View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Sunday 13 May

Filthy weather today, with heavy rain and strong winds battering the islands. The ferry did go out at 2.30pm, but I do not envy its passengers their trip today. The wind readings at Stornoway airport were a sustained 30-35 mph, force 7, which is within the operational range of the Isle of Lewis. 

In my previous post, I referred to the death of one of my regional internet contacts. Like many others in these parts, I had missed the presence of this lady on the Twitter over the past year or so, an absence that will now be permanent. In my 8 years of internet interactions, starting with the infamous AOL chatrooms, later blogs and more recently on Facebook and Twitter, I have found it quite surprising that you establish a personal rapport with someone on the other end of a phoneline (i.e. internet connection), and can be genuinely sad or upset when something happens to them.

Today is Sunday, a day I keep as a quiet one. Not out of any religious conviction, but because over my years in Stornoway, I have come to appreciate the day that there are no vehicles flying up and down the road, the town centre is deserted all day and the only bus you see is the one taking the church goers to their place of worship - at 10.30 am and 6pm. Having read about the Cape Breton communions in the 19th century (a five day, open-air event involving hundreds of people at a time), I don't think we're as strict as some would make us out to be. Nonetheless, even in those strict times the minister would have to bellow across the field: "If Hamish Macdonald is done tickling Jean Macpherson, this service of God will proceed", at a young couple who found each other more interesting than the Day of the Question (Latha na Ceist).

A tribute

From across the Minch and through the medium of Twitter, news has reached me of the death of Mary Beith at her home in Sutherland. Although I never met Mary in the flesh, I was in touch with her through Twitter, where she operated as @igrannie. Her last posting there was on 26 August last year, and I gather that her health started to deteriorate earlier through last year.

Mary is better known in the North West Highlands through her writings on the subject of Gaelic medicine in the West Highland Free Press and has also published books.

I would like to dedicate this post to Mary’s memory, and convey my condolences to her family and friends.