View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Tuesday 15 December

Fairly bright day, interspersed with light showers. These don't show up on the weather radar, but do get you wet when outside. It's rather windier in Australia, where tropical cyclone Laurence is skimming the northwestern coast of the continent with winds of 85 to 120 knots (100 to 135 mph).

Cheques are to be phased out in the UK by 2018. Apparently, the number of cheques written by Britons has fallen by half over the past 7 years. Concerns have been expressed by the elderly and support groups, saying that many are uncomfortable using plastic and/or the Internet; also, more than a billion cheques are still being written each day.

Here in the Western Isles, concerns have been expressed for fuel prices. Scottish Fuels have reestablished their monopoly in fuel supplies, after taking over a rival, Brogan Fuels, who recently set up a fuel supply network here. Petrol prices in Stornoway are currently about £1.20 per litre ($10 per gallon), higher than on the mainland, and higher than in other areas of northern Scotland, served by the same tankerboat that brings us our petrol &c.

I have to wait for BA to confirm (or not) that my flights on December 22nd are cancelled, before I can do anything about it. With 1 million other people, both inside and outside the UK, about to be inconvenienced, it is going to be a wretched experience travelling this Xmas.