Life at the end of the road

April 12, 2008

A quiet Saturday

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:38 pm

Not much to report today on a nice quiet saturday in spring apart from a burst hydraulic pipe on the ferry which I managed to fix during the lunch break with more than a little help from ‘DM Macleod, Raasay’s very own one man engineering workshop. It will be a sad day for Raasay when DM Macleod retires if he does so without selling his workshop as a going concern.

As between himself and ‘Hugh Mackay Plant’ of ‘Grumpy digger driver’ fame they keep Raasay’s mechanical wheels turning.

Me I was in the motor trade for 14 years but have forgot most of the little I knew in the first place due to the early onset of ‘Alzheimers’ assisted by several thousand bottles of red wine and a lifetime of cooking in aluminium pans! So as that was pretty much it for the day I thought I’d look through the diaries.

18 years ago

Well this week Monday 9th to Saturday 14th had certainly been eventful to say the least. On Monday I took the rotovator back that I’d had on hire for a week. I then loaded my old blue transit van up with so much aggregate and wood that I had to pull it up some of the hills on ‘Calum’s road’ with my Landrover. On Tuesday I managed to get the Landrover stuck because of all the stuff I’d transfered to it from the van to get it nearer to the house. I then had to unload everything out of the Landrover to get it un stuck! On Wednesday I managed to get my van stuck on the dump and had to leave it there overnight terrified that someone might think it had been dumped and remove everything of use off it. On Thursday I had to set off at 5:30 to get van off dump, catch first ferry at 8:00 and go and collect our 2 new goats from Broadford. Somehow ended up with 2 goats and 3 billy goat kids! and this was after being told by everyone not to get billy goat kids. And I spent most of Friday splitting the single large stall I’d made in the byre for Hazel and Rosie into 2 smaller ones as they’d spent all night fighting!

In between doing all this I’d been out lifting creels by hand and diving for scallops. Due to the weather I’d kept my 17′ boat in the anchorage at Fladda a couple of miles away and one day had walked there with 20lts of petrol, It doesn’t sound like much but after about a mile it feels more like 20 gallons. At this time we had no phone so I had to drive the 10 miles into the village if I wanted to use a phone! not very handy for one who is self employed. We did have a VHF radio in the house and of course on the boat so at least I could contact my shellfish buyer to arrange the sale of my catch. It also meant I could contact the coastgaurd in an emergency so we were never totally cut off. How times have changed, we now have 2 phone lines a dodgy internet connection and of course 2 mobile phones.

16 years ago

Monday 6th

Mondays always remind me of the Boomtown rats song ‘I don’t like Mondays’ not because I used to dread going to work or anything but Monday was always the day I landed my weeks catch. Prawns could be landed daily but lobster, velvet crab, brown crab, and scallops went away to Spain on Mondays. This meant my weeks labours were stored in ‘keeps’ on the sea bed and then landed late Monday afternoon in Portree. The scallops, lobster and even brown crab to a lesser degree would still be fine the next week if I missed due to weather but the velvet crab would not. Velvet crab are notorious for dying on you, they don’t like any sudden change in temperature, wind, rain, or too much handling and as the velvets represented my main catch at this time of year it was crucial I get them away. This meant I spent the whole weekend glued to the various weather forecasts and not sleeping if there was any doubt. I also had to do a days fishing before I landed so it was a very busy day. This particular day was the first day I’d filled up with petrol and I’d managed to put over 50gallons in my under the deck fuel tanks! talk about driving around in a bomb!

Tuesday 7th

Was a topper of a day and as well as lifting my creels I’d done some diving work for the fish farm then spent the evening binding creels with rope in front of the TV.

Wednesday 8th

Another bonny day, Out early to meet the ‘Whinniver’ one of the Portree fishing boats that had bait for me. Then I assisted at the fish farm with de lousing the salmon. In those days we used a nerve agent called ‘nuvan’ they changed it’s name shortly afterwards to ‘Aquagard’ to make it more media friendly.

Thursday 9th

Another good day of fishing and de lousing fish but this time with 5 lobsters caught. In the evening I went down to vote then went to the pub (my first ever visit!)

Friday 10th

Must have been ‘Good Friday’ as I landed my catch early. The only times that landing took place other than Mondays were Easter and Christmas. It had been a reasonable few days with 140k velvet, 120k brown and 5k of lobster.

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