Life at the end of the road

December 30, 2012

Willing helpers :-)

Filed under: daily doings, Trucks and plant — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:10 pm

Well it’s been another wild day here on Raasay with west wind and serious showers, fortunately the icy rain, whilst ‘on and off’ all day seldom lasted more than a few minutes so we managed to stay dry. We being ‘Lightning MacLennan’ and myself initially, then the Dude after lunch, once he’d finally surfaced from his pit Smile Long gone are the days when I had an army of ‘willing helpers’, they’ve all become teenagers and moved onto ‘cooler’ stuff Smile Today however it was just like old times, my boy has a pal staying with him so today I made use of the extra pair of hands. To be honest I’d little choice, for unlike my son ‘Lightning’ was up at the crack of dawn and looking for action Smile

So I wasn’t going to disappoint, and after feeding everyone it was a quick lesson in the importance of regular greasing.





Then we did one final bucket load of rock before ‘tracking’ the Komatsu home to spread the piles of ‘sub base’







At 1.1 mph it took quite a while Sad smile

Time enough to stop film a waterfall going ‘up the way’ at Torran.



Once back home and with breakfast demolished we fitted a new nut and bolt to one of the bucket teeth.



Then started to spread out and level all the piles that I’d brought over in the dumper over the last few days.



I have to say, that I’m well pleased with the result, what was once a swamp and impossible to access with the Land Rover outside the ‘dry season’ is now a firm and level area that you could walk across in slippers, OK, perhaps not slippers Smile


It remains to be seen if they’re so keen to help me cut wood or service the wife’s car Smile 

That wee terror of a dog Charlie got so muddy in the morning that we tried to keep him in the house, but as soon as the front door was opened just a crack he was out.


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The tinker ran round the back of the house, jumped through a hole in the shed door for the cats, and no amount of coaxing could get him back through it. In the end we gave up, opened the door then carried him back into the house, I was not having a repeat performance of black muddy dog charging over the carpets and beds Sad smile

Sixty five years today

With everything nicely flattened out we took the digger back, did one more load as well as re aligning the TV satellite dish to keep the wife happy and feeding the pigs. It’s not even 20:00 now but I’m going to call it a day after wishing John and Mavis a happy 65th wedding anniversary.

 john and mavis

John “The Caley” Nicolson and his wife Mavis have been married 65 years today, a big CONGATULATIONS from us all at the ‘north end’. Does he not just look ever so smart in that NLB uniform Smile

Just the weather


Not half as wild as yesterday but a stronger gust, this time over 60mph, though at the actual Proven wind turbine you can probably add 10 or more mph onto that.


December 29, 2012

The late turkey :-)

Filed under: daily doings, food — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:07 pm

Just as most people are starting to get well and truly sick of their Christmas turkey, we’ve just started ours Smile OK, it went into the oven last night for three and a half hours when the batteries were fizzing but it got ‘browned’ today and we had it for lunch Smile A late lunch, like the late turkey but a proper feast indeed, enjoyed by the whole family in our first proper get together at Arnish over the festive season.

My dad’s not so good away from home, my mum doesn’t like driving at night and to be quite honest I don’t blame her the Raasay roads are a f*****g ( I know, I know I’m swearing again but if you can find a better adjective please let me know and I’ll use it) disgrace.


As cartoonist and ex clam diver ‘Chris’ illustrates so accurately in this weeks cartoon from the West Highland Free Press   . This beautiful island has many assets, but probably its most widely known, is the world renowned ‘Calum’s road’ the subject of song, book, play and film, yet along with the rest of Raasay’s roads it’s deteriorating into a 4×4 only track. Millions has been spent on giving us a long overdue harbour, renovating Raasay House and building us a new hybrid ferry yet the basic right of member of the public to get from A to B without wrecking their car, falling off their bike or motor cycle is overlooked. ‘Come to Raasay’, loose your spoiler, break a spring, get a puncture or rip the sump off your car, skid on the gravel and wreck your bike, it is criminal. Within the last twelve months at least three cars have holed their sumps, one has lost its sump guard, at least two have broken springs and the roadside is littered with plastic spoilers.

