View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Evening notes

I am not very conscientious about keeping up to date with everybody's journals, but am a wee bit distracted at the moment. For the moment, I would like to wish our American friends much fun in the run-up to Thanksgiving this weekend, a festival (as I explained earlier) also celebrated here in Lewis. On Thursday to be precise. No turkeys here, just a visit to church for the faithful.

Was watching a film about the Callanish Stones, which stand 18 miles away on the west coast of Lewis. They are 5,000 years old, and not a lot is known about them. It was funny when a local man said that at one point he had told visitors they were lucky to find the Stones up. In October, they take them down for the winter, to put them back up again in Easter. Ostensibly. I'll close this post with some pics I took at Callanish at the end of June last year. All pictures were taken close to midnight. For reference, we're at latitude 58 North here.

Says it all

Tuesday 25 November

One month to go until Christmas. It is a cool but dry day in the islands, although a fine drizzle has just started.

Today is the 33rd anniversary of the independence of former Dutch colony Suriname. This small country sits on the north coast of South America, between British and French Guyana. Its primary means of subsistence is the export of bauxite, the ore from which aluminium is extracted.

Following independence, a large number of Surinamers (as they call themselves) flocked to the mother country, Netherlands. In 1980, a military coup toppled the government and army leader Desi Bouterse took over the reigns of power. The most infamous episode is the so-called December Murders, in which 15 leading opponents of Mr Bouterse were killed, allegedly by his supporters but at his direction. A civilian government has since returned to the country.