Archive for the ‘Letters to the Editor’ Category
It is a truth universally acknowledged that any article or letter which dares to question the merits of a town or its people will quickly provoke a fierce rebuke from affronted natives in the local paper’s letters page.
In this case, timewarped and tiny north-eastern fishing village and depressing Sunday afternoon family outing hotspot of my youth, Staithes, bites back. And excitingly, it bites back in the form of a letter from Winifred Craig, who writes under a name designed for a 243 year-old while inexplicably claiming to be just 76.
An extra interesting fact about Staithes before you move on: the demented locals pronounce it as ‘Steers’. So there.
Whitby Gazette, 16 March 2011 (letter):
The people of Staithes DO care
I read with horror and consternation the article of 15 March headed ‘I drive by when I see village sign Staithes’.
It was then when I came to the paragraph – ‘you should resign yourself to the fact that Staithes does not care whether you visit or not’ – I became outraged.
How dare he. As an original of Staithes of some 76 years and having lived and travelled worldwide I have seen some horrendous sights and smells, he makes Staithes seem like the aftermath of Tsunami.
The people of Staithes do care. We have a very dedicated council employee who does a magnificent job of cleaning the village and if anything above his job is brought to his attention he will do his utmost to resolve it. But the writer puts the cap fairly and squarely on the right head when he mentions Scarborough Borough Council. They do not seem to care about these little villages and concentrate money, time and effort on Scarborough, as he duly notes.
And as for the polluted beach and water, this is because of the groin being in the wrong place and the cutting off of the tidal flow from the north and south sides of the piers, which has never been rectified. Please don’t blame the locals, blame bureaucracy and the indifference of the council who should care, but don’t.
This isn’t the first time a wrongly-placed groin will have cut off something’s flow. Right lads?
Oh, and by the way, my husband has a blue badge and as we live at the top of the bank and as he cannot walk more than a few feet after suffering a stroke, finds it impossible to visit our old home on the seafront, and know why, it’s because since the council laid the new cobblestones it shakes him up so much it makes him ill.
So writer, if you have any clout at all, get in touch with Scarborough Borough Council and justify your remarks. You never know, you may succeed where others have failed.
Winifred Craig, Cliff Road, Staithes
Surely these cobblestones are in contravention of disability legislation? If Staithes shakes up people in wheelchairs to the point of illness, then the original article probably made a fair recommendation about driving by drive by the village sign.
I’ve heard of newspapers hitting doormats, but have rarely heard of doormats becoming the content of newspapers themselves. Tuesday 25 January 2011 was the day when domestic carpet maintenance concerns finally exploded onto the news agenda in Huddersfield.
Huddersfield Examiner, 25 January 2011:
Please wipe your feet
I AM sure I am not on my own when I say how annoying it is when you have visitors to your house who refuse to wipe their shoes, although you have provided a door mat. I have a daily battle against trainers, shoes, boots etc.
If there is an inventor somewhere who could come up with a device that would ask people to politely wipe their feet on entering your house door, it would be a number one seller.
Until then I remain an annoyed, constant hall carpet cleaner.
Hmmm, if only a really clever inventor somewhere could come up with something like, you know, a doormat with words on or something.
Turns out this disconcertingly vaguely named ‘READER’ is not the only one prepared to speak out on this sorry mess:
Huddersfield Examiner, 8 February 2011:
Please wipe your feet
LIKE your Netherton reader (Mailbag, January 25) I also am annoyed when people do not wipe their feet on the door mat provided (back and front) of my house. I always do so at other people’s homes.
It must be second nature to me. I cannot remember being told when I was much younger. Perhaps telling the children will have the desired effect for the next generation.
Mrs E Taylor
Here come the bloody ‘better at wiping my feet than thou’ brigade…
The letters page of the Whitby Gazette is a reliably wonderful festival of misanthropy. Serving as a weekly noticeboard of human hatred, nearly every issue of the paper sees someone publicly attacking their fellow Whitby residents for crimes committed in the course of everyday life.
Whitby Gazette, 5 January 2011:
Joggers should have their own stretch of beach
I would like to open a debate about joggers having their own stretch of beach. Possibly, the area near to the west extension when the tide is in.
