A fine village: I was upset to read some details in the Weekend Walk “A fine section Yorkshire Coast” by Jonathan Smith (D&S Times, Nov 17).

I wonder if he has ever walked around Sandsend as he says there is nothing special about it.

One part, East Row, now divided by “The Riggs” is a beautiful woodland walk up to the old castle ruins of Mulgrave Castle, then down the other side by means of a tunnel into the valley. Sandsend is very “olde worlde” with two fine hotels, a church and a stream down to the sea.

These are but a few of the features of “nothing special” Sandsend, and of course the railway walk and all the history that goes with it.

Irene Calvert, Northallerton.

Beware of scams

I READ the letter from Gary Mundell about his visit to the bank and he felt embarrassed by the way he was treated, “Third degree” (D&S letters, Nov 17).

The BBC has been showing a programme in the mornings highlighting scammers, and one episode was about criminals getting people to draw money out to give to someone at the door.

I asked in Barclays if I came in and requested a large amount of money in cash if they would query it, and they said they have to because of scams, and also if you do not draw a large amount of money in cash on a regular basis.

T D Newell, Bedale.

A family matter

IT is so sad that with all the trials and tribulations taking place in the world today, the story about two members of the royal family alleged to have raised “concerns” about the skin colour of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son has been such a priority for some.

Just what do expectant parents and their families discuss prior to the birth of a child?

I am confident that virtually every family would have some discussion about the sex of the impending new arrival. Does that make them sexist?

I am equally sure that if one parent lived with dwarfism and the other did not there would be some discussion over height regardless of risking accusations of heightism.

If one parent has bright ginger hair and the other does not are we really saying that there would be no discussion about the baby's potential hair colouring in fear of being labelled "gingerist"?

I would challenge any mixed race family to claim (prior to the massive controversy surrounding Harry and Meghan) that they never discussed which side of the family the baby would take after – and that includes royalty. That does not make them racist; it makes them interested.

It is the difference between curiosity and concern.

Taking the one and twisting it into the other, either intentionally or unintentionally, will do nothing for harmonious family, or in this case community, relationships. Continued debate provides oxygen to individuals and groups – and that includes the media – who have a vested interest in continued disharmony.

Leave it to the family to resolve.

John Hutchinson, Brompton on Swale.

Tale as old as time

IN 1714 King George I became king. Since the founding of the Hanoverian Monarchy, royal parents have fallen out with their children and royal children have fallen out with their parents.

George I and George II disliked each other very much indeed and fell out massively over respective family matters. The disagreements between George II and his son Frederick were very great indeed. George III disliked intensely his son George IV. Princess Charlotte was known to disapprove of her father George IV, prior to her early death in childbirth.

William IV didn't have any legitimate royal children, although he was said to have fathered some with his various mistresses. Queen Victoria managed to fall out with her only remaining parent – her mother – probably because her father died before she was three. Had he lived goodness alone knows what family tumult there would have been in that family.

Queen Victoria strongly approved of the womanising ways of her son Edward VII. She was also intensely jealous of her first child Vicky, who was an Empress when Victoria was only a Queen. Disraeli managed to calm Queen Victoria by inventing the title of Empress of India for her.

George V disapproved of his father Edward VII. He also fell out with his own son Edward VIII. Brothers Edward VIII and George VI fell out after the abdication of Edward VIII in 1936. Even George VI – who had a wonderful relationship with his daughter Queen Elizabeth II – strongly disapproved of her choice of husband.

There is nothing new, nor surprising in Omid Scobie's book Endgame. To think that these disagreements herald the end of the monarchy is absurd. It is based on a fundamental lack of knowledge by Mr Scobie of our constitutional monarchy throughout the past 300 years.

Nigel Boddy, Darlington.

War in Gaza

I HAVE been following the developments of the war in Gaza with interest.

The whole thing needs careful thought and analysis. Israel believes that Palestine is theirs by right, it was given to them by God over two thousand years ago. This is somewhat similar to the beliefs a few hundred years ago that the ruling kings and queens in Europe had also been given their privileges also by God, something that we think today is completely ludicrous.

Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, is designated as a terrorist group by several nations, but when we are given news about the West Bank we are told that armed Jewish residents threaten the Palestinian villagers while Israeli soldiers simply look on. The United Nations say that the Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal but no one does anything about that.

Britain gave money to a Palestinian school in the West Bank, it has now been destroyed along with the village by a neighbouring Jewish village, again with no official condemnation. I hear comment about this on BBC news but then nothing further apart from the daily update from Gaza about the bombing by Israel, killing hundreds.

Something has to change.

Brian Tyldesley, Middleham.

Flying hypocrisy

ECO activists gathering in Dubai from around the world will piously pontificate as to how the rest of us should live, enabling the world to be saved, having used polluting private jets to travel there and back.

Our delegation of the King, Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary all used separate flights, setting a typical example of high-flying hypocrisy.

To civil servants working for the Government from home, but refusing to return to the office, there is a simple response – failure to do so within 48 hours will result in your P45 landing on your doormat.

Peter Rickaby, Selby.

Is this helping?

I’M old enough to remember the May local elections when Darlington Labour dropped a leaflet through my door promising a cut to the cost of living if I vote for my Labour candidates for Darlington council.

This followed another leaflet which promised “help with the cost of living”. Labour were duly elected.

Imagine my surprise when I read about Labour’s plan to increase my council tax, increase the cost of swimming, gym classes and higher charges on burials.

This is on top of them cancelling fireworks (which means I had to buy my own) and charging for parking.

When are the Labour councillors going to stick to their promise and cut the cost of living?

Or was it yet another Labour lie?

Michael Walker, Darlington.

Christmas songs

I AM sorry to hear of the death of Pogues singer Shane MacGowan at 65.

John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” released in 1971, Jona Lewie’s “Stop the Cavalry”, and the Pogues’ song “Fairytale of New York”, released in 1987, must rank as the best Christmas songs ever released.

They are anti-cheerful songs, speaking of the reality to many in the service and hospitality industry over the Christmas season.

They spoke volumes to the hard workers who make the period so pleasant for others. My working life involved working hard up to Christmas Eve and the songs perfectly described to me my thoughts of Christmas.

Likewise, after working flat out all day, “Walking in the Air” from Aled Jones, released in 1985, depressed me – and still does even to this day.

D M Deamer, York.

Hopetown name

WHEN asked how they come up with the name “Hopetown Darlington” for the Rail Heritage Quarter, Darlington council said they paid for consultants who contacted relevant organisations to ask their views?

The Friends of Darlington Railway Centre and Museum were not contacted and the Friends of the Stockton and Darlington Railway were not contacted, so who did they ask for their views?

The name does not link to railways in any way or form.

It is a big missed opportunity. Maybe they will be able to change the name or get their money back from the consultants and ask local people and schools to come up with something better.

Dave Allison, Darlington.