View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Wednesday 5 October

Another autumnal day, with heavy downpours and quite breezy. The red-hot pokers that used to liven up late September and early October in recent years have been blown and broken by last Monday's gale, and the stalk propping up the eucalyptus tree was snapped by the high winds. Anyone got any green twine going spare? The roll in this house must have been used up or summat.

Good news as this day draws to a close: Sarah Palin has decided not to run for president of the USA. With all due respect to the former governor of AK, she has made the dropping of clangers a trademark, and one that a US president should only flaunt after (s)he has come into office and become endeared to the populace. See George Dubya and Ronald Reagan. Wasn't it Sarah Palin who said that the US needed a president who had balls? Well, that ruled her out by default, and I'm pleased she has acted on that. With apologies to my American friends.

I am just finding out that the water supply in parts of North Uist is contaminated with aluminium. It applies to the area from Scolpaig west and south to Grimsay; Lochmaddy and Benbecula's supplies are unaffected. People have been supplied with bottled water, left on their doorsteps, with the instruction only to use tapwater for flushing toilets or washing laundry. The article contains a list of places affected, and a contact telephone number.

Tuesday 4 October

Not a terribly attractive day in terms of weather, with intermittent showers and strong winds. Yesterday's gales led to mountainous waves off the west coast of Lewis, some up to 50 feet (15 metres) tall. The highest gusts reached 66 mph / 106 km/h in places. It led to disruption, which appeared to continue, judging by the output on the Calmac website. Fortunately, that was all wrong, due to a website error.

There was good news in that the Emergency Towing Vessels will be retained along the Scottish coast for a limited period of time. The ETVs were introduced following the 1993 Braer disaster. The Braer foundered at Shetland and shed its cargo of crude oil. Disaster was averted because of stormforce winds, which served to turn the sea into a big mixing cauldron, dispersing the oil through wave action. The tug in the Minch has proved its worth; last year, it pulled the nuclear submarine HMS Astute from a shingle-bank at Kyleakin.