Not only do joggers expect all other human beings to either step aside, fall down, or jump over the cliff in order to clear their path, but they assume deafness to a happy ‘good morning’ and blindness to a smile, and at the risk of running out of sync, a kick in the ribs to the dog.
Oh yes dear reader, I am a dog owner and also, as it happens, like seagulls!
Miss P Smithson, Upgang Lane, Whitby
For those of you not intimately familiar with the geography of Whitby beach, the ‘area near to the West extension when the tide is in‘ would not be ideally suited for jogging, as this picture demonstrates. Hats off to Miss Smithson for publicly calling for the death of all joggers.
News just in: Dog owners have shit for brains!
Whitby Gazette, 12 January 2011:
Littering with dog mess
It never ceases to amaze me to see dog owners pick up their dog mess in a plastic bag and proceed to throw it up a tree or into the hedge back.
Not only littering with dog mess, but also with plastic. All I can say is the contents of the plastic bag is equal to what is keeping their ears apart.
Mal Greenley, the man with the white lurcher, Helredale Road, Whitby
More news just in: Dog owners deliberately make children go blind!
Whitby Gazette, 26 January 2011:
Clean up after your dogs
May I, through the Whitby Gazette, thank the person (and I know who you are), for allowing your dog to leave a large ‘deposit’ on the path outside my house this morning (Tuesday 25 Jan).
As a thank-you to you, I have informed the dog fouling authorities and you should be receiving a visit from the Dog Warden in due course.
The responsibility of looking after a dog is no different to looking after a young child. You have to feed it and clean up after it. If you are not willing or prepared to clean up its mess, then you shouldn’t have it in the first place. You are totally irresponsible and should be ashamed of yourself. Toxoplasmosis is a disease which is passed to humans via dog faeces and can cause blindness. It is extremely dangerous for children and pregnant women. Many children play on the two grassed play areas on Queen’s Drive and frequently go home with dog faeces either on their shoes or on their clothing. These are children’s play areas. If they were designated dog walking areas, they would have dog litter bins in situ.
On a final note. To those of you who fail to pick up your dog’s mess whilst walking it on or near the grass at the bottom of Queen’s Drive, I will not hesitate to report you. Enough said.
Mrs Ward, Queens Drive, Whitby
Local newspapers: truly the lifeblood of any community.
It seems the concept of dog ownership will always give rise to existential debate in the letters pages of regional newspapers.
This correspondent doesn’t take kindly to another reader’s jibe that not having a dog = not having a life. And he executes his rage with a wonderful level of passive aggression.
Whitby Gazette, 26 March 2008:
Dogs on the beach – the debate continues
May I, as someone who has not got a dog and therefore, according to a previous letter writer has not got a life, speak out for the thousands of people who do not want dogs and therefore also do not have lives.
May I first list the things a dog can offer to people with and without lives.
It can bark, eat, defecate (very often illegally but only where its idle or irresponsible owners allow it to), smell, put its nose in parts of our anatomy where its owners may like it (but those of us without a life definitely don’t), lick your face after it has explored the nether regions of fellow mutts with its tongue, bound up to us lifeless ones and our children and knock them over (he’s only playing you know), copulate with your leg (he really likes you), yap endlessly when left tethered outside shops (he misses his mummy) and chase livestock because it is illegally unleashed.
I offer the paved walk from Prospect Hill to Ruswarp as a regular example but mind where you put your feet.
It cannot smile, talk, think, frown, understand every word you say or use a toilet.
I would sometimes really love to have a life.
But if this involves daily walking around with a bag full of dog faeces in my hand then I think I would rather not have a life and if the only way Ms Barnett can make friends is by having a dog, perhaps she should seek help.
James Smith, Whitby
I must say, it’s too rare that the paved walk from Prospect Hill to Ruswarp is offered as a regular example of anything. Hats off.
From time to time, local newspapers attract people who are prepared to engage in Letters Page War with other correspondents.
In this case, narky oddball Nino Hoblyn of North Street, Caistor, drags the new editor of the Market Rasen Mail into the matter and criticises him for regularly printing the local Tory MP’s letters. He even finds time to squeeze in an accusation of a freemason conspiracy. Excellent work.
