Saturday 29 July 2023


Thank you all for your supportive comments on my last post. It really did make a difference and I didn't feel so alone. I will respond to all the comments individually but I thought I'd update everyone just now. 

I managed to get onto the freight ferry. There was room for six cars. I had stood at the door of the office (which opens at 1am) since 0030 which was a good move because everyone else turned up not long after. 

However the day had been far from smooth. There had been a serious crash on the A9 (which closed it for 5 hours) requiring a detour on the old A9. Unfortunately in places 2 HGVs (very big lorries) cannot easily pass in many places and the 15 mile detour took 3 hours. So when I arrived in Ullapool I'd been driving for nearly 8 hours. 

I arrived in Ullapool and parked up at about 2200hrs. 

The relief when I got the booking was colossal and I went back to the car and fell asleep until we boarded. Seeing the ship with only 6 cars' passengers was really weird. Of course there was no catering or anything else. I then slept until we arrived in Stornoway. 

As we were about to leave the vessel one of the staff told us that Lewis had had a power failure during the night and they couldn't get the linkspan to work. So we were stuck on board for a further hour.

I always look for a positive in everything: at least by 0630 the supermarket was open for milk and bread. 

I arrived home and slept. Woke mid-morning and emptied the car. Slept all afternoon. Shopped in the quiet of the evening so that I'd not have to shop on a busy Saturday morning. 

Today has been catch-up day with folk and in the garden and polycarb which ran amok whilst I was away. 

Now it's 9pm and when I've published this I'm going to sit in the living room and perhaps answer yesterday's comments and perhaps chill out for an hour if there is anything on the television.

Thursday 27 July 2023

Travel Update

I was supposed to be home and on Tuesday.  Instead I ended up in the Royal Infirmary in Glasgow in agony. Problem solved and a couple of nights in hospital and I was released late yesterday afternoon after a wait for most of the day for my medication. 

On Monday I rang CALMAC to tell them that I would not be on the sailing on Tuesday evening and could I move to the Thursday evening sailing. No more room until the 2 August.  WHAT? If one lives on Lewis one cannot get back home for 7 days!  

The implications of that could be colossal for lots of people. It could be a serious problem for me because I have commitments as well as no clean clothes nor enough of my medication (the cancer medication is not generally available on prescription nor in any pharmacy) nor of my 'external plumbing' stuff.  Why did I chose this occasion to break the habit of a lifetime and travel light?

Apart from that a hotel or other accommodation in Scotland in the middle of the holidays is impossible or prohibitive anyway. 

My son is away on the mainland but I do have friends and neighbours who will look after watering the vegetables in the polycarb and garden, the birds and so on.    

What if I had a job to go to? As it is I have missed a funeral, medical appointments and a civic reception at which a friend of nearly half a century is to be awarded the Freedom of The Western Isles. In the greater scheme of things none of that matters.

What matters to me as I write this is at lunchtime on Thursday 27 July is that I just want to be home!

I'm about to drive up to Ullapool and try and get on the Freight ferry at 3am tomorrow. 

Please wish me luck. 

Sunday 23 July 2023

Dressing for Bed

“Would you like some pyjamas instead of the hospital gown?”  Asked the nurse when I was going for my shower the morning after my operation. 

This seemingly innocuous question then sparked a discussion on nightwear no one had anticipated. 

Once I left my parents' home I vowed never again to wear pyjamas. What I really dislike is not pyjamas <i>per se</i> but what they represent which is getting formally dressed to go to bed. 

When I was young in the Forties and Fifties and even the Sixties to some extent, of course we lived in cold houses heated by a coal fire or a gas fire or an electric fire in the main rooms. Bedrooms were invariably freezing in the winter. 

Conversely in the summer I recall the house being unbearably hot at bedtime on occasions. 

