A NEW SIGN FOR THE TIMES?
An article published in a recent edition of Henley NEWS On-Line included a question where readers were asked for their opinion of the existing sign over the One Stop store in Henley High Street. The replies indicated unanimous dislike of the sign by all respondents. For the past twelve months the Henley & Beaudesert Civic Society has been corresponding with Tescos (the owners of One Stop) about the inappropriate signage, and we now have confirmation that many residents of the town feel that the bright red, garish sign is not in keeping with the traditional street scene of an historic English town.
Existing ONE STOP Signage | |New Sign as proposed by ONE STOP
It was originally suggested to One Stop that they could replace the sign with the cream and gold sign used in other conservation areas such as Stratford-upon-Avon and other Cotswold villages. However the Society was told that these signs were now obsolete!
Recent correspondence with the Property Director of One Stop has revealed that a more subdued red sign has been installed in other conservation areas in the UK, and which One Stop have suggested as a replacement for the present sign. At the September meeting of the Society members were invited for their opinion and the general view was that the suggested sign would be more acceptable, but only if the length was restricted to cover the shop itself and not extend over the gateway.
A comparison of the existing sign and a mockup of the suggested sign is shown, and readers are now asked if they find the modified sign as suggested by One Stop acceptable. Please respond because the more evidence of public support we can get the better the Society's chance of persuading One Stop to replace what has become an acknowledged eyesore in the centre of the High Street.
Maggie Twigg - Chairman Civic Society
MAT READY TO CELEBRATE SEASON FINALE
Henley-in-Arden’s Mat Jackson says he will be going all out to win at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire this coming Sunday (15 October) even though he’s already provisionally the new Blaupunkt SEAT Cupra Champion.
Mat is set to receive a cheque for £100,000 – the biggest cash prize in British motor sport – plus the Champion’s trophy from SEAT UK at Silverstone after putting the title out of his rivals’ reach at Brands Hatch a fortnight ago.
His title success has also earned him a hallowed test drive in SEAT Sport UK’s British Touring Car Championship SEAT Leon driven to victory this year by Jason Plato, James Thompson and Darren Turner. Mat will be hoping to join SEAT in its celebrations should it win the BTCC’s coveted Manufacturers’ title on Sunday.
Mat, aged 25, says: “I could play it safe and not turn up, but that would be ridiculous. Everyone involved in the championship and particularly the fans who pay to come through the gate would expect to see the new Champion race and my team, sponsor Whale Tankers and I are not going to disappoint them. I’ve had ten wins from 16 races so far and want to make it 12 out of 18 by winning Silverstone’s two races. It would be a great way to sign off what has been a great season.”
Mat has led the season from the opening round. Up until Brands Hatch, where he finished third and fourth, he has won at least one race at every ‘double-header’ fixture. On three occasions he has achieved the victory double. He has also qualified on pole position six times and set five fastest race laps. And the statistics show Mat has led 138 laps – that’s more than half the 255 completed – and 212 of the 434 miles covered.
A large number of guests from sponsor Whale Tankers are expected at Silverstone on Sunday to cheer on Mat. And he believes the season’s final two rounds could be the most exciting of the season.
“There are still a few key positions to be decided in the championship and the short Silverstone National circuit lends itself to close racing any way,” adds Mat. “The track is very fast and very wide, meaning it’s possible to run three or four Cupras abreast at some points. The lap time is just over a minute so it’s going to be fast and furious all the way and I predict these two races will make for a very exciting end to the season.”
Mat’s Silverstone timetable:
Friday 13 October: TESTING, 10.40-11.25 & 14.45-15.25
Saturday 14 October: QUALIFYING, 11.00-11.20 & 16.10-16.30
Sunday 15 October: RACE DAY, 11.15 (Race 1, 18 laps) & 17.00 (Race 2, 18 laps)
Mat’s two races at Silverstone on Sunday 15 October can be watched live on satellite television channel Motors TV (channel 413 or 545 on NTL3).
ROTARY WINE-TASTING EVENING
Henley Rotary President Alan James welcomed over 100 Rotarians, their partners and guests to the club's wine-tasting evening at Henley Golf and Country Club. The wines were presented by John Freeland of the Stratford wine merchants and shippers C.A.Rookes. He gave an interesting account of the origin of the six French wines that were tasted by an appreciative audience.