Market Rasen Mail, 14 July 2010:
Letter: Other matters do need addressing, starting with Caistor’s boxed tree
EDITOR – Am I the only regular reader of the Market Rasen Mail who is beginning to wonder if the “New Kid On The Block, Paul Fisher” hasn’t been doing some of those funny little deeds with Edward Leigh MP where certain very strange handshakes are done in secret?
Because if the answer to this is “Nay Mr Wilks”, then why may I ask is dear Eddy Leigh slotting his tuppence with each and every week in telling us the reader, things that should be kept to the likes of “Jackanory”.
For how many times does one have to shout before one goes blue in the face, that we have more concerning issues in our own lines of much greater importance, the “Offending tree in a box in Caistor Market Square”.
This man’s apparent fondness for using excessive quotation marks is highly intriguing, but still not quite as intriguing as this “offending tree in a box”. Pray tell, what is the story behind this myserious box-bound woody plant?
Thanks to the work of intrepid Lincolnshire native Anna Holden, we have what some may call a photograph:
Who’d have thought an innocuous white stick in a box could lead to this?:
Oh yes sir! This may seem a most trivial topic to those with no understanding of tree’s but let me please inform you that trees should be planted in the ground and not in a box.
Let’s not forget trees also have feelings and as a humans, a box is for those who no longer live, so why condemn the tree in a box while it still breaths and enjoys gods wonderful planet.
So come on let’s release the tree back into the wild where it will smile for each and everyday of its long life and thus growing leaves more greener and a trunk thicker, will then be saying to all of us “Thanks-you”.
North Street, Caistor
Oh dear. Yes, the man is a mentalist.
Mind you, you know you’ve done well when your letter manages to tease out an editorial response.
Editor’s Note: The Market Rasen Mail strives to be entirely independent in its coverage of all matters. As MP for our district I feel our readers are interested in Mr Leigh’s views and actions and so the newspaper regularly carries letters from Mr Leigh.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is nothing more satisfying than successfully filling up with petrol to a precise pound. However, a conspiracy is afoot (or is it a leg?). The people of Greater Manchester are being systemically deprived of this glorious consumer sensation and are not happy one bit.
And doesn’t the letters page of the Manchester Evening News just know it…
Yes, this idea of a global retail giant collecting income without specifically doing anything for it is really quite groundbreaking.
So much so that there has even been a follow-up letter:
Always great to end a letter with a truism: pennies really do add up, ladies and gentlemen.
Another example of a regional newspaper’s letters page being used for a heavily sarcastic public ‘thank you’. This time it’s thank you for NOTHING.
The anger in this letter keeps building wonderfully, much like foam freshly sprayed from a can.
South Wales Echo, 4 September 2010:
A big thanks for nothing
A BIG and special thank you to those lovely people in Penarth town centre who, on Saturday, August 28, did nothing.
They were sitting or standing in the bus stop or standing outside shops or passing by and numbly watched me, an innocent small Chinese woman being surrounded by a gang of teenagers and attacked by one of them spraying canned foam at me in broad daylight.
Thank you all for your apathy and unsupportiveness towards such brazen, violent, bullying behaviour!
Just be aware that this kind of similar situation will happen to you one day and you will know what it feels like to be attacked and no-one helps.
You, the one who attacked me, should be feeling lucky because I did not beat the living daylights out of you when I could.
Bullying makes my blood boil and I never tolerate it!
You thought you would be considered a hero amongst your friends just because you picked a weak-looking Chinese woman and attacked her and then ran away. You are wrong. If you have a brain, you will regret one day for having stood out as a bully “leader”.
Alright luv, you’ve said your piece… it’s best to just try and put it behind you now. For your own sake, more than anything.
Oh, go on then…
You were bullying me with joy. However, one day you will sadly be bullied by somebody else, and one day you mother will be bullied, and your father, your brothers and sisters, and your friends and your friends’ friends and their families.
This will go on and on and on… and you might not be “lucky” to be attacked by just a can of foam.
I was kind of relieved when you said sorry across the road and I was glad for you.
I hope your sorry is genuine from the bottom of your heart.
That means you still have the consciousness for shame and your life has still a light of hope. Otherwise I will feel sorry for you!
