View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Sounds familiar?

Another system [...] is the letting of farms to non-resident tenants, from which great evils have arisen, and that consists of good farm-houses now occupied by uncultivated menials, instead of gentlemen and their families, who possessed these farms at one time, and who were not only an acquisition to society, but a great credit to the country at large.

This is a quote from Appendix XXXIII of the Napier Commission Report, and I just wonder if the Reverend Macrae of North Uist had a point. Leaving to one side the use of terms like "uncultivated menials", which is doesn't help the debate. Those in the north of Scotland are aware of the current debate (and I'm now talking 2010) around crofting - a debate that to my mind equates to tying the horse behind the wagon, or locking the door when the horse has bolted. Many a croft lies unused, or feud off to infinity for house building or (more accurately) property speculation.

Tuesday 3 August

Returned to the town centre today for a few purchases, and found that the European market, on until this Saturday, continues to draw the crowds. I had seen what I wanted to see yesterday, and quickly made my way back. It is not a terribly nice day; it was raining in the early hours, with a bright interval following until about 2pm. We are now back to fine drizzle. What has cheered up is the presence of another cruiseliner; the Mona Lisa, a regular visitor to these parts.

The local hospital is presently without a television service for its patients, following the switch-over to digital on July 21st. In spite of the fact that an extensive publicity campaign preceded the switch-over, NHS Western Isles did nothing. Most people have either got a new TV set, a Freeview box, a satellite dish or something like that; the NHS here waited until all the screens went blank before they realised something had to be done. Fifty-five tellies are now awaiting installation.