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What caused fires?

The horrors of the seemingly uncontrolled fires in Australia depicted on TV recently gave me cause to reflect on an event over 50 years ago.

As a Londoner in my twenties I had travelled no further than Cornwall, which I found enchanting, but I wanted to see more beyond Old Albion.

During the early 1960s I found myself on a bitter cold morning in Southampton, heavily fortified with whiskey stumbling up the gang plank of the rust bucket Castel Felice, bound for Australia as a ten pound Pom migrant and was soon to find lads of kindred spirits who enjoyed a drink resulting in nearly every night often becoming a raucous party.

One lad I became acquainted with had decided to leave Scotland to accompany his sister in Melbourne. Both of us were due to disembark there and planned to meet up. In due course we decided to throw in our jobs, buy an old car and set off into the unknown finding casual work to fuel the car and ourselves. The old Hillman Estate did us proud on roads and highways, very few of which were surfaced and always very potted.

It was a carefree life cooking grub on the way and bedding down at night in the back of the Hillman, too often accompanied by voracious mosquitoes at night and pestering flies during the daytime - not to mention the heat which often hovered around 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

We were soon to become aware of the huge number of trees that had been ring barked obviously in preparation for huge intensive farming. Often I have wondered if this destruction has contributed to the environmental problems out there now.

George Humphreys, Ringsbury Close, Purton

We’re all doomed

War, Pestilence, Famine and Death, the four horsemen of the Apocalypse draw ever nearer with each passing day. This old atheist can feel it in the winds of passage.

War from the middle east will get out of control. From China comes Pestilence. Due to the changing weather patterns comes Famine, widespread. After this will come the death of this world just as it happened long ago to Venus.

Good luck Greta Thunberg you are the last hope of humankind. If only others of power could only see what you can see. I see a world contaminated by plastic, un-breathable air as the plankton dies. The sea will rise and swallow the coastal towns and cities as the ice-cap melts.

Donald Trump says this is doom-mongering! No Mr President it is an inconvenient TRUTH! I want to be wrong.

Barry E Woodham, Scotby Avenue, Swindon

Non-political please

Yet again, it would appear that the election of the Police and Crime Commissioner is to become a party-political issue. We are told that we now have both Conservative and Labour candidates (SA, January 28)).

When the post was created, it was supposed to be a non-political position because the police are expected to enforce the law regardless of any political (or other) vested interests. But, right from the start, the elections were run on a party-political basis.

If ever there was a need for getting the right person for the job, surely the PCC is exactly the case, regardless of any affiliation to any political party, or none?

Why cannot candidates issue their election manifestos, which can be published in various media from public funds? Or, each candidate (who had the support of a given number of citizens) be given an election fund from public funds to spend on their own form of campaign?

Malcolm Morrison, Prospect Hill

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