View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday 2 October 2018


When this post is published, I shall be leaving Stornoway. I have stayed in the town (on and off) since early 2005, but found that I could not make it economically sustainable to carry on. I have enjoyed my involvement with local history, and photographing the scenic beauty of Lewis and Harris. My internet output on those subjects will remain on-line.

Although I am returning to the Netherlands, I am not resuming posting in the Shell Gallery blog. This in fact is now also closed (with a parallel post). My years of going back and forth between Scotland and Holland, the way I have done for the past ten years, are over.

It is 10 years and two days since I opened Atlantic Lines. With a degree of sadness, I am closing it this morning.

A new blog is now on-line on:

Amendment, posted 21st August 2023
I left Stornoway on 2nd October 2018, but came back a week later. I returned to Holland in January 2019 to celebrate my father's 85th birthday. I have remained in Stornoway since.

Tuesday 11 September 2018

9/11 - 17 years on

This tribute is published on the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on 11 September 2001, under the auspices of Project 2996.

Jeffrey Dwayne Collman

Image: Family photograph, via

Source: Aurora Beacon News, Aurora IL 9-23-2001
Jeffrey Dwayne Collman, age 41, of Novato, California, formerly of Yorkville, IL, a flight attendant for American Airlines, died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City at 8:45a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

Jeffrey was a 1977 graduate of Yorkville High School in Yorkville, IL. Jeff was formerly employed, for over 10 years, at All-Steel in Montgomery, IL. He had then worked, for a brief time, at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California before attaining his dream of being a flight attendant with American Airlines. Jeffrey loved his job and traveling to other countries around the world. He also loved to play and watch tennis. Jeff was a true people person who enjoyed visiting with and getting to know others. He became a flight attendant in 1997. Two years later, Jeff received the American Professional Flight Attendant Award and was considered a spirited and dedicated flight attendant. He liked to entertain children on his flights, and he was fond of playing tennis and traveling, friends said.

He is survived by his parents, Dwayne and Kay Collman of Yorkville, IL and Beverly Sutton of North Aurora, IL; his close companion, Keith Bradkowski of Novato, Ca; his brothers, Charles Collman of Fort Meyers, FL and Brian Collman of Las Vegas, NV; his sister, Brenda Sorenson of Aurora, IL; his step-brothers, Steve (Linda) Gengler of Yorkville, IL and Chuck (Lakshmi) Gengler of South Orange, NJ; his step-sister, Susan Bohan of California; a god-child, Marlene Wakelin; his half-sisters, Laura Kries of Brooklyn Park, MN, Caroline Sutton of Joliet, IL and Vickie Michel of Aurora, IL; several nieces and nephews, many loving aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Jeffrey will also be missed by 100 other flight attendants.

He is preceded in death by his grandparents and his brother, Mark Allen Collman.
A memorial service was held on Monday, October 1, 2001 at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Yorkville, IL with Pastor John Leaf officiating.

Father’s thoughts
Dwayne Collman's imagination gets the best of him when he thinks about the final minutes of his son's life on American Airlines Flight 11. He's filled with horror thinking about what the 41-year-old flight attendant from Yorkville went through as terrorists with knives steered the plane into the first World Trade Center tower. Collman knows his son received safety training in flight school, but he doubts it ever could have prepared him for the challenges he would face on the morning of Sept. 11. The grieving father is sure of one thing about his son, though, even if the details about his death are not certain:
"He would have fought like hell."

Jeffrey Collman, an American Airlines flight attendant for five years who grew up in Yorkville, died Tuesday morning when his hijacked plane, destined for Los Angeles, crashed into New York's famous landmark at 8:45 a.m. Though his body has not been recovered, his parents knew he was gone when he didn't call within a few hours after the tragedy. He had sent his stepmother, Kay, an e-mail the night before, telling her he would be flying from Boston to Los Angeles the next morning.

"I knew he was in that accident because every time there was something going on with airplanes, he would call and say, 'Hey, I'm all right,' " said Kay Collman. "So I knew that, when he didn't call, he was on that plane."

His parents [...] say Jeffrey Collman wanted to be a flight attendant because he loved to travel and meet people around the world. After working for years at Allsteel in Montgomery, he moved to California about five years ago to pursue that dream. Lifelong friend Dolores Humphrey, who went to school with Jeffrey Collman at all grade levels in Yorkville, said she feared he was killed when she heard the news because he often flew early-week flights from Boston to Los Angeles.
She said Collman never lost contact with his friends, even though his job took him around the world.

"Every time he got into town, he would call anyone he knew to meet for breakfast," said Humphrey, who last talked to Collman [5 days before 9/11]. "He would talk for a couple hours, then have to go fly somewhere else."

His stepmother said Jeffrey was the type of person who could "sit down next to someone on a plane and walk away knowing their life story." His father said Jeffrey loved tennis and flew around the world to watch professionals play. Kay Collman says her stepson never went anywhere meekly, and he loved his job so much that she's sure he didn't back down in the face of terror. "He took it seriously," she said, "and he would not have let anyone walk on him."

