Friday, 18 December 2009

Friday blogpost

A very good Friday to you all as we enter the final week in the annual Christmas Countdown, which started - at the end of the last Christmas. The weather has turned suitably Christmassy a week early, and I fully anticipate a miserable, grey, wet and mild Christmas morning this time next week. When I venture into town later today and/or tomorrow, the shops will be heaving and the people overburdened with overexpensive Christmas gifts. Where have the days gone that you could get someone a prezzy for five quid and they'd be overjoyed? Here in Stornoway, and indeed elsewhere in the Hebrides, we can all shop in safety. It has just been revealed that citizens of the Western Isles of Scotland are watched over by the largest number of CCTV cameras per head of population: 8.4 per 1000. Our august capital city Edinburgh has to get by with fewer than 1 per 1000. There are other benefits associated with living in northern Scotland, you know. Up here, people know how to deal with 6 inches of snow. OK, I grant you, there are many more people in southern England than in Highland Scotland, which is home to 220,000. And snow is more of a rarety down there than up here, but still: 6 inches of snow and the entire shebang grinds to a halt. Here in the Western Isles, with its grossly overstated reputation for bad weather, we're having a quiet day with light, variable winds and the odd light shower. Granted, when the weather does get bad (statistically speaking once every 7 days), it can get really nasty. But people are prepared for it, used to it happening, and all the more grateful for the return of the sun. Even if, in December, she only appears for 6½ hours in the day. Another aspect of life in the Hebrides is that news tends to be relatively benign. Spats over the Town Hall refurbishment and the location for a centre about St Kilda assume high levels of importance, not to mention the fact that our local radiostation (Isles FM) may finally get a decent home. At present it is located in a former boatshed on the seafront at Newton Street. When there is a hailstorm (common in winter), the presenter can get drowned out by the noise. In summer, when the door is open, you can hear the binlorries going by, planes flying overhead, and people having a natter outside. In the middle of the newsbulletin. Which tends to miss all the local news that really is of importance (with the odd exception), and instead focuses on the deeds of our elected representatives to the Scottish and British parliament. Oh, they actually do something?? Must listen out. Isles FM can be heard on-line, using the link above. Well, must go for lunch.


  1. We're all watching you, watching me, watching you. But the real important question is .....Who watches over the watchers?
    My granny used to say that only hooks, crooks and prostitutes have anything to worry about CCTV, to be honest, my granny died before CCTV got going, but she did say that about ID cards or something like that. and I'm sure that she would rest easier in her grave, knowing CCTV was watching over her. To be honest, again, she got cremated, but her ashes would rest easier in the Urn, knowing that CCTV was keeping an eye on the Urn. Now I have to be perfectly honest with you, yet again, my grannies ashes got stolen when some yobs( this was before Hoodies came onto the scene, and a few years pre-Chav era, if memory serves me well, which it often doesn't) burgled my, unconsolable, mothers home many years ago. The thieves were never caught, they might have been caught robbing another property, and wanted to wipe clean their slate, by owning up to 100 or so other properties that they broke into ( I believe that the phrase "Taken into Account" is possibly the terminology used in these cases) and that my mothers house was one of those properties. However the ashes ( not the cricketing ashes) were never returned, nor was the Urn, if only CCTV had been rolled out sooner??

  2. Too true about the snow, Arnish- you would have thought the world was coming to an end the way 6in of snow was reported. But then- it was Darn Sarf, where clearly they don't expect snow in winter or something!
    PS If you want to get me prezzie for a fiver, I'll be delighted- I'm easy pleased, me !!

  3. One thing which I like about this time of the year is that the islands ( N & W ) get to be the warmer places in the UK. Just watch the temperature forecasts and you will see what i mean. Often Lerwick, Kirkwall or Stornoway will be milder than Southern England, the benefits of the halo-thermal conveyor - better known as the Gulf Stream/North Atlantic Drift. Incidentally it used to be stated by the meteorologists that, statistically speaking, Kent was the snowiest county in England. Something to do with the fact that snow tends to come from the NE rather than the SW and Kent sticks out into the airflow from the frozen continent.
    Anyway enough already. In case I don't dip into IB before then have a very happy Christmas Arnish.