Life at the end of the road

February 2, 2010

The mystery marags!

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:42 pm

It’s been a pretty good day here on the ‘island of the roe deer’, for apparently that is what the name Raasay means, though I’m not convinced 🙂 Judging by the photographs taken by the relief crew on their way north we’ve got off very lightly on Raasay, in fact when the sun has been out it’s been positively luvverly. As it is my Friday today I was in an infuriatingly good mood all day and even set off for work early in the hope of catching dinner on the way south, yesterday I’d just caught a grouse with my drivers door mirror. Caught as in just clipped him as he flew off, I dunno who was more surprised me or him, I had seen him it the road, well you could hardly miss him really with his black plumage on the snow but I thought it was a black rabbit. You can imagine how surprised I was when it took off!

020110 006 

So after a fruitless search with my lights around Brochel castle for dinner I continued southwards to work and the Loch Striven.

020110 012

The tide was high, the wind light and I was in high spirits, it was Tuesday and the day of my last banana, though I actually threw it in the bin rather than put it on my muesli. I’m not a fussy eater, as the person who long ago once gave me a pork pie that he’d picked up off the street will confirm 😦 but this particular fruit looked more like a, well I don’t know what it looked like but it wasn’t pleasant so I gave it a miss 🙂

I was once asked by a journalist who had followed me about all day as I happily worked away on board, what was my favourite part of the job “the week off” I replied with a grin 🙂 That’s not strictly true as there are times when I can’t wait to get back to work for a rest but just imagine a job where you get that holiday feeling 25 times every year 🙂

020110 018

020110 008

Once at Sconser we took advantage of the high tide and cleaned the starboard side of the boat, having done the port side yesterday.

020110 010

The Loch Striven’s class of ferry goes just as fast astern as it does ahead, indeed the boat just shuttles back and forth for weeks on end without actually turning round. This means that the mess room normally faces the Raasay slip and the post van usually deposits his mail in the port side saloon. As we did a couple of runs back to front so to speak several customers landed in the crews mess room and the mail nearly ended up in the engine room!

020110 002

The day was busy enough with me doing the usual last day and month end stuff, a delegation came over from the council to clean the Raasay slip and inspect the Sconser one, bringing a new apprentice with them 🙂

020110 027

The harbour master wisely saying that it would require a little more concrete than he could mix in his wheelbarrow 🙂

A pleasant surprise

The Raasay postman who was almost as confused as the Sconser one did not try and remove the mail sacks from the engine room but that was only because we warned him 🙂 He did however stop me on the road at lunchtime with a parcel.

020110 022 

Our observant mailman had spotted this on the back of a parcel addressed to me and as we don’t normally get mail until Thursday or Saturday he thought it might be perishable so had collared me.

020110 023 

Imagine my delight when I found three more marags to add to the two in the fridge!

020110 025

A chilli black pudding from RS Ireland along with one of their vegetarian offerings!!!!! and a brace of black pudding rings from Richard Woodall in Cumbria As we’d just polished off some halibut cooked in white sauce with mashed potatoes the marags would have to wait. Regular followers of my ramblings will know that the crew of MV Loch Striven are something of black pudding aficionados and have been slowly making a black pudding tour of Great Britain so to speak. Obviously I’m not going to wait a full week before sampling some myself but I will have to save some for the boys next Wednesday 🙂

So whoever sent me the parcel and I do have my suspicions, thank you very much 🙂

Meanwhile in the Gambia

Information is a little scarce at the moment due to lack of internet access and Sid’s excellent blog has not been updated for a while but I have it on good authority that the eight remaining bikers made it safely.

sambel kunda

No mean feat when you consider the blizzards they braved to get out of Britain and the freezing temperatures they encountered in France. Alas Richard Collyer  broke his ankle in Spain and after recuperating in a Spanish hospital had to be flown home. So a big WELL DONE to Andres, Bhud, Gert, Glen, John, Mickey, Roger and Sid who went all that way and raised over £37k towards building the new ‘Calum’s road’ and what’s more they funded the trip out of their own pockets, hero’s indeed.


Anyway, that’s it, no weather tonight I’m Knackered 🙂

What, no lunch!

Filed under: daily doings, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:27 am

I had fully intended to write a masterpiece last night, lots had happened, the day was kind of eventful (well by my standards) and the seven BMW riders have finally reached the Gambia. Alas by the time I’d got up the road, had a bath and digested some halibut I was whacked, so it’s just going to be a quickie at 6:00am before I go to work.


You can’t bump start a boat

The lack of any proper lunch break and the reason for being tired, well apart from being old 🙂 was the aft main engine starter, or at least the lack if it actually stating the boat at 7:15am yesterday. After doing all the obvious wiring checks with a meter and checking the low oil level switch a few judicious whacks with the hammer had her fired up 🙂

010210 003

Not the easiest thing to get at on a Volvo TAMD 121C marine diesel but there was just enough time in the lunch break to get the 6.6kw, 24 starter replaced with our onboard spare.

010210 007

Now the lack of a lunch break is in the grand scale of things not a big deal as we normally shut down for almost an hour between 14:40 and 15:20 anyway. Not today however, exceptionally low tides prevented us getting back in our berth.

010210 009 

They also revealed the true horror of the state of our slipway at Sconser 😦

010210 010

and had is wondering how to get the cars on the ferry.

010210 011 

So after doing our ‘risk assessment’ we duly laid down some wooden planks for the cars to carefully drive over 🙂

010210 013 

After depositing everyone on Raasay the purser had a driving lesson 🙂

010210 021

and I had a wee lie down 🙂

weather 010210

So I’ll just leave you with the weather and tide before I dash off for my last day ‘before the mast’ 🙂

graph 010210

tide 010210

Blog at