Humphrey said Jeffrey talked of flying even when he was a child, and his dream came true when American Airlines gave him a job. He was never afraid to fly, she said, always asserting that he was safer in the air than anyone on the ground. Collman's parents have begun to realize how their son died, and that he will always be remembered as a victim on one of the saddest days ever in the United States.

"It's completely different than just someone dying," Kay Collman said. "We'll have the pictures forever. We'll always see where he died. It's part of history."

Seattle Times, 17 September 2001
His partner, Keith Bradkowski, said Collman was courageous and safety-conscious. "He was so focused on safety," Bradkowski said. "If there was a threat, he would have done anything in his power to prevent it." He didn't normally work the Boston-to-Los Angeles route but made an exception to get vacation time at the end of the month. Collman grew up in Yorkville, Ill., and besides Bradkowski left behind four brothers and a sister. (Seattle Times)

Further information: the fate of Flight 11.

Blogger Nathanael V.  found out 5 years after 9/11, that Jeffrey Collman was a neighbour's grandson.


and as attributed above.

9/11 - 17 years on

When this post is published, it will be exactly seventeen years to the minute that the first aircraft hit the World Trade Center in New York. The events of what is now referred to as 9/11 are only too well known.

My thoughts are with all victims, whether identified afterwards, or not. In New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

My thoughts are with the passengers and crew on the four flights destroyed. My thoughts are with the victims killed in the World Trade Center. My thoughts are with those emergency workers who lost their lives trying to save others'.

My thoughts today are with the families of those who perpetrated these atrocities, for they lost too.

But first and foremost, my thoughts are with Norberto Hernandez, whose tribute I first filed on Northern Trip, the predecessor to Atlantic Lines, in 2006. The searches for Norberto on Google are contaminated with references to the Falling Man, who was in fact another victim, Jonathan Briley. This confusion has led to much anger and anguish, something the families of both men could do well without.

Norberto, rest in peace.

This entry, as stated above is dedicated to the memory of

Norberto was a pastry chef from Elmhurst, working in the restaurant Windows on the World on the 106th and 107th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York. After the attacks, he was reported missing for a week until parts of a torso and an arm were found in a collapsed stairwell. DNA testing and finger printing reveiled that these were the remains of Norberto. It also invalidated claims that the image of the Falling Man was that of Norberto; this was another victim of 9/11 who will be the subject of a different tribute.

At the time of the attacks on the WTC, Norberto was aged 42 and had been married for 25 years. He was the fourth of ten children by his parents’ marriage, and also had six half-siblings through his father. His parents separated when he was young. Norberto himself had three daughters, three grandchildren and 37 nephews. He was a man of Puerto Rican origins, and had hoped to spend his final days there. Instead, after 9/11, a funeral service was held and his remains cremated in Puerto Rico.

His sister Luz described Norberto. “He was quiet, kind”, she said. “He was a handsome man. Everybody loved him, you know. Everybody.” Norberto’s nickname was Bible, as he was very dependable. Together Forever was his motto.

Norberto started work in Windows on the World at the age of 17, washing dishes. He was interested in cooking, so a manager paid for his tuition at cooking school. Norberto became pastry chef and worked up to 10 hours a day. His sister Luz said that he made cakes, desserts, cookies and bread. His cakes were fabulous.

Outside work, Norberto loved sports, and was a fan of a Puerto Rican boxer, Felix Trinidad Jr. Four days before the attacks, he rang his mother and asked her to play “I would cry but I have no more tears” four times.

In the immediate aftermath of the plane striking the North Tower, Norberto called his sister Luz. “He said: ‘Yeah, don’t worry, I’m OK”.They were disconnected, and when Luz tried to call back she could not get through. Other accounts from Windows on the World tell that smoke and dust filled the restaurant after the strike, and that people lay on the floor to escape the worst of it. Air was beginning to run out at the time of the last contact.

These are the facts that I have managed to pull together from the Internet.

From the little that I have learned of Norberto, he came through as a gentle giant. Although 6’2” (1.84m) tall, he was always listening, and talked later. His family suffered a double loss, as Claribel Hernandez (his sister-in-law), a secretary working elsewhere in the North Tower, was also killed in the attacks. Norberto was close in the family and responsible, which earned him the nickname Bible. He loved his work, and by the look of one of the images, loved to impart that knowledge to others around him.

September 11th, 2001, dawned as a brilliantly sunny morning in New York. Two planes were flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center, leading to their collapse within 2 hours. The destruction of so many lives was brought about by mindless hatred and madness, fuelled by religious zealotry which was not based on any writing in any scriptures in any religion.

Norberto may have heard of that on news reports, but it was probably quite far from him. He was a man that lived for his family, always there for them. A diligent worker, putting in up to 10 hours a day, loving his creations from the oven. Travelling to the WTC on the Subway every morning, his thoughts were probably far from what was to happen not that much later on that fateful Tuesday.

