Listen to dad
REPORTER Rebecca Cain’s exposé of the Guardian in last week’s Hereford Times (So this is us - mercenaries amid the thatched cottages) reminds me of something my old Dad told me long ago: if you read rubbish in a newspaper about something you know a bit about, chances are that the newspaper’s writing rubbish about things you don’t know about too! 
His lesson of course was that if I wanted to avoid reading rubbish, and seek better quality information, I should buy another newspaper.
Over time I’ve come to realise just how right my Dad was. 
The Guardian’s tendentious reportage and pompous opining has proved in recent times to be a case in point and best avoided. 
Ms Cain’s informing us that the Guardian is on the take from the Rockefeller Foundation is particularly revealing given how much the paper has bleated, over decades, its claim of editorial independence. 
What them…and my Aunt Fanny? 
On the bright side, the article caused me to remember my good old Dad and thank him yet again for his wise advice on how to become a discerning newspaper reader. Well, er, I read yours!

Web woes
I READ Ben Goddard’s article on Colin Boylett’s wait for faster broadband with interest. I am having similar issues at Yarkhill.
Overhead fibre cables were brought to my part of the parish in spring last year. Four of my neighbours applied for a connection and, after some pressure on the parties involved (Fastershire, Openreach and BT), orders were accepted and eventually connections made. 
I then tried to place an order only to find that the Fastershire website had been changed, for my address from showing that I could place an order to stating that there was no availability! 
As those who had been connected included my two adjacent neighbours and I had established from visiting Openreach engineers that there was plenty of spare capacity, I found this very strange to say the least.
Between August and October I contacted what I perceived to be all the relevant parties. 
I have all the e mails available, but to summarise:
BT - Nothing we can do until Fastershire tell us that the service is available and by the way we have no control over them. As Fastershire seems to be a joint venture that includes BT, I found their “Teflon suit” approach somewhat irritating.
Fastershire - Service not available in your area. 
Openreach - Service not available in your area.
I challenged this and sent them photographs of the service manifold on a post close to my house. I also photographed the service cables running from this post to my immediate neighbour’s properties.
At the suggestion of a neighbour, I contacted Bill Wiggin MP’s office in September. His team kindly wrote to Fastershire and asked them to review my case. 
I was also aware that Openreach were involved in looking at my case at this time. 
Things then went quiet again until the chair of the Yarkhill Parish Council contacted councillor Graham Powell who was the council’s liaison for the fast broadband project. 
His investigations led to him advising that while the FTTP installation was complete “it’s yet another one where the customer cannot order due to issues BT are having with their information systems”. 
So full circle and back to BT who had said it was nothing to do with them! At this point I ran out of steam. It seemed to me that I had exhausted every avenue and still got nowhere!
Then out of the blue I received an e mail from Fastershire on 9/12/2016. I quote from that message: “The good news is that fibre broadband is now available on your line. 
“The next step is for you to get in touch with an Internet Service Provider of your choice to talk about upgrading to a fibre broadband package It’s worth shopping around to find a deal that best suits your budget and needs. There is a list of Internet Service Providers at”
I duly tried to place an order with BT via their website. You can imagine my dismay when their automated response was that I could have a standard broadband package that only guarantees speed of 1.5Mb. I put this issue back to Fastershire who undertook to raise the issue with BT Retail. 
As yet I have had no response.
I really have no idea what is going on. While it is frustrating for me that I cannot have the broadband speed that my neighbours have had for several months, it is also ludicrous that expenditure has been incurred to roll out the infrastructure and that an income stream is available from prospective customers like me yet something is preventing it from all coming together.

Thanks to all
I RECENTLY attended the Hereford County Hospital for cataract surgery and would like to thank all the team from the surgeon Mr Ghosh to all the nurses who organised and assisted the surgery.
There has been quite a lot of press/tv reports on the NHS recently which does, I believe, require more funding.
So, on this final note, may I take this opportunity to once more thank all the nurses and the surgeon for a well-organised operation.

Needed help
I RECENTLY visited a branch of HSBC to get a copy statement for an application I was submitting. 
All I needed was my temporary statement to be stamped, signed, or printed on letter head. 
Anything to prove that is was legitimately from the bank.
The first time I tried to get these statements, a member of staff asked me what I did with my mailed statements, and didn’t I know that the statements they mailed were for my records so that I didn’t have to come into the bank to get them printed. 
I decided to try a different branch.This time I stood in front of the teller for ten minutes while she simply restated the phrase: ‘We don’t do that’. 
So, I am being told that I do not have access to proof of what is MY account because THEY do not do that. 
Although, as a financial provider I am sure they are aware, that temporary statements will not suffice for any financial or accounts matter.
I am simply appalled at the lack of effort on the part of staff to try to come to some alternative to help a customer in such an important matter. 

