View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Summer time / Winter time

Summer left us long months ago, but tonight at 2 am, the clocks will be turned back one hour to revert the UK back to Greenwich Mean Time. There is once more talk of bringing the country into line with the rest of Europe, meaning that British Summer Time would become British Standard Time.

Image courtesy
Here in northern Scotland we are not in favour of that. Daylight hours are at a premium in winter, with sunrise at 9.15 am on 21 December and sunset at 3.35 pm. It doesn't require a mathematical genius to work out that this leaves us with a paltry 6 hours and 20 minutes of potential solar visibility. So, if the clocks go forward 1 hour and stay like that all year, we'll have sunrise at 10.15, leaving the kids to go to school in total darkness, and sunset at 4.35pm. A trial of 'double summertime' was conducted in 1968, but was abandoned. I just see it as sheer laziness from people who, when dealing with continental Europe, cannot be bothered to add an hour to calculate the time at their European counterpart's office.

Saturday 30 October

Another windy day with occasional showers. The ferry is sailing, but the captain is reported as advising passengers to secure personal belongings as well as themselves. I am looking forward to seeing the boat coming in, wreathed in a green cloud.

For what it's worth, my blogposts indicate that last night's broadband outage has been resolved. Apparently, a fault in a telephone exchange in Edinburgh caused the failure, which affected large parts of the United Kingdom. My emergency dial-up service had ceased to operate, meaning I was reduced to mobile phone messages to Facebook and Twitter. Oh, what would we do without the Internet?

Well, it gave me the opportunity to make good progress with this year's Armistice Tribute. It will be a significantly pared down version of Faces from the Lewis War Memorial.

Hurricane update - 30 October

Tropical storm Tomas is headed for the Windward and southern Leeward Islands in the eastern Caribbean, strengthening rapidly. The system will pick up more strength as it ploughs through the Caribbean, approaching Jamaica after the weekend with winds of 100 knots (125 mph) if not higher.It is worth monitoring this storm closely, particularly after the weekend, when its future track (which is expected to be towards Cuba) becomes clearer.

A tropical disturbance has formed in the southern hemisphere, which is making ominous noises towards the Cocos or Keeling Islands. 92L is expected to develop into tropical cyclone Tasha, with winds of 85 knots by the time it reaches the Cocos Islands. This is equivalent to a category II hurricane in the Atlantic.

Friday 29 October

Friday ended with a broadband outage across Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland, which affected me as well, hence this post on Saturday morning.

Friday began with galeforce winds, which prompted the cancellation of the first sailing of the ferry to Ullapool. The 1.50pm sailing did go ahead, but I cannot imagine that it would have been a pleasurable experience. Although the wind abated, the weather remained cold and grey.

The parents of Lewis aid worker Linda Norgrove, who was killed in Afghanistan 3 weeks ago, have spoken on TV about their experiences with regards to the kidnap and death of their daughter. Although they tried to dissuade her from going back to Afghanistan, Mr and Mrs Norgrove acknowledged that it was not right to deter her from persuing what she wanted to do. A charitable fund has been set up in Linda's name, which aims continue her work in Afghanistan.

When I went out to the shop, I came across a flock of waxwings, small berry-eating birds, which were feasting on the contoneaster bushes outside Tesco. They flew off to nearby TV aerials and rooftops, but there were about a hundred of the birds there. I could not get a good photograph of them, as the light conditions were poor.