Along the Pentland Road, 25 May 2017

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Wednesday 30 November

The day started reasonable, but at lunchtime the wind picked up to galeforce, and after dark (4pm), it increased further to severe gale force 9. Going to the shop by 5.30pm, I found the strong winds very tricky. There was also persistent rain, which did not abate until nightfall.

Some sad news in the island today, as the remains of a man were found in a derelict building at Steinish, a mile or so outside Stornoway. Police later added that these were likely to be those of a young man, aged 16, who had been missing for a few weeks. This comes hard on the heels of the death of a young woman, aged 26, in an accident in Harris last Thursday. Her car had gone off the road and ended up in a loch beside the A859 road south of Tarbert. Her funeral will take place at Bosta tomorrow.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Tuesday 29 November

It has turned rather a lot colder, with the mercury now barely above freezing. Yesterday's max was 10C / 50F, today's is 4C / 39F. The weather is marginally more friendly, with showers and less strong winds. But you do feel the cold now, and winter is definitely on the way in. There were severe problems with flooding near Glasgow today, particularly near Greenock, on the Clyde.

Good news today, in that the RET scheme is being extended to ferry services between Hebridean islands. RET (Road-Equivalent Tarriff) has reduced the fares on the Ullapool - Stornoway route by half, and has produced a 30% increase in tourism trade since its introduction in 2008. The scheme only applies to western Scotland, with the islanders of Orkney and Shetland complaining bitterly at being left out. The Shetlanders should, however, not complain so loudly. RET would mean an increase in fares on their long route between Aberdeen and Lerwick.

I have completed the project to add the portraits of WW1 servicemen from Lewis to the Imperial War Museum's Your Faces from the First World War group.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Monday 28 November

One of those eminently forgettable days, in terms of weather. Galeforce winds strafed the town, making it very difficult to walk against the wind (that is the definition of force 8 in the Beaufort scale) and lashing rain. Our hours of daylight are becoming very restricted, with sunrise at 8.45 am and sunset at 3.45 pm leaving us just about 7 hours. And on a day like today, it seems even less than that. Just saw a link about Seasonal Affective Disorder which tends to rear its ugly head at this time of year. Can't wait for the winter solstice, after which the days will lengthen again.

Another road traffic accident this afternoon, but this time not with serious consequences. A lorry was reported to be on its side on the hill at the Ceann an Ora quarry, 4 miles north of Tarbert. Cause not known, although, as I stated above, there were strong winds around this pm, and they tend to be funnelled through the gap between the Clisham and An t-Iosal on the other side of the A859.


Well, men, bored in the loo? Have a look at this

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Sunday 27 November

Last night saw hurricane force winds in parts of Scotland. Fair Isle, between Orkney and Shetland, reported 90 mph, but the Cairngorm mountains, which rear up to 4,200 feet in height, were buffeted by 114 mph windspeeds. Here in Stornoway, we reached 70 mph around midnight; Eoropie, near the Butt of Lewis, managed 86 mph. However, by the time daylight came, just after 8 am, the winds had abated in the Hebrides. The day was actually pleasantly bright and sunny, with only the odd shower of hail. In winter, it is more common for hail to fall in this part of the world rather than snow. In the afternoon, I had to wash a fair layer of salt off the windows - not just at the front (facing the sea), but also out the back. More high winds tomorrow.

I am not much of a football buff, but I am sad to learn of the apparent suicide of the manager of the national team of Wales, Gary Speed. He was only 42 and is mourned by the football community in the UK, and the population at large.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Saturday 26 November

More high winds today, with the ferry stormbound in Ullapool after making just one crossing, first thing this morning. It is now due to return from the mainland, departing there at 11 am tomorrow morning, and hopefully managing its customary Sunday return trip. The winds are not as high as on Thursday, when we topped 80 mph, but force 7 is still a near-gale.

As I have often mentioned (on Facebook), fuel prices in these islands are sky-high. A litre of diesel costs about £1.50 (that's $9.30 a gallon). In order to alleviate the pain, the UK government has gracefully allowed a 5p rebate in fuel prices. Fat lot of use. When the idea was floated, fuel prices shot up by a suspicious 4p a litre. There is something strange going on in this part of the world. Fuel is delivered by tanker ship, and the same boat delivers fuel to Inverness and Scrabster on the mainland, where prices are an eye-watering 20p a litre lower than here. If you can make sense of that, please let me know. I can't.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Friday 25 November

Yesterday's stormforce winds claimed a life: that of a 26-year old speech therapist from Coulregrein, on the northern edge of Stornoway. She had been travelling along the A859 Tarbert to Rodel road, when her vehicle is thought to have been blown into Loch nan Uidhean, just south of the Horsacleit Lodge, a few miles south of Tarbert. After being transferred by road ambulance to hospital in Stornoway, the woman died. The community is in shock.

