Lewis Lines introduction

Lewis Lines contains all the diary entries from the former AOL Northern Trip blog. This edition shows the entries for 2006. Northern Trip was discontinued on AOL in October 2008, and moved to this site on Blogger.

The diary is presented in reverse chronological order, but the first entry can be found here.

Saturday 19/05/07

Wind dropped away late last night and the day dawns reasonably bright. Showers commence around midday. It is actually very windy, as I find out when I go out for the papers at 2 o’clock. There is one cyclone around, typhoon Yutu, which is blowing winds of about 110 mph. Speak to old Tom about his travels down to the metropolis of Tarbert, Harris. Share some pics of Ness. He didn’t go there because it’s very windy today. Ness is sadly lacking in amenities and shelter. After supper, we wait for sunset at 10pm, before admiring the conjunction between the Moon and planet Venus. A rainshower at midnight blocks the later stages of the phenomenon. Andrew brings a pal for a sleepover – on the floor.

Friday 18/05/07

A very windy day, with strong winds which gradually increase to galeforce. Heavy rain through the morning, which gives way to sunshine and very heavy showers. It is not very cold, about 12C. Our Australian guest is very worried at the prospect of crossing the Minch in a force 7. Our other guest, a man of 78, is off on the bus for a tour of the Westside. D calls in for a chat, and we have some salmon for lunch. It needs eating. I go into town at 1.50, as I booked the library scanner for 2pm. As I walk up the road, the ferry leaves its berth with its bowdoor not fully closed. The library very kindly allows me 2½ hours, which permits me to scan more than 600 portraits. By evening, some very heavy showers come barrelling through, and the wind reaches a crescendo. During a clearance, just after 8pm, I venture out to the Coastguard Station to take pictures of waves. It’s actually a great sight, but on leaving the seawall I do get a dousing from a playful wave. F’s kids are here to stay until Monday evening, whilst he himself travels down to Norwich to collect a new car.

Thursday 17/05/07

The two horrible women bog off and the 5-nighter goes to Uig on the postbus. By the time his bus is due, 12 noon, the rain starts. Another guest turns up from Australia. He has been round the Westside, determined to take a better look than in 1989, when he had one look at Stornoway and hopped on the ferry. Finish the transcription project in the library, but book time for the scanner tomorrow, when I hope to have some pictures in. There is a steady drizzle when I leave the library at 4pm. Tonight’s supper is sweet and sour. Although there is a clearance around 7pm, it clouds over and the drizzle starts again at 9pm. Two tropical cyclones around: Yutu in the western Pacific and Pierre in the South Pacific, off Papua New Guinea.

Wednesday 16/05/07

Arose a bit earlier than normal, at 9 am. Had a panick when I tried to take a picture of the Alexander von Humboldt cruiseliner. I could not focus the camera. Went through the entire rigmarole of finding out repairs, arranging for it to go back to the shop where it was bought – only to discover that it was on a setting which did not allow me to zoom. Weather pretty wet and awful. One guest arrived on the midday ferry. Two others were already in the island and behaved as if they left their wits at home. How do you open a sliding door? Sit outside in your car, ring the house and ask for it to be opened. Next thing, I play the keyboard at 8.45pm, and they come down in their pyjamas to complain they cannot sleep. Cripes. Anyway, went to the library to process more of the 1,200 names. It is very busy there with people wanting to use the internet for free to research their genealogy. Trying to pinpoint a Donald Mcleod from Stornoway is a very tall order though. Mrs B prepares a very nice lamb roast for supper.

Tuesday 15/05/07

Quiet day, but overcast and quite cool. Drop into a Radio Scotland news bulletin, which mentions a school where exams were disrupted by an infestation of ants. When I go into town, I find Russian cruiseliner Professor Multanovskiy tied up. This ship cruises the Arctic, and is due to leave for Iceland. Continue my mission of cross-referencing the plaques at the War Memorial with the Roll of honour. I do two hours a day at the library. A lady asks the librarian to act as a doctor, by asking her to put her symptoms into the computer. You get all sorts in there. Pop into Somerfields on the way back for the usual. We’re having a ready meal for supper.

Monday 14/05/07

The weather takes a turn for the worse, with heavy showers after midday. I find out that the 1886 Napier Commission Report is available on the Web. This historical document lay at the foundation of major landreforms from 1886 onwards. It encompasses 4,000 pages, interviews with hundreds of people from all parts of the north and west of Scotland. After Mrs B goes out for shopping, 3 new guests arrive – one is fast becoming a regular. He is a music tutor. Having printed out the transcript from the War Memorial, I sit in the library for two hours to match it with the Roll of Honour to find addresses. Manage a success rate of 70% for Point. Dinner is some of Saturday’s lasagne. Heard of a man whose plans to build a house in Lewis are in the bin, once he discovers what the view with windturbines looks like. The evening turns out sunny with cumulus clouds. Another tropical cyclone forms in the Bay of Bengal, to make straight for Bangladesh. The Regional centre in Delhi issues a warning over Akash, which will strike land as a category 1 hurricane. Spend the evening watching a performance of the Barber of Seville, a famous opera by Rossini, lasting nearly 3 hours.