YEP Letters: June 22

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Check out today’s YEP letters.

An old dog really can learn new tricks!

Denise Marsden, Cookridge

Like my contemporaries, I come from the pre-technology era, when the nearest phone was a long way away in a box near a parade of shops, hand-written letters were the norm, and conversations were conducted in person, often over a cup of tea.

Computers were still unknown, and the future inventions of Tweets and Facebook weren’t even a gleam in anyone’s eye!

However, since I read my first science fiction novel, when I was 12, I eagerly awaited these fantastic machines, and I dearly love my computer, enjoying the speed of email messaging but I have never thought of substituting anything for a real live face-to-face conversation, with or without the tea!

So colour me amazed, when I tell you that I have now visited my very first “chat room”, but before you think I have abandoned any principles, let me explain.

The other day I was trawling the Leeds City Council’s web site, in search of a phone number to request a replacement permit that lets me visit our refuse sites. (I 
have found that nowadays, entries in the phone book seem to have been written by a spider!)

Suddenly, up pops an offer of a “chat”. Still curious, even at my advanced age, I “entered” and “spoke” to Tom, who kindly gave me an email address to contact, and told me that they would send probably me another in a few days’ time.

The subsequent email was immediately sent off, without my having to negotiate all t
hose inevitable telephone menus, and I have today received confirmation of my request.

Within a couple of minutes I had solved my problem, and although I may never do this again, I can now understand the “thrill”, and convenience, of being in immediate touch with another person, and congratulate the council for their brilliant use of this up-to-date technology.

Maybe tea has become obsolete?

More than that, I have also found that this old dog can still learn new tricks!

Where’s the money gone?

Walt Emsley, Leeds

After seeing pictures of the crumbling Palace of Westminster I was surprised to learn that an average of £41m per year has been spent on maintenance since 2010.

It is difficult to see evidence of maintenance after looking at peeling paintwork and old electrical wiring.

It’s a mystery where the money has been spent.

Asbestos in schools fears

Pauline Brearley, Chapel Allerton

Some articles reporting that billions will probably be spent on renovation work to the Houses of Parliament mention the presence of asbestos.

Perhaps this is the real concern. However, the fact that asbestos has been found in 95 per cent of Leeds schools and that due to the cost of removing this deadly substance has to be left there, should be of even greater concern and attention.

Why isn’t the necessary funding being made available to remove it? Surely the future health of children and staff in our schools is as important as that of the MPs! The deadly cancer, mesothelioma, caused by asbestos will claim thousands of lives for many years to come in all age groups.

Cycleway of little benefit

Nancy Oxley, by email

Vernon Wood (YEP letters, June 19) thank you for pointing out the waste of money for this cycleway.

I too can’t wait to see how many use it or maybe the cyclists who have no consideration for walkers along towpaths (L Pearson, YEP letters, June 19) ) will benefit from the Leeds Bradford cycleway. I don’t think so.

Concern over resurfacing

Martin Phillips, Cookridge

Two years ago, after a public meeting at Leeds Town Hall, I alerted your readers to plans by the Canal & Rivers Trust to asphalt the public right of way that runs along the towpath of the Leeds-Liverpool canal.

The Canal & Rivers Trust (CRT) denied this was their plan.

In the ensuing time, CRT held meetings and communications were made with concerned groups and individuals, and with local politicians during which CRT continually assured us that they would not use asphalt to resurface the towpath.

I am writing to inform you that the stretch of towpath from Leeds to Rodley is now completely covered in asphalt and other sections towards Apperley Bridge and Shipley.

This towpath provided a rural corridor through urban areas for ramblers, cyclists, dog-walkers, and disabled people. Children and OAPs had a safe environment to try off-road cycling for the first time.

Large stretches of the towpath – including that from Horsforth to Rodley – did not even require re-surfacing. It was smoother before they laid the asphalt on it.

Ironically, on a stretch of towpath beyond Rodley that was in need of repair, CRT have done an excellent job using natural materials similar to that which they have covered with asphalt on other stretches!

One thing struck me immediately when I was on the towpath: the stretches covered in asphalt are deserted.

Since the stretch of towpath from Leeds to Apperley Bridge is a public right of way under the control of Leeds City Council, the council should force CRT to remove the asphalt and relay it with the materials they promised to use.

Time for proper breakfast

R Kimble, Hawksworth

Yesterday I walked past a number of teenage schoolchildren.

Almost all of them had packets of crisps and fizzy drinks in their hands. All of them were overweight.

We are told parents these days are much busier than, 
say, my parents who had five of us but always nevertheless made sure we had a proper breakfast.

What are they busy doing? Going on Facebook as soon as they get up? Texting? Watching TV for a Jeremy Kyle Show repeat? Going on the internet?

What is certain is they don’t look after their children properly. I never cease to be stunned by the way some parents talk to their children these days, the language that some of them use at their children is appalling and, actually, nothing short of abuse.