VERY sad to see the closure of The Swan at Stoford, and some of the unnecessarily snide comments about it on the Journal website.

It’s not big and it’s not clever to hide behind a smart-arse online pseudonym when you’re talking about people’s businesses and jobs disappearing. Have the courage of your convictions!

I was at The Swan for lunch with my Wednesday morning dogwalking crew a few months ago and the staff were, as ever, very hospitable.

They advised us to order early as they had a coachload of Japanese tourists coming and didn’t want us to face a long wait for our food.

It was pretty good pub grub, just what you want after hiking round the countryside, and we all commented on how we’d enjoyed it.

We could see for ourselves that because it wasn’t located in the centre of a community, the business might rely quite heavily on trade from groups passing by en route to Salisbury for a spot of sightseeing and in need of a coach-sized car park.

So I can quite understand how it was at the mercy of internet booking sites, and how having its location listing changed in a way that removed reference to Salisbury could make a massive, and ultimately fatal, difference to its takings.

It’s to be hoped the same fate doesn’t befall The Bell at South Newton.

The power of the web giants. Food for thought.

Best wishes to everyone who worked at The Swan. I hope you’ve found something else.

This sorry saga illustrates why, in my opinion, newspapers including the Journal should call time on anonymous online commentators.

Contributors to letters pages aren’t allowed to keep their identity secret unless they put forward a compelling reason.

If the same rule applied on news websites there would be far fewer irresponsible stirrers chortling over their nasty little games.


I’M SURE many of you are delighted to be out at last.

Out of Europe, that is.

The only thing I’m delighted to be out of is the cast on my broken wrist.

I didn’t know (why would you?) until it happened that there is a phenomenon known as cast claustrophobia – or castrophobia, as my husband dubbed it.

I’m not happy in lifts unless they have windows. Which at least has the benefit of giving me some exercise as I slog up umpteen flights of steps. Not happy in planes, either, although I can cope without making a screaming exhibition of myself for about four hours.

It’s because I’m not in control and I might want to get out.

But I couldn’t believe that having an arm encased in armour for a few weeks would have a similar panic-inducing effect.

According to the nurses who patiently changed the cast twice in four weeks (from a blue one to pink then green, all just as bad!) to stop me going completely loopy, it’s quite common, which made me feel a bit better about making demands on our overstretched NHS. Thank you, ladies.