View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Hallowe'en 2013

Reposted from 2010
Hallowe'en is not a tradition I grew up with, and I've only grown more familiar with it since I came to the UK, 16 years ago this month. It is a relatively inoccuous event, although I resent, like the gentleman in the pic above, the abuse of black cats just because they have black fur.

I'll just stick to the black cat as depicted in this graphic. My family had a black tomcat for 15 years in the 1970s and 1980s, and he was the friendliest creature you could care to find. Other cats, around at the time, would agree or disagree with that vehemently; other toms would get a sound thrashing out of him, whilst the females of the species got all they ever wanted out of him and more.

Donna provided me with this graphic 6 years ago, and I'm glad to see she's slowly getting back in the habit. She was also behind this graphic
which had us trick-or-treating through J-land, meaning this image is at least 6 years old. I had two Hallowe'ens in J-land (2006 and 2007); J-land was closed down on Hallowe'en 2008. I was sitting in an airport lounge at Aberdeen when news came through that our blogs had gone. I've never understood why they had to be deleted, rather than being kept in an archived status. It caused a lot of upset, and I've not forgiven AOL for it.

Hallowe'en has a serious side to it. Its full name is All Hallows' Eve, the day before All Hallows, when we remember those that have passed away. 1 November will be the day, 5½ years ago, that my mother passed away, and I'll bear that in mind on the day. Others who have recently lost loved ones or friends will be kept in mind on that day. November is also the month that I post the links to journals whose bloggers have gone before, and I'm closing this admittedly sombre post with that.

In remembering those that went before us, we will gain strength from their memory and the fortitude they showed in adversity.

One Girl's Head Noise (UK) - Pam, RIP 16 April 2006
There are no Sundays - Jim, RIP April 2007
The Diatom Project - Walt, RIP 27 April 2007
Pennie's Pieces of Ohio - Penny, RIP 1 October 2007
My Reason for Reasoning - Barbara, RIP 20 November 2007
Lahoma's Laments - Lahoma, RIP 25 December 2007
I shaved my legs for this??? - Kim, RIP 26 December 2007
Sylvia Boiling, RIP 2 May 2008
Dribble by Chuck Ferris - Chuck, RIP 1 July 2008
Lori's Love Tribe - Lori, RIP 22 November 2009
Just Plain Bill, Bill, RIP 28 November 2010
A journey of another kind, Jane, RIP 30 May 2010
Daria, RIP 22 January 2011
Angie Marshall, RIP 30 January 2011
Lori Johnson, RIP 16 February 2011
Rebecca Robertson, formerly as Journeyzpath (Summer 2011)
Say it Baldy, Sam Shafer, RIP 29 June 2011
Gypsypaths, Carol Martinez, RIP 28 September 2011
Larry Wayland (moondawg), 2 December 2011
Frances Lawson, RIP 28 March 2012
Dad's Tomato Garden, Ray White, RIP 9 May 2012
Andy, RIP 15 September 2012
Dana Bate, RIP 28 July 2013
Ally Wells, RIP 8 July 2013

Wednesday 30 October

Who would have thought that. Until 3 pm, it was pishing it down and blowing a hoolie, and here we are, sun's out, the wind has dropped (in the space of 15 minutes) and it's quite acceptable. Pity the sun's going down at 4.45, but that's late October for you.

Tuesday 29 October

Got some fantastic cloudscapes rolling by; who needs a television (or the WWW) for entertainment. Unfortunately, they merged into a longer spell of rain after lunchtime, making the rest of the day a sopping wet affair.

Monday 28 October

Quite a nice morning here, with a moderate westerly breeze and 10C on the clock. Weather reports from the Netherlands show sustained winds of 68 mph, gusting to 85 mph on the island of Vlieland, which I happen to know very well indeed. The storm has caused a lot of travel disruption in southern England through blown-down trees. The highest recorded gust was 99 mph at The Needles, Isle of Wight.

Also keeping an eye on high winds across the North Sea, where winds of 71 mph, gusting to 92 mph are occurring off the Dutch coast. The storm is due north of the Netherlands and is scooting away towards Denmark and Finland. The below image shows a tree lying across railway tracks at Oosterbeek, a few miles west of Arnhem. Here in the UK, the storm is rapidly abating. It has claimed at least two lives and demolished several houses due to a gas explosion, caused when a falling tree ruptured a gas main.