More than £200 was raised during the evening from a raffle, the proceeds of which were put towards the club's fund-raising for another Rotary Shelterbox. In case of earthquake, storm, floods and war, Shelterboxes provide immediate relief - a large tent, blankets, a cooker - giving warmth and shelter for ten people in a box. Over the past two or three years the club has already funded four of these boxes.
The evening concluded with a presentation to Delya James of a jewel to be worn by the partner of the President during his year of office. Christine Rayner, wife of last year's President, made the presentation.
Rotarian Mike Redman reporting
FANTASTIC FIREWORK DISPLAY
Henley and Wootton Scout Troop are holding their annual Bonfire and Firework display on Saturday 4th November at The Playing Fields as usual on the Stratford Road.
The bonfire will be lit at 6.30pm with this years firework display, which promises to be better than ever!...starting at 7.15pm.
It’s an ideal display for children and adults alike and once again there will be hot soup, mulled wine, BBQ and other refreshments…There’s a tombola and raffle too and all proceeds are going towards providing improved equipment for the towns growing troop. If you are interested in bringing your child along to try either, beavers, cubs, scouts or explorer scouts then just call John Johnson on 01564 792073, they will have a great time!
SPECIAL OFFER to see TOM JONES
JOHNSONS COACHES are making a very special offer to readers of Henley NEWS On-line of a limited number of tickets at only £10 each to see TOM JONES at the NEC Arena on Saturday 14th October (no coach travel included).
Please call Johnsons immediately on 797000 to take advantage of this amazing offer.
Warwick Road Traffic Lights
Once again I have see that the traffic lights on the Warwick / Stratford road have had their heads turned around again. This time its the lights on the Redditch road side pointing towards Warwick that have been turned, the ones facing Warwick towards Birmingham and the ones on the Redditch side towards Stratford. The Pedestrian warning lights have also been turned to face the oncoming traffic. This is now becoming a regular occurrence surely it can't be beyond the council to make the heads unmovable, as an engineer a simple solution would be to just add an extra bolt to the head bracket to prevent rotation. If the head has to be able to rotate in order to prevent damage if hit by a vehicle then the extra pin could be a shear pin.
I know that this may seem to be a bit of fun to the people who are doing this but I feel that it may cause a serious accident. Maybe the lights could be painted with some sort of non drying paint which would stain the hands for six months but I suppose that that would be against the human rights of the offender.
Badminton in Henley-in-Arden
The following two badminton clubs extend a warm welcome to all badminton players:-
Henley-in-Arden Badminton Club meets Friday and Sunday evenings at 8pm from September to May in the Memorial Hall, Station Road, Henley. Further details contact Alan Barber on 01564 793320.
On Thursday evenings from 7.30pm - 9.30pm the Badminton Club meets at Henley Community Primary School, Arden Road, Henley. Further information please ring Pauline Barber on 01564 793320 or email email@example.com
Birds from my kitchen window.
It was sad to read Wendy Cowdrill’s account of dying and dead birds. The birds I have viewed this year are very different from say, five years ago. Where are the starlings, thrushes and sparrows? For the last three weeks I have not seen a magpie either.
My resident robin is still there, supervising work in my garden in his bossy way. Surprising visitors to my small 12 x 12 garden are a flock (about 10) of great tits, accompanied by a solitary coal tit. There are also flycatchers visiting briefly. A handsome blackbird has helped me keep snail numbers sown. Reassuringly a greenfinch visits but I regret not my breeding pair of chaffinches.
Let us hope and pry that next spring will see an increase in numbers of our little feathered friends. These delightful little creatures have not much going for them at present.
John Garner's Business Column
Recruitment – Part 4 Psychometric testing
Last week I said we’d talk about other ways of assessing candidates to supplement the interview, in particular psychometric testing, otherwise known as personality profiling.
As its name implies this is a way of analysing the personality of each candidate. There are several proprietary systems that do this for you, but you need to use a qualified practitioner to interpret the results and there will be a cost, probably about £100 per candidate. It involves each candidate completing a questionnaire; these are then analysed by the practitioner and the results given to you.
Of course, you don’t need to test every candidate who applies for your job, just the ones you think you might put on your shortlist. You normally only have to pay for the questionnaires you actually get processed, so get each candidate to complete a questionnaire before you interview them and then only process the ones for those candidates you think you will want to interview again. When you do the second interviews you can have each candidate’s report in front of you and question them on anything the report throws up.
In my own experience this method is a real eye-opener. It tells you a great deal about the applicant’s character: whether they are an individual or team player, how they behave under pressure, their work preferences, whether they have any strange quirks. It can also indicate if they are trying to hide something.
