View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sunday 17 April

Cloudy, but with occasional sunny spells, is the best description of today's weather. About an hour or two ago, the fishing vessel Symphonie, hailing from Bayonne in France, finally left port after an unintended stay that started on March 4th. The Symphonie broke down twice around that date, and had been tied up on the eastern side of pier no 1, awaiting repairs. This morning, her colleague, the fishing vessel Jiminy came in and took the Symphonie in tow at around 4pm. The conditions were not easy, with a force 5 southerly wind putting a strain on the tow. The two vessels have about 1,000 miles to go. and are crawling south at 5 knots. As a result, they are currently only as far as Loch Erisort, 10 miles south of Stornoway. If they are going all the way to Bayonne, it will take them about 10 days to reach there. I wish them well.

I was very sorry to hear about the devastating tornadoes that have rampaged through the southeastern USA over the past few days. At the latest count, the death toll stood at around 35. Tornadoes are a 'normal' phenomenon in the American spring, but these twisters have been particularly severe.

The upheaval in North Africa is having repercussions in Europe, with France stopping trains from Italy crossing its border between Ventimiglia and Menton. On board are refugees from Tunisia, who have been given temporary permits by Italy, which allow them to roam freely across Europe.