CHAIN MAIL

Issue 145    Dec 1st   to   March 1st   2020

GRUMPY’S ARTICLE !

Dear Mr Editor,

As I write this, the evenings are dark and dank and the longest night is not far away.  The B word should be [but isn’t] passé’.  2020 beckons. Hopefully, in the New Year  we shall not have to read of the continuing increase in knife and other similar crimes while both policing resources and the efficacy  of life-support services continue to be diminished by the antisocial  behaviour of Extinction Rebellion. The recent letter from John of Gaunt School’s Head warning parents of the prospects of danger in this regard was both chilling and yet comforting in that the problem is being admitted if not yet adequately addressed.

At least, despite the lamentable state of our roads and lanes, Hungerford citizens have not emulated their counterparts in a Mexican township where they tied the mayor to a pick-up and dragged the unfortunate official  over the highways to provide a first-hand taste of the potholes. 

On Hungerford  Common, the healthy herd of cattle has been transported away, albeit reduced  by casualties  caused by  lawbreakers travelling at ridiculous speeds on the traversing roads. Maybe Hungerfordians would like to participate in the 2020 herd ownership, own a steer or heifer  and so add personal interest to visits to The Common; if so, contact philip.porter@townandmanor.co.uk.   As a owner, you could even multi-task: lean on the gate, survey the herd and sip a pint outside the Down Gate.  Of course, you could also shout at those who cannot read  the notices and who insist on bicycling across the grass in the middle of  The Common thereby reducing fodder for grazing, making the pathways muddier and damaging the freshly sown wild-flowers..

The Hungerford Youth & Community Centre, from which WBC summarily removed its support 9 years ago, has soldiered on ever since,  thanks both to the tireless efforts of several township members and  [ in recent years]   Charlie Barr,  and to the generosity of many local institutions including The Town Council and The Town & Manor and Greenham Common Trust.  Only  a month ago, a  Sunday Prize Bingo and HYCC joint-initiative,  with humongous local support, raised over £1,600 to help meet the costs of supporting this, a vital element of our community.  I find  it all the more peculiar that a recent HYCC initiative to employ someone local to assist, on a remunerated basis, with the formation of an enhanced youth programme, should attract not a single applicant.  It may not be the sexiest of responsibilities but  Readers, please either think of someone who might be interested or write to your local MP to canvas government support.

The pavements of the High Street are showing increased footfall, and we havent even got a coherent Tourism Initiative in place . Maybe this invasion is due to the arrival of two more coffee shops; some may say there are too many, but the numbers of bums-on-seats are self-evident.  Non-caffeine swilling visitors to our township may still have to navigate their way round A-Boards, seats  and tables as well as taking avoiding action when cyclists  and mobility scooter drivers swoop  down the pavements, presumably because they are frightened of travelling on the highways  where car-drivers demonstrate their  lack of knowledge of the correct procedures,  the priorities etc  on the four mini-roundabouts that punctuate the High Street.

To conclude on a more personal (and yet positive) note.  Grumpy has been overwhelmed, following the diagnosis of cancer within his family, by the unstinting fellowship, spiritual and tangible support received from so many townsfolk.  Overall, it reconfirms that,  despite (or perhaps because of) recurrent attacks of the Grumps, as this column has testified,  there is no place on earth that I would rather live [and I have tried quite a few!] than Hungerford.

Happy Christmas!!      GRUMPY