Life at the end of the road

June 23, 2011

The first ‘shroom’ :-)

Filed under: daily doings, food — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:37 pm

The first full day of work on the croft was a bit of a lame effort on my behalf I’m afraid, I must have been worn out after yesterdays ‘fun run’ with the parents and pupils of Raasay Primary 🙂 The run from the village hall, down the brae up through the village, over Henderson’s bridge and along The Avenue back to the hall was hardly a marathon but it wore me out 🙂 The run, in aid of a charity that was started by Skye man Ross Cowie, who is indeed ‘lucky to be here’. Ross, a fit man in his thirties suffered a cardiac arrest some years ago through a genetic condition inherited from his father. Had it not been for a passing ambulance with a defibrillator on board he would not be with us now so has made it his mission in life to help assure that rural communities always have one near at hand.

The run was the culmination of the fantastic day we all had at yesterday’s sports day in the village hall which was well attended  by parents and members of the local community.

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The venue had been changed at the last minute from the playing field to our award winning hall due to inclement weather during the night. However the day was not long in clearing up and pretty soon the doors were opened to cool everyone down.

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Events had to be modified slightly due to the space and the ‘slalom hockey’ was considerably harder (and funnier) than it would have been on grass but that all added to the fun.

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And I do hope that the football team perform better on Saturday than they did at the dribbling and shooting for the P1s and P2s seemed to be scoring more goals 🙂

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There was of course a long jump and an egg, sorry potato and spoon race, though unusually no sack or three legged race, though judging by the length of some of the T shirts they probably didn’t need to 🙂

The final event in the hall involved some of the parents, five of whom had to sit down at the end of the hall while teams of five pupils ran up to the opposite end of the hall to collect five pieces of chocolate. The winning team were the team who’s parent eat all the chocolate first. Needless to say yours truly walked it 🙂 though I never got a rosette 😦

 sports day 2011 061 (Small)


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Unlike this young chap who seemed to be covered in them 🙂

After all that we all sat down to a wonderful lunch of soup and sandwiches and awaited the arrival of Ross Cowie and our new defibrillator.


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Most of us had done the course but Ross ran quickly through the equipment that will be bolted to the fire station wall with us again. Accompanying Ross was his brother Willie and Willie’s daughter Megan who will be attempting the four mile swim from Inver on Raasay to Portree on Saturday with Pam



Wish them luck or better still donate some money via the website 🙂

Next up it was the run round the village, something that I was not relishing after all that chocolate, soup and sandwiches 😦

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The entire school (and Molly) streaked ahead of the parents and teachers

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though Molly soon got distracted by all the interesting ‘sniffs’

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and one of the parents decided to lend a helping hand 🙂

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However despite coming in last, Wifey, Molly and I all got medals 🙂


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Chanterelles for breakfast 🙂

This morning saw us all up early to get the boy off to school, not the Raasay primary but his first day of induction at Portee High. This means dragging the boy out of his bed at 6:30am so he can catch the 7:55 ferry and he won’t get home until eleven hours later. There was a time when living on Raasay automatically secured you with a place in the school hostel but now the ‘the powers that be’ deem it OK for a child to spend three and a half hours a day travelling 😦 I can’t say that we were looking forward to our son leaving home at 12 and only seeing him at weekends but is it really fair to expect a child to spend so much time commuting then have to do his homework. Still, I don’t suppose he’ll be there that often in the winter with the gales and the road being blocked by snow 😦

Anyway once I’d seen him off I wandered down through the woods to check the hydro turbine. I’d normally do this on the quad but I’d a feeling that there would be some mushrooms out

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sure enough there were and I soon had a good handful of chanterelles for our breakfast 🙂

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I also saw a ‘blusher’ (amanita rubescens) which is edible (and delicious) when cooked though it’s poisonous raw and you must throw the water away that you cook it in. However I would not recommend anyone to eat this as it is VERY VERY similar to the Panther cap (amanita pantherina) which can be deadly 😦

The rest of my day was spent catching up on ‘pig stuff’ cutting bedding, cleaning arks and sorting out rubbish that has been following me from Lancashire. I simply cannot believe the cr4p that I’ve acquired over the years, why would anyone keep ‘Hot Car’ magazines from 1974!!!!! Anyway the recycling bin is now full of diving mags, Land Rover mags, Hot Car mags, old photographs and road maps, and I’ve barely scratched the surface :-) 



  1. Wonderful activities! But I did notice the sign to the North Pole. Is that Santa’s island workshop?

    Comment by Flora — June 24, 2011 @ 1:44 am

    • That is indeed the way to the North Pole Flora 🙂 well the north end of Raasay at least 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 24, 2011 @ 5:29 am

  2. Hi Paul

    Several years ago I did a similar clear out only to find to my horror that some of the magazines could have brought me over 100 pounds! Iowa’s not a happy chappy! Might I suggest a few minutes research on eBay may be financially rewarding.


    Comment by phil — June 24, 2011 @ 1:57 am

    • You had my hopes built up there Phil but I just did a search on eBay and out of the 239 for sale only one had a bid on and that was 99p 😦 They can stay in the bin, unless you want them and I’ll put them in a box in the barn.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 24, 2011 @ 5:32 am

  3. Paul, so do I read that right, your son will have to commute every day to Portree for school?

    love the long jump action shot … and doesn’t Miss Mollie look proud of her medal

    Comment by carina — June 24, 2011 @ 2:21 am

    • Good morning Carina, yep, it’s 6:30am now and I’m just about to go and wake the wee chap ready for day number two. Yesterday he was out of bed pretty quickly but I doubt he’ll be so keen today. We’ll see how it goes, if it becomes a problem then it’s time to start writing to Charles Kennedy I think 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 24, 2011 @ 5:36 am

  4. she does look proud of her medal.

