Life at the end of the road

April 28, 2009

Where is the cuckoo?

Filed under: daily doings, harbour — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:27 pm

It’s been a beezer of a day right from the start here on Raasay and I awoke bright and early on what was my final ‘banana’ day. The cockerel’s were in fine form and I was so keen to get down to the Loch Striven to peel my final banana that I set off early 🙂 For reasons unbeknown to me, apart from the cockerel all was quiet on the croft, I rarely escape to work without being spotted by at least some of the pigs and sheep but today nobody noticed the old girl’s ancient diesel engine splutter into life. I even managed to get out of the croft and down to the car park without being met by the 4 Tamworths and 3 spotties on the hill, in fact I spent a good 10 mins looking and calling them

but despite there not being a breath of wind all my calling went in vain so I headed off south down ‘Calum’s road’ to work and the Loch Striven.

Taking the ‘low road’ so I could drive by the steading to admire the wall that is built by Lachie Gillies’s team of ‘stonesmiths’!

Tuesday being my final day always passes very quickly, though today it passed even quicker than I would have liked and it was a struggle to get everything finished 🙂

Being well impressed by the wall I went around later to catch the boys at work and was lucky enough to get a picture of them hard at it.

They were not the only guy’s hard at it, Balfour Beatty were busy doing a repair on the Raasay slipway which had been seriously undermined during the ‘wedding gale’


And whilst some of the guys were busy repairing our current parking place others were busy building the new improved version!

Swallows, rhodendrodos and still no cuckoo!

On the way home my good mate Bill Cowie from
phoned to tell me that he’d heard the cuckoo today also, where has it gone? I saw this on the way home

the first roddy that I’ve seen in flower. The cuckoo’s preferred surrogate parent at Arnish the wheatear has been about for long enough. It’s been heard at the south end of Raasay, it’s been heard on Rona to the north but where’s ours gone. To be honest after the first day or so he becomes a bit of a pain in the backside, especially on calm days when he starts calling to his echo that bounces around the natural rock ampitheater that is Arnish. Their dispicable parenting leaves me cold but it’s allways good to hear the first one 🙂

A pleasant surprise

Arriving home a little earlier than usual I was greeted by the miracle of a self tiling bathroom 🙂

It's only taken 4 years!

It's only taken 4 years!

Well not actually divine intervention but some ‘Stirling’ work by me ‘in laws’  who were busy doing what I should have done weeks ago when I fitted the bath. I’ve never actually done any tiling before so it was good to see how it should be done as the new toilet and sink have not actually arrived yet so it may be down to me to finish off 😦

Mainland delivery only

The toilet and sink were ordered from
almost a month ago under ’14 day delivery mainland only’ as I only wanted them dropping off at Sconser on Skye which is right on the main road to Portree, Uig and the outer isles and as Skye has been firmly attached to mainland Scotland for well over 10 years I figured they’d deliver it. I explained to the nice man the situation which is this, most stuff goes to a depot in Inverness where it is then subcontracted to one of three local carriers but he was having none of it. I explained that all the carriers pass by Sconser daily on there way to either Portree or Uig but I might as well have been talking about Kazakstan ( do they not teach geography or common sense these days ?) to the guy who thought I was somewhere near Perth! So in desperation I gave him a mainland address 2 miles down a single track road 40 miles away and he was happy! Then when Screwfix phoned me three weeks later to say it was on its way I phoned up the local courier who more than happy to deposit it at Sconser on his way to Portree than navigate the single track road to Ratagan in Glenshiel. So with a little luck it will be here tomorrow and I can get it plumbed in before the in laws abandon us 🙂

Hen pecked

Hens are not the brightest of creatures and one of ours is a bit of a ‘no righty280409-017-small
She does not really hang around with the others and I think she’s being bullied, here she is sat on the garden bench resting her head in a very jaggy bush, she’d alot of feathers missing of her back and a few peck marks that the swineherd treated with Detol.
She seems fine enough but certainly acts a little strange at times so we’ll have to keep an eye on her.

April 27, 2009

Two swallows and still no cuckoo!

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

Driech or dreich, nobody is absolutely sure how you spell it but everyone here knows just exactly what it means and today just about sums it up, damp, wet and miserable. I’m not going to beat about the bush today because it was uninspiring  and I want my bed so I’ll just post some pics and shut up 🙂

This was Glamaig wearing it’s wooly hat during a brief dry spell

This is the Serene about to unload prawns and the Loch Striven about to load cars

This was the highlight of my day, running out of pans to cook the squat lobster tails given us by the local fishing boat ‘Golden dawn’!

The ‘squattie secret’ or how to cook squat lobster

Squat lobsters are probably one of Scotland’s greatest seafood secrets with only a handful of restaurants serving them, the

in Kishorn being the only one I have experience of and they were divine, so If you ever see squatties on the menu go for it because they are far nicer and sweeter than prawns and they will be fresh. I say they’ll be fresh because that’s why they’ve never really caught on outside of the local markets because these wee long armed critters with the short tail go off very quickly and don’t freeze very well making them unpopular with processors. They are however divine when fresh and this bag full that the ‘Golden Dawn’ had left hanging from the pier ladder for us at lunch time were certainly that! Squat lobsters, squatties also go by the name of ‘spiney’s’ another reason why they are not popular with processors because tailing a box of them will wreck a pair of gloves or you finger ends but trust me it is well worth the effort. Once you have your bag of tails the best way to cook them is to boil a pan of water and a kettle, chuck the squatties in the pan then top it up to the brim with water from the kettle, give it a couple of minuets and drain off the water. Once youve done that chuck them in the sink and cool them down quickly with water from the tap as this will stop them cooking in their shells and going mushy. When they have cooled and draind shell them by ( and I wish I’d taken a pic ) picking them up in your left hand, lying the tail between your fore and index finger with the widest ( body bit ) facing your thumb then with  the thumb of your right hand press the tail at the base and force the meat out. Once you’ve done a few you’ll see what I mean and once you’ve tasted them you’ll never go back to prawns 🙂 That’s it for now I’m affraid. The last run from Sconser at 18:45 was empty so we headed straight back to our berth and much to all our surprise we saw two swallows darting around the pier which really puzzled me, why on earth would anyone want to leave the warmth of north Africa for a damp cold Raasay in April? and that was it really, I saw a couple of stags on the way home having a bit of a tussle

I know it’s a cr4p picture but it was raining, taken through the Land Rover window and a long way off, I don’t think they were being serious as I’ve seen these two doing this before. The far one being quite distinctive having only one antler.

I whistled at them and they briefly looked up at me before going back to whatever it was that they were doing!

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