We're enjoying the company of Barbara at the moment, a storm which was still being predicted on the radio this morning to bring gales to 90mph by this evening. But Barbara is proving very unpredictable. She arrived in the early hours as a southeasterly, and then, from around nine this morning, went round quite quickly into the southwest and then into the west, but the main change is that, according to all the forecasts on the internet, the very high winds seem to have gone away, even from the Outer Hebrides.
However, the forecast was enough to cancel almost every ferry sailing along the west coast, including the Tobermory-Kilchoan route and the Corran ferry, and our local schools have closed a day early.
High winds don't usually disrupt life too much here, but lightning - a flash early yesterday evening tripped the fuses in our house but miraculously the power came back on and the internet was undamaged - and the snow which may come in this evening behind a cold front, are more serious.
Barbara's winds are part of a succession of gusts to gale force which will be passing through over the next few days. While there's a bit of a break in tomorrow's winds in the afternoon, Christmas Day is windy with Storm Conor arriving, Boxing Day is windy, and Monday is windy. Which is fine, we expect the weather to be a little excitable at this time of year, even if the wonders of modern technology can't help forecasters to be accurate about how severe the weather will be.
With the holiday about to start, we humans can stoke up the fires, get the food and drink in, make ourselves very comfortable and wait for things to get better. For the animals, and those who have to care for them, life isn't so easy, and we also need to spare a thought for those who are travelling to be with family and friends for Christmas and for those in the emergency services who, because of Barbara and Conor, are having to put in extra hours.