the Church of Scotland
has not changed its ways
In Kenneth Roy's article (27 March) he wrote: 'Leonard Bell, recovering from a serious illness, was fired by the Church of Scotland one Christmas. There was no justification for this decision or for its timing. It was simply an act of cruelty'. Trust me, things in the Church of Scotland have not changed. I speak as one who has received similar treatment. However, it is not a total body infection, mainly just a really bad head cold.
(Rev) Alison Grainger
Mr Roy's article (15 March) is depressing and out of date. It seems to me to be a bit sad that a hotel which recalls a customer's previous visit after 25 years and whose staff engage in banter, however lame, are criticised for not adhering to his expectations of urban formality. They probably remember him as being 'that guy who used to be on the news and needed directions to St John's': Exit hotel, cross the road, walk 50m, you're there.
Over the past five years we have invested in services and support for people made homeless. Turning the situation where they were amongst the poorest in Scotland to being among the best. That was a personal priority for me which I made a political and corporate one for the council. I've also over the same period done my best to ensure that homelessness in Perth and Kinross is not ignored as a 'subterranean' problem but one which is given a high profile.
We had an unannounced Social Care Inspectorate inspection of our homeless services reported only this month: two excellents and two very goods. We also had a visit from the chief executive of Shelter Scotland earlier this month to find out how Perth had achieved the transformation in the quality of homeless services and support which other authorities could learn from. The task of continuing to improve services in the face of welfare reforms will not be easy and will require even greater commitment.
I'd be interested to know if Mr Roy/SR asked for permission from Rab, one of my Big Issue sellers, for permission to use his image online. I'll ask him.
If Greenock, Paisley or Falkirk make future city status bids I hope Mr Roy doesn't rubbish them for their ambition. If he doesn't know where he can stick his pen I'm sure someone in Perth can give him directions.
Councillor Peter Barrett
Kenneth Roy replies: I'm glad to hear that Perth's dreadful record on homelessness has improved recently. Better late than never. Islay McLeod, our deputy editor, who took the photograph of one of Councillor Barrett's Big Issue sellers – how many does he have? – not only sought Robert's permission but contacted the hostel where he was staying and sent him a copy of her book with her good wishes.
Jocky would have been pleased and proud that Kenneth Roy remembered him (28 March). Even more so that he wrote with such warmth of his conversations with him. They were happy times and remarkable for the small band of players who were able to turn their pastime into a money-spinner. They were heavily supported by a dedicated group of volunteers who saw the merit in creating a spectator event, appealing to other drinkers and smokers. The sponsors were not far behind, of course.
There are many memories which have surfaced since the weekend. My 'teeth' memory is of a time shortly after Jocky had been fitted with his new dentures. We were all in a hotel in the north of England, for an international match. Snow fell during the night triggering the fire alarm. The Frost family dutifully raced to the mustering point, clad in coats over nightwear, and joined most of the others. Noticeable by his absence was Jocky. He rolled up 30 minutes later, minus teeth and looking very puzzled. Good time the previous evening, one speculates.
Anne Frost (widow of Tom, former organiser of Scottish darts)
Jocky Wilson I met once in Kirkcaldy (in the Wheatsheaf bar 1989/90). He became part of the central character in my/his/our play 'Caliban o' Kirkcaldy' (1990). What I admired – apart from his immense darts talent – was his ability to talk to pals, punters in pubs and TV pundits using the same Kirkcaldy code of communication. A skill I have never been able to master. 'You taught me language; and my profit on't/ Is I know how to curse.'
John Cameron writes (20 March): 'The hope is that new technologies and widely-spread new sources of fossil fuel will at least remove international tension based on the belief that we are running out of resources'. The self-styled 'peak oil' lobby has gone very quiet. Might they now admit that maybe they are wrong about many other 'green'/'sustainability' issues as well? We AGW sceptics wait with bated breath.
If we accept that marriage is an institution, which I do, let us examine what it is for. Though there are other important aspects such as inheritance of property and assets, the most important function of marriage is surely the procreation of children and their custodianship until adults. By this definition, this deems same-sex marriage inappropriate. A new form of contract under a different name should be created for those same-sex couples who wish to commit themselves to each other. 'Marriage' as a concept has so much baggage attached to it.
Re Barbara Dowling's imprisonment (27 March), why don't we do a letter writing exercise as per Amnesty?
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