View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Wednesday 13 July

Another nice day, and quite warm (for these parts), with the mercury reaching 20C / 68F at one point. The sun put in a good appearance, although the wind picked up through the afternoon. But a force 4 isn't worth mentioning in the Hebrides.

Went to the library after lunch, and heard the pipes playing in the Narrows. I also caught sight of some youngsters performing a dance by the Pyramid - which they will be doing every day this week. I did not go to take a picture, as I have previously been advised against taking photographs of minors without their parents' or responsible adults' consent.

The collapse of care home operator Southern Cross has also had repercussions in the Western Isles. I refer to the article on Hebrides News. It means uncertainty for vulnerable, elderly residents.


This is the name of the 8th tropical cyclone of the Northwestern Pacific season. The fact that it has a name shows it is at least at tropical storm strength, with winds currently blowing at 55 knots (that's force 10 to 11 on the Beaufort scale), but forecast to increase to 110 knots by next week. This strength would place Ma-on at category III on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.

At the moment, Ma-on is more than 600 miles from any land and will not threaten any land, apart from Iwo Jima and Chi Chi Jima, for at least five days. JTWC (the Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii) specifically warns that the storm will not follow the most common scenario, namely of veering northeast and being swept away in a much weakened state by the mid-latitude airstream. Japan is currently experiencing a heatwave, with temperatures between 90 and 95F (32 to 35C). The set-up in the atmosphere which has brought this extreme heat will also permit Ma-on to approach Japan unrestrained, and don't be surprised to hear of a category III typhoon (if not worse) making landfall in mainland Japan next week.

Tuesday 12 July

A reasonably nice day with some sunshine. Another cruiseliner, the Christopher Columbus, was in port today. It lay anchored in Glumag Harbour, right opposite my position, and departed for Greenock (near Glasgow) by late afternoon. I went into town to try the library again; this time it was open and I could trawl old copies of the local paper for WW1 tributes to Harris men. I only found 4 for the whole of 1917, and 1 for the island of Berneray. None for the Uists or Barra. The total number of Lewis tributes for 1917 and 1918 stands at 250. The reason may be that communications with the Southern Isles in those days were poor; also, Lewis was part of a different county (Ross & Cromarty) than Harris and the Southern Isles, which were part of Inverness-shire.

It is with grim satisfaction that I am watching the wheels coming off the Rupert Murdoch wagon; the main parties in the Westminster parliament have united to call for his takeover bid of broadcaster BSkyB to be abandoned. Even in the States, his News Corp business has come under scrutiny and criticism. As I have stated twice over the past week or so, I find it iniquitous that a media man should have such tight control over political figures. Who cares that a trash newspaper like the Sun can state it supports this party or that, and its dumb readership then votes for that party?