This week with Brian 17 to 24 August 2023

Further Afield the week according to Brian Quinn

This Week with Brian

Including on the ropes, X and Y, shared conversations, tapeworms, lobbying, personal responsibility, recurring dreams, a legal failure, a hole in my week, down from a peak, a not-so-unusual incident, a new low, a hundred days, advisory groups, sunshine tendering, pangolins, a genesis, a unique achievement, all the vowels and glad to be gay.

Click on the appropriate buttons to the right to see the local news from your area (updated every Thursday evening).

If there’s anything you’d like to see covered for your area or anything that you’d like to add to something that we’ve covered already, drop me a line at brian@pennypost.org.uk

Further afield

• Twitter seems to be somewhat on the ropes at present. Elon Musk has (possibly) a vision for the company but it’s not clear to all what this is. He’s re-branded it, of course, “X” being to my mind a foolish choice as it could also be read as “Ex”, which no organisation wants to be thought of as. He’s thus achieved the seemingly impossible – that of giving a company a new one-letter name which is possible to mis-spell.

[more below] 

• X and Y

The other eye-catching thing the new owner immediately did was sack four out of every five members of staff, claiming that when he – rather unwillingly – bought Twitter last year it had about “four months to live.” The staff that remain have had to commit to being “hardcore“: which appears to mean that they are expected more or less to live in the office. Those sacked do not include the people responsible for monetising the revenue from the API feeds. We were quoted a sum almost higher than the human ear can hear to continue this service; which we declined.

This page on Social Shepherd has a number of stats about the organisation. For example, nearly half users turn to Twitter to get the latest news; the UK has nearly 20 million users; and there are nearly 400m users globally. Perhaps the most eye-catching one is that 10% of users in the USA are responsible for 92% of tweets. This means that , aside from the fact that “most people are visiting Twitter to consume, rather than create”, there is a “particularly active group of users publishing a large chunk of content.” Musk might call them the “hard core.”

Then, a couple of months ago, Mark Zuckerberg launched Threads, with its logo that looked – perhaps appropriately – like a tapeworm. There was a rush of enthusiasm with an estimated 100m people signing up. Enthusiasm has since cooled: but the fact is that it happened and so could be back. The daily update from The New Yorker on 16 August suggests that “The problem is the model itself. Forcing millions of people into the same shared conversation is unnatural,” he writes, “requiring aggressive curation that in turn leads to the type of supercharged engagement that seems to leave everyone upset and exhausted.”

This last phrase certainly describes my reaction to the platform, though I would describe it more like being caught up in several unrelated arguments in a pub car park at kicking-out time, each of which is simmering on the edge of violence and with every participant insisting on having the final word. Were I to get involved (and I’m not tempted) I would find the last aspect particularly dangerous. More worrying is the immediacy of it. People need to react immediately, despite not perhaps knowing enough about the subject. Few of us know enough about anything to be able to share our real-time thoughts with up to 400m people. Mind you, the number of followers and re-tweets are more of a buzz than accuracy. What does it matter if what you’ve said is batshit if it generates engagement?

I’m less sure, though, that having the “same shared conversation” is now seen as unnatural, as The New Yorker claims. For good or for ill, most humans seem to respond well to participating in, or at least observing, a shared national or international debate. It’s also been a godsend for people who previously were cut off from others who shared their concerns, afflictions or interests but now know that there’s a “community” of people with whom they can identify (this can be both good and bad, of course). In general, we’re a sociable and garrulous species so something like Twitter seems likely to remain. What we might be seeing is a changing of the guard. It also does no harm to ask ourselves what are reasons are for continuing to use any platform: Y, in other words, should we still use X; should we become an ex-X?

• H2O

Yes, this again.

The Conversation recently published what I thought was an excellent article entitled “Don’t just wait for the water firms – three things we can do right now to clean up Britain’s rivers.” It’s not just me who thought it was excellent: so too did Action for the River Kennet to whom I sent the link. “This piece makes some really good points,” a spokesperson told me. “Yes, we want to see water companies improve and invest but the three points in the article highlight that a holistic approach is what is required to care for our rivers in the long term.”

The three suggestions were, perhaps deliberately, arranged in reverse order of how easy they are for individuals to influence.

