AT the summer show with the Alexander Brothers at His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen, on the day oil was discovered in the North Sea, Johnny Beattie ("Farewell to the nicest man in showbiz", The Herald, July 10) ever so casually walked up to the microphone, and gurgled at the audience “Well oiled, eh?”.

Johnny knew how to work both a stage and an audience. Once asked “Did you train for comedy at an acting school?”, he responded with two words “Aye, Fairfields”.

Blue jokes were the sole occasion on which he’d be abrupt. “I don’t do stag”. And he never did.

At the end of each night at His Majesty’s – something of a second home to him – he’d reel off show greetings to visiting parties without a note. Jack Alexander recalled the stagecraft behind this: “I’ve seen him do 17 different greetings from memory.”

I’ve more than 17 memories of Johnny, and his passing nearly has me greeting.

Gordon Casely, Crathes.


I WONDER if this is the “new normal”? I have just received a letter from the NHS advising me that an appointment I have at Stobhill Hospital next March has been rescheduled approximately one hour earlier on the same date. The letter also advises that this is now a “telephone consultation clinic” which I am not required to attend, but I should be aware that the telephone call may be up to an hour later than the rescheduled time.

Due to a problem that arose during lockdown I had to contact my GP surgery, when I was advised by another telephone consultation that I should discontinue taking one of my regular pills. As this particular medication relates specifically to the appointment next March. I am left wondering if the consultant will be aware of this change or if my GP will be aware of the planned clinic arrangement?

Obviously there will be a huge backlog of cancelled appointments to deal with once we are further on in the lockdown process and telephone consultations may help with this problem, but there could also be situations where this may not be helpful.

Duncan Miller, Lenzie.


THE Scottish Government has made a serious error in making the cut-off age for children's non-distanced socialisation 12 years. It would have much fairer to have included all Primary school age children.

Is the Government not aware that Scottish children are often aged 12 in P7 and that this dividing line prevents many law-abiding 12-year-old P7 children from socialising closely with their 11-year-old friends and classmates?

These children have suffered enough from isolation and are in much need of social contact, so I beg the Government to please put right this oversight.

Margaret McGregor, Aberdeen AB15.


WITH hair over the back of my collar, steamy specs, ears pulled forwards, my new mask stretched over the old honker, and a deteriorating shopping list in hand, I accept that my allure is seriously compromised, unlike that of the mysteriously-masked Uzma Mir ("I know masks are important – but they feel so odd", The Herald, July 10).

On the plus side, I can now allow myself frustrated mouthings unobserved as I forage in my local supermarket and track down cleverly hidden items.

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.