Life at the end of the road

March 30, 2012

Eggstremely difficult :-)

Filed under: daily doings, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:42 pm

I know, it’s been a while but I’ve been a little preoccupied of late, as if the turmoil associated with selling a house and building another was not enough, wifey is going into eggs :-(  I’ve tried to talk her out of it but she’s having none of it, the mountain of paperwork associated with egg production instils no fear into the swineherd. The visits from official bodies does not fill her with dread and she reckons she can fit it in between pig duties, part time posting, occasional fostering and house building, so who am I to argue 🙂

She fist mooted the subject some weeks ago and yours truly diplomatically tried to steer her away from the enterprise, at least until we had another roof over our heads. Hoping that a positive reply along the lines of “fantastic idea darling, we’ll get on it as soon as the house is up” would do the trick. Not a chance, the next thing I know the kitchen table is full of forms from SGRIPID, Animal Health, and a few more who’s names I forget. When the ‘Haynes Chicken manual’ arrived through the post I knew there was no stopping her.




  My fears being confirmed when I got the phone call at work last week along the lines of “Now don’t go ‘off on one’ but I’ve just ordered the hens from Donald” 😦

Donald the hen

Donald being ‘Donald the hen’ from Struan on Skye, a more knowledgeable and helpful chap you could not wish to meet. To say that Donald, now I guess in his sixties has been into hens all his life is not an understatement. When the rest of his school mates were taking back pop bottles to buy Mars bars Donald was saving up for a hen 🙂

Well you know what they say “If you can’t beat them, join them” so I’ve been reluctantly swept along with the tide of enthusiasm for ‘Arnish Eggs’, especially when wifey came up with the idea getting the school children to design a label. The idea was floated past Wilma Duncan the headmistress, who took it onboard willingly as it would fit in nicely with their Easter themes.  Since the boy has gone to high school we’ve kind of lost touch a little with the school so it would be good to get involved a little more.

Finished at last

Wednesday was a pure belter of a day and I made the most of it by finally finishing painting the roof of the house 🙂


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The 18:30 finish giving me just enough time to get changed and head down the road to the village hall to get my wife stolen 🙂

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Actually it was for a meeting hosted by our two ‘Community Development Officers’ Joan MacKay and Lloyd Gudgeon. Various options for taking the ‘community forward’ and encouraging growth were discussed with the more than sixty people that attended. A pretty amazing turnout from a population of around 140 with pretty much every household represented.


As that turned into a late night it was straight to bed after with an early start on Thursday, beginning with weaning Bracken’s seven piglets.

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That was followed by yet more painting,

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the wood store getting some of the remaining green paint from the house 🙂 Eventually, after more work around the croft tools had to be put away and set off for school. The primary school and egg box judging that is,

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of course we had to have some green jelly and ice cream first 🙂 After all it was a ‘green day’ 🙂 Next followed the hardest job I’ve attempted in a long while, the judging of the labels for the ‘Arnish Egg’ boxes.


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Tabatha Carslaw (4) and Jennifer MacLeod (10) and I’m sorry I put your label upside down Tabby 😦

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Rachel MacLennan (10) and Amy Crook (11)

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Chloe Gillies (10) and Morgan Carslaw (10)

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Kirsty MacKay (7) and Emily Gillies (7)

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Logan Carslaw (8) and Leia Croy (7)

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and finally Lauren MacLennan (7) and yet another talented Carslaw, this time Ethan (6)

Faced with such eggcellent works we found it impossible to choose a winner, settling instead to use every single one of the twelve. Hopefully people will collect and swap them 🙂

Next job, and a complete surprise to us was to judge the contents!!!

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Sadly I cannot remember who’s they are apart from the winner which was Amy Crook, above centre with the pipe cleaner arms and legs 🙂 The top right one was a close second I’d say 🙂

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Though, as you can see, they’re all excellent,

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The staff, children and parents have every right to be extremely proud of them all.

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The next competition, we had no part in, and that was to pick a name and picture for the clothes recycling bin that was due to be officially opened shortly by Joan and Lloyd.

