View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Thursday 17 February - picture post

Cobden House, Cromwell Street, back in full splendour

The new flats blend in well with the Royal Hotel, next door

Wicker Woman by Lews Castle

My favourite view of Cuddy Point

Views from Strawberry Hill

Thursday 17 February

I am typing this as the cloudless evening sky turns from yellow to orange to pink - the sun set a couple of minutes ago. Although it was not vastly warm, I should not complain about 9C. At the moment, the mercury is dipping fast as darkness falls.

It should not be wholly dark tonight: a large solar flare is set to slam into the earth's magnetic field, giving rise to Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). I'm at relatively high latitude within the UK (58 degrees north, London is at 51°) so I should have a fair chance of seeing the Merry Dancers. I saw them first back in October, and I'll keep an eye on the messaging service from the University of Lancaster - Twitter account @aurorawatchuk (UK).

This afternoon I went for a two hour walk in the Castle Grounds (the countrypark around Lews Castle) and managed to get up Strawberry Hill. I have made a guided tour which you can view on Google Earth by downloading this file: I am uploading pictures, which I shall put up later. Strawberry Hill is a prominent feature in the Castle Grounds, but singularly hard to get to. It requires a bogslog, then a pretty steep ascent; and a boggy descent of the northern slopes towards the Castle College. Quite strenuous - and I'm rather out of shape.

I was horrified to receive an email from an on-line contact that was not sent by her or by the relative who was quoted as having signed the email. I copy: 
Dear Friends of Lori,

This is a short call for support. We need some money for the hospital
bills and the funeral arrangement soonest. A total sum of $10,000 plus
was calculated. You can pay to my parents’ liberty reserve account
using the detail below [rest of email withheld for reasons of privacy]
Anyone who is friends with Alberta Lori: distrust ANY communcation that comes from her Internet presence. Her email is hacked, and her Facebook as well by the sound of it. The matter is being reported to the police in the US and Canada - I have had enough.