View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Saturday 12 April

Westerly gale this morning, but with good sunny spells and showers. Typical Hebridean day, just feeling sorry for the poor lambs coming into the world on a day like today. It's not very warm (8C / 46F), and that strong wind could easily chill them.

SNP leader Alex Salmond has said that the independence referendum is not about the SNP. It IS about the SNP. It is the SNP that have initiated the process, on their terms and using their methods. IMHO they are fighting on a negative premise, against the English, against the Conservatives. They have failed to answer questions on many substantive issues that would face any independent country, and that is how the debate should be conducted.

Right, Maritime and Coastguard Agency, this is the sort of situation that highlights why we need an Emergency Towing Vessel around the Outer Hebrides. Not stationed 200 miles away in Orkney.

Friday 11 April

Overcast morning has now turned into rain. Wind is picking up, and we should have galeforce winds tomorrow. However, that's nothing compared to the 95 mph gusts experienced in North Queensland, Australia today, as cyclone Ita slams into Cape Flattery.

We can't redeem the fuel saving discount in the islands, so Tesco deign to grant us double Club Card points. Until 19th April. We bow to thee, oh supermarket ;-)

Went to watch a performance of Dogstar Theatre's "Factor 9" at An Lanntair. I refer to the below event from a few days ago, when the same play was performed at Strathpeffer.

It was an intense hour and a half, attended by only two dozen people or so. It highlighted the scandal of contaminated bloodproducts for haemophiliacs, compounded by the callous use of the victims for "medical research". Medical research that falls in the same category of wholly unethical behaviour as displayed by Joseph Mengele in the death camps of Nazi Germany.

Thursday 10 April

Afternoon all, it's April showers on the menu here. In spite of that, it doesn't feel cold on account of the warm sun.

On Twitter, the 102nd anniversary of the sinking of RMS Titanic is being commemorated on @TitanicRealTime.

Wednesday 9 April

Afternoon all from a very wet Stornoway. Although it isn't really that cold, the rain is fairly tipping down. Not an outside day, therefore I shall do more digging. I keep finding additions and corrections for my WW1 listings, so that will be on my menu this afternoon.

If you bear in mind the population of this island, I think we have a very good and cheap bus service. The only exception is the route to Uig, where the first bus out of Stornoway leaves at midday, and you have to be careful about your return trip in the afternoon - not all days of the week. However, if you wish to travel to Leverburgh for the day (55 miles from Stornoway), it's only about £10 return. A single ticket for the Ullapool to Inverness bus (similar distance) costs £12. Frequencies to the more populated rural areas (Point, Back and Ness) are quite acceptable (every 1-3 hours). What is the population of Lewis? About 20,000, just under half of which live in Stornoway.

Tuesday 8 April

Bright and sunny today - in between the April showers. The brisk west wind does nothing to augment the temps, 12C at best.

Excuse me. A man living at number 6 is bailed to stay at number 5 and ordered not to go near his usual address. I don't know how close no 5 is to no 6, but this looks faintly ridiculous.

Went to see the plans for the new ferry terminal at Stornoway, works just starting I think. Should be interesting to see the finished product, by the end of the summer.

Wasn't that eerie? The lady from the guest house in Stornoway who said that you could see eagles in Lewis. She couldn't think of anything else to be seen in the island. Now, I have very, very little Gaelic, but I do know that the Gaelic for eagle is Iolaire. All people from Lewis (and those that have been in touch with me over the years) know about the tragic story surrounding HMY Iolaire, which sank outside Stornoway harbour on 1 January 1919 with the loss of 205 lives. The news item about tourism in the Outer Hebrides only elicited feelings of scorn with me. Sorry. But I'm sure that the eagles were mentioned for a reason - and not for the reason that the lady had in mind. It has inspired me to write a new short story, my 14th.

Monday 7 April

First cruiseliner of the season is here, the good ole Marco Polo. She has been on the go for nearly 50 years. Tragedy struck in February, when a huge wave in the English Channel smashed windows, causing the death of a passenger. We remember him, whilst wishing her godspeed.

April showers this morning, with rain, hail, snow and the kitchen-sink. Only 9C / 48F on a brisk southerly breeze.

I don't want to be insensitive or disrespectful with regards to the death of Peaches Geldof. Any death is the cause of profound sorrow and sadness for the family involved, particularly for such a young person.

Having said that, I find it a gross exaggeration to devote five whole minutes at the start of the main evening news bulletin to the death of this celebrity. There are more important things happening today. The crocodile tears of Oscar Pistorius do not rank among them. Neither, sorry folks, does the first overseas visit of Prince George.

Pistorius. Oh, I am so tempted to write down my theories on that case. But it is a live trial, and this blog is visible to all. So, die Gedanken sind frei.

Think Queensland could get a very nasty surprise this weekend. It's called tropical cyclone Ita, and it will graze the length of the eastern coast from Cape Melville a long way down towards Brisbane. That is my guess at any rate, it's still 4-5 days until the first landfall occurs.