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Readers’ letters: Cemetery grass-cutting ban is a slap in the face to volunteers

Friends of Ellon Cemetery standing with cut grass next to the graves

Sir, – Aberdeenshire Council’s decision to stop the Friends of Ellon Cemetery cutting grass (P&J June 15) is a slap in the face to all the firms that have sponsored the ground and people who have donated for various improvements.

The friends do their bit with flowers etc and if the grass is not left to the present standard then it will not look right. Each part complements the other.

The council spokesperson’s waffle about health and safety, training and proper machines is laughable.

The gentleman who cuts the grass is a fully-trained mechanic using a self-propelled walk-behind mower that follows all the contours, the height is properly set, and it is cut on a regular basis to leave a nice looking surface.

This same gentleman for many years prior to the forming of the friends group cut an area of the cemetery. I myself, for a few years, cut strips adjacent to my parents’ graves.

My observation for a number of years is that the council don’t have enough staff cutting grass, with the result that they are always playing catch-up.

The mowers fail to cope with the long grass, the three-gang cylinder mower is operated far too fast not giving the mower time to work – raising questions about training.

At times, the mowers with the operator walking behind could not cope with the long grass.

This year the grass on the estate where I live in Ellon was three weeks late in being cut. No problem as the council now has a machine that copes with long grass.

But it leaves a carpet of mulch behind which has not fully gone with the result that when the next cutting eventually gets done we have two cuttings of mulch. Certainly not a pretty sight.

Very cost-effective, a lot faster than two men with walk-behind mowers plus the grass is left for longer.

Pride does not enter into the equation in training but, you never know, might they make an exception for the cemetery?

Norman Fraser. Dunnottar Road, Ellon.

The young have faith in our future

Sir, – What a bundle of laughs George Emslie comes across as (Letters June 18) but we will ignore that and also his lack of self-awareness when he took a pop at me for being “blinkered”.

Listening to the radio this week, I heard news items about how many films, TV programmes and other media about the concept of time travel were currently popular.

I wonder if Mr Emslie and his fellow travellers on the Union bus ever considered that the future does not need to look exactly like the past or the present.

From the paucity of believable positive reasons for continuation under the present broken system, I suggest not.

Another commentator on a separate radio programme, I think he was a professor, made a really striking point about time and media.

I am paraphrasing, but he said: “Overall, things get better, incrementally and it’s hard to notice but improvements are there in almost every way.

“We accentuate and amplify the negatives”.

I thought that was a rather apposite argument against the kind of backward looking nit-picking advanced by the likes of Mr Emslie.

It is not for no reason that the young support independence – they haven’t yet learned to be selfish or to be scared about the future.

I am very hopeful that we will see some detail to back up their sense of positivity and hope for Yes in the coming months.

Peter E. Smith. Aigas, Beauly.

Stadium needs to reflect ambitions

Sir, – A few years ago, Aberdeen FC were determined to build their new stadium as far from the city as possible, out at distant Westhill.

And if you weren’t “All for Aurora” back then, you weren’t a proper fan.

This time around, the club at least has the location right: the beach. But while the club needs our backing once more, they’re still making the same mistake of not being nearly ambitious enough.

Back in the 1970s, Aberdeen transformed stadium perceptions by going all-seater years before others were forced to.

And in the 1980s, Dick Donald and Chris Anderson were visionaries who saw no limits to Aberdeen’s potential.

Anderson even went as far to say: “We are always looking for ways to improve everything about this club.

“We are determined Aberdeen shall be Scotland’s number one club.”

This time around, the vision should be just as bold: to deliver the very best 20,000-seater stadium in Europe. And with a roof.

That’s not pie-in-the-sky stuff. Look at the new Telenor Arena in Norway. And if other continental clubs start following suit, we’ll soon reflect on why we didn’t do it here while we could.

Yes, all that costs more. But it earns more, too. Build something ambitious and see what partners and sponsors it attracts to the city – not to mention better players and new fans to the club.

Last season was a major disappointment on the field.

And as a former season ticket holder I have seen plenty of those.

Aberdeen have, of course, over-achieved before – but only when they’ve dared to think big.

Chris Anderson also said: “I want Aberdeen to be the best team Scotland and able to compete on level terms with the best in Europe.”

We all understand that taking on Bayern Munich and Real Madrid is impossible in today’s money-fuelled game, but does the proposed stadium truly reflect the very best that Aberdeen FC can be?

Sanjoy Sen. Snipe Close, Chesterfield.

Suggested songs for Scottish Eurovision

Sir, – If the SNP/Greens want the Eurovision Song Contest to come to Scotland they should insist on a separate Scottish entry.

Can I suggest the following selection of songs reflecting modern Scotland from which to choose our entry?

The Glower of Scotland (a tribute to the first minister); Just A Wee Deoch an’ Boris; The Simple Crofter’s Jig; NOT Over the Sea to Skye; The Bonnie, Bonnie Non-investment Banks o’ Loch Lomond; A man’s a wummin fur a’ that and The NHS Patient’s Reel – literally, Humza Yousaf’s Lament(able).

Any one of them would give our European partners a lasting impression of our socially just, sustainable, inclusive nation

Allan Sutherland. Willow Row, Stonehaven.

Gates backtracked on ‘scary’ Covid-19

Sir, – In March 2020 Bill Gates said of coronavirus that its “infectiousness and fatality put it in that super scary range”.

But recently at the TIME100 Event in New York he appeared to distance himself from that hysteria saying: “We didn’t understand that it’s a fairly low fatality rate and that it’s a disease mainly of the elderly, kind of like the flu.”

Strange that he claims they didn’t understand this until recently because I’m no scientist and I wrote my first letter questioning the Covid narrative as early as May 2020.

Perhaps one day Al Gore, John Kerry and Nicola Sturgeon will be saying “Climate change has not been as bad as we thought”.

Geoff Moore. Braeface Park, Alness.

Getting facts right about rail strike

Sir, – BBC Scotland needs to learn the difference between don’t and can’t.

On their lunchtime news today their headline was: “Don’t travel by rail if you can avoid it.”

If you live north of Glasgow and Edinburgh you can’t travel by train as there are no services.

And travellers should be informed that this is not because the train drivers are taking strike action, because they are not.

It is the union of the signalling staff that is preventing the trains running north of the central belt.

Don McKay. Provost Hogg Court, Torry.

First-class service from Royal Mail

Sir, – In complete contrast to Mr McKay’s experience as detailed in his recent letter, we have recently received exceptional service from the Royal Mail.

The week before last we posted a small parcel at Kyle Post Office which arrived at its destination in Wiltshire within 24 hours.

Then yesterday, an item ordered online which the seller apparently didn’t deliver to the Highlands arrived at our door – posted the previous day from a small rural post office in Gloucestershire. How’s that for service?

Anne and Mike Seymour. Duirinish, Kyle of Lochalsh.

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