So when I left home I ditched my pyjamas for good. However, I’ve spent a lot of time in hospital over the years and one can hardly wear nothing but one’s birthday suit in hospital. Apart from anything, approaching 80 years of age the human body is rarely a thing of beauty. 

So I have always worn the far more comfortable hospital gown. 

Anyway we had a good laugh and a discussion on who did and who did not sleep in their birthday suit. And I got my gown.

I'm now out of hospital and back at Anna's. Home on Tuesday. 

(Apologies to those who read this yesterday. I didn't realise that the font size had changed from normal to tiny. Yet another Blogger mystery.)

Thursday 20 July 2023

Catching Up (BP Warning)

I'm sitting in a car showroom waiting area in Glasgow. I'll be here for a couple of hours. My car is having it's annual service, checkup and sat nav update. If I'm lucky the car will have been washed as well. Having just driven down from Lewis yesterday it's a tad dirty. Not that that concerns me overmuchly. There seem to be two sorts of car owner that I know of: those who look after their car but so long as the dirt hasn't significantly altered the weight of the car (and thus the fuel consumption) and those who are fanatical about their car(s). I am definitely the former and my next door neighbour and my son are definitely the latter. It's not just a man thing, by the way, my next door neighbour is a lady. Don't misunderstand though: my car is meticulously looked after mechanically. 

I like moments such as this. There are no pressures: no garden, no house distractions and, indeed nothing to do other than read (but there is nowhere to buy a paper between where I am staying and the garage) or write letters or play on my phone or laptop. There is a comfy waiting area and as much coffee as I can drink.

Oddly a few weeks ago I started a post entitled "A Trip To Gisla". Every week I used to drive on a Thursday morning to a wee place of perhaps 6 houses on the other side of the Island to visit a friend of nearly half a century who was in her ninetees. However before I came away I had an exceptionally full couple of weeks and my weekly routine altered as well because my friend died: peacefully in her sleep. The previous day I had had a lovely visit. Although frail my friend had a mind as sharp as a tack. We had had a longer than usual reminisce. So her demise was a significant surprise. 

I had started the post trip post because YP has been suggesting for a long time that I show more pictures of the beautiful Island on which I live. After a particularly beautiful drive I saved my dash-cam footage but it will need a lot of editing before it's ready for posting. 

I'm away for a routine operation at the moment and then I have a New Zealand 'Family' member visiting and then other friends of many years staying so this might be a thing for afterwards.

(PS: BP is short for Boring Post).

Friday 7 July 2023

World Chocolate Day

World Chocolate Day celebrates the anniversary of chocolate's introduction to Europe in 1550. The day was established in 2009. On this day, candy stores and local suppliers offer their best chocolate treats for people of all ages to enjoy. Leastways that's what Google told me.

Today is World Chocolate Day.

Until today I had never heard of World Chocolate Day.

Having just read up on the subject I have discovered that other Chocolate Day celebrations exist, such as National Chocolate Day in the United States on 28 October. The U.S. National Confectioners Association lists 13 September as International Chocolate Day, coinciding with the birth date of Milton S. Hershey (September 13, 1857). Ghana, the second largest producer of cocoa, celebrates Chocolate Day on February 14. In Latvia, World Chocolate Day is celebrated on July 11.

I love chocolate. How can anyone not?

However I will not be celebrating World Chocolate Day any more that I celebrate World Football Day (December 10th); International Joke Day (July 1st); International Day for the Prevention of Violent Extremism as and when Conducive to Terrorism (February 12): International Day of Happiness (March 20).

I could go on and if anyone is eager to see what day it is on any particular day then HERE is a good place to start.  

So far as I am concerned there are 365 or 366 Chocolate Days and as for the rest.....I didn't know about them before and I'm not really sure that I need to know about them now.

Tuesday 4 July 2023

Instant Gratification

This post disappeared. I have absolutely no idea how it happened.

The comments are still there however. 

I'll try and find the original but if anyone has it I'd be grateful if the could send it to me.