Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Tuesday pictures

Addendum - beta / Other things

The beta thingy is optional. You don't have to use it. You can use it until Thursday to explore what is going to come your way on the 2nd November.

Can we all pay a visit to Sunny please? Sounds like she had the perfect day from hell on Monday.

And I have a fasttrack approach to large numbers of alerts. I jot down the screenies involved, some of which have multiple entries. I quite enjoyed browsing through everybody's Halloween-bedecked journals and hope everybody had a nice evening. It's a pity to note that some older teenagers see this as an excuse to terrorise their neighbourhoods. Let's hope they've come to their senses this year.

Linda's journal Brave Women had about 15 entries, and I thoroughly recommend it. It's NOT easy reading, though.

Alerts - about 90

Working through the backlog of Halloween alerts, of which I had about 90. So, I will call round everybody this evening.

Second subject: I'm posting this entry in Beta. You can do that yourself by putting "beta." in front of your journal's URL, so in my case it was: beta.journals.aol.co.uk/pharmolo/NorthernTrip

This is in preparation for the release of R9 on Thursday 2 November. Editing and adding entries will give you a totally new look. I've got to await whether the font discrepancy has been resolved. Basically, the edit buttons look different.

Postscript: The font discrepancy has NOT been resolved: my Times New Roman still comes out as a flat Tahoma. Bah.

Halloween Hurricane Update

The weatherforecasters have got severe problems predicting the future track of Typhoon Cimaron. As I reported over the weekend, this typhoon slammed into the north Philippine island of Luzon. The system is now over the South China Sea. This morning, the Joint Typhoon Hurricane Centre gave out a text prediction, saying the system would go towards Vietnam, but the graphic (a map) showed the storm heading towards Hong Kong.

I can't really bake bread out of this whole mess, but as Cimaron is still packing winds of 85 knots, I think a two-pronged warning is in order. On the strength of warning #20 -

On Thursday, Hong Kong could be visited by Cimaron, with winds of 80 knots, that is 90 mph. The centre of the storm will pass within 30 miles of the city, i.e. hurricane force winds are likely.


Central Vietnam could be visited by Cimaron on Thursday or Friday, with winds of 80 knots / 90 mph, in the vicinity of the city of Hue.

The bottom line is of course: monitor forecasts VERY CLOSELY.
JTWC website:

Cold weather

That was a bit of a drop. 14C yesterday (57F), and today it's only 6C (43F). The weather is bright, but feeling very cold in the strong (force 6) northerly wind. No ferry today, because of the inclement conditions, and quite a few ferries are out, up and down the west coast. Sun is setting as I type (4.45pm). Even had a hail shower, for the first time this winter season. Tomorrow is November - tonight, the witches and warlocks will have an appropriately chilly night at it.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween 2006

With thanks to Donna for a number of graphics, and those who made the others, which I plucked off the web last year and didn't bother to note down their websites.

J-land chats

The VIVI Award Ceremony has been pencilled in for Saturday 11 November. Jackie will announce exact details on the day. Due to the expected numbers of participants, several chatrooms will have to be opened simultaneously, with hosts / hostesses announcing winners again simultaneously. Please monitor the VIVI journal for further news.

The next Convention Chat will take place on Sunday 12 November at two different times, to accommodate those spread across various timezones.

The first session will be at
8pm GMT (UK)
3pm EST
12noon PST

The second session will be at
12am GMT (UK)
7pm EST
4pm PST
(updated 1 November)

Gina (
motoxmom72) will give us the result on the hotels poll and any other news. The location will be the Journals Cafe.

Please spread the word.

Monday, 30 October 2006

Computer worms

COMPUTERSUPPORT: "Hello, technical support - how can I help you"

LADY: Last night my computer started making a lot of hissing noise at me so I shut it down. This morning when I turned it on the computer started hissing and cracking, then started smoking and a bad smell, then nothing.

SUPPORT: I will have a technician come over first thing this morning, just leave the computer like it is so he can find the problem and fix it or change it out with another computer. Give me your address & phone number and the technician will be there just as soon as he can. When the technician got there, the lady showed him where the computer was and explained what happened to it. This is what the technician found wrong. Take a look at the pictures... you won't believe your eyes!!! And you thought you had computer problems...

(with thanks to Rhonda for relaying)

New Journal

I would like to recommend a new journal, called Circle of Love. Faith's daughter Riss is undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma, a form of bone marrow cancer. Please nip over and follow Riss' progress. The journal was only started yesterday, October 29th.

Weather Forecasting

I am an avid amateur weatherman, as is shown by my occasional postings on tropical hurricanes. Being in the Western Isles of Scotland gives me a grandstand view of some pretty impressive weather. The January 2005 hurricane (a strong Atlantic storm) passed during the hours of darkness. But the St Martin's Storm of 11 November 2005 peaked during daylight, and gave me some great pics.

The forecast for this outpost of the UK is often wrong. Like today. We are being warned against force 9 winds overnight, but this does not warrant the issuing of a severe weather warning by the Met Office. If you watch the forecasts on BBC TV, you'll see Stornoway marked, but the rest of the chart in that area is commonly a pack of lies.

Anyway, it's coming up to 1 pm, a shower is marching up from the south and it's windy. A wintry blast is due in from the north overnight, and it'll be VERY cold tomorrow. Strong winds combined with a maximum temperature of 6C (as opposed to 14C today) [43 and 57F respectively] will make it feel quite Arctic.


I don't normally affix a Mood to my posts, but I'll go so far as to do today.
I thought the VIVIs were for fun, for networking, for showcasing your journal to the world. To display what you like doing in your blog. To show what you are like as a person. Everyone and everyone's is different - as I have said before.
I have picked up in recent weeks that the VIVI Awards are being used as a pretext for bullying-by-comment and email, against those that attract many readers or are nominated.
It has now led to one nominee declining the nomination and going private with her journal. Of course, I am talking about Lisa Jo (Queeniemart) and her journal Damaged Goods.

I'm not so naive as to being oblivious to the phenomenon of envy in the world. But to actually take this out into the ephemeral world of the Internet shows the culprits off as being devoid of any form of character at all. If your blog is ALL you have to show for yourself, oh dear.

Meanwhile (big breath), the votes for the Awards open this Thursday 2 November, and the Awards will be handed out on Saturday 11 November. Watch Jackie's journal for details.

Sunday, 29 October 2006

Missing fishermen - search called off

Following an extensive search, the Norwegian Coastguard called the search for the missing fishing vessel, Meridian, off as twilight approached this evening. The incident started on Thursday night when, following information that there had been an Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) hit, Aberdeen Coastguard made investigations culminating in the launch of a search which was co-ordinated by the Norwegian Coastguard with Aberdeen Coastguard assisting.