Today's weather was very cold. Although the winds have abated somewhat, they were still strong, making the temperature of +4C / 39F bitterly cold. There were regular showers of rain, hail and sleet, with snow on high-level routes on the mainland. More high winds are forecast for Saturday and Sunday, but the worst of the conditions is expected in the Northern Isles (Orkney and Shetland).

This week, Lord Justice Leveson has started his hearing into the practices and standards of the British press. Several people who feature in the public eye, such as JK Rowling and the parents of Madeleine McCann, have given evidence. They complained bitter of the unparalleled intrusion into their private lives, all under the pretense of public interest. Actress Sienna Miller described how she was reduced to running down the street with a dozen burly men in hot pursuit. The only thing that legitimised their actions was the fact that they were carrying cameras. Otherwise, it just would have been a woman pursued by a dozen big men - which would have been cause for police intervention.

In the 14 years I have lived in the United Kingdom, I have never ceased to be appalled at the intrusion into the private lives of celebrities or public figures. Princess Diana died in August 1997 as a consequence of the harassment by the press. Even as the outcome of the Leveson Inquiry is being reported, some newspapers issue robust rebuttals, thereby indicating that in their minds, they are doing nothing wrong. A major change, of earthquake proportion, is required to bring about a differing stance by the press.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Thursday 24 November

A foul day, with high winds and heavy rain. The private weatherstation at Eoropie, the village nearest the Butt of Lewis, reports winds at a steady 50 mph, gusting to 76 mph. Most ferry services along the west coast of Scotland are off, and there is a warning that the Braighe, the causeway linking Stornoway to the Eye peninsula to the east, could be closed for high tide at around 6pm tonight. I went to the shop, a few hundred yards down the road, and found walking into the wind difficult. Darkness is falling as I type (3.45pm). It will remain windy until at least Monday.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tuesday 22 November

After yesterday's calm weather, the wind is beginning to whip up towards galeforce as I type this (2.40pm). More gales on Thursday, with the remnant of tropical disturbance 99L scooting into the Arctic past the Outer Hebrides. I think we should be on our guard, because if this system gets closer than the weathercharts currently predict, we should not be surprised at stormforce winds.

I read an awful letter on the local news website, which (to my mind) serves to reinforce the undeserved impression that Lewis is a place of religious intolerance. A fault of Protestantism is the differing interpretations of the Bible, and everybody claiming to have a hotline to God or Jesus Christ, implying that their reading of the Scriptures is the one that was intended. The Bible, as we all know, is a collection of scriptures, handed down over hundreds if not thousands of years, through translation out of Hebrew, Greek, Latin and what not. I only have to refer to the example of the word caritas to show the pitfalls of translations. I am currently reading the Qu'ran, and this claims that mankind did not get the message out of the Torah or the Gospel; and it does not look as if they got the message out of the Qu'ran either. Or from Martin Luther, Erasmus, Dr Chalmers or whoever. I grew up in Holland, which has two different Dutch Reformed Churches - they are designated by two different words in Dutch for "reformed". The church in my home village is now part of an oecumenical triangle of the two Reformed Churches as well as the Roman Catholic church in the next town. The pastor who wrote the letter is all against people talking to each other. That is how wars start. That is how the situation in Northern Ireland spiralled out of control in the 1970s and on. And that is exactly how NOT to proceed. I hope those attending the service on the second Sunday of Advent will have an enlightening experience.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Sunday 20 November

Another overcast day, but at least it stayed mainly dry and it wasn't really cold. Not that I showed my face outside much to gauge that, to be honest. I have continued to add more portraits of WW1 casualties from Lewis to the Flickr.com group from the Imperial War Museum - where everybody can put up portraits of their ancestors who fought in the Great War.

On Facebook, I have set up a group for everybody that used to blog with AOL Journals, until AOL in their infinite stupidity closed them down in October 2008. If you are on Facebook and want an add: leave a comment. I have already added 144 members, including myself. I'll continue to hunt for more names.

