Read what our columnists have to say

Farming diary - Maize looks good this year

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

10:00am Sunday 21st September 2014

While the weather remains in its becalmed state, the work preparing the fields for planting continues.

My Word by Don Jones, of CAMRA - Time for a change on buses

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

8:00am Sunday 21st September 2014

As most of us pay Wiltshire Council upwards of a grand a year in council tax, I’m sure that we’re all glad that they’re always looking for ways to save money. Some of the cost-saving changes, like the move to fortnightly rubbish collections, seem fair enough; others, such as the cuts in frontline staff numbers, smack of ill-considered short-termism.

MP Claire Perry column: We need cool anlaysis not party bags to appease Salmond over Scottish vote

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

11:50am Thursday 18th September 2014

Today the people of Scotland (although not those living south of the border thanks to an active SNP policy of disenfranchisement) will be going off to vote. 

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Many would rather we work together in future

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:00pm Thursday 18th September 2014

I’m writing this week’s column from Scotland, where I’ve joined the campaign for a ‘No’ vote in the referendum, to help keep our country together and save us from a messy divorce.

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - The people of England must speak and be heard

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray

12:00pm Thursday 18th September 2014

The Scottish Referendum is an event with such seismic consequences that it is hard to think of anything else. However, by the time you read this, the die will have been cast in one of three ways.

Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre - A lovely surprise at Co-op car park

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

9:00am Sunday 14th September 2014

There's usually not a lot to say about car parks – other than the spaces are getting smaller and/or some cars are getting bigger.

My Word - Glimmer of hope in the dark. By Lisa Lewis of Doorway

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

8:00am Sunday 14th September 2014

In the summer of 2010 I asked one of our guests to write about his personal journey for our newly created blog.

Farming diary - New recruit is keen to learn more about livestock

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

12:56pm Wednesday 10th September 2014

What a generally dull and depressing week it has been! The sun has barely shone, with the line on the barograph tracing an unwavering line for the entire week.

Farming diary - Peas please at harvest time

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

10:00am Sunday 7th September 2014

Another week of mixed weather – windy, stormy and dull, with some short periods of warm sunshine, including an inch of rain falling in 24 hours.

Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre - Lasagne idea to plant bulb pots

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

9:00am Sunday 7th September 2014

Lasagne. I can hear what you said! To elaborate, bulb-planting in containers is now called ‘lasagne planting’. An explanation follows: This is the perfect time to start planning and planting your containers and pots for a good spring show. I love doing this – it’s all anticipation and lots of choice so I have to control the urge to buy far too many.

My Word - By Ed Deedigan, of Kandu Arts - Some are still missing out

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

8:00am Sunday 7th September 2014

As the school holidays draw to their inevitable end and the temperature hints at autumn, families across the county will be preparing for the new term with a mixture of joy and trepidation.

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - What to do about breach of law and UN charter?nts

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray

12:00pm Thursday 4th September 2014

Parliament’s back - but only for two weeks before we all break up again for the party conferences and Scottish Referendum. It’s all a little unsatisfactory, as there is a huge amount to be discussed.

Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - Extra train capacity and woman drivers needed

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Claire Perry MP

12:00pm Thursday 4th September 2014

I get many opportunities to talk to passengers as I travel up and down the line to London, or off on ministerial visits, and when we get on at Pewsey or Bedwyn we can usually manage to get a seat.

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Embracing project which helps pupils concentrate

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:00pm Thursday 4th September 2014

As promised in my column last week, I took the Ice Bucket Challenge in Parliament on Tuesday, to raise money and awareness for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre - Some thoughts as autumn nears

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

9:00am Sunday 31st August 2014

Where is the time going? Hard to believe that it’s nearly September.

My Word by John Craig, ex-Wiltshire fire chief - Plugging the black hole...

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Hospital trust meeting

8:00am Sunday 31st August 2014

We all know that the NHS is facing serious financial problems.

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Escalation in violence will be top of the agenda

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:00pm Thursday 28th August 2014

In Chippenham last week, I joined the BBC’s Marc Allum at a dig in his garden in search of the remains of King Alfred’s defences when Vikings attacked the town in 878 AD. Alfred defeated the Viking army in battle, but just as striking is the relative peace he forged afterwards.

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Our countryside is fine just the way it is, thanks

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray

12:00pm Thursday 28th August 2014

To most normal people for most of the time, planning is a dry subject. But then when it comes up and hits you, it’s like a knockout blow from a boxer.

