View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Tuesday 12 March

Overcast and feeling cold today, mainly because we have no sun. However, I'm the last to complain, if I look at the major problems caused by a fall of snow in southeast England, France, Belgium and Holland. Belgium had 1,000 miles of standing traffic at one point in the morning, and the images from England spoke for themselves. Bus services were withdrawn in Brighton in the evening, to quote but one example. Fortunately, the strong March sun quickly went to work on melting all the white stuff.

The 115 cardinals have been locked into conclave [con clave = with keys] at the Vatican in Rome, and will not come out until one of them has been elected pope, with a 2/3 majority (having obtained 77 votes). After each vote, the ballot papers are burned, and the resulting smoke (with a bit of help) is coloured to signal no pope elected (black), or a pope has been elected (white). A strangely archaic ritual in this modern age of internet and what not.

Here in Stornoway, we have once again been treated to the sight of our regular ferry ship, the Isle of Lewis, being parked up alongside the ferry pier, undergoing repairs. The Clansman continues to take the run to Ullapool, but it is hoped that the situation will return to normal soon.