Life at the end of the road

December 1, 2012


Filed under: boats, daily doings, harbour, life off grid, New hybrid ferry, Trucks and plant, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:43 am

What looked like a very promising day greeted me as I went out in the half light of dawn. No sign of frost and not even particularly cold considering the lack of cloud, fine by me, for the last thing I needed was numb fingers when ‘ear tagging’ the pigs. Common sense should have had me doing it days, if not weeks ago with help, but I’d forgotten all about it until last night and couldn’t relax until I’d found the pliers and tags. In truth going out during the night and sprakling  about with a torch didn’t make much sense, I would have found them much easier by daylight, but then I wouldn’t have slept for worrying.




So earlier than usual I set about juggling the pigs about so that I could get the three Tamworths through the field occupied by the myopic and heavily pregnant Jamie Lea. This will be the ‘Old spot’ sow that should have farrowed about eight weeks ago!!!! I dunno what’s going on inside her but she just keeps getting bigger and bigger with no sign yet of her teats filling with milk. I know what’s going to happen right enough, both her and Ellie, who is due on the 5th are going to farrow on the same day, probably whilst I’m away Sad smile



Ellie herself is certainly filling out, see how her teats are pointing ‘out the way’, a sure sign that she’s just days away, though there’s still no milk there.

With the two sows dealt with I turned my attention to the three Tammies, which, unusually we never got around to naming, though they would very soon have a number Smile



I dunno why I get in such a panic about tagging pigs because it really is very easy and they don’t feel a thing, all you have to do is distract them with food and be quick with the pliers.


The morning really did look promising with the majestic Storr dusted with snow to the north and shrouded in cloud to the south. However it didn’t last, and by the time I’d loaded up the pigs and driven down to the shop with 6 dozen ‘Arnish Eggs’ it was pishing down Sad smile 



Having gone through the village for the first time in daylight since my return I was pleased to note that work had begun on the new ‘Heritage centre’ at the old Raasay mill. I was a good forty minutes early for the ferry deliberately so that I could set up my office Smile



Eleven miles from home it’s one of the few places I can get a 3g signal with my fantastic ‘Three network’ dongle. Then began the task of wading through my emails and sending three off to Niall at to complain about my weeks without internet or feedback. That done and my revised quote from downloaded I opened the blog.

Well peeps, I was nearly in tears with all the comments and just wish I had the time to reply, a few new faces, some inspiring quotes, lots of love, hugs and sympathy and a great deal of ‘knocking on Q-Sat’s door’ so to speak, you’re all so kind and thoughtful.

Many thanks to you all, especially Lloyd for digging out,

Then Almitra spoke, saying, “We would ask now of Death.”
And he said:
You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the sheered not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink form the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

from Khalil Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’,


I spent a long while looking for my copy before remembering I gave it away to one who needed it more than I some years ago. I must replace it (again) Smile for I’ve given many copies away.

Feeling much inspired by all the support I never really noticed the rain at Sconser Smile




Work seemed to be progressing well on the temporary slip there, with the piling for the fendering in and yet more rock being delivered.

013 014

Speaking of fenders, it looks like Portree pier is getting some also, long overdue, it needed replacing when I was fishing, come to think of it, I think some of it was replaced.




I think that Cat could do with being a few inches further forward Smile



Once through Portree on the way to Staffin the Old man of Storr dominates your view, only six miles from my road end, yet it was a thirty mile drive to here Smile




It may only be 18 miles from Portree to Staffin and the road is wide and smooth but it’s a hard journey to rush as there’s so much to see.




This will be Eilean Tigh just off Raasay’s northern tip and as you drive a little further north you can see right from the Raasay narrows to the Rona light, though it was hardly a day for pictures Sad smile



Eventually I arrived at my destination with the ‘three little pigs’,



Dave and Sarah’s busy little croft on the outskirts of Staffin, as if they haven’t got enough to do with their own pigs, hens, polytunnel and ‘farmers market’. Despite having a million and one other things on the agenda Dave was going to take the pigs through to Dingwall for me on Monday. We really have been overwhelmed by the help that we’ve had from friends and neighbours this past couple of months, nothing has been too much trouble for them. It’s not like we’re ‘just next door’, some of our friends have driven sixteen miles daily to feed the pigs and collect eggs. Words fail me.




Pigless, it was back to Sconser, again deliberately early by almost an hour to catch up with my emails etc.



No emails back from Q-sat, well apart from the automated reply



but ‘lo and behold’ Robert the engineer phoned me to tell me they would have an engineer here by lunchtime NEXT FRIDAY Sad smile They were very busy and would have to send ‘a man up from sowf’, “why not use the local chap in Sleat” says I, “what local chap” he replies, “the one who installed the system” I informed him, the one who lives about half an hour from the ferry terminal, I despair Sad smile

I’m not going to ‘lose the plot’ I feel so good about all the help I’ve had recently that I’m finding it hard to get wound up Smile Even when I discovered Vodafone had debited £153.76p from my bank account instead of the usual £10 that I pay for my 600 minutes. Turns out, yes I really did spend all that time on the phone and Mohamed was kind enough to knock me £15 off as a gesture Smile

MV Hallaig

Just over two weeks now to the launch on December 17th


and that’s the bridge in place.


Concept design for the world's first sea going RORO passenger hybrid ferry

That’s going to be a lot of boat to clean and paint Smile


Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits

Well December has just arrived, well about nine hours ago, so I greeted it with the traditional ‘rabbits, rabbits, rabbits,’ dunno where that comes from, must ‘Google ‘ it, wifey always says ‘white rabbits’, must be a Glasgow thing Smile Anyway, apart form crows I saw little wildlife this morning in the bitter north wind but I did get Ellie shifted onto the croft for her imminent farrowing before coming back in for breakfast.


weather 011212


So before I tuck into my ‘Arnish egg’ I’ll just leave you with the weather then I’m going to go and try once more to get a satellite link at as it’s time to go and check the batteries and hydro turbine anyway. Who knows I may even give my friends at Q-Sat a ring, well I will if I’ve not gone over my 600 minutes and get charged 30p for every extra one Sad smile


graph 011212

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