Life at the end of the road

February 25, 2012

The great courier ‘rip off’ :-(

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:58 pm

It’s not a full moon, new moon, payday or even particularly great weather but my mood has definitely been improving of late 🙂

I was up early and bouncing down Calum’s road with my blue recycling bin and empty gas cylinder a good ten minutes earlier than usual. Even though I was at work sooner than yesterday the day was much brighter and as soon as the rest of the crew arrived we got stuck in.

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The tide being just right for a spot of rust streak removal once the old ship had life breathed into her.  The Perkins 4.4TGM providing the heart beat and the Volvo’s idling nicely, ready to leap into action at a full 8 knts :-)Saturday is generally a quiet day so I can usually get on with stuff and not spend too much time ‘marshalling’ cars and the like on deck and today was no exception.

So leaving the rest of the crew to it I disappeared down below to finish off our ‘masterpiece’ 🙂

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Still needs a few finishing touches like the hydraulic pipes painting pink, battery box blue and the fire extinguisher stanchion red but aint that a work of art 🙂 OK, it’s taken my ‘back to back’ and I two months to restore the ‘forward Voith space’ to its former glory after the fitting of a new sewage tank but well worth the effort.

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Unusually for a Saturday we had a ‘DG’ (dangerous goods) in the form of the Calor gas tanker, this has to be lashed down, segregated and parked either by the bow or stern ramp, just in case we need to push it in the sea 🙂 Quite how you’re supposed to push it overboard I don’t know and with that big cylinder on the back it would probably float 🙂 Still with no other traffic on the ferry we just parked it in the middle, that would give us a choice as to whether to push it off forwards or backwards 🙂

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Lunchtime was here double quick and I was off the ferry like a shot, unlike the previous three days when I’ve had a wee sleep at ‘shutdown’. However the weather was fine, my ears  needed a break from the whine off the Voith units, shafts and sewage plant and my head need clearing from the paint fumes 🙂 Perhaps that’s why I was in such a good mood 🙂

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This huge platform with a hole in the centre appeared over Raasay House recently and me thinks that it might be where the new staircase is going in, through the roof. There is probably a really good reason why it didn’t go in first 🙂

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The new houses at School Park are finished and I believe the keys have been handed over to the new tenants.

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They are lovely and I’m sure very warm and cheap to heat but you have to laugh, people not very far away wanted to put red tiles on their roof and were stopped because they ‘were out of character’. A friend of mine built a house and wanted to use red brick for the first meter and was told he had to use grey because ‘it was out of character’ of course as soon as he got his completion certificate he painted them 🙂 The hoops I had to jump through to build a house that would ‘be in keeping with the natural and cultural heritage’ . Could you please tell me which part of Raasay or in fact western Scotland that these houses are in character with 🙂 It seems there is one rule for the council and another for you and I 🙂

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The weather improved greatly during the afternoon but I refused to come up, so engrossed was I in painting and replacing bilge alarm switches 🙂

Almost ripped off

I friggin sick of being ripped off for postage, it costs the same price to send a small parcel to Jersey via Royal Mail as it does to Dunvegan and it’s CHEAP, reliable and on the whole quick.


See that £4.41 for up to 2kg, that’s two bags of sugar if you don’t know how heavy that is, and it’s only £15.86 for 20 friggin kilograms. So why is it that more and more suppliers are not only charging extortionate fees to deliver to the highlands, some won’t even deliver at all. Mention the word ‘offshore’ and you’re well and truly fecked. That’s even more annoying for the population of Skye that has been shackled to the rest of Scotland by a toll free bridge for years now. At least on Raasay we have a ferry, but even that’s no excuse really as the ferry terminal is right on the main road and it’s far easier for couriers to deliver there than say Applecross or Glenelg.

It used to be just a few companies but now it’s getting harder and harder to find good suppliers, even ones I’ve dealt with for years are starting to charge extra. Yesterday however ‘took the biscuit’, I was wanting  CV joint gaiter for my mates Yamaha Bruin 350 4×4 quad. It’s a great machine but not easy to get parts for, being as it’s automatic. Eventually I tracked some down to a company in Cumbria, not a million miles away. Can’t remember the price exactly but £17.50 sticks in my head and is a fair price, as was the £4.40 postage on a small item that weighs just a few grams. That is of course until you read the small print £10.00 for the highlands and £15.00 for the Islands. You could probably have put the friggin thing in a ‘Jiffy bag’ for a couple of quid!!!! Eventually I found a company in, wait for it, Arizona!!! yep the United friggin States, the middle of the US, in the friggin desert that would sell me one for $17.99 (£11.35) and post it for $15.00 (£9.49) OK in the grand scale of things it’s not such a great saving and I’m a big believer in buying local but this is just plain ‘taking the pish’ 🙂


So if you live north of Glasgow and have a Japanese quad, especially a Yamaha Bruin then do your shopping in Tempe Arizona,_Arizona. It’s just next to Phoenix and my mate Tony Lucas lives there, come to think of it Tony where are you 🙂


With a climate like that, probably in the sun somewhere 🙂

The late ‘low flyer’

Probably another reason I’m in a good mood, or should I say was in such a good mood was the bottle of Famous Grouse given me today by two sterling chaps in a yellow truck. It really made my day to know that doing so little is appreciated so much, cheers chaps. Well I was really looking forward to a ‘wee dram’ after the late Saturday ferry.

No sooner had I arrived home than I was turned around by a phone call from the ferry as we’d got a shout to do an ‘ambulance run’. Foolishly I took the wife’s car as it’s faster than the Land Rover, or so I thought, by the time I’d braked and dodged all the potholes on the “I see no potholes” road it would have been quicker in the ‘Old Girl’, in the Land Rover you just aim it and go 🙂 The limiting factors being your back and nerve rather than flimsy construction of the vehicle and its tyres.

