Letters: Salute the forgotten heroes of the pandemic, the HGV drivers

DURING this pandemic there have been many heroes. Along with the NHS and carers we must not forget the long-distance lorry drivers who for four months, 24/7, have transported goods into and out of Scotland along the umbilical chords that are the M74, A1 to England and beyond and the A77/A75T to Cairnryan and Ireland. Baxter’s soups, Tunnock’s Teacakes, salmon, beef and porridge oats and more down to the care homes in southern England with toilet rolls, washing powder, baked beans and bags of sugar and more coming into the distribution centres in central Scotland.

At no time in history has economic interdependence in the British Isles (including the Republic of Ireland) been so great. Unfortunately, knowledge of this economic geography is barely touched on in our school curriculum. Geography as a school subject since the 1970s has been squeezed within social subjects, a diminishing area of the school curriculum.

Indeed, most pupils leave school with little knowledge of place and the complexity of manufacturing. It is quite ironic that tensions grew early in the pandemic when there were shortages of toilet rolls, flour and rice on the supermarket shelves, soon to be replenished thanks to our hard-working lorry drivers. Workers in the huge Amazon warehouse and distribution centre in Dunfermline will know how widely sourced the goods are that they sort and send on their way and how interdependence within the British Isles and the world beyond depends on our lorry drivers.

What a pity that those standing at the Scottish border were not applauding the lorry drivers. Clearly their knowledge of where their bread is buttered was missed at school. Too much potted history and not enough factual geography.

Henry Anderson, Straiton. THINK AGAIN ON FUNERALS THE First Minister has restricted the number of people who may attend a funeral to a maximum of 20, regardless of the size of the venue.

Having this cap, while Scotland is re-opening cinemas, pubs and bookies, strikes me as both cruel and disproportionate. It is hard enough that we (rightly) ask grieving families to stay apart, wear masks, and not to sing, but any moderately sized family may find this excludes siblings or beloved grandchildren. Of course, no crematorium or church should permit numbers that make two-metre social distancing impossible, and large funerals are not appropriate.

But, given stores and other venues are limited only by the numbers they can safely accommodate, and restaurants now don’t even require even two-metre distancing, this blanket restriction now makes no logical or compassionate sense. I would urge the Scottish Government to think again. Rev Alistair May, Dalziel St Andrew’s Church of Scotland, Motherwell.

TELLING SIGNS MANY years ago, too many to which to own up, I read about Librans being beautiful, charming, well-balanced and more. Then reality struck and I became aware that I must not be a typical Libran.

Where was this beauty I was supposed to have; where the charm; being well-balanced? I thought that my mother, bless her, had registered me under the wrong month. I am wondering just which characteristics are displayed by Alan Simpson (“Is there no end in sight – they’ve taken even my star sign”, The Herald, July 16).

He wonders what it is to be a Libran, now he has lost his Scorpio birth sign and date. I hate to tell him but if he has joined the same bit of the galaxy as me then he might have to look forward to being a “right awkward sod”‘ as my father called me, whilst being at the same time a person who plays !the devil’s advocate, which usually means that you cannot make up your mind about anyone and anything. I aspired to greatness but via what means was a total mystery (I fancied being an organist in a great cathedral but had to settle for hymns in chapel); love mystery of a poetic kind and am an essential loner.

To those who scry in crystal balls, or ferret about in the innards of deceased sheep, or even star-gaze, then a Libran will be nothing like what I have described; but as a real Libran, apparently, from my day of birth, I am still waiting for the elegance, charm and balance to arrive. Our star-sign is a pair of Scales, the Balance, which perhaps accounts for the love of baking that has haunted me throughout life, thankfully given the boot this past year. I hope that Mr Simpson enjoys being a Libran but would enjoin him to just do his own thing, be as awkward as he likes and carry on being an under-cover Scorpian if that suits him better – just don’t tell anyone.

It’s all a load of rubbish anyway. There again, if this newly-discovered star sign Ophiucus proves attractive maybe I should sign up for it. And yet another “there again”, it sounds more like an unpleasant foot complaint.

So Libra it is. Thelma Edwards, Kelso. KEEPING THE SCORE

I AM familiar with the mnemonic Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (EGBDF), but Jane Ann Liston’s masterful illustration of the esoteric scoring for different clarinets (Letters, July 17), left the old grey matter in some disharmony trying to keep pace; and while I have some sympathy with George Bernard Shaw’s quote that “Hell is full of amateur musicians”, I guess special allowance should be made for clarinettists.

Meantime I’ll stick to the old Johanna and take my chances.

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.