Life at the end of the road

February 9, 2013

Surveying the damage :-(

Filed under: daily doings, harbour, shed/house, South Shields, Trucks and plant — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:57 pm

Home at last, in a toasty kitchen having just demolished the best part of a joint of ham some roast potatoes and a tomato salad. A little bizarre I know but it was just what I fancied, all this talk of ready meals and horsemeat making me crave something who’s providence I trusted. One thing about having your dinner wandering around the croft is that, at least you know where it’s come from Smile We don’t eat much in the way of processed stuff anyway, but as soon as all this carry on came to light I instantly thought of several Lidl lasagne’s that we’d consumed of late. Usually when wifey was charging up and down the road to Glasgow, with little time to spare and a mountain of chores to be done before even thinking about dinner.

I remember thinking at the time ‘how can they make something with so much meat in so cheap’ Smile Not that Lidl have found any equine DNA in their products, but it was very tasty Smile One thing for sure, if we do have one in the freezer I won’t be sending it back, seriously, this is no worse than much of the fast food and processed muck that constitutes so many peoples regular diet. Until people are actually prepared to pay for ‘proper food’ then I’m afraid this kind of thing will only become more prevalent as markets expand and processors seek cheaper and cheaper suppliers.

Sat in my ‘rigger boots’

I know, I’ve been a ‘little seldom’ on the posting front of late but to be quite honest I’ve been ‘scunnered’ as my darling wife would say.

A Scots word used to mean that you are world weary, down-trodden, and thoroughly bereft of any lust for life when these words and expressions are simply too inadequate to signify the magnitude of your slide into "shitdom".

A word that I’d never come across until meeting her it summed my mood up of late perfectly. Not that there was a great deal wrong with any of it, the digs were good, the college course interesting and the people nice enough. In fact more than ‘nice enough’, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of courteous drivers that stopped to let me walk across the road. I even saw a regular citizen picking up litter and was staggered to meet smiling happy shop assistants everywhere. Or at least everywhere I shopped, ate and drank.



Not that I drank out much, but when I did it was here in ‘The Steamboat’ an award winning pub with more beers than I’ve ever seen in my life. Sadly on my last night there I made the fatal mistake of choosing Weston’s Old Rosie 7.3% Scrumpy as my tipple, after my third pint I was a gibbering wreck. You know you’ve had enough when the barmaid serves you a pint of water Smile What an angel she was, it was just enough to water down the last pint and enable me to walk home unaided Smile My compatriots having wisely chosen ‘Doombar’ managed to sink a few more before going out for dinner, me I was in my bed around 19:00 wrecked Smile

However, I’m not a ‘town person’ and with my son sick at home, my new house going up, winter gales at their fiercest and my wife ten miles from the next living person, I was not a ‘happy bunny’.

Anyway, I made it and I’m sat here in my pyjamas drinking Sue’s finest primitivo  from Puglia wearing my size 9 DeWalt rigger boots instead of my UGG slippers Smile


Not that I’m big on labels but I’ve been wearing out a pair of slippers every six months for years until my mum bought me these in Christmas 2011and they still feel like new. So much so that I take them everywhere I go, Holland, South Shields or the Finlaggan, my UGG’s are my favourite indoor footwear Smile  So why am I wearing boots inside the house??? I’m neglecting my slippers because, whilst these boots are the best I’ve ever come across they do take quite a bit of ‘breaking in’ Sad smile I hate wellies and these babies will cope with all but the deepest of mud without letting water in yet still allow your feet to stay warm and breathe. Not only that but I generally get a year out of them before confining them to lighter duties, far longer than any wellie and about the same price as a reasonable pair, £50 to £70.

Picking up the pieces

After a tortuous journey north I arrived at a chaotic Sconser in plenty of time for the 10:30 ferry having spent the night at my parents on the mainland.


There was no sign of the ‘Five sisters of Kintail’ as I left, but traces of the previous weeks storm were everywhere. I’d cleared up a few large broken branches from my mums garden but there were also the remains of building materials on nearby roads and the odd missing roof section from rickety sheds along the way.

The swineherd had already told me of one or two problems at home, a lost satellite signal and moving caravan fixed by Simon of but a broken skylight and clunking wind turbine needed dealing with.


