Life at the end of the road

May 8, 2011

The ‘double nickel’ :-)

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 1:44 pm

Well, that’s it, had the incumbent government not raised the retirement age I’d only have another ten years to go. Or if I’m still working for my employer only another 240 weeks to work, as it is I’ll have to wait a little longer 😦 Not only is 55 a bit of a milestone in my life it’s almost exactly 25 years since the MV Loch Striven was launched in May of 1986 and 25 years since the ‘Old girl’ rolled off the production line at Longbridge in May of 1986.

May of that year, and particularly this day was also the day that I received a letter from my future employer on the island of Scalpay telling me I’d beaten some eighty applicants to the job of ‘scallop farm manager’ there. A job whose grand title encompassed a multitude of duties from diving to shovelling sh1t 😦 Three weeks later I’d sold most of my worldly possessions, borrowed a  van and moved house, leaving in  my wake a job in the city and several hundred pounds a week in income 🙂

Apart from buying my present home it’s the single most important thing I’ve done in my life and the latter would not have been possible without the former. I don’t think I could have made a go at Arnish had it not been for my training on Scalpay , four years at the ‘Narrows cottage’ with no road, ferry, phone or electricity prepared me for just about anything 🙂

Anyway, I’m getting a little ahead of myself here, Friday turned out to bring with it a change in the weather, with some much needed rain, though not enough to get my hydro turbine producing any meaningful power. When I say ‘much needed’, I personally could have quite happily done without it, but then it’s not me whose lugging buckets of water for the pigs this week 🙂 To be honest, apart from the shower in the morning and an odd spot or two in the afternoon it wasn’t a bad day and didn’t stop me painting under the shelter of the starboard upper deck.

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Traffic was pretty steady throughout the day and a couple of shiny new Land Rovers came over to cut the power to ‘Glen Lodge’ and supplant it with a 90Kw generator whilst JST cut some trees down. Ninety Kilowatt struck me as a little excessive for a two bed roomed cottage but I’m no expert 🙂

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During the afternoon Raasay House staff launching the sgoth Oigh Niseach .

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When I say launching it’s more a case of leaving it on the sand for the tide to come in and swell her planks, for being a wooden boat she will have ‘opened up’ over the winter.

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And that was about it really, when the day was done I drove home to enjoy a fine bottle of Bateman’s XXXB, a nice hoppy number gifted me by two grateful blog readers from Lincolnshire :-)  It was in fact very similar to the Ardnave ale from Islay  that ‘Green Van Man’ gave me the day before, a little ‘hoppier’ if that’s the right word but I’d be hard pushed to pick a favourite.


Saturday May 7th

Well I certainly didn’t feel any older this morning despite the pishing rain that greeted me, in fact I felt pretty good on account of going to bed before 9:00pm last night.

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Rain or shine, day or night, I still enjoy the 30minute drive to work, and by the time I reached Oskaig it had stopped 🙂

The morning sped by, more on account of my being busy with the hoover in the bilges than any amount of traffic on board. I’d opted for bilge cleaning duty due to lack of customers and abundance of rain which had once again put in an appearance 😦

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During my lunch break a surprise birthday party was held for me, well actually that’s a little of an exaggeration 🙂 Wife, child and ‘wee dug’ came down with a birthday cake for me, which we lit in the waiting room.

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Only problem was they didn’t bring a knife so we went along to my good mate and ex skipper Willy Eyre for a cutting implement and some coffee 🙂

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Before leaving however we had a good look at the plans for Raasay House that are residing on a board there.


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A thoroughly modern building within the existing stabilised structure it should be a beautiful, safe and warm  establishment when finished. I do however think the ‘early 2012’ is a little optimistic but I’d like to be proved wrong and celebrate my eleventh wedding anniversary there 🙂

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Two years on from the tragic fire there has been little other than weather proofing work done since ROK went bust last year. I’m sure there’s much going on behind the scenes but you’d think they’d have made an effort to sort out all the legal wrangling, contracts etc for a start in the spring. 


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The island really needs a fully functioning Raasay house to bring in some much needed revenue and visitors.

The afternoon was fine enough but the evening degenerated into pishing rain, which was a shame because I went over to our old berth and then up the Glen road to see how ‘timber ops’ were getting on.

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The two big Fendt tractors and their slightly less powerful but equally impressive Case had shifted a lot of sticks this last two weeks.

