25 March 1943
The Lost Lighter
Leading Seaman James Richardson, 14 Arthur Street, Hawick, left behind him a cigarette lighter when his ship was torpedoed in the St Lawrence last summer. The lighter was a present from his wife. On shore from his new ship, he strolled into an Algiers cafe, and at the same table were two salvage engineers who told him they had come from raising a ship in the St Lawrence. When one of them produced a lighter Richardson was astonished to see initials 'JR' engraved on the side. It was his own. He bargained with the engineer and got back his lighter after handing over 300 francs, a utility lighter, and a cigarette case.
25 March 1943
Farm Fires - Caused by 'Careful' People:
Last Year's Losses
The new nationwide campaign to lessen the risk of fires caused, not by incendiary bombs, but by the carelessness of civilians, has a special message for farmers and all who are engaged on food production. In 1942 losses by fire in Great Britain amounted to £12,500,000. It is believed that the proportion of this loss which occurred on farms was considerable. This was serious for the farmers concerned – and also for the nation, for every blaze meant a drastic loss in the hard-won stocks of food which keeps us fighting.
What are the causes of these farm fires? Fifty per cent can be traced to matches and cigarette ends not being properly stubbed out and carelessly thrown away. Pipe smokers, too, are guilty of knocking out their pipes in the open air when there is a wind blowing which may carry sparks to inflammable material. Threshing mills also come in for their share of the blame. Sparks from the engine are sufficient to start a blaze, but the most common cause originates in the use of chaff as fuel which is very dangerous once it becomes alight and there is a wind to fan it.
A dirty chimney can throw out sparks and soot over a wide area with consequent damage to buildings and produce. Too little attention is paid to the sweeping of chimneys in the country districts where wood-burning causes a deposit which requires to be removed much oftener than in the towns. Danger from chimney sparks is a good reason for having the steading some distance away from the farm house and cottages.
Tramps have shouldered much of the blame in the past, but they are a diminishing fraternity. There are still mischievous children who love to play with matches, but shortage of matches has largely cancelled out the risk from youthful pyromaniacs. Spontaneous combustion is one of the more obscure causes of fires. This occurs seldom on farms, however.
Farmers are careful people, but someone has just made the odd discovery that 'most fires are caused by CAREFUL people'. So it looks like a case of still more care – and still less risk.
27 March 1857
To the Editor
Sir – I witnessed what I would call the abuse of choir singing on the occasion of the Rev Mr Mackie's lecture, on Sabbath evening last. Surely Mr Allan has forgotten that the true and proper part which a choir has to perform is to lead or sing with the congregation, and not sing for them. On Sabbath evening, the four tunes which were sung, were sung almost altogether by the choir themselves, the congregation being either afraid to sing, unable to sing, or admiring the performance of the choir so much as to willingly allow them it all to themselves.
I am sure it would have afforded more real pleasure if church music had been in its proper sphere – viz, that of the whole assembly joining in singing; and on an occasion like that of a popular lecture, when many strangers might have been expected to be present. I think it was a piece of the greatest imprudence to select such tunes as were sung. I do not condemn the introducing of new music – I approve of it; but on an occasion which does not happen very often, tunes might have been sung in which the people could join, and thus not defeat the great object of singing – viz, making the soul as well as the voice join in it. The abilities of Mr Allan and his choir would have been put to far better account had this been the case. It threw such a coldness and formality over the meeting to see the people looking and listening, instead of joining and feeling. My regret on this score received a crowning stroke when the choir commenced a performance of nearly a quarter of an hour's duration after the minister left the pulpit.
As to the propriety of anthem singing at the end of the service, I will not at present express an opinion; but I must say it received a stretch on Sunday night. If this should meet the eye of Mr Allan, I hope he will take my remarks in the spirit in which they are given – that of friendly counsel, and as expressing the mind of not a few who attended the last lecture and the one previously delivered in the Established Church – I am – A Hearer.