1 EAGLETON NOTES: February 2019



Monday 25 February 2019

Last Week

Last week was a strange week: ordinary but strange. After weeks of my morning walk in the woods being in the rain and cold wind the wind suddenly got warmer. The rain didn't go away though. I think I had one dry walk.

However, despite the gales, the crocuss in my garden are surviving - just:

I set off for my walk on Saturday but the Braighe (the isthmus between the peninsula on which I live and the 'mainland' of Lewis and the town of Stornoway where the Castle Grounds where I walk are situated) was closed by the police just as I arrived. When there is a southerly gale and a very high tide the waves bring pebble and rocks over onto the road, The force is quite capable of inflicting considerable damage to a car.

Someone took A VIDEO of the waves showing the closure and me getting out of my car to take photographs.

Yesterday Gaz, Carol and Brodie (son, daughter-in-law and grandson) returned from Italy where Gaz works at the moment. They flew into Stornoway on a Loganair (Scotland's airline) Embraer ERJ-135 jet. I think I'm correct in saying it's the first scheduled passenger jet service to the Islands.

The Last off

Friday 22 February 2019


Eight years ago on this date - although, as I was living in New Zealand at the time, I was 13 hours ahead of the UK - I wrote the following post on my New Zealand Blog.
Just after 1400 hrs today I received a text from a friend who is visiting Christchurch to say that there had been another large earthquake in the City.   It immediately became obvious that the quake was significantly more serious than the larger quake last September which was further away from Christchurch, much deeper and, most importantly, instead of being in the middle of the night when CBD (Central Business District = City Centre) was empty it happened just before 1pm when the buildings and streets were full.  Communication with the City had been temporarily cut off when power and telecommunications lines were disrupted or destroyed.  It took a short while for the television and radio networks (which were themselves damaged) to get up and running with their independent satellite equipment.

Reference Number
Universal Time
February 21 2011 at 23:51
NZ Daylight Time
Tuesday, February 22 2011 at 12:51 pm
Latitude, Longitude
43.60°S, 172.71°E
Focal Depth
5 km
Richter magnitude
  • Within 5 km of Lyttelton
  • Within 5 km of Diamond Harbour
  • 10 km south-east of Christchurch

Living in New Zealand one is constantly aware of earthquakes which, generally speaking, do little serious damage.   If one lives in Napier the effect of the 1931 earthquake which destroyed the City with huge loss of life and very significant geological effect in the area one is even more aware of what can happen.
However I cannot explain the feelings of anxiety knowing that someone you know and care about is involved even when you know that they survived the initial quake unscathed. I cannot even begin to imagine how people with relatives and friends who are missing are feeling at this time. At the time I'm writing this 65 have been confirmed dead but it is expected that that number will rise.
A State of Emergency has been declared.

The television and radio have been on the air with updating news since the quake. The friend who texted had no idea of the seriousness at the time because they had no power and therefore no TV or radio. 
I never forget the day or the occasion because it was my friend's birthday.

I've written about earthquakes many times in many contexts. I've posted this again because I've not been able to get it out of my mind. It reminds me every time how fortunate are we who live in areas that, generally speaking, are not subject to major natural disasters. I just hope that politicians worldwide (who can do nothing about earthquakes) do something about global warming which will bring on natural disasters we cannot even imagine.

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Two Make Light Work

Someone made a comment today and it's lodged itself in what passes for my mind and I decided to get it off my chest in the form of a blog post. How's that for a pleonastic mixture of words?

What was said arose from the fact that I am a single person living alone and the other person (whose sex shall be left untold) doesn't live alone. 

The statement was something like "It's okay for you. There's only one of you. There's two of us so that's twice as much work." This was a reference to running the house not being a breadwinner. 

So when I was clearing away the dinner dishes and cleaning the pans and baking tin (just for your information I'd made a nut loaf roast with beans and mashed potatoes) it suddenly struck me that it would have been the same amount of work had I had a partner or even visitors.  

Then I got to thinking about the rest of the household chores and I had a lightbulb moment. Two people don't create much more in the way of dirt and dust in a home than one person does. There's not twice as much vacuuming or dusting.  Two people sharing the same bed don't even create more bed changing. There's more ironing, of course (assuming they iron) but precious little else that immediately comes to mind.

Conversely, though, when there is a partnership of two people they each only have half the work that the single person has.

So basically the observation made to me added insult to injury because the person concerned only has half as much work to maintain the household as I do.