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The floating pier waiting patiently for the arrival of the coaster on Sunday.

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A drive up the Glen road revealed something that’s not been seen for years,

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the remains of the railway viaduct from the iron ore mine to the pier.

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Here’s the same view two weeks ago!!

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There’s still an awful lot more wood to move, pity they couldn’t have used the old railway line 🙂



  1. Happy birthday Paul!

    Comment by Phil — May 8, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

  2. Normally, I’m just a lurker on your blog, but thought I should leave you a comment and my best wishes on this auspicious date. Keep it up with the blog!

    Comment by Jo — May 8, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

    • Hi Jo and welcome, thanks for coming out of the woodwork to wish me happy birthday 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 8, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

  3. happy birthday paul. re the trees will they be planting more to replace them any time soon and do you know how long it took the trees to get to that size there massive

    Comment by jay mitchell — May 8, 2011 @ 6:59 pm

  4. Happy Birthday young man. Iam very curious, what was this city job that you speak of. I cant imagine you chained to a desk like me 😦

    Comment by simon — May 8, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

    • Well Simon, it wasn’t so much a ‘city job’ as a job in the city but it did involve a tie and I did have a desk but most of the time it revolved around strange customers and their cars. You would not believe the things that some people complain about. I once had a women tear strips off me for putting the clock right on her Ford Escort which had been in to have a clutch fitted 😦 When the mechanic removed the gearbox he rightly disconnected the battery, when I tested the vehicle, as was also usual, I re set the clock. Lady picks up car then five minutes later comes back into reception bellowing “someone has altered my clock, I’ve been driving for fourteen years without an accident and now someone has altered my clock” !!!!

      It takes all sorts 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 8, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

  5. Belated Happy Birthday Paul. I’m still a daily reader here in California. I turn 50 in early October and my wife and I are considering a trip over the pond and possibly walking the Speyside Way, with a side trip to Raasay.

    Comment by Morgan — May 8, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

    • Morgan, Phil, Simon, Carole and all, thanks for the birthday wishes

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 8, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

  6. Hi Paul
    Happy Birthday from a rather dreich Paisley.
    Do you know if there are any plans to replant any of the forest that’s getting harvested?

    Comment by Derek — May 8, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

    • Hi Derek, If they make the kind of enviro-noises made by the hypocritical Swedes, they won’t bother. That was the norm in Sweden – strip it, rip it and booger it!

      Comment by Iain — May 8, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

      • Morning Iain,

        they really do need to replant, not that I’m a great fan of coniferous plantations but we do need wood and at the rate they’re removing it there won’t be any left in 30 years 😦

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 9, 2011 @ 5:15 am

    • Good morning and thanks Derek,

      I’d like to think that Iain is wrong but he probably isn’t 😦 There’s no sign of Screapadale being replanted yet and that was cleared years ago. Though I am told by a reliable source that they leave them a few years before replanting to kill off things like pine weevil.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 9, 2011 @ 5:12 am

      • Hi Paul
        The title of the link may hold information on replanting.


        Comment by politescouser — May 9, 2011 @ 10:07 am

      • Thanks for that Walter 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 10, 2011 @ 5:14 am

  7. Hi Paul.
    Page 760 and for a small Island you have a lot of politics and how many tiers did you get on your cake.

    Comment by politescouser — May 8, 2011 @ 9:43 pm

    • Can you translate that from virtual pages to real ones Walter 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 9, 2011 @ 5:16 am

      • Hi Paul
        The Kindle has 2624 pages for Calums Road, I’m now on page 948 this converts to 37 percent. The Kindle version cost £3-19
        Hope this help’s Walter

        Comment by politescouser — May 9, 2011 @ 9:18 am

  8. Happy birthday from a wet, stinking minger in Aberdeenshire!

    Comment by Stonehead — May 8, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

    • Cheers Stoney,

      you’ll never guess what we had for my birthday dinner, Ginger’s bum!!! or at least that’s what it said on the freezer bag. He really was very tasty 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 9, 2011 @ 5:18 am

  9. many happy returns of the day. glad to see miss molly is as alert on cake watch as she is on ham watch. i hope she got a piece!

