View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Sunday 30 June

Force 7 from the southwest, haven't had that for a while. A bullying wind, blowing the blooms off the fuchsia and any loose debris along the street. Although the rain has let off somewhat, there is still a threat of showers about. A nice 14C / 57F this afternoon. 

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Saturday, 29 June 2013

Saturday 29 June

Went to a nice hour's storytelling in An Lanntair with Alex Patience and Donald Macneill. Audience participation was requested and obtained, even from one of the youngest members of the audience. Subjects ranged from Eynhallow to Heisgeir, and from Canada to the Moon! 

It was a cold afternoon here, with a stiff southerly breeze and the mercury only barely in double figures. Quite a contrast with parts of the USA, which report temps close on 40C.

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Friday, 28 June 2013

Friday 28 June

Liam Aitchison's murderers were sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum of 18 years before they can apply for parole. Justice has been done. I hope this brings some measure of closure for the family of the victim. It is not for me to comment further. 

Stornoway was windy and drizzly. Visibility down to below 1 mile at times, and temps of 13C / 55F. What I like about our weather is the gradual changes, not the crazy jumps up and down you get elsewhere.

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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Thursday 27 June

Curious. The cruiseship Prinsendam called into Stornoway at around 7 am, but then left again shortly afterwards, headed for Kirkwall. Spent the afternoon putting put plants into pots and tubs to brighten up the front steps. The crocuses and daffodils had all died off and gone into tubers.

It was announced that "Hebrides - Islands on the Edge" will be screened on national television. Nice imagery, but with a terrible voiceover.

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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Wednesday 26 June

At midday, I had to take a double take when the ferry appeared in view. Summer is here: it's Wednesday and the ferry does three sailings today (similarly on Friday). She won't finish for the day until about 2 am...
A French fishing boat came into Stornoway this morning for a crew change. The fresh crew are flown in from France, and the old crew go back on the return flight. The process in Stornoway harbour only takes 90 minutes.

By evening, the greyness of the sky matched the greyness of the sea - I called it a grey-out. 

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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Tuesday 25 June

Brisk southerly breeze, but you can safely disregard the weatherforecast that Isles FM relayed this morning. 18 degrees C, my foot. It's more like 14C, and likely to stay there. After 2pm, the rain started, so I hope that that takes the chill out of the air. The weather forecast on the evening TV news came from the bridge of the MV Hebrides, as it sailed between Uig (Skye) and Tarbert. 

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Monday, 24 June 2013

Monday 24 June

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Feeling chilly this morning, although it is brighter than it has been over the weekend. We could even get some sun, if we're lucky. The cruiseliner Astor is in for a visit today, anchored off Sandwick Bay, behind the Coastguard Station from my position.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Sunday 23 June

It's a miserable and cold day, with a strong northerly breeze keeping the mercury down to only just double figures. Intermittent rain makes it even colder - and that just a few days after the solstice.

I have kept an eye on the evolving story of another whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, who fled Hong Kong this morning and is (at time of posting) in Moscow. Mr Snowden revealed that the US intelligence services widely snoop on social networks, something that he (as an employee of said services) shouldn't really be talking about. What made me laugh this morning was a comment from the Chinese government that the US are the worst at transgressing internet security. It is alleged that the Chinese hack into all sorts of websites (including US government ones) on an industrial scale.

Edward Snowden has been assisted in his flight (and plight) by Wikileaks, whose founder (Julian Assange) remains holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. Although I view the activities of Messrs Assange and Snowden askance, it is faintly amusing to see governments being exposed with the pants down on matters of internet security.

Friday 21 June

Summer Solstice, but it feels more like the Winter Solstice. The usual suspects are congregating on Callanish, although it is not generally held that the Callanish Stones had anything to do with the Solstice, my perennial gripe. I was in town a day or so ago, and did spot some people who looked like they were headed for the Stones. I don't actually mind, it's good for the island's economy.

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Thursday 20 June

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I encountered a lady this evening whose husband showed me round the Island of Coll in 1992. The gentleman passed away 15 years ago (suffering a heart attack after watching the Scottish football team score an own goal). It was nice to be able to share some memories of Calmac ferries in the early 1990s, and hear her stories of working around the world.

Wednesday 19 June

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The weather is changing, but we still managed a sunny evening. Although it is very hot on the continent (30+ degrees C), it is not exactly warm here in the Hebrides: 14C does it. That is quite common, and I'm quite happy with temps like that. Just to share some images I took about 2 days ago at 1.30 in the morning, the darkest point of the night.

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Tuesday 18 June

The smoke in this image is caused by work to clear rhodondendrons in the Castle Grounds. The leftovers are burned, but the wind is quite strong today, so the fire seems to have gotten a wee bit enthusiastical. At one point, it all blew into the town centre, but fortunately the wind changed. Cough.

Monday 17 June

As I walked into town this afternoon, I spotted an unusual boat, tied up along the pontoon by the ferry terminal. I remember that a Norwegian museumship, the Nybakk, was due in this week, and that it was open to visitors. I hailed the crew, who invited me on board. It is a former fishing boat, built in 1961, which has been restored into a museum ship. I had an extensive yarn with one of the crew, before making my way back up to the deck (up a ladder at an angle of 80°) and back to the pontoon. The Nybakk was due to depart for Lerwick on Wednesday.

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Sunday 16 June

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Saturday 15 June

A sudden death in the small communities of the Western Isles has a major impact, and the death of a 33-year old in a road traffic accident a week ago has hit Uist like a hammerblow. The funeral of Ivan Macdonald took place today; he was described as a piper, crofter and friend.

I went across to Barvas this afternoon to visit a friend, with whom I share an interest in local history. Although my visit was unannounced, I was invited to stay for dinner and in fact did not depart until nearly 11 o'clock. Before I went to the door, I took a stroll across the nearby machair lands in a cold northeasterly wind.

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Friday 14 June

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