YOU report that in the current virus uncertainties the BBC has delayed its proposed re-imposition of the tv licence fee on the over 75s until at least August (“Elderly reprieved over TV licence charges", The Herald, March 17) .

The argument so far has been on an all or nothing basis, and I wonder whether this is the time for compromise to achieve certainty to both sides as soon as possible? The annual fee at present is £154. 50, which to many pensioners would be better spent on other necessities, but the proposal is that only those on Pension Credit would be excused this fee.

Keeping the Pension Credit exemption, one compromise could be to raise the zero fee age to 80 whilst applying a much reduced annual fee from 75 to 80. Just for example, that reduced annual fee could be say 50 per cent of the full fee, or better still, a fee of £50 which could be fixed, or alternatively it could reduce by £10 each year to zero unless that would be overly complicated. Obviously these figures are only suggestions but they would have the double benefit of reducing significantly the burden on non-Pension Credit pensioners, whilst still providing a substantial income to the BBC bearing in mind that this concerns more than three million people.

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

Be fair to fathers

KATE Forbes says that Holyrood needs to become more family-friendly, referring to the travel and irregular hours that make this difficult “for women with kids”. While I can fully appreciate that women find it hard to be away from their children, fathers are also part of the family. As someone whose MP became a father just over a year ago, and is therefore even further away from home than someone who works in Holyrood, I do not see why women should be singled out here. A father’s love for his child is no less than a mother’s.

Jane Lax, Aberlour.

Having a wild time

AS a wee time of escape from the unfriendly virus that is rampaging around the world I decided, last Friday afternoon, to round up the rather friendlier wildlife that shares my home during the winter. Armed with the usual glass and postcard I gathered five spiders.

The postcard had to be interesting to take their minds off the round-up. Cards from Sweden, Venice, Dorset, the Northern Railway Museum in Yorkshire and a rather jolly one portraying Scarborough nightlife in Edwardian days were the choice I had, and Scarborough won. The spiders are happily ensconced in the garden shed, but thinking that I had tidied up the house from wildlife, as I sat doing The Herald crosswords that evening, I was surprised when a mouse ran across the hearth. I don't think that a glass and postcard will do the trick for that. Back to the drawing-board.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.

Growing delights

SAVE the planet. Plant more trees.

I am 86 now and during my life I have planted many trees, ever since I was young.

A silver birch in Glasgow was my first. It is now as tall as a telegraph pole. There have been white lilacs galore from a branch growing from grandmother’s Double White in Gourock.

I planted a rowan tree from a seedling in my pathway in Crieff. Twenty years on it is as high as the house with white flowers in spring and red berries in autumn.

I have grown an apple tree from a pip in Largs, and I am now growing an ash tree from a tiny plant struggling on the edge of a pavement.

Go on, plant a tree. It will give you great joy.

Catherine Murray, Largs.

The eye of the Tiger

I VERY much enjoyed Brian Beacom's article on online dating ("He said he was the man of my dreams... He needs a right good wake-up call", Herald Magazine, March 14). His comment on the "My pal fancies your pal" style of hitching reminds me of words spoken by that great Scottish philosopher and poet Tiger Tim Stevens, who famously proclaimed, "The happiest four words a boy can hear? My pal fancies you. The saddest five words a boy can hear My pal says you're chucked."

Gordon Fisher, Stewarton.