The Eastern Pacific Ocean is 10 days away from the end of its hurricane season, but has spawned a tropical storm, by the name of Kenneth. This system is nearly 600 miles south of Mexico and poses no threat to land. It could develop into a hurricane, well out to sea. Out in the Atlantic, 600 miles from the Lesser Antilles, another disturbance shows promising signs of development. I should add a note of caution, as this disturbance could run up a frontal zone towards western Europe at the very end of the forecasting period. Depressions that originate in the tropics tend to make a rather dramatic impact at our latitude.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

A week in pictures











Saturday 19 November

Another overcast day with only occasional light drizzle. The high humidity made it feel cold though, and the thick cloudcover made it for a typical dark November day. Hoping for a bit more light tomorrow; we have to content with only 8 hours of the sun at the moment at any rate - which will decrease to 6 hours over the next week or so.

A lot has been said on the local news this week about 100 years of Harris Tweed. In 1911, the Orb was established as the trademark for the product, but it was not until 1960 that this was enshrined through an Act of Parliament. Harris Tweed can only be called that if the cloth has been hand-woven in the Outer Hebrides from virgin Scottish wool . The Harris Tweed industry has been reduced to only a shadow of its former self, with the dozen mills in Stornoway all closed down. Only mills in Shawbost and Carloway, about 20 miles west of Stornoway, now produce the cloth in any noticeable volume. Fellow researcher Direcleit has done a critical appraisal of the history of Harris Tweed, as told by Angus Ease Macleod, late of Calbost.

Friday 18 November

A rain-soaked day - not pouring, but just the Hebridean drizzle. And a strong breeze going. Today is Children in Need night, a national fund-raising event, culminating in a 7-hour TV show in the evening. One person has not been able to complete his challenge; a man who was planning to row the 130 miles from Castlebay (Barra) to Stornoway became unstuck when his oar broke off North Uist, half-way through his journey. The RNLI lifeboat had to come to his rescue in amongst high seas and treacherous reefs.

Over the past day or so, a large ship has been docked at the Arnish Fabrication Yard to remove a tall structure which has been camped out there since the summer. It is apparently the bottom structure of a tidal power generator, destined for trial off the island of Eday in Orkney. The other bits have been fabricated at Methil in Fife.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Thursday 17 November

An overcast day which turned rather wet in the last hour before sunset, which occurs at 4pm at the moment. The wind has picked up as well, after a handful of days with hardly any wind. The mercury made quite a jump last night, rising from -1C (30F) at 7pm to +7C (45F) an hour later, accompanied by the wind starting up from the south. Before the rain commenced, it felt very cold, although the mercury was not all that low, at 10C. End of weather report.

At the moment, I am adding portrait photographs to a group on the Flickr.com site for the Imperial War Museum. The IWM has invited all who have pictures of ancestors who fought in the First World War to add their portrait photographs to that group. Since this started on Monday, I have even encountered a picture of a German soldier among the portraits. This is not as strange as it may sound; three years ago, I photographed wargraves at the Royal Naval Cemetery at Lyness in Orkney, which contained 16 German wargraves. Those sailors died when their fleet was scuttled in Scapa Flow in June 1919. Personally, I have no problem with those guys sharing a cemetery with their adversaries in war. In death, all are equal; and it was their adversaries that gave them a decent burial.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Tuesday 15 November

As I said in last night's entry, seven years ago I arrived in Lewis from North Uist. And I'm still here. At the time, I had just left Lochmaddy and was making my way north through Berneray. I went on to stay at Kershader for 3 months, then relocated to Stornoway.

MPs have voiced their disapproval of a proposed increase in fuel prices, set to come into effect in two months' time. Certainly in the Scottish islands, fuel prices have gone through the roof. At present, we're paying between £1.44 and £1.53 a litre here in Stornoway (that is up to $9.30 a gallon for American readers), which is held to be crippling. Although we have a good public transport network, many people still rely on their own vehicles to get about. And in October, fares on the local buses were raised as a result of those high fuel prices. The Commons motion I mentioned is not binding on the Government, so the price hike looks set to proceed next January.

Today was a beautiful day in Stornoway, although not very warm. There was hardly any wind, and we had a beautiful sunset. At 4pm. Yes, it's mid-November.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Monday 14 November

Another beautifully sunny day, not very warm though. That is in contrast to the south of the UK, which basked in temperatures of 18C / 64F yesterday. But I don't think I'm going to complain about our 10C / 50F.

Monday appears to be a good day for shopping, if you don't like thronged shops or supermarkets. The Post Office was practically empty when I called in there for stamps, and Tesco was not too bad. Particulary useful as I was pushing someone round in a wheelchair. On that note, when are the pavements in this town going to be levelled? Answer, they will not be.

