View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

The Internet

Do you remember sitting in a chatroom, watching people chat, or even chatting yourself? Do you remember receiving so many forwards that your mailbox was ready to explode? How about receiving an email from someone just searching for a friend. Did you wonder who these people might be that are behind the keyboard?

Online we meet new people from all around the world. Some we chat with just once and then we go on. Others we chat with time and time again, and a friendship is made. Others become our email buddies, and we look forward to their emails each day, but have you ever really wondered who was really behind the keyboard?

So often we meet a friend in chat we stay up all night chatting, sometimes we laugh so hard we cannot type, other times we cry and our keyboards are stained from tears. We chat about our lives and help solve each others' problems, we lend a shoulder if we can. Did you ever think to yourself,

who is really behind that keyboard?

Did you ever chat with someone that promised you the world and that your friendship will be forever, and then they are gone? Do you forget about them and move on, or do you wonder "who was that person really, that was behind the keyboard?

Have you ever hid behind your keyboard, pretending to be something you are not, just to boost your ego? As you sat there and typed have you ever lied, thinking "who cares, the person behind the keyboard, it is only a fake person?" Did you ever hurt someone thinking "it's only a game"?

Well, behind each and every keyboard are very real people, some might be heartless cold people, not caring who they hurt, but then there are people that are caring, loyal, honest and all kinds of people hoping for some companionship online.

Behind the keyboard can be someone who is seriously depressed and their only hope is to make a friend, maybe an aging person who once had a family, but now they live too far apart to see one another, perhaps there is someone that cannot walk anymore or a
person so ill they are in the house forever.

As we enter the world of the internet we should remember, it is a very real world and behind each and every keyboard is a person who has a heart. No one has a life that is pain free, so as we go online whether in chat or just emailing, we must remember to treat each person the way we want to be treated, to respect each others' feelings, and to offer friendship, because the truth is we really do not know who is behind the keyboard or what kind of hurt someone may be feeling. To be the best to others that you can be should be the "key" to a good, honest life.

Forwarded to me in 2005

Remembering Today - 14 January

On this day in the First World War, this man from the Isle of Lewis lost his life in the service of King & Country. RIP.

Last address in Lewis: North Tolsta
Regiment or division: Royal Navy, HMS Pembroke I
Service number: 1565/C
Date of death: January, 14th, 1920 at the age of 44
Died of illness
Interred: North Tolsta Cemetery, Lewis

Photo videos

In October 2008, I travelled to Orkney. As per usual on such an occasion, I came back with a large number of pictures. I have now compiled those into photo-videos. Enjoy!

October 4

October 5

October 6

October 7

October 8

Isle of Rum

In my previous post, I mentioned the island of Rum. Just a few facts.

Rum was cleared of its indigenous population in the 1820s, who were packed off to Canada. None now remain. Private owners have kept the island as their playground, taking them shooting and fishing. At the end of the 19th century, the Bullough family, textile tycoons from Accrington in Lancashire (England) decided to build a castle there. Kinloch Castle remains as it was at the start of the 20th century, with mind-boggling opulence in an area of Scotland more noted for its grinding poverty at the time. A Steinway grand-piano (which I played twice), 8 ft high Japanese vases, a billiard room. At one time, conservatories lined the exterior of the castle, fully heated. Humming birds flitted around these, until the central heating broke. Their remains are now pinned up in a glass case. Kinloch Castle was occupied by its owner for 6 weeks out of every 52 in the year. Its demise began with the First World War, when the staff were called up. By 1957, the last owner, Lady Monica, had been taken across the island to be laid to rest in the family mausoleum at Harris (different from the Harris south of Lewis). The Nature Conservancy Council were gifted the island for a nominal amount, and they established a study area for red deer.

Rum is a stunning place, but also very sad. Author John Love wrote a book about its history, called A Landscape without Figures. Permanent population 0. Current population is all workers for SNH (successor to NCC).

This set on shows 128 images of the island, including many from within Kinloch Castle. I told its history in a post on Northern Trip from October 2007, when I last visited. A photo compilation can be viewed here. The orchestrion plays here.

14 January 2009

Bright and sunny day out here, with no wind. Temperatures not very high, 4C / 39F, and high-level cloud is moving in from the south.

In the Isle of Rum, 100 miles south of here, residents are voting to take over management of certain amenities. Rum is an island, measuring 8 by 8 miles, showing a diamond shape on the map. It has some stunning scenery, with mountains rearing up to 2,800 feet about sealevel. It has been owned by government agency Scottish Natural Heritage (and its predecessors) since 1957, and was a study area for red deer for many years. The 17 adults who are eligible to vote are expected to agree to the takeover. Their plans include the establishment of 5 new crofts and the building of new housing, which would take the number of residents from 30 to 80. I'll devote a separate post to the island. Knowing one of the prime movers behind this buy-out move personally, I have no doubt that this will be a success.