1 EAGLETON NOTES: February 2021



Friday 26 February 2021


There can be few more mundane subjects than printers but they have become part of our everyday lives and also, for many, part of everyday frustrations. Has any one of you reading this never had an irritating moment induced by a printer?

Printers now seem to have changed little from printers in the 1990s except that they are almost all on wifi and not direct cable link. Some also have larger refillable ink tanks and some have monthly ink charge arrangements. The basic paper feed mechanism seems as unreliably antiquated as it ever was.

Manufacturers tempt buyers with very cheap deals on printers (which now have almost empty print cartridges - just enough for the set-up and a few tempting photos) and then charge a fortune for the ink. To make sure they get their pound of flesh, they focus all their efforts on making sure printers only work with proprietary ink cartridges.

So life with a printer for most people runs something like this:

  • Buy a printer.
  • Set up the printer (if you're lucky this might not raise your blood pressure).
  • Honeymoon period - printer works as it should.
  • Poddle along.
  • Need an urgent print job.
  • Printer won't cooperate.
  • Waste a day trying to get it to work.
  • Get the urgent job printed by a friend or a local copyshop.
  • Dump the printer.
  • Buy another printer.
  • Repeat.

On the other hand your experience might be like this:

  • Discover printer won't work.
  • You're pretty handy with gadgets so you sort it.
  • Start the job and printer absolutely refuses to cooperate.
  • Decide printer is dead.
  • It's Saturday. Urgent print job. Argos is open. Buy new printer.
  • Complete job.
  • Monday, ring help line for first printer.
  • Get software upgrade.
  • Printer back in working order.

So you (I) now have two printers. This is handy because when one printer decides to throw a wobbly the other is usually in a good mood. 

I make photo cards and post cards. Mostly for my own use but also for other people (not commercially). So almost all the printing I do is photographs ie colour printing, and decorated envelopes and the cards on which the photos are mounted. So I use a great deal of ink. So I have chosen a monthly ink purchase scheme. So for a few £s per month I get an unlimited supply of ink to enable me to do all the printing I need and don't have to worry about a sudden outlay on expensive cartridges which can run into quite a hefty sum.

PS If the weather wasn't so bad I'd be in the garden and not writing posts like this.

Tuesday 16 February 2021

Storms and a Beautiful Aria

Yesterday was Shrove Tuesday and I was going to post about Scotch Pancakes. They have nothing to do with pancake day but a few people had asked about them and I was going to make some and share the experience. Some other time perhaps.

I had to go into town to the dental practice at short notice. There were gale force winds from the South but the high tide was about 40 minutes previously so the Braighe was not closed to traffic and I duly got ready and set off. There was a police car at this end but he was just keeping an eye on things and I drove across. It was still a bit hairy and there were stones on the road so it must have been bad at high tide.

I listen to music much of the time when I'm in the house. Usually in the morning it is BBC Radio 3 Essential Classics. Otherwise I choose from BBC iPlayer or my library on Apple Music. I rarely use my huge CD collection directly any more because it is held in my Apply Music library.  I often hear pieces that I've not heard before or I've forgotten about. Sometimes they have an great impact. A few days ago one of those was Karl Goldmark's Die Königin von Saba (The Queen of Sheeba) - Assad's act 2 aria "Magische Töne", recorded in 1967 by Nicolai Gedda with the Orchester des Bayreischen Staatsoper, Munich, conducted by Giuseppe Patanè. It will probably be of little interest to many of my readers but for anyone who enjoys opera I think it is one of the most beautiful pieces of singing I've heard for years. It's available on YouTube here.

Sunday 14 February 2021

Sunday Routine and The Prada Cup

During lockdown last year Sunday was my 'household day'. I decided that, as every day was potentially the same, I needed an 'anchor' day each week. I decided that I would do all my washing and ironing and some cleaning on Sunday. My Dad always said "The better the day, the better the deed." So it seemed appropriate. Generally speaking I am very organised so four lots of washing and five lots of drying in the dryer and ironing shirts, sheets and sundries should leave plenty of time in between for some housework and writing letters, emails, some time in Blogland some time in the garden and feeding birds etc. Of course there was always time for WhatsApp and phone calls. With earpods it's very easy to chat whilst ironing. 

And so, for the six months of lockdown that became the pattern of my Sunday. 

