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It's time we all spoke face to face.

Every person's face is unique and recognised by their peers and is accepted as part of the way to communicate with other human beings.

To cover your personal ID with a face mask suggests that you are going to be involved in anti-social behaviour and are therefore looked upon with suspicion.

The involvement of Labour MP Jack Straw, pictured, in the debate over Muslim women removing their veils is in line with the Government policy to introduce biometrical identity cards for British citizens.

It would be totally unacceptable to start a culture of hiding your ID from other members of society with a face mask of any description.

JACK DOUGLASS, Fuchsia Gardens, Hebburn.

Bridge danger to pedestrians

I WOULD like to express my concerns about the amount of traffic using Castle Farms Bridge and also the manner of driving in this particular area.

I walk to work at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital, along with many others and pass over the bridge between 07.30 and 08.30,and also between 17.00 and 17.30.

The line of traffic at this time can stretch from the middle of Mathew Bank on one side, and almost to the roundabout at the Freeman on the other, and herein lies the problem. While the traffic on the Mathew Bank side has right of way, on many occasions the traffic on the other side races to beat the oncoming traffic which may be either waiting to turn on to the bridge, or are heading towards it. In doing so the bridge becomes blocked, ensuring nothing can move and the traffic continues to back up on Mathew Bank.

On this bridge there is a narrow strip painted red which I assume is for pedestrians, however, in their haste to beat the traffic which has right of way, traffic on the Freeman side speed on to the bridge and if they do not know about the pedestrian walkway, invariably swerve at speed to avoid anyone on the bridge. I do not exaggerate when I say I have had three narrow misses this week, one unbelievably, when a car came at speed on to the bridge at the same time as a cyclist headed in the same direction. As the cyclist passed me the car actually overtook the cyclist, again at speed.

Castle Farms Bridge states quite clearly that it is a weak bridge with a weight limit of 2T, and yet I frequently have to negotiate, fully laden minibuses, trucks, scaffolding flatbeds and any other vehicle which now regards this bridge as a main artery, I feel it is only a matter of time before someone is injured or worse on Castle Farms.

If this route is to continue to be used as a main route into the city, surely the City Council should now be looking at a traffic light system and strict weight and width controls. Or is the council happy for this route to used as an unofficial main artery, which in turn takes the pressure off the roundabout system at the bottom of Freeman Road?

ALISTAIR WS MURRAY, Jesmond, Newcastle.

Real veggies don't eat meat

I WISH to comment on Gordon Barr's article, Brasserie at John Lewis, specifically the sentence where he says, 'Often he (his veggie friend) can improvise, as the one meat he will eat is chicken breast, but there wasn't even this on the main course menu.'

Without wishing to adopt a holier than thou attitude, there is no way Gordon's friend can describe himself as vegetarian. A vegetarian is someone who eats no fish, meat or anything with their by-products contained within them. Depending on an individual's reason for becoming vegetarian, they may or may not advocate using leather products.

These days it has become very fashionable for people to call themselves vegetarian. However, when asked what this means, invariably people say they don't eat meat and yet fish is somehow acceptable. So much so that you can still go into many cafes or restaurants and find menus highlighting their vegetarian options with a V sign. All well and good until you see fish dishes denoted with the sign!

Really this is a plea to Gordon, his colleagues in the media, the owners/managers of eating establishments and all those who don't eat red meat, but eat chicken or fish and call themselves vegetarian, let's see everyone being more open, honest and upfront. If you require further information and advice, contact the Vegetarian Society at www.vegsoc.org.

TIM WRIGHT, e-mail.

Sage's music a revelation

AS AN 85-year-old Northumbrian, I journeyed from Sussex on a long overdue visit to Tyneside to see my see my two elderly sisters and it was with pride I was taken around the Baltic Centre and the impressive concert hall, The Sage, pictured, in Gateshead.

While admiring The Sage we were approached by three delightful young people distributing leaflets advertising a concert.

One young lady was a saxophonist, another young lady was a soprano and the young male was a guitarist.

On being asked to buy tickets, which sadly I had to decline due to my return to Sussex, they kindly suggested we could come to the rehearsal, due to start shortly.

I have been to many concerts but I have yet to meet a more enthusiastic and dedicated group of young (and some not so young) musicians as I listened to on Wednesday, October 11. Those thirty or so musicians were a joy to listen to as they accompanied a film produced for the occasion. This almost hour-long piece of music alone, written, composed and played by themselves was worth a performance in its own right.

At the end I felt emotionally moved and grateful to know that so many young people could come together to create such a remarkable piece of music.

Unfortunately, I thought on arrival back at my home that I would be able to hear the show live on BBC Radio 3, on Listen Up, on Sunday, October 15, and told all my friends to tune in. But alas I think the leaflet was misleading. All I heard was Brahms Requiem .

I did not ask any of those young people their names but I will be forever grateful for the invitation to see and listen to the rehearsal of that remarkable composition . My thanks to everyone and long may you come together to make good music.

JOHN BAISTER, Crawley, West Sussex.

Dedicated duo deserve praise

IT'S about a letter in Your Shout from A Blacker. He points out an omission that is long overdue for correction, of a section of runners who are in the Great North Run, but who never get a mention.

For instance, John and Jan Shippen, have taken part in and finished in 24 of the runs. John pushes his wife Jan. Since childhood she has been in a wheelchair, and they have raised a lot of money for various charities over the years, including the Chronicle's Sunshine Fund. I just feel it is a good thing he has mentioned this.

RITA McWIGGAN, Wideopen.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 20, 2006
Words:1179
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