The first is less concrete, more soil. We need, the writer claims, “to develop a water-conscious construction industry: new developments need to do everything they can to reduce the amount of rainwater entering standard drains” and using Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDs).

The problems here – as I’ve pointed out many times in other contexts –  are (i) that developers are private companies that exist to make a profit and can and do lobby to prevent any changes to regulations which will make this harder; (ii) that such features have long-term benefits and purchasers may not be willing to pay extra for a house just because it has these; and (iii) that planning authorities are, as well as generally being on the back foot with regard to developers, notoriously under-staffed and thus find it hard to enforce any decisions about drainage which might have been imposed.

The second is to develop the UK’s “kidneys”: which here means enhancing “the natural functioning of different habitats that can help protect rivers and coasts. This approach is often referred to in the latest ecological jargon as using nature-based solutions.” Blue-green is another term.

This is something that’s open to local landowners, councils and charities to implement and so exists on a decision-making scale that we can influence. We’re all familiar with the concept of re-wilding gardens, meadows or verges. This is doing the same thing, though on a more complex scale. As the article points out, the UK has lost three-quarters of its wetlands since 1700. These act as remarkable natural filters, attenuation tanks and reservoirs. They’re perhaps needed now more than ever. To pick but one example of the many schemes that are currently being undertaken in this area, it’s worth singling out the Kennet Valley Wetland Reserve that’s being re-created by the Town and Manor of Hungerford charity.

The third suggestion is the question of individual responsibility. “It’s easy for us to think,” the article tells us. “that individual actions don’t matter, but they do”: particularly if enough of us do them.

If there were two things that all of us could do that would make, respectively, an immediate and a longer-term difference to the state of our waterways they would, in my view, be (i) only put poo, pee and paper into toilets; and (ii) do all we can to make water companies and regulators realise that they’ve been asleep at the wheel and need to wake up. Expressing your concerns to them, your MP, your local council/s and the increasing number of pressure groups that have appeared in the last few years will all help.

Of the three, the last is perhaps the most important. Lobbying Whitehall or creating a local wetland is beyond most people’s capacity. Not putting wet wipes down the loo or writing to your MP is not. In this and so many other aspects of life, the organisations that for decades we have believed would keep all the various wolves from our doors have proved to be less successful guardians than we might have wished. That doesn’t mean that we’ve lost the struggle: it just means that we might have to take the wolves on ourselves.

• DNA

I regard myself as being a law-abiding person but have a recurring dream in which I’ve committed a serious crime (I’m never sure what) and know that retribution is on its way. I’m sure I’m going to get caught but always wake up before the final knock on the door. This doesn’t worry me too much, though. I like to think it’s the work of an over-active conscience. After all, if I commit no crime then I can’t be convicted of one, can I?

Wrong. There have been plenty of high-profile cases of wrongful conviction – many involving alleged IRA bombers – but the one that’s been in the headlines is the  story of Andrew Malkinson, who as we all know was recently released after spending 17 years in prison for a rape he did not commit. What has recently emerged is the fact that “the key agencies” knew about exonerating DNA evidence as long ago as 2009 but did not act on it. The reasons for this shocking oversight still seem unclear.

It’s hard to think of any dream or nightmare that could be worse than the reality that he experienced. There must be many more like him still inside. The British justice system is predicated on the idea that the decision of a jury is pretty much the final word. I get it that we can’t be re-examining every case just because someone suddenly comes up with a new idea for a defence. However, this doesn’t assume that evidence has been suppressed. 

One body that exists to deal with such matters is (thanks to Julie Carlisle for pointing this out to me the last time I mentioned this) is the Criminal Cases Review Commission which claims that in the last three  years “more than a hundred cases have been quashed” following CCRC referrals.

That’s great: but Malkinson seemed to have slipped through this net. If the police and the judicial system are anything like local councils, about which I know more, then the big problem is that of recognising wrongs and redressing them. Apologising is the problem. To do so is seen as a sign of weakness. It’s actually a sign of considerable courage. Surely, as a state, we need to accept that these things can happen and find a better way of checking that they don’t and fessing up if they do. It’s not as if we have a shortage of lawyers here.

• 3-1 and 100

The football World Cup semi-final and the continued more local excitement of the cricket Hundred have knocked a bit of a hole in my working week. I’m only glad we don’t also have a subscription to be able to watch live Premier League football.