I just discovered another interesting historical document, pertaining to the provision (or lack thereof) of medical services in the Highlands and Islands. I have often blogged about the Napier Report, but the Dewar Report is far less well known. It was published in 1912 to highlight the poor conditions in which people lived in these parts, with the Island of Lewis being singled out for particularly atrocious circumstances. It is a 43 page document (makes a change from the bulk of 4000+ pages in the Napier Report), and I intend to summarise on my Pentland Road blog this week. Local museums in the Highlands and Islands are encouraged to highlight the centenary of the Dewar Report next year.

Tomorrow is a minorly special day in my calendar: it will be 7 years ago since I came to Lewis.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sunday 13 November

It's Remembrance Sunday, and I started the day by watching the National Ceremony of Remembrance at the Cenotaph at 11 o'clock this morning. This afternoon, I walked down to the cemetery at Sandwick, about 15 minutes' walk away, and visited the graves of some of the victims of the Iolaire Disaster (pic below). It strikes me that Remembrance appears to be a growing phenomenon in the UK, probably on account of the sacrifice currently being made in Afghanistan, where nearly 400 service personnel have lost their lives since 2001.



It was a beautiful day, and as I type this, the light is fading on a sunny afternoon. There was no wind, and it felt pleasant in a temperature of just over 10C.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Friday 11 November

This morning, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, thousands of people in the United Kingdom and beyond fell silent. 93 years ago the guns had fallen silent, heralding the start of the Armistice, and eventually the end of the First World War. After the end of the Second World War, November 11th was maintained as a day of remembrance. I am not going to say much else in this post, but will display a number of images, showing the war memorials here in Lewis. The fact that it takes 15 war memorials to remember the war dead of an island, home to 30,000 people in 1914 says enough. 1,350 did not return from the 1914-19 war, 530 were lost in the 1939-45 war.


Thursday, 10 November 2011

Thursday 10 November

Sunshine and some cloud about today, as temperatures remain above average at around 12C / 54F. I have spent the day transcribing tributes to the Fallen from the Isle of Lewis who lost their lives in the last two years of the Second World War. I just need to link the transcribed newspaper articles to the listings of the Fallen on the WW2 tribute. The total number of tributes now stands at just shy of 300. I am rushing to complete this ahead of Armistice Day tomorrow. There is also a separate site with transcripts for the Fallen from WW1, from the years 1917 and 1918.

I was profoundly saddened to receive a message from one of my email and Facebook contacts in Texas. The cancer that had been diagnosed in the duodenum had spread to the stomach, and had progressed all the way to stage IV, terminal cancer. The person concerned does not keep a blog, but those of you who are Facebook contacts with me know who I am talking about.

Kristallnacht

9 November 1938 - an organised mob of Nazi forces and sympathisers go on the rampage in towns and cities across Germany, smashing and destroying Jewish-owned property and businesses. It was to be a marker, to what was to come during World War II - the extermination of anyone deemed sub-human by the warped mind of Adolf Hitler and his henchmen. Jews topped their league of the unfit, closely followed by gypsies, the mentally ill and many many others. The Reichskristallnacht was a night of infamy, and not just to Germany.

For Hitler was allowed to get away with literally murder for several years beforehand. In 1936, he occupied the Rhineland which had been ceded to France at the end of the First World War. The League of Nations, a toothless talkingshop, cried wolf but had no bite. In March 1938, Nazi forces marched into Austria to join that country to Germany, an event referred to as the Anschluss. Neville Chamberlain flew to Munich to meet with Adolf Hitler on 30 September 1938, returning with the infamous phrase: "Peace for our time". Six weeks later, the Reichskristallnacht took place, a sign of ill omen. Only a few months later, Germany invaded the Sudetenland area of Czecho-Slovakia, and again, nobody moved a finger to stop. In September 1939, Hitler thought he could get away with the invasion of Poland. But instead, it prompted the outbreak of the Second World War.

The lights have gone out in Europe, it was said at the time. The lights in Europe were extinguished in 1914, and had not been relit, not even at the end of the First World War. The Versailles Peace Treaty of June 1919 contained all the ingredients for another war, which duly materialised.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Wednesday 9 November

Completely overcast today, although the sun did glimpse through the clouds in the morning. Just as I went out the door at 2.30, it started to rain. And it has not stopped yet - and it's 10pm now. Anyway, it's pretty mild, with the mercury at 11C / 52F, even now.