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Politics at home taking a back seat to world events

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray

6:00pm Sunday 24th August 2014

Parliament is deep in its summer recess, and domestic politics is taking second place to world events. I was glad to welcome the Prime Minister to Kemble Airfield last Thursday.

Farming diary - Season of change upon us

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

10:00am Sunday 24th August 2014

A very stormy week ended with an autumnal feel to the air after the clouds managed to deposit 47.5mm (almost 2ins) of rain, which halted harvesting of any crops here and on Stowell Farm.

Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre -

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

9:00am Sunday 24th August 2014

I don’t know about you, but I felt that the garden went over really quickly this year.

My Word - By Don Jones - Community spirit comes alive

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

8:00am Sunday 24th August 2014

In much of Wiltshire, we’ve now entered carnival season. Hundreds, of not thousands, of people will be giving up their free time to give us some great spectacles and some marvellous events.

Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - Best way to increase pay is to grow the economy

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Claire Perry MP

12:15pm Thursday 21st August 2014

We got home from our holidays with no recall to Parliament, although with the situation in Iraq worsening and the repugnant development of apparently British citizens engaged in horrific public acts like beheadings, there is a frantic level of Government activity going on and we will stand by ready for any recall ahead of the official return date of September 1.

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Mental health issues hit those already struggling

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:12pm Thursday 21st August 2014

Work to extend the dual carriageway on the A350 north of Chippenham from Jackson’s Lane to the Badger roundabout is now well underway.

Zena Robson - A great year for flowering plants

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

9:00am Sunday 17th August 2014

My Jasminum x stephanense was fabulous this year – absolutely festooned with pale pink fragrant flowers that wafted their scent in the early morning and late evenings.

My Word By Lisa Lewis - A little faith can be rewarding

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Lisa Lewis

8:00am Sunday 17th August 2014

Last month one of our guests, Corky, stumbled upon my monthly newspaper column for the first time and the end result of our subsequent conversation turned out to be my offer to publish whatever he chose to write for this edition.

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - There must be no let-up in efforts to prevent war

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray

2:11pm Thursday 14th August 2014

I’m just back from a fascinating walking and climbing expedition with my friend and Box constituent David Hempleman-Adams in the Altai Mountains in Siberia. We were private guests of a friend in this, one of the remotest places on the globe, where Siberia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and China meet. Refreshing and invigorating, if not exactly most people’s idea of a holiday.

Duncan Hames - Surprise guest sees how town centre is improving

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:00pm Thursday 14th August 2014

Last Wednesday, I organised a meeting with the Local Enterprise Partnership, Network Rail, Wiltshire Council and local businesses to discuss how we can get some real benefit for Chippenham town centre from the Local Growth Deal announced by Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable last month. We were joined by a surprise guest: the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.

Claire Perry - MPs at ready for crucial Parliamentary debate

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Claire Perry MP

12:00pm Thursday 14th August 2014

Will we or won’t we be needed back in Westminster? With many MPs away on family holidays and the situation in Iraq unraveling by the day, the question as to whether Parliament should be recalled is an urgent and important one,.

Look at station plan

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Letter: They’ll always find a way

6:00pm Sunday 10th August 2014

Open letter to Claire Perry Firstly, many congratulations on your appointment as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport. It reflects the hard work that you have done for Devizes and in Parliament.

Does he understand?

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Letter: They’ll always find a way

6:00pm Sunday 10th August 2014

I was surprised at the letter (Gazette, July 31st) from Liberal Democrat town councillor Nick Watts and his seemingly blasé, uninformed and uncaring attitude with regard to the 750,000 sq ft proposed business development by Range off West Cepen Way, Chippenham.

We live on a rat run

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Letter: They’ll always find a way

6:00pm Sunday 10th August 2014

With regard to the Cepen Park Residents’ Association walk of protest. In your article on page 3, Thursday July 31, they have said that they are concerned about traffic and light pollution were their major concern.

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Time for new approach on decision to go to war

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray

3:00pm Sunday 10th August 2014

It's less than a year since Parliament decided not to use military force against Syria. I still think that was the right decision, since no-one could really contemplate the consequences had we done so.

Farming diary - Puncture delays slurry work

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

10:00am Sunday 10th August 2014

Firstly, I make no apologies for straying from farming as I write the first few sentences of this week’s diary.

Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre - Tulips are back in favour again

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

9:00am Sunday 10th August 2014

It’s interesting to watch which plants become in vogue and which fall out of favour.

My Word - By Ed Deedigan, of Kandu Arts - What the big idea for youth?

