Thursday, 1 November 2007

Thursday notes

November is here, and carries on the way October ended: grey and drab.

Good news in the island today, as the Harris Tweed industry sees the re-opening of the mill at Shawbost, 18 miles northwest of Stornoway. This had been mothballed some time ago, but will be restarted. Earlier this year, the mill at Stornoway was taken over by a Yorkshire textiles tycoon, who reduced the number of patterns from several thousand to 5, and wants to make men's jackets - to be finished in Yorkshire. Fortunately, several people took the initiative to re-engage the Shawbost mill. Hopefully, all those patterns will now be produced there.

Tropical storm Noel has wreaked devastation in the Dominican Republic. 80 people have died, dozens are still missing, and 25,000 have lost their homes. The problem was not winds, although 50 mph winds are no teaparty, it was rainfall. The capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo, saw at least 19 inches of rainfall out of Noel, and more is falling today. Read a full report here. I'm making a separate entry on the current state of affairs surrounding Noel.

Changed days. Gerry Adams, the president of Irish Republican party Sinn Fein, has apologised to Colin and Wendy Parry, whose 12-year old son Tim was killed by an IRA bomb in the northern English town of Warrington in 1993. Another youngster also lost his life and others were injured. Mr Parry said it was not easy meeting Gerry Adams, but felt it was infinitely easier than holding his dying son, carrying his coffin and saying his final farewells. Mr Adams expressed his sincere regret, both on a personal level and on behalf of the IRA. The two met at Canary Wharf, which was itself targeted by an IRA bomb which claimed two lives.

The IRA laid down its arms a few years ago, and Sinn Fein now shares devolved government responsibility in Northern Ireland with the Democratic Unionist Party of Rev Ian Paisley. My interpretation is that this is one of the few good things to have come of 9/11. The IRA and its aims had widespread support among Americans of Irish extraction. However, when the horror of terrorism was visited upon New York, they saw for themselves, in a magnified version, what was being perpetrated on Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom in their name.


  1. That is good news about the Harris Tweed industry.  What was the Yorkshire tycoon thinking of when he reduced the patterns to 5?  I!  What about all those heritage patterns he was assigning to the archives or dusty shelves?

    What devastation there has been in the Dominican Republic. Life is so hard for the majority of the world by comparison to us here in Britain.
    God Bless those who lost their lives.

    I never thought I would have lived to see the day that Gerry Adams would apologise to Mr and Mrs Parry for the loss of their son.  I truly never did. I don't know if it has been a help in any way but its certainly remarkable.

  2. Glad Harris Tweed was able to reopen their Shawbost plant.  As for  Mr. Adams, I note in the last few yrs many people agreeing to meet and recognize him and Sinn Fein when they otherwise swore never to.  So it's a forward move I'd say.  Having Irish ancestry, never would I have thought a part of UK gov'mt would recognize SF in even the smallest capacity.  Good to hear.  Yes, Americans have always had a more romantic notion of the IRA than what reality bespeaks.  I'll never forget the "naill-board" bombs that wreacked such horror in UK that Mrs. Thacher got on camera and gave American Irish a good verbal spanking for funding such things as death, no matter the banner.  CATHY  

  3. I caught some footage of the tropical storm on the news this morning, how sad for those dear souls.  Life isn't easy for most of them as it is.  I hope the mill can come back to life.

  4. Happy All Saint's Day!
    Linda :)

  5. Our November here in Sunny Northants has come in like October left.....with brilliant sunshine and nice and warm with 16 - 17 degrees!! I am here at work in a t shirt and the heating is off and windows open!! Sorry it is not so good with you.

  6. It's a shame it took 9/11 to show them what was being done in the name of the IRA.