A helpless Chinese woman
Name and address supplied
All of that, just for a bit of foam in the face. Imagine all of the letters Dick and Dom must have had over the years.
For most people, a ‘thank you’ letter conjures distant childhood memories of being forced to put pen to paper and thank an auntie for the hideous jumper she sent for a birthday.
But it appears there are people out there – some of them possibly even adults – who actually enjoy saying ‘thank you’ and enjoy it so bloody much that they’ll do it publicly in their local newspaper’s letters page.
Huddersfield Examiner, 24 July 2010:
I WOULD like to express my thanks to the gentleman who handed my bank card into the cashier at Marsh Co-op on Monday, June 21.
I was in so much pain with my arthritis and anxious to get home to take my painkillers I stupidly left my card in the cash point.
All I can say is thank God there are at least a few truthful decent people living in Marsh.
Due to my stupidity, it could have ended up in the hands of some drug dealer, of which there are many in Marsh.
Again, thank you whoever you are.
Whitehaven News, 14 July 2010:
SIR – On the afternoon after Whitehaven Carnival, I was walking along the harbour and fell and injured myself.
A big thank you to the person who kindly put a coat under my head to make me more comfy. Also to the lady that went to Tesco to fetch my wife.
All these people know who they are so a big thank you to all concerned.
Do they realistically expect the people concerned to be poring over the letters page every day in hope of finally getting the thanks they deserve for their good deeds? It appears so.
Don’t make do with a quick ‘thank you’ where the laborious details of your every move will do…
Halifax Evening Courier, 22 June 2010:
Imagine coming home and finding you are locked out of your house.
What would you do? Well thanks to a police officer and a taxi driver we managed to get in our house. We told our mum we would not be taking our keys with us when we went out and to not lock the door, but we arrived home to an empty house and a locked door and thanks to a neighbour we were informed that she had gone out.
We find ourselves stuck in Boothtown sat outside the Spar garage at 3am on Sunday morning when a policeman pulled in…he managed to give us a lift to ABC taxis who then took us to Brighouse train station to meet our sister to get her house keys so we could get in.
By 4.15am we managed to get in the house and are now watching Rocky on DVD.
To the policeman in question, the taxi driver and the neighbour in nearby flats…thank you.
Sam and Jo Hoyle
They wrote a letter to a newspaper at 4.15am at the same time as watching Rocky on DVD. Never in all my life…
But oh, what’s this? Ah yes, the passive aggressive ‘thank you’ letter… an excellent variation on the genre:
Huddersfield Examiner, 24 July 2010:
I WOULD like to say a huge thank you to the person who made a right mess of my car on Saturday night.
It has a rather large dent in the passenger door, light blue paint on the bumper (mine is a navy blue colour), looks terrible and is going to cost a lot of money to put it right.
This is going to be hard to do as I live on disability living allowance and sick pay. I just wish this person could have left their details. I hope they can sleep at night!
And while we’re on the subject… a big thank you to Anna Holden for her assistance in collating these letters.
Reader mistakes Huddersfield Examiner letters page for pitch in the Dragons’ Den shocker!
Thank you to Anna Holden.
Huddersfield Examiner, 24 June 2010:
A tissue, a tissue?
AN Examiner motoring column recently praised a vehicle for the provision of cup-holders accessible to both front and rear passengers.
All cars nowadays seem to provide cup-holders which I find moderately useful for holding spare keys or loose change – but I never drink and drive – not even soft drinks.
However, I have a real need for a holder for boxes of tissues. We are all familiar with plucking a clean tissue and the box declining to let go and swinging the thing about, trying to get it loose.
If a motoring columnist could take this issue up, perhaps others might follow suit and the manufacturers might eventually listen.
Arthur Quarmby, Holme
Arthur, I’ll tell you where I am…
…I’m urrrt, i.e. “I’m out”.
The title of ‘Sunderland’s Most Judgmental Man’ is a fiercely contested accolade, but there’s little chance of it being taken away from Mick “The Pen” Brown any time soon. Further to his previous coverage here, it’s time to gently prod the brain of the Sunderland Echo‘s most dedicated reader-who-treats-the-letters-page-like-a-personal-diary a little further.
