View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

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

Monday 14 October

It's a bright and sunny morning, with only a few clouds on the southern horizon. No major changes anticipated over the next day or two. Our old freight ferry Muirneag is now on the home strait, 60 miles south of Athens in the Aegean and 450 miles southwest of Istanbul. She has received orders to proceed to Samsun, 380 miles to the east of Istanbul on the coast of the Black Sea. However, I will only monitor Muirneag's progress as far as Istanbul.

In the evening, Muirneag is on the last 24 hours of her journey to Istanbul, presently 100 miles east of Athens and 110 miles west of Izmir, Turkey; the distance to Istanbul is 450 miles. Tomorrow morning, she will pass the site of the Gallipoli landings of 1915, in which tens of thousands of soldiers from both sides lost their lives. I shall post a tribute to the dozen servicemen from the Isle of Lewis who were killed there in 1915; it is fitting as Muirneag has come all the way from Lewis since October 3rd.

At 10 pm, I received word that the aurora borealis was visible in the Outer Hebrides, so I went out to Mossend to take pics. It was quite some display, with curtains of green light swinging above the horizon. I took the below pictures with a 60 second exposure.

Sunday 13 October

Not cloudless but certainly a glorious autumn afternoon. Our former freight ferry Muirneag is now 250 miles east of Sicily and ditto west of Peloponnese, Greece. Tropical cyclone Phailin has made landfall in India, leaving massive disruption and damage in its wake, but a far lesser loss of life than feared.

I've got some of my bookmarks back (thanks Pearltrees), but they are in an unholy muddle. I have NOT got the pics back that I took between 1 August and 13 September. OK, they are on Flickr, but that means manual downloading - of 226 pics. Have been trying Recuva, but that leaves me with files that won't show the pics hidden therein.

In the evening, Muirneag's chugging along some 250 miles southwest of Athens, and 75 miles southwest of the Peloponnese in Greece. The ship will veer northeast in the course of the night and head up the Aegean towards Istanbul, where she is expected to arrive in the evening of Tuesday 15th October.

Saturday 12 October

Muirneag has reappeared on AIS, now near the island of Pentallaria, between Sicily and Tunisia. By tomorrow, she'll pass Malta before crossing the Ionian Sea into Greek waters.

A perfect day. Not a cloud in the sky. A moderate easterly breeze does not keep the mercury down; we're at 10C / 50F at the moment.

Trying to restore my system to the way it was until my harddisk crashed 11 days ago. Well, that's of course not possible. I've lost my bookmarks; my firewall software is suddenly incompatible with the version of Windows I was running previously, and I can't find my product key for MS Office. No, I'm not going to pay for it AGAIN. And here I am, installing Flashplayer, the very piece of garbage that gave me so much grief beforehand. Sometimes, computers just ain't worth it. Oh, one other nice job I have to do: manually download 116 pics from Flickr, which are the ones that I took after the backup and before my camera switched to a new folder. The old one of course I deleted from the memory card. Do I sound fed up? Whatever made you think that...

Also went to see an exhibition about peat in An Lanntair, where I took a few pics.

Friday 11 October

Our ferry is back in Stornoway; the Hebrides is currently at Ullapool and will start to make its final crossing as relief vessel as of this afternoon. Our former freight ferry Muirneag last was picked up on AIS just before midnight last night, some 40 miles east northeast of Algiers. AIS coverage is sparse along the coast of Algeria, so there is no more recent sightings at present. On the 8th day of her journey to a new life, Muirneag is continuing to head east northeast in the Mediterranean, some 15 to 25 miles off the Algerian coast. At 11 this morning, she was located 250 miles west of Tunis and 220 miles east of Algiers. She will probably enter Tunisian waters around midnight tonight, after which she should start to show up on AIS monitoring stations in Sicily. Once past Crete, coverage is again poor across the Aegean, so I hope that I can follow Muirneag's progress on the last stages of her journey to Istanbul.

Nice bright and sunny day out here, and we've mostly lost the wind. Received my replacement hard drive, and am going through the motions of installing programs and updates, and later files. A number of things are (and will remain) missing. I did have some degree of back-up, but will have to up my game in that respect. This is a complete pain in the backside.