Life at the end of the road

November 11, 2011


Filed under: daily doings, hydro, New hybrid ferry — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:36 pm

The event of the year is on tomorrow and wifey and I, no doubt along with half the community have been preparing for it 🙂 Not that our contribution is anything like as much effort as will have been put in by others, but look out for the chilli and the chicken curry 🙂 Me I’ll be keeping an eye out for the home baking and a rather special macaroni cheese that makes its way along The Avenue every year 🙂

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This will be the first time I’ve not attended as a parent for seven or eight years but I’ll nevertheless be going there with a sense of pride. For it is the pupils, staff, parents, former pupils, former parents and entire community that inevitably make it a day to remember.


This morning (Friday), unlike most of them, did not start on Raasay, for yesterday we spent the day with my parents on the mainland. Yesterday we had to attend a course in Kyleakin at 18:30 so a night away was the only option, with all the hassle that that entails 😦

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As is usual I was up far earlier than most sane people but was at least rewarded by an almost full moon heading for cover behind The Storr. After spending a couple of hours pottering about the croft and delegating the digger driver to feed the pigs we headed for the ferry and mainland.

It was a fine enough day and I spent it splitting wood, clearing gutters and of course eating, I always get well fed at my parents 🙂 Too well fed in fact, as after the hake, potatoes and peas for lunch I struggled getting up the step ladders to the roof 🙂

It was 22:00 by the time we got back to my parents after the course, so it was straight to bed for an early start today. We had to be on the first ferry to feed the pigs so it meant leaving at 7:00, not a problem for me but the swineherd is ‘not a morning person’. Normally we avoid each other for an hour or two 🙂 but today we’d be stuck in the car together at ‘stupid O clock’ with a full moon. Not a good combination 🙂

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However it did look marvellous over the low lying island of Pabay with my old island home of Scalpay in the distance.

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Dun Caan and Raasay in the background with Longay in the fore, clearly visible but still an hour and a half away be car and ferry 😦

The chilli recipe

Once home on this fine day I fed the pigs before we both set about making our allotted dishes for tomorrows big event.

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“The secret of which is cocoa, two kilos of mince, five onions, four tins toms, four tins kidney beans, a couple of teaspoons of chilli, six large cloves of garlic, two table spoons of Marigold stock, olive oil, pepper and two large table spoons of cocoa. Well obviously that’s not just for two people but you get the gist” :-)

That’s copied from last years post so that I can find it again next year when I need the recipe again 🙂

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Just check out the size of that clove of home grown garlic, mums not ours 🙂 the peppers however are from Arnish, though they weren’t quite ready.

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I don’t exist !!!!

Why doesn’t anyone ever phone you back?? I have to confess at being a little ‘wound up’ today, probably on account of being stuck inside on a sunny day. Normally I simply just don’t do it, daylight on the west coast at this time of year is far too precious to fritter away in the house. However I’ve been waiting for the bank to phone me back. ‘The bank’ gives you the impression that it’s someone that you can actually speak to, what a friggin joke that is.

I really don’t know why I stick with the faceless multinational that would have you believe they give a fig about you. I’ve been with them since 1985, and they ‘own’ me, four friggin accounts and every penny I’ve had through my hands in twenty six years. I don’t deal in cash, never have done, and I honestly couldn’t tell you who or what is on which bank note. Consequently these clowns have handled just about all I’ve ever earned or spent in over a quarter of a century and charged me handsomely for the privilege.

I’ve lost count of the ‘cock ups’ they’ve made, promised to go elsewhere, but never done so and only stuck with them because the people at the local branches in Portree and Broadford are nice 🙂 They even used to have a business manager who you could actually speak to, with a real phone number. The days when you could phone the branch regarding personal stuff or mortgages disappeared last century but at least I could speak to a real person about my business account.

Not any more, not a friggin chance, now it’s the fecking 0845 call center and a ‘relationship manager’, only he doesn’t even have a direct line. Can you believe it a ‘manager’ who does not even have a phone. To try and speak to him I’m confronted by a ‘firewall’ because my account details don’t show up on their computer. Twenty two years I’ve had this fecking account and Camilli is hardly a common name but these buffoons can’t find my account. Twenty friggin years I’ve been using telephone banking and retrieving my account info and these eejits have lost them.