    Comment by jeannette — June 24, 2011 @ 3:25 am

    • She was so proud Jeannette 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 24, 2011 @ 5:36 am

  5. I can’t believe your boy is not entitled to a place in the hostel! Mine all stayed in Plockton hostel (leaving Applecross 6.30 on a Monday and back after 5 on a Friday. Yes, we missed them and the oldest three were a bit homesick in the first few months but we all knew it was much preferable to all that travelling. It also gives them a social life they don’t get otherwise, very strong friendships and makes them very independent. Just tell them to read your blog entries from the winter time and they’ll see how much school he’ll miss!

    Comment by alison macleod — June 24, 2011 @ 7:32 am

    • Good morning Alison,

      I think we’re going to have to start writing letters and sending emails 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 27, 2011 @ 5:51 am

  6. Hi Paul, Mushrooms already….seems a bit early in season for me. In Sweden, we had huge stone mushrooms all around, even in the garden, usually in latish August. They were one of the bolitus tribe – edulous or pinus, can never remember. We always picked enough for the year, when dried and stored. Excellent flavour. We also had Chanterelles around though the locals always, but always, beat us to those! It’s a local authority madness to expect kids to travel from Raasay to Portree for school in winter! Definitely a job for Charlie! We once lived in Northumberland, near Holy Island – our Skye-born daughter was a weekly boarder in an LA school about 60 miles away, in Rothbury. She loved it. And, it was available as an option!!

    Comment by Iain — June 24, 2011 @ 7:52 am

    • Morning Iain,

      yes it’s about time I started drying them again, I have a special rack made out of a wilk bag stretched over a wooden frame and there is nothing quite so nice as the smell of dried mushrooms 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 27, 2011 @ 5:54 am

  7. Oops, meant to add: Love the sign to North Pole, & Molly does indeed look genuinely pleased with herself and her medal!

    Comment by Iain — June 24, 2011 @ 8:01 am

  8. Hi Paul

    How far is across the water to Portree? Surely only 30 minutes in a quick boat?
    If Highland Council can pay for school buses on Skye, can they not pay for a water taxi service to come and pick the lad up from Arnish harbour? They could build you a pier like at the South end!
    Seriously though, that is rather out of order expecting him to travel all that way every day.

    Comment by Simon — June 24, 2011 @ 10:00 am

    • Morning Simon,

      I’ll suggest it to them once I start letter writing and ranting 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 27, 2011 @ 5:57 am

  9. Paul,
    They can’t be serious about expecting your son to make that journey every day to Portree? Everyone of you will be shattered before December. They surely know exactly where you are located? I am really just repeating what has already been said above, but you certainly have the power to make yourself heard. Go for it!

    Comment by Carolyn — June 25, 2011 @ 1:20 am

  10. Hi Paul. It’s the transatlantic diablog, again. We hope you remember us. We do remember you and your great work and come by at least once a week. Now we have something special for you and all your readers.

    We think for you, who lives in a completely different world, it might be interesting to check out 1968’s New York City. We have some original footage from back then. Exclusive material. We hope you all like it.

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    Comment by administrator — June 25, 2011 @ 10:21 am

  11. Hi Paul

    I was thinking that I knew Ross Cowie’s father – but think it must have been his grandfather! Time flies. I think his grandfather (a really, really eligible bachelor in the early 60’s) married a very good looking young woman called Mairi MacInnon or Ross am not sure. He was with the Department of Agriculture and was a founder member of the Mountain Rescue in Skye. He died of a heart attack very young. I wonder if your Ross Cowie is his grandson?
    Saw a caravan lurking away in the photos you took. Do the powers that be allow ‘wild camping’ on Raasay?

    Comment by Jan — June 25, 2011 @ 2:38 pm

    • Morning Jan,

      no problem with camping on Raasay so long as you don’t leave black bin bags behind for the ‘Bin bag fairy’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 27, 2011 @ 5:59 am

  12. Our Chanterelles are still a bit wee for picking yet Paul, only being just under 50p piece size! Still, early enough yet and somewhat few in number but when they do come on I’ll slice, fry in olive oil and butter and freeze down enough for plenty of Chicken Risotto with Chanterelles … heaven on a plate!
    Amanita rubra, ok, but not exactly impressive, the mighty Steinpilz/porcini/ cep/penny bun is a different story … yummmmm!
    Velvet Shank, Flamulina velutipes is a winter favourite, grows in clumps on old dead elms, best dried and powdered ( caps only, the stems are rather woody!) a teaspoon or two in soups or stews is grand!

    Comment by Mike — June 25, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

    • Morning Mike,

      our chanterelles seldom get much bigger than that here before the slugs decimate them, 2″ ones are something of a rarity at Arnish and Torran. However over on the east side near Hallaig they grow to twice the size without being eaten. I once picked and ate or dried fourteen different varieties of shroom in one day on Raasay 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 27, 2011 @ 6:04 am

  13. Magazine stacks are trying to take over my life, but I have to do something soon, we have been served eviction notice due to our rental being sold and we have to be out by late August. Fingers and toes crossed I am chasing a rental on a bungalow on a former croft out of town but only 4 miles from here. We will have room to grow stuff etc.And that will be stuff we can eat , not piles of junk !!

    Comment by Gary Brindle — June 26, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

    • Perhaps we could do a magazine swap Gary, next time you’re over here 🙂 Good luck with the move, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 27, 2011 @ 6:09 am

  14. Circa 225 editions of Wooden Boat magazine here. Surely must be a man thing😆

    Comment by Kingdomcat — June 26, 2011 @ 9:53 pm

    • “Circa 225 editions of Wooden Boat magazine here. Surely must be a man thing ”

      or a ‘cat thing’ KC 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 27, 2011 @ 6:13 am

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