that the development is called King’s Ride. It’s hoped that a representative from Bewley will attend this event in place of one from CALA. The arrangement with CALA (which may well apply with Bewley, if someone comes) is that the representative will answer questions but the Town Council requests these to be submitted in advance, preferably the day before but by 2pm on the day at the latest. Please contact [email protected]

• Still time to enter the 2019 Hungerford in Bloom – further information is available on the Town Council’s website (scroll down a few panels).

• As we’ve mentioned before, Hungerford Town FC is the highest-ranked team in the area, playing the the sixth tier of the English football pyramid. The latest Penny Post competition, launched today, gives you the chance to win a pair of season tickets (worth nearly £400) for all of next season’s home fixtures.

• Hungerford Town Council has been attempting to solve the problem of the lack of parking spaces in the town which will happen when the development near the station begins which will result in the closure of the temporary car park there and has come up with a detailed proposal of how other space near the station can be used. The matter is still in the hands on Network Rail, which needs to be sure that none of its departments require any of the land for any other purpose such as storage or access. There should be some further news in the next week or so.

• The next full meeting of Hungerford Town Council will take place at 7pm on Monday 3 at The Corn Exchange. You can see the agenda here. As usual, there’ll be a report on this, and the other recent and planned activities of the Town Council, in the June penny Post Hungerford which will sent out on Tuesday 4 June.

• The Town and Manor of Hungerford is seeking nominations for trustees (ten are required) to manage the valuable local work of this unique charity. Nominations must be in by Saturday 1 June (not long now): if necessary, elections will take place on Thursday 20 June. More information can be found here.

• Advance warning of a road closure at Lower Denford Road by Denford Mill Bridge (some of you may better know this as the rat run from the Common to the A4). Note that this has been delayed by a bout a month. This will take place between 8am and 5pm on Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4pm on Saturdays between Monday 15 July and Friday 20 September to allow for deck replacement work. There will access-only traffic between the junction on the Common by the railway line and Mill Bridge, and from the A4 to Denford Mill: but the Bridge itself will be closed to traffic and pedestrians during this time. Diversions will be marked via Park Street, the High Street (A338) and the Bath Road (A4).

Lambourn Valley

• Please click here for the latest news from Lambourn Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from East Garston Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Great Shefford Parish Council.

• The remarkable looking beast in this photo will be one of the animals you can see at the Trindledown National Animal Welfare Trust clearance sale this Sunday 2 June from 10am to noon.

• The next film from the Valley Film Society at the East Garston Village Hall, and the final one of season XIV, will be on Tuesday 4 June and is The Post, a highly commended political thriller starring serial Oscar winners Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. It’s the usual drill – doors and bar open at 7pm, film starts 7.30, the food that you’ve ordered arrives about half way through and there’s a break to eat, charge your glasses on discuss what might happen next. See you there.

• There will be an open garden day in Great Shefford and Shefford Woodlands on 7 July and the organisers hope to have as many gardens as possible featured. Please contact Linda Forrester on 01488 648140 for more information.

• The bit of the B4001 (the road between the B4000 and Chilton Foliat) under the motorway bridge between the junction with the B4000 and the turning towards Membury) will be closed until 19 August. Diversions will be in place directing you through Membury. This is to enable repairs to be carried out to the bridge.  

• If you missed the latest e-edition of East Garston News, you can click here to read it

• This week’s NWN has, on p21, a report on the Werlford Fun Run last weekend.

• One of the items in this concerns the Watermill Theatre’s summer touring production which this year is Our Church, a most interesting-looking piece about a very modern moral dilemma in a traditional parochial church council. This year’s tour kicks off, as always, in East Garston Village Hall on Wednesday 19 June – click here for details and to order your tickets.

• The Lambourn Surgery Patient Participation Group performs a vital function in the life of the surgery and more people are encouraged to get involved. For more information click here or contact the Practice Manager at [email protected]

Click here for details of how can volunteer at Lambourn Library.

• East Garston Parish Council still has need of a Clerkclick here for details.

Volunteers are still needed to help run Great Shefford’s youth club. 