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Chloe’s Raag Baag Reggie was the winner

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and after a short and very enthusiastic song in Gaelic Reggie was officially opened 🙂

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That was about it on Thursday, well apart from going over to Torran to look at my mates Harris turbine

harris runner

which had a worn out Pelton runner 😦

I was in bed for 20:30 and didn’t arise until 7:00am, the beautiful day that greeted me once more had me working ‘flat out’ until the rain came on at around 18:00, just as well really or I’d probably be in bed right now, and I did get much done 🙂


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Me concentrating on selling the house and wifey on the ‘Arnish Eggs’

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or at least one of ‘Donald the hens’ excellent hen houses that we’d been given 🙂

March 27, 2012

Will they ever learn ?? :-(

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:51 pm

It’s late news I know, in fact it’s over a week old but I’ve been somewhat preoccupied with painting and sleeping this past week 🙂 Painting the walls, painting the roof, painting the ship then going to bed early, so this little nugget passed me by. Radio 4 being somewhat obsessed with the budget and me not actually reading the ‘Broadford Beano’ until tonight. Here’s the ‘Beeb’s’ take on it



image from



You would have thought that after the HMS Astute debacle in October 2010 which was closely followed by the coaster Red Duchess.

The Red Duchess in trouble

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As I write this the Red Duchess, seen above in September loading timber at Raasay should be being rescued by the Coastguard tug Anglian Prince.

“The ‘Red Duchess’, a coal carrying merchant vessel, broke down off the coast of the Isle of Rum.

The vessel is a UK flag small coaster of 76m length.  Its cargo of coal, 27 cubic metres of diesel oil and 400 litres of lube oil is Stornoway-bound.

An engine failure is thought to be the cause of the problem but electrical power has been retained and is able to anchor if required.  The prevailing weather is poor, with south westerly winds of force 7 – 8.

Worries are being raised about the drifting into waters which are around 20 metres deep at least half a mile off-shore, which will make anchoring practical even though the bottom is rocky.

The Mallaig lifeboat has now been launched and has got a line on board in an attempt to arrest the ships drift.

The Coastguard ETV ‘Anglian Prince’ normally based at Stornoway has been sent to the area, but is still five hours steaming away from the location

The Coastguard rescue helicopter is moving to Rum if required for any possible evacuation of crew from the vessel.”


The Red Duchess loaded with a cargo of coal for Stornoway lost power this afternoon south west of Rum in a force 8 south westerly and was in danger of going ashore. The Mallaig lifeboat managed to get a tow onto her but is barley making headway against the atrocious seas.

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The above extract from

You would think that after having a nuclear submarine run aground under the Skye bridge and a coaster almost aground on Rhum the government would have reconsidered its decision to withdraw the four ETV’s stationed around our vulnerable coasts, not a chance 😦


And unlike many people who used this image, I actually got permission from Martin Some unscrupulous people tried to pass it off as their own work and sell it to foreign media organizations 😦

Anyway I’m in far too good a mood to go ‘off on one’ so I’ll just try and recap the last couple of days with the aid of some pictures.

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Monday saw both myself and the ‘postie’ on the ferry, only she was only there briefly 🙂

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Me, I was once more out with the paint roller enjoying the sun 🙂

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The extra hour gained my moving the clocks saw me driving home well before sunset one of last years fine deer calves and a rather scabby looking young stag.

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This is Meall Dearg Arnish, which I think means something like ‘the red hill of Arnish’, pretty apt I’d say. Taken from our front door you can just see Donald Eyre’s barn and some of the ruins of North Arnish just along the tree line.


Donald's barn   ruin

Donald’s barn                                         small ruin


It was early to bed last night once more and then awake bright and early to ‘meet the day’ this morning, which, despite being a little dark at 5:50 soon ‘lit up’ to a fine morning.

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With wifey being on the post the ‘wee dug’ has been accompanying me to work, or least as far as the pier where she makes a nest in the land Rover until I take her to Jessie’s at lunchtime.

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Not sure which one of the ‘Black Cuillin’s’ still had a trace of snow but I’m sure Simon will enlighten us 🙂

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The morning saw one of A Ross’s immaculate Volvo’s arriving with a good heavy load for someone on Raasay. It also had me going berserk once more with the paint roller in a desperate effort to get as much done as possible before handing over to my ‘back to back’ 🙂


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Not only were we blessed with good weather, a few tourists and the first wave of campervans on Skye but the MV Spindrift made its first visit of the year, or at least the first one I’ve seen 🙂

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That was it really, my ‘back to back’ let me away early, I called at Manitoba on the way home and watched a couple of sea eagles doing the mating thing.

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sea eagle 2     sea eagle 1

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