Life at the end of the road

January 31, 2010

Happy families

Filed under: boats, daily doings, harbour, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:24 pm

Sunday already, my favourite day 🙂 a nice short day on the ferry and now as the days lengthen, daylight at each end of the working day 🙂 The north wind and snow had dampened the pigs enthusiasm this morning and when I went to feed them for the first time since Tuesday none were to be seen! The icy blasts from the north pole keeping them tucked up inside their insulated arks until they actually heard the rattle of the feed bucket. Pigs have great internal clocks that run about an hour fast, they are usually pacing up and down the gate long before feeding time but not this morning. Even with the feed going into the trough Jamie Lee was still not at her feeding station, though she was charging over to it 🙂 No mean feat for a sow that must weigh a couple of hundred kilos and is feeding seven piglets.


Whilst Jamie Lee had her head stuck in the trough I went over to her ark to check on the two week old piglets and ten week old boar. Rocky the new Tamworth boar that we bought last Monday seems to have become ‘big brother’ to Jamie Lee’s seven spotty piglets and Jamie Lee appears to have adopted Rocky. There’s no fighting, they all snuggle up together and Rocky follows Jamie Lee about like a shadow. I am truly amazed, I’m no pig expert but I’ve kept them for a few years now and I’ve never seen such a hassle free introduction of a new member into a herd, there is normally a bit of blood drawn until the pecking order is sorted.

With everyone fed I headed down the white ribbon that was ‘Calum’s road’ to work,

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the scene at Hector’s croft looking very different from the one that I gazed upon yesterday on the way to work 🙂

full moon at hector

The day on the ferry was quieter than of late, probably the snow having put many travellers off but the sun came out and made weekly task of launching the DOTI boat quite pleasant.

310110 004 The stiff northerly wind made us seek the more sheltered waters to the south of the pier rather than getting a wetting heading up to the new harbour.


After all we’d done that yesterday in the comfort of the ‘mother ship’


and what’s more we’d been spotted and caught on camera 🙂

The weather

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January 30, 2010

Piers old and new

Filed under: daily doings, harbour, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:51 pm

Well if I thought it was cold yesterday morning when I arose it was ‘Baltic’ today, a quick look at the thermometer in the kitchen confirmed that I was not coming down with ‘man flu’ and a quick feel of the stove confirmed that it had gone out. The trudge outside in my pyjamas for fuel informed me it was snowing and that awesome full moon of late lit up the croft like 7:30 and not the 5:30 that it was. The fire was soon re lit and a pot of coffee simmering on top ready to kick start the new day. I was in an exceptionally good mood 🙂

10 years on

Had I won the lottery or had it been a Tuesday I could not have been in a better mood, I was in a good mood because I had last night, just before going to bed received an email from the organizers of Rockness  informing me that the mighty Leftfield were getting back together after a 10 year break to play a gig on my doorstep.


Now I appreciate that the the vast majority of my readers have probably never heard of the electronic pioneers Paul Daley and Neil Barnes or probably even like their unique banging techno, afro, dub beats but me I’m  great fan. I only saw them the once at T in the park 2000 and it is a memory I will take to my grave. The huge dark interior of the massive ‘Slam tent’, full, but not bursting, with a few lights and speakers everywhere. Behind the ‘band’ a huge screen with  samurai warrior in full armour.


Once the band came on they held a deep base groove for about two minutes, it was so loud the ground shook and your organs vibrated, replaced by an even longer and louder drum roll that led into ‘Dub Gusett’ we all went wild. They played a similar set at ‘Homelands’ the same year which you can download here if you know how to. Me I’m computer illiterate but my good mate Willy Eyre has just stuck it on an SD card for me and I’m listening to it as we speak (so to speak) 🙂

Anyway back on Raasay 🙂 I left for work a little earlier than usual due to the white stuff and skipped my usual listening of choice on Saturday morning, ‘Farming today’ on Radio 4 in favour of Leftfields first album ‘Leftism’, it was already in the CD magazine anyway 🙂

full moon at hector

Stopping briefly by ‘Storab’s grave’ to gaze at Portree and the moon through the old sycamore tree at Hector’s croft. I’ve no idea who Hector was but Storab was a Viking prince who is buried near here under a mound of stones or so the story goes.


Reproduced with the kind permission of Ordnance Survey Great Britain

He also inspired, or at least his story inspired fellow Accringtonian sir Harrison Birtwhistle to compose ‘Duets for Storab’ during his 10 year stay on Raasay.    Not  exactly Leftfield but beautiful none the less and if you scroll halfway down the page and check out the Nash ensembles take on it you’ll hear what I mean.

A short Saturday

Arriving for work just as the snow plough was leaving the council yard ready to tackle the virgin snow on the Arnish road i awaited the rest of the crew of the good ship Loch Striven. The north wind was still cold but had eased, the cloud was thinning and it promised to be a good day. The rest of the crew did not share my excitement about the Leftfield reunion ( I wonder why ) but we were all pretty chuffed that the late ferry had not been booked 🙂 Don’t get me wrong, i don’t mind doing the late ferry if someone’s going to be on it but it is nice to get home early 🙂

The day itself was pretty quiet, in fact pretty dead would have been more accurate, apart from the bin lorry, a couple of shoppers and a few harbour workers not a great deal happened on the traffic front.

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The lack of customers and big tides though did give us a good opportunity to survey the damage on the slipway at Sconser.

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It also gave our hard working purser a chance to clear stones off the Raasay slip

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whilst I took the pictures 🙂

We also used the spare time and good weather to good effect by going on a wee jolly in the ship to check out the new harbour works. Actually the tide was so low that we could not back into the berth so we went to see how Balfour Beatty were getting on with the new one.

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Whoops that’s the old one 🙂

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The yellow line is where they are just now and the red line is where it was on the 23rd of October, as you can see it’s almost there 🙂

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And here is our new 15m wide slipway with two rather large diggers working away on it.

Today’s weather

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That was about it really, after work I trudged north in the Old Girl and enjoyed a hot bath followed by pastrami baked potatoes a Greek salad and the first glass of wine in almost a week 🙂 It’s 22:30 now Africa shox has just blasted forth from the speakers on my laptop ( which really fail to do it justice ) and I’m now off to my bed 🙂


Somewhere out there in the crowd is the swineherd and I 🙂

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