During the search, one liferaft and some other debris was found. However, despite a thorough and wide-ranging search, the three remaining crew were not found.

Aberdeen Coastguard Watch Manager Asad Manesh says:
Following a high quality search by both British and Norwegian resources as well as a number of fishing vessels and oil stand by vessels, the search has been terminated. Sadly, one body has been located, but no further evidence was found of the other three men.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has been informed regarding this incident and has made some initial enquiries.

Info from the MCA

Pictures for 28 October

Saturday 28/10/06

Cloudy day today, but mainly dry, apart from a brief downpour at 4pm. Easter Ross continues to mop up following the floods on Thursday. The caravan, owned by mrs B's son, is put back at lunchtime; it will stay in mrs B's backyard until Easter 2007. Yesterday was an extremely busy day in Somerfields, with about 10 trolleys waiting at every of its 20 checkouts. That's what you call panic-buying, resulting from the disruption to the ferries. Supper is chicken jalfrezi, which is less spicy than the microwaveable variety. Lottery yields no wins, as per normal. The coal and logs burn well in the fireplace, as the hours tick away to the change to wintertime - GMT - at 2 am.

NB: Am putting the pictures in a separate entry.

Friday 27/10/06

No pictures today - I showed the turnips on Friday.

Grey day, with increasing winds after midday. Mrs B heads off into town for a few hours, whilst I catch up with things on the Net. The wind picks up to force 7 by 2pm, and the ferry is very late departing for Ullapool: 3.15pm. Normal departure time 1.45pm. Major disruption in power supplies to the far north of Scotland, following 90 mph winds overnight. The damage caused by flooding becomes clear when the floodwaters recede in Dingwall and Kirkwall. Four bombs were washed up by the floods near an old airplane base at Alness. One man drowned after his boat capsized on a loch. A fishing boat is missing in the central North Sea, with one crewmember found dead in the water. Another 3 are unaccounted for. The mother of Molly Campbell, the 12-year old who went to Pakistan to be with her dad, has been refused legal aid, which makes it very difficult for her to contest the custody battle raging in a Lahore courtroom. Supper is microwaved chicken biryani. I spend some time improvising tunes on the keyboard. Saw a picture of flooding on Junction Road in Kirkwall, a street I know very well from my four week sojourn there in September 2004.

Thursday 26/10/06

Pictures for today were featured in a separate entry.

Severe gales lash the north of Scotland today, and excessive rainfall leads to phenomenal flooding from Kirkwall to Moray. Roads and railways are cut north of Inverness and there is no ferry service between Ullapool and Stornoway. The winds are gale force 8, gusting to severe gale force 9 here. The Muirneag did not sail either. The shelves in the shops are a bit bare as a result. The rain stopped at 3pm and the sun even came out. Mrs B's brother-in-law came to call. Supper is a beef stew with potatoes, carrots and onions.

Wednesday 25/10/06

Arose this morning to the sight of a ship, the Lass Moon, coming into port with the assistance of a harbour pilot. She docked at the Arnish jetty. On her deck are two sections for wind turbines. Two other sections apparently went overboard in the North Sea during a storm. The turbines were coming from Denmark, after being shipped there from the Arnish Fabrication Yard in August for completion. Arnish (run by Camcal) is currently shut down because of cashflow problems. News comes through that a boy of 15, resident in Lewis, has shot himself with a shotgun in a village near Ullapool. The incident took his life. It is initially thought to be suicide, but the parents later issue a statement that it was a terrible accident. The weather is cold and windy, and I don't go further than the shop. The man who went missing near Welshman's Rock in Rum was found dead at the bottom of the waterfall a week after he fell. Have supper with mrs B and make it another late night.

Contribution and attribution

Mandy has written an entry about snagging, and not bothering to link back to the creator of the graphic. Although I'm as guilty as a cat with a mouse in its mouth, I would like to remind everybody (including myself) to attribute any graphic you snag from another journal to the original creator. Donna (Nightmaremom) has a policy of stating on the graphics whether or not they can be snagged.

If you decide to alter any graphic for your own use, particularly animations, seek advice from the creator. They can help you adapt the image for your use. I understand that it is quite frustrating to find a distorted, discoloured, dysfunctional graphic which used to be yours on someone else's journal.

On an even more serious note (again, physician heal thyself), if you snag images from an external website, attribute back to the page. I have recently taken to linking to the page for images, as copying them onto my blog could have consequences for breach of copyright. Photographers have a blanket no-copy policy, as their pictures are their livelihood. Check a website's privacy and copyright page, or contact them to seek permission.

Call for support

Lu Anne has posted a brief entry, and I think she is in great need of support. Please pay her a visit.

Adoptions of black cats suspended

A black cat won't cross your path this Halloween, not if a northern Idaho animal shelter can help it. Like many shelters around the country, the Kootenai Humane Society in Coeur d'Alene is prohibiting black cat adoptions from now to Nov. 2, fearing the animals could be mistreated in Halloween pranks - or worse, sacrificed in some satanic ritual.

(from AOL News. Pictured: Kootenai Humane Society shelter executive director Phil Morgan defends the ban. "If we prevent one animal from getting hurt, then it serves its purpose" Morgan said.)

How sick can you get. I had a black cat for 15 years, and the loveliest animal to humans you could want. Mind you, he was an unneutered tom, so other cats (apart from females in season) could expect a good going-over if coming too close.

From the Philippines Weather Buro

Typhoon "Paeng" Strengthens Further and Endangers Northern Luzon
29 October 2006

Owing to favorable conditions while still over the ocean where it draws its energy, Typhoon "Paeng", now packing sustained winds of 175 kilometers per hour and gustiness of up to 210 kilometers per hour, continues to gain strength and poses extreme danger to Northern Luzon. All residents in the area, especially those living in the eastern coast of Isabela and Cagayan including northern Aurora are strongly advised to take apprpriate safety measures. Those residing near rivers and moutnains are also advised to take extreme precaution against possible flash floods and landslides.

As of 10 a.m. today, its center was estimated about 300 kilometers southeast of Tuguegarao, Cagayan or 210 kilometers east southeast of Casiguran, Aurora. Typhoon "Paeng" is forecast to move west northwest at 15 kilometers per hour heading in the direction of the eastern coast of Northern Luzon. It is estimated to make landfall over Isabela late tonight with sustained winds that could go beyond 200 kilometers per hour. Then it is expected to traverse the Northern Luzon provinces making exit over Ilocos Sur-Pangasinan area by late afternoon tomorrow.