What is it about Big Brother, Strictly Come Dancing, the X-Factor and I'm a Celebrity... that gets everybody so worked up? It is headline news in the papers, on the radio, on the television. I haven't watched Big Brother for 6 years, "Strictly" I translate into Strictly Come Vomiting, the X-Factor tends to be X-rated and "I'm a Celebrity" turns into "I'm no Celebrity".

Reports are coming in of a 5.7 earthquake in eastern Turkey, not far from the epicentre of a quake a few weeks ago. Apparently, a hotel has toppled and several other buildings have collapsed in the city of Van, near the Iranian border.
Talking of natural disasters, tropical storm Sean is set to pass close to Bermuda tomorrow and could well be at hurricane strength. The coast of the USA is being affected by life-threatening surf and rip-currents. The hurricane season closes in 3 weeks' time, but that does not mean that it is all over by then. The 2005 season overran into 2006!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Tuesday 8 November

Another beautifully sunny day, with some clouds looming to the south. That is the northern boundary of a large cloudmass that stretches right across the United Kingdom. Sometimes northwest is best.

Spent a few hours in the library digging out more tributes to the Fallen of the Second World War for the year 1945. War was coming to a close, and I have only looked at papers until 10 August, which was the last edition of the Stornoway Gazette published before the surrender of Japan. In those eight months, there were around fifty tributes, but it has struck me that some of them were published up to a year after the death of the serviceman concerned. Tomorrow, I shall transcribe these tributes and place them on the WWW.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Monday 7 November

A beautifully sunny day, with the mercury cresting at a reasonable 12C in the afternoon. As I type this, at a quarter to eleven at night, we're down at 5C / 40F. It's November, what do you expect?

Michael Jackson's physician, Dr Conrad R. Murray, has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter through the administration of propofol to the singer. Propofol is an agent normally used in the operating theatre, and should be used with life-support machinery as it is a muscle relaxant. Using it outside the OR is at best irresponsible. However, in view of the high profile of Michael Jackson, I have this feeling that Dr Murray is being hung, drawn and quartered even before his guilty verdict. Dr Murray made a grave mistake by giving in to the incessant demands from MJ for something to put him to sleep. Using propofol was crass. Dr Murray should have been dealt with by his professional body, not through the courts. But who am I.

I have completed the transcription of tributes from the local paper for casualties from the Second World War from the year 1944. Only the year 1945 remains, and I hope to complete that in time for Armistice Day, this coming Friday.

Medicane!


In the Mediterranean a depression between Spain and Sardinia, has been classified as a tropical disturbance. 01M (or 99L) is however unlikely to turn into anything substantial. The sea surface temperatures in that area of the Mediterranean (20C / 68F) are way below the threshold (26C / 80F) required for a tropical cyclone. However, the satellite picture does look suspiciously like a tropical system. Medicanes are not unheard of, certainly at this time of year when the waters are at their warmest.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sunday 6 November

As I type this, the M5-motorway in Somerset has reopened to traffic in both directions. The motorway had been closed following a fatal collision on Friday night, involving 34 vehicles, claiming 7 lives and injuring 51 others. The police is investigating the cause for the crash, for which fog, smoke from a fireworks display or excessive speed have been variously blamed.

It has been overcast in Stornoway today, and the wind has blown at force 6 to 7 all day. Not particularly strong by our standards, but noticeable. Gusts are reaching galeforce. Nonetheless, our ferry has completed its customary Sunday crossing, so all appears to be well.

I was saddened to find out about the death of a family friend in southern England at the age of 79. We had known him (and his family) for 35 years, but ill health in both families meant we had been out of touch for about a decade. Nonetheless, without divulging details, I would like to pay tribute to him, as being one of those good people in the United Kingdom that welcomed us into their midst in the mid-1970s. It ultimately led me to move to Great Britain in 1997.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

New Blogger Interface

Blogger has been floating a new user-interface. And I give it a thumbs-down.

There is a serious flaw in the procedure for adding pics to the blogposts: if you do so using a pic on a URL, it does not work. And I just don't like that wishy-washy look. Furthermore, I often write blogposts with several open windows, in order to copy or transcribe information from one window to another. The blogpost in the new interface does not properly wrap; what you type tends to disappear under the sidebar to the right.

Anyone else got any thoughts on this? You can access the new look by clicking on "Try new interface" from the Dashboard (www.blogger.com) after logging in.

