Life at the end of the road

February 28, 2010

Red white and black for breakfast

Filed under: daily doings, harbour, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:46 pm

Seeing Shona’s remaining nine piglets tucked up this morning in their nest and finding out that there was unlikely to be any severe weather up here for the foreseeable future had me driving down the road to work in a buoyant mood. After all it was Sunday, I’d be getting home in daylight and it was the last day of February, a month that had only produced   5.1mm of rain!!! Tomorrow is March and the forecast good, but you know the old saying ‘in like a lamb out like a lion’ 😦 Still for the time being at least all looks rosy and so long as I get Shona and the piglets in before it does go pear shaped I don’t really mind as it has been a spectacular winter.

Sunday is our day for exercises, maintenance and cleaning the ferry and most importantly the day of the ‘BIG BREAKFAST’ when we usually do any overdue black pudding tests 🙂 Today however there was ‘a new kid on the block’ a red pudding from Munro’s of Dingwall http://www.munrodingwall.co.uk/products.html that had to be served with some Stornoway white pudding http://www.charlesmacleod.co.uk/new_products.html and some of Cockburn’s  black http://www.scottishgourmetfood.co.uk/haggis/black_pudding.htm.

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The Cockburn’s had mysteriously appeared in the Loch Striven’s fridge with all of the crew thinking that the others had bought it, so whoever left it there, a big thank you from us all. The ‘Charlie barley’ black pudding as Charles Macleod’s pudding is known came from the ‘top shop’ in Broadford via our purser, as did the white and the unusual red pudding came from our skipper.

We all approached the red pud with great anticipation, it seemed to be like a kind of spicy spam sausage which we sliced and fried, we were most impressed 🙂 However in my book Cockburn’s is still the king 🙂 Of course after putting this lot away little else got done for a good hour after which we finished cleaning the boat.

There’s a potato in my ship!

After digesting breakfast and scrubbing the good ship Loch Striven from stem to stern it was time to launch the FRC ( fast rescue craft) for its weekly jaunt, sorry drill 🙂 It was also a good opportunity to try and clear out the inlet to the emergency fire and bilge pump.

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That’s it in the centre of the picture just below the water line, I’d noticed during the weekly test of the pump that it was not performing just as it should so when the rescue boat was in the water we poked some sharp objects up there and gave it a good blasting with the pressure washer.

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Lots of cr4p came out but when we ran up the pump

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performance was not greatly improved, which, as the pipe work and filter after the overboard valve had been cleaned could only mean one thing, the valve itself was blocked 😦 Bit of a problem this as the valve is below the water line and would need to be plugged from the outside. After searching the ship in vain for a wooden plug or something of a similar size that we could stuff in the hole whilst we cleaned the valve the purser had a brain storm, “how about a potato” says he. Now bear in mind he’d also suggested using both the black and red puddings still in fridge, so I treated this suggestion with a little scepticism at first.

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However after giving it a little thought, finding a suitable spud, wrapping it in a rag and of course doing a ‘risk assessment’ we did it.

280210 073  Then removed the top of the valve to find it blocked with weed, which once cleaned out, rebuilt and spud removed

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performed faultlessly 🙂

After that it was off to check out progress at our new berth

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passing the Jackal rock on the way, named after HMS Jackal that either found this reef on a survey or ran aground on it whilst passing 🙂

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With the last underwater pour done for the ‘dog leg’ it was looking good.

By the time we got back from our ‘drill’ stowed the boat and had a cup of tea it was time to sail, after which it was time to go home 🙂

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Where the 11 mile drive was, as usual quite dull 🙂

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And now I’m off to bed so I’ll just leave you with the weather 🙂

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But don’t forget tomorrow and Tuesday.

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And then there were nine :-(

Filed under: daily doings, harbour, pigs — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:44 am

Just to keep you up to speed really, it’s just after 8:00am on Sunday and I went pretty much straight to my bed last night after a long day.

Ali, the ice cold piglet died during the night, probably internal damage due to being squashed by mum, unfortunately quite common with wee piglets and large sows.

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I tucked the wee girl up in the dogs bed by the stove and went to bed, getting up around 2:00am to have a look at her but it was clear she was fading fast and by the time I got up at 5:00 she was dead 😦

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Still it was a fine enough morning when Molly and I went out around 6:00 to feed mum and the other 9 were doing fine so we left them to it and I set off for work.

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As I was early I went down to the old pier to have a look at the harbour works which were in full swing even at 7:00am

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Even though there was little traffic on the roads the ferry was exceptionally busy for a Saturday,

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with a DG (dangerous goods) and the bin lorry on the 8:25.

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There must have still been chaos on roads to the south and whilst the papers did arrive on time today the mail was late but that did not stop Royal Mail, they just sorted it out on the A 87 instead of the Post Office 🙂

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The dry but cold weather enabled a few short spells of painting in between traffic and frequent warm ups in the mess room 🙂

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The day ended with a lovely sunset down Loch Sligachan and I got home around 22:00 and went to bed 🙂

I got up early this morning and was pleased to see 9 healthy piglets for the first time in daylight

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and was most impressed by the view from Shona’s nest

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and now it’s 8:30 and I’m off to work 🙂

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