Well that’s us with the ambulance on board, it’s 22:55 so it’ll be a few hours yet before I get my ‘Low Flyer’ 🙂 Just hope that all is well with the casualty.

February 24, 2012

Yet another casualty :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings, shed/house — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:19 pm

Friday already and most ‘normal’ people would be relaxing after a hard week at work, not me, I’m not even half way through it and I don’t know how many times I’ve tried posting. Truth is I’ve just had too much to do, most of it house related, which involves both paper and phone work, both of which I abhor. A couple of phone calls and a form or two fill me with dread, knock the stuffing out of me and leave me shattered, I’d never cope in an office 🙂

We’ve also been suffering problems with the oil stove that heats both the kitchen and hot water. True to form it only really went pear shaped once I was back at work but it’s been acting up ever since I fitted a new oil feed pipe to it last week. A job that I should have done four years ago when I moved the tank, but which somehow kept getting pushed to the bottom of the ‘to do’ list.

The visit last Friday from the surveyor, prior to us putting the ‘wee hoose’ on the market spurred me into action. The last thing I wanted was him tripping over it, there’s bound to be pages of legislation of how deep it has to be buried and what kind of material it has to be made out of.

Anyway I’ll not dwell on that lest some future purchaser ‘sues my ar5e off’ 🙂 but since the pipe was changed the stove has just not been itself 😦 First it was too hot, then it was too cold, then it was too sooty and now it’s just right but it’s involved much sweat grime and cursing to sort it. Basically disturbing all the pipes seems to have dislodged much gunge that has ended up in the ‘Toby valve’ an oil control contraption that sits at the back of the stove.

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That was actually Wednesday nights excuse for not posting, I’m not sure what I was doing on Tuesday night after my first stint on the Loch Striven. Though I do remember it being a pure miserable day 😦

I hope they bill the council 🙂

It may have been a poor day on Wednesday for me but it was a very expensive one for the couple from London who’d chosen Skye as their holiday destination. The little black VW Golf that came over to Raasay for the day, no doubt to visit the world famous ‘Calum’s road’ never made it back to Sconser. In fact I don’t think they made it as far as Brochel before the joined the ‘casualty list’, that’ll be the list of vehicles wrecked on Highland Council’s “I see no potholes road”, the road they made such a fine job of repairing last year 🙂


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Excluding the two cars I’ve towed out of ditches in the last twelve months the Golf is the second one in a few months to spread the oil of it’s sump all over the road after ‘acquiring’ a hole. The other one being a Skoda which join the BMW, Volvo, Nissan and VW Passat that all sustained other ‘road related’ injuries.

Of course it would be serious enough in ‘civilization’ but here it was an epic and potentially dangerous. Not that I knew it all until later. First I heard of it was when I headed home on Wednesday to meet ‘another vehicle’!!!!!! It was a mate who wound down his window and told me to drive carefully as he’d abandoned a trailer, complete with car at ‘Cnoch nan Uan’. Actually he never said that, I’m showing off my recently acquired skills in Gealic learned from one who is 57 today 🙂

Nevertheless six miles further on, the dark blue car on it’s dark blue trailer was deposited ‘more or less’ off the road on account of his van not being able to pull it up the hill. Not that there was anything wrong with the van, just that the fecking drains at the side of the road are non existent and the road is permanently wet. Matey had to leave the trailer there as he’d no option other than to go back and get a tractor some seven or eight miles away :-(  

Next time I saw the car, trailer and it’s occupants was on the ferry on Thursday on it’s way to a garage, that’s when I discovered the hole in the sump, on account of the oil on the deck 😦 I’m thinking that by the time they’d paid for the recovery, hotel and repair it would have been a ‘holiday to remember’ but for all the wrong reasons 🙂

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Here’s the ‘spud leg barge’ off the end of Sconser pier hammering away with its ‘pile driver’, just see how far down that first leg nearest the shore is, I think it’s on its maximum at 16m, probably a hole dug by the ferry 🙂

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Here’s a better one with the tide further out

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and here’s the best kept old Scania on Skye

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heading off with my mates digger 🙂


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And here are the holes that my mate dug for my barn before he went and did some proper work 🙂

Meanwhile ‘down below’

As far as actual work goes on the ferry I’ve been mostly down below continuing with the epic painting of the ‘forward Voith space’

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and changing the odd bilge alarm switch.

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That will be the shiny thing that sets an alarm off up in the wheelhouse if water enters the space.

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Today the barge was swung around to bore another hole and you can see that there’s not a great deal of room between it and the ferry 😦

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And this will be the small but powerful work boat ‘Hannah B’ that moved the barge sitting peacefully on a mooring off the pier.

I could go on and have a good rant now about ‘touch screen’ phones and how friggin useless they are for people that actually work with their hands as opposed to fingers. What is the point of them ???? do the people who design these fecking things and con you into thinking that they’re ‘really cool’ not realize that there are folk in this world that actually get their hands dirty wet and oily. I mean we live in a world where you can’t speak to a person without going through ‘option 1,2, 3 or 4’  and some clown comes up with a phone that goes blank and you can’t see the fecking keys or it presses the keys with your friggin ear.

The number of effing times some dude has showed off their new toy to me and been unable to get the picture on their ‘smart phone’ the right way up 🙂 Touch screen phones to me belong with ‘Betamax’, ‘Stylophnes’ and those Sinclair C5’s but I’ve had to borrow one off my son and it’s driving me mad 😦

Anyway, like I said ‘I could go on’ but it’s bed time 🙂

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