1 EAGLETON NOTES: March 2015



Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Behold, The Sea.

It is often remarked that the sea, and in particular The Minch which is that stretch of sea between The Outer Hebrides and the mainland of Scotland is predominantly grey. When I'm at home in Eagleton I see the sea day in and day out because I live above it and on its edge.  Recently we have had some very grey, squally days but the sea has been the most glorious of colours:

Friday, 27 March 2015

Where in Britain Would You be Happiest?

That is a question asked by the BBC on its Breakfast programme this week. It invited people to take a test at a BBC web page . 

The introduction states:
Until now, we've decided on where we should live based on things like job, family, friends, schools, colleges, countryside and nightlife. But now new research suggests different districts of Britain have distinct personality traits. And how well our personality fits with the people around us can contribute to our happiness.
The test below will reveal your personality traits and based on the research, it will predict the place in Britain that would make you happiest, or least happy, based solely on your personality profile.
I rarely if ever participate in any of the many personality and other surveys that abound but this one made me curious. So I answered the questions with the following results:

I was totally astounded by the fact that the result suggested that I should be living somewhere down in the south of England. I am, after all, a Northerner by birth and mentality and very much more northern by inclination since I moved to the Scottish Island of Lewis four decades ago and where, by choice, I have lived ever since (when I haven't been in New Zealand). The Isle of Lewis is the largest island in Eileen Siar (The Western Isles).

So it came as a massive surprise when I discovered that the worst location for my personality was ...... where I live

So the next day I decided to take the test again. Interestingly I found it very difficult to recall what I'd said the first time but, having read the explanation of the personality traits (I should have done that the first time), I tried to be more considered. The result?

Where on earth, I wondered, is Harborough. Ah. Market Harborough in Leicestershire. The Midlands. No. Sorry. I'm not from the Midlands and could no more imagine living there than the South of England. Well perhaps a little more.

But it still thinks that the worst place for me is where I live.

Which leads me to wonder what on earth the traits of the people of the place where live really are and whether they answered after reading the notes. For example the definition of 'openness' as I first thought of it is not the definition of openness as defined. I suspect that the whole process is rather flawed.

Did any other of my British readers take the test by any chance. 

PS If anyone from outwith the UK takes the test you'll need to give a UK postcode to get your result. L14 3LW is a UK postcode. In fact it's the one where I was born.  You see that thing about being an adherent to the rules doesn't exactly fit me. In reality I've been a rebel most of my life. Obviously a rather closet one.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

In Praise of Good Service

This post was scheduled for tomorrow and I something else in mind for today but it can wait. I have just read Virginia's post on appalling customer service so I am now posting this one today.

How often these days do we complain about poor or bad service?  Too often. Why? Because poor service has become the norm much of the time. Now I have to admit that I'm speaking for the UK when I say that. Mind you I haven't found France to be any better. New Zealand has, in my experience, higher standards than we have in the UK.  It's many years since I was in the USA or Canada but my recollection is that, once one had managed to get through the unbelievably horrible  and unfriendly border control, service was pretty good and friendly. But then I was a tourist and the system of tipping in the US definitely encourages good service. Mind you heaven help you if you get bad service and try to leave without tipping. I once saw someone pursued out of a cafĂ© with considerable venom because he hadn't left a tip.

So today I want to praise some good service.

A few days ago I was having a problem upgrading the maps on my Garmin satnav. I've not had a problem updating this satnav before. After an afternoon of abortive attempts I rang the helpline. I got straight through (no hanging on being told how important my call was to Garmin: this time I was actually made to feel as though my call was important to them!) to Mark who, in 36 minutes of patience and an obvious knowledge of his subject, sorted out the problem. 

On the Island I often go to The Maybury Garden Centre. If ever there was a firm which makes me feel like going back even if I don't need something then this is the place! Nothing - whether it be advice or any assistance whatsoever - is never too much trouble for them. The young couple who have come into the business with her Mum and Dad have brought the dynamism of youth and continued the friendliness of the business. I actually had a phone call from Spesh yesterday just to tell me what wonderful service she had just received from them. Now if only every business did that I'd have real difficulty choosing where to shop.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Tufted Ducks

Recently when I was at Grimshader (a small township about 15 miles from Eagleton) I saw some Tufted Ducks on a loch. They were a good distance away and my camera, though adequate, is not perfect for these pictures but here they are:

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


Spike Milligan said "We haven't got a plan so nothing can go wrong!" He probably wasn't the first and he certainly won't be the last to say that because Marcel and I use it all the time.

A week ago my visitors left. It had been an enjoyable and busy week. I had no more visitors or commitments untilI I was to go away on 1 April.  By Tuesday evening, however, everything had changed: a friend of four decades came to stay at two day's notice and other visitors came to the Island for the eclipse. So after a wonderfully enjoyable five days I am now visitorless and, as rain is forecast for much of this week, I should be able to catch up indoors and in Blogland before I go away to the Big City next week.

Two visitors (who were not actually staying with me) came to see the eclipse at the Callanish Standing Stones. They thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I showed them some of our other sights as well which were as spectacular as ever despite the fact that it is still more like winter than spring most days.

More Dalmore
Carol Kirkwood was at Callanish for the eclipse. She was as delightful in person as she is on the television.
When the crowds had left we had The Stones to ourselves
Reef Sands

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

A Frog He Would A Wooing Go

Fifth day of consecutive sun from a cloudless sky. A week or so ago I never though I'd be writing that.

My visitors have gone and I am back in Blogland.

