Life at the end of the road

December 8, 2012

Farewell to the mountains :-(

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:36 pm

I’m sure that Holland is an interesting place, steeped as it is in maritime history, after all it is where the VOC came from Wiki reckons that the ‘Dutch East India Company’ or VOC was the the first truly ‘mega corporation’ or ‘multinational’ but personally I reckon that was the church Smile Either way the Dutch like ourselves are a true nation of seafarers and I should be glad to be going there on a freebie from my employer, but I’ve scarcely spent more than a couple of days with ‘wife child and dog’ all at the same time since September so I’m not ‘enthused’. Especially since I had to get a passport specially and have difficulty catching a bus, let alone an aeroplane Smile 

Anyway, after a sleepless night of sneezing, coughing and wheezing that seemed to improve around three AM as the whisky took effect I got up at seven AM and had a bath. After which I spent a could few hours in a flap packing my bag and generally getting worked up about the whole ‘foreign trip’. I fed the pigs, collected eggs, turned off one of the hydro turbines and tried to ascertain if I could take a pressurised container of shaving cream on a flight and all before breakfast.


Ellie had made her first trip out of the arc in a couple of days and all her piglets were thriving, Jamie Lea was much the same and managed to get through the night without squashing any Smile



With all the animals sorted, eggs collected and breakfast eaten I turned my attention to the ‘Old Girl’, filling her with water and oil before heading for the 12:15 from Raasay.


The weather was carp and I began my 200 mile trip in rain and mist Sad smile


However it improved slightly on the mainland once past Balmacara



and I stopped above Loch Loyne



to take some medicine


and ‘phone home’.  I dunno if this bizarre collection of stones above Loch Loyne has anything to do with the mysterious death of Willie MacRae  in 1985 but it’s in the general area. A staunch nationalist and controversial figure Willie was found dead in his Volvo by two Australian tourists some hours after his murder/suicide, with about as many conspiracy theories as the killing of JFK we’ll probably never know. However it certainly makes interesting reading, if not just for the incompetence Smile you really could not make this stuff up Smile Gay, alcoholic, MI5, UKEA, and a hundred other theories it makes fascinating reading, but now it’s after 22:30 and I’ve got to go to bed Smile 

Meanwhile back at Hallaig Smile

But before I go and ‘hot off the press’

Hallaig painted


the MV Hallaig, our new hybrid ferry almost ready for launch on the 17th Smile



  1. Hope you have have a good journey/trip Paul. I know the timing’s carp but I guess the sooner you get out there the sooner you’ll be all done and back on Raasay. Lisa

    Comment by Lisa E — December 8, 2012 @ 10:48 pm

    • Cheers Lisa,

      once I’m out there I’ll be fine, in fact I’m extremely looking forward to learning about the new hybrid drive. It’s just like you say ‘the timings carp’ 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 8, 2012 @ 11:11 pm

  2. Enjoy the trip and don’t forget a wee something for “wifey” and “the dude”

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — December 8, 2012 @ 11:12 pm

    • Morning Steve, yup, think I’ll be doing Christmas shopping in Rotterdam 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2012 @ 9:04 am

  3. What a toy to get for Christmas. Remember to keep the box, I got more fun with the packaging than with the presents when I was a kid. Not long Paul and you’ll be cleaning & polishing all the new scuff marks, god help anyone who bumps the paintwork. I can see the headlines, Tourist made to walk the plank after scuffing deck. Hope you enjoy your trip Walter

    Comment by Polite Scouser — December 9, 2012 @ 1:00 am

    • Morning Walter, think I’ll be carrying around my own personal ‘drip tray’ for the ‘Old Girl’ just for the ferry. You know what they say about Land Rovers ‘putting oil back into the ground since 1948’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2012 @ 9:07 am

  4. hope your trip goes well. You will soon be home. Then you O/H and Dude can hang out at xmas. Then its the new year and you can put the past behind you’s and even though the Dude is all grown up have a team hug

    Comment by rob — December 9, 2012 @ 1:34 am

    • Hi Rob, you’re dead right about that, can’t wait 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2012 @ 9:07 am

