1 EAGLETON NOTES: November 2014



Wednesday 26 November 2014

New Kids on The Block

I am now surrounded.  Well that's a bit of an exaggeration because I only have houses to the South of me.  However all but one of the nearest houses have animals.  In fact in the nearest three houses there are five dogs and three cats!  My garden with it's potential crop of birds is heaven for all the cats in the area.  Fortunately the way I've designed things the ability of cats to catch the birds is minimal. 

The latest additions to the local menagerie are Oscar and Sandy who were cavorting in the croft in front of my house yesterday.  Unfortunately winter light isn't perfect for capturing fast moving labrador pups.

They are being trained to come to heel at a whistle and, whilst there is a supply of biscuits, they are pretty good at it.  'Obedient' is probably too optimistic a word. 'Treats' is the real incentive.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

What Is Going On?

Recently all my emails in connection with this blog have come to the public email address but appear as being sent to "Holidays in the United Kingdom".  Nowhere can I find any rationale behind that.  Has anyone else had a similar experience?  Does anyone know why or how this is happening?

Another Google problem I'm having is this:

I'm gradually getting one for each of my Gmail addresses. When one follows the links Google says that an access has been attempted from or whilst I was using a "less secure" email client.  However I'm not using any of the ones they specified: I use iOS8 and Apple's Yosemite E-mail client.  All my passwords are randomly generated of more than 12 characters and stored in 1Password.  Is anyone else experiencing this?

Monday 24 November 2014

Please Give To Charity....Or Else

Don't get me wrong.  I support charities and I understand that they have to run appeals to get money.  However I prefer to support the charities of my choice and to whom I give and how much is entirely a matter for me and not for the rest of the world.  The only general exception I make is that I wear a poppy to remember and out of respect for those who lost their lives in war: celebrated on Armistice Day here in the UK and ANZAC Day in New Zealand.

Yesterday the annual Red Cross appeal (one of many by different charities) dropped through my letter box: Christmas cards for me to send together with a pen to write them and stickers to let my friends know that I support the Red Cross. What this really is, though, is blackmail.  We've sent you these things so you will feel obliged to pay for them.  Well I don't.  I actually resent it.  

What it amounts to is that if I send a donation to a charity I will be bombarded with even more requests.

Most Saturdays it seems there  are  bag packers collecting for their own local cause (they are often not charities but the local football club or whatever)  on the tills of the supermarkets.  Many of these I will happily support but some I certainly am not.  I also prefer to pack my own bags.  I really don't like someone putting a bag of potatoes on top of my tomatoes.  If I feel like supporting the cause I will do so but otherwise I won't but it takes quite a lot of nerve to walk away.

I doesn't stop there of course.  We are bombarded at every moment on TV and radio with please text DONATE  £10 to 66666 or whatever. And, of course, there's Bob Geldof (but that could be a post all of its own).

I could go on but I'm sure you can think of plenty more examples without my assistance.

I know that charities have to raise money and that in some cases much of it reaches the intended cause but I think it's all gone just a little bit too far.  Or am I just being a grumpy old man?

Thursday 20 November 2014

Morning Fog

Despite the recent storms we've had some beautiful days.  Although it was clear and beautiful here on the day I took these photos the mainland looking over towards Canisp and Suilvan was wreathed in fog.

Monday 17 November 2014


PLEASE NOTE: In order to avoid unwanted searches picking up this article I have deliberately altered the main word in the post.

I read a rather good post by Yorkshire Pudding entitled Snapshots.  What caught my mind though was the first few paragraphs of the post in red.

It reminded me that watching a news programme a few days I heard that someone visiting a theme park to see the falconry display was refused admission because he was not accompanied and the policy was that adults must be accompanied for fear of p*philia. Being me I assumed that there was some other more rational reason for the refusal.  However something else yesterday made me wonder so I looked it up.  The Western Gazette has an article which sets out the story very clearly.  It seems that it really is true (even allowing for a healthy scepticism of the press).

As I am unlikely to visit a theme park on my own it is something I could probably have ignored but for its lack of logic and unfair assumptions.  My brother and I have visited falconry displays partly because we like the birds and partly because it's a good photo opportunity to catch the birds in flight.  I'm not a p*phile (but then I would say that anyway) and I'm darn sure CJ isn't either.  So far as I can see all that rule achieves is that p*philes have to travel with someone else who may or may not be an 'accomplice'.  More importantly to me, however, is that I strongly resent the assumption now being made that every single male is a p*phile and the burden of proof is on him to show that he is not.  

Sunday 16 November 2014

Holly's Cat Ate His Finger

It's not often that a headline in the Stornoway Gazette catches my eye in that way that this one did.  It's the sort of article that makes the weekly worth buying.

I'm hoping that the Stornoway Gazette will regard this as a publicity exercise to help stem their dwindling circulation and overlook the possible copyright breach (if such a breach it is).  Unfortunately the article is not available on line.

Saturday 15 November 2014

A Different Perspective

Those of you who have followed this blog for any length of time are bound to have seen many pictures of the bay below my house photographed from my house.  Few of you will have seen or are likely to remember the view from the pier down in the bay.  Yesterday the sea was boiling whipped up by 40mph winds from the East so I decided to go down to the pier and photograph what, from above, looked quite a maelstrom.  Oddly from down at the pier it didn't look quite so bad when photographed but, believe me, the wind was pretty fierce and the spray soon covered me, the camera and the Nighthawk parked quite a way back in salt.

