Train ticket ‘jokes’ were rooted in racism

The stories of train tickets being available from Delhi direct to Oldham Mumps or Oldham Werneth etc, and from Timbuktu to Burnley Central or Burnley Barracks etc, were doing the rounds of northern English mill towns in the 1960s (Letters, 14 August). They were clearly fictitious, but implied that immigrants could easily use a well-worn route from Asia or Africa direct to the heart of Lancashire. I think these “jokes” were rooted in the populist racism of Enoch Powell – and they are still not funny.
Kevin Clinton
Stockport, Greater Manchester

As I have a serious lung disease, I can no longer make journeys to visit my interests. This week, a friend who reconnected with me through Guardian letters sent me beautiful pictures of her visit to the Crossness Pumping Station, cathedral-like and a joy for me to see. It engaged my brain, and I felt connected and so grateful to have access to such things (Online cultural events can benefit lonely older people, study shows, 16 August).
Jean Jackson
Seer Green, Buckinghamshire

Re your report (Leaked audio reveals Liz Truss said British workers needed ‘more graft’, 16 August), the Concise Oxford Dictionary defines graft as “Illicit spoils in connection with politics or business, practices intended to secure these”. It tells us a lot about the Tory view of work.
Trevor Davies
Warrington, Cheshire

Instructions for how to boil an egg are in the Delia Smith Cookery Course book that my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas in 1978: “Pierce the rounded end with a needle” (Letters, 16 August).
Victoria Morley
Penzance, Cornwall

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