CORNER OF THE PEAT BANK
This is a small section of the Lewispot peat bank on the Pentland Road. I've really enjoyed my first attempt at cutting peats, which have dried well in recent good weather. The darker peats behind the peat iron were freshly cut when I took this picture, but the other lighter ones, in small piles, were cut 2-3 weeks previously. They are now rock hard and ready to burn, or alternatively, would be very good for breaking windows with.
Yesterday morning -6 o'clock. Woke up. Glorious day. Tide on the way in. Went fishing. Warm, sunny and barely a breeze. Skylarks singing overhead and no midges. Had a wonderful two or three hours catching Mackerel. Not a soul about but me and came home with enough fish to stock the freezer, have some for tea last night and a bag full for my neighbour. Best of all, managed to get all my Mackerel landed before the seals spotted me and came looking for breakfast.
The hot news on Lewis this week is a strong rumour that Calmac (www.calmac.co.uk/ferries ) are going to start Sunday sailings a week today, to allow visitors to the Hebridean Celtic Festival ( http://www.hebceltfest.com ) to get back to the mainland. The Festival ends late on Saturday night and until now, anyone attending has been compelled to remain on the island until Monday, unless they are able to get the Sunday afternoon plane. It's hardly a penance having to spend an extra day here, but if you don't have a car, there's no public transport on Sundays to use to take in the sights and no possibility of getting to work on Monday morning if you are dependent on the Stornoway - Ullapool ferry to get you home.
It's being suggested in the local press that Calmac will sail next Sunday to test the viability of sailing every Sunday in future. Calmac deny this, but seem to be playing a cat and mouse game with the Lord's Day Observance Society and others opposed to Sabbath ferries, by refusing to confirm if they will put on a Sunday ferry next week.
After living here for a while, it's easy to conclude that these islands have more than ample religious representation and are not in need of any more. Not everybody agrees with that though and the Multi-Media Gospel bus has just arrived to make sure we've got the message.
The high tech bus, called Challenger 3, has a mini cinema seating 25 people, which will broadcast Biblical presentations via a 46" television and surround sound. The bus is touring local village Halls during the next week and hosting Gospel evenings with singing, talks and stories from individuals whose lives have been transformed by Jesus. In case you begin to think it's all earnest stuff, the bus also has a coffee lounge and a suite of computers with Christian computer games, Bible software and internet access.
Back in February 2008, a fishing boat called the 'Spinningdale' ran aground on St Kilda and has been there ever since. Concerns about the vessel have been twofold. Firstly was the danger that the Spinningdale would eventually break up in Winter storms, causing pollution and damage to the coastline and passing boats from floating wreckage. Just as worrying though was the fear that rats on board the ship would swim onto the island, colonise and cause major damage to the birdlife.
Consequently, a decision was made by the Maritime Coastguard Agency to take apart and remove the remaining wreckage and the work has now begun. The wreck is being systematically dismantled by a team of eight workers and is expected to last for two months. While the work is being undertaken, the workforce will live on Hirta, the main island of St Kilda and will store the wreckage there before transporting it to the mainland in October.
And the rats? The National Trust for Scotland have heaved a sigh of relief and say that there is no reason to believe that any rats have escaped on to St Kilda.
Woe is me. I purchased the CD player in my hi fi in July of 1988 and had begun to think of it as immortal. I talked to it regularly and fully expected it to last as long as me, but no, it's done gone and irretrieveably broken down on me. Can't live a fulfilled life without my CD collection, so have been looking on the internet for a replacement. Something of a shock to find that very few retailers stock them anymore and don't know what I'm going to do unless I can find another one at a reasonable price soon. Don't really want to go all ipod yet, just want my beloved shiny black CD machine back.