Friday 14 November 2014


A friend on a recent trip to London was asked by a lady (with a North American accent) if she was from Britain.  On replying that she lived in Scotland the lady said displaying some surprise and admiration that my friend had 'good English'. Perhaps some people already think that Scotland is a foreign country as far as England (aka Britain)  is concerned.

Discussing something this morning with a lady, who shall be nameless but whom I admire for her dedication to reason and truth and who is an ardent feminist, she made the comment that "...women are still better multi taskers."  I asked whether there was scientific evidence for such a statement.  The response was "No evidence but I say so....want to make something of it???"  Of course my response was Noooooooo!!!  Thus demonstrating a severe lack of backbone when faced with a lady of intellect and conviction (whatever the potential flaws in her point of view).

There have also been some rather unusual posts in my Blogland this week.  Frances wondered "Whose bits are they, anyway?" and followed it up with a post starting
Her tits are on the mantelpiece,
Her gallstones in a jar.
(If that doesn't send you scurrying to her Blog then I don't know what will.)

She was suggesting that we aught to be given the option of having any parts removed from our body by surgery.  Given that most removals are because the offending piece is diseased in some way or another I can't really see why one would ever want such a piece regardless of any other arguments.  Certainly my diseased lung removed when I was 16 would have been a revolting acquisition as would my cancerous prostate.  Is Formaldehyde readily available to the public or does one really want such a thing in the deep freeze? I think the question might have been made with a lightness of touch.  I know one is often offered one's gallstones but then they aren't really body parts are they?  And just imagine the new set of rules and the number of people who would have to be employed and the number of waivers signed if one were allowed to leave the hospital with a leg in a bag. Not to mention the police time wasted trying to find out whose it was when it was put in the bin. Yuk.

Thursday 13 November 2014

A Realisation

This is the first year since 2005 that I have been on Lewis on the 13 November and this morning the realisation of one of the things that means hit me: I couldn't actually see the sun as it came over the horizon.  I am fortunate in that I live with big skies and can see the sun pop over the horizon for much of the year and for much of the summer I see it coming over the horizon behind the mountains of the Scottish Highlands on the other side of The Minch.  Today for the first time (the stormy weather means I've not seen a sunrise for a week or more) the sun rose just to the right of the little headland in front of my house.  Mind you what I could see was still pretty spectacular but you know what they say "Red sky in the morning sailor's warning" and we are supposed to be in for another big blow and torrential rain by this afternoon. 

At the summer solstice the sun rises where the yellow line points and sets where the orange one points and just dips below the horizon for the other few hours.

Today the picture is quite different with the sun rising and setting as shown below and there are still two more months to the winter solstice.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

A Heavy Heart

Yesterday I did something I thought I would never have to do and I did it with a very heavy heart:  I removed a comment from this blog. 

Of course we all remove spam and such like but on this occasion the post contained the apparent views of one of our community: a friend in Blogland.

The person concerned is well known to many of us for his unusual approach to lots of subjects and is generally very entertaining and, yes, often controversial.  Whilst having a deep intake of breath when I first read the comment I decided that free speech overruled my desire to delete it immediately.   I prevaricated.  Then a very close friend who to whom fairness is absolute and injustice anathema pointed out that it crossed the boundaries by any standards.  So I removed it.

I can't express how sad I feel.

Will it matter a couple go days from now?  Of course not.  But at this moment it weighs heavily upon me.

Sunday 9 November 2014

A Rather Unpleasant Journey

David and Molly the Collie left last Tuesday after a visit which I enjoyed very much.  David came up when I knew that I was going to have The Thing removed from my neck.  It was good having the company and David is a very good cook!  The weather was pretty atrocious for most of the time they were here and given the gale force winds combined with an unfavourable tide I was surprised that the ferry left Stornoway for the morning sail.  As it was it was rough.  You always know that it's going to be bad when the ferry, MV Isle of Lewis, comes past my house going North up The Minch.

Travelling North
Turning South to run with the wind and tide to Ullapool

Saturday 1 November 2014

No Complaints = No Problems (Q. E D.)

I am a fan of BT (British Telecom for those of you who might not know) who provide telephone and broadband services here in the UK.  I have been a customer for the best part of half a century.  Living in the wilds of the Scottish Outer Hebrides I am very much aware of the problems of providing services to remote communities and am always grateful for the fact that we have, generally speaking, good and relatively inexpensive communications (thanks in no small part to large Government  and EC subsidies).  

Many of my neighbours have little or no time for BT.  So it comes as an even bigger disappointment to me when they let me down.  For a long time now broadband on the Island has been very poor both in terms of speed and reliability and there have been petitions and news campaigns: all to no or little avail.  Basically there is not enough capacity to meet demand and it will be a few years before the exchanges are brought up to date and new fibre-optic cables laid.  I can live with poor broadband but not without it!  Recently BT asked me to run some tests because their equipment was showing that I had a connection.  I did and I do (at this moment).  Unfortunately I couldn't run the tests on my Macbook Pro (which can connect to the router by ethernet) because the Flash Player needed updating and there was not enough capacity in the broadband signal to do so.  Catch 22.  

An engineer was due to visit last Thursday afternoon because there is a problem with the phone line too so that may be affecting the broadband.  He didn't and there was no apology or explanation.  Another call to India.  Another visit arranged for Monday morning.  Hopefully he will find a fault and rectify it.  If he doesn't he'll be able to tell them that. The more complaints the more likely it is that action will be speeded up. Unfortunately 'the system' is such that if complaints are not made then there is no problem.