  5. Excellent pictures and blog even when you not feeling 100% and on the road, your dedication is to be admired. AZ Tony

    Comment by tonylucas — December 9, 2012 @ 4:13 am

    • Morning Tony, wondered where you’d been 🙂 Must have been thinking of you, for last night I had a vivid dream about driving through Arizona and stopping at a tiny ranch in the desert to help a chap with an Alfa Romeo and some sheep 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2012 @ 9:10 am

  6. This time of year you might be expected to bring back presents from Rotterdam. Dutch chocolate ?

    Comment by Drgeo — December 9, 2012 @ 4:35 am

    • Morning DrG, sounds like a plan 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2012 @ 9:11 am

      • For Chocolate you’d better go to Belgium…. Cheese and Jenever (Gin…) are more interesting, the latter I’m sure esp. to Paul 😉

        Comment by Leonard Fintelman — December 9, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

  7. Have a safe Journey Paul. The bright side of this one is it is not a long trip, and you also get to experience another country! on the present front it has to be Clogs, the proper wooden ones!
    All the very best

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 9, 2012 @ 7:22 am

    • Morning Graham, clogs is out, I already ran that one by the wife 🙂 Perhaps some chocolate clogs might work right enough. Funny that about Thurso hey, yould struggling north of there in anything other than a boat 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2012 @ 9:13 am

      • When I played in the Salvation Army Band at Dundee we did a tour of the highlands taking in Thorso and Wick, fond memories of those days and being able to swim in the harbour at midnight in daylight!
        sounds like Chocolates it is then! Just as long as you don’t eat them on the way home! 😉

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 10, 2012 @ 5:55 am

      • Well Graham, dunno if it was the todday or the tea but the cold has gone, that was £40 well spent though, even if it was the tea 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 11, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

      • Glad to hear it Paul, sounds like you had a busy time over in Holland. Glad you are back safe in God’s country. Regards to MIL, hope she is coping ok.

        All the best

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 14, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

  8. Paul, Enjoy the trip, how long are you away for? Glad to see that the tinternet is back up and firing on all cylinders, links and all. Great news that the piglets are doing well.
    Glad to see your getting your new house built properly, have a look at this:
    Interesting story about William MacRae, I think that it is interesting to look back at the past with what we know now, how times have changed.

    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — December 9, 2012 @ 8:17 am

    • Love the containers ATB, that toilet looks interesting Too 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2012 @ 9:39 am

  9. Hi Paul

    Hope you enjoy the Netherlands – a bit too flat for me. The English, by the way, had an East India Company 2 years before the founding of the Dutch one in 1602, and it lasted longer, even if it didn’t trade a aggressively. There were sone interesting Anglo-Dutch wars arising from trading rivalry in the 17th century – for a small nation the Dutch were very successful – dared to challenge the might of the English navy!



    Comment by Sue — December 9, 2012 @ 9:33 am

  10. Welcome to Holland Paul!

    Have a good time over here.

    Rotterdam is part of the “original” area called Holland (as it is part of larger The Netherlands too) but not the best place to do your Christmas shopping (probably worst place at all in fact).
    The shopping area is situated in the part of Rotterdam that was cleared from the air by our friends to the east of NL in 1940…. So, you could be mistaken to think you are shopping just about in any modern city in Europe.
    Therefore come do your shopping in Leiden or Amsterdam or, even better. Utrecht where we live. You are invited for dinner and a dram while looking at 2 70×50 cm aerial photographs of “Home” (Fladda plus area) made by your friend Gary….
    You can even watch BBC Scotland etc if you would like to do so (freeview by Sat Astra 2).

    Utrecht has a 1000 m wide modern building area between the station and the city centre, but once beyond that modern concrete stuff in the historic centre with lots of nice shops there is no mistaking you are in Utrecht although some shots for/from well known movies were shot in Utrecht, supposing to depict some of the canals in Amsterdam …. 🙂

    Especially toys should by now be very cheap (toy shops should have started a Sale) as our version of Christmas for Children is called “Sinterklaas” and happens every year on the 5th of December. Christmas is for grown-ups and basically involves good food. For adults there is a bit of a shift to give presents at Christmas over here also, but not in our family (given children still believing in “Sinterklaas” and his “Pieten”.