The results from this type of test should only be used as one factor in the recruitment process but I can cite several occasions when we ignored what the test told us, recruited the employee anyway and it proved a disaster. In my view this can be the best £100 you ever spend; compare this with the cost of employing the wrong person.
There are several psychometric testing systems on the market, of varying complexities, and every practitioner has their own favourite, so I’m not going to publicly recommend any particular one, but privately I am happy to discuss the one we use ourselves.
If you are a member of the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) they have a good fact sheet on using psychological testing. See www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/recruitmen/tests/psytest.htm?IsSrchRes=1
Next time we’ll look at making the job offer
The Nigel Hastilow Column
"Tomorrow's England" - a preview
I am writing a new book as a follow-up to "The Last of England". It will be called "Tomorrow's England". In the light of the furore created by Jack Straw over Moslem women wearing veils, I thought I would post the opening chapter of that new book which I hope will be published next year:
Lunch-time for losers
Lunch-time in the bank queue at Barclays in Birmingham New Street. The number of assistants halves as the number of customers doubles, so there’s plenty of time to listen to the gossip that goes on around you. Immediately behind me are two young women discussing mobile phones and boyfriends. They chatter away in their Brummie accents quite happily as we all wait for someone willing to give us back some of our own money.
As they gossip away they sound exactly like all the other teenagers you ever listen to. I turn towards the door wondering whether it’s worth waiting any longer or whether I can remember my PIN number. I see the girls for the first time. And I have to confess, though I know I shouldn’t be, that I am shocked. Because these two girls, who must be teenagers and who have all the phrases, likes and dislikes of teenagers, are nonetheless clad from head to toe in black, except for small slits for their eyes.
They are Moslem women hidden behind the veil of their faith, the traditional burka. According to Polly Toynbee in the “Guardian”, “the top-to-toe burka, with its sinister, airless little grille, is more than an instrument of persecution, it is a public tarring and feathering of female sexuality. It transforms any woman into an object of defilement too untouchably disgusting to be seen”. Well, it’s a point of view. Though the two young women in the queue at Barclays Bank in Birmingham seem perfectly normal, happy wearers of this garb. They may have been forced to go out in the burka by their repressive menfolk but there is no evidence to support this view. It has to be admitted, though, that the sight of these girls is strange and mildly disturbing. Most of us can’t understand why anyone would want to wear the burka.
The conversation of these two girls in the queue – boys, school and mobile phones – was modern, up-to-date and Western. In stark contrast, their clothes were positively medieval, antiquated and Middle Eastern. The girls embodied at that moment the dilemma facing so many Moslems in England and so many of the rest of us when we contemplate their co-religionists. We live in a secular, materialistic, predominantly Godless society yet many Moslems in this country take their faith much more seriously than the rest of us can reasonably imagine. Which raises a serious and difficult question: To what extent should our tolerant, liberal, pluralistic society accommodate views which the majority of us find abhorrent and which, in some instances, seek to undermine the principles we live by? The rantings of the mad mullahs were, until the London underground suicide bombings, or 7/7 as they are now known, tolerated in the name of free speech, even though the law had some time earlier made it illegal to spit out the equal but opposite vitriol of the rabid right.
Since 9/11 and 7/7 we have become less tolerant of those who make themselves “the enemy within” but while we fight to preserve our tolerant liberalism, some commentators perform a bizarre form of self-abasement. They say how offensive our modern society is. They say they can understand why disaffected adolescent Muslim males might want to turn themselves into suicide bombers. These critics claim we are living in a world of sleaze, consumerism and atheistic hedonism which has no culture or values and is therefore worthy of the hate directed at it by the Al Qaeda network and its fellow travellers.
Yet we are lucky to live in the most successful, peaceful and harmonious society in the history of this country. It is not perfect but it is infinitely better than a repressive Taliban regime in Afghanistan or a dictatorship in Iraq. It is not without its beliefs either. We all “believe in” democracy, the rule of law, tolerance, freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of worship. We all relish the benefits of capitalism. We are healthier, wealthier and wiser than we have ever been.
Western society is not the peak of human perfection – just the best sort of society humanity has yet managed to invent or devise. While there are many, many things wrong with it, it is still an improvement on everything that’s gone before. We must not allow fanatical enemies of our world to mislead us into such self-loathing that we come to accept their account of our world. We do not live in some kind of moral vacuum where decadence is eating away at the foundations of our world. People with strong religious beliefs are not in any way justified in throwing their lives away trying to destroy us. We know this is the ambition of a few fanatical Moslems. They can accuse us of degeneracy and use their whipped-up moral indignation to justify their murderous actions.