Monday 18 February 2019

Board Game Nightmares

I suppose most of my readers will have played board games at some stage in their life. I see that board games are still sold and apparently in numbers sufficient for new variations constantly to appear. I see, for example, that Monopoly is still available in just about every guise from capital cities to Game of Thrones and Roald Dahl.

Of course, chess, draughts, backgammon, Chinese chequers and similar games of mental skill and agility are board games still played universally.

What about Ludo, Cluedo, Scrabble, Snakes and Ladders, and Othello (Reversi)?

Of course there are hundreds of other games which I've never played and I've specifically excluded any card games.

Many board games have been translated or transformed into computer related games including Words With Friends (Scrabble by another name) which I play.

The board game I loathe the most is Monopoly. I have always dreaded the words "Can we play Monopoly?" 

With apologies to Hilary Rose:

When did I last play Monopoly? 
With the children in New Zealand, at least 10 years ago when I just couldn't get out of it.

Did you know they are going to make a film of it? 
NOOOOOO! I find typing the word annoying never mind playing or, heaven forbid, watching a film of it.

Don't worry, it's going to star the actor and comedian Kevin Hart.  

It's about a boy who comes from Baltic Avenue, the second cheapest property on the board.  
No! That's not going to work. The second cheapest property is Whitechapel Road.

This is the American version. The film will be good: it's been on the go for three years.  
Which is about a long as most Monopoly games seem to go on for.

What is or was your worst nightmare of a board game? (Answers other than Monopoly may be censored).

Thursday 14 February 2019

Valentines Long Gone

You weren't beside me yesternight
With lips and eyes so sweetly smiling;
So full of soul, of life, of light,
So beautifully care-beguiling,
That you almost made me gay,
You almost charmed the thought away
That memory soon mine all would be
And you would smile no more for me.

Wednesday 13 February 2019

A Walk and Unexplained Things

I decided on Monday night that, regardless of the weather next morning, I would resume my walks in the Castle Grounds. So I was a little less than enthused when the day broke wet and windy although, to be fair, at 4℃ at least the temperature had increased. So, waterproofs duly donned, I set off with the aim of being back at The Woodlands for my coffee just after opening time (10am in the winter).

I set off with my face into the wind and rain and chose a route into the trees and eschewed the coastal path. After a few hundred yards along a path into the woods I stopped to blow my nose and turned my back to the direction of travel for a few seconds whilst I did so. When I turned back there were two people about 20 yards in front of me. I was rather puzzled because there were no paths joining in that 20 or so yards and they hadn't been there before I turned round. I just wondered and carried on at the same pace as they were walking.

They appeared identically dressed. They both had dull peacock blue hooded jackets with the hoods up. The person on the left as I looked at them was slightly shorter. They were not holding hands so far as I can recall.

We walked on and then I looked down for perhaps 10 or 20 paces as the rain was in my face. When I looked up again they had disappeared. They were not on the main path. They would have reached two other paths off to the left and right. I had a clear sight down both for far further than they could possibly have run in that time, never mind walked. There was nowhere else for them to have hidden.

Some things in life may just never be explained. 

On the topic of unexplained things like Pixies here are the pictures of the book The Adventures of Pip as suggested by Rachel in a comment on my last post in case they jog any memories.

1948/9 Edition
1968 Edition

Wednesday 6 February 2019

Pip The Pixie

I'm home and, after a couple of days catching up, I'm actually feeling alive again and raring to go.

Over the last couple of weeks bloggers have mentioned books from their childhood, games and Heron even mentioned what I took to be his Tree Elf. I don't have a tree elf but I mentioned that I do have a Pixie called Pip. So I thought this was probably a good time to introduce you. Of course some of you may already know Pip and may have learned some of the same things that I learned as a tiny child when reading about him. Indeed someone on the radio whilst I was travelling mentioned that she recalled how Blackbirds got their orange beaks through reading The Adventures of Pip by Enid Blyton first published in 1949 when I was just 5 years old.

As a result of reading these very short stories (30 in total in a book of about 180 pages with lots of illustrations) I learned all about hermit crabs, why lizards lost their tails, chestnut tree buds are covered in glue, that male sparrows have black bibs, how toads defend themselves, how caddis larvae stop tadpoles from eating them, what happens when the oak tree comes out before the ash and vice versa (not that I knew then what vice versa meant), the injustice of the naming of the 'slow worm', about cuckoos, the difference between butterflies and moths and oh so many more things. 

What was so brilliant about that book was that it taught me so much and, because it was in small chapters made reading interesting too. 

I shall doubtless do another post on my childhood books but in the meantime I shall re-read The Adventures of Pip.