Letters to the editor – week 17

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Broken promises


During the independence referendum we were told that independence would mean that Scotland would become a ‘foreign country’ and as such would be ineligible to bid for shipbuilding contracts for Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels –  but staying in the Union would secure jobs on the Clyde.
Now we find that we were lied to on both counts, as the Westminster Government has announced that the new tenders for these vessels are to be offered globally.

Just the latest in a long list of discarded vows and broken promises.

David Hay, Minard

Stupendous steak pies


I would just like thank Alex Horn (long-time Tarbert resident) for his recent recommendation to us regarding our local butchers  – Richard of Fergusson’s – free-range ‘as close as you can get to organic’ chicken, to which we have only recently been converted.

‘Mouth-watering, brilliant and beautifully prepared’ are the least of the recommendations from Barmore. I do not, by any stretch of anyone’s imagination, demean or belittle the cooking/preparation/presentation by ‘her indoors’, as this only adds to the sensation when the first forkful enters one’s mooth.

I understand from Richard that he is considering retirement. This is due to his ‘extreme age’ but also his physical health. Long hours always on your feet has its strains and stresses. I would certainly miss him as and when the day dawns.

The chickens apart, what would Tarbert be like at Ne’erday without his steak pies? Bereft does not cover it.

I still recall, and frequently recount, our first venture into his establishment – at the end of a fairly long queue – to be met by the response ‘Did you order?’ from  the staff. After that first tasting some 25 years ago, never again would we forget to order.

When the time comes we wish you a long and happy retirement, Richard.

Ian Sanderson, Tarbert

Coping with arthritis


More than 10 million people in the UK, like me, live with the daily pain and fatigue of arthritis.

This can make simple activities like getting dressed, household chores or even picking up cutlery difficult.

I myself have severe osteoarthritis in my hands, my back and my knees. I’m in excruciating pain on a daily basis and I feel that I’m becoming increasingly dependent on others. This is extremely frustrating, because just last year I was working in a job I loved as a special needs teacher.

As well as having a lot of surgery over the years, I’ve lost so much in my day-to-day life that most people take for granted.  I can’t drive, can’t cook, people have to cut up my meals for me and I can’t wear anything with zips or laces. They may seem like little things that I can’t do, but this has a huge impact on my life.

I am sure many people with arthritis like me will know the all too familiar experience of looking up symptoms online, asking questions on social media and trawling through forums and patient websites for answers about your own or a loved one’s condition, and how to manage the symptoms.

Naturally, I found this daunting as it’s hard to decipher what information you can trust, what information is based on scientific evidence and what is based on old wives’ tales. Indeed, if you searche the phrase ‘arthritis information’ around 2,480,000 results appear.

That’s why I wanted to tell you about the charity Arthritis Research UK.

The charity’s latest campaign ‘Ask us your question,’ calls for those living with arthritis to pose their questions for help finding trusted answers.

I’ve used their helpline several times since it launched last year to ask about pain management and medication. I would recommend it as you can trust the charity’s information is based on years of knowledge and research, as well as the experiences of thousands of people like me.

So, whatever your question is – be it about diet, exercise or pain management, check out the website, which has all the details of their helpline, as well as a wealth of online condition information.

www.arthritisresearchuk.org/askus or call 0800 5200 520.

Sue Patey, by email