Title picture: MV Loch Seaforth departing Stornoway on a brilliantly sunny 23rd August 2015

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

76 years ago today

Today in 1939, Nazi German forces invaded Poland. An ultimatum by the British government for them to withdraw by midday (11.00 GMT) on 3 September was ignored, prompting the declaration of war.

Five years, eight months and five days later, World War II had come to an end in Europe. It left behind massive devastation, tens of millions of dead and a political landscape altered beyond recognition. Six million people were murdered just for professing the Jewish faith, being of Jewish parents or having the merest connection with Judaism - murder conducted on an industrial scale.

The impact of WW2 continues today, unabated. The crisis in the Middle East is one of the worst results of the last World War, as is the burgeoning confrontation between Russia and NATO / the West. Similarly, the current migrant crisis is also an offshoot of the 1939-1945 conflict.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Princess Diana - 18 years on

Where were you 18 years ago today, the day that Princess Diana‬ died in a car crash in Paris? The day that the BBC cried, the day that Great Britain was in tears. The people's princess, the single royal that everybody could identify with. The paparazzi - they're still around, stalking Diana's grandchildren. The Queen, shockingly out of touch with public sentiments at the time, is about to celebrate being the longest reigning monarch on September 9th. Charles, the longest waiting incumbent to the throne - will he ever ascend it, or will he cede to William? I know where I was on 31 August 1997. Do you remember?

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Migrant crisis

I am horrified to watch all that imagery of the thousands of migrants flooding in from southeastern Europe, desperate to get to places like the UK and Germany. I am not condemning them. They are the victims, with a capital V. Many are from wartorn countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, where they could not stay. Others come from places where there is little economic future. They have all made the dangerous crossings, over land and sea, lured by promises of great riches. The villains in the piece are the people smugglers, who are making hundreds of millions out of this crisis. The historic background is equally black, and in fact it closes the circle. For it is the policies of western European countries like the UK and France in years gone by that have created this crisis. And it is countries like the UK and France, not to mention Germany and others, to make an attempt to sort it out.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

9/11 commemoration 2015

On Friday 11th September, at 1.46pm, this blog will feature my annual tributes to two of the 9/11 victims, Norberto Hernandez and Dwayne Collman. If memory serves, it will be the 9th year I have posted 9/11 tributes, and will continue to do so in the future.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Ashley Madison

Ashley Madison is a site where you can arrange for an affair with someone who is not your married (or otherwise) partner. Now a group of hackers have exposed their entire database of users, names, addresses, credit cards, you name it. And people are a tad upset over that. They thought they could philander without anybody else knowing about it. Well, tough. I just do not understand people who think you can be private on-line. You CANNOT.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Tuesday 18 August

Out in a car once more, this time down the Pentland Road to Carloway. From there, called into Dalbeg and Dalmore, before heading down into Tolsta Chaolais and finally a diversion to Linshader, on the other side of the loch from Callanish. Another brilliantly sunny day, feeling warm in the sun at times. Closed the evening with a meal at the Caberfeidh hotel.

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Monday 17 August

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Sunday 16 August

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Saturday 15 August

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Friday 14 August

We had an unexpected visit from residential liner The World, which was tarrying in our humble port, waiting for bad weather to clear from the waters between Scotland and Iceland. The millionnaires on board flocked ashore to view the island. The ship is nearly 700 feet (200 m) in length, rather bigger than any of the vessels that passed by her through the day.

P8146488 The World and the Loch Seaforth
P8146491 The World and the WG Tasman - half her size
P8146490 Fishing vessel
P8146494 Tender passing the lighthouse
P8146497 Tug and The World
P8136485 The World at night

Thursday 13 August

Today I was taken round Harris by car, which took 147 miles, 9 hours and 344 photographs. Popped into Tarbert to check out a Harris Tweed shop and have lunch. We then drove to Scalpay, about 9 miles to the east, then retraced our steps (including round the Tarbert one-way system) to go down the Golden Road from Kendibig to Plocrapol, Grosebay, Stockinish, Geocrab, Quidinish to Rodel. Having had a look at St Clements church in Rodel, we went up the west side of Harris to Luskentyre, and finally returned to Stornoway at 7.30pm. A long day, but quite a good one. The weather was sunny, and it felt quite warm at Rodel, which has a secluded location.

P8136137 P8136139 Marybank
P8136148 Balallan
P8136154 Arivruaich
P8136165 Woolly road users
P8136170 Ardhasaig
P8136180 Tarbert
P8136182 Near Urgha
P8136212 Scalpay
P8136241 The Golden Road
P8136256 Plocrapol
P8136264 Grosebay
P8136282 Stockinish
P8136310 Flodabay
P8136317 Quidinish
P8136333 Lingerabay
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P8136380 Leverburgh
P8136383 Northton
P8136397 Scarista
P8136401 Borve
P8136404 Horgabost
P8136417 P8136424 P8136432 P8136429 P8136439 P8136440 Luskentyre
P8136453 Ardhasaig
P8136462 Clisham
P8136467 Scaladale
P8136475 Arivruaich
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