Life at the end of the road

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.


003  004 006

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

009 010 011

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.

015 018 016

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


017  019

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


  1. Hi Paul, so very pleased that at last you all managed to get together and enjoy a meal and some time together, your folks are looking great and ‘dad’ looks very happy and no doubt enjoyed the walk just as much as the meal. Happy times! 🙂

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — December 29, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

    • Aye Graham, priceless indeed 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 30, 2012 @ 9:12 am

  2. Your mam and dad look well paul, glad to see you’ve all managed a family get together…

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — December 29, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

    • Hi Steve, aye they look well indeed, hope wifey and I look the same in thirty years 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 30, 2012 @ 9:11 am

  3. I am appalled at the state of the Raasay roads! I’m glad you posted all those photos, as it is a record of evidence not to be disputed. In all my years of visiting Raasay, I wonder if I’ll ever get up the north end again? My car isn’t 4×4 and I cant afford to wreck it. What can be done? Especially with the house opening and visitors expectations. So disappointing. Something must be done!

    Comment by Carolyn — December 30, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    • I guess it’s back to the letters to the Highland Council, Carolyn. As many people as possible need to write and complain. We’ve been going to Raasay seveal times a year for 20 years and now haven’t been for 2 years because I’m frightened to drive on the roads! How can the islanders beef up their tourism industry when people are too scared to drive on the roads? It’s a scandal

      Comment by Anne Macdonald — December 30, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

      • Hi Anne, yup, I think it’s back to the letter writing I’m afraid.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2013 @ 6:42 am

  4. We have some roads like that in Gourock, complete with missing drain covers.

    Comment by ewaste1001 — December 30, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

    • Morning Ewaste and a Happy New year, missing drain covers weighed in for scrap no doubt 😦 well at least we don’t have that problem on Raasay 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2013 @ 6:42 am

  5. A permanent Raasay based roads worker would be the answer (I know the council won’t agree). How can the island made good progress with badly needed economic growth without the most basic of needs provided? Maybe you need to look to MPs and MSPs rather than the council and provide them with your photos and more and a comprehensive list of damage caused to vehicles? Could the Community Council co-ordinate a campaign?

    Comment by Alison Macleod — December 30, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

    • Morning Alison, time indeed for action by all, the worst thing the council ever did was get rid of the road squad. OK, they saved a few quid for the first couple of years but now a decade of neglect has left the drains, roads and infrastructure in a pitiful state.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2013 @ 6:47 am

  6. your parents both have such beautiful smiles. happy holidays to all, glad you got your family and feast together.

    Comment by Jeannette — December 30, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

    • Morning Jeannette and Happy New year.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2013 @ 6:48 am

  7. Did you find this under your Christmas tree?

    Comment by drgeo — December 30, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

  8. HI Paul, we took a run up to the north end with a first time visitor to Raasay and she (and of course we) are absolutely appalled at the state of the roads to the north end.
    We seriously need to get some action on this, and it was interesting to see on Braden’s article in the West Highland Free Press that “no reply had been received from the roads department”.
    It is almost worth some good old civil disobedience to draw some attention to this, publicity in the press is I suspect the only way to achieve some results.
    When we are trying to get people to come and live here to stop the decline in the school role, and the development partnership is expending time and effort in to achieving a revival of island life, what example is this?

    Perhaps some readers of your excellent blog can come up with some ideas?


    Comment by George — December 30, 2012 @ 6:54 pm

  9. Hi Paul.

    I can’t believe how bad a state the roads are being allowed to deteriorate into. With so many folk arriving on the island who want to experience the marvel of Calum’s Road being faced with what amounts to a case of gross negligence by Highland Council, it appears that history is repeating itself as those living on the island experience exactly the same distainful attitude that Calum encountered when petitioning for assistance. Shame on Highland Council for allowing this to happen!


    Comment by Callum — January 1, 2013 @ 9:32 am

    • Morning Callum, history does indeed seem to be repeating itself 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2013 @ 6:55 am

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