Life at the end of the road

November 30, 2012

A whole week!!!!!!

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:37 am

Well it will be tomorrow anyway, what?, a whole week since I arrived back at Arnish that is. A whole week without any internet Sad smile It was bearable the first day because I could go along to my mate’s at Torran and use his but now that’s died too. You have no idea what a struggle it is, even in the backwoods of Raasay without the internet. Pig movement forms require doing on line, I’ve a whole load of stuff shuttling back and forth from the bank via email. I’ve revised quotes and an order form for my Internorm windows from Dunn Homes floating about in the ether somewhere and still no word of getting fixed.



I can’t even blame it on drink now for I’ve not touched a drop in a week, and I know I promised to stop swearing but I’m frigging fuming.



When I was away at college this arrived in the post and assured me of a seamless and efficient transfer from Avanti broadband to Q-Sat. It can only be a good move thought I for Avanti were on the whole pretty useless, or at least they were initially when I had problems with them. Their so called ‘broadband’ was pathetic and used some kind of compression that turned my pictures to mush and would not update pages automatically. I stuck with them for two reasons only, one I’d no option and two they promised another satellite due to be launched in a few months would deliver far better service. Sure enough HYLAS 2 did but it was almost two years late when I finally got hooked up to it just over a year ago. Things seemed to be getting better, YouTube and iPlayer were at last watchable and the helplines now stayed open after 5:00pm and were even manned at weekend.

In fact the service was pretty good until the Dude got his iPhone last Christmas and started using up all my meager 8Gb allowance Sad smile Hardly Avanti’s fault, though once ‘throttled’ it made even viewing emails on line impossible, and that was it until the next month. No way of paying for the extra usage, just restricted to some connection speed worse than ‘dial up’ for the rest of the month Sad smile 

Then along came Q-Sat, no warning, just this letter and an email assuring me that nothing would change, it even hinted that I may get a better deal. When our connection slowed to ‘snails pace’ at the end of October I just put it down to the Dude and half term, plus the odd Skype conversation with my loved one 400 miles away. However by mid November even the snail had died so yours truly phoned up my new ISP and it got off to a really good start. I explained to the delightful Niamh that I had a problem but it was 400 miles away and could they sort it if my thirteen year old son phoned up. Me being in South Shields England and my satellite dish, son and wife being in the middle of nowhere Scotland. True to her word her smooth Irish voice phoned me back, said that would be fine and she did her best, phoning me back on Friday evening saying that she was sorry but she’d need to get an engineer to look at it on Monday.

Bit of a problem that as the boy is away at the hostel Monday and wife back to see her sick father but at least they tried and kept me informed. A week later I’m home, and phones them up straight away, once more speaking to Niamh and then Gavin, it was almost worth having a problem to speak to real people with names Smile Again, after trying the local engineers I was told I’d have to wait until Monday, well it’s fecking Thursday now and I’ve still not seen or heard from an engineer and all I get from everyone at Q-Sat is ‘we’ve passed it on to the engineers’. When I ask to speak to an engineer or ask for a phone number to contact one I’m told ‘we’ve no way of getting in touch with them’. Well how on earth do you report a fault to them then??????? any way I’ve emailed Niall the nice chap on the letter.


Hi Niall,

there’s no point replying to this email because I’ve had to drive ten miles just to send it as we’ve been at least two weeks without an internet connection, possibly six. I cannot say for sure because I have been away from home for nine weeks but every time I spoke to my family since late October they told me they could not get online. Initially I thought this would have been due to my son using up all October’s 8GB with his iPhone so wasn’t worried. However by the 16th of November it became apparent that it simply was not working so I phoned your helpline from the college I was studying at some 400 miles from home and was pleased to speak with Niamh, who contacted my 13 year old son at home and did some tests.

The fault was not repaired, my son went back to school and my wife went to visit her sick father leaving the house unoccupied for a week. As soon as I returned home on the 23rd I contacted your support line and it has been a a very disappointing experience, though I cannot fault your staff, Gavin, David, Niamh and many more I’ve spoken to, who have all been polite and helpful.

The problem has I think been passed onto Avanti engineers in London who have phoned me several times and assured me this is ‘high priority’. That would be three days ago now and I have still not heard a cheep, what is really, really annoying me is that all your operators tell me they have no way of contacting the engineers to find out what is happening. Something I find very hard to swallow, and if true is not the way to run a business.

