PARIS and London we hear are rivals for the Olympics. Some years ago, we were staying with friends in the Dordogne. We were surrounded by tobacco fields and in the middle, a curing factory. I asked about this, as I was hardly likely as a medical man to encourgae such enterprise. I was told that this was a new crop which was subsidised by the French Government. When I asked if this helped the manufacture of Gaulloises cigarettes. I was astonished to hear tht it was the wrong sort of tobacco ... and further that it was exported to Africa. Well, of course, this was not helpful to tobacco growers from that continent, and should one encourage the inhabitants to smoke when they could neither afford the cigarettes and certainly not the treatment of any diseases which might result. I am not a politician, and my pills are neither red, green or blue, everybody gets fair treatment. I hear that the EU is arguing about farm subsidies and the British rebate. Given the above situation, is it not adding insult to injury to ask African athletes to meet in Paris?
George Giri, Mancor del Valle
l Dear Sir,
I NEARLY came home from Majorca in a coffin! My wife and I have just returned from a fortnight in our apartment at Cala Mayor. It directly overlooks the sea, and many of us go swimming from our jetty each day. Every day, at about 8am, two boats come out from the marina at San Agustin and begin towing water skiers up and down, close inshore. On Wednesday, I was swimming about 100 yards offshore when I looked round and saw a yellow water ski boat bearing down on me at speed, about thirty yards away. I started to splash hard, to alert the driver, who clearly didn't see me. Fortunately, the water skier did spot me, let go of his rope and yelled to the boat driver, who pulled round just in time. If he hadn't called out, I would certainly have been run over. There is supposed to be a law restricting water ski boats, and jet skis to a certain distance from the shore: 200 metres, I believe. Yet no-one takes the slightest notice. We frequently see boats haring past within 50 metres of the shore, and we often wave at the drivers to persuade them to go further out. Not a bit of it! It would be perfectly possible for skiers and jet skis to rush around much further out in the bay, the water might be even more interesting there than it is inshore. The only reason they come close to the shore is to show off. We have already had one swimmer killed not far offshore from our apartments, and I was very close indeed to joining him. But why should people's lives be put at risk just because other people want to show off? I would suggest that the authorities should encourage people to take photographs of those who are breaking the law, and that, if proved, then the boat and equipment should be confiscated. That might encourage these idiots to go and play their high speed games at a safe distance. Also, more buoys should be placed offshore in areas where people wish to swim in the sea. Having escaped with my life a few hours before, I sat on the plane home and read Georgina Bromwich's article in the Bulletin from Minorca of a fatal boating accident there. Boats are very dangerous things. They should not be let loose among defenceless swimmers.
John Knott, by e-mail.
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