The truth is that they are lucky to live in a world which respects all faiths, all creeds and all colours. If they don’t realise it, that’s their failure. Not ours. The youths who plot the downfall of 21st century Western society are not fired by faith and fervour. They are socially inadequate. They are failures. They don’t know how lucky they are.
In the words of the veiled girls in the bank queue, they’re losers. Yet we are changing the face of England to accommodate these fanatics. We are giving up freedoms we have believed in and cherished for centuries. We are creating a brave new world which owes more to George Orwell than we may want to admit. This is taking place incrementally, stage by stage, step by step. It is doubtful if there is some sinister “Big Brother” who is the brains behind an evil plot – unfortunately every step along the primrose path to our self-incarceration is justifiable as a necessary method of protecting us from our unseen enemies.
And because there have been, and will be again, serious terrorist outrages in England and, indeed, throughout the world, we accept the need to limit and confine ourselves. We don’t mind queuing for aeroplanes and having our nail scissors confiscated. We don’t even notice the absence of litter bins at railway stations. We are not in the least concerned to see police officers toting sub-machine guns at road junctions. We say how pleased we are to feel protected. We aren’t even particularly concerned when we are banned from saying certain things or telling some jokes. We scarcely bat an eyelid when private organisations hold vast databases with information about every single financial transaction we have made in our adult lives. We are supremely indifferent to the possibility that our every move is monitored on all-pervasive surveillance systems. We don’t even care much if the police shoot dead a terrorist suspect on the London Underground even when it turns out they got the wrong man.
This book is about all of this. It’s about the kind of England we can expect to live in tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.
A couple of years ago I wrote “The Last of England” which described the slow death of our national identity and attributed its disappearance to a range of causes, including the Scottish Raj which has run our country since 1997; the triumph of the New Establishment of 1960s flower-power Socialists who came to their positions of power and influence around the time Tony Blair became Prime Minister; but also to inexorable historical processes, the rapid growth in the country’s population, the decline in education standards and so on.
Most of what we once had as a country has now gone. Yet some of what remains is very precious indeed and should be preserved. Freedom is not an absolute. It is divisible. It can be eroded and abandoned and given up voluntarily. Man is born free but is everywhere in chains. How far are we prepared to go in giving up our freedom? It looks as if we are prepared to go a very long way indeed. It looks as if we will bequeath to subsequent generations a country which is ruled and regulated to such an extent that the very concept of personal freedom will be an alien idea. Of course, nominally we will all be free to do as we like. But there will always be someone watching us. Watching over us, you might say, in a benign and fatherly way. But it amounts to checking every step we take, every move we make.
Everything we think, everywhere we go, every word we say, every pound we spend, our entire existence will be logged on databases. If we have nothing to hide, it is always said, we have nothing to fear.
But is that true?
Grumpy Old Man Comments
Gas pricing !
Another round of domestic price rises from most of the utility companies. This happens at the same time as we hear that wholesale prices are -5p per therm (or unit). What this means is Mr Gas Provider is given 5p for every unit of gas he takes from the wholesale companies. Then he takes money from you when you use it! Not bad eh?
On the radio today, surprisingly I heard that the Utility companies are making huge profits, along with their German parent companies.
In my opinion, Utility companies pass on price rises straight away and hold back when their buy price goes down. The excuse is they have to wait for stability in the pricing. But doesn’t stability work in both directions? Obviously not.
So why is this? What we must all realize the core reason these companies are there is NOT to supply gas, electricity, water, oil groceries etc BUT to make money for shareholders. The only reason they care about customers is, they want your business now, tomorrow, next week and next year. They will try and give the impression that they do care, but this is only to keep your cash coming in.
What can we do, in terms of day to day bills? We can do nothing except find the cheapest provider at that specific moment in time and pay them what they ask. There are many websites that can compare prices with a few details from you. But is that all? The other thing we can do is buy shares so the profit comes straight back in dividends, I’d do this if I had a few spare pounds. Or look at solar cells so we harness the sun’s power. I looked at this 4 years ago but the cost was prohibitive.
So yet again the people who pay the bills continue to be fleeced for all supplies, gas, water, electricity petrol etc.
Grumpy Old Man
Henley in Arden Police Surgery
There is a 'Drop In' facility at Henley Police Station to discuss issues/problems within the community with your local policing team. The next Police Surgery will be Wednesday 18th October 2006 between 11am-1pm
If you have any information or have witnessed any incidents, contact Alcester Police Station on 01789 762207.
