Listening to: Country (Paul Weller)
It's still: blowing hard outside
Hail stones: can really sting, can't they?
Birds: half-a-dozen lapwing trying to fly into the wind and giving up, mute swans floating with heads tucked in on Pierowall Bay.
Sally came home this morning. I'd been worried. Very worried. She was coming by plane.
Gusts of up to 70mph were hammering away at the front of the house last night and, even though it seemed quieter when I clambered out of bed at seven this morning, by the time I set out for the "airport" at 8.30 it was working itself up into a frenzy again.
The winds that threatened to shove even a lump like Lennox off the road and the sideways hail were bad enough, but a mile down the road there was a huge bolt of lightning, then a second just as I approached Pierowall village.
I'd all but convinced myself the flight hadn't even left Kirkwall, but there was activity at the airfield (the post van was waiting). So I sat back and waited.
Wobbling over the horizon from Papa Westray came this. . .
. . . landing into the wind on the runway (when the wind is blowing from the north it often lands on the grass).
Once it had taxied to a halt, two teachers, the bank clerk (RBS open on Wednesday and Thursday) and a very shaky Mrs TPF emerged.
Sal's face was an interesting pale grey-green colour and she had that 'I'm not going to puke in public, or cry for that matter' look on her face.
I hurried her and her luggage into the Land Rover, she slammed the door and said: "Oh my ******* ****** ******* ******."
"Nice to see you too darling," I replied. "How was your trip?"
You know the way a gust of wind can sometimes knock your car to one side and it's a bit frightening? Well, it seems the flight was a bit like that - only up in the air.
Sal had got in and the pilot, knowing that everyone else was a regular, made a point of asking her if she knew the emergency procedure. Not a good start for the nervous flyer. After landing at Stronsay, the first stop, the pilot had been forced to admit that he might have to turn back to Kirkwall.
Nevertheless, the plane bumped, dipped and swerved its way out north, over open sea, before returning - one passenger's nerves in tatters - into the wind to Westray.
Still, could've been worse. The ferry was struck by lightning on the way back to Kirkwall and the afternoon sailing was cancelled.