Letters, Friday, March 15, 2013

6
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Take time to be nice to each other

THIS is something I have noticed. People are very different when they are inside their cars or typing away on the internet.

 They say things and behave in ways they would never think of in normal circumstances.

 I was overtaken by a very angry driver on Tuesday. They tailgated me and beeped their horn when I did not accelerate quickly enough, upon leaving a 30mph zone, for their liking.

 And then, online, people type such hurtful things without giving it a second thought. I wonder if they realise that their words still hurt just as much, even though they have been written so thoughtlessly?

 I feel sorry for young people these days, they have to be terribly thick-skinned to deal with it all.

 Do we need to live like this? Could we not take a bit of time to be nice to each other? I remember when I was little we would play on my dad’s allotment and the old man on the next plot would give us a bouquet of sweetpeas to take home.

 Let’s all try to be a little less angry and rushed. There’s no hurry, really, when you think about it. If you’re always living for the next thing, well, one day you will wake up old and grey (if you’re lucky) and realise you sped through all the best bits! And you might wish the undertaker is not in a rush to collect you!

Judith Trucknell.

Make our city more welcoming

YET again Newcastle is getting major re-vamps as opposed to Sunderland. I woke up on Monday morning to the radio broadcasting Network Rail’s plans for an £8.6million facelift for Newcastle Central Station.

 No wonder our shops at Sunderland are on the decline and anyone with a few quid to spend heads for the ‘big’ city, rather than roughing it and fighting the elements, with bus stops outside in the freezing Fawcett Street, a good, blistering walk in the cold from the Park Lane Interchange or walking from our cold train/Metro station through the windy, uncovered Market Square.

 The bit of shelter we had covering the tops of the Ladbrokes to HSBC stretch of shops has very mysteriously disappeared. Now old people and disabled people expect a soaking every time they head to the ‘covered’ Bridges shopping centre.

 Now, for years in Newcastle, you never get wet as you are straight off the train or Metro into covered stations or Eldon Square.

 Councillors, to coin a phrase when the grants are available from the Government for re-growth, where are you?

 We need this money. We waited long enough here when Newcastle had the Metro before us, and so it continues, with the buses, station access and shops in Mackem-land not on the map, while Newcastle is thriving!

Miss J Redford,

Name and address supplied.

A fond farewell to Father Caden

LAST week we said farewell to a priest, well-known throughout our community, who was charismatic, inspirational and a good friend to many in and around Sunderland.

 Back in the late 1950s, when a young student nurse, I had the good fortune to meet Father Caden at St Mary’s church in Bridge Street and became one of his Catholic Guild student nurses.

 This friendship endured over the years by way of letters and meetings, until last year when we spoke by telephone and he said there would not be any more written communications as he was not well.

 His beautifully scripted letters ended and, regretfully, I never spoke to him again. I am sorry about that.

 What a man, what a sense of humour and what a shepherd to all of the Catholics he had dealings with over the years.

 I have a copy of his book, signed of course, and so many people have borrowed it and returned it waxing lyrical having obviously enjoyed it as much as I have.

 Along with hundreds of Father John’s old friends I attended his Requiem Mass in Sedgefield last week and it was a joyous and fitting tribute to a warm and wonderful priest of the people, who charmed everyone he met. Rest in Peace Father John.

J Vincent,

Washington.

It’s easier to pay fine than appeal

ON Thursday, February 28, my wife and I had an appointment at the Sunderland General Hospital at 10.40am.

 Knowing the parking situation, I always allow myself plenty of time to find a parking space. Also, being disabled and in our eighties and registered with the parking scheme at the hospital, both of us have a blue badge.

 I drove around the hospital parking areas for a full 20 minutes without being able to find a space.

 I helped my wife into the main entrance to sit and wait for me while I drove outside onto Kayll Road where there are three disabled parking spaces. Fortunately, one was vacant. I was able to park and put my blue badge on the dashboard and in full view.  

 There was a parking warden a few yards from my car, who was booking another car.

 However, I went by the book (as I always do after 55 years of safe driving). This warden didn’t say anything, even when he was within earshot of me.

 When I came out of the hospital 30 minutes later, got into my car and removed my blue badge, I saw an envelope stuck on my windscreen.

 Getting out of the car, I couldn’t believe it. I was going to be fined £35, or £70, if it wasn’t paid on time.

 Arriving home I phoned the number on the ticket. Of course, you get what seems to be the normal answer these days: “You are fifth in line, we are sorry thank you for holding.”

 When I got through and told whoever was answering my problem, they in turn said: “I’m sorry, but your complaint must go to another department.”

 I was transferred to this other department, and again I was fifth in the waiting game.

 These mystery voices ping-pong you to different complaint departments, they keep telling you to write and appeal against the fine.

 If I was in the wrong I would pay up without any qualms. This ruse is to get as many victims in the warden’s book, innocent or guilty, because to contact them, it’s much easier to pay up than to have all the hassle they deliberately create.

Mr W Smith,

Farringdon.