Due to the enormous strength of Typhoon "Paeng", during its approach and passage, it is expected to generate storm surge or increase in sea level of up to 15 feet or higher and could inundate bays and relatively flat coastal areas in the eastern coast of Northern and Central Luzon. It is also extremely dangerous for sea travel in these regions during the occurence of this typhoon due to very rough seas.

The last time that Northern Luzon was hit be a strong typhoon was in 2003 with the passage of Typhoon Harurot.

For more information please contact Mr. Nathaniel A. Cruz, Chief, Weather Branch, PAGASA at telephone number 922 1996.

URGENT - Hurricane update 29 October

Supertyphoon Cimaron, upgraded to a category 5 typhoon with winds of 140 knots (160 mph) is about to slam in to Luzon island, Philippines.

Please relay
Updates from the Philippines Typhoon Centre

Closing time

Just a few items before I go to bed.

1 - Don't forget your clocks. In the UK, we're going back to GMT at 2 am.

2 - I have an on-line buddy from Oregon, Rhonda, who occasionally writes a journal Rhonda's Strange Thoughts and Pics, which I think deserves a read. She's not written much, as she is quite busy in her daily life, but if everybody calls round we could perhaps entice her to write a few entries each week

3 - Voting on the VIVI Awards starts on Thursday, November 2nd. The Award Ceremony will take place on Saturday, November 11th. Time and place to be announced, watch Jackie's VIVI journal. I have emailed her to ask for the usual J-land chat time of 8pm GMT / 3pm EST / 12noon PST, to accommodate those (like me) who are in the UK.

4 - I think it would be a good idea to incorporate the November J-land chat with the VIVI awards.

5 - The voting is still open for the J-land convention venue on Gina's journal J-land Convention; it will close at around November 11th (as well). I've emailed Gina to doublecheck about the next convention chat.

That's enough for now; I'm going to bed and do a Sudoku. I usually have a hard one.

Saturday, 28 October 2006

VIVI Awards 2005

Earlier this week, I had a look at the winners of the 2005 VIVI awards, and what happened since then. Of course, within 10 days of the winners being announced, AOL USA stuck advertisements over the blogs, which drove dozens of bloggers to other providers. Numerous people went private. Others stopped blogging. Here is the list, with a note what happened since; if there is no note, the blog is still on the go.

A year is a long time in J-land.

Picture from Hometown

JOURNAL OF THE YEAR 2005: Just One Girls Head Noise - his1desire : Transferred to AOL UK; writer now deceased

LORD OF THE BLOG: The StupidSheet Guy - stupidsheetguy : Went private

LADY OF THE BLOG: Judith Heartsong
- judithheartsong : Transferred to Blogger

DUKE OF THE BLOG: Dave Cryer, Cave Dryer - davobarbus

DUCHESS OF THE BLOG: Adventures of a desperately fat housewife - tillysweetchops : Went private

: Aurora Walking Vacation - plittle

BEST INTERNATIONAL BLOG: My Journey to Life - grassriver : Not written in 2006

BEST USE OF GRAPHICS: Judith Heartsong - judithheartsong : Transferred to Blogger

BEST USE OF ANIMATION: This and that, and hockey - nightmaremom

BEST USE OF PHOTOGRAPHY: WonderGirl - cneinhorn : Went private

MOST HUMOROUS JOURNAL: Adventures of a desperately fat housewife - tillysweetchops : Went private

MOST EMOTIONAL JOURNAL: Watching My Sister...Disappear - mlrhjeh

MOST THOUGHT-PROVOKING JOURNAL: Just One Girl's Head Noise - his1desire : Transferred to AOL UK - writer now deceased

MOST EDUCATIONAL JOURNAL: Inane thoughts and insane ramblings - swibirun :  Transferred to Blogger

MOST INSPIRATIONAL JOURNAL: A Pennies Worth - blondepennierae

BEST POLITICAL JOURNAL: the wizard of ahs - anarchitek

BEST SPORTS JOURNAL: High Above Courtside - monponsett

BEST TRAVEL JOURNAL: Alphawoman's Blog - alphawoman1 : Discontinued blog in October 2006

BEST ENTERTAINMENT JOURNAL: Albert's World of Artsy Fun - lamove04 : Went private


BEST PETS JOURNAL: Random Ramblings - xzasporated1 : Started different blog

Mrs. Linklater's Guide to the Universe - jevanslink
Screamin' Remo - screaminremo303 :
Went private

Freely Floralilia,the official journal of pointless posting - floralilia
Mortimer's Café - luvmort : Went private

In The Shadow Of The Iris - justaname4me2

Musings from Mâvarin - mavarin
TO GROW IS TO BE ANXIOUS - deabvt : Went private

BEST ENTRY OR SERIES OF ENTRIES: "The Wedding From Hell" Adventures of a desperately fat housewife - tillysweetchops : Went private

BEST THEME-BASED JOURNAL: Stories From My Ambulance - sekirley : Deleted journal

: I Have a Life, This is It - animaquarius2500 :
Went private

BEST TEEN JOURNAL: Holding On & Letting Go - rickysbunnie

BEST COLLEGIATE JOURNAL: Life Or Something Like It ~ LIVE from the U! - luckyaugustgirl : Went to AOL UK

BEST NEW JOURNAL: Fresh Cup...Move D
own - schnozbeary : Journal deleted

BEST AIM JOURNAL (TIE!): The Daily Snooze II - hewasolddog299 : Went to Blogger
The Light's On...But No One's Home - krspkrmmom

BEST-KEPT SECRET JOURNAL (TIE!): From Here to There - firestormkids04
Lotus Martinis - txguinan: Went to Blogger

MOST-MISSED JOURNAL: Life With Linny - lindainspokane

MOST CREATIVE/ORIGINAL JOURNAL: Adventures of the 2-Faced Baseball - upseted : Discontinued blog

Saturday sundries

I am saddened to hear Donna (Nightmaremom) having a heave at faceless people making her life as a blogger hell. I am mystified why the VIVI awards, supposedly a networking opportunity, are turned into an opportunity for negative networking - slagging off. Why comments can be so hurtful that they compel bloggers to remove material from their posts, as happened to a few others.

I thought blogging was for fun.

Jeanne (CandleJMR) expressed concern that anyone using AIM is able to trace which journals you write. That's not a secret. As I stated in a comment on her blog, you only need to add a person's screenname to the sequence journals.aol.com/ (i.e. after the /) to get a full list of journals. Private journals obviously do not come up.

If you write about things that could land you in trouble, there are two options.

1. Go private
2. Hide details of persons, companies, and circumstances on your public journal

A fair number of people have lost their jobs through writing "hot" material on their blogs, one of them a fairly prominent member of J-land. You don't know who reads your blog; it's not a private diary, ANYONE with an Internet connection can read what you write. You don't want others to know about certain things? Well, start a private journal alongside your public one.

