Sunny evening, 6 June 2018

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Thursday 22 November

A wild start to today, with winds of 84 mph before dawn at the Butt of Lewis and nearly an inch of rain near the Tiumpan Head Lighthouse, 10 miles northeast of Stornoway. The rain cleared after midday, leaving us with a reasonably bright afternoon - our afternoons are presently rather curtailed due to sunset times before 4pm.

As I type this, a consultation is coming to a close at the local council [Comhairle nan Eilean Siar] about budget cuts, amounting to £6 million. This is the final of a series of consultations across the islands. I have seen the list of proposed cuts, and some of them are painful to say the least. Closing schools, slashing provision of social services - and yet, councillors have been provided with their own iPads. Budget choices are always difficult.

Today it is reported that one Pacific island, Sandy Island, does not exist. It was reported to lie between New Caledonia and Australia, but when a survey ship went to have a look, there was only 4,600 feet of water. So, this is a case of undiscovering an island.

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