Life at the end of the road

December 31, 2009

I did try :-)

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:58 pm

Well that’s it, the first proper full day on the Loch Striven in service for a month, I was not going tom tell you about it last night because I was going to a dance. I say was because it didn’t happen :-(  I really did fully intend to drive the 11 miles home, get changed and drive the 11 miles back to go and see ‘Good Pub Guide’ who were playing at the Raasay Village halls Hogmanay dance. OK I know it’s not Hogmanay ( or at least it wasn’t when the dance was on ) but there has been a long tradition here of having New Years eve dances on the wrong night due to lack of ferries or the Sabbath so that’s nothing unusual 🙂

Despite being unable to find any info on the band, I mean with a name like that how on earth could you ever find them on the internet without trawling through 3000 pages of pub reviews, and I did try 🙂 Despite that I was going to make the effort, well I was until I got home after my hard days labour and found the house full of ‘merry’ people 🙂 Family and friends had arrived for a cup of coffee, coffee had turned into wine and all enthusiasm from ‘her indoors’ for a night out had vanished some time previously with the second glass!

I was initially not best pleased, the ‘not best pleased’ you get when, grubby, tired  and hungry some 13 hours after leaving a clean quiet kitchen you return to a circus. A circus that was once your kitchen and is now full of ‘happy’ loud and smoking people occupying all the available chairs. Normally of course I’d have just tucked in and joined the party, but work the day after meant that was not possible so I went for a bath instead. The bath did the trick, it warmed me up, cooled my temper and enabled me to join the even louder crowd with almost a smile 🙂 The smile being aided by just a ‘wee glass’ of wine and of course the realization that I now had a perfectly good excuse not to go to the dance 🙂

The dance was by all accounts a success and must have been a far cry from the dreadful acoustics, freezing cold temperatures, many stairs and inadequate toilets of the ‘west wing’. The ‘west wing’ being the west wing of Raasay house where all such functions were held previously. Heated by one coal fire ( until elf and safety forbade it ) and several ‘Super Ser’ calor gas heaters you just had to dance to keep warm. The narrow, steep and winding steps leading up to it being the scene of many a drunken tumble. Though it did have a certain charm and was the venue for many a memorable evening, I for one do not morn its passing 🙂

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That’s it on the far left of Raasay House, the thick gable wall and sterling efforts by the Raasay fire brigade saving it from the ravages of much of the great fire of 19/1/09.

Back to work

Anyway the first day back was a bit of a disaster for me, my weapon of choice, the pressure washer was not working 😦 and even if it had been, it’s use would have been severely restricted due to a lack of water! The pipe that supplies both the waiting room toilets and the ferry had frozen over a week ago and our water tank was down to 1000lts 😦

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The return to work did at least give me a good opportunity to go down to the new ferry terminal and have a good look around.

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Usually a hive of activity it seemed eerily quiet.

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Watched over by only myself

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and those hideous mermaids

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which should have accompanied their owner to Tasmania in 1843 🙂

I have to confess at not actually doing a great deal at work on my first day back other than cleaning, checking over work done at the refit and playing with the new electronics 🙂

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The four screens from left to right being, plotter, ship AIS monitor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatic_Identification_System GPS compass and radar.

Hogmanay

Was a bit of a surprise, with a dusting of fresh snow to greet me at 6:30 as I headed out of the front door for work. The day on board ship was pretty quiet with both the 8:25 and 9:25 sailings from Sconser being devoid of any traffic whatsoever, something I don’t ever recall having seen. The day had plenty of sunshine in between the odd flurry of snow driven in on a cold north easterly wind. Out of that wind and when the sun shon it felt more like April than the last day of December.

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A feeling reinforced by a huge shoal of cuddies that swam around the bow of the boat, something I’ve not seen in winter for many a year.

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The slightly longer day showing itself by pink clouds behind the pyramid of Beinn na caliach at 15:40 from Raasay.

last chance

The last car to leave Raasay in 2009 boarded the ferry at 17:30

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and the last full moon of the decade, the second in December really did look blue 🙂

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So, once the other 23 year ‘Old girl’ in my life was safely lashed to Scotland for the next day and a half I had a beer with the boys and drove home under that same ‘blue moon. that was by now starting the first phase of a full lunar eclipse.

