THE latest episode in the seemingly endless Calmac fiasco ("Outcry over state shipyard missing out on £100m ferry contract", The Herald, September 15) comes as no great surprise as, quite frankly, the yard did not deserve to be considered in the first instance. The required invitation to tender was only a legal necessity.

I feel for the beleaguered workforce attempting to deal with the excruciating delay in completing the current two orders that may well go on to set a record for the time taken to build vessels anywhere.

I do, however, have nothing but disdain for the situation that Tim Hair, parachuted in as turnaround director, finds himself in and the salary amount paid to him on a daily basis is nauseous to say the least.

Governmental dealings with this, and others of its kind, fill me with apprehension as to how ScotRail will be dealt with come next April.

John Macnab, Falkirk.

* WHEN anyone looks at how much money has been over-budget, how much has been lost to date, and still no sign of completion of one, let alone both of the ferries, how then can Kenny MacAskill even suggest that the yard be given the right to be the guaranteed shipbuilder for the whole Calmac replacement fleet? There is state aid, and then there is financial folly.

I can understand the desire to keep what was a proud shipbuilding asset alive and kicking, but not to the point that the yard is being handed contracts with no cost constraints attached, and from Mr MacAskill's statement, inferring not even a budget.

George Dale, Beith.

* I HAVE no idea what name the ferry now building at Ferguson’s yard, currently known as Hull 802, will be. I have enjoyed the humorous suggestions made recently on these pages (Letters, September 11, 13 &15).

Along with Glen Sannox Hull 802 has given years of money for employment, consultants, suppliers and turnaround specialists, to say nothing of the future costs to be expected for completion and fitting out and whatever teething troubles there might be of the new cutting-edge green propulsion system.

So I am sure that those who nicknamed Arran, Bute and Cowal the BCs, and Jupiter, Juno and Saturn the Streakers will have no doubts on the nickname for this class – the Gravy Boats.

George Wishart, Borgue, Dumfries and Galloway.


I NOTE a wonderful story about Nick Sinclair and his business making and selling butter ("Butter making is rewarding for former Goldman Sachs executive", The Herald, September 13). Simple, yet challenging, success for this entrepreneur through delighting key customers, and hard work on product development.

I therefore take his words seriously about government support: “a joke, and at worst a heinous waste of public money”.

Once, a bank manager had to be persuaded to support a proposed venture. They got it wrong at times. Now we have a whole raft of financial experts, and do I see an economy awash with drive and enthusiasm for making and selling products? No. Re-selling foreign-produced goods, that’s the safe way.

Who will create the wealth we need to sustain the riches lavished on us by our Government? Free services all come with a cost.

David Hamilton, Largs.


LACK of gas; a power station closure; unreliable wind and solar power; all have piled unprecedented pressure on our grid. In addition Irish energy imports via the undersea Moyle cable have been cut off twice in recent days as Ireland protects itself. In Europe nuclear plants are offline; gas-fired plants are shut; the key cable by which we import French power is on hold. Factories have diesel generators to keep going during the looming power outages, but what should householders do?

Well, sales of paraffin stoves have begun to soar as the more far-sighted among residential customers realise that black-outs are inevitable. Modern versions are compact and light while the traditional wick-designed models are surprisingly efficient. There are also electronic versions requiring a small electrical impulse to start their operation. Once the start-up is done it won’t need feeding from a power source so a battery will suffice. A fan distributes emitted heat throughout the room.

As for light, apart from candles and torches, the traditional propane lantern is best. It has a lamp element sitting on top of a small propane tank, which acts as both the lamp base and fuel source. It generates a lot of light for a long time and is easy to use. So it’s back to the 19th century but while the EU fears yellow jacket protests about the cost, we meekly pay Europe’s highest prices and allow the country to be brought to a standstill by Extinction Rebellion demanding we pay more.

Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.


NICOLA Love's mention of Lysol ("Minaj jab outburst is bizarre new fever dream", The Herald, September 15) brought back memories of the late Johnny Standley's song "It's in the Book". One verse reads:

"Little Herman and brother Thurman

Had an aversion to washing their ears

Grandma scrubbed them with the lye soap

And they haven't heard a word in years".

It's good to find humour in articles on serious subjects. I had a lecturer who managed to find humour in explaining the complexities of 0 taxation; there's a challenge.

David Miller, Milngavie.


THE ending of your obituary outlining Jim Wilson’s scintillating career at Gleneagles, Rogano, The Buttery and morfe ("Restaurant manager who was only happy if his diners were", The Herald, September 13) with the information that “his granddaughter is working as a part-time waitress in Giffnock” reminded me of a Neil Munro passage:

“An’ did his brither Cherlie paiddle up the Amazon in a canoe tae interview heid hunters tae?”

“Naw. His brither Cherlie keepit an ironmonger’s shop oot in Coatbridge.”

Robin Dow, Helensburgh.