Can people pay a visit to Valerie's [IIImagicxx] blog Surreality? She has a date, and by the look of it she has a serious dose of cold feet LOL.

Breast Cancer Awareness

A handsome, middle-aged man walked quietly into the cafe and sat down. Before he ordered, he couldn't help but notice a group of younger men at the table next to him. It was obvious they were making fun of something about him, and it wasn't until he remembered he was wearing a small pink ribbon on the lapel of his suit that he became aware of what the joke was all about.The man brushed off the reaction as ignorance, but the smirks began to get to him. He looked one rude men square in the eye, placed his  hand beneath the ribbon and asked, quizzically, "This?"

With that the men all began to laugh out loud. The man he addressed said, as he fought back laughter, "Hey, sorry man, but we were just commenting on how pretty your pink ribbon  looks against your blue jacket!" The middle aged man calmly motioned for the joker to come over to his table and invited him to sit down. The guy obliged, not really sure why.

In a soft voice, the middle aged man said, "I wear this ribbon to bring awareness about breast cancer. I wear it in my mother's honor." "Oh, sorry dude. She died of breast cancer?"
"No, she didn't. She's alive and well. But her breasts nourished me as an infant and were a soft resting place for my head when I was scared or lonely as a little boy. I'm very grateful  for my mother's breasts and her health."
"Umm," the stranger replied, "Yeah."
"And I wear this ribbon to honor my wife",  the middle aged man went on.
"And she's okay, too?" the other guy asked. "Oh, yes. She's fine. Her breasts have been a  great source of loving pleasure for both of us and with them she nurtured and nourished our beautiful daughter 23 years ago. I am grateful  for my wife's breasts and for her health."
"Uh huh. And I guess you wear it to honor  your daughter, also?"
"It's too late to honor my daughter by wearing it now. My daughter died of breast cancer one month ago.She thought she was too young to have breast  cancer, so when she accidentally noticed a small lump, she ignored it. She thought that since it wasn't painful, it must not be anything to worry about."
Shaken and ashamed, the now sober stranger  said, "Oh, man, I'm so sorry mister."
"So, in my daughter's memory, too, I proudly  wear this little ribbon, which allows me the opportunity to enlighten others.Now, go home and talk to  your wife and your daughters, your mother and your friends. And here," the middle-aged man reached in his pocket and handed the other man a little pink ribbon. The guy looked at it, slowly shook his head  and asked,
"Can ya help me put it on?"

This is breast cancer awareness month. Do regular breast self-exams and encourage those women you love to do the same. Please send this on to anyone you would like  to remind of the importance of breast cancer awareness.

Don't feed your dogs grapes or raisins

This link points to the Snopes website, which investigates Internet sends as to whether they are true or false. There are many urban legends swilling around the Net, but this one is true.

Basically, grapes, both freshly picked and dried (as in raisins) are toxic to dogs, and should NOT be given to them.

Summer Time - Winter Time 2006

If you are under a Summertime / Wintertime, Daylight Savings or other such regime: tonight at 2 a.m. local time, the clocks go back 1 hour. You've got an extra hour in bed, in other words.

Hurricane update - 28 October


At 0900 today, Typhoon Paeng/Cimaron was located at 320 kms east northeast of Virac, Catanduanes  (14.8°N 127.2°E) with maximum sustained winds of 120 kph near the center and gustiness of 150 kph. It is forecast to move west northwest at 17 kph.

Missing fishermen

The fishing vessel Meridian, registered at Kirkcaldy and operating out of Anstruther in the Fife area of Scotland has been missing since Thursday. At the height of the storms that day, a signal was picked up from an emergency beacon, which is activated on immersion in water. The signal came from the middle of the North Sea, 160 miles / 260 km east of Aberdeen.

British and Norwegian Coastguards have been scouring the area with boats and helicopters since Thursday; the area is in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. The Meridian was patrolling the path of a pipeline. Debris has been located in the area, although not identified. One piece constituted a liferaft. The Meridian carried two, and also had survival suits available for the crew. It is on the strength of that, that there is still a slender hope that the men are alive, in a liferaft.

One body has been recovered from the water; its identity has not been released by police. The four man crew
are 49-year-old skipper Martin Gardner, Edward Gardner, 50, and Ian Donald, 55, all from Anstruther, Fife, and Sidney Low, 52, from Aberdeen.

The small community of Anstruther is deeply affected by this incident; although it has lost its herring fishery fleet years ago, there is still a sea-going tradition and any loss is keenly felt.

Link an image

* Place the mouse-cursor before the image concerned
* Drag the mouse down or over it.
* It should be covered with a blue haze now.
* Leave the selection area as it is
* Click on the LINK button (second from right above the entry window)
* Enter your URL.

Hey Presto!!!

Your image is now linked.

Friday, 27 October 2006

Giving Tree

I've placed the Giving Tree logo, linked to Angie's journal on that subject, in the sidebar. Here is the large version of it - feel free to snag and link to http://journals.aol.com/canyonsun04/the-giving-tree/

Hurricane update - 27 October

The Philippines, particularly Luzon, are going to be hit by Typhoon Cimaron on Sunday, October 29th. Although the typhoon will not be making landfall until late evening (local time), its effects will be felt well ahead of its arrival, in the shape of rain and strong winds. The strongest winds, near the centre, will be about 70 knots (80 mph).

The Philippines Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has issued a bulletin on this system, which readers in the Philippines should refer to for the latest update.

PLEASE NOTE: In the Philippines, Cimaron is referred to as Paeng.

Please relay / Please relay


Just wanted to share this picture of an 8" (20 cm) turnip, which mrs B. got from her brother-in-law today. For reference, the mug is your average-sized coffee mug. This specimen was grown using dried seaweed as fertiliser.

Floods and storms

I mentioned yesterday that some severe flooding had taken place in northeast Scotland. Although the flooding has now subsided, the northeast continues to suffer in the aftermath of yesterday's severe weather. Winds up to 90 mph battered the area overnight, leaving many trees and powerlines down.

The power company is working flat-out to repair downed powerlines, but warn people to stay well clear of any electricity cables lying on the ground as they could still be live. This is obviously a universal warning.

A gallery of pictures of the floods can be viewed on this page.

Giving Tree

Angela (Canyonsun04) has started a journal J-land Giving Tree. She explains all about it in the journal entry, so without further ado:

Please check out the **J-Land Giving Tree** Site and spread the word in Jland!

Thursday, 26 October 2006

Vivi Awards

And that's me up to date with all the nominated journals. Some remarkable blogs out there; the categorisation left me puzzled at times, as it did some of the nominees. Noticed one person had his nominations withdrawn.

