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 GPS compass and radar.


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.


  1. Happy New Year Paul.
    That new pier is going to become a bit of a photographer magnet I think. I am still itching to get my hands on that snow 🙂

    Comment by Simon — December 31, 2009 @ 11:13 pm

  2. Happy New Year Paul to you and yours. You get more ‘arty’ by the day. Fantastic ‘lead in’ lines on your 2nd & 3rd pics. Again lovely pics.
    I thought your post was going to be grumpy but turned out your usual cheerful self.

    Comment by Rienza — January 1, 2010 @ 7:09 pm

    • Happy New Year to you all,

      Rienza, Simon, Iain, Eileen and the rest, been rather ‘tied up’ of late but I shall be back shortly 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 3, 2010 @ 7:40 am

  3. Yo Paul,
    Happy New Year.
    It’s Andrew from Dill Hall Lane (old diving pal from Hyndburn BSAC). Living and working as an artist in San Francisco. Still in touch with Justin and Gill on Orkney and visit them when back home… Gill is coming to visit California this Summer (anytime you want to mate). Very involved with the Burning Man festival and will pass your blog along to some world class alt energy geeks to show them someone “walking the walk”. Part of me is very envious of your communion with the land and sea, but California has thinned my blood and now piss and moan if the sky is the wrong shade of azure. I have become an avid reader of your blog… thanks so much for a window to a precious place. Andrew

    Comment by Andrew Johnstone — January 2, 2010 @ 5:42 pm

    • Hi Andrew or should I say Bubble 🙂

      Those were the days hey, last time I saw you was about 25 years ago, you’d been spray painting houses in San Francisco if I remember rightly. Ah happy days indeed. Always suspected you were destined for an unconventional career after you disappeared on board the Rainbow Warrior in Falmouth for the night.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 3, 2010 @ 7:38 am

  4. Another West Coast, end of the road blog:

    Note the ‘Darrius’ type wind turbine. Darrius turbines spin on a vertical axis, very light foundation if it doesn’t wobble itself to bits.

    Comment by Max — January 3, 2010 @ 5:47 pm

    • Cheers for that link,

      Drumbuie is indeed a beautiful spot Max, it’s years since I was down there so thanks for the link. My computer froze halfway through loading the page on renewable energy, was there anything else on it other than the turbine?

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2010 @ 6:25 am

      • P’raps better if you avoid the renewables bit ‘cos it has a webcam on the 1st page which could be slow on a dial-up. They have a wee hydro genny as well as the Darrius.

        There’s Diary(Blog) Photos of the place and the garden and produce. Fruit trees and bushes seem to love the machair soil and the lack of frost.
        There’s occasional glimpses of their S1 Land Rover. Being 7 miles from the Tarmac its a great Landrover demo site, (through locked gates) though walking in through the Atlantic oakwoods in the re-gen area is wonderful. The path is now complete around the North side of the Morven penninsula, and there are photos of the new path.

        They grow mussels, and oysters in the calm of Loch Drumbuie. Its a popular spot for yachts as a quiet anchorage in Summer.
        They don’t have the mountain views of your place though.

        Comment by Max — January 4, 2010 @ 5:04 pm

      • Hi Max,

        I did try again but my computer froze so I’ll give it a go on a proper broadband connection.

        Thanks, Paul

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2010 @ 11:12 pm

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