Arguably the fairest point ever made by a mentally-unhinged letters columnist: two world wars weren’t fought so folk could prowl around supermarkets in their pyjamas.
Sunderland Echo, 7 August 2009:
Ban these people
ON the day Harry Patch, Britain’s oldest First World War veteran died, the Echo printed a letter from a Mr Joe Plush telling us he had witnessed folk shopping in Asda clothed in pyjamas.
I wonder what people of Mr Patch’s generation would have thought if they could see what they fought for?
It would appear that anyone, no matter how they dress, can shop in a supermarket. But how long before we see people walking through The Bridges in night gowns and slippers?
I know people have had a go at me for using a Harrods carrier but I am merely trying to keep the standards up and what’s wrong with that?
My carrier is almost a statement like an Armani suit or a Gucci watch and, let’s face it, you do not see many in Sunderland.
It’s about time supermarkets and The Bridges had a strict dress code which banned people in certain attire from these areas.
In the old days men used to wear a tie every day. In fact many old fellas still do and the older women in Marks and Spencers are always well turned out.
Mick “The Pen” Brown
I’m not sure two world wars were fought for Harrods carrier bags either, mind you.
I should think the Seaburn tourist board will be livid about this one, but let’s face facts: the man’s uniquely brusque eloquence and inquisitive prose makes him hard to argue with.
Sunderland Echo, 20 May 2010 (full letter, six from top):
Seaburn? Give me the countryside
WHEN I was very young I used to love visiting the Seaburn fairground. I used to particularly admire the fairground worker who jumped on the back of the dodgems and held the pole.
He was always trying to get off with the young lasses who were normally seated with their boyfriends in the dodgem. He normally had a spotty face and a tatoo of an eagle on his arm, which he probably thought made him look tough.
However, as I grew older I soon realised that being a dodgem operator was a naff job, but I still miss the fairground. I think that it’s an essential part of any coastal resort. [...]
Some things never change, however. Take, for instance, the OAPs who sit motionless like Capodimonte figures on the seats facing the Marriott hotel. They don’t seem to speak, just slurp the ice cream, and have you noticed they wear coats in the middle of summer? Why is this? [...]
I suppose on a hot day you cannot beat the seaside – fish and chips, candy floss and all that.
Or are you the type who is too mean to buy them, relying on some home made cheese sandwiches that when eaten you can taste the grit of the sand as you bring your garden furniture to sit on and enjoy them? I really think that this completeley lowers the tone of Sunderland – stripey sun loungers and a scout’s tent that blows away in the wind.
So perhaps Seaburn is not so good after all. I prefer the countryside.
Mick “The Pen” Brown
It appears that he is not loved by all, however. The anti Mick “The Pen” Brown riposte below was published just a few days after the publication of the series of letters covered in the previous post. These variously laid into the long-term unemployed, the bingo-playing underclass, women who wear Scholls, and those who swear.
Czar Kazum just isn’t having it. It’s wonderful when war breaks out on the letters pages of regional newspapers; it must have been where people argued before the internet.
Sunderland Echo, 6 May 2010:
Swearing at Mick
MICK “the pen” Brown has us good folk believing that he is well-to-do, yet in the majority of his letters he is either hanging around a bingo hall, in all probability where he actually makes his money, with appalling smoking women, (perchance smoking himself?) or wandering around Southwick falling for uncouth women and complaining when the aggrieved lady remonstrates with him for knocking her precious groceries all over the pedestrian area.
However, I believe the good lady’s footwear is basically irrelevant and you were too busy getting your ears bent. Had I been knocked flying by a clumsy oaf, I would have expleted at you as well good sir.
Nevertheless, your “ban all swearing in the street” is admirable, but I feel the local police has enough trouble trying to catch proper criminals. Anyway, we would have to build prisons the size of Ireland to house all the miscreants who swear out loud after stubbing their respective toes or have somebody knock their groceries flying.
I believe that he should broaden his horizons and take his gambling habit to a good bookies, as the female of the species tend to populate bingo halls and ignore the bookmaker side of gambling.
Thank you to Michael Laverick, Sunderland resident and close personal friend of Mick “The Pen” Brown, probably.