Life at the end of the road

November 11, 2008

Goose for dinner!

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:22 am

Actually it was fish pie, the goose just came to dinner!

Goose for dinner

Goose for dinner

Well to be honest the goose called duck came in after we’d finished dinner and seemed glad to get in out of the torrential rain and howling southerly wind of Saturday night. Whilst never reaching the ‘violent storm 11’ it was certainly ‘gale force’ and more. The ‘Navitron’ 300w wind turbine http://www.navitron.org.uk/product_detail.php?proID=193&catID=69 that we’d fitted on the ‘Golden Emblem’ or should I say ‘Old Blind Dog’ as it is to re named in memory of Max the blind sheep dog. Now they say that changing a boats name is bad luck and my experience in this field would make me agree. My old boat the ‘Conqueror’ BRD257 was launched in 1980 with that name and gave it’s owner many years of reliable and profitable service, it was named after his grandfathers boat which had done the same for him. The next owner bought the boat and changed the name to ‘Truelove’ which had been his grandfathers boats name also, however whilst under his ownership it sank 3 times!!!! and became a bit of a wreck. A friend of mine bought it off him and managed to sink it a further twice!!!!!!! The first time in relatively shallow water in the Fladda anchorage off Raasay and the second time in around 18m of water behind the Raasay fish farm cages. On both occasions I salvaged it firstly with a pontoon and tidal lift and secondly using the 4ton crane on the fish farm boat ‘Ocean Unity’ it was at this point that I bought it spent 2 years refurbishing it and changed the name back to ‘Conqueror’
conqeror-and-jumbo-shot-011.jpg

The Conqueror went on to serve me and my family for many trouble free years and I’ve related this tale to everyone I know who ever considered changing a boats name but after hearing of Louis’s love for Max and all his tales of his old blind dog I can’t help but think it’s going to be a lucky new name. Anyway after our wonderful dinner of fresh scallops, haggis and Stornoway black pudding followed by haddock and prawn fish pie, all caught and grown locally I went to bed, as unlike the rest of the team I was working in the morning.

Sunday

I arose the following morning somewhat surprised to find a Frenchman on my couch and a goose in my living room! I was even more surprised when they both came out with me to feed the pigs and check on the new arrivals

12 piglets 6 days old

12 piglets 6 days old

Apart from the goose getting chased into a ditch by one of our Tamworths all went well and I was pleased to see that Shaun and his 4 sheep had returned from their weeks wanderings around the Arnish hill. Shaun our Soay tup and his 4 girls had gone AWOL last Saturday. When I say gone AWOL what I mean is that some clown with a hangover had left the gate open and they’d gone to check on the ‘BIG wide world’ now after wandering around the north end of Raasay for a week they’d decided that being on a nice sheltered croft and getting 2 meals a day was much preferable to wandering around in the heather at the mercy of the weather!.

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Which had by now gone decidedly chilly, not frosty but a bitter north westerly wind with showers of sleet and snow on the high ground.

The Storr 9/11/08

The Storr 9/11/08

So once everyone was fed I headed south down ‘Calum’s road for work with Louis and Duck the goose, Though we kept getting distracted on the way,

golden eagle

golden eagle

And I know the picture’s rubbish and it could just as easily be a crow from that distance and angle but trust me it was one of a pair that I often see in this spot, which is where the road north crosses from the west side of Raasay over to the east. It does of course have a wonderful gaelic name as all these places do but I’m not even going to attempt yo write it. Me I call it the valley of the eagle and the pee! because 20 years ago when I came to view the croft at South Arnish where I now live I stopped not far from here to let one of my passengers answer a call of nature. There just yards away from us perched on a solitary rock was one of these magnificent birds. I dunno how long golden eagles live but but I’m sure one of these two would have been a relative. Whilst this bird is big the sea eagles we often see are massive with the females wing span approaching 7′ The easy way to tell them all apart, buzzards, golden eagles and sea eagles is the tail ratio on a buzzard the tail is around a quarter the size of the wingspan, a golden eagles is a fifth and a sea eagles tail at one sixth the size of it’s wingspan looks tiny by comparison. The sea eagle also has the advantage of being able to fly off level ground whilst the golden eagle needs a bit of a slope or drop to get airborne. The next distraction which almost made me late for work was the spectacular showers and rainbows heading up the sound of Raasay off Oscaig

Shower off Oscaig

Shower off Oscaig

Well it looked spectacular to me!

Monday

The day turned pretty miserable after that so much so that I didn’t even give my ‘Old girl’ her fortnightly Sunday wash instead busying myself with routine jobs on the ferry where it was nice, warm and dry. Monday was the worst kind of day, cold, wet and very windy with a few of the sailings disrupted by the weather, whilst not actually missing any we were late for one or two dodging squalls off the Cuillins. I spent the entire day in my oilskins and got soaked. Two of our pigs arrived back in 4 boxes and went on to their new resting place in someones freezer 😦  and that was about it really, well apart from a minor blockage in the port ladies toilet!

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