4 Legs Community Radio Station will on Friday have its 59th day of broadcasting – click here for more.

Newbury & district

• Please click here for the latest news from Newbury Town Council: and here to see NTC’s archive of monthly newsletters.

• Please click here for the latest news from Chieveley Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Hamstead Marshall Parish Council.

• Click here for the latest information from Growing Newbury Green.

• The newLeader of West Berkshire Council Lynne Doherty had, in her official capacity at least, her first meeting with the student climate protestors following their latest demonstration last week. See this week’s NWN (p10) for more.

• Newbury’s Family Fun Day takes place in Victoria Park on Sunday 23 June.

• This week’s Newbury Weekly News has a three-page section, with a lot of photos, covering the recent ROC Newbury 10K Run.

• If you are involved with an organisation or charity that benefits the residents of Newbury, don’t miss your chance to apply for grant funding for a special project or core costs. You must have registered with The Good Exchange by the end of May (ie PDQ). All applications that are on the Good Exchange website by this date, and posted since 22 October 2018, will be considered if they fulfil the Town Council’s criteria. In 2018 Newbury Town Council gave grants totalling £25,000 to 33 organisations (scroll down to see the full list).

• You can still enter Newbury in Bloom 2019 until 30 June – click here for details and the entry form.

Click here for information on free English courses offered to ESOL students in Newbury (also Thatcham and Calcot) by the Berkshire School of English.

Compton & Downlands

• Please click here for the latest news from Hampstead Norreys Parish Council (where there are currently two councillor vacancies).

• Please click here for the latest news from Compton Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Ashampstead Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Chaddleworth Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Brightwalton Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from West Ilsley Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from East Ilsley Parish Council.

• There’s a pop-up pub – the Ashampstead Arms – which magically appears in the Ashampstead Village hall on the first Saturday of every month from 7.30pm. For more information on the goal, click here.

• This week’s NWN had, on p10, an article about the non-collection of rubbish from Sovereign’s Wilson Close Estate in Compton. I spoke the the District Councillor, Carolyne Culver, who confirmed that she had spoken to Council officers, who had spoken to Sovreign, and that the rubbish has now been collected, as had some other detritus which had been dumped on Sovreign land nearby. Notices will be put up reminding residents that rubbish can only be collected if it’s placed in the appropriate bin, not loose in bags.

• Regular readers will be aware of a long running issue in Chaddleworth concerning the way in which the parish has been divided in two for the purposes of organising school transport. I’m assured that the lact of news should not be perceived as inaction: the complaints procedure requires that several hoops be passed through and this is happening. 

• The May newsletter from West Ilsley Parish Council can be found here.

• A reminder about Hampstead Norreys Community Shop’s eco-bricks project which re-purposes your one-use plastic. You can read more about this by clicking here

• Please click here for dates and venues for the PCSO Have your Say meetings in the Thacham, Theale and Compton & Downlands areas.

Thatcham and district

• Please click here for the latest news from Thatcham Town Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Cold Ash Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Bucklebury Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Brimpton Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Woolhampton Parish Council.

• Please click here for details of Thatcham’s civic events in 2019.

• See p12 of this week’s NWN for a report and photos covering the recent Yattendon and Frilsham Fête.

• Councillor Mike Cole has been elected as the Town Mayor of Thatcham. Read more here.

Thatcham Parish Hall needs new trustees, more groups and societies to hire it and fundraising ideas. See the Facebook page for the latest news and to get in touch.

• The NWN reports (on p25) that a development of 92 retirement flats off Station Road has been approved.

• Congratulations to The Bell at Aldworth which has been awarded the title of West Berkshire’s CAMRA Pub of the Year.

• Cold Ash’s neighbourhood development plan is seeking volunteers to assist with the work involved. If you’re interested in helping, please contact [email protected].

• A one-bed flat is currently available through the Thatcham Parochial Almshouse Charity: see our Property Available post for more details.

• Please click here for dates and venues for the PCSO Have your Say meetings in the Thatcham, Theale and Compton & Downlands areas.

• Click here to see the latest Cold Ash Community Bulletin

Theale and district

• Please click here for the latest news from Theale Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Aldermaston Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Englefield Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Burghfield Parish Council.