I never really doubted that the Lionesses would beat the Australian Matildas as I’m pretty sure that our women’s football team is the best in the world: something that I’ve not been able to say about the men’s side. With Sam Kerr in the opposition, though, you can never be sure, as her magnificent goal proved. We should be able to beat Spain on Sunday (but might not, of course).

As for the cricket, the sport’s administrators have sine the 1960s been racking their brains about how to make this more popular and profitable, five-day test cricket operating on a level which doesn’t accord with the increasing desire for fast action. The Hundred, which takes place in a concentrated burst in August, seems to have satisfied this ambition. Better still, by having complete equality of coverage in the men’s and women’s games, the organisers have effectively doubled the appeal. Took a bit of time, but they got there.

There have been few more wonderful inventions – OK, except for fire, the wheel, Apple Macs and the electric guitar – than football and cricket. To see women compete in these sports to a level of skill, professionalism and popular recognition which comes ever closer to matching that of the men is wonderful. Apart from anything else, it doubles the number of matches. Wait a week or so and another tournament will have started. Works for me…

• And finally

• 17 August was A-level results day. Inevitably, some will have done less well than they’d hoped or feel they deserved. There’ll be more of these than in past years, with the number of A* and A grades  accounting for just over 27% of the results this year compared to a Covid peak of nearly 45%. This BBC article has a number of encouraging stories for those who might feel that bad grades are a disaster.

Reuters reports that The British Museum said on Wednesday a member of staff had been dismissed after items from its collection, including gold jewellery and gems, had been found to be missing, stolen or damaged. The Director of the Museum described it as “a highly unusual incident.” Well, not that unusual: how does he think many of the treasures, including the Elgin Marbles, came to be in the Museum in the first place?

• Each day seems to bring a new low in the USA and its ex-PotUS Donald Trump. The more crimes he he charged with the greater his popularity seems to get, which is alarming enough on its own. This week, a Texas woman has been charged with threatening to kill the judge who is hearing one of the criminal cases that he faces. With almost endearing dumbness, she made the threatening call from her own phone so enabling the gendarmes to nail her. In that country, threats of this kind have to be taken seriously. This is the latest in an ever-mounting invective traded between the two sides. The judge herself warned at a court hearing that both sides should avoid any “inflammatory statements.” Sadly, I think that ship sailed some time ago…

Across the area

• 100 days

Depending on what view you take, the Lib Dems at West Berkshire Council has been in power either since 5 May (when the election results were confirmed) or 25 May (when the first meeting of the new Council took place). Taking the latter date, the 100-day anniversary – so beloved of journalist to asses the success or otherwise of any administration – falls on Saturday 2 September.

The local Conservative group has issued a press statement looking at some areas where it feels that the council has not fulfilled its promises. In several cases the result is that the Conservatives are chasing the implementation of policies which they disagreed with in the first place. Exactly the same thing would be happening were their situations to be reversed.

Rather than publishing these, I’ve given the administration the opportunity to comment on these criticisms and also answer a few questions I’ve posed. I’ll have more on this before the 100-day anniversary on 2 September.

• Advisory groups

One thing that Lib Dems said they would so and have done is to make the advisory groups public: that’s to say, one (Environment) has been opened up so far. I understand that the aspiration remains to do likewise with the others (Planning and Transport).

In the former case, the discussions surrounding the local plan mean that currently there’s a good deal of commercially sensitive information being discussed. There’s no point in having an “open” group if there’s just a welcome from the Chair and a list of apologies after which the whole thing moves to a confidential part two. None the less, this was a manifesto pledge and if it isn’t honoured then I’m sure that WBC will be explaining why not.

The Environmental Advisory Group (EAG) has, however, been opened up and held its first meeting under these new rules on 31 July. The purpose of these is not to set policy but to get advice. The difference is that whereas before this was provided in private and the discussions could not be reported, they are now happening in public.

There are advantages of both approaches. It was claimed that the private meetings, with the previous administration held, allowed freer debate and discussion without the fear that a remark would be quoted out of context. The Lib Dems’ view is that this advice should be publicly available at the time it’s provided. As mentioned above, this needs to take account of the restrictions about commercial sensitivity.

