View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 19 November 2010

Friday 19 November

Not too bad a day, with the odd light shower and a moderate breeze. The ferry is playing catch-up, making three crossings today, rather than the scheduled two. As I type, it is coming into port for the second time today. Its final sailing will be at 9.15pm tonight.

At 11 this morning, I attended the Registry Office here in the Town Hall to request information regarding one of the WW1 casualties from Lewis: Daniel Maciver. I was unable to locate his birth record - because he had changed his name from Donald to Daniel. He was born on 4 February 1878 at lot 10, Coll, to Kenneth and Mary. He was the fourth of (in the end) 12 children. The family emigrated to what was to become Saskatchewan Province. I have printed the rest of his story on the Pentland Road blog. The significance of this information is that Daniel is not mentioned on any of the island war memorials.

Tragedy struck a family in Northern Ireland last Sunday, after their 13-year old daughter was found dead. She had inhaled helium gas - which people do to make their voice sound squeaky. Helium causes muscles to contract in the throat, which gives rise to the "Donald Duck" effect. The gas is mixed in with compressed air, used by divers, to counteract the sleepiness, caused by the nitrogen (which makes up 78% of the air we breathe). However, everything taken in excess can be dangerous, and this tragic accident has highlighted the hazards of playing with helium.