Life at the end of the road

December 29, 2008

The last lobster

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:55 pm

I really have been trying to post more often over the Christmas period but a combination of  fantastic weather excellent company and festive cheer have meant I’ve rarely switched ‘Lister’ the laptop on. The festive cheer being more a case of me not being my normal  miserable self and letting my boy and his pal hog it rather than any ‘liquid cheer’. Of course the Scalextric and various radio controlled flying things the boy got used up quite a bit of potential blogging time, not to mention just about every spare battery in the house. I did try last night but ‘WordPress’ seemed to be suffering some kind of outage, probably caused by all the sad people like myself telling the world about the new computer they just got from santa, which was a shame really because it had been quite an exciting day.

Bringing in the creels

The first job as usual being the feeding of the pigs and whilst the hard frosts had meant it was possible to get around the croft without wellies it also meant that the water troughs and hose pipes were all frozen making it necessary to to haul buckets of water from the house and regularly  smash the ice that was forming in the piglets egg poacher! Which will of course make no sense to the vast majority of readers, so let me explain. Piglets have a nasty habit of drowning in deep water troughs so I use an antique ’18 egg poacher’ that I picked up off a torpedoed Cunard steamship!

Egg poacher

Egg poacher

It’s solid copper with brass handles and is tinned on the inside. When I picked it up almost 30 years ago off the Cunard liner Aurania it was bent double and took many hours of panel beating before I polished it up to hang on my mantelpiece. It now resides in a muddy field, its low sides and 18 dimples making it a perfect drinking vessel for 12 thirsty piglets.

Aurania 3rd class!

Aurania 3rd class!

Just imagine what the 1st class egg poachers looked like!

Despite having been up very late indeed the threat of a trip out in the boat had my son and his pal up much earlier than I’d expected so as soon as the watering and feeding was finished we set off down to the shore and the most ‘idiot proof’ boat in the world that is my mates ‘Pioner Maxi’ to go and retrieve our 9 lobster pots and put them ashore for the winter.

Pioner Maxi with 15hp Yamaha

Pioner Maxi with 15hp Yamaha

If your ever looking for a fun, safe, fast, economical, bomb proof boat then these plastic boats from Norway take some beating, I’ve a 10′ one myself which was the tender to my fishing boat and despite years of neglect and abuse it’s just as servicable now as it was when it was new 12 or 15 years ago. Anyway as usual I digress, off we went and were rewarded by a nice female lobster and three brown crabs in the second creel.

The days catch

The days catch

The rest of the pots were bare apart from one ‘berried’ female and in a fit of Christmas spirit I threw them all back in the sea for next year! The fridge and freezer being full of food and me being the only shellfish fanatic in the household. The creels were all then put ashore with their doors open as they’re as good at catching birds as they are at trapping shellfish.

Hard eye and soft eye

Hard eye and soft eye

The steep rocky shore around Loch Arnish meaning that we could just put them ashore in three’s around the loch ready for next year.  The one on the left being a prawn creel with it’s light construction and small hard eyes, although too flimsy to be placed in exposed locations they fish for lobster and velvet crab very efficiently and whilst the hard eyes keep out the large crabs they do stop seals, cormarants and otters from getting trapped. Not that they get caught regular but it can happen, the soft eyed ones are made from heavier steel with a bar base and are much better for large crabs as well as being more suited to exposed sites. If you look behind the creels you can see one of the many small dry stone ruins that are dotted around these parts, probably a store for salt bait, nets or something in times past. With all our kit ashore we heade back home

A long way to go!

A long way to go!

Though the tide was a LONG way out! still the almost indestructible nature of the boat meant it could be dragged without rollers over the rocky shore without harm.

December 27, 2008

365 days, 349 posts and 89,998 hits!

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:38 pm

Well guys it’s a few days since I posted as it’s been a little hectic this last 5 days, to be honest I wouldn’t be posting today but I just felt I had to since it’s exactly  a year since I ditched the diary in favour of this on line carry on. I only started this blog because I was too disorganised to buy a diary and little did I think that it would be read from St Lucia to South Africa and that 3 or 400 people would tune in every day to the ramblings from ‘the end of the road’  firstly can I thank everybody that took the trouble to read it and secondly can I appologise if I’ve offended anyone, there’s stuff on there I’d probably have kept to myself had I realised that anyone was actually going to read it but that’s life and I am who I am 🙂 so here’s a quick resume of the last few days ( well as much as I can remember! )

Christmas Eve

Well actually the 23rd, my last day at work was spent running manically around the Loch Striven cleaning and trying to sort out wee snags from the dry docking. The finish of our shift being celebrated in true highland fashion with a wee dram so no posting on that night! Wednesday ( Christmas eve ) was a pure peach of a day and I spent it repairing a wind turbine.

bridge rectifier

bridge rectifier

This 300w Chinese wind turbine is imported under various names ‘Navitron’ , ‘Aeolus’ , etc and whilst I’m sure it would work fine in Sussex or Hong Kong this particular one managed all of two weeks on Raasay before the voltage regulator burnt out. None of the importers or even the manufacturer were interested in supplying anything other than a complete turbine, however the internet is a wonderful thing and between the http://www.navitron.org.uk/forum/ and ebay I found someone who’d supply the various bits with a wiring diagram, http://energistar.com/ supplied the three rectifiers and all the info needed at lightning speed for £20 and whilst I’m sure I could have got them for a fraction of the price elsewhere you have to bear in mind that I’m electronically inept so the instuctions alone where worth the price!

Original regulator

Original regulator

£20 ebay jobbie

£20 ebay jobbie

OK I had to make up a heat sink and connect a few terminals but it all seemed to work and is as we speak charging up 2 x 100ah batteries.

Christmas day

After erecting the wind turbine it becomes a bit of a blur until Christmas day! not because of any particular excess but just because I’ve got a memory like a hen! My parents arrived, a little preparation was done on the guinea fowl for Christmas dinner and stockings were filled in preparation for the big day. By some miracle the 9 year old boy of the house did not wake until 8:30! and a good day was had by all.

A fine job for Christmas day!

A fine job for Christmas day!

And even the 80 year old ‘elder statesman’ didn’t object when I roped him into cleaning out the odd pig ark before Christmas dinner!

Boxing day

Was even nicer than Christmas day and I spent much of it making stock and soup from the remains of Christmas dinner with a little time spent fixing the brakes on wifey’s temporary steed, a Vauxhall Astra purchased to keep her mobile until I can fit another engine into her wee Daihatsu. Today was even better than Boxing day, so I’ll just leave you with a few pictures.

'Calum's cairn' at daybreak

'Calum's cairn' at daybreak

The day’s might be getting longer but that’s 9:00am!

Winter chenterelles, 27/12/08

Winter chenterelles, 27/12/08

I just wish we’d found these two days ago as they’d have made a perfect addition to the guinea fowl stuffing. We found about half a kilo in the woods near ‘Glen Lodge’ and they must surely be the last of this years mushroom harvest.

Buzzard on mine building

Buzzard on mine building

And whilst buzzards are  a common site on Raasay

Koala bear, Raasay 27/12/08

Koala bear, Raasay 27/12/08

Koala bears are not and as far as I know this is the only one on Raasay, though there are at least 3 other eucalyptus trees!

I see from a recent comment by FL ‘down under’ that there are some disbelievers that the above pic was not genuine! well I can assure you that the lonely koala bear is not the only unusual wildlife to be found on Raasay.

Other Raasay wildlife!

Other Raasay wildlife!

Here are some of the koala’s pals which can be found near the bottom of his tree on the Glen road!

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