Life at the end of the road

July 2, 2009

It’s no wonder things went pear shaped!

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:47 pm

So much for the nice leisurely (relatively) start to my working week on board the good ship ‘Loch Striven’. I was up bright and early, full of enthusiasm and ready for action, but that was two days ago and alot of water has passed under the bridge since then. Or should I say alot of chain has passed through the block! It started well enough with me as usual loading up the ‘Old girl’ with all the weeks essentials for a long sea voyage, well not exactly as I get home every night but I do like my grub so along with my jar of olives, bananas and various treats from Lidl I took along a wee something that I’d had sitting in the fridge for a couple of days.

Herring marinaded in sherry

Herring marinaded in sherry

Having been out for dinner recently to http://www.isleofraasayhotel.co.uk/ and sampled some of Linda the cheff’s herring marinaded in sherry I thought I’d give at go. After all we have two or three bottles of the stuff and to my way of thinking all sherry is fit for is trifels and bathing fish! A quick ‘google’ returned a recipe which I followed to the letter, well apart from the fact that I skipped the water in favour of more sherry. After all we were having a bit of a drought and I did have three bottles of sherry!

An inauspicious start!

Arriving at work earlier than usual and with the smell of vinegar and sherry stinging my nostrils as the Pyrex dish was not ‘Land Rover’ proof, I climbed sboard and fired the other 23 year old in my life up 🙂 With one big ‘Lister’ and two even bigger ‘Volvo’s’ purring away under the car deck I set about trying out the newly repaired power washer. Now the power washer to me is like a washing machine is to a women with 5 children! that is to say that when it does not work it’s akin to a death in the family. Now our power washer has not been preforming at its best for a while but last week the ‘mirical sparkys’ from Gourock sorted it and now my opposite number informs me in the ‘hand over notes’ that its the ‘dogs danglies’ though not in those exact words as the ‘hand over notes’ are serious things 🙂 So, with the pressure cranked up to the max I set about removing 23 years worth of paint from various pipes and fittings on the starboard side, my plan being to paint all this before the week is out. I am WELL IMPRESSED with the performance of the newly fixed machine and the snow storm of white paint flakes that I’ve left on the car deck 🙂 However sailing time is approaching so I leave my blizzard in favour of letting go the many ropes that fasten us securely to Scotland so that we can pick up our precious cargo of commuters, cars and school children.

As we leave the slipway at Raasay and the forward ramp is almost housed there is an almighty bang from the port hydraulic ram 😦 As the ramp will not come fully up we return to the slip, by which time the ramp is almost down. Once everyone is discharged we ‘break out’ the emergency ramp lifting gear

10tonne block

10tonne block

which consits of two 10 tonne block and tackles and a .5 tonne one for lifting them. These beauties sit in a nice heated spot in the aft ‘voith space’ ever ready for such an occaision. We are well practiced in their use but which ever way you look at it, it is not an easy job.

Extra crew!

Extra crew!

And I must point out that that dog is not a regular crew member. Once the kit was in place I set my watch and the four of us started pulling on the chains, one hour twenty minutes later we had the ramp shut. By around 10:10 we were back in action, OK we were sailing ‘single ended’ but we were sailing 🙂

Mister Lister to the rescue (again)

The rest of the day was pretty much on schedule and our replacement ram arrived from Gourock in plenty of time to get it fitted before we left Sconser for the last sailing at 18:45.

Port fwd ram

Port fwd ram

We got the ram removed OK but unfortunately complications set in whilst fitting the new one and despite working up to the max number of hours allowed by EU regs the job was left unfinished due to the lack of a specialist jack. Frantic phone calls to many contractors on Skye and Raasay failed to produce anything so one was organized from Gourock overnight, though I cannot thank Alistair Macdonald of Sconser enough for the loan of his jack or our gallant purser who put the grinder to his own jack in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Desperate measures!

Desperate measures!

A proper fisherman

What should have been a twenty minute job was rapidly turning into an epic! Now whilst I’ve spent a great deal of my adult life fishing for a living I’ve not actually been much good at it 😦 OK, I really enjoyed it and it paid the mortgage for years but I was never really a ‘top earner’ and now I know why. As any proper fisherman ( like my current shipmate ) will tell you it’s bad luck  to have sheep with curly tails (pigs) on a boat, which I did on Monday. It’s bad luck to have men with white collars  (ministers) on a boat, which we did yesterday when the ramp failed. It’s bad luck to mention pink fish (salmon) on a boat, guess what I had for lunch! It’s really bad luck to mention the ‘R’ word

Tomorrows dinner

Tomorrows dinner

And just look what I shot this morning on the way to work at 5:00am 🙂  it’s also bad luck to turn a boat ‘against the sun’ (anti clockwise) which we’ve been doing ever since the forward ramp failed.

All’s well that ends well.

Anyway after heading straight to my bed after Wednesday’s epic and setting my alarm for 5:00am, I was up long before it went off so headed down the road early with my boys ‘Crossman Ratcatcher’ .22 CO2 air rifle on what was a SPECTACULAR morning!

Ben Tianavaig

Ben Tianavaig

Arriving on the ship just after 6:00am  I was greeted by a none too impressed purser, not only had I mentioned mr R by name but I’d told him my bunny was shot by a Ratcatcher which as any fisherman worth his salt will tell you is also bad luck! The ‘mouse with the long tail’ is a definate no no :-).

However despite all my blunders we did get the ram fitted and sorted, returning to some kind of normality around 10:00am

The finishing touch

The finishing touch

Our only major concern being that the men with the white collars (ministers) are still on Raasay for the communion so will at some point need to be transported back to Skye 🙂

Anyway it’s 6:00am now, the sun is just poking its head above the ridge to the north east of my house and I’m going to head south with my gun, only  this morning I won’t tell the purser 🙂

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