Although currently off island, I could not help glance through the Western Isles news website just now. A young man of 21 from South Uist went missing in the early hours of Christmas morning, after alighting from a minibus at Iochdar. This village was the scene of a tragedy 4 years ago, when 5 members of the same family were washed away during the hurricane of January 2005. Conditions in South Uist were described as cold but calm at the time. Hundreds of islanders have scoured the shores of the island, as well as its northern neighbour Benbecula, offshore sandbanks and nearby lochs for the Merchant Navy seaman. His disappearance is a total mistery.
Woolworths in Stornoway closed its doors this afternoon, one of the first of the chain's shops in the UK to close down. Its employees have been made redundant. Although Woolies was described as the shop where you could get everything somewhere else, this did not apply to Stornoway. It's only a small town, population about 7,500, and not all that many shops. What other shops there be are usually a good deal dearer, and I'll be very sad to see it shut upon my return in the New Year.
The Arnish Fabrication Yard is once more changing hands. Its operator, Altissimo, has done the exact reverse that its name implies, and gone down rather than up. Now yet another crowd, Bi Fab, will take over operations there. I'm getting very, very tired of this sorry saga of empty promises and money being poured down bottomless pits.