View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Sunday 8 May

The day started wet and windy, but cleared to a beautiful evening. As I type this, at 11.30pm, the light lingers in the northwest. We are now on the home straight to the longest day, which will see sunset at 10.35pm and daylight lingering through the 'night'.

Over the past week, I have downloaded several dozen articles from 19th century newspapers, and I'm currently transcribing and researching these. The first ones had to do with the Napier Report (which I've been working on for the past 10 months or so), but the third one went all the way back to 1812, to the time of the Mackenzies of Seaforth. They were not blessed, as the Deaf Mackenzie's four sons all pre-deceased him. The magnificent party for William Mackenzie, described in the Caledonian Mercury of 1 August 1812, was to be followed by the young man's funeral within about 2 years.

This afternoon, I watched the film Fiddler on the Roof, starring Topol. It was broadcast on ITV3. The music is very well known to me, but the film has quite a sad ending. Even more so, because the people that were turned out of their villages in the Russia of the early 20th century ended up on emigrant ships, bound for America - one of which (the SS Norge) foundered off Rockall in 1904, drowning 700.

Saturday 7 May

Quite an acceptable day, during which the cargoship Aasvik continued to discharge a cargo of sand. This involves the sand being tipped into lorries, which transport it through the town. It was bright and at times sunny, and the mercury sneaked up to 19C / 66F during the afternoon. The wind picked up from the northeast, before dying down completely.

The newspapers are full of yesterday's election results, and it is a case of chickens coming home to roost. I am no fan of the SNP and its agenda of independence for Scotland. I would like to see more government powers being devolved to Holyrood from Westminster, but the confrontational attitude of the Nationalists is the one thing we can do without. I have previously argued that harking back to the ills of the 18th and 19th century is no way of addressing whatever problems exist in the 21st century.