Life at the end of the road

January 4, 2012

The pocket piglet :-)

Filed under: daily doings, pigs — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:49 pm

I never even got around to finishing my last post so it may have seemed a little abrupt, I just ‘fell asleep at the wheel’ so to speak’. Much happened after I’d left you with the ambulance departing the ferry, starting off with going to collect Raasay’s most senior resident and my boy from School Park. The Dude we’d left there on Hogmanay around 1:30am, Jessie we’d left shortly before and arranged to have her up for dinner. Jessie brought a bottle of wine and my boy two pals 🙂

They spent the wet wild and windy afternoon playing computer games, we went through photographs of Torran, Arnish, Manish and Fladda with the spritely nonagenarian who’d lived at Torran for many years.

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After putting names, stories and legends to many of the places and people stored in my laptop we all settled down do a proper traditional feast.

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No fancy cooking tonight just roast beef, roast veg, curly kale, mash and gravy 🙂 Stories of the ‘north end’ in times gone by followed and we chatted long into the small hours. Something I regretted at 5:50am when I had to get up for work 😦

The day that followed, fortunately my last, was a pure sh1t of a day. I don’t know how many times over the last twenty odd years that I’ve actually said this, but on Tuesday the 3rd of January it was true. I have never seen so much water in my life, by the time I got to work at 7:25 I was a nervous wreck. OK it was windy, well it’s quite often windy, and I think we got off lightly, but the rain was something else. I say rain but by the time I got to Glame it was a slushy snow that covered the road and puddles, throwing up a blinding wall of light that dazzled me in my powerful headlights. The whole of Skye was in blackness due to a power cut but at the time I thought it was just the reduced visibility,  I only realized it was an outage when I reached civilization at Oscaig.

The  whole island was in total blackness apart from the steady reassuring flash of the green light on the end of the pier and the lights of my workmates vehicles. Sconser still had power so despite the dark and near gale force winds we sailed, the phones were out and was the mobile internet so we had little news from the outside world but by all accounts we got off lightly. Seemingly the central belt, Wales and Ireland bore the brunt of it 😦

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Me, I spent most of the day servicing the port generator, OK, it’s only a two hour job but it was nice and warm down there 🙂

My ‘back to back’ relieved me at 16:15 and I was in my bed at 19:30, where I stayed until 8:30 this morning, almost thirteen hours 🙂 and had I not had to get up at 2:00am to shut the boys up and take a leak it would have been thirteen 🙂


This morning seemed like ‘more of the same’ and I have to admit that I could easily have managed another hour in bed. However guilt and the sound of wifey getting ready to go and feed the pigs drove me out of my pit.

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We were a little concerned about one of Jamie Lea’s piglets, the one marked with a red cross, he just didn’t seem to be ‘thriving’ like the other six and had developed a bit of a wheeze, his tail was often straight, his ears back and he just wasn’t putting on weight.

After feeding everyone, paying some bills and phoning up my ISP to find out why 20% of my 8Gb monthly allowance had vanished over night I phoned up Rhona Campbell, our vet. Or at least I phoned up the surgery in Portree and spoke to Sam as Rhona was busy, Sam took down the details and promised to phone back.

Leaving wifey to guard the phone the boys and I went out on a mission in the pishing rain to the Schoolhouse at Torran, the very place where her children had been educated 🙂 Only now it’s a luxury holiday let . The ‘Harris hydro’ turbine needed adjusting so that it wouldn’t produce quite so much power.

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The place would be unoccupied for a few weeks so it was pointless heating up the thermal store more than necessary. This fine piece of American kit charges up a 24v battery bank that provides 230v power to the dwelling via a Studer 2.5Kw inverter . When the batteries are fully charged it diverts power into heating the water, but as the place is empty just now that’s a bit pointless so we we turned it onto the smallest nozzle of three. This will keep the batteries fully charged the freezer running and still provide a little warmth to the store without setting off the central heating pump.

The torrential rain did at least show us where the track to Torran needed repairing.

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So I left the boys to it

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and set off further along the track to do some bridge repairs.

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I’d spotted a nice slab of agglomerate or is it conglomerate along the Torran track and figured that it would be perfect for repairing one of the bridges that had been washed away over the years.

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To say that I’m raging about the state of this track would be putting it mildly, where it not for people who don’t even live here whining about the fecking trees the boggy and tortuous path to Torran could have been like this.

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A smooth road fit for a 4×4 that would enable crofters, locals and folk that actually use the track twelve months of the year to do so with ease.

The council aint going to maintain this track, they can’t even maintain the friggin roads but when my mate employed someone to upgrade and repair it he was stopped by the council because some fecking planks who don’t even live here complained about the mess. Well you can’t ‘make an omelette without breaking eggs’ and what really pi55es me off is that the council and ‘department’ stopped work without consulting the people that actually live here or use the track.

