Meetings have been taking place today between health unions and staff regarding the management crisis in NHS Western Isles. Staff have passed a motion of no-confidence in the Chairman, Chief Executive as well as the Medical Director. The unions are taking this to the Scottish Executive, with the recommendation that the aforementioned officials be removed. The other guest with Mrs B has been out cycling today, the 40 miles to Callanish, Carloway and back via the Pentland Road.
Update: The guest who was reported missing turned up safe and well the next day at a friend's house. As I mentioned, I cannot go into details.
NOTE: I promised an entry about the meeting re. NHS Western Isles last Monday, 6th March. I take the liberty of pointing to the Lighthouse Blog, where I've written what I want to write about it, in an entry entitled "Meeting".
This morning dawns foggy, but with a cloudbase at 50 m. After 10 o'clock, the cloud drifts east and lifts. It leaves a bright morning, with nice clearances but little sun. Hear final confirmation that last week's death up the road was due to carbon monoxide poisoning. On the morning in question, there had been a cold night with heavy snow. When the boiler came on, the fumes rose up the chimney, but cooled down rapidly. An atmospheric inversion (cold air at the bottom, warmer air higher up) stopped the smoke rising and it sank down again. It deprived the boiler of oxygen, causing it to form carbon monoxide, as opposed to the normal carbon dioxide, which is not nearly as toxic. The inversion is attributable to the geographical location of Newton. It is surrounded, at about a mile's distance, by low hills, about 50 m /170 ft in height. Cold air will sink down into the harbour basin, and it will be capped by warmer air. The family dog died first. When the victim came to see to it, she opened the door to the boilerhouse and was overcome by the fumes. When the sons came downstairs, the concentration had been reduced through dilution although one developed severe headache and nausea. It could have been even worse.
After lunch, I head across to the Iolaire Monument at Holm. The weather turns wet as I pass through Lower Sandwick and Stoneyfields Farm, but the rain stops when I reach the top of the path to the monument. I video the 8 minutes it takes me to walk to the monument on the shore. I return to Sandwick, and spend 40 minutes in the cemetery, looking for more headstones for Iolaire victims. Eight of these are dedicated to unknown sailors. A couple are located in the old cemetery, but they're easier to spot due to the brilliant sunshine. Return to Newton at 5pm.