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Happy New Year Everyone

While I'm writing this blog post the rain is failling down and the wind is picking up. We can't even see the other side of Loch Indaal. Here's hoping that the rain will clear tonight, in time for the Hogmanay celebrations. This is a good moment to reflect on the past year as so many of us do in this time of year. Other than some bizarre political decisions (Brexit) and unexpected deaths (too many to mention) it was a rather good year for us here on Islay. After living more than two years on Islay we feel very much at home here and we enjoy life, and the many friendly folk on this beautiful island. It's not paradise, certainly not in the winter, but sometimes it comes pretty close.

Workwise it was another good year, both Manuela's Get Fit Classes and my Web Design and IT Business are doing very well as we're both very busy. The Islay Blog and Islay Info website are going from strength to strength and this was the first year that we welcomed over one million distinct visitors. This might have something to do with the redesign last spring when we changed to a renewed and mobile friendly design. I'm also delighted that the Islay Stock Photos and Prints Website is finished and already folk have ordered both digital files and Islay Photo Prints. For next year we're planning many new and very exciting things but more about that in another post. Continue reading...

A Wild Wild Christmas on Islay

By the time of writing everything is peaceful and quiet with hardly any wind but that is likely to change as the weather patterns are shifting. A high pressure area has dominated Scotland on and off during the autumn which resulted in a quiet and sometimes very sunny Autumn. Winter has yet to start and it will do so according to various weather websites. Some sites, the ones we shouldn't take serious, are already talking about horror, ravage and terrifying weather forecasts for Christmas. They actually write: "The violent superstorm will make landfall at around 6am on Christmas morning and will see air pressure drop more than 24 millibars over 24 hours - a so-called explosive cyclogenesis, or weather bomb."

I tend to ignore such overreacting and panic creating websites and rather stick to the more serious and less sensational weather sites such as Netweather who write: "By Friday another area of low pressure is heading our way. This will bring wet and windy weather for Friday with widespread strong winds even severe gales to parts of Scotland early on Christmas Eve. Hot on its heels will be another deep low for Christmas Day with more strong winds, gales even stormy conditions for the west of Scotland. For anyone travelling during Christmas weekend, do keep an eye on the forecast this week." Continue reading...

Islay Voices - The Peoples History of Islay

Islay Voices, an anthology of writing about Islay, is published this month and has been launched at the Celtic House in Bowmore on Monday 12 December. Illustrated with archive photographs from the Museum of Islay Life, it is edited by Jenni Minto and Les Wilson from Port Charlotte. Here is an exclusive extract from the book:

For thousands of years the island of Islay has drawn migrants, invaders and inquisitive wanderers to its shores. They have often come as lonesome travellers, but sometimes in great numbers like migrating geese. For many, their visits were inspired by innate human curiosity, while others came seeking a land that would sustain them. A few were washed up, half dead, on Islay’s shores. Once such saved soul, seventeenyear-old Private David Roberts of the US Army, wrote to his mother of the ‘Scots lads’ who had dragged him ashore and to miraculous safety after his troopship sank off Islay in a terrible storm in 1918.

Among the most revealing accounts of journeys to Islay are those of the Skye-born traveller and writer, Martin Martin; the Edinburgh-born naturalist and clergyman, John Walker; the Welsh naturalist and antiquarian, Thomas Pennant; and the distinguished English scientist, Joseph Banks. These serious-minded and perceptive men subjected Islay to the same kind of scrutiny as Banks had employed when he visited Tahiti with Captain Cook. Viewed from London or Edinburgh, 18th century Islay seemed almost as exotic as Tahiti. Continue reading....

Islay Photo Prints and Digital Files

Many years ago, when I took my first photo of Islay, I could never have imagined that I would end up with well over 60.000 Islay Photos in less than 15 years time. That's an average of more than 4.000 photos a year. In that time a lot has changed, camera wise I mean. The first photo I took was 2048 x 1536 pixels and had a size of 600KB. The last photo I took had a resolution of 5760 x 3840 and a size of 30MB, roughly 50 times more than the first photo. I won't bore you with more technical details but the good thing about my improved camera equipment is that I can now take higher quality photos and do more with the end result.

Since many years I post my Islay Photos on the Islay Info Website and Islay Blog and more recently a lot of them appear on Twitter and Facebook where we have almost 35.000 followers combined. For some reason many folk seem to like my photos and it motivates me to invest more in equipment and go out as often as possible to show you our beautiful island.

Quite a few of you have asked me if I offer prints and I'm also often asked by publishing companies and other businesses and websites owners if they can "use" my photos. Often I had to give them a no as an answer as I never had the means to sell them online and to easily retrieve them. Until a year ago I had to go through a library with 60K photo's every time someone needed a certain photo, you can imagine this is rather time consuming and not very practical. Continue reading...

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