I’ve been away from home since September and have been staggered by the attrition of our roads, accelerated in no small part by the construction of yet another water treatment plant. A pointless exercise that has involved the transport of thousands of tons of concrete, plant and traffic onto the already crumbling single track.

The last time my parents visited they nearly took the bottom out of their wee Toyota Aygo, and it’s one of the reasons why we see  so little of them at Arnish. Today however I said that I’d go and pick them up from the ferry so that they could join us  for a late Christmas lunch.


So after feeding everyone  doing one more load of rock in the half light of dawn, putting the cotechino  on the stove and repairing wifey’s ‘air bag light’ (more of that later)  I set off early to collect them, early so that I could photograph some of the potholes.


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Of course after the torrential rain of yesterday all the worst ones are full of water



and it became pretty obvious that if I were to take pictures of even a quarter of them I’d not make the 17:30 ferry let alone the 11:30 Smile

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Now, at this point I’m still less then 2 miles from home on an 11 mile drive Sad smile



Luckily the weather turned really wet and miserable so I’ll spare you the agony and boredom of the rest of the journey.

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Well, I will once I’ve posted these last few, but bear in mind that I’ve still 8 or 9 miles to drive.


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The wife’s Nissan Almera is due for an MOT, as soon as the weather improves I’m going to service it and you can bet there’ll be some worn out ball joints. One thing for sure it won’t fail on the ‘air bag warning light’ Smile

Nissan Almera air bag light flashing

I hate new cars and all this electronic carp that means a trip to the dealer and a days wage just to reset some stupid indicator on the dash, so when the silly red ‘air bag’ light on the dash started flashing I despaired. Normally I would have just taken the bulb out but this Nissan SVE has a pointless TV type screen also that FLASHES in big serious letters ‘DANGER’ air bag fault Sad smile So I does what anyone would do in this situation and consulted the internet.

Do not believe everything you read

As you do, I types into Google ‘nissan almera air bag light flashing’ and also ‘resetting nissan almera air bag warning light’ and this is what appeared.



Not very encouraging


but this at least pointed me in the right direction,


sure enough that brown connector was loose, but of course the light now needed resetting, and according to Otis that was impossible without a trip to Inverness.


John Paul the ‘Nissan master tech’ was full of carp too, for I discovered this little nugget of information off Molly (now there’s synchronicity at work Smile )


How to reset a Nissan Almera air bag warning light



Thanks Molly, it worked a treat Smile

Porky treats

Back home with mum, dad and their two dogs around 12:30 meant that the cotechino had been boiling for two and a half hours and was just about ready.


That will be them on the right, made by my very good friend from the two Tamworth’s that went to Dingwall recently Smile  A traditional Italian dish it is usually served with lentils on New Years eve, kind of like a salami that you cook. I’d planned to serve it with scallops but on mums advice we had it with mostarda

again a traditional Italian concoction, this time of glazed fruit and mustard !!!!! I know, I know it sounds revolting but it was truly delicious and we had the scallops separately just before the roast turkey Smile






Feeling truly stuffed, and knowing that if I stopped moving I’d fall asleep I took my dad out for a walk, leaving the ladies to clear up the mess and do the washing up Smile 

The eighty four year old and I wondered down the Torran path before taking the steep path up to the long empty township of North Arnish.





The ‘old man’ never ceasing to amaze me with his agility and stamina, it’s a fair trek up to North Arnish and it’s all uphill  Smile

We took an ‘overland’ route after that to visit friends at Torran, and of course scrounge a coffee for the trip home Smile Sadly, not long after returning to Arnish it was time to once more ‘bump’ down the road and take them back to the ferry Sad smile

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