Cycle danger
WHERE is our police force ? I pay my council tax and expect to at least see a policeman.
My gripe is the complete disregard for the pedestrian with cyclists on the pavement.
I frequently walk down Aylestone Hill into the city and every day some brain dead moron is on my pavement riding a bicycle.
Highway Code rule 64 Cyclists MUST NOT cycle on a pavement.
Time for a citizen arrest I feel.
Watch this space.
Aylestone Hill

Kind trio
I WAS driving to the city in my car, when I reached the beginning of Eign Street I accidentally drove into a van having misjudged the width allowed for two vehicles to pass. 
Three extremely kind and concerned ladies immediately came to see if I was hurt. They were very concerned for my state and had already phoned for an ambulance. 
They insisted that I should sit down and stayed with me until the ambulance came which it did within a very short time.
I am most anxious to express my very sincere gratitude for their unassuming kindness and care. 
Unfortunately, I did not see, or notice from which house they came, and as I was quickly escorted into the ambulance I did not have a chance to thank them for the concern and quickness of thinking for which they showed. 
I am very humbled by such an instant display of care for a complete stranger and would like to use your pages to say that words fail me to adequately express my gratitude to them.
Thank you most sincerely ladies from Eign Street.
Defies experts
I WAS surprised by the good Bishop’s diatribe against President Trump in your Opinion column.
He is a President elected with the prayers and active support of millions of practising Christians from the length and breath of the States. 
Whilst many of us find his rhetoric fairly bombastic even on American standards, the Bishop chooses to criticise him for not doing what ‘experts’ tell him. 
These are the intelligence experts who advised war in Iraq (at least 150,000 dead, a million refugees) and Syria (unknown death toll, 6,500,000 refugees registered, an estimated 4,000,000 internally displaced/unknown), both well-off countries reduced to absolute poverty. 
So when these ‘experts’ tell President Trump to pour troops and heavy armour into Eastern Poland and Lithuania to pressure not a small country but Russia by trapping the Kalingrad enclave (940,000 Russian civilians), President Trump stood up to them and demanded they justify their ideas, which they failed to do so. 
It is a pity for so many victims his predecessors did not also stand up to the war-mongers. 
While it may be a small (but sporting) chance Putin will respond to Trump’s peacemaking, a deal with a resurgent States must be attractive and that would give Putin a face-saving way out of the two eastern provinces of Ukraine, (10,000 Ukrainian dead, estimated 2,000 Russian dead). 
If that happened Trump, an US-centric President, could achieve more on the world stage in his first eight weeks than Obama did in eight years. I, for one, feel safer with Trump who has consistently opposed war in Iraq, Syria and now Russia, than I do listening to a war mongering ‘elite’.
Acton Beauchamp

Failed to stop
ON Monday, January 2, a team of cyclists were out on a training run. They were travelling along the Ledbury by-pass at approximately 11am. Unfortunately the lead cycle hit a patch of black ice bringing himself and the three members of his team off. 
Three members sustained significant lacerations to both legs and arms, one suffered three broken bones. 
I tell you this because, while waiting 35 minutes for an ambulance, not one motorist stopped to offer assistance. 
Three team members had taken spare clothes off to keep the most injured warm, so if you were one of the motorists who “slowed down to get a good look”, but failed to offer any help, I only hope that no member of your family suffers an accident and everyone ignores them. 
Knights of the road you are not. 
I am truly astonished at the lack of compassion for your fellow human beings who are in obvious need of help.
Roman Road

Lacked charity
I WISH to write to complain about the disgraceful rise in charity shop prices. 
You are not able to walk into a charity shop or warehouse and purchase clothes at affordable prices. 
I am all for giving to charity but feel we should all boycott charity shops until they realise they are being  greedy. 
They were set up as charity shops for both the various charities and goods people can actually afford. 
They are currently run like ‘designer shops’ – so very wrong. 
I for one would rather buy new – as it is cheaper and then donate to my chosen charity. 
Wake up charities before it is too late.
Put lights on
GOSH, January can be a depressingly gloomy and grey month even in Herefordshire.
Grey skies, grey clouds, grey mist, grey fog, grey roads, obligatory potholes provided and possibly temporary traffic lights; no workers, sorry, sorry, road improvement executives in sight or on site, and, at last (!) grey, nearly 50 different shades of them, almost invisible cars.
Invisible - guess why, you’ve got it, NO LIGHTS.
Would it be possible to encourage the people who control these light-less vehicles to a) engage the brain cell, and b) discover the dashboard, find the light switch and turn the lights on.
There, rant over, that’s better, thanks.
Castle Frome

Derelict area
I AM writing concerning the condition of the area surrounding the Royal Mail box outside the station building. 
During wet weather, there is ponding of rainwater across the width of the paved area forward  of the access to the box. 
This is as a result of the long-term blockage of the surface-water gutter and grid provided originally to drain the area.
On either side of the box, a pair of dilapidated, decaying wooden benches are strewn with accumulated deposits of refuse and litter.
Overall the scene is one of dereliction and neglect.
To conclude, this is not a recent problem. 
Regular users of the post-box have had to wade through the surface water as a matter of course. 
An important facility for many as there is a late collection. 
To date, I have been unable to find out where responsibility for the maintenance of this area lies.