December 29, 2009

Seriously overwhelmed

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:04 pm

I know it’s been a couple of days since I’ve been on here, I did start writing a post last night entitled ‘Getting ready’ which went into great detail about how I was preparing myself for the weeks labours on the Loch Striven. It was however rubbish so I confined it to that great cyber landfill that is the recycle bin 🙂 Actually I sat in front of the telly with a glass ( or two ) of wine and was unable to move away from the wood burning stove in the living room. I was unable to move for several reasons, A, it was boodly freezing in the kitchen where I do my blogging, B, the days toil and red wine were making me lethargic and C, that prat Clarkson was on ‘Top gear’. Now being as how Jeremy is to the beeb what Simon frigging Cowal is to ITV I can see my next rant losing me a few customers so to speak. I’m really sorry but I can’t stand the man, yes I know he’s funny but the mans got as much  clout as Oprah Winfrey and she’s more powerful than the person that sits in the White House when it comes to public opinion.

The last time I watched ‘Clarky’ was by accident a year or two back when he was driving a Toyota to the North Pole to disprove global warming. Of course he neglected to mention to his millions of followers that it was the ‘magnetic’ North pole, which is nowhere near the real one, moves about quite a bit and is often visited by trucks :-(  Last nights offering was little better, OK, I know it was funny but do we really believe that these three plonkers could get from the Amazon to the Pacific without an army of people following, filming and sorting out all their ‘cock ups’ 🙂

I know, I’m a sad old git and should not take life so seriously, but the ice really is melting, the polar bears really are dying, the Maldives will soon be under water and the weather really is going ‘tits up’. Weather it’s caused or exasperated by man made CO2 emissions is another argument but it’s not funny and it is serious.

So now I’ve got that of my chest I’ll thank all those people that have looked in on ‘lifeattheendoftheroad’ and posted comments over the last couple of years, it really has been overwhelming and I’ll get on with the last couple of ‘daily doings’.

Monday

Yet another fine but cold day here on Raasay, which saw me rushing around madly trying to leave my house in ‘safe mode’ 🙂 Safe mode being a state where wife and child could be expected to have a trouble free week, ie, generator would have enough fuel, cooker would have enough gas, fire would have enough wood, etc, etc. Two windless weeks and much heating of water for scalding pigs has meant that Harry our 12Kw Lister HR2 has been working overtime of late. Normally he’d not be needed throughout the winter months as we’d get more than enough power from our wind and hydro turbines. This spell of weather however has been exceptional and I can’t actually remember the last time it rained or we had a decent gale 🙂

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Memory should however not be an issue in the future because I got my Christmas present mounted and working, a nice weather station whose sensors I mounted on my wind turbine mast behind the house.

EasyWeather

Though as you can see from the graph there has been precious little wind of late.

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The ground being too hard for a pigs snout made us boil up some spuds donated by a friend in the village and even the ‘wee dug’ tried to get in on the act 🙂

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She was however ‘outgrubbed’ by the piglets 🙂

Tuesday

With the house all ‘topped up’ ready for my ‘week on’ it was just a case of  getting some pig feed and going to my parents on the mainland to pick up a door. Of course to anyone else this would be a case of  a quick trip to the feed merchant and then pop into B&Q on the way back, two hours max. To us people at the north end of Raasay it’s the whole day and 150miles 😦

After the morning feed we headed for the 9:55 ferry, then my parents house on the mainland where the door had been delivered. This door was being delivered 50 miles away due to to the insanity of somebody’s computer program and a lack of common sense. Now I appreciate that Skye is actually an island despite being firmly connected to the rest of Scotland and therefore Britain by a very large and TOLL FREE bridge. It is however often cheaper to get large items delivered miles down a single track road on the mainland than it is to the side of a main trunk road on Skye!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was this bizarre anomaly that sent us on today’s mission, first to the mainland for a door and then back to Skye for feed.

291209 009  It did however give us a chance to at last stop at Drum na Cloich and check out the waterfall at the head of Loch Eynort. I really have no Idea how many times that I’ve driven past this magnificent waterfall on the way to and from home in the last 20 years. Weather just a trickle or in spate it is always impressive but rushing for a ferry or a ‘lay bye’ full of Japanese tourists have ensured that I’ve never actually stopped, until today that is.

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The river was frozen solid so my boy, his pal, the wee dug and I went it check it out

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Impressive does not even begin to describe it, the river normally a raging torrent was frozen solid, we walked right the way up it to the fall and Molly continued upwards.

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Well she did until gravity got the better of her 🙂 you just had to see it, she went charging up until she lost traction then came skating back down on the ice. Far funnier than Jeremy Clarkson last night and with a gazilionth of the carbon footprint 🙂

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That was about it really, we caught the 16:15 ferry

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got home around 17:30, fed the herd, fed the flock, fed the cats, fed the hens, unloaded the Land Rover, stoked up the fire, thawed out the water pipes, and took the recycling bin to the end of the road.

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Now I know this picture is cr4p but that’s the ‘Storr’ taken from the top of a blue ‘wheelie bin’ in the dark from over 6 miles away 🙂

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