Arran Banner letters – week 20

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Clapping a little louder

Sir,

Adulation and appreciation abounds, and rightly so, for all hospital teams encountering the colossal caring challenges presented by coronavirus. But room must also be found for first class caring on Arran.

On Wednesday last week my wife developed abdominal pain. By 9pm it had become unbearable and, reluctantly, we pressed our ‘alert’ button. The ambulances were very busy, we were told, and a helicopter flying overhead proved why, but someone would come shortly.

Within 30 minutes, two standby carers arrived and, having conducted a detailed examination, phoned Arran War Memorial Hospital with details of the situation. The GP on duty would call ‘soon’, we were told, and soon the duty doctor arrived and, following consultation, called the ambulance.

Within the short time of the carers arriving and the doctor leaving, the ambulance arrived and my wife was soon being attended to in hospital and was back home by 2.15am, completely pain free.

The whole ‘operation’ had taken a little over five hours and throughout we had experienced from everyone involved an exceptionally cheerful, efficient, patient and professional service.

Next day, Thursday, the morning and evening carers (angels!) came as ususal and the efficiency of the whole organisation was encapsulated by the unexpected call of the district nurse, just to make sure  everything was well.

That evening at 8pm we clapped and banged a little longer and louder to include all Arran carers. Think of them and clap and bang a little louder next Thursday at 8pm.

One last thought – why can’t all church bells be heard each week joining in the thanksgiving chorus?

Yours,

Name and address supplied, but withheld on request.

Deforestation woes

Sir,

In the last few months, there has been a noticeable acceleration in deforestation across Arran.

It is shocking to discover iconic walks and famous pathways turned into vast oceans of tree trunks scattered about and left to rot without a care for the beauty of the island.

Walking above Whiting Bay or Brodick used to be a joy of bird songs and the rustle of forests. Now it is the continual sound of chainsaws and huge timber lorries hurtling along new Forestry Commission roads – relabelled in tourism parlance as new ‘cycle ways’.

The ultimate irony is to read the billboard at the foot of Glenashdale Falls proclaiming the rich habitation for red squirrels and yet find within 10 minutes one emerges onto a blasted desert of ruination which will take many, many years of replanting.

Instead of a tree-lined gentle pathway up to Loch Garbad you walk amongst a sea of the decaying timbers more akin to a battleground from Lord of the Rings. Granted these pines were planted for commercial use but who is answerable for such scarring of a beautiful island at such breakneck pace?

And when the tourism industry is green lit to finally begin again, will the Forestry Commission and other parties be held accountable? Visitors will instead choose other islands where they can replenish their post-coronavirus spirits with landscapes rich in greenery and wildlife rather than the brown and ashen greys now spreading across this island.

Yours,

James Kent, Whiting Bay.

Holidays of bygone days

Sir,

Colin Bowes’ series of articles of past holidays on Arran, which ran over three weeks in the Banner last month, brought back some wonderful memories.

Like Colin, my mother rented a house in Hamilton Terrace for a month in July every year. It was some of the happiest times in my childhood. I can still remember packing the big trunk and sending it on. A taxi took us to Ardrossan. It was a really lovely harbour then with wonderful steam trains.

Those summers were always warm. I thought Arran was the most beautiful place I had ever seen and to this day I still feel the same, even though I have travelled all over the world.

I wonder if Colin remembers the children’s special service mission on the beach. We had some great times there. They built a pulpit of sand and sang choruses, all very innocent times. They also held games in Lamlash field and had sausage sizzles. I can remember climbing Dunfion and taking the boat over to Holy Isle. It was so beautiful.

The place to hang out was Lamlash Cafe, a great place. The juke box was the big attraction and I remember playing Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.
Last year I was in Hawaii and I met Martha in a club where she was singing. I told her I first heard her songs in a little cafe on a Scottish island called Arran. She thought that was great. I have so many great memories of Arran and hope to return when this awful crisis is over.

Yours,

Irene Morrison, Woking.

War memories

The VE Day 75th Anniversary commemorations have helped many people remember family connections to the conflict.

I am currently gathering information for a book about the war on Arran and in the Firth of Clyde. I would be very grateful for any help your readers can provide with stories and photographs they might like to see published relating to the island during that period.

If anyone would like to discuss this further please contact me on 01770 860427 or email ctur282388@aol.com.

Yours,

Colin Turbett, Shiskine.