The Loop: Cold comfort


Welcome to The Loop, the Magazine's letters column, including the best of your thoughts from Twitter and Facebook.

The Magazine's article about why some people put the central heating on sooner than others was on many people lips. In response to the feature, Richard Mole shared this little gem on Facebook: "In cities in Sweden there is so-called district heating (no individual boilers in each property) - different neighbourhoods are switched on according to what the cities decide for each neighbourhood. We had ours switched on today, despite it still being around 15C. Of course you can turn radiators off if it's too warm..."

Ginny Cox says there was "no mention in the article about air pollution in cities and global warming which might be another factor besides money to encourage people to hold off the heating".

Over in the household of Brian Richard Evans, apparently the heating only goes on for the two Burmese cats. "My wife and I have our love to keep us warm," Brian wrote on the Magazine's Facebook page.

Keith Higgins complains that people are "too soft" these days. He grew up in the 1950s and 60s with no central heating: "It did me no harm". Perhaps he's right. Liz from Ontario, Canada, emailed to say that since she had been raised by immigrant parents who grew up without central heating, complaining about the house being cold fell on deaf ears. Her mother's response from the outset was simply: "The house isn't cold. You're cold. Put on a sweater." Liz's daughter, she says, now hears the same from her.

Lind, from Norfolk, emails to tell us he eschews central heating altogether in favour of a woodburner. "Being on a very fixed income, it will be lit in October. I have budgeted for fuel for four months. I hope the winter will not be too harsh, otherwise I will be sitting in a cold house... When the evenings get cold, I layer with clothes and sit on the sofa under blankets. The cat acts as a hot water bottle... Happy days."

Cats again. Now they would have the heating on all the time if they had their way.

Turning to dogs, particularly the working type. The Magazine looked at what happens to working dogs when they retire. This prompted many readers to share stories of offering a home to a retired dog.

Mike Cooke from Border Collie Rescue pointed out in the article that farm dogs, which are usually born and bred on a farm, can be out of their depth if put in a different situation.

Emily from Romford, emails to tell us about ex-sheep dog Sam. "He had run away from the farm he grew up on and was going to be shot by the farmer. It transpired that our new pet was a terrible sheep dog but a wonderful pet. Some herding instincts remained and he was a champion finder at Hide and Seek. Sam was also an expert thief and many a birthday cake or treat left unattended was pinched by him in alliance with the cat. He was the perfect companion to three children and I have fabulous memories of playing with him. Sadly we had to have him put down at the grand old age of 15, but I would highly recommend an ex-working dog. Ours truly relished his retirement starting at age two."

Chris Boylan from Kent shares this fascinating memory about a war-time German shepherd: "In 1949 when I was six, my father's work took us to Genoa in Italy. A year or so later I was out playing with a cap gun that I had been given for Christmas. An old lady with an old German shepherd was shouting at me to hide the toy pistol because she was having difficulty preventing her dog from going for me. It had been trained as an attack dog by the Germans during the war and was left behind when they retreated."

In the article, Damon Rose, who edits Ouch disability news, wrote about his own experience of guide dogs. Les Powell points out that that HM Customs and Revenue do not recognise guide dogs as working dogs. "This costs the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association about £300,000 per annum in VAT which they have to pay on the dog food they buy," he writes.

Finally, an article on Letraset - the rub-down instant lettering that was launched in the 1960s - was a trip down memory lane for some readers. Gordon Hudson ‏echoes The Magazine's comment "some products are inextricably infused with nostalgia. Letraset is one of them" - with a "So true".

But Chris Hopkins ‏disagrees. He tweets: "No fond memories of #Letraset. It was expensive, frustrating & slow. Thank goodness #Apple came along!"

This from Tom Baker: "When friends sold their graphics supply business the shop was strewn with 100s of unwanted sheets - couldn't give it away! #letrasetmemories"

Yes, graphic design magazine Eye's hashtag #letrasetmemories has thrown up many anecdotes.

Here is one of the Magazine's favourites. Robert Watling tweeted: #Letrasetmemories Going to WHSmith to get the #drwho font to make my maths homework look futuristic! Happy days..."

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