Life at the end of the road

June 6, 2012

Thirty one eggs!!!

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, New hybrid ferry — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:39 pm

After nine already, and despite my best attempt at sitting down early on here it’s not happened 😦 I really really made a supreme effort to finish work early today as we’d much to celebrate, but it just didn’t happen.

Much as we both get great satisfaction from our role as respite foster careers, it was with great relief that we waved goodbye to our delightful charges of the last two weeks. Likeable as they were the  boys were a bit of a handful and required constant supervision/entertainment. Teenagers I can cope with, but a 3 and 5 year old with ‘why disease’ is a little beyond me so the bulk of the work fell to the swineherd 😦

Consequently we were both looking forward to a nice relaxing early night with this fine ‘Cotes du Rhone’ left us yesterday by Rocky’s ‘respite foster careers 🙂 Rocky being our young hormonal Tamworth boar that has been over in Staffin at for a few weeks servicing gilts.


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Tuesday 5th June

Anyway I’ll try and unscramble my brain via the stuff I’ve downloaded off my Panasonic DMC-FZ38 rather than trust my ailing memory, so here goes.

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Even though Tuesday dawned fresh, dry, sunny and clear, the only thing keeping wifey going was the notion that there was ‘only one more sleep’ so I did my best to amuse the two boys whilst she held onto her sanity. Giving them the camera proved a useful distraction.

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Though it did clog up my SD card and laptop with rubbish 🙂

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After feeding, photography and a ride on the quad, the arrival of Rocky provided a welcome distraction to the two boys. Unlike many of our ‘charges’ they accompanied us to the abattoir with Toots, who they’d  been feeding for at least a week. I can’t say they were ‘over the moon’ at waving goodbye to Toots as she went into the ‘sausage factory’ but they did understand. Some of the children we see don’t even know sausage, egg or bacon comes from animals!!!!!! I had one child ask me, after explaining to him were eggs came from “ so what lays a sausage”, and we’re not talking of toddlers here 😦


rocky returns

Anyway Rocky arrived to much excitement just after 10:30 and wasted no time in reacquainting himself with his surroundings.

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Leaving him to wander around the croft we all retired for a civilised ‘tea and biscuits’ before  Dave and Sarah departed for the 12:15.

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After which I took the boys swimming in Loch Beag, well they called it swimming, I’d say it was more of a paddle 🙂

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And just look what we found, some lovely leaches 🙂

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Taking the old path back home rather than the road we spent the afternoon cutting bedding.

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There aren’t many weeks of the year that you can get the Land Rover in these fields so I made the most of it by cutting mountains of rushes with my ‘helpers’.

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Storing it all in the barn that Jamie Lea had broken into 😦

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That will be the barn that was once ‘The nightclub at the end of the universe’ 🙂 Jamie Lea had farrowed in here a few weeks ago but moved out into a ruin some distance away. As she was no longer in residence I cleaned it out, repaired the door and padlocked it securely.

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At least that’s what I thought, she just burst right through the door ripping the screws out of the door and bending the hasp that the padlock was fastened to 😦

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Not the only ones making the most of the good weather 🙂

Wednesday 6th June

The ‘last sleep’ over with I bade goodbye to our two charges and went to see why my voltage was low, but I’ll have to tell you about that later cos I need my bed 🙂

Well I’m back, 5:00am and I feel like I’ve been hit by a train and have a splitting headache 😦 The car crash a result of not taking any Tramadol yesterday bar my two at breakfast. The thought of sharing that nice bottle of red with wifey easing the afternoon pain I suffered as a result. However the little dwarf that is pounding the inside of my cranium with a lump hammer was definitely not worth the brief pleasure that ‘Cote Du Rhone’ bestowed upon me prior to bed 🙂 That’ll teach me, if only 🙂

Anyway, back to a beautiful Wednesday, slightly overcast but with no wind for a change it was probably a little warmer than of late. It certainly felt that was as I tramped the hills in the morning to investigate the lack of power at my hydro turbine.

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It might not look like much but this little trickle, thanks to the 40m plus fall still puts a little juice into our batteries.

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The normal culprit is usually a parted joint thanks to a pig rooting with its snout but when I eventually found the leak it was a failure of the 90mm pipe itself!!!

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I really was stunned when I sawed the pipe to see the rupture, for around 2’ part of the 6mm wall thickness was paper thin. The hot weather and some ‘water hammer’ caused by me messing about with nozzles had caused caused the pipe to burst.

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Luckily I still have plenty of fittings left from a mountain that was destined for scrap that I’d rescued some years ago and a new section was quickly inserted. I say quickly but it did actually take me pretty much all of the morning to locate the fault and the early afternoon to fix it.


