THE other day whilst waiting at the pharmacy for a prescription I happened to glance at the wall behind me. As far as I could see was an amazing array of everything a newborn baby or a toddler could need to satisfy their every need. It didn't take me long to remember my own experiences 60 years ago when I had my first babies. Disposable nappies were a thing of the future and as I had two winter babies I often found myself cutting up bath towels because not many people had dryers.
And how many hours my long-suffering husband and I spent walking the floor with a fractious teething morsel and if that failed perhaps a midnight trip in the car worked.
I wonder if in these days with so many products available are things easier.
I still remember one of my daughters when she had her family saying 'Mum you have no idea'. Perhaps I do.
Daphne Hughes, Kahibah
BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY
WE read that Qantas are phasing out the last of their Boeing 747 aircraft and will no longer have any four-engine aircraft in their fleet by next year.
I am reminded of a 747 flight I was on back in the 1980s, and I was fortunate to be travelling business class on this occasion. The aircraft pushed back from the terminal and then there was some delay before it returned to the terminal and we were asked to disembark, which being business class we were sent to the Qantas lounge.
Some time later the captain came in to apologise for the delay and explained that they were unable to start one of the engines. One very smart passenger (I think he was travelling first class) called out "I thought these aircraft could fly on three engines." The captain very quickly replied "yes, but we always try to start the journey with all four."
John Fear, Newcastle East
MALL IS AN ATTRACTION
I HAVE some ideas for attracting people to visit Hunter Street mall and the adjacent area. Here are what I consider some of the reasons for the decline in people visiting the area: the expansion of shopping centres with free 3 hour parking; introduction of short period, paid parking in CBD; closure of the old Court House; closure of Wolfe Street's cinema; changing development plans; closure of David Jones and its car park; road closures during construction of light rail; removal of free bus transport in inner city area; nine months of road closures for the construction of a race track; subsequent Supercars road closures, barrier placements and restricted parking during October, November and December; and transfer of community events from Foreshore and Pacific Parks due to Supercar preparations.
For a lot of people to be attracted back to Hunter Street to shop, eat, attend medical, legal and beauty appointments, there needs to be a point of difference to make the visits desirable. The mall and adjacent areas have many interesting historic buildings showing a diverse range of architectural styles including colonial sandstone, Italianate, and Art Deco. Small businesses in the area need to be supported by council, government and big business (perhaps BHP) to highlight the diverse architectural features, and have these complemented by attractive paving and plantings. This would produce a difference between other suburban centres.
Three-hour parking and a free hop-on hop-off red tram or electric bus would encourage locals and visitors to use the mall and adjacent areas. Inner-city events need to be encouraged that create minimal disruptive preparation.
People around the world enjoy experiencing old parts of cities. Newcastle needs to capitalise on the fact that it is Australia's second-oldest city and has an inner city business area with old and ultra-modern architecture.
Susan Poulter, Newcastle East
IT'S NOT EASY STREET
IN July this year, I wrote about the failure of the City of Newcastle to monitor parking meters after 5pm in Gibson Street Newcastle, and noted that other areas of the city are monitored after 5pm. All inner city residential areas (Gibson St, Newcastle East, The Hill etc) currently have metered parking until 9pm.
City of Newcastle has now proposed to reduce the hours of metered parking from 9pm back to 7pm in Gibson Street, unlike the residential parking restrictions of 9pm in the remainder of the city.
Why, once again, is Gibson Street being singled out? I believe Gibson Street, with residential land created and remaining unchanged since the 1860s, is the most suffering area for resident parking in Newcastle. There are three university campuses and activities in Civic Park, the theatre and City of Newcastle buildings, all with very little parking provided. Cars come in droves to Gibson Street. Add new unit developments in the area with limited on site parking and it is a daily nightmare.
Residents are forced to walk from as far as the park and bowling club area in Dawson Street at Cooks Hill to their homes. Lifestyles are affected as people often do not go out due to the fear of not being able to park on arriving home. It is bad enough during the day, but concerning at night. Why, again, the unfairness and reduction in metered parking hours, for Gibson Street? Metered parking until 9pm began 19 years ago.
