Letters, Thursday, November 28, 2013

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Mel the ‘crow’ will be back on duty

I HAVE a large allotment behind Worm Hill Terrace, near Fatfield Bridge at Washington.

 I grow a wide range of vegetables, and I also have three dozen laying hens.  

 Over the years, I’ve been plagued by pigeons and foxes so I decided to make a scarecrow.

 I made a wooden frame, sorted out some old clothes and made a very eye-catching, yet frightening, scarecrow. I called my scarecrow Mel.

 The effect Mel had was immediate, no birds, no sign of foxes, a garden that flourished and very happy, contented hens. This was in 2012.

 November 1 that year, Mel was stolen. I can only assume that Mel went up in flames as it was close to Bonfire night.

 The pigeons returned, and so did the foxes, egg production fell and young plants were devoured. Not to be deterred, I decided to build Mel number two.

 Putting the skills I learned to good use, I created a scarecrow that surpassed my wildest dreams.

 He was a beauty, buses stopped and passengers would admire Mel and schoolkids would stand at the garden gate to admire the wonder that stood before them.

 Mel number two became almost as popular as the Angel of the North.

 Tragedy struck in October, when Mel number two was stolen, and three days later a ransom note was pushed through my letter box.

 I did not respond to this blackmail and stuck the ransom note to the allotment gate.

 I suspect Mel number two went the same way as Mel number one – on the bonfire.

 I waited a week before getting to work on Mel number three. I’m not one for bragging, but I created my best scarecrow ever. The kids returned to admire him, the buses slowed down as they passed and I was blissfully happy.

 Mel number three only lasted three days before the inevitable happened on Saturday, November 16. During the night, in the glare of a full moon, he vanished into thin air. As yet, I have received no ransom demand, but let me assure Mel’s many admirers – the ‘crow’ will return.

James Wilson Todd,

Chairman of North Biddick Social Club,

Washington

Manage your cash

I AM sick of hearing people complain about rising energy bills.

 The public does not seem to understand that everything has to go up. It’s a pretty selfish attitude to expect otherwise.

 Gas and electric are no different to food or anything else for that matter. Everything has to go up, so why do people bury their heads in the sand?

 There is nothing free in this world – only fresh air.

 If people managed their money better, life would be a lot easier.

 It’s pointless blaming the Government. The only thing it is guilty of is not running courses on money management, which should be implemented in schools.

Mick, The Pen, Brown

Bring back control

A EUROPEAN Union commission has cleared Spain of any wrongdoing over bringing chaos to the Gibraltar and Spanish border by checking every vehicle passing through. So much for the EU’s much-vaunted open borders policy and freedom of movement.

 Perhaps we should learn from this before our borders are opened to more EU citizens in January?

 We should block this new influx then fight the European Union.

 Border controls should be a part of the renegotiation we will have if the Conservatives win the next election.

 A Conservative win is the only surefire way we will get powers back from Europe. We must not repeat the mistakes on immigration made by Labour. Mistakes they now admit to having made.

 Too little and too late.

Alan Wright,

High Barnes

Taking advantage

THE refusal of the Government to constrain the greed of the energy suppliers means they can increase prices whensoever – and they have just taken advantage of this free licence yet again.

 In my previous letter on the subject, I called for the return of these utilities to public ownership.

 There’s no room in Tory ideology for nationalisation, so I was not surprised when G Liddle remarked: “Mr Quinn wants to take us back to the dinosaur age.”

 He never explained what an extinct reptile had in common with the public sector.

 For his information, however, there is a surge now taking place in Europe to bring essential services into public ownership. Public opinion is also on the move in Britain, according to a YouGov poll, and the figures read like a vote of no confidence in Mr Cameron’s policies.

 Mr Liddle then walked down memory lane and recalled the strikes of the 1980s. How dead relatives were in refrigerated containers in hospital car parks. Sadly, when workers fight for their livelihoods – to save their communities and a future for their families – sometimes the inexcusable happens.

 There are two sides in a dispute, and the Government of the day must take its share of the blame.

 That also goes for the present Government in regard to a NHS scandal in 2012.

 A report revealed that there were bodies abandoned on mortuary slabs for days. Stillborn babies were left to decompose on mortuary workbenches. Wrong bodies were released to funeral directors and families were shown the wrong bodies.

 Shadow Health Minister James Reed said: “Families should never have to face this kind of indignity.”

W Quinn

Human rights vigil

TIMES can get hard in Sunderland, but at least none of us is likely to suffer the fate of a young Cambodian woman called Yorm Bopha, who is currently serving a three-year prison sentence.

 Her “crime” was to lead a peaceful protest against the forced eviction of her community in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

 Forced evictions, which uproot whole communities, are all too common in many parts of the world and are often used against people who do not have the resources to challenge the eviction. Readers who would like to send messages of solidarity to Yorm Bopha should phone 525 0093, or find details of the case at www. amnesty.org.uk, or find out more about this and other appeal cases at the annual vigil for human rights at The Minster at 3pm on Sunday, December 8.

Steve Newman

Shame of our city

AFTER all that has been said about our very well-paid council officials (one on more money than the Prime Minister), the city of Sunderland has at last come out on top of something.

 We have the largest amount of bargain basement shops in the country.

 More than one fifth of all our shops fall into this category.

 We have the most pound shops, charity shops, discount food shops fast food shops and sportswear shops.

 This says it all about our city.

 The Echo’s Voice for Wearside said it’s not a bad thing and nothing to be ashamed of – I beg to differ.

G Liddle,

Roker