Life at the end of the road

October 29, 2012

Only 17:00 :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry, South Shields — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:43 pm

Well that’s it then, BST is over and I’m sat here in the old Thompson with a candle and vodka bottle Sad smile it’s pitch black outside, or as near as you get to it in a town and I’m depressed Sad smile Or at least I will be by the time I finish this bottle Smile

I seriously hate this ‘messing about with clocks’ and have a rant about it every year, what is the point??? all it does is confuse, am I the only person with an internal clock that goes ‘pear shaped’ every six months???? I know all my animals get confused and if it wasn’t for the fact that much of my life is governed by ferry sailings and shop openings I wouldn’t alter the friggin clocks.

In fact when I lived on the small island of Scalpay just south of Raasay we never altered them until January and that was because we’d had to leave the island for a few weeks to return to ‘the real world’. Most of the inhabitants would go and visit family at Christmas so had to get to grips with timetables and the like.

Anyway, I’m stuck with it and I’m back, not home but in my ‘cell’ in ‘the village’ just about halfway through my course Sad smile



I left Barrhead this morning around 8:45 and got a lift into Glasgow Queen street with the ‘in laws’



probably not a ‘big deal’ to most readers but this whole city thing and public transport has me a little confused to say the least.


Well so much for that effort, it never even made ‘the press’, probably on account of that vodka bottle and a lack of enthusiasm on my part. It’s hard getting enthused when your almost 400 miles away from home ‘sucking eggs’ but I’ll try and pick up the thread, the bottle is almost empty now Smile

I gotta say that I really enjoyed the train journey, well as far as Newcastle at least, the final leg being ruined by a bunch of rather loud, drunk and intimidating neds, but that’s the city for you I suppose Sad smile

Glasgow Queen street was a cinch, nice clean train already in twenty minutes prior to departure, with no seat reserved  I picked a nice window one with a table for my laptop Smile Sat down comfortably and on the phone to wifey, I terminated the call to help an old lady aboard with ‘wee dug’ and multiple baggage.


To be honest by the time I’d put my phone away the spritely pensioner had managed just fine and was asking me ‘are you OK with dogs’ as she and Tristram Shandy made them selves comfortable. After brief pleasantries during which I learned that she didn’t actually want a dog and had had the wee chap forced upon her, then how stuck for a name she’d named him after,_Gentleman because it was on the radio Smile or was it TV. Now where have you heard that ‘I’m not really a dog person’ before Smile Anyway as we neared Edinburgh I learned we were catching the same train, though she would be going all the way to Kings Cross and beyond. So upon arrival we stuck together, me with Tristram and my bags and her with her experience and her bags Smile With half an hour to wait we exchanged life stories before I helped her onto the packed train some three or four carriages away from my own. As our seats had been reserved I reluctantly left my new friends after a big hug and set next to a crabbit chap reading the Independent Sad smile

Still, if I’m ever in Suffolk I’m going to pop in and see them at  Smile

The journey south was quick and comfortable, and after Berwick upon Tweed it became obvious that other seats in the carriage were going to remain vacant so I moved to gaze at the east coast whizzing by. Had Newcastle been journeys end then all would have been rosy but a 45 minute wait for a Metro full of arseholes kind of spoiled the experience somewhat. I know, I know, I said I’m stopping swearing but the term describes the ‘no neck’ halfwit and his younger glue sniffing pals perfectly, luckily they got off at Jarrow, though not before frightening half of the train with their antics.

After picking up essentials in Morrison’s like vodka, food and washing liquid I finally entered a rather smelly Thompson Glenelg caravan around 15:30. Your truly having forgot to empty the bin and having left the heating on Sad smile At £25 a night I wasn’t going to turn it off on principle, this shower at the ‘Sandhaven caravan park’ had tried to screw me for £1625 the moment I arrived, no reduction for single occupancy or a long term deal Sad smile OK the place is clean, tidy, secure, central, and very pleasant if your into that kind of thing but for heavens sake it’s almost November.

After some vegetable pakoras and egg fried rice I had a go at ‘blogging’ but gave up in favour of the vodka bottle and an awesome movie not the Hollywood remake but the original Swedish version of the first

of Stieg Larsson’s ‘millennium trilogy’. The other two ‘ the girl who played with fire’ and ‘the girl who kicked the hornets nest’ being every bit as good



but I never brought them with me Sad smile

Minesweepers on the Tyne

‘Bright eyed and bushy tailed’ I headed in to the college today to start my last course down here, that extra hour in bed certainly helped today Smile

003  004

I can’t remember what these two buildings at North Shields are called but I’m sure they’re something to do with the two obelisks that I pass every day on my way to college in South Shields.