    Comment by jeannette — May 9, 2011 @ 12:22 am

    • Hi Jeannettee,

      the ‘Wee dug’ got ever such a tiny piece as she’s on a diet 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 9, 2011 @ 5:19 am

  10. Happy birthday Paul!
    It would seem that you’ve already trodden the path I’m walking. After 18 months of applying for jobs up there, I’m swapping Liverpool for Oban in 3 weeks – not quite as far as you, but it’ll do for a start!

    Comment by Dan Penketh — May 9, 2011 @ 5:42 am

    • Morning Dan,

      always had a soft spot for Oban, spent many happy holidays there in the 70s/80s, good luck in the new job.


      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 10, 2011 @ 4:57 am

  11. A rather late happy birthday, Paul. Hope it was a good one, Ginger’s bum included. I came across the railway piers when scrambling through the woods off Glen Road some years ago – gave me the fright of my life! They are really tall, and somehow incongruous when in the middle of a wood.

    Enjoy your week off after Tuesday.



    Comment by Sue — May 9, 2011 @ 7:40 am

    • Good morning Sue,

      I do know exactly what you mean about the viaduct looking out of place, I’ll never forget coming across one of the smaller ones and feeling just like a monkey in this 🙂 and forty years on I’ve still not got a clue what it was about 🙂 still I never forgot it so it must have left quite an impression 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 10, 2011 @ 5:10 am

      • Morning Paul
        Thanks for the youtube clip – good parallel! I had forgotten about the Obelisk and the apes. I doubt that finding the pier was a seminal moment in my evolution, however – I may have been scrambling on all fours but I did know how to walk!(:



        Comment by Sue — May 10, 2011 @ 7:33 am

  12. Hi Paul
    Belated many happy returns of your Birthday and best wishes for the future.

    Comment by sotw — May 9, 2011 @ 7:54 am

    • Thanks She,

      the wine was lovely 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 10, 2011 @ 5:10 am

  13. Best wishes for a Happy Belated Birthday Paul, hope it is a good year ahead for you and yours. Thanks for comment re broadband the other day – ours has settled down now and havent had a DNS lookup error for several days now..fingers crossed!

    Comment by headlandoftrees — May 9, 2011 @ 7:55 am

    • Good morning Treshnish 🙂

      yours if fixed, now mines gone pear shaped, spent almost an hour last night trying to get on line 😦 gave up in the end and went to bed 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 10, 2011 @ 5:12 am

  14. Glad you had some bright sky for your birthday Paul, the view from the waiting room is very nice, grand place for a cake . Happy returns from me the flying box player, I get my bday on the 18th and will be hosting the fortnightly acoustic folk roots play owt you like music session.

    Comment by Gary Brindle — May 9, 2011 @ 9:10 am

    • Cheers Gary,

      hope to see you flying by again some time 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 10, 2011 @ 5:13 am

  15. Happy Birthday Paul. Have never eaten bum but have tried pig’s cheek – very tasty – but once I knew what it was I was a bit put off. Am a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to food.

    Comment by Jan — May 9, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

    • Morning Jan, are you in Spain now???

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 10, 2011 @ 5:15 am

      • Hi Paul

        Yes, am still in Spain. Trying to pluck up the courage to hitch my caravan on the back of the car and head up north. |It’s a long way.


        Comment by Jan — May 11, 2011 @ 8:27 am

      • Morning Spain,

        hope you’re OK after the quake, can’t remember where abouts in southern Spain you are Jan. You’ve more courage than me, I’m not going to the ‘Wickerman’ this year because it’s too far and that’s only 350m 😦 Well I say I’m not going but things could change 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 13, 2011 @ 4:51 am

  16. Happy birthday Paul from us all.Raasay is certainly getting a short back and sides or a grade 1 cut.Might have witnessed your Landrover being built at the Solihull plant.I worked on the construction of the V8 engine machine tool foundations and various upgrades on the production line,in the old Rover SD1 factory in early 86.Our office was next to the special vehicle section.We saw some interesting mods done to L/Rs there.They cannot make the new models fast enough at the moment, such is international demand according to recent reports.Cheers,Andy&family.

    Comment by Andy — May 9, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    • Morning Andy,

      I always wondered why an intelligent and sensible chap like you chose to drive a Land Rover 🙂 Small world innit 🙂 There was a lassie over on Raasay the other day called Raasay. Her parents had their honeymoon here 25 years ago, and she was 25 🙂 got me wondering if I’d bumped into them on my travels, probably not but you never know 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 10, 2011 @ 5:22 am

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