The incident of the audience member screaming at the Ilkley festival when Cave Birds was performed (Other Lives, 18 September) is recollected by Philip Larkin in a June 1965 letter to Robert Conquest: “At Ilkley festival, a woman shrieked and vomited during a Ted Hughes reading. I must say that I’ve never felt like shrieking. We had the old crow over at Hull recently, looking like a Christmas present from Easter Island. He’s all right when not reading.” Their memorial stones lie next to each other in Poets’ Corner.
Chair, The Philip Larkin Society
• I was surprised to read that Avanti West Coast is part-owned by Trenitalia (Labour demands action over 18,000 ‘lost’ train services in north of England, 1 December). This summer, we spent two weeks travelling around Italy with Trenitalia. The service was punctual and the trains modern, clean and cheap.
Liversedge, West Yorkshire
• Re hoarding (Letters, 5 December), when I cleared my husband’s aunt’s house, I found plaster casts of her deformed toes, used to make her orthotics.
• Rather than “squishy” (Letters, 4 December), the word that Jess Cartner-Morley should have used is “squidgy”. It’s squidginess that needs to be measured when choosing soft rolls and pillows.
• Re football jargon (Letters, 4 December), at the end of the day, it is what it is, going forward. One hundred percent. That’s for sure.