It’s too early to say if this change has been a success but all the participants in the July EAG to whom I’ve spoken since the meeting feel that this meeting went well. Perhaps the most eye-catching item was consultancy report which suggested that WBC’s aim of reducing food waste put in black bins (which leads to methane emissions) and increasing the amount of stuff we recycle would be aided by decreasing the frequency on black-bin collections to every three or four weeks.  

We certainly put a lot less stuff in our black bins than we used to so this wouldn’t be a huge problem (though remembering on what day the less frequent collections happened probably would). Others might feel differently. The EAG Chair and portfolio holder Adrian Abbs is certainly aware that there are pros and cons to this and indeed every other proposal. A public consultation will be held on any changes before they’re implemented.

Another matter discussed was the possibility of using hydro power on the River Kennet. Several such schemes were in operation in the early 20th century and a proposal that this generation method be revived was put to WBC in the early 2000s but not proceeded with. Technology has come a long way since then, as has the climate emergency. It seemed to  be felt that the idea had some merit.

If so, the next step would be for the administration to find some money to pay for a full evaluation of what is and isn’t possible. Any proposal would have to go through the planning system and so would be subjected to all the usual scrutiny. This would probably be at District Planning Committee level given that any proposal would affect all of West Berkshire.

• A bigger splash 

After several delays, West Berkshire Council has announced that the newly refurbished Lido will open at 2pm on Monday 21 August. To mark the occasion, WBC and the operator Everyone Active will be offering this first session free.

A statement from WBC says that “the iconic facility has undergone a complete transformation to provide an enhanced experience for visitors of all ages and to extend the outdoor swimming season from ten to twelve weeks per year to a period of six months, from April through to the end of September.” The pool has been reduced from 72m to am Olympic-length 50m and there’s new interactive splash pad and slides, plus a beautiful decking area where people can relax and colourful beach huts to give a seaside feel.” There’s also a six-metre high spiral flume and new accessible changing facilities.

For more information, see our Newbury Area Weekly News column.

• Sunshine tender 

In September 2022, West Berkshire Council were granted planning permission to construct a 30.5 hectare solar farm on council-owned land at Bloomfield Hatch Farm. The Council has recently announced that “the next step is to build up a clearer picture of what the current marketplace looks like so we can choose the most suitable method of procurement when tenders are invited later this year to appoint a contractor to start construction late next year.

“A significant amount of work has been done as part of the Council’s goal to construct this solar farm project,” portfolio holder Adrian Abbs said, ” We are excited to invite tenders from suitably qualified organisations to help us undertake the next steps of creating a large solar farm in West Berkshire. We are looking forward to bringing this online as soon as practicable.”

Any suppliers interested in taking part in the EME should view the Prior Information Notice (PIN) documents available on the Government’s find a tender platform.

• Residents’ news

The latest Residents’ Bulletin from West Berkshire Council covers summer fun, a fraudulent builder, community Forums, career opportunities, the summer reading challenge, short-film courses, the Festival of the Moon, consultations and an art exhibition.

• News from your local councils

Most of the councils in the area we cover are single-tier with one municipal authority. The arrangements in Oxfordshire are different, with a County Council which is sub-divided into six district councils, of which the Vale of White Horse is one. In these two-tier authorities, the county and district have different responsibilities. In all cases, parish and town councils provide the first and most immediately accessible tier of local government.

West Berkshire Council

Click here for details of all current consultations being run by West Berkshire Council.

West Berkshire Council is looking for your views on local bus services. To take part in the survey (which closes on 10 September), please click here.

Click here to sign up to all or any of the wide range of  newsletters produced by West Berkshire Council.

Click here to see the latest West Berkshire Council Residents’ Bulletin (generally produced every week).

Click here for the latest news from West Berkshire Council.

Vale of White Horse Council

Click here for details of all current consultations being run by the Vale Council.

Click here for latest news from the Vale Council.

Click here for the South and Vale Business Support Newsletter archive (newsletters are generally produced each week).

Click here to sign up to any of the newsletters produced by the Vale’s parent authority, Oxfordshire County Council.

Wiltshire Council

Click here for details of all current consultations being run by Wiltshire Council.

Click here for the latest news from Wiltshire Council.

Swindon Council

Click here for details of all current consultations being run by Swindon Council.

Click here for the latest news from Swindon Council.

