ONE senses now in the public mood, with regard to the pandemic, a perceptible feeling that we are at least back on the road toward some kind of normality, whatever that condition might eventually turn out to be. For most of us, if not all, the effects of the pandemic have been unprecedented and for many families profoundly affecting. There is a sense that we are starting to make positive progress, particularly with the programme for vaccination, and that things are not quite as bad, comparatively speaking, However, the road ahead is unlikely to be trouble-free.

We should not get too far ahead of ourselves. People are still getting sick and unfortunately some are still dying, albeit not on the same scale as before. Moreover, we have Professor Chris Whitty, the UK Government’s Chief Medical Officer, warning of the risks of vaccine-resistant strains of the virus being brought in as borders opened up ("Whitty: UK faces short-term risk of importing coronavirus strains", The Herald, March 30) and on the same day in The Herald a report of a number of academic institutions warning that Covid changes could reduce the efficacy of the current vaccines available ("Covid mutations could leave vaccines ineffective in less than a year, say experts).

Our governments in making decisions clearly have to weigh carefully such analysis and commentary, which is not a simple task. In the discharge of their responsibilities to us at this time, we should all be wishing them well in arriving at the best courses of action.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

* WHEN I was young, signs stating "Danger – Keep out. Enter at your own risk" were common. Such signs were straightforward and self-explanatory.

Since then no-win-no-fee and compensation lawyers, sophistry and the blame culture have proliferated.

A year ago the UK Government removed responsibility for our own lives and replaced it with Government diktat. It is now time to return that self-responsibility and the concept of "at your own risk".

Paul McKay, Largs.


THERE’S nothing like balanced reporting and today your article “RAF scrambled to intercept Russian jets” (The Herald, March 30) is nothing like balanced reporting.

First of all, the Tu-142 Bear is not a jet but an ageing propeller-driven reconnaissance plane. Secondly, the planes were not intercepted but simply shadowed as they flew in international airspace as they have every right to do. Thirdly, the position of the Russian planes was already established and they were already being tracked electronically. One wonders how much unnecessary expense was created by two ageing Typhoon jets flown by pilots possibly younger than their planes and an air-to-air refuelling tanker playing tag with some Russians flying even older Cold War machines in a pointless ritual.

This is a situation that occurs with monotonous regularity and always generates almost identical articles. One wonders why.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.


I READ, with disbelief and amazement, that the Edinburgh tram inquiry is to cost at least £12 million ("Inquiry into capital’s trams fiasco generates £2m bill for legal advice", The Herald, March 30). It has not been completed and therefore not published.

The extension to Newhaven started in November 2019, without the aid of the inquiry.

What is the point of the inquiry? What mistakes will be made on the extension that the inquiry would eliminate?

Talk about shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. This horse is halfway to Newhaven and the stable door has not even been opened.

Iain Ferguson, Prestwick.


YOUR article on the apprehension of Applecross residents and others along the N500 to an influx of visitors this year ("NC500 route gears up for big tourism challenge... by fighting dirty", The Herald, March 27) requires one to inquire whether, in addition to investments in deterrent ditches and signs, there has been equal investment in the availability/operation/efficiency of public toilets and disposal points for chemical toilets?

If staycations are to be the main tourist attraction and option this year then we must all cooperate to make the summer pleasant and enjoyable.

Elizabeth Allen, Glasgow.


MY wife and I watched a black and white film on TV at the weekend. It was filmed in 1954. The thing that struck me was the clarity of speech. Even though the volume was not particularly loud every single word could be clearly heard and understood as the actors enunciated their words properly.

Compare that to modern TV dramas where mumbling and muttering appears to be the current trend. I think it is supposed to enhance the realism and make the acting less stilted, but that is pointless if the viewer cannot hear what is being said. This has nothing to do with regional accents; good actors can speak with a regional accent but still be understood.

I sometimes rewind again and again but am still left mystified as to what has been said. I turn the volume up but it doesn’t help. Unfortunately, in turning up the volume, the background “music” becomes intolerable. It is almost always a throbbing pulsating noise. I think it is supposed to add to the drama or something like that but I just find it extremely irritating.

I have given up on some programmes altogether due to being unable hear the spoken word. Following a recommendation from a friend I purchased a separate sound system. It didn’t help. Am I alone?

David Clark, Tarbolton.