On the whole that has remained my Sunday ever since. Whilst ironing today (thanks to Adrian for alerting me to the fact that the Americas Cup can be watched in it's entirety on YouTube) I watched the second day of the final of the Prada Cup (a yacht race) in Auckland which will determine whether the UK or Italy meet New Zealand in The Americas Cup. These 'yachts' which travel around 40 knots lift out of the water on aerofoils. Unfortunately Team UK have so far lost all 4 races to Italy (the final is best of 13 races). 

Friday 5 February 2021


Today I've been in procrastination mode and it's only just after breakfast. I have a list of things to do but can't decide which ones to pick. So I know that by the end of the afternoon I will have done "half of b****r all" as is commonly said here.

Why am I in such a mood?

That is why. The wind is nearly gale force and coming from the North East so is bitterly cold. Not cold enough for snow though - the road between Ullapool and Inverness is closed by snow though so if you get to the Mainland on the ferry from Stornoway you ain't goin' nowhere.  

My home is usually toastie. In the kitchen where I spend much of my time at my breakfast bar the toastiness is helped by a sizeable radiator which is almost too hot to touch but the cold wind is sucking the heat out of the very walls.

I will probably spend time in Blogland. I will have a look at how things were at this time last year. I will review my 'to do' list. I will not be going out! 

I remember in the early stages of the pandemic I posted about what it might be like in lockdown. I remember it well because Jill left one of the nicest comments I've ever had on this blog and also said that she was a world class procrastinator. 

Who could ever have known what would have happened and that I'd be writing about it almost a year later still in lockdown.

If I get through the day I shall watch the second half of yesterday's Death in Paradise. 

6pm ish

Well, the day turned out pretty much as I expected having done remarkably little other than write and pootle. I didn't even venture into the cold of the conservatory to do a bit of jigsaw. I did pop over the valley to give a friend his birthday card and a wee drinkable minding. I couldn't even stay for  coffee. XXXX lockdown!

Time for a wee dram of a pleasant single malt.

!0.30 pm ish

It was a very enjoyable Death in Paradise. 

The news of positive Covid cases on Lewis is not so good. However the vaccination news is excellent for us.  The WIHealth Board have been vaccinating all week and another 1400 people will be vaccinated in the Western Isles on Sunday.

Tuesday 2 February 2021


We are almost a year into Covid being a common part of our lives. How the world has changed in that period. 

The original lockdown was, for me, both very enjoyable and sad. Enjoyable because I have a sizeable garden and love gardening and I could walk all I wanted without moving the car although on bitter windy days I tended not to because I prefer to walk in the shelter of the woods in the Stornoway Castle Grounds. During the first lockdown 6 months my car did about 100 miles (to the hospital and surgery in town).  Then September was manic as I drove 3,000 miles to four hospital appointments in Glasgow and Ayr. 

Since then there has been a small semblance of normality as the Islands were in Tier 3 with cafe's open. We could meet one other family (total 6 people) in a café but NOT in each other's homes.  I live alone so could have, in certain circumstance, been in a bubble. However, my son's family is in a bubble with his wife's parents (my son usually being away 2 months at a time). During lockdown I didn't see my grandson and the winter on Lewis isn't the best time for meeting outdoors. So I've seen little of my grandson or, indeed, my family (though it's easier to grab a coffee with my son. Keeping a wee one happy and occupied at coffee time isn't so easy.

Brodie fascinated with real live fish!
Brodie fascinated by real live fish!

I'm assuming that our rules are stricter than in England because YP is fortunate enough to see a great deal of his new granddaughter.  

Unfortunately the Western Isles have not been so good since Christmas with a large outbreak in Barra after a wedding and New Year's party left over 40 with the disease and 110 isolating (the population os only about 1100) and a number in hospital on the mainland and here in Stornoway. Barra went into Tier 4. Now we have an outbreak in the Hospital and as the hospital is almost at capacity we have gone into Tier 4 so no more coffee's with friends in The Woodlands. We are in lockdown. Thank heaven for virtual coffees!

A few photos to lighten the day:

In Bishopbriggs near a friend - on Burns Night a pillar box with Tam O'Shanter (Tammie or Tam)

Gaz woke to a couple of stags on his croft. Next job is a cattle grid!

The Mainland in snow a few days ago taken from my window.

I decided to cut down a an area of cotoneaster to plant wild flowers. The daffodils are doing well.