A TRIP to Ireland at the weekend flagged up the differing approaches to security at two airports - our own at Teesside and Dublin's.

With tension over the terrorist threat at its peak, one would have thought practice would be uniform, especially within European union states. But not so.

At Teesside, the security checks were commendably thorough, involving physical and image-scanning searches of hand baggage, coats newspapers and anything else not carried in the aircraft's hold. Every passenger's picture was taken and every passenger was briefly questioned by a security person, possibly a policemen.

Whilst exhaustive, it was carried out quickly and, despite the numbers of people to be checked, with great charm.

In Dublin, however, security consisted of walking through the usual scanning device and that was it. The only concern foot-and-mouth obsessed security staff seemed to have was whether a passenger might just have a ham sandwich on them. Hardly reassuring.

Arts blueprint

UNDER debate yet again at a Stockon social gathering was the future of the town's Arc centre and the Darlington residents present were describing the wide variety of activities which took place under the roof of that town's arts centre.

A long-term Stocktonian listened with envy then offered the suggestion that the Arc, too, could offer afternoon cinema. "Then we pensioners could go and see a film, in the town, centre, and be home on the bus before the crowds left work." There could even be time for a cup of tea or coffee and a chat. Is anyone out there listening to local ideas?

Store wars

As the number of bidders for the Safeway supermarket chain seems to increase by the day, is it significant that Tesco have taken the advertising billboard in Victoria Road, just a hundred yards or so from the Safeway store in Darlington. It seems rather odd that it should do so when the company doesn't have a store in the town, the nearest one being at Eaglescliffe.

Are they that confident of ultimately winning the takeover battle? Perhaps Darlington shoppers don't care as long they have an alternative to Morrisons