Readers’ letters

Award winning family butcher William McCafferty, Main Street, Forth'30/11/09'Picture by Lindsay Addison
Award winning family butcher William McCafferty, Main Street, Forth'30/11/09'Picture by Lindsay Addison

Find out what our readers think of the stories making the Gazette headlines.

Public support?

Dear Ed, – For generations, butchers have been an important part of the community, supporting local jobs and local people.

You can always trust them to use reputable suppliers in sourcing the very best meat, with a traceability system that tells you where every cut comes from.

So the news of Lesmahagow losing its last butchers’ shop is particularly sad; however, we need to step back and ask ourselves; is it all the fault of the supermarkets?

You the public have the choice of where to buy. Yes, there is the convenience of one-stop shopping but compare that to a local butcher where steaks and joints are matured in the traditional way. It guarantees levels of tenderness and quality you can rely on, time after time!

These master craftsmen take pride in making and preparing the largest selection of fresh and cooked products such as sausages, bacon, cooked gammon, steak pies and other convenient kitchen ready products, most of which are prepared daily in store.

Your local butcher is the hub of a community. Butchers are experts at handing out advice about cuts of meat and how to cook them but they are also good with questions like ‘have you seen him or her today?’ We look out for people in our community.

The butchers is a friendly and welcoming environment, the sensible place to buy meat. So make the effort, no matter what it takes, to go out of your way to experience that service with a smile!

The choice you have in your local butchers will surprise you. Place your order for a time that suits you, pick it up or have it delivered.

You can play your part in keeping butchers and local shops alive and only you can ensure the tradition at the heart of your local village or town continues. Independents need you! – Yours etc.,



Main Street,


A toast to Eddie

Dear Ed, – I read with interest the Gazette’s report on the annual January 2, Pagie Walk. And I reflected once more on the benefits of this tradition.

It’s inspiring to see young and old joining to learn/exchange anecdotes, poems and songs of days gone by. I love traditions and feel they should be kept alive – so we shouldn’t just take those hardy guys for granted.

It can’t be easy (even with the thought of a wee dram crossing their lips at the end) to get up from a warm bed to face a long cold climb up a hill – even when it’s the glorious pine smelling Pagie.

Or getting up from a couch like my grandson Jonny (I pinched his bed). He’s been Pagie-ing for the last four years and loves the comradeship it provides.

The Cross Keys staff and everyone else involved in preparations for the event deserve a pat on the back.

But this year’s walk/climb was tinged with sadness because of the death of Douglas bard Eddie McLaughlin who died some weeks before Christmas. He was remembered in the annual toast.

Ironically, the toast has always (I believe) been written by Eddie.

Former coal miner Eddie was also a talented artist and accomplished poet. I’ve enclosed one of his poems “The Pagie Water Toast” which was read out this year.

It would be a fitting tribute to Eddie if readers could enjoy it.

Eddie hung up his boots in 2005 after taking a prominent part in the walk for many years. He loved Douglas village.

Sadly, he’s gone but he’ll never be forgotten when the toast to absent friends is given, hopefully for years to come.


Even as this chuckling stream emerges briefly from the dark to sparkle for one moment briefly in the sun,

So life itself is one momentary spark in the darkness of time for each and everyone,

Then as increasing fleetness each year goes past, let’s make the most of time in every way,

For life in every case is short and fas, too precious to waste even one single day,

Now raise your glass in welcome to yet another year an in remembrance of the year we’ve left behind,

Remember too, to top your glass with Pagie Water clear, And may absent friends be ever present on your mind.

– Yours etc.,


Belminnie Cottage,

Mousebank Road,


Penny for thought

Dear Ed, – It seems a bit harsh of last week’s correspondent (High Street Demise) to condemn Lanark High Street on the strength of one bad experience.

I have shopped regularly and happily in Lanark since moving to the district over 30 years ago simply because it is a rural town with many small independent shops. Only when the items I require are not to be had here, do I go elsewhere.

I would, however, feel justified in complaining about the public conveniences near the bus station.

Having been caught short recently I “ran” in only to find that I needed 20p. I scooted back to the car, managed to find two 10p coins and ran in to be told by the attendant that she doesn’t change coins. This is extremely “inconvenient”, especially in a place which wants to attract more tourists.

All I can say is thank goodness for supermarket toilets! - Yours etc.,


Railway Road,