I NEED a bit of building work done to my house. Many phone calls failed simply because each firm was too busy. I then decided to supervise the work myself and contacted individual joiners, plumbers, electricians and the like. Only one could make an appointment within the next two weeks, but I needed a team.

Why are no tradesmen available? There is massive unemployment looming. If it is the lack of skills, maybe we are not concentrating on teaching required subjects, concentrating too much on university qualifications which often result in no jobs and debt.

Patricia Dewar Gibb, Glasgow G12.


ESTHER Woolfson, in her article decrying the obscene sport of grouse shooting, is absolutely correct ("Rich have no right to destroy wildlife in the name of sport", The Herald, October 20).

With COP26 in Glasgow next year, and increasing awareness and concern throughout the world about climate change, and the dire state of the world's environment, Scotland, and indeed any country that allows/encourages this obscene activity, should be ashamed. Burning the peat moors to encourage the new grass for the grouse releases enormous amounts of CO2, and destroys uncounted numbers of small creatures. Thousands of grouse are artificially reared and then released for so-called sport – sitting targets for the rich and thoughtless. Raptors are routinely slaughtered illegally to prevent them from taking a few of the grouse.

What kind of message does this send to countries that will be sending delegates to COP26? Scotland, by continuing to permit this particular example, might as well be killing elephants in Africa, orangutans in Malaysia, or whales in the Pacific.

Rose Harvie, Dumbarton.


BETWEEN Lochcarron and Kyle of Lochalsh, a road was built several years ago to bypass the need to cross Strome Ferry. At one point the road and railway both pass a cliff which was considered unstable. Therefore an avalanche shelter over both road and railway was constructed and any movement in the cliff rolls over the top. Could a similar structure not be built at the danger points on the Rest and be Thankful (Letters, October 10)?

Rev AD Williams, Dundee DD1.


YOUR article about Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton ("Burton and Taylor, the timeless double act", The Herald, October 10) brought to mind their visit to Northern Botswana in late 1975.

They had been invited to attend a tennis tournament in South Africa by the Southern Sun Group and part of the package was a week at the Chobe Game Lodge close to Kasane.

At that time I was responsible for all matters relating to customs and immigration in Northern Botswana and was based at Kazungula. The couple's private jet was met at Serondella Airstrip, immigration and passport checks were carried out and they were then driven to the Game Lodge.

The stay stretched to four weeks and during this time they decided to get married. The ceremonywas was performed by the District Commissioner, Ambrose Masalila, in Kasane. Witnesses were Fred Knoessen, the lodge manager and brian graham, lodge tour guide. According to Ambrose, the bride wore a green dress with lace frills and guinea fowl feathers. The groom was dressed in white trousers, red shirt and red socks. The newly married couple stayed for a further week and after complying with our departure requirements left in their private jet.

It was an interesting few weeks and more so for the local officers who carried out the necessary inspections and controls.

RTR Hailstones, Millport.