Sitting here with a blank mind, wondering if there is anything to blog about. Then, from the TV comes the news that Misbah Rana, otherwise known as Molly or Molly Campbell, has been ordered by a judge to be returned to her mother. She has to be handed over to the British Consulate in Pakistan within 7 days, so it looks like she'll be returning back to Lewis in time for Christmas and the New Year.
Living in the Outer Hebrides means you get to hear some of the inside track on the story. It isn't so much "close knit" here as "densely knit", in terms of people being related to people and people knowing people - the archipelago of the Outer Hebrides is nearly 150 miles from end to end but is habited by only 26,000 people. So it turned out that various people around here knew, or are related to, people who went to school with Misbah/Molly, and it's been an on-off conversation piece for the three months that she's been away. Like if you buy a new sofa, then someone at the other end of the archipelago will often know what colour it is before you've unwrapped it.
It therefore made for interesting comparisons between what was said locally, what is/was written in the blogosphere and what was in the national and international press - and often, there were wide differences between all of these. As per usual in the muckier parts of the media, there was the mixture of just under-the-surface racism and bile, as well as the usual populist press swings at the Outer Hebrides (backwards, barren, uncivilised yadda yadda yadda*). Plus a shedload of inaccuracies (e.g. they reside in Tong, *not* Stornoway - message to press, stop assuming everyone here lives in Stornoway. Thank you.).
There is one point on which Misbah is disadvantaged by returning now; the weather. In Lahore this week it is 16 degrees centigrade and Sun! Sun! Sun! Here, the Met Office forecast for local inshore waters over the next two days is:
24 hour forecast
Wind: Southerly 7 or gale 8, occasionally severe gale 9.
Weather: Rain or squally showers.
Visibility: Moderate or good.
Sea State: Rough or very rough.
Outlook for the following 24 hours
Wind: Southerly severe gale 9 to storm force 10, perhaps violent storm 11 in exposed areas.
Weather: Squally showers.
Sea State: Very rough to high.
(* the reality is almost zero crime, no pollution, unspoilt scenery, friendly people, and ace beaches. But that doesn't make for a very interesting story in some parts of the press.)