View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 7 February 2014

Friday 7 February

Today saw the opening of the Winter Olympics at Sochi, Russia. It went nearly flawless, except for the  snowflake that refused to open. And the fact that one of the torchbearers was the alleged girlfriend if not wife of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Sigh. Rumours, rumours, rumours.

I was quite horrified to see the extent of flooding southern England. Now that villages in the Somerset Levels are slowly being submerged, we also learn of flooding in counties further east. It is suggested that the government was slow to act on the situation, which first arose in December. However, the weather situation is quite extreme, and I just hope they manage to get everything under control again soon.

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Thursday 6 February

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A quiet day in the isles, with the first hints of spring appearing in people's gardens. Went for a walk across town in the afternoon, just managing to avoid the odd rainshower that was passing through. The weather here is positively benign in comparison to the south of England, which seems to be getting our winter weather. We can cope - they are not used to such extreme rainfall.

One of the above pictures, featuring the tower in the background, was taken from Leverhulme Drive. This residential street is named after landowner William Hesketh Lever (Lord Leverhulme) who owned Lewis and Harris between 1918 and 1925. Leverhulme is famous for establishing the Sunlight soap company and Port Sunlight village in the Wirral, near Liverpool. His enterprises in the Outer Hebrides came to very little, and ended upon his death. The remains of one, the whaling station at Bunabhainneadar in Harris, is still visible. Leverhulme had great plans for Stornoway and the island, but coming in the aftermath of the devastating losses in the First World War, his intentions fell on deaf ears. He offered the island to its people, but only the parish of Stornoway took up his offer for them to own their land. The Stornoway Trust, set up in 1923, is the first community landowner, and is still in existence.