View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 31 May 2009


A mirror post from I Stand Corrected
More than a decade ago, I sang a piece by Maurice Duruflé called Ubi Caritas. How do you translate caritas? There's a challenge for you. Charity? Love? Friendship?

First of all, I have to refer to a letter in the Bible, the first from Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 13. Where it says "love", I have reason to believe that this was translated from the word caritas. What is love? Is it the love between man and wife, male and female? That is what we usually understand the word love to mean. Love, however, doesn't just cover the emotion that underpins a marital relationship. There is the love that a parent has towards a child. The love a child has towards its parent. More than that, love also exists outside family relations. There is friendship, a special branch of the tree of love, if you like.

Back to caritas. In some translations of the Bible (and don't start me off on that subject), it is translated as charity. Charity is usually understood to be the free gift of goods or money for the benefit of the less fortunate members of mankind. Particularly here in Stornoway, charity thrives. More than half a dozen charity shops, each working for a different organisation, e.g. the Red Cross, Blythswood, Breast Cancer support. the Lifeboat etc. But where does love come into that equation? The love of fellow man, I suppose. But a degree of doubt if not cynicism is creeping into my mind. Isn't it often the case that people give to charity to assuage their guilty conscience? Yes, I'm a cynic. Although it is a good thing to part with some of your worldly goods for the benefit of others, it is a distant member of the family of love. And often it is a case of seen to be doing good.

Ubi Caritas.
Love is everywhere.

I think it is eminently apt that we can't properly translate the word caritas. For it spans the whole spectrum of human emotion. I'll leave you with a performance I dug out of YouTube.

Close of month

Tomorrow will see in the month of June, and it promises to start the way May has ended: on a theme of blazing sunshine. It will also herald the start of the North Atlantic hurricane season. This has already fired a warning shot across the bows, in the shape of a tropical depression last week. Nobody was bothered by that (apart from seafarers south of Nova Scotia), and wouldn't have produced more than a force 7 out at sea.

If you're in Hurricane Alley: be prepared.

Photo entry - 28 May (part 2)

Cliff [Cliobh]

Rather them than me

Valtos Old Burial Ground

Ewe and its lamb

Empire of stone

Near phonebox in Miavaig

Roadsign at Miavaig


Photo entry - 28 May (part 1)

Interior of crofthouse, Uig Museum, Timsgarry

This is what is meant by dreich

Valtos Glen from the top of the cliffs

View out towards Miavaig

Descending towards Cliff Beach

Photo entry - 29 May evening

Photo entry - 30 May, afternoon

The Bays Bus rollercoaster

St Clement's Church, Rodel


Photo entry - 30 May, morning

3.27 a.m.




MV Loch Portain, heading for Berneray

Yacht and lighthouse at Leverburgh

Sunday 31 May

Oops, am falling into bad habits: no entry yesterday either. Those who follow me on Facebook and Twitter know that I spent most of the day in Harris. Went down on the 9.35 bus to Leverburgh (that's 55 miles away to the south), which took 2 hours. After looking round the pier had lunch in the Anchorage restaurant, which sits right next to the ferry slip. At 1.20pm, we took the wee bus up the Bays area of Harris. It was the usual hair-raising rollercoaster, and I don't recommend it if you are prone to suffer from travel sickness. A short break at Tarbert later got us on the bus back to Stornoway, where we reappeared at 5pm. It started out a bit cloudy, with low clouds, but the sun came out later in the day and it turned out quite warm, with the mercury up to 22C / 71F.

At the moment, low cloud is folling down the Arnish hills, across the harbour. It is otherwise sunny, but the mercury is struggling at 13C. Earlier in the morning, I watched two sailing ships leave port - both restored fishing vessels, like the one in on Monday.

I am currently uploading nearly 200 pictures, and will publish a selection on here later today.