I have said before that there are no good or bad journals out there. That would be judgmental. Some stand out for a particular reason, but everybody in J-land writes their journal their way. I have voted for journals to be nominated; I will also vote in the finals as of next Wednesday, 2nd November. Good luck to all nominees, and let's make this a great success in terms of networking, because that's what the VIVIs are all about.

Images of the day

The focus today was on the weather, as I mentioned in the few entries I did earlier on. The sequence below shows what happened this afternoon. From a grey, wet start at around 2pm to fairly bright after 4pm. The worst of the weather is now in Shetland and northeastern Scotland. Roads impassible, the North Highland Line blocked at Helmsdale, between Inverness and Thurso, and several feet of floodwater still sloshing around in various places.

The ferry was cancelled today

Sun came out mid afternoon

And even some blue sky


The clouds have broken and the rain has subsided, along with the worst of the winds here in Stornoway. Shetland is still being buffeted by severe gales with hurricane force gusts. The flooding in Easter Ross is still the worst seen in half a century. This description on the BBC News website gives a graphic account.

Crushing tablets

A major news item here in the UK today centres on people who have difficulty swallowing medication. Particularly the elderly and stroke victims are susceptible to this. What carers tend to do, or they themselves, is to crush the tablets or empty capsules.

This is OK in the majority of cases, but don't do it if your pharmacist has printed the warning "Do not crush or chew". Many tablets have a so-called slow-release formulation, which means the active component is slowly released, over an extended period of time, as the tablet/capsule passes through the body. If it is chewed or crushed, the active component comes out in one dose. This can have serious side-effects, and/or leave the body without medication for a period of time. This too can have grave consequences.

Always inform your doctor that you have difficulty swallowing (or the person you care for). He can then prescribe something else, or a different form. Many medicines now come in a special liquid formulation.
Ask your pharmacist for advice if you want to crush a tablet.

As a rule, do not open capsules unless you've been told that that is safe. Many medicines are harmful if removed from their capsule, or will not work properly.


Today we have the first gale of the season. It's a northerly, and no surprise that the temperature has dropped right down to 7 degrees C / 45 F. Windspeeds are at about 35 knots (40 mph), gusting to 50 knots (56 mph). The ferry is cancelled on the route to Ullapool, although the ferry from Harris to Skye is still running. Can't be a nice crossing at any rate.

The mainland hasn't so much got problems with the wind as with the rain. Flooding at Dingwall, northwest of Inverness, has left water up to 4 feet deep in the town centre. More info and pictures on this BBC News webpage. It is apparently the worst flooding there in more than 50 years.

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Walking casualty

Late last month, I reported the disappearance of a man on the Isle of Rum. He had fallen down a waterfall on the southeastern side of the island. A search by the Coastguard found nothing. I have just read in the regional paper that a body was actually recovered on October 1st. The remains were taken off the island by Coastguard helicopter. Although the search proved unsuccessful, at least the body was found and the relatives were able to conduct a burial.

Turbine overboard!

The German registered vessel Lass Moon put into Stornoway this morning, carrying windturbines for a small project on the Arnish Moor. The only problem was that several parts of the three turbines destines for the site along the Lochs Road were lost overboard in adverse weather. The Lass Moon was transporting the turbine sections from a fabrication yard in Denmark.

These turbines have seen the North Sea twice over, as their fabrication was commenced at the Arnish Yard early this year. After the yard's operators, Camcal, got into financial difficulty, the partly finished turbines were transported to Denmark for completion. Gales in the North Sea and North Atlantic caused some of the turbines to wash overboard.

This means that the proposed date for commissioning the windfarm on the Arnish Moor will have to be put back from next month into 2007. Its operators, Forest Invest Management, have expressed disappointment at this setback.

Below picture shows the Lass Moon passing the Arnish Lighthouse on its way into port at 11 a.m. this morning.

Wednesday afternoon

It's 5pm now, and I've worked my way through the alerts - so far. It's a dreich, cold and windy afternoon. At least it's dry. And we've made 10C today. I'm awaiting the arrival of the shopping (it's not me doing it today). I'm also keeping a beady eye on the Arnish Fabrication Yard across the water. A boat came in this morning with two segments for wind turbines on it. I hope it doesn't depart during the hours of darkness (between 6pm and 8am), because I wanna know what's on board. The Yard is just over a mile away, but I cannot readily discern what goes on there.

Hope all are well in J-land, and having a nice Hump Day.


Donna made several snags in her last journal entry, and I particularly liked the Fall River

and When You Miss Me


Paul has opened his mailbox for submissions for CarnivAOL to be sent in by Sunday, October 29th. The latest entry of CarnivAOL explains exactly what it's about - basically about sending in an entry from your blog (you email Paul the link to the individual entry), which he will then feature in the CarnivAOL.

The CarnivAOL
You email plittle@aol.com


Jim (Halliday0957)'s son Lee has left a message in his blog, saying he is in hospital. Jim is 75, and at his age this leaves me a wee bit concerned. Drop by and leave a message, it'll be passed on to Jim.


Congratulations are in order for Kate (An Analysis of Life) as she passed her driving test this morning. Yay!


Found a copy of Ambitions, a publication by VisitScotland, the tourism organisation for Scotland. Browsing through it, mrs B felt the best place for it to go was the bin. Now, I had to agree.

In it, the first 5-star guest accommodation in the island of Lewis is announced as opening in 2007. Incorrect. There is already a 5-star guesthouse at Melbost, 4 miles east of Stornoway. What made me raise my eyebrows was the fact that the proprietors were awarded £75,000 for building these premises by the local enterprise company. Lesser mortals who are prepared to upgrade their fewer-stars-establishments get nothing out of Western Isles Enterprise, as the market is supposed to be looking for the upper end of the scale. Not by my experience. There is a lack of affordable accommodation in Stornoway, judging by what gets turned away by mrs B in summertime. Oh well, perhaps there is a lack of expensive digs for the hoi-polloi, I don't know.

Tag: visitscotland

Extreme Everest

On a more cheerful note, my attention was drawn to Extreme Everest. This is an expedition which will attempt an ascent of Mount Everest in the spring of 2007. It isn't just any old Everest climb - I copy from the website:

Xtreme Everest is a research project coordinated by the UCL Centre for Aviation, Space and Extreme (CASE) environment medicine - doctors and scientists studying human systems stretched to breaking point in extreme environments to increase our understanding of critically ill patients.

The goal is to place a research team on the summit of Mount Everest in 2007 and make the first ever measurement of the level of oxygen in human blood at this altitude.

This is the centrepiece of an extensive programme of research into hypoxia (low oxygen levels) and human performance at extreme altitude aimed at improving the care of the critically ill and other patients where hypoxia is a fundamental problem.

