Your Letters – Friday March 13, 2020

A dreamland experience 

Letter of the Week: 'Percy Tinkletons', Lower Hopton  

The other night I had the most dreadful dream, or should I say nightmare. 

My house in Lower Hopton was flooded, yet again; our family-run business in the same vicinity was also underwater. 

The railway station was out of bounds and thousands of Mirfield residents were unable to go to work to pay their bills. Time stood damply still.

To add further misery to my horrific dream I had been diagnosed with the coronavirus. I was not in the best of spirits, but my subliminal grey matter was already conjuring up a cunning and spiteful plot of revenge.

Another storm system was on its way and our local councillors, MP and environmental agency were due in a day’s time to professionally gawp at another grey expanse of aggravated lakeland known as Lower Hopton.

I knew that water in the Calder at full flow takes one-and-a-half hours to reach Mirfield from the almost-flooded plains of Mytholmroyd further up the Calder Valley.

I had done my calculations at the zenith of the last storm with an improvised rubber duck fitted with a tracking device.

My plot was hatched. After drinking three gallons of water I made my way up the Calder Valley, and at a pre-determined time I climbed the parapet of Tenterfields Bridge spanning the raging Calder just downstream of Mytholmroyd.

I checked my watch and, right on time, I added my bit of gusto to the raging torrents below.

In one-and-a-half hours’ time, the Calder would be inspected by our selected peers at Ledyard Bridge, just in time for my homegrown viral part of the Calder to arrive. It was stormy and the Calder was already throwing up spray, so with a bit of luck I should cop the lot of them.

My dream was broken when I woke up. Looking out of the bedroom window it was still pelting down and the Calder was rising again.

I thought about my unfinished nightmare and wondered what would have been the outcome of my malevolent watery deeds. Was it:

A) I was arrested and charged with an act of terrorism

B) I was arrested and locked up under the Mental Health Act

B) Nothing at all – the environment agency, MP and councillors forgot to turn up.

Work out the answer yourselves, because anything can happen in dreamland.

Amazing history and value

From: John Dewhirst, by email

Today I attended the last in a series of five talks relating to the history of  industry and transport in the Spen Valley. 

The first three talks explained the background as to why Spen Valley seemed to attract a wide range of industries. 

These talks were delivered by Richard Grylls and were very detailed, informative and gave a very comprehensive review of locally-based industries.

The final two talks centred on the development of local railways, again with detailed information about the two main stations, namely Cleckheaton Central and Cleckheaton Spen.

These two talks were delivered by Max Rathmell, who explained how rail transport fitted into the way railways developed both locally and nationally. 

These talks were very informative and detailed and sought to explain how the advent of steam power was enhanced by a series of very practical innovations. 

The venue for these talks was Cleckheaton Town Hall and came as part of a programme delivered by Cleckheaton U3A (University of the Third Age). 

The local U3A provide a wide range of courses each year, which start in late September and finish mid-March. 

However some of the courses are extended to run through the summer. There is an enrolment fee, which is in no way prohibitive and the courses like the one I have outlined represent amazing value. 

The courses are open to retired people or what are sometimes described as ‘senior citizens’.

The course epitomises the saying “You are never too old to learn.” 

Second-class folk

From: Anthony Doyle, via email

Four weeks ago I contacted Kirklees Council to report a fault on the light-controlled crossing outside the Co-op on Low Lane in Birstall. 

For quite a while the traffic flow control sensor has not worked. Normally when the button is pushed, if there is no traffic pedestrians would get the green light and cross safely. 

Now when the button is pushed nothing happens, even when there is no traffic. 

The result is pedestrians are left waiting at the kerb. Some try to cross against the lights, which causes frustration to drivers who travel with the lights. 

Several minutes later the lights will change, there will be nobody waiting to cross, frustration abounds. 

I was put through to the Highways department, reported the fault and asked for my contact details.

I was told it would be deemed an emergency as it was dangerous. 

Guess what? Nothing has been done. Does someone have to be injured for the crossing to be put right?

My guess is if the crossing was on the main street in Huddersfield it would have been put right weeks ago. 

Obviously the people of Birstall are second class.

A good night out

From: Alan Greenwood, Trafalgar Street

Batley means a lot to me.

There’s nowhere else I’d rather be. 

And when the winter starts to pall,

I get myself to Brimer Hall

For Audio Visual Showcase night 

It always fills me with delight.

We journey round the world on screen 

To places I have never been.

It’s always entertaining and

There’s tea and biscuits close at hand!

So come and watch and quench your thirst

March twentieth and twenty first.

The Audio Visual Showcase will be at Brimer Hall on Friday March 20 and Saturday March 21 at 7.30 pm.

Entry is £5 including interval tea, coffee and biscuits. 

It’s a start...

From: Stephen Boden, Birstall

Just a follow-up note from last week about the Birstall Christmas lights. 

Last Sunday I noticed that the lights on the lampposts and buildings had been taken down over the weekend of March 7-8.

Whether it was my letter in The Press on the 6th of March or not I don’t know.

The small Christmas trees on the shops are still there, but at least it’s a start. Thank you to whoever did the work.

Few options

From: Name and address supplied

Attending Dewsbury Hospital to have the tubes in my hearing aids changed, I was told the ear canals were blocked and needed attention.

