Life at the end of the road

December 2, 2012

Leaving home (again) :-(

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:15 pm

The lovely pasta dish, ‘Salice Salentino’ red wine and proper broadband connection has gone some way to tempering my sadness at leaving home once more. As has seeing my parents, and a pine marten coming to the door for an egg!!! I kid you not, this long sleek furry creature comes up to the conservatory door and my mum gave it an egg!!! The two large dogs just sit and watch, mum opens the door out the way and passes the egg under the door to the lithe mammal, he just takes it off her and slowly pads away Smile 

I had intended leaving Raasay on Monday but total lack of connectivity allied to a good day that saw me getting much done swung it. I had much to deal with on the internet so rather than drive twenty miles and sit for hours in the Land Rover near the youth hostel I decided to leave. Of course I wasted an hour at my mates first trying to get on line on his link first Sad smile 

I was up early on a nice sharp winter morning, well early at this time of year being 7:30 for it’s still dark at 8:00 and after doing a few indoor ‘keep wifey happy’ jobs I went out feeding.

003  005

The day looked very promising, a waxing moon and the remnants of a mackerel sky filling me with enthusiasm Smile



A total lack of wind for the Proven being offset by loads of water from overnight melted hail showers driving the ‘Stream Engine’, despite the calm the house was still toasty Smile



After feeding Jamie and Ellie I went to collect the ‘early eggs’ and was chased by the hens looking for grub. They have plenty to eat in their many feeders but still associate humans with food. Our hen ‘management’ is unusual in that we don’t shut the hens in at night as we’ve no predators. Basically they have the run of the place and come and go as they please, in the summer it can be a pain as they end up laying everywhere but at this time of year it pays huge dividends. The long cold nights mean they lay in the house but their freedom to come and go seems to keep them laying longer, were still averaging over two dozen eggs a day from 32 hens in December Smile

That done, and with the Dude still in his bed I headed over to my mates to check out how the hydro turbine was doing, and in the hope of getting online.

The hydro turbine was doing just fine and had taken the water temperature to almost 50 degrees.


I even thought that I’d get connected to the internet as the Hughes modem had all four lights illuminated, but that turned out to be a forlorn hope Sad smile


My laptop came up with the usual exclamation mark and ‘DNS sever not responding’, then as soon as I ‘re booted’ it the ‘system’ light went off and I knew that I was ‘goosed’. It was 9:30am and I couldn’t be bothered with ‘arguing the toss’ with anyone at Q Sat because “we can only discuss this with the account holder” so I went home to do some work Smile


Though not before admiring the best views from Raasay Smile 

Returning home there was still no sign of the Dude so I went over the hill to check on hydro stuff



This will be ‘Port Ur’, which I think means ‘the new port’ but sadly I cannot discern the rest of Charlie’s writing Sad smile


Charles MacLeod, the brother of Calum drew this map for me before he passed away last year so now I’ve no way of knowing.


Once back home and with the Dude awakened I made lunch for me and breakfast for him before cleaning out the oil stove in the kitchen.

018 019

Then it was back to my mates to check out the hydro turbine and once more fail to get an internet connection. The thermal store had crept up to 58 degrees and I also found a bunch of winter chanterelles before going back home and deciding to ‘ship out’. My neighbours would be back in residence tomorrow morning, so I collected the eggs, fed the pigs and we abandoned ship Sad smile


The ‘Old Girl’ is not exactly the ideal commuter vehicle but once at my parents I checked out the bus fare, it was going to cost me £59 by Citylink and £42 by Land Rover so it looks like we’re driving tomorrow Sad smile

Yet another sad loss

It’s a month ago now and it happened in America, but for all that her loss will be felt in Raasay, for Barbara Yalden Thomson was a regular and much loved visitor to these shores for many years.