You can follow the progress of their expedition on this blog, which is hosted by the BBC. They have just returned from an initial, pathfinding expedition in which the summit was reached from Tibet. I'd recommend this for keeping an eye on, particularly next spring.


I posted an entry earlier today about a 15 year old boy taking his life with a shotgun. That was incorrect, and I apologise. A newsreel popped up just now saying that the parents of John Ross Mackenzie had issued a statement through Northern Constabulary. In it, they declare that their son died in a tragic accident. A report is to be filed to the Procurator Fiscal, as per procedure.

Beware of flares

Very occasionally, you may encounter a marine flare on a beach. These flares are extremely hazardous and should not be touched. They are approximately 12 inches long, cylindrical and about 2 inches in diameter. They are light brown to yellow in colour and resemble bone or piping. They will turn black just prior to bursting into flames.

Anyone finding them is to stay up wind of the smoke, as it is poisonous, and dial for the Emergency Services (999 in the UK, 911 in the US, 112 in Europe) and ask for the Coastguard.

Don't dodge waves

Found this on the Coastguard Newsroom webpage, which needs relaying


Brixham Coastguard is warning members of the public about the dangers of wave dodging after two young women were swept into the sea at Paignton Harbour.

At 7 o clock this evening, Brixham Coastguard was alerted by a passing Coastguard to an incident at Paignton. Two young women in their early twenties who had been wave watching during the present inclement weather had been swept into the sea by a large wave. The incident had been witnessed by members of the public and the Coastguard officer, who were able to affect a rescue. The two women, who had been watching waves from a slipway, were thrown a lifebelt and were then recovered from the sea. They were treated on scene by paramedics before being taken to Torbay Hospital.

Just a few minutes later, a group of ten adults and children were spotted in the water, wave dodging at Goodrington. A Coastguard from the Torbay Coastguard Rescue Team warned them about the dangers of wave dodging and gave them some safety advice.

Dave Scullion Brixham Coastguard Watch Manager said,
Strong winds, high tides and rough seas have the potential for disaster. Due to the quick reaction by members of the public and the Coastguard officer a potential tragedy has been averted. This incident could have had an entirely different result and ended in serious injury or even death for those involved.

Tuesday 24/10/06

Rain, windy and cold. Today's temperatures never got into double figures. Maximum 9C / 48F. It rains heavily all day and there is a strong northeasterly wind. Our guest departs on the 7.15 ferry, can't have been a nice crossing. The Moray coast (east of Inverness) is affected by flooding, and it's just a horrible day. Muirneag is 8 hours late, coming in at 3.45pm. A little later, it dries up a bit and I go shopping. Have to go to Engebret's for the papers, as they've sold out in Somerfields. Mrs B's granddaughter is staying the night, and I help her with a school project. She's a wee bit late starting it; it's supposed to be handed in on Thursday, when schools go back from mid-term break.

Some images I took this afternoon

How do you mean, a dreich day?

Monday 23/10/06

Our guests leaves for Carloway on the 09.10 bus. She will commence her walk at the Carloway Broch, which leaves her a 29 km / 18 mile walk back. Continue to monitor hurricanes Paul and Xavier, the latter being an early bird in the 2007 Southern Hemisphere season. Today is the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian uprising, which is celebrated in Budapest, but marred by violence. The day begins wet, but brightens up later. Not much doing, apart from a trip to town, to replace my alarmclock which has given up the ghost. No, a new battery didn't help. The wind picks up through the evening - another cold northeasterly. Our guest returned to Stornoway at 4.30, some 6½ hours after leaving Carloway. She makes an early night of it, as she is going on the 7.15 ferry in the morning.

PS: Today's pictures were shown in an entry yesterday (23 October).

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Sunday 22/10/06

An unremarkable Sunday, which our guest spends walking to the Arnish Lighthouse and back. A trek of some 10 miles. She is thwarted at the last hurdle, the gate by the keepers' cottage, this being in a mire of horsepoo. The weather looks threatening, with one showers passing just south of Arnish and the other straight over Newton. It very gradually dries and clears up, leaving us a fantastic sunset. After a great supper of steak, chips and fried onions, we have a lengthy chat with our guest, a pleasant lady from the European continent. She has been visiting Scotland for some 10 years now and is quite taken with Lewis. The island is not as flat and featureless as she had imagined it to be. Tomorrow, she intends to walk from Carloway to Stornoway, 16 miles.

New journals

Happen to find this blogger linking to mine (with thanks!), which was started only 14 days ago. She is Raeganfay, from Nowhere, USA, and some interesting thoughts on life.

Astra has started a blog with technical instructions on how to tackle common problems and issues on journals.

Call for support

Two things: First, Sam (Mother, Wife, Mental Health Student Nurse) is having a hard time at it, what with not being paid for more than 2 months and now a marital breakdown. Hop along and leave a note of encouragement and support please.

Book tagged

It was inevitable that I'd become tagged with this book tag thing as well, so here goes:

TAG! You're it!

1. Grab the nearest book.

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the text of the next 4 sentences on your Blog along with these instructions.

5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet I know that is what you were thinking!

6. Tag 4 or 5 people.

The Life and Death of St Kilda
The moving story of a vanished island community
by Tom Steel
Harper Collins, 1994

Page 123 line 5-8
The passages in italics fall outside that remit, but are needed to make complete sentences.

When the Vulcan from Glasgow steamed into Village Bay on Saturday, 28 July 1838, with a full complement of passengers and a brass band on board, the islanders rushed to the manse to inform the minister, the Reverend Neil Mackenzie, that a 'ship on fire' was approaching. When the brass band struck up, the St Kildans fled to shelter among the rocks. The ministers, missionaries and schoolmasters were not the only people responsible for bringing St Kilda closer to civilisation.

I'll blog about St Kilda another time.

NOTE: I'm not tagging anybody specific, as this has been doing the rounds. Feel free to take up the challenge if you dare!


Got this great tag from Donna (Nightmaremom), bearing in mind that I'm cat-mad. It'll probably end up in my sidebar underneath the Rainbow Bridge graphic. Three cats are commemorated there, who passed over the Bridge in 1973, 1988 and 2004.


An irregular contributor to J-land posted yesterday, and it nearly blew me down. Go over to Jan's blog Living with Pulmonary Fibrosis. Her condition is basically incurable and untreatable, save by giving oxygen. So, off she goes to Yellowstone Park, with a truckload of oxygen in the boot. Go read!


The debate surrounding the wearing of veils by Muslim women continues to rage in the UK. Sparked off by senior Labour politician Jack Straw, there is now a ferocious discussion going on whether women in public life, such as teachers, should wear a veil.

