A cold day, with the mercury only in the mid 50s Fahrenheit (lower teens Celsius). Nonetheless, I was able to sit outside for a while to read a book - with my coat on.
Norway continues to come to terms with the loss of more than 90 lives yesterday, in two apparently linked attacks in and near Oslo. Seven people died in a massive bomb blast near the government headquarters in the capital. 85 people, mainly teenagers, are known to have lost their lives as the culprit went to an island in a lake outside Oslo and started shooting them on sight. The total death toll is still uncertain, and there is talk of a second gunman. No motive has been established, but initial investigations seem to point to right-wing extremism. The suspect, a 32-year old man, is said to have referred to the right-wing Dutch politician Geert Wilders as "a good guy". Mr Wilders, to his credit, has denounced the atrocities in Norway as utterly repugnant to all decent people. I don't have a lot of time for Mr Wilders, but feel he has reacted appropriately to this revelation.
A tragedy of a different kind and scale was enacted in the Kyle of Durness yesterday. This is a river estuary some 12 miles east of Cape Wrath [the most northwesterly point of the British mainland]. Sixty-five pilot whales became stranded at low tide; the Kyle virtually runs dry as the tide ebbs. Fifteen of the animals died, the others were helped out to sea by Coastguard and Royal Navy personnel who happened to be on exercise in the area.
Kyle of Durness, 29 August 2004