You are my ISP and it is you that I pay so you should at least be able to tell me when I am likely to be visited by an engineer. You will be able to see how much data I’ve used this month so I hope you’re not going to charge me for it. I rely heavily on my internet for work and all manner of things from animal movement orders, to sales, accounts and purchases. My neighbours link at Torran has also failed but he is not home to complain and I have to do a twenty mile round trip just to pick up my emails etc.

I would be very grateful if you could sort this out for me as I’m at my wits end. It is very difficult running a croft and trying to build a house without any internet at all. It is also very annoying for the many readers of my daily blog Life at the end of the road well it used to be daily Smile

Hopefully I’ll be able to send it tomorrow when I go to Staffin with the three Tamworths.

Anyway, I was up early and got the Dude down to the Loch Linnhe in time, no mean feat when it involves dragging a teenager out of bed before seven am Smile


Once the boy was away I settled down on the car park, laptop on the centre console, feet on the heater and got on with internetting for an hour or so.


It was almost as good as being in the kitchen at home and certainly provided a better view over Churchton Bay Smile


That will be the old mine workings silhouetted against the sky and Ben na Calliach ,


and that will be the Sconser quarry and those pesky Cuillins that are responsible for depositing all the rain on Raasay Smile


After that it was home for breakfast and an hour or so on the phone to sort out some house related stuff that would have been much easier had I been on line Sad smile 

Next it was one of those ten minute jobs that took about two hours, ten minutes if your near a Halfords or motor factors and can get a 63mm exhaust clamp.


That’s the problem with stainless steel exhausts, they outlast all the clamps that are still made of mild steel Sad smile This one must have broken on the way back from South Shields and I never noticed until this morning. A 54mm bit of tube or a 63mm manifold clamp would have sorted it but I might as well be on the moon here, more annoying because I know that I threw out the old exhaust with good clamps on just a few months ago in ‘the big clear up’ Sad smile



Not the most professional repair but there is a bolt between the two clamps too and it will suffice for now.



Then it was back to the wood until dark to fell some more of the birch behind the net shed.



Though it was a bit wet for using Simon’s ‘Logit’, not that the rain bothers Raasay Engineering’s great wood cutting stand, it was just that I want to save all the wood chips for hen bedding.



There was another spectacular ‘hunters moon’ that would have been ideal for venting my frustration on some woodcock with my Hatsan semi auto shotgun but I was pure wrecked after shifting all that timber three times. Once down to the fence, once over the fence and into the quad and then out of the quad into a pile. By the time it gets into the living room fire it’ll have been shifted a further three times, there sure is a lot of work in this so called ‘free wood’ Smile 

weather 301112


graph 301112

Anyway it’s 7:50am now, still dark but I’d better make a start, got to go and find three large Tamworth’s and tag their ears, that should be fun on my own Smile


  1. Paul & Family
    Welcome home , your world seemingly hasn’t changed and I can see what is going to happen in 14 days

    Enjoy. To early for Christmas card.

    Comment by Polite Scouser — November 30, 2012 @ 11:12 am

  2. And I thought we had speed/bandwidth problems out here in the Angus Glens! Oh the joys of country living!
    Nice bit of ingenuity on the exhaust clamp front!

    Comment by caadfael — November 30, 2012 @ 11:20 am

  3. Sorry to hear that there has been no luck on the ISP yet, hopefully your e-mail will help speed things up!
    Great pictures and many thanks for taking the time to put them up while enjoying the surroundings, pleased to here the Dude is has gone back to School, hopefully in much better fettle.
    Good luck with the Tamworth’s could be a good film in there watching you try to round them up and tag them on you’re own.
    Thinking of you all,

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — November 30, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

    • This poem that I was given when mum died has helped me so much, I hope it gives some comfort to you and the family as well Paul.

      Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 1, 2012 @ 4:34 am

  4. Last year I had a 2-3 month problem with my ISP which I eventually took to the Ombudsman and got them to repay what they owed plus a nominal sum as a gesture. They never did fix it after ‘escalating’ it through the ranks and making automatic phone calls every couple of days (many of which just rang then rang off) to supposedly keep me informed. It was originally Homecall, taken over by someone else and eventually connected to talktalk. I was given various bits of advice by Ombudsman, if of any use to you I can rake out my paperwork though, like you, all I wanted was my internet back! The only way I did was to change to BT.
    The thing I found most frustrating was also the fact that EVERYONE assumes everyone has internet!

