Friday, 08 September 2017

Radio Review: 8 September

A look at the Forth bridges, and all about head lice

Written by Louis Barfe
The Forth Bridge doesn’t need constant repainting. Modern paints mean the current coating, completed in 2011, is good for another 20 years or so. However, the spirit of eternal vigilance lives on in the hair of children with the never-ending battle against head lice. Louis-Barfe-colour-176

Knowing this from bitter experience, I listened with huge interest to last week’s splendid edition of Natural Histories (R4, Tuesdays, 11am, repeated Mondays, 9pm), in which Brett Westwood addressed lice, past, present and literary, with a fine-toothed comb. I was amused by the expert who regretted he’d never been afflicted.

One of the biggest problems is that if a chemical approach leaves any eggs, they’ll hatch and then you’re back to square one. Consequently, rigorous, tedious and painful combing is really the only way to get rid.

That or shaving your hair off, which isn’t something I’d want for my daughter, who’s nine and has never had a haircut. I’m sure she’ll do it herself some day.

Meanwhile, back on the Firth of Forth, former PM Gordon Brown’s documentary (Gordon Goes Forth, R4, available on iPlayer) to mark the opening of the new Queensferry Crossing was an engrossing half hour. From his home, he can see the new bridge, the 1960s road bridge and the original rail bridge. Brown’s always been a detail man, and these three engineering feats have plenty to get stuck into.

The programme covered everything from the historic and economic imperatives of bridging the great divide, and the human cost involved, to the importance of the Forth rail bridge in the mythology of Irn-Bru. With the right subject, as here, Brown has a nice, easy, clear radio manner. I hope to hear more of it.

Louis on Twitter: @AlanKelloggs or email:

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