Life at the end of the road

September 12, 2012

Rainbows, recipes and trucks :-)

Filed under: daily doings, food, Trucks and plant — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 3:21 am

Well that’s it, the last full week on board the MV Loch Striven is over with, still got half a shift to work before I head sowf but that won’t take long in going by. Same goes for this ‘rest week’ as I’m away tomorrow for ‘confined space training’ down in Linwood on Thursday Sad smile Still it’s far better than trekking down to Hull for it, nothing against that once thriving port and birthplace (well just next door at Hessle) of the good ship Loch Striven but it is rather a long way to go for a one day course, which is what my ‘back to back’ did.

It’s been a little thin on the ground here of late but wifey just got back on Saturday and wasnae feeling great, boy got back on Friday and wasnae great, and me, well I’ve just been plain *********** Smile 

Don’t ask me what the weather has been doing since Sunday as we seem to have had all four seasons since then, sometimes, like today within a few hours.


The red glow of a ‘sailors warning’ on Monday morning came to naught other than blustery showers



though they never appeared until after I’d had a pleasant run into work. The shepherds of the North Raasay Sheep Stock Club having been busy separating lambs judging by the amount of ewes hanging around this little corner at Glame. They’ll soon loose interest as the new tups start sniffing around Smile


A little further down the road at that beautiful little corner of Raasay that is Oscaig the silage cutting had not quite been finished and the machinery awaited a little dry spell.

Gourock chicken supreme

Once on the ferry we got on with the serious business of keeping the wheels of commerce turning between Skye and Raasay


the first six of which belonged to Ross Sutherland’s Scania.


On the back of which was the largest rock breaker I’ve ever seen, no doubt for the 23ton Cat at the water treatment plant Smile


There was other stuff got done, quite a lot in fact but I don’t remember much about it Smile  What I do recall was the immense dish that ‘the man from Gourock’ served up, just wish I’d have paid more attention. We’ve been kind of taking it in turns to cook, I did the frittata, he did the fishy pasta which I countered with the cep dish to which he responded with this ‘Gourock chicken supreme’.

I was kinda busy so wasn’t taking it all in but he started by getting a full free range chicken, stuffing garlic (lots of garlic) under the skin and roasting it, pulling it out, removing the tinfoil, basting it then roasting it some more. Now that to me would have been just peachy served with a few roast spuds and veg but not ‘TMFG’, no he produced this masterpiece.



It was ************* delicious and had a few surprises in it like peanut butter and tomato ketchup!!!!!

I just didn’t know how I was going to follow that after the ‘cordon bleu’ fest of the previous week, I mean chilli, scallops, cep mushrooms, roast chicken, chorizo, what could I possibly make Sad smile Funny enough, just as I was perusing this very dilemma a man turned up with the answer Smile


With five brown crabs at the peak of their condition and a huge lithe (pollock) donated by a local fisherman, the world is your oyster so to speak Smile

I’d no idea what I was going to do with them as TMFG doesn’t actually like fish but I cooked the crab and filleted the pollock anyway. The secret with cooking any shellfish is ‘volume and seawater’, the larger the pan the better and if you’re on a boat then half fill the pan with seawater instead of messing around with salt. To be honest I think that’s a good bit of the ‘secret’ real water with no chlorine and natural salt, obviously in Manchester or Colorado it’s not an option but if you are anywhere near ‘the briny’ use it Smile

The bigger the pan then the less the temperature will drop when you drop something in it, so the quicker it will return to the boil, and that is the secret. You need to cook shellfish ‘hot and quick’ or it turns to 5h1t Smile These bonny cock crabs got dunked in a 50/50 mixture of tap and seawater that was boiling like mad, then as soon as the water returned to the boil they were removed and left to cool. Prawns and squat lobsters  would get similar treatment but would be run under a cold tap rather than left to cool.

Mexican desert crab

That was it really for Monday,


I drove home past 24 tons of ‘ArJay’s’ Cat323E at the water treatment works and went to my bed at 20:30 Sad smile

Tuesday didn’t have Monday’s sky but was much the same


only with a cruise ship



and some blurred hinds ‘legging it’ up the road at Tarbert.


Eventually I reached my destination in a blaze of colour



or should I say colours, over both the Arduish and Loch Striven Smile



Even the ‘wee dug’ was impressed Smile

Sunshine and showers just about summed up the day.

And I’ll finish this off later Smile

3:30 am

Well, it’s much later now, I fell asleep and awoke with a splitting headache on account of several rather large glasses of rum Sad smile So several paracetamol  and five hours later I’ll give it another go Smile


Awaiting us at Sconser was 18m of commercial in the shape of this fine Volvo belonging to Highland Distribution and loaded with several tons of steel reinforcing bar for the water treatment plant.



Followed shortly afterwards by ‘Arjays’ Scania carrying security fencing, most important Smile

In between all the traffic and finishing off the weeks work yours truly got on with the seafood extravaganza.



This bonny cock crab being covered in ‘Black spot’ an unpleasant looking condition that affects the shell and not the meat. When I fished for crab this would have been rejected by the buyers but it’s purely because of its appearance, it has no effect on the quality of what’s inside.



As the ‘Man from Gourock’ didn’t actually like crab very much I set about disguising it once all the white and dark meat was removed from the shell. There’s a lot of work in preparing crab and many folk keep the two types of meat separate, not me, I love the strong flavour of the darker stuff from inside the carapace. Normally I’d just mix the two and give it a squirt of lemon, perhaps some mayonnaise and breadcrumbs if I was short. However I had to come up with something different for my mate with his aversion to shellfish.

