Readers’ letters - January 13

Volunteers clear the Guild Wheel after the flooding. See letter
Volunteers clear the Guild Wheel after the flooding. See letter
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Preserve this superb legacy

What an asset the Preston Guild Wheel is to the city – a superb legacy of the 2012 Guild!

I rode it for the sixth time on New Year’s Day and encountered walkers and cyclists of every shape, size, age and colour, all enjoying being outdoors, from strollers to hard core open air enthusiasts.

The surface, as always, was in good condition, despite the December rains, a priceless gift in the dark days of winter.

It is heartening therefore to read the subsequent report by Brian Ellis that an army of volunteers have been working hard to clear the section at Fishwick inundated by the recently flooded Ribble (LEP January 7).

Councillors and planners should think twice before compromising a peaceful traffic route, an asset for Preston people unparalleled in any other city in the UK.

None of the people I met seem likely to vote for those who are considering merging the northern parts of the Guild Wheel with local traffic.

The Guild Wheel is an inspirational idea and a legacy worth preserving intact.

Julian Wilde, Lytham

Boy George or his alter-ego?

I must admit that I have never seen one episode of The Voice, and the only thing I know about it is they dispensed with the services of Tom Jones.

So the other night I saw an advert for the new series.

Now they said, when introducing Tom Jones’ replacement, that it was Boy George.

I shudderingly recall him from years ago, but the vision that appeared was wearing an over-size hat.

I don’t recall him looking like that, but I was sure I had seen him wearing that hat before.

Got it!

Saw him with Ken Dodd.

Mick the Marmaliser.

No doubt at all!

Allan Fazackerley via email

Not just for special times

I wish to comment on the article in the LEP about the traditional Latin Mass at St Walburge’s (LEP January 9).

While I admit that the Christ the King group is still new to Preston, it is not the only church to provide the traditional Latin Mass.

Our Lady of Victories church in East Cliff has the traditional Catholic Mass only (and has done for many years) with no novelties.. and only one altar where the priest offers up Mass.

It also states in the article that (and I quote): “They enjoy experiencing the solemnity of the Latin Mass on special occasions”.

Is it just for special occasions then?

The church of Our Lady of Victories offers Mass whether it’s a special occasion or not.

I would have thought that every traditional Mass offered was special as it depicts the unbloody sacrifice.

Traditional Catholic via email

Let them rant ... but far away

By all means give the EDL their protests, but not on a day of their choice and not Preston city centre. Take them as far away as you can and let them rant.

The decent folk of Preston want to shop in Preston on a Saturday, not listen to them.

Ignore them, they might go away. Don’t give them what they want.

Name and address supplied

Will footballer Gareth Bale out?

It’s all happening in the world of football. With Rafa Benitez sacked from Real Madrid, will Gareth Bale out?

Darryl Ashton, Blackpool

I remember Mendel Bros

Further to your Looking Back picture (LEP December 23), I can supply you with more information about Mendel Bros.

I met Joel (Joe to his friends) in the early 1960s. As you mentioned, his offices were in Ellesmere Chambers, Church Street, and he lived in Penwortham.

As a chemist I was very interested in his cigarette lighters and he very kindly gave me one, which I still have.

The principle of the lighter was a catalytic reaction between methyl alcohol vapour (methanol) and platinum black.

The platinum black was attached to fine platinum wires and was housed in the narrower of the two cylinders.

The larger cylinder was lined with a wick, and cotton wool was packed into the base to act as a reservoir for the methanol.

When the platinum wire frame was placed into the fuel compartment, the wires glowed red hot, the methanol ignited and the flame used to light a cigarette, or pipe.

Around that time, Joe was working on a modification, using only one cylinder.

The body was again used as the fuel reservoir but the top contained a ceramic disc impregnated with platinum black and had pores so that air could be drawn through. The base of the lighter had a small hole to allow air to enter.

On removing the cap, one would put a cigarette against the disk and suck. In theory this would draw air through the fuel, the disc would glow and the cigarette light.

I understand Joe had considerable problems with this modification. If air got into the lighter, it could ignite spontaneously in the pocket, so I am not surprised that the modification never went into production!

The catalytic lighter had a

major disadvantage in that methanol is extremely toxic and, if ingested, almost always proves fatal.

Needless to say methanol is not readily available, so obtaining the fuel was very difficult.

Methylated spirits contains only approximately 10 per cent of methanol and is not suitable as it would not trigger the reaction.

Because of these major disadvantages, I don’t think the lighters ever went into large-scale production.

Joe later diversified into wrist watches which had rather unusual dials.

He also marketed type 110 cameras.

Ian Gatt via email