View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Linda Norgrove

You may recall from October the tragic death of Lewis-based aid worker Linda Norgrove. She had been abducted in Afghanistan on September 26th by an armed group. As fears grew that Linda might be transferred across the border into Pakistan, American forces were sent in to liberate Linda. One of the group of American Navy Seals threw a grenade which exploded near her, causing fatal injuries.

This version of events was today confirmed by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague. Linda's parents, Mangersta residents Lorna and John Norgrove, travelled to London to be informed of the report. Disciplinary action has been taken by the US military against the serviceman who had thrown the grenade, as he had not immediately accounted for his actions, instead (initially) stating that Linda's captors had detonated a suicide vest.

This finally closes a very sad episode for the Norgrove family, and for the island of Lewis where Linda grew up.

Football's not going home

It has been decided to host the Football World Cup 2018 in Russia. That gives that country two major events within four years: the Winter Olympics will be held at Sochi in 2014. England, Spain & Portugal and Holland & Belgium had been rival contenders for 2018, but found themselves finally beaten by the Russians. Disappointment is deep in England, which is hosting the Olympics in 2012. The last time the football world cup was held there was 1966, when the host nation beat Germany 4-2. Reaction in Russia is positive, although some people are wondering if the money for the 14 new stadiums, transport links and hotels could not be better spent on modernising facilities for ordinary people. However, it is to be hoped that the 2018 World Cup will serve as a boost towards further modernisation of Russia.

To quote one of my Russian on-line contacts: "Россия, ура, ура!"

Thursday 2 December

Our wintry spell continues unabated. Over the past hour, I have watched a snow shower moving east across the peninsula of Pairc in the southeast of Lewis (20 miles from Stornoway), as westerly winds herald the arrival of a weather front from the Atlantic. The high clouds are moving in from the west as the sun slides towards the horizon, due to set at 3.40pm. The front will introduce more snow and northerly, rather than easterly winds. The mercury has not crested zero today, after an overnight low of -7C. Altnaharra is at -17C at the moment, after an overnight minimum of -21C.

And Russia is to organise the Football World Cup in 2018.