VARIOUS expert observers of the unfolding energy crisis have urged consumers to sign up for fixed-term deals with suppliers to provide resilience against price spikes.

I am a long-standing customer of Scottish Power in good financial standing with the company.

Last week I was lucky enough to speak with an actual human being at the utility to enquire about my tariff from January 2023. Her response was to offer me their "best deal" contract. This caused me to draw breath as, for a fleeting moment, I thought I had misdialled the number and been directed not to Scottish Power but to Comedy Central.

At present my monthly outgoings on gas and electricity amount to a monthly bill of £176.00. The "best deal" offer amounts to a monthly charge of £859.49. Annualised, this totals £10,313.85. This figure is stratospherically higher than the predicted April 23 price cap of circa £4,500.

The rationale for this rise is that it is insurance against future price spikes, offering comfort and predictability. However, this disingenuous rationale resembles a cure worse than the disease. To a cynic this "insurance" smacks of price gouging…if it looks like price gouging, smells like price gouging and empties your wallet like price gouging … it almost certainly is price gouging. And, talking of wallets, perhaps the CEOs of our energy oligopoly might be well advised to consider taking out high-cost personal accident insurance. A fall from their burgeoning wallets could require emergency medical attention despite the ambulance service running on empty.

On the basis of my experience I would urge all consumers to check prospective energy deals with a jaundiced eye ... preferably while lying down with a large glass of something alcoholic.

(Professor) Doug Pitt, Newton Mearns.


AS a longstanding and proud resident of Dunblane I am increasingly dismayed at the appearance of our most valuable tourist attraction, namely the Cathedral. My concerns are twofold.

First, the clock has only worked sporadically for some two and a half years. I understand that the repair is now in the hands of a specialist but all attempts have so far failed, although it must be noted that the mechanism is over a century old.

Secondly, and more importantly, for the last two years the graveyard has been cluttered with unsightly fencing following the discovery of some 150 gravestones (more than half the total) that have been deemed to be "unstable". The fencing was presumably erected to mitigate the risk of a re-occurrence of the accident at a Glasgow Cemetery in 2015 in which a young boy was killed by a falling gravestone.

However, it is my understanding that not a single gravestone has been rendered safe, primarily due to the absence of dialogue with the burial plot owners.

These issues are the responsibility of Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and I have been verbally assured that action is being taken to remedy these issues in a timely manner.

But the passage of time and the virtual absence of progress suggests otherwise. Written correspondence with HES reinforces my belief and minutes of meeting of Dunblane Community Council suggest that they share my frustrations.

In April this year the Sunday Times selected Dunblane as one of the best places to live in Scotland. I'm also aware of a local initiative to boost tourism in our historic city.

However, Dunblane's reputation as a place to live and visit is surely being tarnished by the perceived inaction by HES. The clock is an ongoing embarrassment and the fencing a constant eyesore. Whilst I accept that Covid has hindered progress and the remedies are challenging, I am not convinced that HES is using its best endeavours to restore our Cathedral to its former glory.

Perhaps HES would like to prove me wrong – preferably with action, not words.

David Mercer, Dunblane.

• DONALD Macleod's article about the Kelvingrove Bandstand ("Magical summer nights at the Bandstand", The Herald, August 12) did not mention the vital part played by the Friends of Kelvingrove Park in saving the bandstand from the wrecking ball. After many years of neglect, the Friends of Kelvingrove Park, headed by its secretary, Ed Gillett, started a campaign to save the bandstand, raising enough funding, in 2001, to commission a feasibility study for its renovation. The campaign eventually resulted in the bandstand being restored by Glasgow Building Preservation Trust.

Deedee Cuddihy, Glasgow.


NOT wishing to crow, but I know my birds. Today’s Picture of the Day (The Herald, August 15) is a rather splendid shot of a jackdaw, not a crow.

Gordon Hardie, Aberdeen.


ROBIN Dow's opening words, "Experts, as you call them" (Letters, August 15), suggest a degree of cynicism about such people. I wince on reading any prediction by experts.

Arthur Summerfield, President Eisenhower's Postmaster General, predicted in 1959 that before man reached the Moon, mail would be delivered within hours from New York to Australia by guided missiles. "We stand on the threshold of rocket mail", quoth Summerfield.

I wonder where my special delivery from Amazon can be?

David Miller, Milngavie.


WE attended Scottish Opera’s production of Candide at Edington Street on Saturday night. It was everything and more as aptly described in Keith Bruce’s review ("A joyous theatrical creation that should not be missed", The Herald, August 13).

What caught my eye in that review was his surprise at Cunegonde’s partner Susan Bollock being described in the cast list as "The Old Lady".

I turned up for the performance fully expecting to see a woman of around my own age. I was not disappointed. Her matriarchal role was carried off deftly with smart shift frocks and sequence bolero jackets, all whilst gliding in high-heeled shoes.

The blunt description so overtly simple reminded me of a story of a well-known Hollywood actress. Having bagged a modest speaking role in a major blockbuster she waited eagerly at the preview screening to see the roll of the credits. To her horror she was described as "fat woman in market scene". She protested to her fellow actor who merely replied: "Welcome to showbiz, Honey’.

Jane Cowan, Glasgow.