Can I nominate the word “erg” as Uxbridge English Dictionary’s new definition of the year, viz: a group of shifty politicians moving aimlessly like a sand dune in the Sahara (Hardline Eurosceptics let out ‘collective gasp’ at May’s overtures to the opposition, 3 April).
• I was passing the House of Commons the other evening, just after the indicative votes by MPs, and along came a big red bus, on the front of which was emblazoned “Not in service”. Metaphor for our times or just another big red bus with a misleading message?
Prof K Cuthbertson
• Surely the compiler of your wordsearch (Letters, 3 April) could have found one female saint. Saint Theresa, for example.
Rev Andrew Slater
• Surely there’s a misprint in Geoff Reid’s letter (Speaking slang and ‘educated’ Geordie, 2 April). Should it not read “hadaway wi’ yer marra” not “barra”. On arriving in Newcastle upon Tyne as a student in 1971 the first phrases taught to me by my landlady were “hadaway and shite, man” and “shy bairns get nowt”. Both have held me in good stead for nearly 48 years.
• At the planned Westminster Abbey service on 3 May to mark 50 years of Britain’s submarine-based nuclear weapons, I presume the collection plate will go towards the £7.5bn decommissioning costs of the 20 stored and 10 in-service nuclear-powered subs (Report, 3 April).
Dr Ian Davis
• I have just seen the first blackbird fledgling of the year fluttering in our garden. Is this a record?
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