Friday 19 July 2019

We Have Survived

Ten years ago today a monumental thing happened to the Isle of Lewis. The first scheduled Sunday ferry service sailing to the Island occurred. Lewis had been the bastion of Sabbatarian opposition to the ferry sailing on Sunday. I can hardly believe that I wrote this post ten years ago. Even then the vocal Sabbatarian opposition only numbered about 20 whilst supporters on the quayside cheering the ferry (which was carrying an almost full complement of vehicles) numbered over 200. 

When the first Sabbath ferry sailed to the Isle of Skye in 1965, a minister lay down on the pier and had to be removed by the police.

The ferry operators, Caladonia MacBrayne (Calmac), said that it also had received legal advice that it could be breaking European laws if it followed the wishes of one part of the community on Lewis, while sailing to almost every other large island on a Sunday.

Prof Donald Macleod, principal of the Free Church college in Edinburgh, accused the firm of "bullying" the islanders. He warned: "It's going to have a domino effect on church attendance and will change the community from a Christian civilisation to a secular, humanist society." The Rev Angus Smith, a veteran campaigner, said the service would bring "things that terrify parents", including shops opening seven days a week.

While a large section of the population was celebrating, the most Presbyterian residents warned that judgment awaited. The Rev Dr James Tallach of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland said: "CalMac made a great play that they must keep the law. Well, I ask them what about the law of God? "We will not be tried at the end of the day, when all of us stand before the judgment seat of Christ, on the basis of EU law."

Well looking back the strange thing is that absolutely nothing changed apart from the fact that we can all go on and off the Island 7 days a week. Sunday happens to be a very busy day for the ferry. People can actually go away for a long weekend.

As for shops opening., very little has changed. The one shop/petrol station that does open in Stornoway did so long before the Sunday ferry started. 

I'm sure that now, if the ferry were to be withdrawn, the Island's worthies would be as up in arms as they were over its introduction. After all that's what happened when the Sunday air service to Benbecula was opposed and then its withdrawal was opposed.

Life goes on.

Sunday 14 July 2019

A Day of Sport and Wallpapering

I'm not a great sports follower but today has been a sportfest so far as I was concerned. I wasn't able to sit down and plonk myself in front of the television because I was wallpapering the newly installed kitchen. I don't have a choice either because my visitors start at the end of the week until mid September. 

Today was the day for the final of the Cricket World Cup between England (their first final for 27 years - a title they have never won), the British Grand Prix, the final day of Wimbledon, and the Tour de France. All are available on UK free-to-air television. Four of the rooms in my house have televisions but I can't be in more than one at a time.

Prioritising seemed as if it could be a challenge. So I decided to have the cricket on the television  in the kitchen until the Grand Prix and then after it I would watch the Wimbledon simultaneously on an iPad. I recorded the Tour de France highlights. 

As it happens that  decision was inspired because the tennis and the cricket were cliff-hangers and the British Grand Prix was actually interesting for once.

The cricket World Cup Final ended in a draw which had to be decided by a Super Over which ended with a win for England by 1 run.

The Grand Prix was won by Lewis Hamilton for the seventh time making him the most successful winner of the British Grand Prix in its 70-year history. 

Djokovic beat Federer in the fifth set after it had gone to 12 games all in the final set and had to be decided by a tiebreak making the final set 13:12 to Djokovic.

I have no idea what happened in the Tour de France.

However I did get the kitchen lining paper hung which just leaves the wallpaper and the painting to be done before next weekend. Oh. And the kitchen re-filled with everything I took out which is sitting in the garage in boxes.

Thursday 11 July 2019

Small World, Big Ship

On my way into Stornoway today I saw the towering presence of MS Queen Victoria.

The last time I saw her was in Sydney. The first time I saw her was in Napier on the 1 March 2008. 

Launched in 2007 she is a fairly impressive 294 metres long although the current largest cruise ship, Symphony of The Seas is 361 metres. 

It made me realise, yet again, just how small a world we live in. I've tried to find out how many nautical miles she must have travelled in her life so far but I've not been successful. Nevertheless it is a slightly strange feeling to have seen this ship as far away from my present home as she could have been.

Coincidentally on this day 10 years ago I also posted about a cruise ship far from home here.