Two thousand nine hundred and ninety-six are known to have died that day, or in its immediate aftermath. Norberto’s ashes were scattered in his homeland of Puerto Rico. His memory lives on in his family, and in the memory of those that read this. He is deeply missed by those close to him.

To Norberto Hernandez

Rest In Peace

This link is no longer operational

I have attempted to contact the University of Columbia to use the material in this link, but have not received a reply. As it is central to the tribute, I have used it, and acknowledge the writer, Sarah Clemence.

This is a poem by Barbara Phillips, from which I have used some factual references to Norberto. It refers to him being the Falling Man though.

I have been granted permission by UIM to reproduce the commemorative quilt for Norberto.
Link no longer operational
The poster, pictured above, proclaiming Norberto as missing after the attacks, hung on a walkway of Manhattan for more than a week

Friday 7 September 2018

Friday 7 September

Quite a decent day, weather wise. It became increasingly bright and sunny, and 14C / 57F is not bad for September. The tropics are keeping me busy, with one tropical cyclone forming after another in the Atlantic, and all looking like they mean business. Florence could affect  the east coast of the USA next week and (to be) Helene and Isaac are also likely to have some coast's name on them. Over in the Pacific, Mangkhut is way out east in Micronesia, but looks likely to hit Guam hard as a category 4 typhoon after the weekend. If you want to find that storm, you'll need to locate Enewetak. The apex of the Atlantic hurricane season is next Monday, September 10th. In the afternoon, I went for a brief stroll in the neighbourhood, in order to catch a better view of the Astoria, today's cruiseliner. We're headed for the end of the cruising season here.

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Wednesday 5 September

Day started drizzly, but that turned into a veritable downpour around lunchtime. Fortunately, this did not last, and the sun came out again after 3pm. It is really noticeable now that autumn is fast approaching. When the sun went down (at 8 pm), it got cold quite quickly, and at time of typing (10.45pm) it is 6C / 43F. It is quite busy with tropical cyclones; the Atlantic season has just sprung into life, with Gordon coming ashore in the American state of Mississippi, and Florence growling her way towards Bermuda, now as a category 4 hurricane. I have spent a fair amount of time on the Open Streetmap project, marking out residences in and around Stornoway. This is useful for the many apps that use OSM, and as I know Stornoway quite well, I'm able to add a lot of extra information. Others also contribute; for instance, someone added the Gaelic for mosque (mosg) to the Island Mosque on James Street. My little sin, Open Geofiction, is reserved for spare minutes. Of which I do have one or two.

 Morning rain
 Afternoon sunshine
Evening sunset

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Tuesday 4 September

Today started bright but cold, and there was decidedly a nip in the air at sunrise. It was mostly cloudy for the rest of the day, but the sun did put in an appearance every once in a while. The shop was heaving at lunchtime, but the girls at the checkout were pleasant and helpful as always. Obtained a replacement garden incinerator; they last for about six months, before they rust and fall to pieces. Very useful for burning cardboard and old papers, particularly when you only have a fortnightly bin collection. Ferry service in the Uig triangle (Uig - Tarbert and Uig - Lochmaddy) is up the spout, with the regular ferry MV Hebrides out of action because of an electrical fault. Anyone travelling from Tarbert has to come to Stornoway, 37 miles to the north, to catch a ferry to Ullapool - from where it is 160 miles back to Uig. The Lochmaddy to Uig service is operating, but with an amended schedule.

Stornoway at 7.15 this morning

Sunday 2 September 2018

Sunday 2 September

A quiet day, an inside day. It was quite windy, and it rained pretty much all through the morning and afternoon. So, time to put paperwork in order, jot down some things to do through the week, get the laundry done and all those little chores. Forgot to take the ready meal out of the freezer 12 hours before putting it in the microwave - so a change of menu was in order. Sausages, scrambled eggs and baked beans. The sun came out after 6pm, and the evening was quite bright. Did a little reading, continued my OGF project (one of my on-line sins). All in all, a pretty average Sunday.

Saturday 1 September 2018

Saturday 1st September

Summer's over. OK, the equinox is still three weeks away, but you know what I mean. Summer's been over here in the islands since it left us in July. That's usually the way of it. It's been a quiet Saturday, with not much happening. The hurricane updates keep me occupied for a quarter of an hour three times a day, and I supply what information I can to each of the Iolaire victims that is remembered by the Iolaire Working Group on Facebook each day. I found myself in Tesco on a busy afternoon, for the papers and a few bits and pieces that were required for the weekend. Dinner was a chicken kiev with runner beans and potato mash. Weather? Cloud and sunshine, with the odd drop of drizzle.

Shaking my head at a party grandee who has done his party the worst possible disservice - I'm of course referring to former SNP member, leader and first minister Alex Salmond. He has a talkshow on RT. Good gawd, Putin's mouthpiece. What an absolute gaffe from a foreign policy perspective; just as well the man never became leader of an independent Scotland.

Did I mention that Hamish Macbeth is airing again at the moment on True TV? 6pm on weekdays, you can find the channel on Freeview channel 68 (if in the UK).

Nearing midnight, the day is over. Good night.