WHAT are we doing to our old folk? We are shutting them in a small room with no friends or relatives being allowed to visit them since the beginning of March. They don’t understand the reasoning but grimly put up with the monotony of the day. No distractions, no hairdressers, no chiropodist, no outings, nothing.

The dementia residents are forgetting how to eat and swallow and many are giving up.

Why are we doing this? We didn’t do it for the last flu epidemic. Protecting them? Is the cure worse than the disease?

How about looking at the situation from the elderly’s point of view? The statistics show that around five per cent of the elderly in care homes have died from or with Covid. It also shows that 95% have not.

Let’s put Covid with influenza, the common cold, winter vomiting bug and the like, all of which have similar effects on elderly mortality and accept that some of our elderly may very well succumb to any of them and let the rest of the residents of care homes get back to normal. Yes by all means up the cleaning and hygiene to reduce the spread of any bug (that should be in place anyway) and let’s move on.

Their remaining lives are short and the quality of that life should be the only thing that is important.

Although they are now being allowed one designated visitor for 20 minutes once a week the present restrictions are effectively putting them in an early coffin with en suite facilities.

Pauline O'Reilly, Glasgow G43.


MANY thanks to Lesley Duncan for bringing us another of the poems by Billy Collins, the American poet (Poem of the Day, The Herald, July 21). It was Lesley who, in one of her daily poems, introduced me to Billy Collins, for which I thank her. That introduction was his poem Solvitur Ambuland (It is solved by walking) which was possibly two years ago.

In this time of coping with the Covid-19 virus and the physical restraints imposed on us all I have watched Billy Collins, via Google, as he speaks about, and reads, his poetry, and best of all is the New York Times talk where he and the novelist Cheryl Strayed talk on the subject of The Power of Collective Silence. Goodness knows we have all been wrapped up in such a power for some months now. The talk, entitled "There's a quiet all over the world" is wonderfully healing as Billy has the most lovely, gentle way of talking and writing about life.

One of his poems, that he reads, is about the people who died when the Twin Towers were destroyed. It is an elegy incorporating their names and is called The Names. But there is much to hope for and look forward to in life and Billy Collins poems are so life-enhancing and truthful. Hopefully we will have more of them in Poem Of The Day.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.


YOUR article on the effect of garden lighting on birds ("Birds left sleepless by garden lighting", The Herald, July 24) reminded me of an earlier article on city light pollution which highlighted various, associated health issues. I felt that some informed dialogue on this topic would appear in due course, however as yet there has been none that I have noted.

I am vaguely aware that LED lighting is linked to blue light which can have a negative effect on eyesight and sleep. I have also wondered what effect the introduction of LED street lighting might have on wildlife generally and birds in particular? As someone who is also aware of the considerable energy saving potential of LED lighting, I accept that it may be a question of a balance between the various issues.

Duncan Miller, Lenzie.


LORNE Jackson (Diary, July 23, raises the question of how the guy who drives the snowplough gets to work in the morning.

It was answered in the 1970s in a memorable VW TV advert. The viewer was presented for 10 seconds with a heavy snow scene in which the outline of the popular Beetle model was easily recognised. Next one heard the sound of the Beetle bursting onto action. The voiceover then asked the viewers “Have you ever wondered how the driver gets to his snowplough?”

Iain MacInnes, Glasgow G41.


BEFORE it’s too late I urge strangers interested in witnessing the Dance of the Road Machines, involving diggers and road rollers currently resurfacing our town centre, and being part of the motoring snakes and ladders mystery tour of conflicting diversion signs, to visit our wee corner of North Ayrshire.

It would be best to be equipped with satnav or at least a local map, mobile phone, and food and soft drink.

This exciting opportunity after months of lockdown will only be available for a few days.

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.


WITH the ever-wonderful Jenni Murray retiring from Woman’s Hour and given the BBC’s commitment to diversity, what chance of a man taking her place?

John Dunlop, Ayr.