Journey to Harris - 5 November










Saturday 5 November

It's Guy Fawkes night again, and a lot of fireworks are set to go off across the United Kingdom. Even in these islands, bonfires have been set up, ready to light. This one I spotted on the football pitch at Laxay, 12 miles south of Stornoway



It was a sunny day today, after a night which saw the mercury dipping close to freezing.We went out in the car to Tarbert, the main village in Harris, 37 miles south of Stornoway. I shall post further pictures in a separate entry. A belt of showers lay over the hills near Arivruaich, and on the way back they had hardly moved. The westerly wind, running up against the Eishken hills, prompted the precipitation. Had lunch at Tarbert, a look in the Tourist Information Office, then returned north. Sunset is at 4.30pm at the moment, and we came back just after 4pm. The 37 miles along the island's main road, the A859, takes an hour in the car.

A journey along the M5 motorway in southwestern England, near Taunton, proved to be the last journey for at least seven people. A motorway crash, involving 34 vehicles, claimed the lives of 7 and injured more than 50. The death toll is likely to rise, as some of the vehicles were burned to the ground - nothing left of them. Aerial pictures show a number of jack-knifed lorries and some very badly burned cars. The weather, foggy and wet, is thought to have been an exacerbating factor. Some of the worst accidents occur in thick fog, particularly if it occurs in patches or banks. Firework displays nearby could have served to worsen the fog as small particles will have acted as condensation points for water.

Friday 4 November

Quite a nice day today, with some good spells of sunshine and moderate temperatures. I'm not grumbling at the low teens (50s F) at this time of year.

The birds found the feeders and we were treated to the familiar scenes of squabbling starlings, flocking sparrows and the collared dove picking the seeds that had fallen down from the feeders. By mid-afternoon, the seed-feeder was empty, but by that time there were some distinctly obese birds fluttering around, so I'm not refilling in a hurry.

I also received three Postcrossing cards - one from Austria, the others from Finland and Holland. I had not previously received a card from Austria. It showed the birthplace of famous composer Franz Liszt. I embed a rendition of part of his first pianoconcerto. Does it surprise you that he also wrote a piece named after Mephisto - the devil?

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Thursday 3 November

A nice autumn day, and with the thermometer at 14C / 57F, not feeling at all cold. Washed the salt spray off the windows after yesterday's high winds deposited a fair layer of the stuff. Also swept the leaves away that had come away from the sycamore trees out the back. The red-hot pokers never came to anything at the end of September, after the flower stalks were broken by a gale. The rowan trees have also had their leaves blasted off, but there are large buds promising a continuing fight against the elements in 2012. And, in spite of the mild conditions, I have hung the birdfeeders back on the tree. Assorted birdseeds in one, peanuts in the others. There were no takers, but as soon as conditions become harsh over the next few weeks, I'm sure our little feathered friends will be back. And an advance notice to the local seagulls: any bread that's put out at times of snow is not going down your hatches.

I am continuing to transcribe the tributes from the Stornoway Gazette from the year 1944, copying onto the blogsite, and linking them to the relevant entry on the tribute website.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tuesday 1 November

November came in with quite reasonable weather. There were some heavy showers in the morning, but they receded as the afternoon went on. Not terribly warm, but then I wouldn't expect much above 11C at this time of year. As I type this, at 10.40pm, the wind is beginning to pick up although the sky is clear. Jupiter is rising in the east - early in the morning, Orion is high in the southwest, followed as ever by his faithful hounds, crowned by their stars Sirius and Procyon. Winter is my favourite time for stargazing, if only because it's impossible in summer at this latitude (58 north).

The RNLI is expected to rubberstamp the establishment of a lifeboat station at Leverburgh in Harris. At present, there are two lifeboat stations in the Outer Hebrides, one at Stornoway and the other at Castlebay. These two locations are 140 miles apart, and Leverburgh sits virtually halfway. The other advantage is that Leverburgh sits on the Sound of Harris, and thereby on a passage into the eastern Atlantic towards St Kilda.

I am continuing to transcribe tributes from the Stornoway Gazette to servicemen from the islands who gave their life during World War II in the year 1944. Once that is complete, probably tomorrow or Thursday, there remain the first eight months of 1945.

Thanks to those of you who accepted my invites on Goodreads. I am not a very assiduous book reader, and have run into difficulties with the Count of Monte Christo. The Qur'an is not easy reading either, but I do have slightly easier reading in a tome on the rise and decline of railways in mainland Britain, from 1819 until the present day.