View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

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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Thursday 13 June

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Wednesday 12 June

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