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

8:00am Sunday 10th August 2014

With the warmest start to the school holidays for a long time, so begins the first real test of the community’s resolve in providing the shortfall in hands-on support for young people, now the youth service has all but vanished.

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Regional growth is vital to the continued recovery

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:00pm Thursday 7th August 2014

With many home nation competitors basing their training nearby in Bath, it was wonderful to see a number of local athletes enjoy success at the Commonwealth Games: culminating in Hilperton’s Danny Talbot bringing home the English 4x100 sprint relay to claim a silver medal.

Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - Poignant reminders of county’s military history

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Claire Perry MP

12:00pm Thursday 7th August 2014

With Parliament in recess I am now based at home in Wiltshire and am able to spend a few weeks doing what feels like a normal job, where I start and end the day in the same place.

Farming diary - Among the fields of barley

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

10:00am Sunday 27th July 2014

Harvesting our winter barley is now in full swing. The weather has remained reasonably favourable, hot and sunny, with only a few light showers during the week, although the sky has looked quite threatening at times.

Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre - Tour of gardens deep in Suffolk

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

9:00am Sunday 27th July 2014

I have been visiting gardens lately – this time in Suffolk, which, I was informed, is the driest county in England.

My Word - Rubbish ways let you down. By Don Jones of CAMRA

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

8:00am Sunday 27th July 2014

There seems to be a whole world of people out there that we never really get to know. These people live among and alongside us and we hear a lot about them. We encounter them almost daily and so do our friends; yet we seldom know their names. You log on to social media and a fair few of the topics seem to be moans about them. You stand in any pub long enough and someone will come in ready to vent their frustration at what these people have done. The readership figures for this paper, so the editor assures me, run well into the millions, but not one of us would consider ourselves to be part of the group. It’s not a small or particularly exclusive group, either. Membership is easily conferred, if not actively sought. In fact it’s most of us who decide who’s in – few nominate themselves.

Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - New role will allow me to represent local interests

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Claire Perry MP

12:00pm Thursday 24th July 2014

The phrase “vertical learning curve” characterises the last few days as I get to grips with my new job, although I have been helped by the local work we have already done on rail services.

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Parliament needed more time to consider data law

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:00pm Thursday 24th July 2014

The Liberal Democrats are working to build a stronger economy here in Wiltshire and across the UK, and last week’s new jobs figures brought more good news on that front.

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Spare a thought for the millions who are suffering

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray

12:00pm Thursday 24th July 2014

Phew! So that’s it, then. The House has risen for the long summer recess. MPs have packed their bags and escaped from the hot and smelly, crowded, bad- tempered London to look for inspiration and solace, relaxation and refreshment in the green fields of home (in my case bar a small expedition which I will tell you about when I get back), at assorted destinations.

Farming diary - Baling up as heifers bail out

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

10:00am Sunday 20th July 2014

Richard was left in charge when Ian and Jenny went away for the weekend.

Zena Robson, Woodborough Garden Centre - Vegetables soon come to fruition

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

9:00am Sunday 20th July 2014

It’s harvesting time! If you grow your own vegetables then you will be reaping the rewards now – early potatoes will be ready but check by lifting one plant.

My Word - Installing spikes is not the point. By Lisa Lewis, of Doorway

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Lisa Lewis

8:00am Sunday 20th July 2014

Random acts of kindness and generosity by the local community are regularly witnessed by us at Doorway.

James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire - Dynamic new faces will be front window of party

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: James Gray

12:00pm Thursday 17th July 2014

Reshuffles have to be brutal to be effective. I grieve with so many of my friends who have left the Government after many years of hard labour before the mast. Nothing hurts more than being made redundant.

Duncan Hames, MP for Chippenham - Turf-cutting at new college campus was very satisfying

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Duncan Hames MP

12:00pm Thursday 17th July 2014

Politicians love a good photo opportunity, and given the necessary emphasis on building a stronger economy, hard hats and hi-vis jackets have become de rigueur of late. But the invitation for me to take part in the ceremonial turf-cutting to mark the start of construction at Wiltshire College in Chippenham was too hard-won to turn down.

Claire Perry, MP for Devizes - Cast your vote for the best independent shop

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes Claire Perry MP

12:00pm Thursday 17th July 2014

As I mentioned a few columns ago, one of my local priorities is to see healthy and vibrant High Streets across the Constituency as not only does this make for vibrant local communities but also offer business opportunities for many talented local entrepreneurs.


Wiltshire Gazette columnists

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