Letters to the editor

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From our postbag of January 13, 2012

Teaser

Sir, – I wonder if other readers scratched their head when they read your 50 years ago item, December 30 edition, on the retiral of ‘Miss Margaret Hamilton’ from Bo’ness Academy after 42 years in post.

Then the penny dropped - Peggy Hamilton was familiar to all staff and generations of pupils. Rough and ready she certainly was, but Peggy had the kindest of hearts, and many of your Bo’ness readers know that they have reason to be grateful to Peggy. – Yours etc.,

TAM DALYELL

Binns, Linlithgow

PS In last week’s paper the horse rider was Colonel William Forbes of Callendar House, Falkirk.

Woods fear

Sir,– Once again Kinneil Woods has been somewhat devastated by the recent high winds and the main paths are impassable in several places.

Over recent years I have been increasingly uneasy taking a walk through the woods in anything above a gentle breeze but it now seems positively dangerous to do so.

What used to be a pleasant afternoon amble with the children or grandchildren would now be a test of nerves and a constant worry from potential falling trees. I am no ‘tree doctor’ and have no claim to any expertise in the arboricultural field, but there is a general air of eminent decay as you walk through the woods and the loud creaking noises are most disconcerting.

It would be my considered opinion that some areas of the woods are in fact a danger to public safety. Are any of your other readers of a similar opinion and if so, to whom should this concern be voiced before a potentially serious or even fatal accident occurs?–Yours etc.,

GEORGE MILLIGAN

Bo’ness

Write stuff?

Sir,– Once again I appeal for your help if that is possible.

Fourteen years ago I wrote to your paper to trace my late husband Ian Downie’s family which you did and I got in touch with most of his family.

Five years ago I again requested through your paper the possibility of finding a penfriend. I was very blessed to receive one letter from a man who was to become very close as we had a really strong bond.

Last February, however, Roger passed away and I was left devastated by his death. It really was a great friendship and that was also thanks to your paper.

Now I would like to look for another penfriend. I am a very young and active 86 years old lady who is very outgoing, loves walking, dancing and just loves life and people.

I am looking for a man of 75 years plus who would be willing to write to me.

It would be great to have someone to write to again. – Yours etc.,

MRS ETHEL MAY DOWNIE

7 Lente Street, Kirstenhof 7945

Cape Province, South Africa

Heating up

Sir, – My New Year resolution is to keep up to date with the latest news on Climate Change.

A recent report from Manchester University suggests that the crisis is closer than previously considered. This is because the plans to contain the rise in global temperature to less than two degrees centigrade were drawn up using wrong assumptions.

1. The proposed rates of CO2 reductions were unrealistic. Records since the plan show that the rate should be 10 per cent per annum. Except that the nearest approach to such a rate of reduction was at the time of the collapse of the Soviet economy and even then it was only a reduction of five per cent. At another important time, for example, when France went nuclear and the UK went to gas, the rate of reduction managed only one per cent. Despite the current world recession, emission rates are in fact increasing.

2. The plan assumed increases in emissions from China and India would peak around 2017. China and India were not asked what their plans were. They are planning to peak around 2025. By that time their combined emissions will equal the world’s current figure.

This is hardly surprising when 95 per cent of China’s population and 98 per cent of India’s are currently earning pitifully low wages.

The report goes on to suggest that, if the global temperature increases by four degrees, we can expect rises of temperature in Europe of eight-10 degrees and the human body is not atuned to such increases. Such increases in other parts of the world would affect food production, for example, a 30-40 per cent decrease in rice and maize yields.

The switching on of one light bulb, using 10 units of energy, consumes a further 360 units, 135 in the extraction and transportation of the fuel to the power station, 120 at the power station, 55 in transmission and 50 in the manufacture/distribution and selling of the light bulb. Extrapolate that into the cuppa-kettle, our cooking and refrigerating practices.

Extrapolate again into the heating of our homes and our public places.

And then there is our celebrity-style consumption, hen parties in Prague, home cinema, year round strawberries etc.

My resolution remains - and it must do - for the sake of my children.

Change can be painless if we act together and act now. – Yours etc.,

W. M. ROSS

Friars Brae, Linlithgow