I commented I would have it done at my local health centre in Birkenshaw but this facility is no longer available there or in Birstall.

Given a referral number on contacting the NHS website, I was told no appointments were available at Dewsbury Hospital. 

On again contacting them on Thursday March 5, as instructed, I was told no appointments were available for 40 weeks, until January 2021, at Dewsbury, Pontefract or Pinderfields hospitals.

The choice of Specsavers in Manchester – two ears for £50 – or a private clinic quoting up to $3,500, as you can appreciate, is no choice.

We in this country have the finest health service in the world, as can be seen by the present virus problems and our reaction to it.

Should I now go to a hospital’s emergency department?

Adding to a lost generation

From: PH Rhodes, Mirfield

Every child should have a fair chance in life, but how can they when 20-30 souls are applying for every mediocre job?

Having voted in different ways to postpone Brexit, the Batley MP now wants increased family allowances. 

Fair enough, for present families, but to my mind, and many others, the last thing we need to see is more and more youngsters being added to the ‘lost generation’.

Has anyone seen the swarms of kids pouring out of school? I honestly feel sorry for them, unless they’ve got ‘A’ passes in 1,001 subjects.

Moreover, look at what is facing them!

The infrastructure (roads, housing, schools etc) is not designed for almost 70 million people – experts say only 30 million. Been in a traffic jam lately?

Also, the Batley MP is voting in a Labour election for a woman who left school at 16 with a child (Angela Rayner).

The ‘absent father’ syndrome has been proven lately to supply us with a high percentage of the younger offenders who are marauding around our towns and cities, or are in jail.

They’re talking a load of tripe

From: Harry Teale, Mirfield

Having been born, and lived ever since, in the Heavy Woollen district, I believe that I am suitably qualified to point out that D Green, Mirfield (Mar 6), is ‘talking a load of tripe’ to be polite!

Before the creation of ‘Kirklees’ Council, the Urban District Councils of Batley, Dewsbury, Heckmondwike, Mirfield and Spenborough controlled the local areas. 

The councillors in those days were unpaid local businessman and professionals who had the interests of the locals at heart.

From 1974 the overpaid dictators controlling ‘Kirklees’ Council have no interest whatsoever in the locals. The dictators employ ‘the best’ (at obscene pay packages) from outside the locality.

After a couple of years ‘the best’ disappear leaving the area worse off than before.

The present-day town or parish councils have no powers to provide infrastructure – only to put forward constructive criticism which Kirklees totally ignore! Mirfield Town Council was formed in 1988. What did Kirklees do about residents complaints regarding the flooding of Calder Road, Granny Lane and Steanard Lane prior to 1988? 

As for the stupid comment regarding our MP only reacting when we start screaming – what does he/she think the people have been doing for the last 45 years or so since Kirklees was created?

Anyone with intelligence would not be concentrating on flood defences upstream/ upriver. They would be dredging the river mouth at the coast and then working upriver.

The Kirklees councillors in their infinite wisdom have been allowing builders to concrete over land anywhere, thus depriving the terrain of their ability to absorb surface water, which then takes the easiest path to the river and canal, both of which cannot cope with the extra water flow.

Add to this the ‘Strategic Planning Committee’ chaired by Councillor Hall has allocated sites on notorious flood plains for house-building, with another Labour councillor quoted as saying “it’s worth the risk”! The strategic planning department of Kirklees ignores local residents totally!

The only sensible thing from D. Green is that we must change the make-up of the parties in Kirklees by reducing the number of Labour councillors to less than the major party.

We want your unwanted stuff

From: Tim Wood, Mirfield

Any old iron? Well not quite, but nonetheless I’m at the scrounge yet again, this time for any unwanted gifts, Christmas presents, birthday presents and so on. 

We, the Mirfield Rifle Volunteers, shall be putting on a gala auction and raffle with the proceeds going towards worthy causes around the greater district.

I shall be donating seven brand-new dressing gowns I have amassed over the last 18 months. Why my elderly relatives keep buying me dressing gowns and socks I do not know – I have not worn socks in over 25 years. I thought you only wore dressing gowns in hospital, and the last time I underwent surgery was when I had my tonsils removed at the age of eight.

Anything will be gratefully received as long as it’s tidy and boxed or packaged.

My Great Aunt Edna stopped doing jigsaw puzzles recently and has donated her entire collection of Edwardian classics. 

I went down to see her the other week and the dining table was covered in bits of stuff. 

I said: “What are you doing Aunt Edna?”

“I’m doing this giant cockerel...”

I looked at the box and said: Ahem, they’re cornflakes Aunt Edna.”

“Oh really,” she squinted back, “it’s taken me three weeks to try and get the corners right...”

So if you’re into dressing gowns, jigsaws or whatever fantastical unwanted array of goods we can have donated, our future auction date (to be announced) will be a truly magnificent occasion. You can call me on 01924 496920.

Oh, by the way, no cages of budgies this time.

No help for our flood victims

From: Peter Abbott, by email

Spare a thought for all the bigwigs on six-figure salaries at Department for International Development and their flunkies scratching their heads on how to spend just short of £16 billion of overseas aid.

All while local people, people in the Hull and Doncaster areas, Wales and the Midlands are still underwater. Homes, businesses and farmland ruined, but no help for them, not one penny, sweet FA.

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