Title picture: Cloudscapes, Stornoway, 1 February 2017

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Wednesday 26 November

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Tuesday 25 November

Concerned reading about the eruption of violence in Ferguson MO. It looks like anarchy squared. It's a judge and jury that decide whether justice is being served. Everybody else just has to abide by that,whether they like it or not. There is something seriously wrong in society when that commonly held understanding breaks down.

I think I prefer the temperate climate of the Western Isles. Big swings in temperatures are not common here. Contrast that to Washington DC. 74F on Monday, crashing down to 32F on Thursday. No thanks :-)

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Monday 24 November

PB241375 MV Isle of Lewis leaving for Ullapool at 7 am

Hold on to your hats for the sunrise an hour and a half later:

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After that flaming sunrise, the wind got up to force 5 - 6, which makes a bit of a mockery of the 11C / 52F on the thermometer. A few showers on the radar, but not much.

I'm pleased for Castlebay, Horve, Eoligarry and Ardveenish in Barra for being in line for improved mobile phone coverage. Although I'm not a Vodafone user, I am bound to say to Mr Hoencamp (that translates as chicken camp, btw) that he makes enough money out of users in the Western Isles and indeed all rural communities that his company can easily afford to give everybody decent coverage. And when are all mobile phone providers finally going to talk to each other about sharing masts?

Sunday 23 November

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The image of the two lifeboats is that of the Tom Sandersen (17-18) and the Roger & Joy Freeman (17-31), at Stornoway, as pictured two days ago. The Tom Sandersen is off for a 6-month refit, and the R&JF will provide cover in the meantime.

Saturday 22 November

Just a brief comment on Obama's plan to grant an amnesty to 5 million illegal aliens (I always imagine little green men from Mars at that word, but never mind). Can I just remind everybody that all Americans are illegal aliens in their land, bar those that are termed First Nation, i.e. the ones that had been there for say 30,000 years? The lot that came in after 1492 did so through murder, pillage and rape and can't really be said to be legal. Can they?

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Friday 21 November

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Thursday 20 November

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Went to Sandwick Cemetery this afternoon to locate some gravestones for someone's family history. Stornoway Historical Society once compiled a full transcription of all the gravestones in the old cemetery, but it still presented quite a puzzle to me. Weather was lovely, although it did get nippy as the sun set. Now down to 3C / 37F, and set to drop further.

Wednesday 19 November

Oh dear oh dear oh dear - oh dear. Our weather may be of little wind, but there is a storm blowing over the ferry timetable in early spring. It changes every day, because the MV Isle of Lewis can only dock in Uig (Skye) at high tide. The same applies to the Clipper Clanger. Taking vehicles across to Lewis will therefore be a nightmare.

HOWEVER.

Everybody seems to be forgetting the good ole MV Hebrides, still blissfully plying between Tarbert and Uig, requiring only a 37 miles drive along the A859 from Stornoway. So we do have several ferries a day to go to the mainland. Granted, the A87 and A82 aren't the fastest roads in the country (rather than the much maligned A9).

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Tuesday 18 November

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Monday 17 November

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Sunday 16 November

After breakfast, we went on a slow walk through the centre of Inverness, calling into places like Poundland and Macdonald's, not heard or seen in Stornoway. Poundland showed me how much you pay for brandnames - if there is a chain that can make money out of selling stuff for £1. I needed some new walking boots, my old ones finally gave up the ghost on Thursday. Fortunately, I did have another pair of shoes, but they were not very comfortable. After yet another over-priced and luke-warm bowl of soup, we headed for the bus to Ullapool. Darkness had fallen by the time we reached the portakabin that passed for a ferry terminal. Ferry departed for Stornoway at 6.15pm, where we reached at 9 o' clock. Crossing was unremarkable.

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Saturday 15 November

Went on the 7 am ferry to Ullapool this morning, for a brief visit to Inverness. The crossing was very calm, and we were delivered to the mainland with a minimum of fuss by 9.45. The bus took us into the city, but fog shrouded the landscape from Garve all the way into Inverness. After a rather over-priced lunch in a restaurant that tried to get us to order two courses without offering a one-course option, we went to our B&B in Kenneth Street. Inverness was shrouded in pretty dense fog.

By evening, we ventured out for fish & chips in a pub, then to a charity ceilidh in the Ironworks venue on Academy Street. This lasted from 7.30 until 11.30pm, and raised about £4,000 on the night, excluding ticket sales. I estimate the revenue of those at around £3,000. Great atmosphere, but tinged with sadness. CRY for a ceilidh was in memory of islander Andrew Macleod who died of an unknown cardiac condition aged 21 in 2011. One of his friends had organised it, and she was very emotional throughout.

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Friday 14 November

Here in Stornoway, it is a breezy and grey morning. The ferry did not sail at 7 am, and a decision is due a little later on whether the afternoon sailings will go ahead. The wind is blowing from the east at force 7, which always creates a severe swell in the Minch - the reason for the cancellation. The wind is expected to abate through the afternoon.

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Thursday 13 November

Fairly bright here this morning, but boy, do I not like the cloud formations. The forecast mentions force 8 to 9 winds later, which has already led to the cancellation of the afternoon ferry sailings here, and elsewhere in the islands. After a brief respite, we'll get a repeat blast tomorrow afternoon.

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