The start of 2009 was quiet weatherwise, it was dull, and the fireworks in Port Charlotte were 45 minutes late, but hey it's Islay time. That means that things will happen, eventually..... The Ileach had the following lines posted next to the fireworks image: "Hundreds of Ilich and their guests watched the spectacular firework display and bonfire outside the Port Charlotte Hotel, that provided the traditional welcome to the New Year." Nobody knows what 2009 will bring but one can only hope a lot of prosperity, good health, happy times and enough tourists to keep the businesses, accomodation providers and other people on Islay happy!
What follows next is a wee overview of Islay news published in the Ileach newspaper and from various other sources, which haven't been published before on this blog. The news that has already been published is available in the January archive. Let's start with the first miracle of 2009
A New Year Miracle, by John Logan of Keills
Is this an angels secret tear,
The first fragrant rose of the year,
Grown at Dunlossitsâ€™ ancient Walled ground,
On New Yearsâ€™ day this fragrant beauty I found,
Itâ€™s perfume and colour only nature could grow,
Whilst wars continue and our world is in need of cheer,
Look at what miracles bloom at the start of New Year.
Regular readers of the Ileach know that there is a section with police notes. Visitors who don't read this newspaper while on Islay might get the impression that there is no police on the island. You hardly see them driving around and you can easily get the impression that crime is something that doesn't exist on Islay. But like any other community things do happen on Islay, although crime figures are very low, and yes there is police. Following is a quote from the police in the first newspaper of 2009: "Three drivers were stopped by Strathclyde Police on Islay over the festive period and found to be over the limit. The three have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal. Police told the Ileach that they were disappointed to have found that a small minority continue to drink and drive and that officers would continue to actively work to detect any further instances of drunk driving in the community." Don't say I didn't tell you... Continue reading.....IET and Scottish Power to Collaborate on Tidal Energy Project: The Islay Energy Trust (IET) is pleased to announce that it is holding discussions with Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) about collaboration on the Sound of Islay Tidal Energy Project, and that it will be establishing the Islay-based position of Project Development Officer. Since the publication of its Pre-Feasibility Study Report in early October, IET, in conjunction with its Technical Adviser, Dr Alan Owen from The Robert Gordon University, has been examining technology options from a short list of 6 suppliers. It has now concluded that SPR has the best qualified technology. Coincidentally, SPR has publicised its intentions to invest in a tidal energy project in the Sound of Islay.
Oz and James Drink to Britain: The official BBC blurb on the programme â€œOz and James Drink to Britainâ€ says that the pair â€œtravel through Britain and Ireland to discover the amazing array of drinks on offer for the delectation of a wine ponce and an incorrigible scruffbag.â€ The 20th Jan issue sees the duo heading for Scotland where they head for Islay, which is famous for its peaty whiskies. James conducts an unusual experiment using Scottish bio-fuel which scares the pants off Oz. Later they visit the picturesque Bruichladdich Distillery, run by Englishman Mark Reynier, where they receive a tour of the ancient machinery and learn how whisky is made from beer. The Scottish leg of their trip concludes with the pair bravely accepting the ultimate in tasting challenges.â€ If you missed the episode you will be pleased to learn that BBC 2 is rerunning the whole series of 'Drink to Britain' at 19.00 on Thursdays, and, the original episodes will be available for seven days afterwards, on the BBC iplayer.
Bowmore Distillery and E.ON deliver support for MLC: It costs around Â£30,000 a year in electricity and oil to heat the Mactaggart Leisure Centre. High though this figure is it would increase by at least 25% without the generous assistance of Morrison Bowmore Distillery who have been going to considerable lengths to make waste heat available to the Centre since 1991. A feasibility study was also undertaken by consultant engineers Wallace and Whittle to explore the possibility of utilising yet more waste heat. Their work resulted in a proposal to install yet another heat exchanger that would provide energy for a fourth zone - the central heating radiators in the building. At this point energy company E.ON stepped in and awarded the MLC a Â£22,000 grant under its SOURCE community initiative to enable the recommendations to be implemented and the work is now well on the way to being completed.
IET Awarded Carbon savings Grant: The Islay Energy Trust has been awarded a Â£117,000 grant from the Scottish Governmentâ€™s Climate Challenge Fund for its Carbon Savings Project. The aim of the Project is to raise awareness within the local community of the importance of carbon savings through energy conservation and use of renewable energy technologies. The grant will enable one full time job to be created, and the target is to generate carbon savings of 600 tonnes over two years.â€
Port MÃ²r Wheelers: In the weeks following the return to school in 2008, what I believe would be referred to in educational parlance as the Autumn and Winter terms, Jeremy Hastings and brian palmer started the Port MÃ²r Wheelers in, of all places, the Port MÃ²r Centre, Port Charlotte. The idea was and still is, to show that cycling can be fun prior to the children becoming embroiled in the intricacies of Cycling Proficiency training. During December, with so many extra-curricular activities in play, we took a break, which has extended into the new year. However, fun will re-commence at the beginning of February, (the date will be advertised in this paper) and any parent who would like their child to take part need only turn up with said child and bicycle. There is no charge to take part. Any queries, please telephone Jeremy (850 100) or brian (810 653).
Islay Arts: Islay Arts are pleased to be able to announce that their forthcoming concert promotion of the 'Barbirolli Quartet' will be held at Bowmore Distillery Visitor Centre on Tuesday 3rd February.
Other news and blog snippets: The Laddieblog is charmed of Oz & James but leave plenty of space for other news. Armin is into youtube videos and showed already five episodes of the Bowmore Boiler transport and started today with episode one of eight of the British Ultra's trip to Islay and Jura. The new StormCats website is ready! All their boats can now be seen online, and includes their latest model. The Islay Pictures website is attracting more and more visitors who submit their pictures, thanks very much and keep em coming! Scottish eye, a blogger who visited Islay and Jura in December, publishes regular picture updates of his trip. Check out forArgyll for the latest news in Argyll and Bute.
Twitter: Twitter is hot and more and more people use it. I created an account myself called IsleofIslay, but after some minutes using it I didn't find the point of twitter, and neither did he or he and many others. For those of you who don't know it, twitter is a new online tool to let others know what you are doing, all day every day. That is, if the others are interested. I don't see the point though in telling others what I'm doing. Let's face it, who's really interested if I'm doing the groceries, working on my website or washing my car? I'm not Barack Obama or CEO of Google, so my life isn't that exciting. For me Twitter is a bit like the Facebook type of applications. You start using them, add some friends, some friends add you and the thing is forgotten. After a couple of weeks/months you receive an email telling you that a friend wants to be your friend, weren't we friends already? No problem though, you log in to accept your friends friend request only to find out you've forgotten your password and are wondering what the heck you are doing? You were already stressed for time and now you are struggling to confirm a friend who already is a friend! Does that sound familiar? Don't start using Facebook and/or Twitter for that matter. Other people were more fortunate and seemed to have found the point of Twitter and Islay has a couple of twitters as well like brian, Jeremy and James.
That's all for now, happy twitting and a great weekend!