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Still, I can think of worse places to be on a dull day 🙂

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That will be the Torridon mountains in the distance but we’ll have to wait for Simon to identify them as my maps are packed away. An Thearlich (not even sure how to spell it) sticks in my mind but not got a clue really 🙂

The silence of the early evening, dinner and the lack of ‘wee boys’ being savoured by us both,

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wifey counting and weighing eggs, all THIRTY ONE of them 🙂 Pretty good from 32 hens and they’re much more evenly sized now. Me I spent the time in the old generator shed that is being sold with the house preparing to move the batteries and inverter. Or at least I did until I was driven in by back pain that I eased with a hot bath and wine, but we all know what that did to me 🙂

After settling down with the bottle, I did at last glean time to read the third edition of Raasay’s monthly ‘Community news letter’


compiled and published by Joan MacKay one of our two ‘Local development Officers’. For a wee island there is much going on here right now and I’m sure if you contacted her she’d add you to the mailing list .

Apart from news of Linda’s ‘Posh Pastries’ a ferry naming competition and much more there was a piece on our new hybrid ferry and Seamus Nicolson’s visits to the yard.


Ship No. 725 is Raasay’s new ferry which is currently under construction at Fergusons Shipbuilders of Port Glasgow. It is the first vessel of the Hybrid Ferries project that is being undertaken by Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL). Local lad Seamas Nicolson is currently studying Naval Architecture at the University of Strathclyde and this project is of great interest to him due to the new technology being used on-board the vessel. Seamas has been able to visit the yard and hopes to make regular visits during the vessels construction and provide regular updates for the community.

As can be seen from the following picture the ferry’s hull is starting to take shape as the first few modules are assembled on the slipway to form the mid-ship section of the ferry. The ferry will be launched stern first into the Clyde in November or December, like the Loch Striven it will be hard to tell which end is which.

The hybrid technology on the ferry means that there is no need for main propulsion engines, power instead will be provided by three diesel generators feeding power to a 400 volt switchboard which will supply power to electric propulsion motors that turn the two Voith Schneider propulsion units. In addition 2 lithium-ion battery banks with a total of 700kWh will also be able supply power to the units reducing fuel and CO2 consumption by at least 20%. The battery banks will be charged overnight from the shore power.

Compared to the Loch Striven the ferry will have the capacity for 11 more cars and be able to carry two 44tonne arctic trucks. It will also be faster, much quieter and have almost no vibration. Its’ bridge and crew room will be in the centre of the ship above the car deck. It will have one large passenger saloon unlike the two on the Loch Striven but it will retain its’ two outside passenger areas. Leather reclining seats in the passenger saloon provide a hint of the standard of finish to be expected.



Anyway that’s it, the sun is once more blazing through the kitchen window and I’ve got things to do 🙂


  1. Hi Paul.
    When in Liverpool we pronounce the Cotes Dhurone with a Gutteral slang as COAT’S DOO ROAN it rolls off the the back of the throat a little better, and slips down a lot quicker than your Aussy White. Don’t let the children see the film with Catherine Hepburn and the Leaches they’ll have trouble sleeping for a long time.

    Comment by Polite Scouser — June 6, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

    • Morning Walter, fortunately the boys were oblivious as to what leaches actually do for a living 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 7, 2012 @ 4:30 am

  2. so does someone else live at the end of the road (regarding the photo of the roof maintenance) ?

    Comment by mike — June 6, 2012 @ 11:00 pm

    • Morning Mike, yes indeed, we are not alone 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 7, 2012 @ 4:31 am

  3. Morning Paul

    Off to the north tomorrow and should be on the 4.15 ferry from Sconser on Saturday. You’ll still be on your hols, so maybe see you if we’re daft enough to go to Skye midweek, or on the ferry back on the Saturday. Looking forward to buying and eating Arnish eggs.

    Interesting reading about the new ferry, but I do wonder what an ‘arctic truck’ is.



    Comment by Sue — June 7, 2012 @ 7:11 am

    • Hi Sue,

      I do wonder what an ‘arctic truck’ is.

      probably a very cold one 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 8, 2012 @ 11:06 pm

  4. Hi Paul. That isnt An Teallach, that is too far north for you to see I think, looks like Beinn Damph to me. I am a bit distracted on the hill spotting at the moment because I am in Iceland and today am off to see some real mountains, volcanoes and glaciers at Eyjafjallajokyll. With names like that, I don’t have the energy for Gaelic as well 😉

    Comment by Simon — June 7, 2012 @ 7:22 am

    • With names like that Simon it’s a wonder the Icelanders have time for anything 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 8, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

  5. Good to see you are having some nice weather.That was some test you put your camera through with that face 🙂


    Comment by Andy — June 7, 2012 @ 7:38 am

    • Hi Andy, I put it through another test yesterday, ‘the Smidge test’ that’s when you put it in a watertight padded box with a bottle of Smidge, remove the lid and shake it all about 😦 Camera still working though 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 8, 2012 @ 11:12 pm

