Life at the end of the road

October 31, 2008

The vampire and the wooden leg!

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:37 pm

Well the weather today here on Raasay was pretty much a re run of yesterday without the frost, though it could well have been frosty at the south end as we quite often miss it here for some reason. Anyway I awoke with my usual enthusiasm for the day despite the most excellent glass or two of ‘Mission Peak’ red wine that we had with the chilli and chips! OK I know it’s not the most cordon blue of dishes but I got 4 bags of oven chips yesterday in Portree for the new freezer and whilst you can’t beat our own home grown ‘Golden wonder’ spuds I am partial to the odd helping of those limp reconstituted finger shaped thing that you just bung in the oven. First job after the usual round of feeding was to unload the 25 bags of feed out of the Land Rover and put them in the feed store, then round to my nieghbours chalet with the wood for ‘pig proofing’ her basement. The time now was around 9:00am, the sun was up and the red deer stags were still bellowing away to each other across the valley.

They never did stuff like this in my school

With my ‘Old girl’ unloaded I headed into the woods on my next mission which was to find 4 x 7′ long straightish lengths of wood for the Raasay primary school. Or to be more precise for Leon Durbin of

http://www.wildwoodbushcraft.com/ who was coming to Raasay today to give the pupils of Raasay and Carbost schools a lesson in shelter building and bushcraft.

4 stick and 3 pigs

4 stick and 3 pigs

As is quite often the case when working in the wood I had some little helpers who just looked beautiful in the low, bright autumn sun. Now Leon is well capable of cutting his own wood but as time was precious, he’d never been to Raasay before and Highland regional council probably need him to fill in several hundred forms to take children wandering around the wood with a deadly saw it was far simpler for me to do it in my own wood and take the sticks down for him.

Leon Durbin

Leon Durbin

The Raasay primary school is fortunate in that it has it’s own little wood right outside the classroom and this is where I found Leon preparing for his lesson with a selection of tools for cutting wood and starting fires. We spoke for a while and I’d have loved to stay longer but the first set of pupils were waiting eagerly and I had to go down to the ‘Golden Emblem’

The wooden leg

If you read yesterdays offering you’ll know that we squared up the ‘Golden Emblem’ well todays project was to make up legs for her so she could be pulled further down the beach on the next big tide and not fall over when it went out. We made the two but could only fit the starboard side leg as there’s a large bank of stones and rubbish on her port side. However once she’s floating and pulled clear fitting the second one should be a doddle.

The wooden leg

The wooden leg

With leg solidly bolted to one of the ‘Emlem’s’ many ribs

The 'rib cage'

The 'rib cage'

Then we set about silencing the VERY noisy diesel generator with a wind turbine!

Aeolus 300w turbine

Aeolus 300w turbine

It was quite straight forward to assemble and just before it went dark we had it up, running and charging batteries!

Up and running

Up and running

The Vampire

Now I hate all this Halloween carry on, not the kids going out and having fun but all this cra4p we import from China in the form of masks, brooms, plastic eyeballs, and rubbish that will be in the dustbin tomorrow. What’s wrong with a pumpkin and a bit of imagination? why do we have to drag all this rubbish halfway round the planet to put it in a landfill? OK I know I’m miserable but I just needed to get that off my chest. Whilst I may well be an old f4rt the post lady isn’t and she got well into the spirit of things today by putting on red eye makeup, black lipstick, and hanging a vampire bat around her neck! so I hope she didn’t give anyone a fright and for anyone who didn’t notice the bat or the date SHE WAS NOT BEATEN UP by her husband!

October 30, 2008

Raising the ‘Golden Emblem’

Filed under: Uncategorized — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:14 pm

Well it’s been a pure peach of a day here, starting off with a good hard frost and then bucket  loads of sunshine. I went out feeding in the gloom just before dawn as I’d lots to do before I set off for the 9:00am ferry which only served to confuse the pigs more as they were just getting used to the GMT ( UTC ) time. Still a pig is always happy to be fed and they all looked lovely in the frost

Rory and Ruby's first frost

Rory and Ruby's first frost

Though some of the pigs on the hill obviously mistook the gritter for the quad and came charging round to the car park to be fed!

Gritter 'n' pigs

Gritter 'n' pigs

After watching a huge stag on the horizon silhouetted against the brightening eastern sky and listening to another bellowing with two hinds on his tail the gritter man  headed south and I fed the pigs.

Pigs 'n' gritter!

Pigs 'n' gritter

The day was far too good to be messing around in Portree any longer than necessary so I abandoned any thoughts of the 9:00am ferry and headed down to the ‘Golden Emblem’. Despite the fact that most visits to the ‘Emblem’ are accompanied by alcohol ( if your not careful ) it is not a pub but a boat and today seemed the perfect day to level her up. Louis boat has been lying on her port side for years now and getting her on an even keel would make life much easier for his restoration project.

Leveling her up
She’s got plenty of anchors and stakes out that are set in the beach and on the shore so the first job was to loosen the ones on the port side a little and put a ‘Tirfor’ winch on that side, not to pull but to let out gently. Next I placed the ‘Old girl’ and her ‘Warn 9500XP’ winch on the beach amidships of the ‘Emblem’ and a few meters away. The winch wire was paid out and made fast on a thick plank spread across 4 of the ribs on the port side and laid over a steel plate and plank on the starboard gunnel. Eventually after placing some large chocks in front of the wheels we started to pull on the electric Land Rover winch and pay out on the ‘Tirfor’

winching the 'Golden Emblem'

winching the 'Golden Emblem'

Despite the substantial chocks in front of the ‘Old Girl’ she was almost climbing over them under the strain so Louis reversed his car onto the beach and tied her to the back of the ‘Old Girl’ as an anchor and little at a time we raised her up square using a spirit level on the deck. We actually pulled her a little too far so when the tension came off the winch she’d rest upright and by good fortune that’s just what she did, sitting nicely on some chocks we’d made up. The plan being to make up some legs for her but for now I had to abandon ship and race to Portree for yet more pig food and some wood to finish ‘pig proofing’ my nieghbours chalet so she could get a decent nights sleep!

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