Sunday, 5 April 2020

SID 18 Busy Skies

Gaz, C and B are on their was home. As I write this they are above the Indian Ocean just over half way between Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur. It is one of the wonders of modern science that I can open my phone and find out where a plane is on a live map. Anyone who often picks up people from planes knows how unreliable airport sites are with their arrival and departure information. However, if I can see that a flight is in the middle of The Minch on it's way to Stornoway then I know exactly when to leave home so that I will be at the airport at the correct time.

So I shall track their progress across the globe until they land in Glasgow and are safe and sound on Scottish soil. 

When I took the screenshot to the right they were half way across the Australian outback. Their plane is the little red one with the route shown. 

However what really struck me was that with every airline apparently closed down what are all these planes doing in the sky? 

Lots of them will be cargo planes but lots will not. I thought the numbers flying over China and the Far East in particular was particularly interesting . I know from Marcheline that the skies over the US are almost empty. Which made me realise that if there are that many planes when the skies are 'empty' how many are there usually. Actually looking at the pictures now (10:04) London airport looks quite busy and the Frankfurt to Los Angeles flight is somewhere above me. It suddenly brought it home to me that if this is the 'empty skies' level of aircraft pollution what is the 'normal' level. Somehow my academic knowledge had not computed with my perceived knowledge. In short there is one helluva lot of planes up there and, therefore, one helluva lot of pollution.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

SID15 Thankful Thursday

I am now limiting myself to a couple of news bulletins a day. Of course my iPhone beeps every time there is some piece of news that AppleNews decides I really must be told straight away. On the whole it's been reasonable and not sent me trivia. I was chatting to neighbours (at a distance of about 20 metres so hardly a 'chat' really) and we agreed that this isolation isn't too bad. Of course, we are fortunate to have big gardens and lots of space. 

My Woodlands coffee buddies and I chat either on the phone or on video chat for a virtual coffee. The phone is forever pinging with another WhatsApp message. The rest of the time messaging, emails and snail-mail are all going full pelt. Communication is at a remarkably high level.

It looks as though Gaz, C and B will arrive home early next week. They will, of course go straight into quarantine. They will, however, be home and, hopefully, safe.

The weather has been very varied so today I spent several hours in the garden in a coldish wind but a beautiful cloudless sky. Then suddenly a snow squall came through and I abandoned the outdoors. Within half an hour the sun was back.

I had not done a jigsaw for about three decades but a friend gave me one last year and I've started in in the conservatory. I won't be needing the big dining table for the foreseeable future.

At 8pm I joined the country in clapping for all those who are keeping things going. I think, today, I've been particularly thankful for my neighbours who do my shopping, the delivery drivers and the postmen who keep us supplied. 

For all this I am very, very thankful.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

SID14 Inevitability

Yesterday's news was that there are now 2 confirmed cases of Covid-19 on the Island. Even though the Island is shut to tourists at the moment, it was eventually always going to be inevitable given all the students and workers laid off who returned home and those who are still trying to get home from abroad (like my son, daughter-in-law and grandson stuck in Australia).

I was having a virtual coffee with a friend yesterday afternoon when the news came through on my phone and at the same time she got a call from her husband. It has strangely altered everything in a way that I can't explain. 

This morning I was regaled by a 'news item' that the Scottish Government has abolished alcohol sales in the light of the Covid-19 outbreak. Then I realised the date and said "Rabbits". At least we haven't lost our sense of humour.

In the meantime Jules mentioned in a comment a recent post of mine that she was off on her Boris Bimble. That's as good a name for a short walk as anything in these strange times so I have adopted it too.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

SID10 Spring

For two days now (today isn't sure yet) the sun has shone out of a predominantly blue sky with no accompanying wind.  Today the sun is winning the battle against the clouds but the wind is from the North, is strong and is bitterly cold. The atmospheric pressure is bumping against the stop at the top of the scale (this photos was taken before it quite got there). 

I worked outside most of the time for two days but today it's indoors things. 

This morning I made a list in six sections: outdoor jobs; indoor jobs; garden; garage; paperwork; and today. It should keep me going for 12 weeks. Hopefully by then it will be almost empty and one job after another finds its way onto the "Today" list.

The birds are now attacking the provisions on the bird feeder which is a sure sign of Spring. I have absolutely no idea why 'my' birds eat hardly anything from my feeder in the winter (but flock to a neighbour's). Well over a decade ago I fixed a bird nesting box to my garage wall about 15 feet from the ground. Unfortunately I fixed in on a North facing wall which is where the cold winds come from. It's been used occasionally (I have opened it up in the winter sometimes to have a look). However I have never actually seen a bird taking nesting material into it. This year it's definitely being used. I will definitely have to give it an overhaul when the autumn comes.

Meanwhile I heard the melodious call of a Stonechat from the top of one of my trees. I nipped inside, grabbed a camera and from 25 metres or more through the kitchen window managed to get a recored if hardly a good photo. 

On Thursday morning (the first sunny day of the week) I decided to go for my allocated daily exercise by walking the long way round by road to the pier below my house, along the shore and then up the croft back home: around 2 miles with plenty of gradient to exercise the heart and lungs. The view from the beach looking into the sun was one I could look at for ever.

Looking up from the bottom of the croft my house seemed a long haul up. Unfortunately now that the land isn't grazed it's virtually impossible to walk straight up the croft because of the huge tussocks of thick grass interspersed with deep ditches which are partly covered up now. A broken leg was not what I needed at this stage of the game. So I walked along the shoreline and up the track.