WE, quite correctly, have tight safety standard for children’s toys to minimise the risk of a toy injuring a child. Yet we allow the sale of fireworks which can, and sadly sometimes do, severely injure a child. Even if shopkeepers obey the law prohibiting the sale to children of what are, after all, incendiary and explosive devices, they are going end up in children’s hands and some children will suffer life changing injuries.

I accept that fireworks can be safely used and that they do provide enjoyment to many people. But surely the maiming of even just one child is too high a price to pay for the transitory enjoyment fireworks can bring? Others, not least Catriona Stewart ("Patience is running out – it is time to ban these infernal bangs", The Herald, November 6), have raised many further valid concerns about fireworks but I would argue that the risk they pose of causing serious injury to children on its own justifies the ending of their public sale.

Alistair Easton, Edinburgh EH12.

IT is two o'clock in the morning, and I cannot sleep. The reason is sporadic explosions coming from near and far all over my town.

This has been going on for weeks but tonight's the worst night – all because it is, or rather was, Guy Fawkes Night. As ever, disreputable fly-by-right traders in short-lease shops have sold tonnes of lethal gunpowder to the population at large with the blessing of HM Government.

It is especially beyond belief the same laissez-faire approach to fireworks sales continued in a year when the annual carnage of fireworks casualties are the last thing beleaguered hospitals needed with Covid-19 still on the rampage. It has gone long past the time all firework sales – except via licensed display professionals – were banned.

Mark Boyle, Johnstone.

YET another example of serious danger to Scottish life and property took place on November 5, completely unnecessary and meaning nothing whatsoever to us. The date refers exclusively to an incident concerning exclusively an England of more than 400 years ago.

It would be to our advantage to outlaw the "celebration" and to avoid the dreadful consequence year after year of not doing so.

J Hamilton, Bearsden.


I WAS interested to read the Agenda contribution from Alison Keir ("We need occupational therapists now more than ever", The Herald, November 4), that before the pandemic is over "hundreds of us will need professional help to fully recover our health" . As there are not enough professionals to support everybody who needs help, it would be useful for us all to learn how to take responsibility for our own health. Forget hanging on the phone for ages to get a doctor's appointment, waiting months, if not years, for an outpatient appointment, waiting for surgery.

There are many methods of self-treatment/self-healing which are available free for us all. In some cases you need to pay for an initial training, or it can be learned from a self-help manual, or in these days where technology rules, download an app.

I use Reiki healing, which I paid £100 to learn how to use on myself 20 years ago. I also practise Buddhist chanting, and recently downloaded an app from Wim Hof, "The Iceman", teaching me how to apply his deep breathing followed by three minutes under a cold shower, to improve my own health. This latter regime has enabled me to treat my eye condition, which until lockdown involved injections into my eye, so that it has cleared up and does not require any further injections, as the consultant informed me two weeks ago.

Other self-help methods involve relaxation, free to the user, meditation, again free, self hypnosis, also free. Cognitive behaviour therapy can also be learned. These methods mean that patients with more serious physical, emotional or psychological conditions can be treated by the NHS health professionals, because the waiting lists have been reduced by those taking responsibility for their own wellbeing.

It is difficult to start helping yourself, but all you need is perseverance and determination, and hey presto, the GPs' surgeries are empty. What can be wrong with that?

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.


I WELL believe recent research which shows that half of Brits exaggerate their life stories at social events ("“Half of Brits exaggerate life stories”, The Herald, November 5). Having been regularly upstaged in the past I am now free to reveal that for some years in addition to my public profession I had a clandestine role with MI6 under cover of holiday travel.

Despite my James Bond-type expertise I resigned due to the persistent attention of young female members of Her Majesty’s Secret Service impressed with my exploits.

I would be obliged if anyone who is asked “Do you know Russell Smith?” would give a negative response. Thank you.

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.