The next four weeks should hopefully be a little more enlightening


now that we have a ship in the class room



Not to mention a sea view,







this will be part of NATO’s Standing Mine Countermeasures Force Group 1 (SNMCMG1) that have been in Newcastle for the weekend. However I strongly recommend that you check out Steve Ellwood’s pictures on here for far better images and more info. One boat I didn’t catch was the Estonian navies Sakla,

which is in fact the ex RN HMS Inverness, a frequent visitor to the Inner Sound of Raasay in days gone by.

She is the fomer Royal Navy vessel HMS Inverness – M102 which was sold to the Estonians in 2008.
Class & type: Sandown class minehunter
Displacement: 450 tons full
Length: 52.6 m
Beam: 10.5 m
Draught: 2.4 m
Propulsion: 2 shafts Voith-Schneider propulsors
diesel-electric drives
Paxman Valenta 6RPA200M diesels,
2 Rolls Royce (Perkins) CV8-250G drives
Speed: 13 knots diesel, 6.5 knots electric
Complement: 7 officers, 27 sailors
Crew: 34
Sensors and processing systems: Type 1007 navigation radar Thales 2093 variable-depth mine hunting sonar
Armament: 3 × Browning 12.7 mm MG gun
Armour: fibreglass
Mine counter measures equipment: Atlas Elektronik Seafox MIDS

Image and info from

Progress on the Hallaig

Well the launch is on schedule and the tugs booked for the 17th December Smile

725 726 from window

Number 725 AKA known as the MV or is it HV Hallaig is beginning to look more like a ship and her two Siemens 375Kw electric motors have arrived at the yard


motors for new ship

Nice to see ‘Fenner’ couplings on the end of the motors and water cooling Smile

Anyway, that’s it, well after 21:00 now so almost 23:00 by my biological clock so I’m off to my heated blanket and bed Smile


  1. chin up big fella, its when you’v lived here long enough to pick up the accent you need to worry.
    still working on my escape plane 20 years on (getting there)

    Comment by mike — October 29, 2012 @ 11:03 pm

    • Good look with the ‘plan’ Mike, you won’t regret it.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 30, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

  2. “and if it wasn’t for the fact that much of my life is governed by ferry sailings and shop openings I wouldn’t alter the friggin clocks.”

    Yep – don’t change mine. I had a good reason one summer to leave my laptop on UTC and rather than have a confusing mix of clocks in the house I left everything else as well. Liked it enough not to mess with them since.

    Bit silly, though, that Ubuntu Linux doesn’t have a setting for just UTC so I tell it I live in Accra, Ghana. Only affects the clock, not the weather, unfortunately.

    Comment by Ed Davies — October 29, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

    • I think I’ll make that part of my retirement plan Ed,

      Yep – don’t change mine

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 30, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

  3. Hi Paul, Must say the Swedish version is easily the best – but we do manage enough of the lingo these days to cope!

    Comment by Iain — October 29, 2012 @ 11:37 pm

    • Hi Iain, being hard of hearing I actually prefer subtitled films 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 30, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

  4. Yep, clocks going back is a real pain! Doesn’t really affect school kids that much as most of them round here don’t bother checking the roads before wandering across oblivious to traffic as they text, phone or just play at prats while holding up the traffic. Between our side of the road and the schools side there are 3 crossing points and a lolly pop person but they might as well not be there as the kids just do thier own thing anyway. In the nearest wee village there is no school so its a host of cars and minibuses that ferry them back and forward from this and other outlying districts. With the amount of street lights these days in most towns and villages I really am at a loss why this habit still exists, I have still to find one person in favour of it! Our kitchen clock never gets changed as it is a pain to get it down and adjust so at least for 6 months of the year we can truly say that one of our clocks is right, owe and the caravan one is always wrong at the same time as that is on Bst!
    One thing I have to pull you up on is the THOMSON caravan, I am a Thompson, my daughters other half a Thomson and the caravan is a Thomson too, as per the Scottish spelling. The only person that we thought would have a problem with a Thompson, my daughter, and a Thomson, the partner, was my dad but he is a clever old timer and sends mail to them address to Thom(p)son, first time they showed me a letter from him I thought now that is where I get my wiseness from! lol Not getting at you Paul, as I must on average get mail address to my Thomson caravans account with Thompson caravan being qouted at least 60% of the time. and believe it or not mail addressed to me without the P! As my mum used to say what good is it if you can’t have a P! Took me a while as a 3yr old to work out what she meant but I get it now!
    Loved todays pictures of the Minesweepers and so pleased you had some good company on the train south, it makes a difference when you meet someone who helps get the journey off to a good start.
    Anyway, must get back to the Reel to Reels.
    Take care and keep your chin up,

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — October 30, 2012 @ 1:31 am

    • Thompson, Thomson, my brain must have scrambled at some point Graham, I used to get it right. The website link comes up every time you comment so there’s no excuse, well apart from that bottle of vodka and old age. I’m sticking to Earl Grey tonight 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 30, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