    Do come and visit us. For details use e-mail to

    And PS… don’t mention the VOC please. Its core business was the Slave trade (and a few herbs and spices) 😦 .
    On the other hand we are proud of our Navy at the river Medway (De Ruyter) and that our King William became your King too and made Britain able to start “to rule the waves” …

    Best regards,


    Comment by Leonard Fintelman — December 9, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

    • Hi Leonard, it’s funny how King William has been neglected from all English history lessons and is only ever remembered in Northern Ireland 🙂 Like the VOC, we only seem to remember the things that are convenient 🙂 Holland sure is nice, clean, tidy and efficient but I can see why you like to holiday in Scotland 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

      • Morning Paul,

        Rotterdam isn’t clean and tidy at all, Paul. Too much pollutants in the air there. You may travel back home with more breathing problems etc than you came with … Yes the Irony with NI and the Orange (William/NL) order is that if there is one thing NOT an issue in NL, then it is whether or not any/somebody is a Protestant or (Roman) Catholic, apart from the odd joke.
        For the rest everything in English preceded with “Dutch” is not positive, isn’t it. Before you know it you will have Dutch courage and be seen by others as a Dutch uncle 😉 at your Dutch home coming party .

        Comment by Leonard Fintelman — December 10, 2012 @ 11:11 am

  11. Hi Paul.
    I know how you feel about travelling for work, it is a bit of a bind. I have just flown back in from India again for work. You thought Newcastle was an overload on the senses, well try Delhi for size one day, about as far from Arnish as it possible to get.
    Are they having a launch party for the new boat, might come up if there is.

    Comment by Simon. — December 9, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

    • Delhi, well you can keep it Simon, eight floors up in the center of Rotterdam is quite enough for me 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

  12. Welcome too Holland Paul my home for the last 30 years. I spent the first two years working in Rotterdam helping build the massive Esso refinary. Rotterdam is certainly not my favourite place,but I am certain you will find the trafic on the river fasinating. They used to run a river bus up to Dordrecht,it doesn”t take too long and it would be a nice trip as Dordrecht is a beautiful town. Like Leonard I would have liked to invite you home for a meal and a dram but I live right down south in the hilly bit wedged between Germany and Belgium and it is a few hours travel. I second everything Leonard says about Utrecht right down to the cannals which are quiet suprising. Its also got a fabulous Railway museam. By the way mention the VOC as much as you like they were as enterprising a set of thugs as ever sailed the seven seas,They had at one time 60% of the worlds carrying trade, hired Japanese Samarii to keep the slaves on the plantations in check in Indonesia. and were so well organised they could spit out an Eastindiaman every 9 months from any of there shipyards on the Amstel. They were the big boys on the block and it was not advisable to rattle there chains check out the Amboyna massacre. The Dutch should be proud of them not apologise for what they got up too. Enjoy your stay

    Regards Dave

    Comment by Yorkshire Miner — December 9, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

    • You may well be proud of your ancestors and the slave trade Dave, me I’m not.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 9, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

      • Dear Paul,
        please read what I wrote and tell me where I am pro slavery. What I am complaining about is the Politically correct way of thinking about them, oh they kept slaves did they lets not talk about it as it might offence somebody. Everybody kept slaves in those days even the Quakers had slaves it was NORMAL. Slavery was a very small part of the VOC business. The Dutch West Indies company they were a different kettle of fish, they were into the triangular trade. I presume you did not look up the Amboyna massacre and assumed seeing as it came after the statement that they used Japanese Samari to keep order which is nothing more than a statement of fact, that it was a description of the Japanese slaughtering thousands of natives. and that I aproved. The Amboyna massacre was the political murder of several English traders and was a bone of contention between the England and Holland right into the later half of the 17th century. It basically scared them off and they went too trade more with India in the North and the rest is History. I was just using it as an example of how ruthless they were The VOC was an extrodinary company , simply from the tecnical and organisational point of view. During there history they built over 5,000 Eastindiaman the best ship of its day and built dry docks in Batarvia in Java for servicing there fleet. Cook had to use one when he bumped into a reef off Australia. They dominated the Baltic trade as all the materials for there ships was mainly sourced from there. There influence on Dutch society was immense and too just dismiss them because they kept slaves is ridiculous.

        Regards Dave

        Comment by Yorkshire Miner — December 11, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

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