Testing conversation for the uninitiated | Brief letters

Cricket | Europe | School holidays | PD James | Extending life

Your Test match report (23 August) quotes part of a conversation overheard between Leeds “locals” at Burley Park: “It’s looking a bit black over Bill’s mother’s.” “A little local knowledge goes a long way here in Leeds,” the reporter observes. Seems to me the weather reference alludes to a collection of short stories published earlier this year: It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s, by Lisa Blower. She was writing about Stoke. Damn sophisticated, these northerners.
Ray Rumsby
Little Melton, Norfolk

• “Johnson heads to Europe,” said your headline (21 August). Sounds like a foreign country, rather than somewhere we are very much part of both geographically and politically (still). And he was to meet “European leaders” rather than “other European leaders”. Premature descriptions?
Jane Maguire
Aldborough, Norfolk

• In Northern Ireland (which gets the best GCSE and A-level results) there are shorter breaks during the school year, but pupils have the whole of July and August off – a proper summer (Letters, 23 August).
Maggie Johnston
St Albans, Hertfordshire

• The great PD James sussed out the absurdity of the 10,000-hour theory (Letters, 23 August) over 25 years ago. At a seminar entitled Creative Writing: Can it be Taught?, she summed up with: “Creative writing can be taught – but only to creative writers.”
Judith Flanders

• Given that humour is supposed to extend your life, I would far rather be prescribed a Marina Hyde column, which I’m sure is worth many months of pottering around doing the dishes (Washing the dishes ‘can help you live longer in later years’, 22 August).
Margaret Squires
St Andrews, Fife

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