And I’m really sorry if I’ve offended anyone but my neighbours at Torran, the spritely Jessie being one of them have been campaigning for a vehicular track there for 50 years  and it was stopped by people who ‘love the landscape’. Well I can tell you now this landscape needs a little more use and a little less love. I live here because I love living here and a fish farm, wind turbine or ‘clear fell’ won’t make me love the place any the less. I’d love my son to stay here but he aint going to stay if there’s no friggin work :-(  

Sorry for that ‘wee rant’ there, I just had to get it off my chest, especially as the 90 year old Jessie Nicolson had mentioned it the other day. Her sons had shared a little of the islands prosperity here when the fish farm in Loch Arnish was operational and she was particularly bitter about the Torran track improvements being halted.

Back to Tamagotchi

Anyway, after my spell of road repairs,

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of which I was particularly proud 🙂 I headed home.

Once back at the old tin shack that is our wee house the swineherd informed me that Rhone the vet was coming over to Raasay and we could meet her at the pier. I dunno what we’d do without Rhona, the internet is a fine thing for information but there’s nothing like having someone on the end of the phone for advice. Even better if you can meet her at Sconser or Raasay for a proper consultation 🙂 Having established that Rhona would be over on the 13:00 sailing from Sconser all we had to do was catch the wee piglet and get him down there.

First job was to distract mum with some food then pop him in a dark cotton bag to keep him quiet, piglets like parrots seem to keep quiet in the dark 🙂

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Once he was out of earshot of mum we loaded him in the Land Rover and headed south to the ‘waiting room’

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the nice toasty waiting room that Lachie Gillies had built that is 🙂

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As time was marching on we had to finish our ‘consultation’ on the ferry,

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with a couple of ‘jags’ of antibiotics in the mess room.

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Rhona left us with a couple of pre loaded syringes to finish the course over the next five days

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and I put wee Tam in my pocket

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and we headed home 🙂

We called him Tam after and I suspect that he’s going to become a bit of a pet 🙂



  1. Better a piglet in a pocket than a pig in a poke! Hope the wee guy thrives. Intriguing, your means of connecting with the vet, and the track improvement disputes. Quite different from the mundane modern life that most of us live. You are pretty resourceful to meet these challenges.

    Comment by Flora — January 5, 2012 @ 1:23 am

    • “Better a piglet in a pocket than a pig in a poke” 🙂 🙂 Flora

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 5, 2012 @ 8:23 am

  2. i didn’t realize piglets were so teeny.
    how cool to be a vet THAT MAKES HOUSE CALLS, sort of.
    i hope young mr. tamagucci (?) gets well soon.

    Comment by purejuice — January 5, 2012 @ 2:36 am

    • it’s me jeannette, i don’t know why they’re signing me in with this sekrit name.

      Comment by jeannette — January 5, 2012 @ 2:38 am

    • Morning Purejuice/Jeannette 🙂 Just off out to feed the pigs and give TAMagotchi his jags 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 5, 2012 @ 8:24 am

  3. Morning, Paul

    Thanks for the rant about the Torran track – it explains why it clearing and improvement was started years ago then stopped until recently – and the recent improvements to the track nowt to to with the Council.

    Hope wee Tam improves.

    Weather here foul as well, but nothing like up your way.



    Comment by Sue — January 5, 2012 @ 7:45 am

    • Morning Sue,
      “Thanks for the rant about the Torran track” that’ll be the whisky talking Sue 🙂 but not I hasten to add your very civilized 21 year old Speyside, 46ABV malt 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 5, 2012 @ 8:27 am

  4. Love the piglet. Give Jessie N my regards. She looks good. It was my Dad’s (Hookie’s Uncle Duncan) 90th last September. Must be something to do with the air up there. 90 year olds look like 60’s here!!!!????

    Comment by seonagh53 — January 5, 2012 @ 10:36 am

  5. Wonderful photos today, Paul, especially the one with you and JN. I have met her a couple of times and had a dram at willie’s house some years ago. She is looking great. I’m full of admiration for the work you do on the Torran – Fladda track and I hope to walk it again sometime this year. All good wishes to you and your family and for letting us all look through this blog at your very interesting way of life.

    Comment by Carolyn — January 5, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

    • Hi Carolyn,

      it’s the ‘three amigos’ that deserve credit for the Torran track repairs, if the council had workers like that the roads would be smooth as billiard tables 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 8, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

  6. man after my own heart,,, have you done the lamb in the aga bottom oven trick,, ideal for orphans

    Comment by Steve batey — January 6, 2012 @ 9:05 pm

    • Not quite in the Aga Steve but crapping allover the kitchen floor 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 8, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

  7. belated happy new year Paul (sorry I’ve been away for a week) … lovely to see a nice photo of the pretty Mrs C !!

    Comment by carina — January 7, 2012 @ 11:10 pm

    • Happy New Year to you to Carina 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 8, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

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