Life at the end of the road

November 28, 2009

Farewell to the ‘Striven’

Filed under: boats, daily doings, food — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:35 pm

The big day arrived at last and the weather was fantastic 🙂 The Raasay primary school coffee day was once again blessed with a fine sunny day, though ‘coffee day’ does not do justice to that most important event in the yearly social calendar, for it’s far more than that, with pretty much the whole community helping and attending.

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First of all though it was the usual round of feeding all the animals at home, a chore that I take over willingly from the swineherd on my week off, only this time it’s only three days off as I’ll have to chase the Loch Striven down the Clyde on Tuesday 🙂 Anyway I went out to be met by rays of sunshine just kissing the bare pink rock on the hill opposite, our little valley was still in shade but not for long and the blue sky looked very promising. All the pigs and piglets were doing just fine and I took a photo of the ‘wee tammies’ as two of them were going in the silent auction.

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The little cuties had grown since I last saw them on Sunday and would produce some lovely pork by next spring.

So after catching up on some paper work that had been piling up on the kitchen units we loaded up the chilli, curry, dog and child for the lovely drive south.

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Ben Tianavaig and Holoman island looking just lovely in the low winter sun

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which was also pouring through the needless larch trees just before the ‘Free Church’ manse.

Forty minutes later we were at the school with its very expensive flag pole 🙂

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Where already preparations were well underway. That old favourite, ‘The Raasay digger challenge’ was being set up, the kitchen was already full of pizzas and home made macaroni whilst the staff, children and helpers were setting up the various games and challenges.

Fairly soon the pre prepared dishes were warmed, the rice cooked and the customers conspicuous by their absence  😦 well their reluctance to eat at any rate. Still it was only early and we consoled ourselves by saying they’ll all come at once and jokes about eating curry, chilli and macaroni for weeks.

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Whilst the kitchen was quiet ‘Raasay digger challenge’ and all the other events were mobbed.

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My boy was getting a good pelting in the ‘Throw the sponge’

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and the local fire brigade were on car washing duty.

Sure enough as the afternoon wore on the kitchen became busier and even my chilli sold out 🙂

The Loch Linnhe arrives

Just before 14:30 I went down to the ferry slip to catch the Loch Striven and Loch Linnhe changing over. The Linnhe fresh out of dry dock would be with us until the Striven returned from her spell up the slip at Ardmaleish boat builders on the Isle of Bute.

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Unfortunately the bright but low early evening sun made photography difficult

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so after saying my hellos and goodbyes to the crew I returned to the rapidly disappearing chilli, macaroni, curry and pizza!

And I could really kick myself for not getting a list of all the local Skye and Raasay businesses that contributed to this event, I remember a few but shall get the full list on Monday and put it on here.

Once all the prizes were drawn, the food finished and the school tidied up we all went home with not even a tiny portion of chilli left for our own dinner 😦 Still I did have that fine rabbit that I’d shot yesterday lying in the fridge so I turned it into a quick pasta dish.

Filleting the best of the meat off the hind legs and back I fried it off in olive oil, onions and garlic adding half a glass of white wine, salt, pepper, a spoon of bouillon, a tin of chopped tomatoes, 3 bay leaves and half a tube of tomato puree. After letting it reduce for half an hour I served it with pasta twirls and freshly grated parmesan. Needless to say there was none left afterwards 🙂

November 27, 2009

The ‘big day’ approaches

Filed under: daily doings, food, harbour — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:28 pm

It’s 21:15 already and I’ve not been on here for a while, OK, I’ve missed a day but it feels like much longer, anyway, the 10 day stint on the Loch Striven is over, the chilli is at last made for the school coffee day and I have just settled down in a cold kitchen with a large glass of Morgan’s spiced rum 🙂

I’m reeking of kerosene, my feet are freezing but I’ve a lovely glow inside from the rum, our kitchen is normally pretty toasty but the stove went out today. Initially because it ran out of fuel, which I sorted but then because the tank had drained, the filter got blocked with all the dregs at the bottom and I’ve just got the thing re lit having had to change the filter and bleed the system 😦

So whilst I’m thawing out and waiting for the water to heat up for a bath I’ll bring you up to speed with ‘lifeattheendoftheroad’


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Thursday was a great improvement on Wednesday so during my lunch break I ventured over to the new ferry terminal works and took a few pictures.

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Not only was there great activity there but Raasay house had a couple of guys inside hanging on the end of a very large crane 🙂

Whilst Thursday may have been a good day on Raasay it was still pretty poor in Campbeltown where the relief boat Loch Linnhe was awaiting a favourable wind and tide to brave ‘the Mull’. The Mull being the Mull of Kintyre, that long dangly bit of Scotland that is far nearer to Ireland than Glasgow and where the Irish sea meets the Atlantic ocean. There’s an awful lot of water that has to shuttle to and fro twice a day through that 12 mile gap and it is not a place for the feint of heart when the wind is against the tide.


Although I did not get out of bed until 5:45, I did so with far more enthusiasm than I’d done of late, it was Friday and the last of the three extra days that I’d worked, at last I had that ‘buzz’ that is reserved for Tuesday and banana number seven 🙂 so much so that I set off south for work early in search of a bunny for dinner. The lack of Co2 for my boys ‘Crossman ratcatcher’ made me take the Anschutz .22 instead which rewarded me with a fine male rabbit at 100 yards.

Skinning a rabbit

Arriving at work early I wasted no time in skinning my buck, rabbits like most things are best skinned warm and whilst I’m no expert this is what I do.

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First make a cut with a sharp knife somewhere around the breastbone, doing it here makes it less likely to puncture anything smelly.

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Then I just slide my fingers inside and peel off the skin, you can work your fingers around and inside the legs then just pull the skin off like you’d remove a pair of socks.  Once you’ve done all four legs and tail pull the skin downwards then just chop it off at the neck along with the head. Gutting it is dead easy, just carefully make an incision down the belly and pull everything out, making sure you get all of the intestines and back passage without any of the ‘wee currants’ being left behind 🙂

Me, I saved the heart, liver and kidneys chopped them up and fried them with a rasher of bacon some garlic and pepper

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added half a tin of kidney beans that had been lurking in the fridge

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sprinkled a little pepper on an had it for second breakfast on a slice of wholemeal bread, YUM YUM 🙂

The Raasay primary coffee day

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After my feast and a little painting in the ‘aft void space’

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it was time for lunch and more cooking and I must point out right now that it was not I that made such a beautiful job of this space but my opposite number. I was just finishing off a tin of paint that was lying around 🙂

With the painting finished I started on a nice mild chilli for tomorrows coffee day

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Chilli Camilli

Now I never cooked a thing apart from boiled eggs, beans on toast and potato hash until I was 36 and I’ve rarely measured the quantities of anything but I can rustle up a mean chilli.

Heat up some olive oil in a pan, throw in a few bits of onion and when that starts ‘fizzing’ chuck in your finely chopped garlic, when that’s browned chuck in the rest of the finely chopped onions  followed by the mince. I used steak mince today but prefer venison. Normally I would now add red wine but today I did not have any :-(  Once the mince has browned start adding your tinned tomatoes, kidney beans  along with some  pepper, chilli powder, ‘Marigold bouillon’ or stock cube. When it’s boiling nicely it’s time to add the secret ingredient, cocoa! honest, this will thicken it, colour it and give it an amazing aroma that will have you just desperate to eat it 🙂

And now it’s 23:30, I’ve had far too much rum and need my bed but if you want to try out the chilli yourself or the swineherds chicken curry then come along tomorrow to the Raasay primary coffee day 🙂

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