• Late last year Stratfield Mortimer Parish Council floated the idea of installing an electric car-charging point in the village. I understand that this will be discussed further at the Parish Council meeting on Thursday 11 July.

• Holy Trinity Church in Theale is planning a Community Clear-up of its churchyard on Saturday 29 June 2019 from 10am. Please join in and help if you can; meet at the Church at 10am and if you have a pair of secateurs or lopers bring those too. 

Click here and here for the latest from Highways England about the progress of the work to tuen the M4 from J3 to J12 into a smart motorway.

• Click here for information about Burghfield’s plans to create a community hub.

Click here for the April/May 2019 Parish Magazine from Englefield Parish Council.

• Please click here for dates and venues for the PCSO Have your Say meetings in the Thacham, Theale and Compton & Downlands areas.

Marlborough & district

• Please click here for the latest news from Marlborough Town Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Aldbourne Parish Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Great Bedwyn Parish Council.

• You can read the latest Community Policing Team report for Marlborough and Pewsey here.

• Perhaps you’re a lion timer, a pet-food taster, an actor at the London dungeon, a sewer flusher, a snake milker or a professional iceberg mover. OK, the chances are that you aren’t any of these things: but if you have an interesting job then the Bedwyn Pre-school is looking for people to come in and talk to the children about what you do. And if you have a job like any of the ones I’ve mentioned, get in touch with Penny Post and we’ll interview you.

• Marlborough News reports that a blue plaque commemorating Eglantyne Jebb, the co-founder of Save the Children, will be unveiled on Marlborough Library at 4pm on Friday 7 June.

• Click here for details of The Great Wiltshire Walk which aims to raise money for the charity Julia’s House.

• A report here on the recent event at Crofton celebrating the life of the engineer James Watt, who died 200 years ago this August.

• If you’re in Great Bedwyn, keep your eye on the Village Hall Facebook page here for details of what’s going on there, including films (featuring new state-of-the-art equipment).

• Click here for information on what’s on in and around Ramsbury.

Wantage & district

• Please click here for the latest news from Wantage Town Council.

• Please click here for the latest news from Grove Parish Council. (Now working at normal speed after migration to a new server.)

• Please click here for the latest news from Letcombe Regis Parish Council.

• Councillor Emily Smith, the new Leader of the Vale of White Horse Council, delivered her first report on 15 May. You can also see here the details of the various appointments that have been made since the election.

• The Grove Volunteer Litter-picking Group meets at Old Mill Hall in School Lane at 9am on the second Friday of every month. Equipment is supplied by Grove Parish Council. More details here.

• The Friends of Grove Library (FROGS) hosted its first awards presentation for the Brian Edwards Poetry and Prose competition near Wantage last weekend: click here for more.

• The Grove and Wantage Extravaganza takes place on Saturday 15 June at the Grove Rugby Club. 

• Click here for information the Didcot, Abingdon and Wantage Talking Newspaper (DAWN) for the blind and partially sighted.

• Wantage & District Chamber of Commerce is supporting the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, with the cyclists visiting Wantage on Wednesday 12 June.

• The presentation from Dr Quintin Bradley given at the Wantage and Grove Campaign Group’s AGM and a summary of his speech is available on the W&GCG website.

• The same organisation has pointed out that the initial results of the NHS health and wellbeing survey across OX12 are available here

• Representatives of the W&GCG attended the first Planning Committee meeting held by the new Vale council and disappointed at the lack of debate. In other news from the same source, the latest Crab Hill Forum took place last week, at which it emerged that there will be a delay to part of the work while the plans are revisited by the Planning Committee as some of the buildings will be more than 10m high. The Group also questions why the staggered junction at the development in East Challow has not been built even though it was a condition that this be done before the work on building the houses started (which it has). You can click here to read the whole newsletter (which covers more than just planning issues). 

Grove Parish Council has need of three more councillors: email [email protected] to find out more.

Wantage Camera Club will be holding an exhibition on Tuesday 18 June – more details here.

• Julie Mabberley’s regular column on p8 of the Wantage & Grove Herald reflects on how long it would take to get to (a) the Heath Centre in Mably Way or (b) the John Radcliffe Hospital from some of the villages surrounding Wantage using public transport.

