Monday, 1 February 2010

Picture post

This scene greeted us this afternoon as we returned from a trip to the shop. Our small village (pop 1500) has no shops, only one extremely expensive restaurant, and not even a pub. So, we have to go to the next town for the daily needs. Fortunately, it is only half a mile away, so even within walking distance.

The Shell Gallery is now closed until I return to Holland.

Monday 1 February

A grey morning with snow showers, but nothing too dramatic. Temperature a bit above freezing, and no prospect of that going up any time soon.

The international economic recession has bitten here in Holland too, and like elsewhere, the bankers appear to have contributed in no small measure. As a result, the Dutch parliament is holding a public inquiry during which key-players are being interrogated. The former president of the Dutch central bank DNB is in the chair this morning. Leaving that to one side, it appears to me that the bankers haven't really learned. They insist on having their pay, and cannot abandon their lifestyle.

This was most graphically illustrated at the start of the crisis when one British high-flyer found himself confronted with the prospect of a number of zeroes being chopped from his income. Until that time, he was known as a trans-European party animal, owning villas in quite a few countries, hosting lavish parties every weekend. And that was coming to an end. He could not countenance the loss of face, so he jumped in front of a train and was killed.

I've started preparations for my return to Stornoway tomorrow, and once I again I am looking forward to a boring but trouble free journey. I have a couple of hours leeway at London Gatwick and Edinburgh (yawn), so I am packing a big book to read.

Apart from a possible later entry with pictures, this will be the last post on the Shell Gallery until I return to Holland once more. I shall resume blogging on Wednesday 3 February, from Atlantic Lines. I shall keep those of you who are on Facebook and / or Twitter updated on the progress of my trip through tomorrow.