Barbara Yalden-Thomson

Barbara Yalden-Thomson

Barbara Yalden-Thomson, of Earlysville, Virginia, died on Friday, November 2, 2012, at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Virginia.
She was born on September 13, 1921, in Manila in the Philippine Islands. She graduated from Dana Hall School and Wellesley College in Massachusetts before moving to Washington, D.C., where she served as a code breaker in the
United States Navy during World War II.
She was married to Truman A. Botts in 1944 and lived in Newark, Delaware, briefly before moving to Charlottesville in 1949. Her husband was a member of the faculty of the Mathematics Department at the University of Virginia and she was for several years an instructor of Spanish at the University and a violist in the UVA orchestra, as well as a devoted mother of their two children.
In 1961, she was remarried to David C. Yalden-Thomson, a Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Virginia. The couple moved to Clunie Farm in Earlysville, where Barbara lived for almost 50 years. She enjoyed living on the farm, entertaining friends there, riding her horses, and managing a small cut-you-own Christmas tree business. Barbara (and David until his death) spent every summer at their cottage on the Isle of Raasay in Scotland.
At age 62 she obtained a Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of Virginia. For the next 20 years she worked as a counselor in Charlottesville, mainly with Children Youth and Family Services (CYFS). She later served as a board member with CYFS and as a volunteer with the Court Appointed Special Advocate program and the University of Virginia Medical Center.
Barbara was predeceased by her husband, David; and her brothers, Edward Bishop of Hilton Head, South Carolina, and John Bishop of Boston/Nantucket, Massachusetts.
She is survived by her daughter, Margaret Botts Smith and husband, Paul Smith, of Charlottesville; and her son, Stephen Botts and wife, Jean Botts, of Earlysville. In addition, she is survived by her two grandchildren, William Botts of Richmond, Virginia, and Molly Giesbrecht and husband, Heath Giesbrecht, of College Station, Texas.
A memorial service is to be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to CYFS


  1. Hope you made it to Glasgow in good time Paul. I arrived just as it was starting to snow and get a bit slippy under tyre. Luckily you won’t have that problem.

    Comment by Seumas — December 3, 2012 @ 12:18 am

  2. Would this Scottish Gaelic dictionary
    help translate Mr McLeod’s map? Or a query to someone there?

    Comment by drgeo — December 3, 2012 @ 1:14 am

    • Morning DrG it’s not the translation, it’s reading Charlie’s hand writing that’s the problem. Calum Don MacKay my resident Gaelic scholar managed to decipher a some but I’ve forgotten what was what 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 3, 2012 @ 9:35 am

      • School teachers are often good at deciphering handwriting because they grade lots of papers and tests.

        Comment by Drgeo — December 3, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

      • Hi DrG,

        School teachers are often good at deciphering handwriting how about the daughter of a school teacher 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 3, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

  3. Paul, we can tell that your back in your comfort zone by the frequency of the blog posts. Even when you have little or no internet connection. Loving the pics, some cracking views.

    Could do with one of those loggit doofers… Just the thing to save my poor back while useing the chainsaw.
    Must addmit, been slacking on the blog front of late, i need to do more… Keep a had wor lad…

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — December 3, 2012 @ 1:34 am

  4. Wonderful pictures as always Paul, just brightens my day to see them!
    Hope you made it to Glasgow OK, we passed by Larkhall on the way back home around 6pm and I it made me think of you and the family, sending good thoughts to you all.
    will make a note to try and find some old Scottish maps when next down at dad’s I have a feeling that among them are some detailed one of the Islands of Scotland. Might be worth a hunt around the web so will do that as well, will let you know how I get on!
    Love to all

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 3, 2012 @ 4:03 am

    • Morning Graham, still not left the ‘wild west’ yet 🙂 just pottering about at my mums, will be heading sowf shortly. Re the old maps, always interested in them, have you seen this site ?? Scotland in the old 1″ OS maps.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 3, 2012 @ 9:43 am

      • Hadn’t come across that one so another new thing you have taught me! Very interesting!
        won’t be for a while till we head down to dads but will ask him to look them out if he still has them, will also check my hiding places as i did have some old OS ones somewhere!
        Just spent the weekend uploading and sorting out the Thomson Brochures which are now all on the site, well at least the ones I possess. have a look at homepage for the links to the list and the last dozen or so added. Already had some interesting comments on the Thomson caravans FB page! (Link on the website or through my FB page.
        All the best and safe journeys

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 5, 2012 @ 4:02 am

  5. Hi Paul,
    Just in case Dave hasn`t texted or called you the 3 Tammies made it over to Dingwall & sadly by the time you read this they`ll be no more. Weather/road conditions were “interesting” & Dave arrived pretty frazzled/cold. All the best for your journey & thinking of you all. Dave & Sarah