After the third fifteen minute ‘twenty questions’ I finally get through to my ‘relationship manager’ and it’s looking good, they’ve found my account and are quizzing me what cheque number *****  was for and how many standing orders I have. I obviously get 100%  because we move onto ‘round two’ “what’s your postcode”. Well that’s easy, I don’t even have to check my cheque stubs back to July for that one or study a single bank statement, it’s IV40 blah blah blah says I. “It’s not coming up” says the ‘RM’ so I spell it phonetically, twice, “still not showing up” he replies, “I’ll phone you back” 😦

Barely a day goes by without me getting mail from the bank, how the feck can they lose your accounts and postcode. Somewhere one of their computers is spewing out my postcode on all the junk mail they send me, do they not talk to each other?? Anyway, I lost the plot at that and went out in the sunshine, of course he never phoned back but I did get an email 🙂

Back to the Powerspout

I felt much better once out of the house and into the workshop getting my water turbine ready for installing.

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Pretty much all I had to do was make up the Tee that fits on the end of the penstock that will feed each of the two jets on the turbine.

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Then it was the long haul down to the shore carrying it all 😦 Of course, as is usual I had to make a couple of trips because I’d forgotten stuff.

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Not that I actually needed the dustbins for mounting the turbine but I did have to run them a mile along the road past the broken cattle grid so at least they could be uplifted tomorrow.

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I didn’t get finished due to darkness and pig feeding duties,

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but was well pleased with what I’d got done 🙂

A couple of other things

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Ex clam diver and West Highland Free Press’s indefatigable cartoonist Chris’s take on our new hybrid ferry :-)

And if you still have room after the school coffee day,


you could go along to and have a much needed drink afterwards 🙂


  1. Do NOT get me started on banks! I don’t know how you could bear to leave all that new hydro kit out over night – it might get wet!

    Comment by Neil King — November 11, 2011 @ 9:48 pm

    • You and me too Neil, I barely scratched the surface 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 12, 2011 @ 7:36 am

  2. Hi Paul
    I wouldn’t bother changing banks as they are all as bad as each other!
    Just in from seeing the Calum’s Road play. It was done really well and I learned a few things I didn’t know. My only criticism would be that there was too much unnecessary swearing which in my experience is not the highland way. (Unless you are angry with your ‘relationship manager!) 😉

    Comment by Derek — November 11, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

    • Morning Derek,

      glad you enjoyed the swearing and you’re not the first to comment about the swearing, as you say it is not in my experience either ‘the highland way’ We are all really looking forward to it over here, I believe it has almost sold out.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 12, 2011 @ 7:39 am

  3. I’m intrigued by the coffee day poster… what’s a digger challenge? Does it turn the playing fields into the Somme or just make a new sand pit for the infants?

    Comment by acresswell — November 12, 2011 @ 6:51 am

    • Morning Adrian,

      you’ll just have to ‘tune in’ tonight to find out 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 12, 2011 @ 7:40 am

  4. I’d expect the Digger Challenge to be require some deft fingerwork. Sign languagers must be favourites, surely!

    Comment by yractual — November 12, 2011 @ 10:52 am

    • Morning Iain, it was one of the GDD’s very own machines that he kindly loaned (yet again) but even he couldn’t beat Robert’s 30 seconds, well he probably could if he’d have tried 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 15, 2011 @ 5:29 am

  5. Hi, as usual enjoying your blogs. I went to see the ‘Calum’s Road’ play in Paisley recently and I think the swearing in it was relevant in the context it was used. It’s mainly the characters who are Glasgow based that do it in the play and if truth be told many ‘highland folk’ actually do do it. I know many people in the far north west of Scotland who don’t give a second thought, no matter what company they are in whose every second word is a swear word, it’s enough to make my toes curl and I’m a Glaswegian!!! 😀 Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Norrie Morrison — November 12, 2011 @ 3:12 pm

    • As a Glaswegian, I know what you mean. Though, I must say, you should try Sweden for this – extraordinary yet viewed as ordinary by the locals up there!

      Comment by yractual — November 12, 2011 @ 3:16 pm

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