• The editorial column, and the front-page story, in this week’s Wantage & Grove Herald concerns the claim that the Thames Valley Police is losing about one officer a week on average, the force having seen a reduction of 439 police officers between 2019 and 2019. In the same period, the force has had to make savings of £100m.

• The same newspaper affords the local MPs a column on the Letters and Opinion page and this week it’s the turn of the Lib Den Layla Moran. Unsurprisingly, she picks the strong showing of her party and the Greens in the two recent elections. She goes on to make the claim that ‘the message to the government…is now clearer than ever: we must stop Brexit.’ This is not the case. Given the performances of the two main parties, a strong protest vote was to be expected: as mentioned above in Across the Area, the votes across the country were split between Remainers and leavers to almost exactly the extent that they were after the referendum. All the Euro elections have proved is that the country remains deeply divided.

• And still looking at this paper, on p14 there’s an article about the the experiences of a rear gunner from Wantage during the D-Day mission.

Wantage Carnival takes place on Sunday 9 June.

• Some of the participants have been announced for this year’s Wantage Literary Festival which runs from 26 October to 2 November.

Click here for the latest from the Wantage and Grove Campaign Group.

• Click here for details of some forthcoming events in Wantage.

Swindon & district

• Click here for the latest news and information from Swindon Borough Council.

• A taskforce has been set up to help minimise the impacts of the closure of the Honda plant on the the town and the Honda staff. Click here for details.

• We mentioned previously about the odd situation in Highworth where 10 Conservative councillors were each handed an extra votes in the local elections as a result of an error in calculating the bloc votes. The only way that the result can be challenged is by a petition to the High Court within three weeks of the vote and a group, Democracy for Highworth, was set up to accomplish this. On 21 May, the petition to be presented to the High Court was signed. Two days later, the page announced that ‘the judge has accepted the petition and our promise to pay court costs.’  

• South Swindon MP Robert Buckland has said he’s glad the the medical group IMH is withdrawing from operating GP surgeries in Swindon following a number of technical faults and a large number of complaints from patients. 

• Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is funding a Nordoff Robbins music therapist who visits the hospital and spends time with patients living with dementia, in a bid to ‘reduce distress and improve patient experience’.

• Voicemail and email reminders are the latest measures being introduced by Swindon Borough Council to help people keep on top of their council tax payments.

• Legal costs of £43,000 must be paid by Wiltshire Council after its decision to protect a village green in Wooton Bassett was overturned after a legal challenge by the landowners.

• A reminder about an initiative by which difficult-to-recycle plastics can now be dropped off at Tesco supermarkets, thanks to a partnership with Swindon based Recycling Technologies.

• Details here on the plan by Swindon Council and inSwindon BID to try to keep the town’s streets clean and tidy.

• A new community network is launching to bring the town’s creatives together in a bid to throw Swindon’s cultural scene into the spotlight.

• Swindon Borough Council’s Public Health Team has been working with several local organisations to encourage residents to be more open about how they’re feeling and talk about their mental health.

• Click here for details of the many volunteering opportunities at Great Western Hospital.

The song and the quiz

• The Song of the Week goes back to the 1980s (Surprise, surprise – Ed.) as is something that knocked my socks off when I first heard it and it still seems pretty damn’ good now. It could only have been made in that decade and in England – The Happy Man by Thomas Lang. 

• Which takes us to the Quiz Question of the Week. This week’s question has already been answered in this column: What do the French call D-Day, the 75th anniversary of which will take place next Thursday? As there won’t be a Local News next week, you can have a bonus question, equally topical: Which English king succeeded to the throne, in very unusual circumstances, on 29 May, his 30th birthday? Last week’s question comes from the recent quizzes held at the Red House in Marsh Benham and The Castle in Donnington in aid of the Newbury Soup Kitchen and was: Which was the first American film to feature a flushing toilet? The answer is a film you more often associate with showers rather than toilets – Psycho.

There won’t be a Local News section next week because we’re off to France and I’m not going to write this in a coach, on a ferry or in a restaurant. See you in a fortnight.

For more news follow Penny Post on Facebook and Twitter

Brian Quinn

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Covering: Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage, Lambourn, Compton, Swindon & Theale