Life at the end of the road

May 15, 2011

Another regular visitor ? :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, life off grid, pigs — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:00 pm

Aided by lashing rain on the Velux and the thought of having to do a VAT return I managed to stay in bed until after 7:00am today 🙂 I have promised myself that I would complete said return before going back to work on Wednesday but I said that two weeks ago and it never happened, still the forecast is for pishing rain for the foreseeable future so there is a slim chance that I might get it done before the inspector comes knocking on my door 🙂 Dunno why I make such a big deal about it because a couple of hours buried in receipts and invoices usually sees me in pocket to three figures. However for one who avoided homework until travelling to school on the bus I’m hardly going to change the habit of a lifetime at 55, I really do hate paperwork 😦

Leaving the warmth of the kitchen for a cold damp and draughty croft I was a little surprised to find that Thelma and Louise were still missing. The two Tamworth’s were booked into Munro’s tomorrow and had not turned up for the evening feed last night. That in itself is not unusual at this time of year, with all the new growth and a couple of hundred acres to wander about in they often get distracted and don’t turn up. However to miss out on breakfast the day after is unheard of so after feeding everyone else I went out searching to no avail, wondering if they somehow knew their time was up 🙂

This being the ‘silly season’ I figured a more plausible explanation would have been the leaving open of the Torran gate by some plonker of a tourist and the consequent shutting of the gate by a responsible person later on in the day. The wandering girls would then be trapped north of the gate unable to return home.

As my main task of the day was to deliver 800lts of heating oil to I reasoned that at some point our paths would cross. Having gas that comes out of a pipe or even oil in a tank that the road tanker can fill is a luxury not afforded to those of us who live at the north end. Indeed oil destined for Arnish or Torran gets delivered 11 miles south of here and must be ferried north by the ‘Old girl’. If it’s for me I have the relatively easy task of just pumping it into my own tank from my bowser. Heating oil for the schoolhouse however must be taken along 200lts at a time in barrels on the back of a quad.

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And they tell me at work that I must use lifting gear for anything over 20kg 🙂 It’s no wonder I’ve a bad back I’ve been moving barrels like this since 1985.

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Unusually for a weekend my only companion was the ‘wee dug’, my boys pal and usual quad driver ‘Lightning MacLennan had probably seen enough of him last week in Edinburgh on the school trip 🙂

The job itself is not actually very difficult, each barrel is rolled end over end onto a pallet then into the trailer on a couple of tyres before being ratcheted down hard with some straps. Using your legs and the point of balance of the barrel its 200kg of weight is quite easy to manage. The hardest part is actually getting up the steep hills without losing Molly out of the box 🙂

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The barrel is once more ‘end over ended’ out of the trailer and emptied into the tank, which fortunately is below ground.

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Once the home of Calum the road and his wife Lexy, who was for many years the teacher here to several of my friends, this superbly renovated building is now a holiday let. I just wish that some of the folk who let it would use less friggin oil 🙂

As each barrel was slowly emptied into the tank I returned home down the rough track for the next

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but it was not until barrel number three that I came across Thelma and Louise who looked like they couldn’t make their minds up whether to go to Kyle Rona or Fladda 🙂 They were having such good time that it was the devils own job to get them back and I had to resort to going back home for feed to tempt them.

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Another little job that I did whilst awaiting the oil to empty was replace the hydro turbine ammeter with a 25amp one, the 10amp being too low now for the increased head of the Harris turbine.

The Lord of The Glens

Isolated up here for the last few days I missed out on another visitor to our new ferry terminal,


Magna Carta’s 50m long cruise ship ‘Lord of The Glens’ called into Raasay for an extended stay that did much for the hotels coffers 🙂


I of course missed it but many thanks to Calum Gillies for capturing what is promised to be a regular visitor to our beautiful harbour at Clachan, somehow I don’t think people would have walked from the old ferry terminal to the hotel or Raasay house 🙂

That’s about it really, I got my pigs home and locked them in a field ready for tomorrow, spent an hour or so packing up all the cr4p, I mean valuable stuff I’d sold on eBay, and now I’m off to bed 🙂

How could I forget!!!!!

A ‘senior moment’ almost made me miss the most important event, or should I say lack of event, the dreaded midge.


