View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Tuesday 20 November

We started off grey but dry, with very little wind. That all changed at 11 in the morning, when the rain started to pour and the wind got up. By lunchtime, the sun came out and the wind rose to a near-gale, force 7. Yes, the barometer was way down as well, and is only rising slowly.

Fortunately, Stornoway looked very nice in the afternoon when the sun shone on South Beach, as shown above.

I was slightly amazed that the Church of England voted against female bishops. I was amazed at the emotional response, shown by the (female) reporter on ITV news, who (I felt) went way over the top in her condemnation of the CoE, describing it as not of this age &c. She should bear in mind that the Anglican Church does not just hold sway in England, but also has large congregations outside the country, some of whom are very conservative. However, it is a typical case of how shall we interpret the Scriptures to our own ends, and I have this funny feeling that 'Him upstairs' will have cast his Eyes upwards as one of his churches is heading for more schisms.

I'm patiently waiting for the hot-heads in the Middle East to cool down and reach a cease-fire, and hopefully a permanent solution. After 65 years of crap, I think it's high time. Israel is here to stay, the people who used to live in Palestine before the Israelis came, are also here to stay, so why not sit down for a chat? I acknowledge the hatred that all this crap has caused, and which will not go away in a hurry. As the people in Iraq have shown, it is perfectly feasible for the idiots to be kicked out, if the will for peace is there. And I genuinely believe that it is there. On both sides.

Monday 19 November

A very dark, grey, overcast and wet day. After the cold weather of the last few days, it was pleasant to find it had got quite a bit milder, with the mercury in double figures. The rain, which locally amounted to 2/3 inches (17 mm), caused havoc in Perthshire, with the village of Comrie (between Perth and Crieff) awash under several inches if not feet of water. Three months ago, the village had suffered flooding as well and had nowhere near recovered from that. The next couple of days will see more active weatherfronts and rain moving through.

In a way, it was good that the army major, in charge of the boattrip that left young Kaylee Macintosh dead, back in 2007, was sentenced to a fine of £5,000 ($8k). Since '07, the law on breaches of health & safety has been altered, meaning that in severe cases like this, people can be sent to prison. Other people may be prosecuted as well, as many aspects of the whole trip were found to be faulty. Kaylee, who was 14, was one of a party of several teenagers who were in a fast boat in Loch Carnan, South Uist, in August 2007, when the craft overturned during bad weather. No headcount was taken, and it took an hour and a half for Kaylee to be recovered from under the upturned boat, dead by that time.

Stornoway is not a place that shies away from a drink, so it was even more surprising to read that one of its pubs has closed down. Others have diversified into providing food. The reasons quoted are a decrease in disposable income in the island, cheap booze in supermarkets (which people will consume at home). I mean, if you can get 6 pints for £3 in the supermarket, and get charged £3 for 1 pint in a pub, I can very well understand why people make that choice.