View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Monday, 7 April 2014

Ukraine and Russia - continuing downhill

Now Putin is fomenting trouble in eastern Ukraine, and we're going to be treated to another sham referendum, one that will lead to war between Ukraine and Russia after its inevitable outcome on May 11th. Similar sham referenda can be anticipated in some of the Baltic states, which have large Russian minorities. And that will lead to war with NATO. God help us.

Obama, you're a blabbermouth. All talk and no action.When the first sign of Russian infiltration in Crimea occurred, back in March, he should have sent the fleet into the Black Sea, just outside Ukrainean territorial waters, all weapons loaded and ready to pull the trigger.

Sunday 6 April

Afternoon all, it's a wet and breezy day in the Western Isles. Not tempted to go outside, so continuing with more searches re WW1 casualties. Am about half-way down my list of 447 names on Ancestry, and keep finding minor and major errors going back to when I started this out-of-control project 7 years ago.

This is SO frustrating. Searching for a Donald Macleod from (the parish of) Barvas in this island, who was killed in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) on 9 April 1917. His service number was 3/7088, but can I find any info on him? No, blazes.

The rain has moved away, but has been replaced by a force 6 from the southwest and some bright spells. The moon passed close to the planet Jupiter after nightfall, quite a spectacular conjunction.

Saturday 5 April

Afternoon all from a decidedly dreich Stornoway, it's grey wet and breezy. Late last night (about 1 am), there was dense fog here. Intermittent spells of drizzle, borne along on this southerly breeze. No it's not warm at all, barely into double figures. One thing about the Hebridean climate, we don't get huge jumps in temps. It has been a pretty consistent 10-12C (50-54F) over the past week, but down south has seen anything between 10 and 20C (50-68F).

Friday 4 April

Overcast and very misty this morning, visibility little better than a mile here. Should be brighter tomorrow.

Thursday 3 April

After a dreich morning, the rain has moved away north. However, the sun has taken a leave of absence for a day or two. Time to catch up with more research.

Wednesday 2 April

Stunning day today, not a cloud in the sky (to speak of). Just wisps of high level cirrus. No pollution here to speak of. Went on a 5 mile walk round Laxdale, Newvalley and Bennadrove, back through the Castle Grounds. Saw the first (live) lambs of the season, heard plenty more in the fields at Newvalley.

A major moor blaze has flared up from east of Achmore, being propelled all the way towards Garynahine. Firecrews are out tackling it, but another blaze was being reported near Direcleit, Harris.

Tuesday 1 April

Can you get me a bucket of steam please? April Fool!

Afternoon all from a bright but not fully sunny Stornoway. The musical ferries continue, with MV Isle of Arran currently bravely plying the Minch whilst the MV Isle of Lewis is out on sea trials following repairs. Military exercises, involving jamming of GPS, send the AIS trails for the Isle of Arran into the Baltic, heading north at 102 knots. Chance would be a fine thing...

One of my Russian contacts had this summary on president Putin: Not [...] amused by the various bright sparks ascribing Der Zwerg's deranged territorial ambitions to the hapless passport holders.
For those who do not speak German (!), Der Zwerg means The Dwarf.

Monday 31 March

Our ferry is cancelled today, due to technical problems. There is a 4pm sailing out of Tarbert to Uig, Skye. We therefore now have not had a ferry service out of Stornoway for two days running. The MV Isle of Arran is going to cover on the Stornoway to Ullapool route, amidst a huge uproar over the arrant (sic!) nonsense surrounding this ferry service.

Fairly bright and sunny, but a thin layer of mid-level cloud keeps the sky milky white rather than blue. Putin wants Finland back for Russia? I suppose he wants another bloody nose like he got in 1940.

Sunday 30 March

Clocks went forward an hour in the night, and even this minor change in timekeeping throws your bodyclock out of sync. The ferry developed a serious fault, and did not go out for its customary Sunday afternoon run to Ullapool. MV Isle of Lewis now stands for Motionless Vessel Isle of Lewis. She has taken up the soubriquet of the Olympic Flame, latterly bestowed on the MV Muirneag until she went out for good on October 3rd. She remains anchored off Istanbul. Tomorrow, she won't be going out either.

A tropical cyclone in the Mozambique Channel, west of Madagascar, blew up to the highest category (five) whilst bearing down on Madagascar. Local newsmedia there did not mention the storm at all, which is a bit frightening.

Had a nice amble around the Castle Grounds, past the Castle and up Gallows Hill. The derhodondendroning has opened up some fantastic vistas from Gallows Hill, and you can now see the river in the valley below. It wasn't cold (13C / 55F), and quite a few people out stretching their legs.

Saturday 29 March

Bright morning here, with no clouds to speak of. There is a lively east wind, which appears to be strengthening. It's going to be warm in southern England; we'll remain cooler at 12C / 54F.

Went for a walk around the harbour. The sunny weather allows for some really nice pictures, and I had a great time at the waterfront.