    Comment by may cruickshank — November 30, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  5. Entered Q Sat into my Facebook search box and it came right up! Left them this message: Sitting here in Texas hoping my favorite blog goes online again soon. When will there be a service call sent to Arnish, Rasaay? Small isolated communities are SO dependent on internet connection–your job is important! Thanks for all the good work you do, especially during this season of charity and giving!

    Comment by drgeo — November 30, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

    • well done, I left a message too but not nearly as eloquent as yours!

      Comment by may cruickshank — November 30, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

      • I too have followed your example with the following message, hopefully more of us FB folks will bombard this company as well!

        As an avid reader and friend of Paul at Life at the end of the Road i am most disheartened to see that my favourite blog, which brings me great joy and satisfaction, is suffering such terrible service from you and I sincerely hope that along with all the other Life At The End Of The Road’s viewers and friends that you will resolve this issue at immediately.

        Life in remote areas is hard enough for those who live in these places and it is ludicrous that in this day and age a better service for these hard working people find there businesses and personal lives suffering as a result of poor communication services.

        Surely if we can put men on the moon, rovers on Mars and maintain communication with them then it cannot be so difficult to have better systems in place to communicate on the same planet!

        FB members can post at

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 1, 2012 @ 4:48 am

  6. Happy Saint Andrew’s Day everyone!

    Comment by drgeo — November 30, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

  7. I am saddened to hear of your father in laws death. Just read it tonight when I got back from the ‘winged isle’ where I have been for the last few days, please also extend my condolences to your wife and son. Life will never be the same again, but it goes on in a different way and,in time, we get better at dealing with our pain. Hope your blogging difficulties will be resolved very soon if not already….maybe buy British should be mooted… AOL is taboo here..we had to deal with Ireland and ?Bangalore, and they could only deal with their own scripted answers, which did not include an answer to certain questions, so they hung up on us daily…joys…!

    Comment by SOTW — November 30, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

  8. Paul,

    That is the beauty of getting wood for your fire. It warms me when I gather it, it warms when I cut it, it warms me when I split it and finally when I burn it!/photo.php?
    Not sure if the picture above will work as me and computers are not a match made in heaven. A picture on The Glenviews F book page, made me smile when I saw your cracking sunrise pictures. Soooo looking forward to moving to Skye.


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — November 30, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

    • Had to copy the url ad then paste it into web address to link to the picture.
      this may work!

      Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 1, 2012 @ 4:31 am

      • Thank you for that, computers are not my best friend.

        Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — December 1, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

      • No worries Arthur, one of the good things about being disabled is that in the early days they sent me on all sorts of PC courses to help take my mind off my problems!
        Always happy to help where I can and especially when it comes to Paul’s Blog, its just another of my lifelines but by far the best!
        if I can help in future just give me a shout!

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 3, 2012 @ 3:40 am

  9. Saw this and thought of you and the Swineherd Paul!

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 1, 2012 @ 9:20 am

  10. My condolences to you all re your recent loss.
    Sorry to hear that you have had problems with your connection as well. Your problems are alot worse than ours have been, but it is frustrating to say the least. SSE had to turn our electricity off a couple of weeks ago, and when it came back on we had no internet. (I agree the staff are helpful and did phone back etc – as you have experienced.) Our connection was re-instated within a few hours, for which I am v grateful. For some reason though we needed a new router after that incident. 😦 I dont understand why if QSat are supplying us via the same Avanti satellite why our connection is no longer as secure as it was before QSat took over. Our connection keeps dropping out, which makes uploading large files very difficult and time consuming. I hope that they do sort yours out soon, and re-imburse you for the lost connection time at least. Perhaps we need a west coast QSat user forum?

    Comment by headlandoftrees — December 1, 2012 @ 9:32 am

  11. Hi Paul, hope you get back to normal soon and tell Babs we are thinking of her at this sad time, all the best.

    Comment by jimmy mcmillan — December 1, 2012 @ 10:17 pm

    • Glad to hear from you Jimmy, I think we’re over the worst now thanks, will pass your message onto wifey.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 2, 2012 @ 7:34 pm

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