Monday, January 12, 2009


I photographed this lovely sunrise on my way to work a few days ago. The weather was warm, dry and settled, very different from today. As I write this at the kitchen table, the rain is hitting the double glazed windows horizontally and causing them to vibrate loudly. The wind is howling round the eaves and lifting the tiles on the roof. There was some damage to the roof caused by the last storm a couple of weeks ago and I'm waiting for the roofer to come and do the repairs. He called in earlier this week and discovered that about twenty tiles need replacing and arranged to come back yesterday to fit them. This storm has been blowing more or less constantly for about 36 hours now and was so bad yesterday morning that it would have been madness for the roofer to climb up his ladders. Hopefully, the weather will settle and he'll come back this week to finish the job.

In early November, I ordered a dining table and chairs from a company in England and was given a three week delivery date. It will be no surprise to regular readers to hear that that promise turned out to be nonsense and the dining set failed to arrive. Consequently, I was left with the prospect of eating Christmas lunch off the kitchen floor. A flurry of increasingly tetchy emails to the manufacturer resulted in them discovering that they had sent my goods to the courier on the day they said they would, but the courier had let the furniture sit in their warehouse for eleven days and failed to deliver them to me. No one was able to explain why, but at that point, on the 22 December, the manufacturer got their act together and told me they would try and deliver it by Christmas. I had no confidence that the table and chairs would arrive, but lo and behold, the door bell rang late on Christmas Eve morning and there was a nice man from the local delivery service with my stuff. Christmas was saved and the sequel to this story is that the maker has contacted me since to say that they were so fed up with their courier that they've sacked them and employed a different company. Result!

During the last year, I've bored readers of this blog to death with stories of unreliable and unavailable Lewis tradesmen and their generally arrogant attitude towards paying customers. Well, ironically, the tide has turned, the credit crunch is biting hard and many of these same tradesmen are now touting for work in the local newspaper. I'd like to tell you that I wish them well, but I just can't bring myself to utter the words. I suspect that if I was doing my renovation now, it would be done more quickly, less expensively and to a higher standard. Never mind.

In the early hours of Boxing day, a 21 year old man from South Uist disappeared on the way home from a dance. There has been no sighting of him, but he is not thought to have left the islands by boat or plane. Police and volunteers have been looking for him every day since he went missing, but his disappearance remains a complete mystery. Much of the land mass and many of the lochs on Uist have been searched by search parties and divers, without any clues being found. No evidence of accident or foul play has been uncovered, but the hunt for the missing man is beginning to wind down and concern for his safety is increasing.


MrsL said...

I truly hope they find him, it's very sad for everyone.

I think the problem of tradesmen is everythwere though - we have had some not even bothering to return our call for quotes, or not turning up, or giving us such a totally outrageous quote that they obviously don't want the job! Luckily we can do most things ourselves, but it is very annoying for the wasted time and effort.

I'm still keen to get up to the Hebrides to live, but OH backing off a bit now. He likes his mild weather and his trees. It might just be me on my onw, then.

enjoying your blog, thanks.



Les said...

As always one of the most interesting and well-written blogs about life on Lewis. I have been helping out at the new Island Blogging site that took over from the BBC ( and whilst there are quite a few bloggers and a fair number of readers we could do with some more articulate and interesting tales like yours!

We too are hoping to move to Lewis next year but I will be bringing all my DIY tools with me!

Lewispot said...

Hi Les.
When you do get up here next, either permanently or for a holiday,please feel free to contact me again and you would be welcome to come over for a coffee and a good natter.