View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Wednesday 16 January

The day started windy and wet, but by midday it had dried up and it was a bit brighter. I compiled nine more profiles of WW1 casualties from Arnol, one of them a lieutenant-colonel - but him no better or worse than the humble privates and sailors who lost their lives elsewhere and at other times.

What shocked me most of all today was the helicopter crash in Vauxhall, south London. I switched on the TV at 8.30 am, half an hour after the crash, and fell straight into the immediate aftermath. It soon became clear that two people had lost their lives and about a dozen were hurt. Bearing in mind location and timing, it was an absolute miracle that the casualty toll was not much higher.

US president Obama has announced the first steps to control guns in the States. Many people are opposed, viscerally so, and by constitution all Americans are allowed to keep and bear arms. However, if 10,000 people a year are killed by guns (compared to 250 pro rata for European countries), something is wrong. Maybe America never got out of the 19th century.

This heron flew off just as I was trying to take its pic.


Tuesday 15 January

Another cold day, with some remnants of overnight frost in the shade. The day dawned fairly bright and remained so. Upon returning from the shop, the mainland hills, bathed in sunshine, stood out from 50 miles away on the eastern horizon, resplendent in snowy white. We have had no snow, and are not expecting any. The Atlantic is keeping us warm, if you want to call 3C / 37F warm. However, with all the snow problems elsewhere in the UK, I'm not complaining.

Confirmation reached us today that the man who fell off a cliff in Point yesterday died after reaching hospital. In a small place like Swordale and Knock, everybody knows everybody else. The man who died had returned to the island to look after his elderly mother, and had been trying to rescue his brother's ram when he fell. My sympathies with his family, friends and the community in his village.