Kate Rabbitt, Newcastle
WE HAD AN INTERCHANGE
NOT so long ago Newcastle had a transport interchange. It was located in the city and offered ample room for trains and buses with ease of access between them. It was called, appropriately, Newcastle Station.
Now we have the weasel-worded Newcastle Interchange in the suburb of Wickham. The lack of platforms means the trains back up on each other and the bus stops are a distant walk on busy roads and lack amenity. Of course, for an extra fee one can catch the rather slow vanity project of politicians who care as much for cyclists as they do for youths at festivals. As it wends its way among the motorists searching for parking, you can barely see the closed shop fronts of once-viable businesses through the perforated advertising banners which adorn this sad waste of public largesse. They had to destroy the city in order to renew it?
Peter Ronne, Woodberry
HOWARD SET A PRECEDENT
PRIME Minister Morrison says WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange should "face the music" in court, yet former PM Howard never faced the music for plunging Australia into the Iraq war, a war based on American lies, as he danced in tune to American war tom-toms, resulting in the deaths of thousands of innocent lives.
Iraq is now a failed state. War creates terrorism. Oh, we are all equal in the eyes of the law? Humbug, I say. Some are more equal than others.
Richard Ryan, Summerland Point
SHARE YOUR OPINION
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name and suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words. Short Takes should be fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited and reproduced in any form.
SINCE the introduction of water rationing in Newcastle and environs ('Restrictions for first time in 25 years', Newcastle Herald 24/8), my wife and I have started collecting the cold water which comes before the hot when showering (using a bucket) and capturing the same in the bathroom wash basin using a jug. We have also collected the water used to rinse plates etc in the kitchen and are amazed at how much water we are not wasting. What we collect is then used to nourish pot-plants (we grow all veggies and flowers in pots). The amount saved has us both amazed, and we are empty-nesters. Imagine how much water could be saved by a family of three, four or five.
Name and suburb withheld
A GOOD article showcasing the Fred Hollows Foundation's humanity awards ('Jack claims Hollows honour', Herald 18/10). It is my opinion that Australia is in safe hands with award recipients of the calibre of these young men and women. I know, I was there. I had the pleasure of meeting many of them. One thing must be highlighted, and that is that Jack Lawton wasn't the only award winner from Belmont Public School. There were two. The other recipient of this award was Lucas Beever-Stead. Thanks to the Herald for the coverage of this marvellous institution and I'm looking forward to reading about Lucas' award.
John Lawton, Belmont
JOHN Cooper (Short Takes, 17/10), could you enlighten the readers as to where you purchased your shares in the Sydney Harbour Bridge?
Ken Scott, Minmi
IAN Roach (Short Takes, 18/10), if you dig a hole and half fill it with water then dig out the bottom the water level is lowered. I have thus proven my solution. I now leave it to you to prove yours or disprove mine.
John Bradford, Beresfield
LES Brennan says City of Newcastle has proven itself to be a good money manager (Letters, 18/10). How could he possibly know, given how much of the significant transactions are not available to the public? He cites the sale of the Roundhouse and Supercars income as good examples. But it looks like the $16 million for the Roundhouse will be used by the council move to the west end ('$35M lease', Herald 19/20), and I believe Supercars' supposed benefits have been so obfuscated and distorted by unusual characterisations and commercial-in-confidence limitations ('Newcastle council-funded Supercars study under fire for 'ignoring' costs', Herald 23/10/18) that I doubt anyone except general manager Jeremy Bath knows precisely what the situation is. It is no slur on Mr Bath, but in my opinion this is not open or transparent government.
Michael Jameson, New Lambton
REGARDING Shirley Hughes' comment about Paul Harragon's knees (Short Takes, 18/10); could she elucidate? I have no idea what her point of view is.
Steve Fernie, Maryland
MATT Ophir (Short Takes, 18/10), surely ye jest. That hypocrisy is practised by left-wing evangelical extremists. Tut tut good sir, one is quite bewildered by such poppycock.