I NOTE your article on a new initiative to reap benefits for the West Coast isles by using Caledonian MacBrayne ferries for conference hosting events ("Lifeline ferry services to be used to bring fresh ideas to the islands", The Herald, February 12). Finlay Geekie, a gin distiller on Colonsay and also Gigha Halibut both praise Calmac and its ageing fleet for its services. In particular, Gigha Halibut gives praise to Calmac for its part in assisting the passage of its product from Gigha on Monday to Los Angeles on Wednesday; I am sure that many island inhabitants and tourists have the same tale of efficiency to tell.

For some reason the MV Clansman has been picked out as an ideal vessel for the venues and it will take a day off scheduled crossings to act as host. Would this vessel not be better taking time off to have a good oil filter change and service, as its performance to date hasn't been exactly startling? I am sure that a host of business delegates wouldn't be too happy being stranded on one of the islands or out at sea.

To be fair to Mr Geekie, he did suggest that anyone on the ferry-reliant isles should always have a Plan A and possibly also Plans B and C. As he didn't offer his own suggestions for the plans could I propose the following. Plan A) Catch ferry, B) Charter a plane, C) Swim for it, or perhaps even Plan D) Wait for the about to be fit-for-service new ferries?

George Dale,

21 Oakwood Drive, Beith.

School fashion fails the test

I WAS just looking at the pictures of the Glasgow School of Art Fashion show ("Opposites attract in the world of student design", The Herald, March 13) and I have to say that I have rarely seen anything quite as ridiculous.

I would have thought fashion would need to be relatively popular and I can’t imagine anyone walking down the street dressed like that.

The original Glasgow School of Art sadly burned down. Maybe they should just close the new one if this is the sort of rubbish that is getting produced.

Michael Watson,

74 Wardlaw Avenue, Rutherglen, Glasgow.

Future tense

REGARDING the recent correspondence on tautology (Letters, March 12 & 13), I would like to add my own pet hate, most often used by television reporters: "will take steps to ensure that this can't happen in the future".

Francis Deigman,

12, Broomlands Way, Erskine.

Feathered friends

I AM sad for Sue Stephen of Balfron (Letters, March 9).

I count the birds in my garden every day after school and last week I counted 143. Lots of geese flew past as well. Maybe there is a hawk in Balfron.

Iseabail Bannerman, age 6,

Old Manse Farm, Balmaha.

Pal Joey?

I BOUGHT two budgies today. They sit in a nice cage, they're young of course and twitter on a bit. But here's the interesting thing: they make much more sense than anyone, and I mean anyone, who twitters on in the House of Commons.

Iain Walker,

69 Schaw Drive, Bearsden.