  6. Re the ferry battery charging what happens if there is a power cut? Hope your neighbours roof is now fully painted !

    Comment by SOTW — June 7, 2012 @ 9:30 am

    • ‘When’ there is a power cut the standby genny kicks in 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 8, 2012 @ 11:13 pm

  7. Dear Paul,
    keep having a chuckle over the kids, but what a great holiday for them. Like the bit about the boat or should I say ferry, appeals to the nerd in me.apart from the fact that I worked in the Industry for many years. Electric motors are great because depending on the type of motor you can make the torque curve basically flat so you can get maximum power from zero revs up too maximum. decent size battery bank though. and they don’t come cheap the battery for the Tesla sports cars cost about 500 pounds a Kwh so that would put the price at about 350,000 quid but seeing as it a one off and adding the price of the electronics I would expect the price too be over the double, Being able to distribute the generators and I expect run them at constant speed will mean better weight distribution and less fuel usage one battery bank and a diesel generator for each voith and a spare that can be switched from one battery bank to another should really improve safety. The more I think about it are you going to be on a very steep learning curve. I hope they send you on a good course and have you down at the shipyard for a couple of weeks when they are doing the final work and for the acceptance trials. What was really nice was too learn that a local lad is getting a real education and not one of those mickey mouse courses such a media studies which are used to disguise the fact that they are not as dumb as they look.
    I was just thinking of a name for the boat then I thought wouldn’t it be nice if they put all the name s of the permanent residents on Raasay in a hat and pulled one out and named the boat after that person. Grumpy Digger Driver I don’t think would work but “The Annie Maclean” has a nice ring too it, just a thought. you might want too suggest it

    Deep Regards


    Comment by Yorkshire Miner — June 7, 2012 @ 10:15 am

    • The ‘Annie Maclean’ Dave, love it 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 8, 2012 @ 11:16 pm

  8. Hesitate to disagree with Simon but I think it’s Beinn Alligin

    Comment by Neil King — June 7, 2012 @ 10:44 am

    • Morning Neil, wondered where you’d been 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 9, 2012 @ 6:13 am

  9. ha ha paul,, think the photo of you should be your new profile pic…nice one.:-)
    i’m glad to be back online, seems as if the mobile app for wordpress was messing with my access to all blogs. catch you later, steve TPRON

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — June 7, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

    • Hi Steve, mobile apps, you’re talking a different language now, will have to get the boy to translate 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 9, 2012 @ 6:14 am

  10. Hmmm. 31 eggs from 32 chickens, eh? Has the slacker been told stories about chicken pot pie?

    Comment by drgeo — June 7, 2012 @ 6:32 pm

    • Morning DrG,

      the ‘slacker’ was probably traumatized by the ‘twin terrors’ so I’ll let her off 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 9, 2012 @ 6:15 am

  11. Paul, if you had your head “bent” by the two boys what would it be like when they got home. Tales of hens, pigs, quad and tools all real man stuff. They are lucky to get such a great experience, keep it up

    Comment by mi — June 7, 2012 @ 9:58 pm

    • Morning Mi, funnily enough I’ve just had an email from their regular carer saying as much 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 9, 2012 @ 6:16 am

  12. loch beag is that the castle loch at brochel, it looks similar, I have fished it with my son a few times, also the small loch at ballachuirn was prety goood sport, great memories, good luck with your new build & the chickens

    Alan patrick

    Comment by Alan Patrick — June 8, 2012 @ 10:20 am

    • Good morning and welcome Alan, Loch Beag is the wee loch next to the larger Loch an Uachdair and like you say is excellent fishing, my father caught a ‘monster’ there many years ago. Didn’t realize there were fish in the loch at Ballachurin though.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 9, 2012 @ 6:18 am

  13. Interesting to learn you’re respite carers – we used to do the same thing when we lived in Argyll. Hard work but so rewarding.

    Looking forward tomorrow to the joys of putting ear-tags in our three Kunes…

    Comment by Gary Sutherland — June 8, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

    • Morning Gary, how did you get on with the ear tagging ???? I just wait until their head is buried in the trough and do it. I did make a crush up to hold them whilst I did it but found they hardly even noticed me doing it if they were eating.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 9, 2012 @ 6:22 am

      • They were none too pleased, I must say, but I put them all in and gave them a good spray after with veterycin. Not 100% sure the last one properly locked-in but I’ll find out over the next few days if it drops out.

        Comment by Gary Sutherland — June 9, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

      • Morning Gary, must take time out to visit your beautiful part of the world and check out the ear tagging 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 10, 2012 @ 8:29 am

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