Personally, I respect religious creeds and convictions, and support those that wish to abide by its rules. The unfortunate aspect of the veil-debate is that there are differing interpretations of the rule within the Islamic community.

The group that requires a woman's face to be totally covered is actually a minority within the Muslim world. The thinking behind this is that a woman's physique should only be seen by her husband. Showing any part of her exterior to another man is a breach of faithfulness, and tantamount to being a prostitute. I don't think I'm overstating here.

The majority of women in the Muslim world are happy to interpret this stricture as requiring their hair to be covered. I have even seen western female reporters appearing on the TV from places like Iran, wearing a head scarf on camera.

Mr Straw has blundered into this rather sensitive debate like an elephant in a china cupboard, and it already had some nasty consequences. One lady had her veil ripped off in the street, causing her extreme distress, for the reasons outlined above.

Nonetheless, I saw a lady teacher on TV the other day, her head and face fully covered by a black garment, explaining why she was upset at the prospect of not wearing it in class. Personally, I have to agree with Jack Straw that it is disconcerting and difficult to properly communicate with a person that chooses not to show their face.

The relationship with the Muslim community was already strained in the aftermath of the attacks in New York and London in 2001 and 2005 respectively, although I have always held the view that those responsible only abused religion as a pretext for carnage. Methinks heads need to cool on both sides of the debate, and rather than making sweeping statements and unreasonable demands, community leaders need to sit down and quietly and calmly debate the issues at stake here.

Over in France, tensions with the immigrant community were reported to be at breaking point again. Riots there in 2005 lasted for several days and weeks. There is a distinct possibility that the same could happen in the UK, as was already highlighted during the weekend. There is still a window of opportunity to avert this - but not for long.

Tag: veil muslim islam women

Hurricane watch - 24 October

Hurricane Paul is quickly losing strength as it moves northeast towards Baja California. By the time it reaches there, it will be nothing more than a tropical storm, with winds at about force 9 on the Beaufort scale. There will be lots of rain, obviously.

Tag: hurricane

Deja vu

That's the experience I got on watching the Scottish news this afternoon. An American warship, on exercise in the Clyde (west of Glasgow), had threatened a tiny ferryboat with a salvo of life ammunition. The exercise in the Clyde involves marines "attacking" warships to carry out "bomb attacks", and captains are to pass this exercise in order to be allowed on flotilla manoeuvres.

The Kilcreggan to Gourock ferry was chugging its lawful way across the Clyde estuary when it was challenged on the international maritime distress frequency channel 16 on VHF. All unidentified vessels were threatened with attack.

An initial investigation revealed that the challenge was mistakenly broadcast on channel 16 rather than the exercise frequency. The ferry, MV Kenilworth, is not said to have been in danger at the time of the incident, 9.40 AM last Monday. The Royal Navy have taken the incident very seriously and are looking into it further.

This brings back memories of the encounter between USS Klakring and the MV Spanish John north of the Isle of Rum at this time last year. The Klakring actually fired 4 rounds at the tiny cargovessel, but they all missed.

New journal

I just want to point people to a new writer in J-land. Linda (screenname Lpoliticalanimal) has written a series of articles which I think deserve to be read by a wider audience. Her blog is called Brave Women, and I'd like to invite all to have a look.

I have known Linda for a wee while, first from an AOL chatroom, and latterly through an AOL Group. This journal is in anticipation of Remembrance Sunday, on November 12th. With a bit of luck however, we could possibly encourage Linda to continue writing beyond that date as she has a few stories to tell.

Monday, 23 October 2006

I had lunch with a gangster because I'm cool like that

" I had lunch with a gangster because I'm cool like that"
Very stupid, but yet funny at the same time. Give it a try. You don't even have to write anything down, to help you remember.
Have fun, and be sure and post your answers. 
This is funny - type out the sentence you end up with in your post

Pick the month you were born:
January--I kicked
February--I loved
March--I smoked
April--I dry humped
May--I choked on
June--I murdered
July--I did the Macarena with
August--I had lunch with
September--I danced with
October--I sang to
November--I yelled at
December--I ran over

Pick the day (number) you were born on:
1-------a birdbath
2-------a monster
3-------a phone
4-------a fork
5-------a Mexican
6-------a gangster
7-------my cell phone
8-------my dog
9-------my best friends' boyfriend
10-------my neighbor
11-------my science teacher
12-------a banana
13-------a fireman
14-------a stuffed animal
15-------a goat
16-------a pickle
17-------your mom
18-------a spoon
20-------a baseball bat
21-------a ninja
22-------Chuck Norris
23-------a noodle
24-------a squirrel
25-------a football player
26-------my sister
27-------my brother
28-------an ipod
29-------a permanent marker
30-------a llama
31-------A homeless guy

Pick the color of shirt you are wearing:
White----------because I'm cool like that
Black-----------because that's how I roll.
Pink------------because I'm NOT a homosexual.
Red------------because the voices told me to.
Blue-----------because I'm sexy and I do what I want
Green---------because I hate myself.
Purple---------because I'm cool.
Gray----------because I was drunk
Yellow--------because someone offered me 1,000,000 dollars
Orange-------because I hate my family.
Brown--------because I was high.
Other-------because I'm a ninja.
None--------because I can t control myself

Now type out the sentence you made in the subject line and put in a post or forward to your friends. And don't forget to send it back to the person that sent it to you

Hurricane update - 23 October PM


Hurricane Paul is now approaching Baja California. Although the system is currently weakening, winds of 90 mph are severe enough to cause considerable damage.

It is unusual to have a powerful hurricane in this area this late in the season. Many winter residents are already in the area, and may not have experienced a tropical hurricane before. If any readers know anyone in this position, can you please advise them to check the National Hurricane Center website, which issues 6 hourly updates on Paul.


Today's weather images

Train defecator hunted by police

A man, who has taken to defecating in train carriages in southeast England, is being sought by British Transport Police. He smears his excrement across seats, which puts the whole carriage out of action until it is cleaned up. Apart from being a public health hazard, it is also extremely anti-social. He has done this in at least 30 trains, causing a £60,000 clean-up bill for the train operators. Leaving that to one side, this also leads to a lack of trains, which in turn causes delays and cancellations. Police have released a CCTV image of the suspect, which can be viewed on the BBC News page from which I pulled this story.

Call for support

Can people pop round to Andie (The New Me) please, as her other half's older brother attempted to take his own life over the weekend. He survived, but is currently still in hospital. Reading between the lines, it's not an easy time right now.

Hurricane update - 23 October

Hurricane Paul is now a category 3 hurricane and is about to commence its approach of Baja California. The forecasters are not at all sure where, if at all in Baja, Paul will make landfall, and its intensity is equally uncertain. Current windspeeds stand at 95 knots, 110 mph, but Paul is thought be weaker when nearing Baja California. Once inland, the system will rapidly weaken and dissipate.

