Title picture: Cloudscapes, Stornoway, 1 February 2017

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Schism alert

I have the deepest respects for religious beliefs and convictions, if anyone professes to holding such. I am a Protestant, albeit barely active (read: I'm only in church at Christmas). I have nothing against Roman Catholics, in fact, some of my best friends over the years were devout RC. I could, in all fairness, not contemplate joining the RC church, for reasons of principle. I will not accept major parts of church dogma, for a start. However, I don't like certain aspects of the Protestant church either. This news item, about a schism or split in one of the Church of Scotland congregations in Stornoway, highlights one of them. My complaint is not about homosexuality; I have nothing against gay people, as long as they don't put it on display right in my face. My complaint is about ordinary people deciding how the Holy Scriptures should be interpreted, and that any other interpretation is false, and (worse) condemning people who believe that the alternate interpretation is the right one. Who is to know how the Scriptures should be interpreted? Only God knows - and He is leaving it to us to figure it out. For us to find out that we're all fallible, and should live in forgiveness for errors of others, real or perceived ones - in order that we can repay the favour. How often did I say I was in church? Hmm.

Sunday 20 April

Easter Sunday and not a single cloud in the sky. The southerly breeze takes the edge of the temperature, but in a sheltered position it is positively warm. Went for a 4 mile walk in the Castle Grounds, from the Castle to the College, across the Golf Course to the Waterwheel and back through town. Lots of folk out, walking dogs and kids. Mercury reached 14C / 57F, very good for this time of year.

Saturday 19 April


It's drying up and brightening up after a rather wet start to the day. The mercury has barely moved in the last 24 hours, varying between 8 and 10C / 46 to 50F. Prefer that to the wild and wonderful swings I'm seeing reported by some of my US contacts!

Friday 18 April


Aye, it's Good Friday, and not a bad day weatherwise. Breezy this morning but quite bright with some intermittent sunshine and about 11C / 52F. It is customary in some parts of the world to attend a performance of JS Bach's St Matthew's Passion today, and it is one of the few pieces of classical music where the audience does NOT applaud at the end. You file out in silence. The Passion ends with the death of Christ being mourned with the words: "In tears we are sitting here". Never a dry eye in the house...  

One of those glary days. Sun is not openly out in the sky, but the thin high- and mid-level cloud makes the light very bright indeed. It doesn't always agree with me, unfortunately. Where's me paracetamol?

Thursday 17 April

This morning, I was greeted at the front door by a playful young, black cat with amber eyes. Like another feline before it, 6 years ago virtually to the day, it wanted to rub itself all over me, jump at the strap on my camera and needed to be gently removed from the porch, lest it get locked in. No, it isn't mine, although I'm very fond of cats.

Today, I took delivery of a copy of The English Camp at Groningen 1914-1918 (in Dutch). The subject of this internment camp propelled me into the subject of local history, particularly First World War.

Wednesday 16 April

Morning all from a very wet Stornoway. And the Scottish Government is in Stornoway today (is that the reason it's pissing down with rain?). Mr Salmond will do something to do with the harbour development (watch that rock!) and Ms Sturgeon will dig the first sod at a new housing development at Melbost Farm, outside Sandwick.

At 8.40pm, the electricity went out. All the way from Fort William to Lerwick. The reason appears to have been a 'transient fault' between Inverness and Elgin, which spread right across the north of Scotland. Here in Stornoway, it lasted for 50 minutes, after which the local power station kicked in. It's nice to have the candles etc out, but electrical light is preferable.

Tuesday 15 April

There is a lunar eclipse tomorrow morning (British time). Its commencement (moon moving into the prenumbra) will just about be visible in the UK before moonset, but North America will have a grandstand view.

Talk of poor timetable design. In order to establish the exact route of a certain bus, I have to go to one table, but emulate Sherlock Holmes to deduce from a secondary table that it does take that route. I'm talking about CnES and its W6 and W7 town services in Stornoway.

Looks as if I've had my last search for shellfish at springtide by the ferry terminal. Works have started to reclaim that bit between the current terminal area and the outflow of the Newton Basin. This will end up burying that stretch of tidal mudflat forever.

Such strange weather tonight. Suddenly blowing a hoolie between 9 and 10, and now it's calmed right down again. Odd.

Monday 14 April

Beautiful Monday morning here, with broad sunshine and little wind. Temps already in double figures. Went out for a walk through the Golf Course to the War Memorial. Returned across the Golf Course, but this time in the general direction of the Castle. In sheltered areas, it felt quite warm in the sun, although the wind pegged temps at 12C / 54F. Gorse is in full bloom, and the dandelions are also beginning to put in an appearance. Lots of people out playing golf, noticed at least three golf balls along the path.

After a ship got into difficulties south of Barra Head, calls are being made for an Emergency Towing Vessel to be positioned in the Minch again. I'd like to think that my Facebook comments were picked up by a local journalist, and by the MSP.

Sunday 13 April

Afternoon all, it's brightened up here after a dull and rainy start. Sun is making haphazard appearances, and the wind remains strong. It's April!