Life at the end of the road

December 13, 2011

Back ‘on route’ :-)

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, pigs, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:29 pm

I have to confess as to being a little sceptical about all these ‘amber alerts’ and severe weather warnings that were issued last night. All was peachy with us, the anemometer behind the house seldom topped gale force and the average was only 14.4mph for the 24 hour period.


A good nights sleep saw me right through until after 6:30 when I started preparing for the long drive south to Bute.



Again, little wind through the night, and all the webcams on Traffic Scotland > Live-Eye-Views showing clear roads at daybreak. So, as soon as my bag was packed and the car loaded I let wifey feed the pigs and went back to bed 🙂

Now it’s unlike any male not to mention when they have a cold, and I’m no exception, only of course we call it the flu and constantly moan about ‘almost dying’. Well, I’ve had it for a couple of days now and am trying to beat it psychologically by ignoring it 🙂 It’s either working or I’ve not got a bad one, however I felt a couple of hours back in the sack might help me stay awake on the journey south. I’d normally do it with a case of Pepsi but I figured that the twenty cans I drunk on the way north last week may have had something to do with the fact that I didn’t sleep for a week 🙂 Well that, the ‘Java Lava’ coffee and Tramadol painkillers that I was taking for my back, a quick Google indicated that they too are laced with caffeine 😦

Anyway, the wife hid the painkillers some days ago, I’ve restricted myself to one pot of Java Lava in the morning and the Pepsi can stay in the fridge until Christmas for diluting rum 🙂 The net result of which is I’m sleeping much better, probably ‘too better’ in fact, so good in fact that I didn’t wake up until 10:30, a little late for catching the 10:55 ferry.

Still that wouldn’t be a problem, I was taking wifey’s car, the roads where fine (or so I thought) and the last ferry to Bute from Colintrive was not until 19:55 or there abouts. Even I could drive 200 miles in seven hours. What I hadn’t noticed in the ‘land of nod’ was the deterioration in the weather.

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So when I arrived at our new ferry terminal I was not surprised to see the MV Loch Linnhe firmly anchored to the pier with four ropes and not lying at the slip with ramp gaping 😦 Luckily (or so I thought) she prepared to sail a few minutes late as the weather eased.

No sooner was I on board when work phoned to inform me I was ‘staying put’, the motorman heading north to cover for me was struck at Invergarry in snow and would be doing my stint in the dock. I suppose it made more sense really, so I reversed off the ferry and headed home slowly.

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The poorly maintained roads being awash and burns that were normally trickles being raging torrents. The council must have been over recently and patched some of the holes but they missed this beauty that nearly took the arse out of wifey’s Almera 😦

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Well that doesn’t look too bad, does it??

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Perhaps this DeWalt size nine rigger boot puts it in perspective 🙂

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This ‘car trap’ being just a few yards before the castle at Brochel, the old seat of the Macleod’s of Raasay.


One thing about all this water, you can certainly see where the drains are needed, so once home and changed the ‘wee dug’ and I went out to face the weather. Taking the quad and trailer to Tarbert to load up with stone to do some roadwork of our own.

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Molly was not impressed but she’d far rather be out on the quad than in the house, either that or she’s an exceptionally dim ‘wee dug’.

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After depositing our load with the pigs we ditched the trailer and headed over to Torran with a spade. The purpose of the journey being to check the houses there for storm damage and to clear a few drains.

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It’s really not ‘rocket science’ whether an old path or modern highway you need to get the friggin water off it and five minutes with a spade can save thousands of pounds a year down the line.

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When I moved here in 1989 the council maintained this path, not very well but at least they made the effort, and why not there are four tax payers served by it. Now they can’t even maintain the road properly, and I know there’s ‘no money in the pot’ but how much money do you need to buy a spade 🙂


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All was fine at the Torran houses so I went to check on the ‘Stream Engine’ that has been churning out almost 20Kwh per day for the last week and more 🙂

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Hardly surprising when you see the amount of water about 🙂


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I could certainly squeeze more power out of this well made Canadian turbine by connecting another nozzle and valve to the penstock but it hardly seems worth the effort. We have for the last two weeks had so much surplus power that we’re struggling to use it and my current charge controller is working pretty much at max during a gale when the turbine is working hard.

There is only so much washing, drying, baking and hoovering you can do 🙂



So that’s it, no Victoria Hotel for me tonight, nope just a nice pasta made with chorizo, a hot bath, a cup of cocoa and bed. It won’t be a hearty ‘full Scottish’ tomorrow and a ten minute drive down Rothesay’s sea front to but a pot of ‘Java Lava’ and a forty minute bounce down ‘Calum’s road’ 🙂 Still, at least there’ll be no traffic 🙂



  1. that picture of castle brochel just made me realize how very tough y’all must be. that’s a lot of cold wet salty wind blowin’ up yer kilt. again, it makes my bones ache just to look at it.

    meanwhile, that brave animal with the wind blowing up her little doggie kilt? she has shovels on the ends of her paws. she can be trained to maintain calum’s road. i just know it.

    Comment by jeannette — December 13, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

    • p.s. the pasta sounds like just the thing to ward off the winds.
      this is what we’re having, it really is one of the best cakes ever. nutmeg seems warming. merry cakemas.

      Comment by jeannette — December 13, 2011 @ 10:48 pm

    • Hi Jeannette,

      I’m a pure wimp me, no cold draughty castle or kilt for me 🙂 As for the ‘wee dug’ she doesn’t seem quite so enthusiastic about going out in the rain as she used to be 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 18, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

  2. Paul The de walt size 9 is a great ruler for hole sizes.
    We once complained to a recently left CFL civil eng about a hole at cumbrae slip (2006). I removed the said size 9 boot and placed it in the hole. The pic was sent and no action. 12 months later Mr A McK climbed into same larger hole and pic was taken. Hole was repaired some 10 weeks later…………council aint that bad.

    Comment by John Salton — December 14, 2011 @ 8:52 am

    • The De Walt size 9 seems to work quicker at this latitude John, for the hole has been repaired. Then again, it was probably more to do with the local MSP and Sunday Mail 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 18, 2011 @ 4:53 pm

  3. Paul, I will be keeping an eye on your blog to see just what is being done on the roads-I still await word from the Head of Whatever-it-was with his slant on the ‘improvements’ in store and trust he won’t think that filling up a few potholes will keep me (or Raasay inhabitants) satisfied!
    Good luck when you get south – it was pretty hairy here yesterday with the sea front at Helensburgh closed off most of the afternoon as the sea was washing across the main road. It dropped quite quickly as the tide went back though.


    Comment by Anne Macdonald — December 14, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

    • Hi Anne,

      there has at last been some progress on the road, it now has lots of little humps where the holes used to be 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 18, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

  4. Hi Paul and readers, voting for the 2011 transatlantic diablog award is in full swing. The results are secret at the moment, so have you already voted for your favourite blog of the year? Don’t worry, there are a few days left to vote. So join us if you like…

    Here’s the voting booth:

    See you…

    PS.: Life at the end of the road was last year’s winner. More on that on the transatlantic diablog, too.

    (24/7 Latest news about the award from our friends of

    Comment by administrator — December 16, 2011 @ 9:09 am

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