Parish and town councils

• Please see the News from your local council section in the respective weekly news columns (these also contain a wide range of other news stories and information on activities, events and local appeals and campaigns): Hungerford areaLambourn Valley; Marlborough area; Newbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and Downlands; Burghfield area; Wantage area

• Other news

Click here to take part in the consultation about West Berkshire’s bus services (closes 10 September).

• A reminder that  West Berkshire Libraries has challenged primary age children to read up to six library books in the Summer Reading Challenge until 15 September and to collect free incentives from their local library for their achievements as they read, with medals and certificates for everyone who completes the challenge. More details here.

Click here for information about help available with the cost of living crisis in West Berkshire, the Vale and Wiltshire.

Please click here for information about what local councils are doing to help support refugees from Ukraine and how you can help.

Click here for a post listing the various places which are offering a takeaway and/or delivery service. If you are aware of any others, let us know.

• The animals of the week are any of the pangolins which escaped the poachers who believed that their scales were medicinally valuable. (How did they get their scales? This is my explanation.)

• John Downe’s letter to the NWN last week in which he politely suggested that regular correspondent Hamish McCracken should have declared the fact that he worked in the fossil-fuel industry certainly touched a nerve. Mr McCracken duly responded but I must confess to finding his letter a bit hard to follow. In consecutive paragraphs he said that he did not seek to question the validity of scientific opinion regarding climate change and that he did question it. He also appeared to suggest that research that’s funded can never produce science. John Downe’s suggestion about disclosure is dismissed as “political nonsense”, although what politics has to do with it he doesn’t make clear. He then, in the interests of “honesty”, attacks some other correspondents with whose views he disagrees. Mr Downe, the ball is in your court, I think…

• The letters section of the Newbury Weekly News includes, as well as ones referred to elsewhere, a wrong name, the wrong place, the government’s fault, locating solar farms and a possible boost.

• A number of good causes have received valuable support recently: see the various news area sections (links above) for further details.

 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 


 


 


 

• Nothing to see

One of the many problems that emerged when the time came to sell the Millennium Dome in London was that there were no clear record of what was in, or on, the building, who owned them and what obligations attached to these. The due diligence and record keeping had been rushed, and in some cases not done at all. There was, obviously, a fairly large ticking clock demanding that the thing be opened on time: but even so…

Much the same thing, admittedly on a rather smaller scale, appears to have happened when the Faraday Road ground was closed in June 2018. This was a WBC asset, although some things may have been owned by others, such as the football club. Knowing what’s there and to whom everything belongs at any change of tenure seems a pretty basic requirement of any organisation. The place was, so the wisdom then ran, to be mothballed and eventually bulldozed, so perhaps this wasn’t seen as important. Matters did not, however, develop remotely as the administration had planned.

Surely the officers should have anticipated this. “What you want to do may happen but it may not. Either way, we need to have a record of what’s there.” Items such as the stand (now in Hungerford), the permitter fence (whereabouts unknown) and the club house (demolished after an arson attack) could have been crossed off the list as they vanished. As it is, we don’t know exactly what was there.

All this became even more important because of the debate about whether or not Monks Lane would be a replacement facility. Sport England’s guidelines are clear that a facility at least as good as that closed has to be provided before development starts (a point WBC did not recognise at the time, but does now). If Monks Lane is not to be built, then Faraday Road needs to be restored to at least the condition it was in before in every significant respect. Not having a single and authenticated point of reference for this makes this task harder. If there is such a document, it’s never been cited in the numerous exchanges on the subject in which different people have claimed different things about the place. There’s also the wider point that for a council not to keep such a record is, at best, insouciant. Might this also have happened elsewhere in the district?

 

 


 


 


 


 


 

• Recycling slots

West Berkshire Council has announced that the availability of appointments at our (HWRCs) across the district will increase.

 

Household Waste Recycling Centres

“This collaboration with our waste contractor, Veolia, will provide more flexibility and capacity during the most popular time slots for residents,” , “and comes just in time for the summer season and the upcoming bank holiday. Additionally, to better serve the community, our Newtown Road HWRC has extended its operating hours on Thursdays, closing at 8.00pm until September. With a total of 628 daily appointments now available at Newtown Road and 488 at Padworth Lane, we aim to accommodate more residents and make recycling more convenient than ever before.”