This wee creature that has ruined more holidays on the west coast than Cher has had facelifts was held at bay today by a marvellous new product called Smidge it really works. No sh1t this stuff is the dogs danglies, I went out to feed this morning in swarms of the blighters, came back in, covered myself in ‘Smidge’ and they were gone 🙂 I went over to the schoolhouse and my mate was flapping his arms and swatting his face whilst I was ‘midge free’, and what’s more I remained midge free the whole day 🙂


I’ve tried everything for these wee devils and apart from the smock with its limitations on vision and eating the best thing I’ve found to date has been Avon Skin So Soft. Now this certainly works but it needs constant application and once you start to sweat it runs into your eyes and stings. Smidge however is a cream made from natural ingredients that claims to be waterproof and good for eight hours, well all I can say is that I put one good coating on my exposed parts and it lasted the whole day despite washing my hands and sweating profusely 🙂

Just before I go

Monday morning now and I’m just about to load up T & T and go but thought I’d just leave you with something my good friend Willy Eyre just sent me.


The MV Lyrika in the middle of Belgium !!! Funny to think that all those trees were on Raasay just a few days ago

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  1. hi paul its sorry to see that the timber doesnt stay in the uk to be used but it seams thats now the way every thing works sell it abroad them buy it back at 6 times the price .
    is the hoilday let yours paul it looks a super place to stay ?
    sorry to be nosey lol and hows it going with the new house plans i hope they allow you to use your old home as a hoilday let, that will keep the bank manager happy hehe

    Comment by jay and sharon mitchell — May 16, 2011 @ 8:34 am

    • Morning Jay,

      new house is just on the back burner until we get the shed up later this year. If that Schoolhouse was mine Jay I’d be living in it and not building a new house. It is without a doubt the finest building with the finest view and best weather on Raasay.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 18, 2011 @ 4:59 am

  2. Poor Thelma and Louise! I’m sure they would have had great fun roaming the north of Raasay for the rest of their lives.

    Comment by francesp — May 16, 2011 @ 9:07 am

  3. I need to get me some of that Smidge stuff. I am sick of smelling like an old womans bathroom everytime I go out in summer.

    I was looking at the stockists on the web site hoping I could get some down here in Englandshire before coming up to Mallaig in a weeks time. No such luck, but I thought it rather strange that a shop in Oxford sells it!

    Comment by simon — May 16, 2011 @ 10:49 am

    • Avon now sells dedicated anti-midge stuff that does not smell at all. I don’t however, know whether it works or not – no midges round here so am waiting until Rassay in mid-June to see. May also invest in Smidge, just in case.

      Comment by Sue — May 16, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

    • Morning Simon, I actually miss the smell of SSS 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 18, 2011 @ 5:02 am

  4. Hi again Paul

    Looks like the new pier over the other side is going ahead now

    Comment by simon — May 16, 2011 @ 11:53 am

  5. Hi Paul,
    Thank goodness for Smidge! Won’t need it myself, unless we have a particularly hot October this year, when I come up. Avon S so S, doesn’t do it with the smell, but the lotion is supposed to stay on the surface of the skin, making it difficult for them to land and take a bite out of you. So you see, you weren’t using enough! Get sleggered up next time! [I think i just made up a new word?]
    Cheers, Carolyn.

    Comment by Carolyn — May 17, 2011 @ 12:48 am

    • The SSS works just fine on me Carolyn and I like the smell and how it leaves your skin feeling afterwards. The only trouble is that it’s not very waterproof and when you sweat it gets in your eyes and stings like hell. Also it does not last very long.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 18, 2011 @ 5:07 am

  6. A ship being in the middle of Belgium isn’t as daft as it sounds. There’s a socking great big ship canal from Antwerp to Maastricht and it looks like the Lyrika has one of those disappearing bridges and collapsing masts for getting under bridges. She appears to be tied up alongside a factory for turning trees into sawdust. They seem to use the sawdust to make something…

    Comment by Phil Cook — May 17, 2011 @ 5:47 am

    • Hmmmmmm Phil,

      making sawdust in the middle of Belgium from trees on Raasay, sounds a bit daft to me 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 18, 2011 @ 5:09 am

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