The frogs have completely taken over the pond and are making sure that the world knows that Spring is here.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Is Google+ Dead?

Adrian alerted his readers recently to the possibility of the demise of Google+.

An article on Yahoo Tech entitled Google Is Slowly Phasing Out Google+ was the authority for Adrian's wonderful news.

Oh dear. Does that make me sound biased? Well I am. Despite many of our concerns about Google's all-consuming desire for knowledge of our personal information Google provides us with many useful service not least of which is Gmail and Blogger. However Google+ is without doubt one of the most irritating things on the web. 

So I, for one, am hoping that this is the end of Google+.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

I Bit The Bulllet

As anyone who reads this blog knows I have broadband problems. In fact most of Lewis has broadband problems.  So after all the hassle and attempts a few weeks ago I achieved a fabulously fast 2.00Mbps - for two days. I then had a week of 1.3 Mbps. Then I had a week of virtually unusable broadband.  I took the decision and I ordered satellite broadband.

It was installed yesterday. 19Mbps download and 6 Mbps upload. The ping is rubbish but what can one expect when the signal travels all the way to a satellite and back. Pretty darn clever in my book.

At least I should now have a reliable connection to the world outside.

Today my BT broadband has been 2Mbps.

Ho hum. 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

The Difference A Day Can Make

Yesterday about 1700 hrs and storm force winds

Today about 1640 hrs and a mere light breeze

I know which I prefer.

Monday, 9 March 2015

It Can't Be Spring....Surely

As I write this (Sunday 1730) the sun is still shining out of an unblemished sky and the wind is little more than a Hebridean breeze. This morning there was no wind at all but it was really dull and miserable. Why am telling you this? Yesterday there was a fairly rare occurrence in the garden of  a Song Thrush smashing a snail on rocks next to the pond. This morning the pond was full of frogs enjoying considerable rumpy pumpy. One was even chasing a goldfish (which was twice it's size). So presumably the pond will soon be awash with frogspawn some of which will doubtless end up as fish food.

Unfortunately the light was very poor so the pictures of the thrush are a bit blurred because of the motion.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Holidays in United Kingdom

I am puzzled. I am very puzzled. I have been puzzled for a long time.

All the mail that comes to my Eagleton Notes account come from the email address which is set in my blog settings. However all of them come addressed to 'HOLIDAYS IN UNITED KINGDOM'.

I have been into ever conceivable Google+ setting, blogger setting and email account setting and cannot find out why.

If I send myself an email to that address from another address without going through blogger then it come from Graham Edwards which is what the account is called in my Apple Mail accounts.

Does anyone else have a strange name attached to their emails from blogger?

Does anyone have any idea why I'm getting that or how I can stop it?

Friday, 6 March 2015

Clearing Out and Letting Go

For quite a few years I have been gradually getting rid of 'stuff'.  It started one time when CJ was here  a few years ago and we explored the loft (attic - room in the roof) where I had stored enough 'stuff' to sink a battleship. Most of it was things that I just didn't have room for in the main rooms: many shelves of books, pictures, all those glasses for the days when there would be 20 or 30 people in the house and garden for a BBQ (last one about 2006!). And then there's all the things in storage like my 'new' golf clubs (I haven't played for 15 years - perhaps more); dozens of very tidy plastic boxes, each the size of a shoebox, filled with telecom, electronic and computer bits and pieces and cables; travel cases; Really Useful Boxes full of papers and knickknacks; a spare kettle; a deep fat fryer (used once - perhaps twice) and so much more.  That's before I even start on the garage which is large enough for two cars but into which a bike would have difficulty fitting ('though to be fair that's not all my stuff').

The list I have just written purports to be from times past and since then carload after carload has gone to the charity shops (op shop/goodwill). The list is still exactly the same though and it makes me wonder how that can be.

I have, in fact, got rid of a lot of stuff from my study/gym and it is now devoid of a wall full of drawers and cubby holes and so on and the exercise machines have gone (well one's still in the garage). I now have a study/small dining room with views to die for and I go to the local gym which has infinitely more and better equipment and means that I'm not tempted to do other things around the house.

However I seem to have stalled.  Until, that is, Kate shared on Facebook 10 Decluttering Principles to Help Anyone Clear the Clutter. It was a guest post by the author of 365 Less Things - Reducing our stuff one day at a time [and I don't want any comments about less v fewer please]. It's a fascinating approach. 

I'm hooked.  If I live for 10 years and stick to it religiously I might see a difference. I might. Helen and Ian would be proud of me.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Moody Weather

Well the last week has thrown everything it had at the Island in the way of weather. The weather here is rarely extreme: apart from the occasional hurricane and the fact that it's a pretty windy place to live it's rarely bitterly cold. It's never hot. We don't often have snow and if we do it's usually gone within a few hours.  I'll admit that it does seem to rain quite a lot. But, hey, there are places to live where things are much worse.  The way I would describe the weather this last week would be 'moody'.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

On What Day Were You Born?

A recent post by Red talked about the day on which he was born. Many of us know, and many of us don't know, the day of our birth. I was born two days before D-Day (which was Tuesday 6 June 1944) so it's easy for me to remember that I was born on a Sunday.

If you don't know the day on which you were born the you can find out on this website.

Whilst thinking about that the following ditty came to mind:
Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath day
Is fair and wise and good in every way.
Often the Friday and Saturday lines are switched so it's hardly a reliable indicator of character.
I wonder how many of us think that we conform to the rhyme (and how many of us are prepared to say so?).
I would like to think that I'm fair (minded) but wise and good would really be pushing things a bit far.