THATCHED COTTAGE, SOLLAS, NORTH UIST.
It's ordinary, everday events that often provide the greatest pleasure. Picture the scene. Stornoway airport one morning last week. The Loganair flight from Edinburgh arrived, the passengers went on their way and the plane was being prepared for the return journey. At some point, the ground crew noticed that the pilot had disappeared. A thorough search ensued and our hero was discovered trapped in the aircraft toilet, to where he had retreated for a quiet five minutes to recover his composure between flights. The door to the toilet was completely jammed and neither the pilot or the entire might of the airport ground staff could free it. Eventually, after much deliberation, staff broke into the toilet through the aircraft hold area and with one bound, Biggles escaped and was freed. By that time though, the direct flight back to Edinburgh was cancelled and 14 passengers were re-routed via Inverness and arrived at their destination one hour late. The airline made a statement saying ' We would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused.' In the tradition of fine journalism, the Stornoway Gazette printed the story with the headline 'Delay at Stornoway for Loo-ganair passengers.'
Dead whales washed up on beaches here are a fairly frequent event, but a few days ago, a live 20 foot Pilot whale was stranded on the beach on the island of Berneray, North Uist. The coastguard and a dozen local residents kept its skin wet with water, while getting a canvas sheet under the whale so that it could be pulled back into the sea. With the incoming tide, the animal seemed to recover and the rescuers went into the sea with it and managed to encourage it to swim away from the shore. It was last seen that day swimming out to sea and there was some hope that the whale would survive. Sadly, it was found washed up on the shore dead the following morning. The cause of death and the reason for the original beaching are unknown.
At long last, I've finished painting all of the rooms in the house and I'm now just waiting for the joiner to return to fit the wooden floors downstairs. When he's done that, every major job will have been completed and I hope that I can then begin to enjoy living here, rather than just feeling that I've got permanent occupation of a building site.There are still dozens of minor finishing off tasks to do, including fitting blinds and the application of large quantities of silicone and filler, which will get attended to over the next few weeks and months as motivation ebbs and flows.