    Comment by dave & sarah — December 3, 2012 @ 11:43 am

    • Thanks Sarah, Dave did phone but the Dude answered and forgot to tell me 😦 It’s always an epic this time of year, I’m so grateful to you both.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 3, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

  6. I have a list of all the Raasay coastline names compiled by Calum the road. Next time I come across it…..
    Port a crocan(not Gaelic spelling) may be the name you are struggling with ?
    Hope all goes well tomorrow, my thoughts will be with you all xxx

    Comment by SOTW — December 3, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

    • Hi She and thanks, look forward to it X

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 3, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

  7. You’re certainly having a bit of a bad time at teotr just lately Paul! I was sad to hear of the death of Barbara Yeldon Thomson, I met her a few years ago on the track to Torran, I was heading for Caol Rona (didn’t get there that time -had to head back to be at YH at 5pm) and she had been picking mushrooms for her tea. When she knew I was at the YH she said “Oh you are my next door neighbour then, although you are two miles from me”, and invited me to call on her any time I was passing – “if my car is in the drive I’ll be in”. Well I did call on her a couple of times over the next few years when I was passing, and found out about her Scottish husband and her trips each year to Raasay. I would have put her about 10 years younger than she was, and I admired her for coming from the US each year on her own, hope I’ll still be visiting Raasay when I’m her age! And what a fantastic view from her house! Hope you’ve managed to get to Glasgow ok, and that you all make it back home without too much snow. I bought a 1950’s map of Raasay in the Oxfam shop about a year ago – no Calum’s Road on it – I’ll have to bring it with me next time I’m on Raasay for you to have a look at.

    Comment by francesp — December 3, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

    • Aye Frances, Barbara was certainly interesting company that’s for sure.

      raasay map

      would the map be like this but with TCB at the ‘kiosk’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 3, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

  8. Paul – the person to enlighten you on Raasay place names is Rebecca, she has a book coming out about them and lots of names collected from older Raasay people who know what THEY call places – and she was a school teacher!

    Anne Macdonald

    Comment by Anne Macdonald — December 4, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

  9. The map I have is dated 1956, and it’s not quite the same as above – mine has a P for post office at Arnish and not Torran, the YH is on the other side of the road to what it is now (although I’m pretty certain it has never been on the other side of the road – I think that is just a mistake!), and the ‘top road’ which passes the YH appears not to be tarred – it might have been in better condition like that than it is now!! You’ll have to enlighten me as to TCB at the ‘kiosk’ – maybe a reference to the tuck shops at Torran and Fearns provided by the locals for the hungry walkers to buy home made cakes? or what?

    Comment by francesp — December 4, 2012 @ 2:31 pm

    • In 1956 the post office was at north Arnish,but the call box possibly was not erected then. The telephone was called Torran, as the post office was there prior to its north Arnish location . It was when the new automatic exchanges came that it changed to Raasay and later still to 01478 etc.

      Comment by SOTW — December 4, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

    • Hi Frances, TCB stands for telephone call box and it stood in what is now the Arnish car park, which was referred to locally as ‘the kiosk’ around 1970 it was taken away and now sits in Inverarish next to its cousin.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 7, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

  10. Come to think of it – I don’t think the YH was there in 1956 – although I know that Alan Evans, who owned the cottage before it became a YH, did use it as a sort of bunkhouse for the lads that belonged to the club that he ran for outdoor pursuits, so maybe that is why it’s marked as a YH.

    Comment by francesp — December 4, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

    • The YH was known as Creachan Lodge when Mr Evans lived there.

      Comment by SOTW — December 4, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

  11. thank you for the story of the pine marten. i found this on youtube and fondly think of your mother.

    a friend of mine once lived in the boondocks and found racoons fiddling with the garbage can on the porch in which he secured the dry dog food. so he put some out every night for the racoons. one night he ran out. around two in the morning he heard loud rhythmic mayhem occuring on the porch, went down, shown a flashlight and saw ten little racoon faces lined up outside the kitchen window demanding their usual 2 a.m. snack.
    he cooked them all pancakes.

    Comment by jeannettesmyth — December 4, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

    • Amazing…is that her kits calling her in the background ?

      Comment by SOTW — December 5, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

      • Hi She, not sure, my hearing is rubbish 😦

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 7, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

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