 

the statement says

 


 


 


 

• Residents’ news

The from West Berkshire Council covers a fostering football sponsorship deal, recycling, the Lido, career opportunities, a search for poets, the Wizard of Oz, consultations, a summer fete, a community garden and the Festival of the Moon.

 

latest Residents’ Bulletin
 

 


 


 


 


 


 

• News from your local councils

Most of the councils in the area we cover are single-tier with one municipal authority. The arrangements in Oxfordshire are different, with a County Council which is sub-divided into six district councils, of which the Vale of White Horse is one. In these two-tier authorities, the county and district have different responsibilities. In all cases, parish and town councils provide the first and most immediately accessible tier of local government.

 


 


 


 

West Berkshire Council

• for details of all current being run by West Berkshire Council.

 

Click hereconsultations

West Berkshire Council is looking for your views on. To take part in the survey (which closes on 10 September), .

 

local bus servicesplease click here

• to sign up to all or any of the wide range of   produced by West Berkshire Council.

 

Click herenewsletters

• to see the latest West Berkshire Council (generally produced every week).

 

Click hereResidents’ Bulletin

• for the latest from West Berkshire Council.

 

Click herenews

 


 


 


 

Vale of White Horse Council

• for details of all current being run by the Vale Council.

 

Click hereconsultations

• for latest from the Vale Council.

 

Click herenews

• for the South and Vale  archive (newsletters are generally produced each week).

 

Click hereBusiness Support Newsletter

• to sign up to any of the produced by the Vale’s parent authority, Oxfordshire County Council.

 

Click herenewsletters

 


 


 


 

Wiltshire Council

• for details of all current being run by Wiltshire Council.

 

Click hereconsultations

• for the latest from Wiltshire Council.

 

Click herenews

 


 


 


 

Swindon Council

• for details of all current being run by Swindon Council.

 

Click hereconsultations

• for the latest from Swindon Council.

 

Click herenews

 


 


 


 

Parish and town councils

• Please see the section in the respective (these also contain a wide range of other news stories and information on activities, events and local appeals and campaigns): ; 

 

News from your local councilweekly news columnsHungerford area; ; ; ; ; ; . Lambourn ValleyMarlborough areaNewbury areaThatcham areaCompton and DownlandsBurghfield areaWantage area
 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 


 


 


 

• Other news

• A reminder that   has challenged primary age children to read up to six library books in the until 15 September and to collect free incentives from their local library for their achievements as they read, with medals and certificates for everyone who completes the challenge. .

 

West Berkshire LibrariesSummer Reading ChallengeMore details here
 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

 


 


 

Click here for information about help available with the cost of living crisis in West Berkshire, the Vale and Wiltshire.

• about what local councils are doing to help support refugees from  and how you can help.

 

Please click here for information Ukraine

•which are offering a . If you are aware of any others, let us know.

 

Click here for a post listing the various places takeaway and/or delivery service

• The   that (unlike ours) are very scared of cucumbers.

 

animals of the weekare these cats

• The of the includes, as well as ones referred to elsewhere, Newbury Wharf, bollards, pollution, overgrown paths, cycles of violence and trains to Oxford.

 

letters section Newbury Weekly News 

• A number of have received valuable support recently: see the various news area sections (links above) for further details.

 

good causes 

The quiz, the sketch and the song

• My word, it’s time for the Song of the Week. Here’s a wonderful and articulate protest song from the late 197os. In light of many police failings since then, it’s worth bearing in mind the message of Tom Robinson’s (Sing if You’re) Glad to be Gay.

• So next must be the Comedy Moment of the Week.  The genesis of Absolutely Fabulous was this French and Saunders sketch which is, aside from this claim to fame, a superb example of how much humour can flow from reversing the normally accepted view of relationships, in this case the mother-daughter one.

• Which leaves the Quiz Question of the Week. This week’s question is: Who is the only English footballer to have scored in the quarter-final, the semi-final and the final of a major international tournament (Euros or World Cup)? Last week’s question was: What is unique about the word “facetiously”? The answer is that it’s the only English word which includes all six vowels (Y joins this club when it feels like it) in their alphabetical order.

For weekly news sections for Hungerford areaLambourn Valley; Marlborough area; Newbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and Downlands; Burghfield area; Wantage area  please click on the appropriate link.

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