1 EAGLETON NOTES: December 2017



Sunday 31 December 2017

New Year Celebrations

There are no fireworks in Stornoway to celebrate New Year now. Not that there would have been today anyway because it's the Sabbath. Before I started spending the winter in New Zealand in 2006 the Stornoway waterfront was alive at Midnight with families all seeing in the New Year. It was wonderful. When I first came to the Island in the '70s the tradition in the rural townships (and perhaps in town too) was for people (usually men if I remember correctly) to see in the New Year through the night visiting all the houses in the township. In the early days we claimed immunity as we had two tiny children. By the mid '80s though for many years we had our own New Year dinner party at our house with friends. 

For me this New Year the celebrations are suppose to begin tomorrow at Gaz and Carol's with my grandson, Brodie, in Grimshader. It would be my first overnight in their new home. 

I have been in Purdah and haven't seen my grandson since Christmas Eve. After that I developed a bad throat. By this morning it was almost better so I had high hopes. Then by lunchtime I had started with a cold. I cannot remember when I last had a cold. So it looks as if I will have another period of Purdah and not be able to see the family. There is no way I could risk the family getting a cold at this stage of Brodie's development.

So my New Year will be a quiet one. I may, perhaps, go and infect someone else or I may simply stay at home and catch up with the dozens of letters and so on that I want to write. 

I am spending this evening in splendid isolation. I've had very little in the way of alcohol for four months - my wine stocks are better than they have ever been. Tonight, however, I have one big decision to take. Which will be better for me: a whisky mac or a Cognac? Tough one. 

Slàinte mhath!

Wednesday 27 December 2017


The King is dead. Long live the King. 

Christmas is over. Only 363 days to go until Christmas.

One of my Christmas presents was a book.

Another was The Real Thing. I am now a Grandpa.

I'm not sure yet what the 'official' social media policy is to be but pictures and details are unlikely to feature on this blog and certainly not on any of my other social media platforms.

Thursday 21 December 2017

Thankful Thursday

It's Thursday 21 December 2017. As I write this there are only about  96 hours to wake-up time on Christmas morning. Not that I'm celebrating that in particular. I shall doubtless enjoy Christmas Day in good company. Not having drunk alcohol very much in the last four months, and not at all recently, I shall doubtless enjoy a drop of wine during the day. 

However it is today that I am really celebrating. Today is the shortest day of the year: The sun (assuming that it rises at all) will not rise until 0911 and it will set (assuming that it rose anyway) at 1535. That will give Lewis about 6 hours and 24 minutes of what passes for daylight.

From tomorrow the days will get longer. 

It will soon be Spring and then Summer.

In the meantime I shall make the most of winter and the long nights and do 'winter things'.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Winter Stornoway

Stornoway has a splendid golf course. It's  well over two decades since I walked round it trying to hit a little white ball as few times as possible. What is the saying? "Golf is a way to ruin a good walk." However it can provide good companionship with exercise after a long day behind a desk.

I pass the course a lot because it is part of the Lews Castle grounds in which is situated The Woodlands Café which I frequent.

Earlier this week it was looking particularly attractive in its winter attire:

Sunday 17 December 2017


The beach below my house was positively crowded this sunny morning:

Saturday 16 December 2017

A Saturday Smile

Well if you want a quiet, restful start to the day do not drop a plastic overnight bag containing over a litre of urine onto a tile floor.

At this point I will warn you that there are scenes/language you might find to be of an indelicate nature not usually found on this blog.

I woke at 0630 after a good night’s sleep and decided to get up.

I then decided to go into the bathroom to empty the overnight bag (I often do it in the carpeted ‘en-suite’). 

I arrived in the bathroom and dropped the bag.

On with the latex gloves, out with the floor cloths, bleach, floor cleaner and finally Zoflora (thank you Marcel) and I had a clean, sterile and sweet-smelling bathroom again.

Glad Game: 

1. As it weighed over a kilo I was just happy that the length of the plastic pipe between my willy and the top of the bag was greater than the distance between my willy and the floor!

2. I dropped it in the one tiled room in the house.

Thursday 14 December 2017

Blame Europe

A couple of days after the Harris trip Mo went back to Canada and I popped down for an appointment at The Beatson (the West of Scotland's centre of excellence for cancer treatment) in Glasgow. A play and a concert were planned before I expected to fly home at the weekend.

By Thursday night I was unwell again and on Friday I was admitted to Glasgow's Royal Infirmary from whence I returned home late this afternoon.

I knew from my previous experience a couple of weeks ago that I was seriously unwell as I had a raging temperature, rigors and was tachycardic. They were easy to spot even from where I was lying. 

The hospital staff were fantastic. From the moment I registered at A and E until I was on the medical reception ward with intravenous antibiotics already administered took just two hours.

No-one does emergencies better than the NHS.

Oh, and what's Europe got to do with it?

I had urosepsis but, in my befuddled state, all I could think of Eurosepsis. I think Brexit is getting to me.

So I've still not read any blogs, done any Christmas cards, made my Christmas cakes or, in fact done anything much to speak of at all. For three days I hardly even ate. 

So this is just to bring you up to date. Hopefully I've seen the back of hospitals for a few months at least when the routine stuff kicks in again.

However Pat and I have made a pact that we are starting the gym again in the New Year. Come on Pat: now more than ever!

More soon! 

Tuesday 5 December 2017

Harris on a Winter Monday

My almost-lifelong friend, Mo, from Canada and I drove south to Harris yesterday. It is a drive with views of landscapes varying from wild areas of 'moonscape' rock bare of habitation and much in the way of vegetation to world-class beaches stretching for miles. We started in the late morning with coffee and Christmas cake at the Harris Distillery in Tarbert. It was a good job that we did because we did not find another single place open to get any food or drink on the entire South Harris. Fortunately there is a good scattering of well-maintained public toilet facilities.

The weather varied between dreich, heavy mist and rain to occasional flashes of blue sky and sun: The Outer Hebrides at it's varied winter best.

I only took a few photos but they will give you a flavour of our trip.

The East side of South Harris south of Licasto
A rare sunny moment turning the hillside golden on the East Side near Geocrab
On the West looking North to Northton and Northton Sands