      • LOL, yep the old demon drink has me confused sometimes to although I tend to stick to Whisky for a Spirit, the good malts none of the blended cooking stuff! Tried a bottle of the Cidre the other night and have to say it was very good, worth a taste if you are looking for something other than a wine with your dinner, we had some gammon with ours along with the scrambled eggs and mashed spuds. Gave it a whole new tatse!
        Enjoy the Earl grey, nothing quite like a nice brew!
        Well its late again and I have just finished transferring another 3 reels to the PC, think I am now well over half way through the stage of transferring, next stage is the marking out and adding labels on the PC programme to divide the tracks ready to transfer to MP3 format, each one will take about 3hrs so a month or two to finish, hoping to get it all done for Christmas!
        Anyway have a great day tomorrow, I am of to bed now as time is marching on. Just finish the glass of Maccallan and I should have a good sleep! 😉

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — October 31, 2012 @ 1:25 am

      • Good news, only ten reels left to transfer to the laptop, unfortunately they are the biigest ones in dads collection, 7inch ones with 1800ft of tape on each and taking 6.5hrs to transfer. so around 65hrs of transferring! Then its on with the diting of all 78 tapes and God only knows how long that will take, if I finish before you return home I will be well chuffed! I worked out that on average an event runs for 1hr 45mins so probably about 130 individual meetings from SA events meaning I will need about 130 cdr’s, at least one set of printer inks and disc labels and Jewel case inserts. The book on the list of contents and features of Bands, choirs, etc is so far at 58 pages and growing. No wonder he asked me to do it quoting the excuse that he could not figure out how to do it, which I now reckon translates as would take too long and I have a garden to look after and meetings to attend! Parents can be so fly lol!
        Hope you get a better nights sleep tonight, like you my body clock is all over the place and sleep is sparodic, hence I was transferring tapes till 5.30am last night and went to bed only to get up again at 9am and start again! I must be mad!
        Keep your chin up and don’t let the work-load get you tied up in knots! 😉

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — November 2, 2012 @ 9:20 pm

  5. I agree about fooling with the clock, it makes the day wrong. Jet black in the mornings and the same in the evening. We should follow Europe with this one.

    Comment by — October 30, 2012 @ 3:54 am

  6. Good choise watching the Swedish version! Thumbs up from a Swede!

    Comment by Malin — October 30, 2012 @ 8:05 am

    • Cheers Malin and welcome aboard.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 30, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  7. Hang in there! You are nearly halfway through your exile.

    Comment by Lynn R — October 30, 2012 @ 8:25 am

    • Hi Lynn,
      Hang in there! You are nearly halfway through your exile.

      I got the dates wrong, I finish on the 23rd 🙂 so I’m well past halfway now 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 30, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

  8. I’d vote for keeping BST all year round.

    Comment by knotrune — October 30, 2012 @ 11:07 am

    • Hi Knotrune, Noelgsusee, I’d prefer BST by far but would even go for GMT, so long as they left them alone, I just don’t get it. The tides, animals, birds and all of nature doesn’t alter its behavior so why should we.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 30, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

  9. Good choice of film, I know it must be hard to be away from the island and family but I’m very excited about the new ferry and Raasay House opening next year and plan to be there so you are doing a great job. The idea of a cooperative shop sounds good too. All that needs to be done now is to make roads (I know I’ve commented on this before) a community solved problem too and then you’re sorted.

    Comment by Allison — October 30, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

  10. We also Spring forward an hour and Fall back, but the accusatory looks on the critters’ faces at meal time are difficult to bear. The looks would be similar to the one I would get from my spouse for drinking an entire liter of vodka, except less blurry.

    Comment by drgeo — October 30, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

  11. what did you ask your tutor that his only avenue of escape was to get his brother round with the ambulance??
    Ive been trying to catch up with your posts, However Im in the Isle of man (Douglas weather bound with the drill barge Excalibur) and can only get a hotspot at high water!!!
    Take it your on a course? Will it help you hold spanners better? Catch up with you later Best regards Kevan.

    Comment by kevanmcneil — October 31, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

    • Morning Kevan, wondered where you’d been, hope the weather improves, it’s many years since I was in the IOM.

      Good luck, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 2, 2012 @ 7:47 am

  12. The lads restoring the Henry Frederick Swan are doing a fantastic job, all credit to them.

    She served at Tynemouth again 1941 – 1947 after her successor, the John Pyemont, was destroyed by the bomb (as seen in the picture above), so she did a total of 28 years at Tynemouth in two spells but she is nowhere near the longest serving lifeboat on record; that honour belongs to the Zetland, one of Greathead’s lifeboats, which was built in 1800 and on station for 62 years at Redcar between 1802 and 1864 and, when no other boat was available, was dragged out of her museum to effect a rescue in the 1880s! She is still in existence in the Zetland Museum in Redcar and is now 214 years old.

    RNLI lifeboats average about 25 years’ service but quite a few racked up almost 40 years of service; certainly built to last!

    Comment by Tim — January 26, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

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