Council timing

Dear Editor,

I am pleased that Andover Town Councillors rejected a proposal by Cllrs David Coole and Christopher Ecclestone for meetings to start at 7.30pm that could mean meetings ending as late as 9-9.30pm. This may be fine in the summer, but do they want their colleagues and council staff leaving late on a bitterly cold winter’s evening? Both councillors generally need to think more of others and not their own narrow interests.

Cllr Ecclestone’s claim that planning meetings are being held illegally is almost certainly false and unless he can show a legal opinion to the contrary, he should apologise for his comments.Their actions only help critics of the council and continue to do harm.

Richard J Kidd, Andover

Oxdrove delay

Dear Editor,

I applaud Cllr Luigi Stephano Gregori on his attempts to seek higher political office and influence, both at county and parliamentary level. It is for this reason that I suspect that his soapbox is decorated by broader concerns than those arising from his membership of the Andover Town Council allotment committee.

I was invited to register for an Oxdrove allotment and indicated my interest on October 21, 2016.  Three years later, on Oct 16, 2019, the Andover Town Council website noted that as of October 2019, “we are nearing the final stages of the allotment site being completed, which is very exciting for all involved. We hope that within the next few months the piece of land will be handed back over to Andover Town Council and we can begin the process of allocating plots”. Councillor Gregori was elected on February 6, 2020. One and a half years after his appointment, the Andover Town Council meeting of June 23, 2021 recorded an Oxdrove update to councillors. On September 1, 2021, I was re-invited to confirm my interest.

Now I realise the allotment growing season does not have the same priority as providing housing stock, but it begs the question how long does it take to provide 11 allotments for Locksbridge Park residents?

If my sums are correct, it has taken five years. I may be wrong, but I think I recall Luigi Gregori using the expression “we deserve better”. Wise words indeed, but as my dear mother used to say, "don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do”.

David Rainey, Picket Piece

Rural neglect

Dear Editor,

I write in reference to your article of September 3, 2021 “Switch off Concern”.

I live in a rural area where internet connectivity is very poor and intermittent, as is the mobile phone network.

Year 2025 is not that far in the future. Is there any guarantee that reception will be improved in such small pockets of the population before the landline/lifeline is turned off?

I do hope BT does not neglect the minority in their push to turn off landlines. We all deserve a level playing field.

Sally Curry, Snoddington Farmhose, Snoddington Lane

Jabbing decision

Dear Editor,

Please may I make a plea for the receptionists, admin staff, nurses and doctors at this difficult time while we, in a hiatus, wait for the government and JCVI to make their minds up as to what vaccinations to whom are sorted?

I know with St Marys Surgery, my wonderful Practice, they have all been working hard and had planned to block out all the Saturdays in September to give flu and booster doses.

My appointment was made for the flu inoculation which has now been cancelled as the vaccine has not arrived – all beyond the surgery’s control. They will contact me again when they can offer the vaccine.

This all amounts to the tremendous work for the receptionists and admin staff, besides all their other work making urgent and non-urgent appointments, repeat prescriptions etc.

It is difficult for everyone. If I had a child in the age range of 12-15, I would want them to be vaccinated. But I also think the older people need their booster jabs as well.

I am sure most patients understand this and will try and help the receptionists at this difficult time. This does not just apply to St Marys, but I imagine all the Practices in the town.

To the receptionists, keep smiling, you are doing a great job.

Hopefully by the time this is printed a decision will have been made.

Jill Hannington, Hillside Court

Flying Pass Pot

Dear Editor,

So, the Chantry Centre is to be pulled down. This will be at least, the second time the buildings standing here are to be lost to the future.

However, this time no public houses will be sacrificed unlike the last time when the Victory Arms, which stood next to the Rex Cinema in West Street, was wiped out in 1968.

One rather enlightening tale about this dear old pub, previously called The Three Mariners, told to me by an elderly gentleman proved extremely amusing.

He was originally from the Emerald Isle and one of his favourite watering holes was the Victoria Arms. It was situated roughly where Poundstretcher is now.

He related this story to me in his wonderfully thick Irish brogue.

Many, many years ago, a friend of his was out walking his dog along Soper's Lane (the original name of West Street). As he approached the alehouse, he heard an almighty row taking place.

Raised voices filled the air and they were coming from the pub’s large open window.

Just as he was passing the open window a huge chamber pot came rocketing through the air “just missing his head John, just missing his head”.

This genial Irish man chuckled and confirmed that for several years thereafter the Victoria Arms was known as The Flying Pass Pot.

At least I think that's what he said.

John "History Boy" Porter, Millway Road, Andover

Behind names

Dear Editor,

It is a long time since I had an article published in your paper on the subject of surnames and their origins. The last one brought many enquiries, and I was told that more were welcome and would be considered for publication.

Medieval monarchs needed to tax people, so there was enough money to finance wars. So it made sense so they know that this has been done. It especially made sense if a village had 10 Johns or Peters for example.

Place names occupational names and from the father’s first name give rise to the majority of surnames.

But it is the rare and intriguing surnames that interest me the most. If a surname is really rare, the chances are that all the males with that surname are all related.

Charles Dickens included many real surnames in his novels. Barkis was the name of a coachman in Pickwick Papers. It means Barkhouse of Tannery where the hides of animals were tanned.

Pickwick is a place name from Wiltshire and Dickens personally knew a Moses Pickwick, a coachbuilder.

Snodgrass denotes an ancestor from Snodgrass in Ayrshire.

The surname Littleboy found in Basingstoke, like Littlejohn, could be a nickname for a very tall person. The rare Allwright also found in that area could derive from a Germanic Christian name.

The surname Latter found in Andover means lathe-maker.

One question I am asked sometimes is what are the chances of having royal blood.

The chances are greater than you think with possibly one in 300 people being descended from the illegitimate offspring of a medieval monarch.

Readers wishing to know more about the origin of their surnames can write to me at No 22 Texel Green, Augusta Park, Andover, Hants, and I will do my best to help them.

Richard J Kidd, Andover