Make Henley Greener
Save Money - Help Save the Planet
The Wuppertal Institute estimates that 1,500kg of waste are produced in the manufacture of a single PC - so only buy new equipment if you really have to! If you only need to use a PC occasionally, could you use one at a local library, internet cafe or at work? Or could you buy second hand? If you have to buy new, opt for one that's easy to upgrade so that it will last longer - and consider whether you really have to buy a new keyboard, mouse, speakers etc. To donate your old computer equipment, visit www.donateapc.org.uk
To find out about recycled products and refurbish equipment available, visit www.recycledproducts.org.uk/view/
For more information about the Make Henley Greener project, click here.
District & Parish Council Information
Alerts from Trading Standards
And always remember - if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!
Senior Information Officer
Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service
Henley Diary Dates
The following diary dates have been notified to Diane Bayley at 6 St John's Close. All diary dates for the next Henley Diary Dates should be sent to Diane at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Articles and news stories for Henley NEWS on-line should be sent to the email@example.com at any time.
HENLEY WILDLIFE SOCIETY
Stephanie Gaskin is our speaker on 17th October “The Other Side of the World – New Zealand”. Venue is the Baptist Church at 7.45 p.m. Visitors welcome.
HENLEY CIVIC SOCIETY
On Thursday 19th October the speaker is David Howe on “Anthony Eden – Leamington to Suez”. Meetings are at the Baptist Church starting at 8.00 p.m.
Wednesday, November 8, 5.30-8pm. Open evening at Warwickshire College's Henley-in-Arden Centre for prospective students to find out information about full-time courses starting in autumn 2007.
St MARY'S CATHOLIC PRIMARY SCHOOL
Harvest celebration to be held on 19th October at 2pm in the school. Everyone welcome.
ULLENHALL GARDENING CLUB
Our speaker on Tuesday 24th October will be Ann Bird telling us about “Historic Roses”. Ullenhall Village Hall, 7.45 for 8.00 p.m. New members and visitors (£1) always welcome. Competition: 3 roses in a vase.
ENERGY SAVING EXHIBITION
Make Henley Greener and Warwickshire Energy Efficiency Advice Centre invite residents of Henley and district to a free Energy Saving Exhibition on Saturday 21st October from 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. and Thursday 26th October from 6.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. at the Baptist Church Hall. Come and talk to the professional energy team and get your free energy saving gift. Grants available towards energy saving measures that can cut bills by up to 50%. Further information from Margaret Anderson on 792138.
HENLEY-IN-ARDEN EVERGREEN CLUB
Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of the month in the Parish Hall, Beaudesert Lane at 2.15 p.m. The Club has around 80 members and organises a varied programme together with various outings. If you are interested in joining, please contact Gordon Trinder
HENLEY-in-ARDEN BOWLS CLUB
meets on Monday evenings from April to September at 6.30pm and plays until it is dark. The club is situated next to the Tennis Courts at the Sports and Social club ground on the A34 just outside Henley. The Club welcome new members, whether beginners or established players. For further information contact John Townson 01564 792407.
There are still vacancies in some areas of Henley-in-Arden for NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH Co-ordinators. If you are aware that you are not covered in your area or are willing to be a co-ordinator. Please contact Annette Walker on 792837
THE WARWICKSHIRE BUSINESS CLUB
Holds its monthly lunchtime meeting on third Thursday of each month from 11.30am to 2.15pm at the Henley Golf Club. There is a one hour networking session followed by a quality lunch and a informative speaker on a business topic. Full details at www.swbc.co.uk
THE ROTARY CLUB of HENLEY-in-ARDEN
Meets at the Golf Club on Monday evenings at 7pm.
New members are always welcome.
Please call: Robin Freeman on 01789 765411 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
HENLEY-in-ARDEN BRIDGE CLUB
Plays Duplicate Bridge of intermediate standard on Tuesday evenings at the the White Swan Hotel and usually find time for a tipple, which may or may not improve our play!!. Play commences at 7.15 promptly. There are normally 5 - 8 tables and the club does not issue master points.
For further information please contact the Secretary - Christine Whitehouse on 01564 792993.
Events for future Henley Diary Dates should be sent to Diane Bayley at 6 St John's Close marked ‘Henley Diary’ email: email@example.com . Please tell all your friends about The Henley Diary.
From our own Correspondents
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