Just like Godfrey Bloom (They’re not joking, Letters, April 1) and I’m sure many readers, I was rather taken aback at the report in the morning tabloids of the shopkeeper who was fined £1,000 for selling a goldfish to a 14-year old. However, it seems that the earlier chapters of the story had not been told.

Trafford council revealed that the shopkeeper had previously sold a gerbil to a child with learning difficulties, who had gone home and drowned it in a cup of hot coffee. On sale in the shop was a cockatiel with a broken leg and eye disease.

The purchase of the goldfish was a test case so that charges of cruelty could be brought Animal rights groups backed the court. No, Mr Bloom, you weren’t an April Fool – just taken in, as we all were, by our tabloids as usual, never too anxious to let the truth get in the way of a good story.

R Powell, Cawood Common, Selby. Bridge bus fears We moved to Escrick more than 20 years ago, and one of the many things that we soon appreciated about this friendly village was the regular bus service between York and Selby. Escrick is halfway between these two places, and the buses are every 20 minutes during weekdays. For the last week, the bridge between Carr Lane and Main Street has been closed to traffic, including buses, as I believe this is showing signs of wear. Talking to villagers, I cannot discover exactly what is wrong and, more importantly, how long the closure will last.

Even worse, do the powers-that-be intend or not to reinstate buses through the village? The absence of a bus route through Escrick would create real hardship, both for the villagers, many of whom are elderly, and not all of whom have cars. In order to catch a bus to York now, one has to walk quite a way through the village and then, horror of horrors, cross the A19, even during rush hours, when that road is one of the busiest I know. As well as the inconvenience and potential danger this causes, it must have an effect on our popular village shop, which is also a post office, as the bus stops were only a short distance away in Main Street. Is it possible, if it is decided that the bridge can no longer carry heavy traffic, that alternative bus stops can be erected in Carr Lane, opposite the village green, allowing buses to use the Skipwith Road to rejoin the A19, travelling in either direction? I do feel very concerned at what could happen about this very real threat to Escrick villagers and would be grateful if we could be given a name to contact at the relevant council for much-needed answers.

Heather Causnett, Escrick Park Gardens, Escrick, York.

Time stands still On Monday last, a couple of friends of ours from London came to visit our lovely city.

They remarked on the newly planted colourful flower beds, and also said that visiting the historic core was as if time had stood still.

I had to smile to myself, as most of the clocks on buildings round York are not working.

David J Wilde, Acomb, York.