Letters: In Brief

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Whether or not the expected "millennium babies" are born precisely on 1 January 2000 ("No baby boom at new year", 30 June) is irrelevant to the expected chaos on maternity wards over the New Year period. My baby is due on 23 December and my midwife has told me that all staff leave has been cancelled for the period and she has been asked to draw up a catchment area for the hospital and a cut-off date beyond which they cannot take more December and January bookings.

VERITY KALCEV

London SW12

Sir: Stefan Buczacki's article in the Royal Horticultural Society journal is not "dumping manure" so much as stating the obvious ( "Veteran garden expert dumps manure on his celebrity rivals", 2 July). The BBC spokesman repeated its excuse for its descent into "more entertaining" programmes. If the BBC is only in the entertainment business, it is about time it stopped trying to maintain the stance of being a serious information service. It will no longer qualify for a licence fee and can earn its way as a commercial channel.

JOHN TIMPSON

Painswick, Gloucestershire

Sir: Michael Atkinson tells us his 17-mile journey to work took one- and-three-quarter hours (letter, 28 June). For some 18 years my 70-mile daily trip to the City of London took almost as long, but the strain was eased by having time to read a newspaper and draft letters for later typing. Also I enjoyed the company of some pleasant travelling companions taking tea in the evening, which made the hardship bearable. I took early retirement when British Rail discontinued the evening restaurant car.

ROBERT VINCENT

Andover,

Hampshire

Sir: So - why do so many letters to the editor begin with "So" ?

GERALD PHIZACKERLEY

Leamington Spa,

Warwickshire

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