Sunday 27 October

A steady procession of heavy, squally showers is passing through. The barometer has resumed its downward progression, presently at 969 mbar (28.6 in). If you're in England, keep a close eye on the forecast for strong winds.

At 4 o'clock, we saw the backside of the all the nasty weather. Nice cloudscapes for the last half hour of daylight.

Saturday 26 October

Clocks going back tonight (in Europe), and the weather is suitably dark and wintry. It's 5 pm, and the lights are on. It's raining and blowing pretty well at the moment. Winds at galeforce near the Butt of Lewis, with currently gusts to 55 mph. Barometer has dropped 10 mbar in the last 6 hours, from 990 mbar at 11 this morning to 981 mbar just now and I expect another 15 mbar off the readings before we're done. Keep an eye on the forecast if in England and Wales; there will be a storm, but its exact track is as yet not certain.

The image of the ferry is unusual. Normally, the boat makes the 180 degree turn upon backing out of her berth. Today, the winds were so strong that she had to back half a mile into Glumag Harbour, before being able to safely make the turn.

Where did the wind go? Oh I see. The barometer bottomed out at 981 mbar at 5 o'clock, so the wind dropped from force 7 to force 3. Eye of the storm, and here we shall reside until Monday.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Friday 25 October

Most days, I enjoy taking photographs of the weather conditions outside, and experiencing them when I do go out of the door. Today is not one of those days. It's pithing it down and it's just plain unmitigated wet out there. We have a moderate easterly breeze and it's just 10 degrees in Celsius or 50 in Fahrenheit.

77 sheep's heads and 32 carcases found at a croft. No, it was just for private consumption. Yes, and I'd like my bucket now, please.

Thursday 24 October

Quite a nice morning here, except it's perishing cold outside at 9C / 48F. The odd shower and this penetrating westerly wind. Worse to come in the days to come. My cold has left, just hope the wheeziness follows in its wake. Have got some pics to post, but my laptop is choking on updates, ZoneAlarm and Avast. Think I'll chuck Avast, it's interfering with the proper workings of Firefox and go back to the delights of AVG, which buggered Firefox as well.

Wednesday 23 October

After a morning of heavy showers we are now bathing in sunshine, but with quite a brisk westerly wind. 11 degrees is apparently normal for the time of year, but feeling slightly nippy. The petro-chemical plant at Grangemouth is to close down, and the refinery at the same location is likely to follow suit in a couple of months' time. The result is an imminent loss of 800 jobs, with the same number to follow later. I hope another operator can be found for the site, which has great economic significance for the area, and Scotland as a whole. If not, one of the pillars under the Scottish economy will collapse, leaving the case for Scottish independence (which I do not support) significantly weakened.

Tuesday 22 October

It's a dreich, grey and dark morning here. My sniffles came on their own, and will go away on their own. Feeling better than yesterday, thanks. I'm quite pleased because I've managed to remove the malware from the computer. Just a pity that Avast!, newly upgraded, has decided that the navbar in Blogger is malware and has to be blocked. Not so, Avast!, so a complaint is winging its way there. Tomorrow, I shall install another service pack for Vista, as well as my proper firewall software. And maybe, at last, I'll finally be back to somewhere near normal on this infernal machine. Including 10 minute hangs within half an hour of start-up

Monday 21 October

Managed to make a little more progress on my listings of WW1 victims from North Uist, for the first time since my computer crash on October 1st. Not feeling too bad today, but things will probably take a couple of days to return to normal.

Sunday 20 October

A lovely autumnal afternoon, with soft light, lighting up the soft colours and the leaves on the sycamore are turning yellow. Bad weather? What's that?

Saturday 19 October

Friday 18 October

An overcast day today, with any bright chinks in the cloud fast disappearing. Darkness is falling now (6.15pm), and when the clocks go back on October 27th, it'll be dark at 5. I spent more time talking to people in Tesco today than actually shopping - you know who you are.

Thursday 17 October

Wednesday 16 October

Morning all from a sunny Stornoway. It's a nice, calm morning here, and the sun rose at 8 o'clock in a blaze of colour. I am now leaving our old freight ferry Muirneag to her new life in Turkish waters. She arrived at Istanbul yesterday and presently lies anchored off that city. Yesterday, Muirneag passed the area which was once known as Gallipoli, at the entrance to the Dardanelles Strait.

Tuesday 15 October