I AM shocked at the intention of the Greene King pub chain to change the name of an old watering hole I frequented back in the day, namely The Black Bitch in Linlithgow ("Furore over pub chain’s move to axe ‘racist’ name of historic inn", The Herald, December 2). The brewery wants to change its name to The Black Hound because the name has “racist and offensive connotations”. However, a brief examination of the origins of the name confirm that it related to a black female canine which supplied food to her owner marooned on an island in Linlithgow Loch as a punishment for a crime and, when caught, suffered the same fate.

It seems that the Sussex-based company feels that in light of the PC world we inhabit a new name must be arranged. It appears that it consulted inter alia, the West Lothian Community Race Forum, which seems to be concerned with racist violence furth of Scotland.

It would be interesting to note the terms of its response to the consultation with Greene King and what was its concern. Were it the use of the word "Black" can we look forward to its protest at the use of name Black Watch, the pipe tune Black Bear or to the number of pubs in England called the Black Prince? Perhaps we should remove the word black and replace it on pub signs with the heraldic term “Sable”, but that might offend the anti-fur protestors.

Those residents of Linlithgow might hear a low rumbling sound of an evening. It might be plate tectonics but I believe that might be the well-known late former publican of the renamed Sable Female Canine (does not quite trip off the tongue) Ian Mackay spinning in his grave, together with the plethora of friends who have shuffled off this mortal coil but will return to haunt the company.

St Michael, the Saint associated with Linlithgow, is “kind to strangers”, but Greene King’s attitude to the town might involve divine intervention.

Ron Oliver, Elie, Fife.

* BLACK is a colour, the darkest colour. Bitch is the female of the dog and wolf. The name Black Bitch of the pub in Linlithgow relates to a tale from history about a black female dog (bitch) that was loyal to her master. Greene King should grow up and stop trying to be oh so politically correct and take heed of history and local outrage. My friend David Annand created the sculpture of the Black Bitch in the town and I’m sure that there is no reason for its name to be changed.

Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.


IN response to BT Scotland director Jane Wood (Letters, December 1), can I ask how BT can say the digital phone service is an improvement?

My phone was switched a couple of months ago and the first problem I had was all the local numbers stored in the phone overnight became useless, as I now have to dial 0141 first.

A day later it became apparent that I can no longer transfer calls to another extension in my home, meaning several trips up or down stairs for the recipient and finally my wife, when cleaning the floor, accidentally and without noticing, dislodged the plug for our wi-fi and left us unknowingly without a telephone service until my daughter called my mobile to say she couldn’t get through on the landline. Until recently we had poor reception in the house for mobiles and all my contacts were asked to use my landline.

Alex Simpson, Glasgow.


ON a day off from work yesterday, I finally had the chance to drop off some items that I knew would be of use to the Refuweegee charity. We parked outside its office on Cadogan Street in Glasgow and I took some of the load into the foyer; as I was returning for another load, we were approached by an officious, sour-faced traffic warden (or parking enforcement Grinch, or however they are officially titled these days), who demanded that we had to pay for parking on the otherwise-deserted street for the five minutes it would take, despite the car at no time being unattended. I explained that we were merely dropping off items for charity, to be faced with the reply “I know about that charity”, spoken in a derisory tone and no change in demand or demeanour.

As you may be aware, Refuweegee is a charitable organisation that encourages the people of this fair city to open their arms to displaced and needy people who have found a place to settle in Glasgow and its surroundings. They provide much-needed clothing and other items and above all else a welcome to refugees, encouraging schools and others to write letters to extend a hand of friendship to these newcomers.

Apparently, People Make Glasgow. That includes all of us. It’s our duty to be welcoming, open and willing to embrace the different and the new. I have no issue with being asked to pay to park my car. I do take issue, however, with an individual employed by the city expressing an opinion contrary to that duty of care to others and being unwilling to recognise goodwill where it is proffered by others.

Paul Gurling, Giffnock.


I WAS saddened to read of the passing of Pamella Dow, former principal percussionist with the RSNO (Family Notices, The Herald, November 30). My wife and I remember how she used to get an extra special cheer at the end of concerts when the conductor singled out the various sections for applause.

On one occasion, as subscribers, we were invited to an RSNO event in the Concert Hall offering complimentary drinks. We attended but didn’t know anyone there. Pamella saw us standing alone and came over and started chatting to us. She was lovely, interested to hear about us and to hear our views on the concerts. We both admired her even more after her kindness.

Sincere condolences to all her family.

Brian Logan, Glasgow.