The case for Efta

SIR – In July 2009, Canada entered into an agreement with the European Free Trade Association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).

A similar deal has been available to the UK since the start of this year. But because of the Government’s obsession with an EU agreement, the sequencing has meant that Efta has been made to wait until after the EU chooses to settle. Theresa May made the same mistake of thinking a realistic deal was available from the EU.

The time has surely come for the Government to contact our friends in Efta and get things moving.

Toby Horton
Ripon, North Yorkshire


Stricter shooting rules

SIR – Over the last five years, pheasant rearing has increased to almost industrial levels. While shooting does bring in much-needed income for large estates and local businesses, there is definite disquiet about this state of affairs.

The RSPB suggests that self-regulation is not working (report, October 12), and that the public will not stand by while wildlife is destroyed to protect these game birds: the persecution of birds of prey is of particular concern. There are also worries about damage to the environment caused by large quantities of lead shot and the burning of vegetation.

I am not anti-shooting, but those involved in this activity need to be held to account and redress the balance.

William Tait
Helmsley, North Yorkshire


SIR – You report (October 11) that Boxing Day hunts, a great British tradition, are to go ahead but without spectators or social gatherings.

I’m sure the hunts will respect this. Is there any chance the hunt saboteurs will do the same?

Paul Morley
Skipton, North Yorkshire


HS2 shock

SIR – I was shocked to hear that HS2 has gone further over budget already (report, October 11). Who’d have guessed that would happen?

John Stewart
Terrick, Buckinghamshire


Heated debate

SIR – I have to take issue with Peter Froggatt (Letters, October 11) on the subject of Agas.

My family and I have lived with an Aga for more than 40 years and it has always been the heart of our home. It has cooked wonderful meals (you just need to learn how to cook with it), dried and ironed the washing (no tumble driers or electric irons), heated the water (no immersion heaters) and provided warmth and comfort to us all – including dogs, cats and sick lambs.

Not for us the impersonal induction hobs and fancy electric ovens that don’t warm the house through. How can it be said that an Aga is just a lump of cast iron? Dame Mary Berry doesn’t seem to have had a problem cooking with one.

Sarah Westwood
Plymouth, Devon


SIR – Micky Tomlin’s husband was right to iron his underpants (Letters, October 11).

Ironing should be seen as the final stage of the washing process. It kills those bacteria and fungi which have survived the washing process – and some do.

Norman Defoe
Fordyce, Aberdeenshire


GPs are here for you

SIR – General practice is not closed. GPs and practice teams have been working exceptionally hard throughout the pandemic, delivering essential care to patients with Covid-19 and conditions unrelated to the virus, and doing so in a way that is safe for both patients and communities.

College data shows that consultation rates are back to near normal levels following a slump. General practice is also delivering the largest ever flu vaccination programme and preparing for a likely difficult winter.

We do not want to see general practice become a remote service. But we are in the middle of a pandemic. We need to consider infection control and limit footfall – all in line with NHS England’s guidance. Nevertheless, the data shows that more than a third of a million GP appointments are now being delivered face-to-face every day.

Professor Martin Marshall
Chair, Royal College of GPs
London NW1


Click and donate

SIR – Jill Jones (Letters, October 11), calls for “online food banks”.

I raised this idea in my local Sainsbury’s just the other day. It would be a great scheme to set up, and so easy for online shoppers to contribute.

Sarah Boustead
Bognor Regis, West Sussex


SIR – Morrisons has added a “donate” button that allows customers to give directly to local food banks.

Becky Hutchinson
Bradford, West Yorkshire


Old-school cider

SIR – Thirty years ago we decided to make our own cider (Letters, October 11) using a recipe from the Thirties. It told us to take three hundredweight of apples and wait for the travelling cider press to come by, before adding one pound of sugar per gallon of juice at Christmas. It would then be ready to drink at the sound of the first cuckoo.

We grated the apples with the Kenwood and used a small hand press. The problem came when we asked a mother of a friend to listen out for the cuckoo. Whatever we had made it wasn’t cider, so we forgot about it for the rest of the summer.

When we next tried it – clear, appley and delicious – we couldn’t understand why we became so intoxicated. Then we tested it: 17.2 per cent alcohol. We drank it from wine glasses after that.

Ros Mackay
Helston, Cornwall


Don’t drag Nelson into the culture wars

Source: Telegraph