Tropical Cyclone Xavier is an 80 kts / 90 mph hurricane in the south Pacific, and may be heading for New Caledonia at this rate, later in the week.

Yorkshire Airlines


Monday Monday

After this morning's rain, the weather is slowly brightening up. Our guest set off at 9 o'clock this morning to take the bus to Carloway, then walk back. You're talking about a 26 km / 16 mile hike. I've done it once in the opposite direction. I didn't set off until midday, and I had to catch the last bus back - which leaves Carloway at 5pm. Needless to say, I pressed myself hard and managed to cover the distance in 4½ hours.

Oh, by the way. I like lampooning; you know, a bit of gentle mockery. I thought the Fifi awards were just that. Take down the VIVI's to their proper level. But the final results from the Fifi's look more like an exercise in nastiness. I'm disappointed. I've left it to others to be more forthright.

Could people offer some encouragement to Myke at Moodymyke7? Just encouragement to continue writing. I sense some dejection creeping in with this lady, that I do not know much else about. It would be a shame.
A similar request for support to KerryAnne who continues to find it very difficult to come to terms with the loss of her child, who was stillborn not that long ago.

I'll be out to the shop shortly, and am up to date with alerts. Wow!

23 October 1956

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Hungarian uprising against Soviet occupation. A march on parliament in Budapest was bloodily dispersed by Soviet forces, but the democratic leader Imre Nagy was allowed to resume in office. For a few days only. On November 4th, 1956, communist rule came back with a vengeance. Thousands fled the country and settled in western Europe.

The Hungarian uprising coincided with the start of the Suez crisis, and the suppression of a similar revolt in Poland, under Gomulka. Following the death of Stalin, in 1953, an air of liberalisation appeared to waft through the Warsaw Pact. But when Imre Nagy announced the withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact, the Soviets moved to crush his reign. He was hanged.
The BBC has published an excellent timeline of this event in history. Also watch this report from 1956.

NOTE: Nagy is pronounced Nadsh

Sunday, 22 October 2006

Sunset 22 October

Saturday 21/10/06

No pictures today. Today is the 40th anniversary of the Aberfan mining disaster, which I mentioned in a separate entry. Muirneag is late in again, at 10 am. It is wet, windy and cold, and I do not show my face outside. The lady appears at 10 am sharp, as arranged, and goes off to the Butt of Lewis to enjoy the windy conditions. She has several hours to spend there. Watched a program about Ian Hislop, the editor of the magazine Private Eye, whose ancestors came from Crowlista in Uig (Lewis). He is shown in the local Indian restaurant, and in a wind- and rainswept Uig, cursing his way down the B8011, which links the district to the rest of Lewis. He stood in a stone circle, which used to be the ancestral home, nearly taking off in the gale with his brolly. Hundreds have left Lewis, in search of a better life, or "encouraged" by previous landowners to do so. Supper is my speciality, chili con carne from a can. Have a discussion with mrs B about journals, of which she disapproves.

Friday 20/10/06

The day starts fairly brightly, but cloud increases as the day progresses. Rain holds off until nightfall. The freightferry, MV Muirneag, is a staggering * FOUR * hours late, arriving at 11.45 instead of its usual 8 am. The weather on the mainland was very poor, leading the captain to delay departure until daylight, 8 am. A fleet of "horses" rumbles down to the pier to unload the haulage trailers, in time to move Muirneag away, to allow the passenger ferry Isle of Lewis to dock. I head for town to purchase the weekend shop. It is absolutely hellish in Somerfields, trolley war at its worst. By evening, a lady calls at mrs B's door to request accommodation for 3 nights from tomorrow, which is available. Sunset 6.15pm. Supper consists of sweet and sour with pineapple and chicken. Catch up with the usual load of alerts and emails, heading for bed at 11.30pm.

Thursday 19/10/06

Another late start. The weather is reasonable to start with, but the sequence of clouds suggests a front is in the offing, from the east. After the weekend, it could get chilly. The ferry is 1½ hours late, not leaving for Ullapool until 3.15. I go to the ferry terminal to collect the winter timetable, which comes into force on Monday. The bus station gets a similar visit. I find Muirneag moored opposite Amity House today. I return to the town centre to buy papers and some magazines. A trip to Somerfields concludes my outside proceedings. Grey clouds scud overhead, but the sun comes out at 5.30. The rainfall radar shows heavy rain over the Highlands and will arrive here after nightfall.

Hurricane update - 22 October

Tropical storm Paul is set to pass close by or over Baja California early in the week; it is likely to be a very borderline category 1 hurricane. Still, the rain and the strong winds may cause disruption in Baja and fronting coastal areas of Mexico. As stated yesterday, the moisture carried by Paul may affect southern and western Texas late in the week.

Tropical cyclone Xavier has turned up in the Solomon Islands, as the first tropical storm of the southern hemisphere season. This system does not look likely to affect land at this stage, although Xavier is still intensifying as it moves west, later southwest.

Saturday, 21 October 2006

VIVI nomination tags

Received the four tags I was due under my VIVI nominations, and shoved them in my sidebar. Methinks they'll probably migrate out of there tomorrow, as the sidebar is now too long. I'd like to thanks all for kind messages and wish all other nominees the best of luck in 12 days' time, on November 2nd. It is great to see so many other journals that I was not aware of, which is what the VIVIs are all about, isn't it.

I'm behind with alerts, as per usual, about 50 (sigh). Spent this evening chatting to our guest in front of a nice log fire. Weather today: not nice at all, wet, windy and cold.

National Geographic

Occasionally, I buy a copy of the National Geographic magazine, but it left me thoroughly depressed this month. I am aware of the threats to the environment, and am actually glad that people in the US are waking up to that problem. The focus was particularly on National Parks (worldwide), which are being eroded by all sorts of man-made activity. Rather than just flagging up the problem, NG could do worse than mount a campaign to save whatever we have left of the natural world.

One NG member of staff had his blood tested for all sorts of chemicals that were released into the environment over the last 50 years or so. It cost $15,000 to be tested for things that were present in parts per trillion (1 in every million million or 10 to the power of 12). Again, what's the use of flagging up a problem, when you're not actively advocating to do something about it? I agree that some nasties, such as DDT, were outlawed decades ago and they still float around, and probably will continue to do so until the end of time. But other things continue to be produced, and I never heard a peep from NG to stop doing so.

Enough moaning. I like the NG magazine for its stunning photography, and will continue to purchase it on and off. No, I'm not promoting anything. Make up your own mind.

Tag: "national geographic" environment pollution