Lots of mayo was the first move followed by one ‘Weetabix’ crumbled into it then a good dash of curry powder, pepper and lemon juice.


Served with tacos, a salad and some chilli beans it was divine, though the cheese didn’t really do it justice and some tomatoes would have helped, as would guacamole but hey, this is a ship and we were at sea Smile

 Happy anniversary Anne and Chalky

An unusual request from a customer



which we gladly complied with was to deliver flowers and a card to celebrated Gaelic singer and actress Ann Martin

who was married here 20 years ago today (well yesterday)Smile


044 045

The twelve cats and kittens caught by the on Sunday arrived back minus their reproductive organsSmile This lot being just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ of what is rapidly becoming a problem here on Raasay. These came from Eyre but there are many more that need dealing with before there is a real explosion in their numbers.



Eventually my relief arrived and I headed home



to yet more rainbows


loads of them in the frequent and heavy showers.


The hens got fed




and now I’m off to bed Smile



  1. Great rainbow pics. If there ever was doubt about land tilting, your pic (last posting, near Holoman) is a prime example. Well done you.

    Comment by SOTW — September 12, 2012 @ 7:53 am

    • Hi She, I hadn’t noticed the rock formation in that picture right enough, thanks, paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 15, 2012 @ 8:35 pm

  2. I’m well impressed with the food! My daily grub usually consists of sandwiches….

    Comment by gareth — September 12, 2012 @ 7:54 am

    • Hi Gareth, twas pretty good today too 🙂 A little of the leftover chanterelle casserole with some chicken cooked in a creamy sauce and boiled Rooster spuds 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 15, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

  3. That Gourock Chicken Supreme looks insane and delicious. I didn’t know Gourock cuisine was so sophisticated – in fact I know nothing about Gourock except that it is proverbially “away to the one side”.

    Loving the Masterchef competition. Keep it up!

    Where is the Loch Striven off to? I know a lot of the Isles Class and smaller Loch Class ferries have ended up in Ireland.

    Comment by heartlandroad — September 12, 2012 @ 8:03 am

    • Hi Heartland, yup, the chicken was indeed supreme 🙂 Loch Striven is probably going to the Lismore Oban route.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 15, 2012 @ 8:28 pm

  4. Hi Paul

    Why do you need confined space training? How confined is the space in which you’ll have to work on the new ship??? if someone is really unable to cope with confined spaces no amount of training would help them cope!

    Lovely pics, as ever.



    Comment by Sue — September 12, 2012 @ 8:39 am

    • Hi Sue, we have to do the training as the new ship has a double bottom and all sorts of dangerous gases can build up in there 😦 You’re quite right about claustrophobia though, no amount of training will stop a sufferer from panicking.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 15, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

  5. Paul,
    Food is looking mighty fine and at just gone 11:00 making up my mind to go and have my lunch now. Yes early and wishing that a ham salad with some cous cous could taste anything near like the chicken or crab/pollack combination. Amazing what you knock up in the kitchen. Enjoy.


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — September 12, 2012 @ 10:18 am

  6. Hi Paul
    Been missing your blog so have a lot of catching up to do we have not had the net working for 3 or 4 weeks today it got sorted where now on a satellite one as we have finally moved we now live in Sutherland and the fist few week could have gone better but it will be brill
    ps if this comes up with a blog site am trying to set one up

    Comment by rob — September 12, 2012 @ 8:33 pm

    • Hi Rob, glad you got settled in, can’t wait to read the blog 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 15, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

  7. just a heads up Paul but its the great north run this weekend or maybe next, the finish line is near where your camping from the sound of it (which could be great, but it is grid lock)
    Have you looked up any cool things your going to investigate while here? You’ll be aware their is some amazing maritime/industrial history on your doorstep.

    Love to read your perspective of things, see what you make of our tilting bridge , or did you know the light rail system (Metro) includes a ferry service across the river from south Shields (a geordie MV Loch Striven)

    Comment by mike — September 13, 2012 @ 3:23 am

    • Hi Mike, I see that my caravan park charges £50 per night for that weekend of the run!!!! Boodly disgrace if you ask me, they do it here and in Oban for the Mod Can’t say that I’m looking forward to two months away from home but I can’t change it so aim to make the most of it.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 15, 2012 @ 8:19 pm

  8. “Confined space training” sounds like it might be more fun if you weren’t confined but it’s probably for your own good. Zero gravity will help your back and the moons of Jupiter are especially lovely this time of year. Hope your orbit allows for some good photos.

    Comment by Drgeo — September 13, 2012 @ 5:07 am

  9. Paul the frittata was delicious and please thank TMFG for the chicken supreme recipe we’ll try that next week, it looks equally delicious. Are those some more recipes TMFG has lurking underneath the chicken one? Please ask him to share.Thank you both it doesn’t get better than sharing food with friends. You should think about the cookbook we don’t need the weights of any ingredients and in any case that wouldn’t be you. You could write it whilst inside a confined space that would be good training LOL.

    Comment by finniedog — September 13, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

    • Hi Carole, I’ll be in my own ‘confined space’ for 68 nights with little else to do so I’ll give it a go. Aye, mucking in around the table preparing a meal with friends and a glass or two of wine takes some beating. Me, whenever I used to ask folk around for dinner, I never started until they arrived then we could all make it together and boy have I made some crackers, crab with Bailey’s, scallops cooked in sherry, herring fried in Pringles and mackerel in newspaper to name a few 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 15, 2012 @ 8:13 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: