Life at the end of the road

November 14, 2009

More ram for Arnish and a computer for Africa!

Filed under: animals, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:31 pm

Yet another early start today, much to the disgruntlement of our resident teenagers 🙂 but that’s life on the croft and if they didn’t like it then they would not keep coming back. The lashing rain that greeted me, making me glad that I’d done most of the preparations for the trip to Plockton last night, leaving me with just the pigs to feed, the roof to put on the trailer and some bedding for Seamus or new ram.

Sean our previous  Soay ram having gone missing last winter and presumably died. Rams are very good at dying after a hard winters sh*****g 🙂 not that Sean had much work at Arnish as we only have 3 ewes but I think he’d gone looking for more ewes to cover and pegged it on the way. I’m pretty sure he did not do any ‘playing away from home’ with the sheep of the south end or there would have been some pretty odd looking lambs at the annual marking in June. Just as well or my name would have been mud amongst the proper shepherds 🙂

What a plonker

The preparations being emptying the trailer of the ‘treasure’ that I’d picked up out of a skip and off the shore, packing up a computer, printer, scanner, monitor, speakers and all the associated gubbins that go with into boxes and loading them into the Land Rover. It does not sound much but it’s much easier to do on a star lit night than in the pishing rain that had arrived just as forecast.

The first thing I noticed when I went to lift on the roof of the trailer was 7 eggs under it,

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Not having any foxes on Raasay means we don’t shut the hens in, the downside of which is finding the eggs can be a bit of a challenge 🙂

The second and most startling thing that I noticed was that I could lift my left arm above shoulder height for the first time in 15 years! The cortisone injection that Dr Macdonald had given me yesterday had obviously worked. Apart from the obvious joy of not having to have surgery my initial reaction was, what a plonker I’d been for not getting it done sooner. Fifteen friggin years I’ve been struggling to put on a dry suit, boiler suit and some mornings even a shirt and 10 minutes in a doctors surgery and I’m cured. CHEERS DOC 🙂

Seriously though it’s amazing what you can get used to and I’m sure I’ve now got a much stronger right arm as a result, all I have to do now is take it easy for a while and keep doing the exercises.


Computers for Africa

Almost ready!

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I’d wanted to close the narrow gap above the trailer door as one of our sheep had managed to jump through it last year and I did not want to loose Seamus on the way back. Being a bit rushed I improvised with two G clamps and a piece of wood.


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With ‘The chef’ and ‘MC Shorty’ dragged away from the breakfast table still chewing toast we headed for the 8:55 ferry

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Seeing the catamaran ‘Silvermine’ in Loch Arnish as we headed south, OK, I know it’s not a great picture but you just had to be there with the low cloud over the Storr, the rumble of the big diesels and the spectacular wake 🙂

The trip to Terry and Pattie’s at Craig Highland Farm was pleasant enough with fine views over Loch Kishorn despite the rain.

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The last time we visited here was a bit of an epic in the Soay sheep catching department, or should I say the last two times we visited here was a bit of an epic in the Soay sheep catching department 🙂

The first time we took the trailer and a load of hurdles to funnel them in, driving them down a long narrow field 5 abreast. It all went reasonably  well until one of the lamas in the next field stuck its head over the fence and scattered them all just before the were about to enter. The second time we had a go one got halfway up the ramp then leapt the hurdles to freedom. One jumped straight through a stock proof fence between the ryloc and barbed wire and a third one jumped clean over my then 9 year old boy who was forming part of the chain that was driving them down the narrow field 😦 At this point we left the trailer and went  back two weeks later once they’d started sleeping in it.

It was with this in mind that I arrived with some trepidation at the thought of another eventful gathering.

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I need not have worried because no sooner had I parked up when John and Terry came ambling down the road with Seamus.

All that was then left was to unload our ‘computer for Africa’


“Computers for Africa is a registered Scottish Charity which began in the summer of 1995; when a group of sixth year computing students at Plockton High School competed for a Royal Bank of Scotland Information Technology Innovation Award.  Their winning entry chose to collect and take redundant computers to a new location where fellow students would otherwise have no access to such equipment.

We are a small charity, taking up to 300 computers each year to schools, in a number of African destinations. We deliver, install and offer training to teachers and pupils who would otherwise never receive such equipment.

The idea is simple and effective and everyone involved benefits. Redundant computers donated by individuals or organisations are put to good use. African students are provided with tools, which can help themselves and their communities. Plockton High School students give their time and expertise in preparing the computers and in carrying out training in Africa- their reward is the experience of a lifetime.

Each year we have to raise about £15,000 to pay for the delivery of these computers. Based in the tiny Scottish Highland community of Plockton we have for the past 14 years tried just about every fundraising activity known to man!

Then there are the computers that need collecting from donors, testing, cleaning, software installing and finally packing before delivering 700 miles to Tilbury docks, just so they can begin their journey.

Each year a different group is led by Mr Terry Heaviside (computing teacher) and a small group of 6th form pupils are given this unique chance to go. To date the organisation has collectively sent over 5000 computers to around 300 schools in 10 African countries. We have made computing possible for over 300, 000 young Africans.”


Terry runs the charity from his home and can be contacted by phone or through the website.

Seamus settles in

Our smoother than expected collection meant we even had time for breakfast in Kyle on the way back for the 13:10 ferry to Raasay

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Leaving Seamus quite happily parked outside the hairdressers whilst wife and boy got a haircut and we tucked into a ‘full Scottish’ 🙂

Once back at Arnish I left him in the trailer until our own sheep came down for a nosey, letting him out as soon as they started sniffing around the trailer.

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They all seemed to get on fine and pretty soon I had him ‘eating out of the palm of my hand’

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What was left of the day was spent repairing my ‘new’ 3000lt water tank that had been found by Bill Cowie washed up on Rona.

After climbing inside it and giving it a good inspection it became clear that the only real damage was where the tap had been ripped out.

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So I climbed back in and trimmed it with a jig saw before cutting another piece off a failed Balmoral oil tank to patch it. Inserting a new plastic outlet into the patch then fitting it in place with stainless bolts, self tappers and silicon.

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By the time I’d finished it I was feeling pretty pleased with myself having previously priced up both a new tank and several 2nd hand concentrated orange juice containers that would have done the job but at many hundreds of pounds 🙂

New recruiting video?

And I could not possibly leave you tonight without showing you this ‘must see’ clip off Youtube detailing life on larger  Cal Mac ferry that I received in an email this morning from another Seamus.




Entitled ‘Heb Madness’ it’s had me humming the tune all day 🙂


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