There were some big changes at Sconser, our store room demolished and the toilet/waiting room gone Sad smile 



I dunno what that tool is on the end of the big crawler crane but I like it Smile


This will  be our recently re roofed store Sad smile



And this will be the ‘temporary slip’, I’m saying nothing Smile

My journey up Raasay’s spine to Arnish was peppered with the remains of last weeks destruction, recently cut trees, new satellite dishes, lashed down offices at the water treatment works and random bits of plywood and roofing material.



The first thing that I noticed at home was this birch tree that had managed to uproot the BT phone line as it went over Sad smile

Once the homecoming, flowers, hugs and tea were out of the way we all went up to admire the new house Smile











Which, thanks to Lachie, Angus and Donald had come through the storm unscathed.

027  028

Love the table Smile


Not only was the house coming on fine, so was the ‘dunny’

toilet (Australian slang)

Where’s the dunny located?

Apart from a various bits of wood distributed about the croft and that tree we seemed OK, the Proven is making a noise, which from experience sounds like a broken spring, so not crucial. So my next concern was the caravan at Tarbert, wifey had reported a broken skylight and Simon had tightened up the loose jacks, but when we arrived there it became clear that it had moved a good four feet.


Hard to see but it was actually sat on that pad on the top right when I left,



not only that but a landslide had happened too in my absence Sad smile


The skylight I managed to cover with a sheet of aluminium after removing its remains, after which the Dude and I went to Torran to check on the properties there.



Not all of them were as lucky as us Sad smile

There was more but it’s almost 22:00 now and I’m wrecked.



  1. I think the tool on the crane is for putting in or pulling out sheet steel plies : ) Glad your house / shed / pigs have not blown away!!

    Comment by v8mbo — February 9, 2013 @ 10:11 pm

    • Are you still in Saudi matey 🙂 think your right about the sheet pile thingy and all is well on the croft thanks 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 10, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

  2. Welcome back, hope you get your mental bounce soon!

    Comment by may cruickshank — February 9, 2013 @ 10:26 pm

  3. Ah, you’ve taken my turbine problems home with you… The house looks like it’s coming along nicely…

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — February 9, 2013 @ 11:13 pm

    • Turbine sorted Steve, any luck with yours ???

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 10, 2013 @ 9:54 pm

      • Not yet, got a chap writing an engineers report for the chaps in suits

        Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — February 10, 2013 @ 11:03 pm

      • Not yet, got a chap writing an engineers report for the chaps in suits

        Good luck with that then Steve 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 11, 2013 @ 8:58 pm

  4. Welcome home Paul. Have missed your posts the last week, but it sounds like your last week at college went well. The new house looks grand. Bet you can’t wait to dig in and get back into your life at the end of the road groove.
    Morgan in California

    Comment by Morgan — February 9, 2013 @ 11:44 pm

    • Hi Morgan, home at last 🙂 but back on the Finlaggan on Tuesday 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 10, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

  5. Hooray for drying out, both from the Steamboat and the recent deluge. Hooray for home cookin! Hooray for plenty of heat and everyone safe. Hope the folks near Dorney are in as good a shape as you are. We have a daffodil blooming in our yard, should that give you hope.

    Comment by drgeo — February 10, 2013 @ 12:40 am

    • A daffodil hey DrG, lucky you, were still on snowdrops 🙂 as for ‘drying out’ not quite, hic 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 10, 2013 @ 9:56 pm

  6. Hi Paul, glad you are home safe and that you did not suffer any damage on the croft or new build, was a bit worried for you and so relieved it is all Ok.
    New build is looking great and glad to see the chaps hard work at securing it paid of, well done those guys!

    Take care mate and hope the mood lifts soon, no doubt down to jet lag at all the rushing around over the last 6 months.

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — February 10, 2013 @ 1:22 am

    • Cheers Graham,

      I’ll be just fine once I’m back on ‘week on, week off’ how on earth I got through life working five and six days a week I’ll never know 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 10, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

      • Sometimes wonder how I coped doing up to 18hrs a day 7 days a week, no doubt one of the reasons my health has been hit as hard in the last two decades!
        My biggest regret is missing out on the first years of our kids lives, hopefully since then I have made up for it but as we all know that time is gone and it should have been a time when I was able to spend more time with Joan and the kids rather than working to keep head above water. Thankfully I am now able to spend more time watching the grandwains growing and have found great pleasure in doing so, even when it does make me feel way older than my years! 😀

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — February 11, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

      • Hi Graham,

        I’m the same, dunno how I ever managed to put all those hours in, I look at my diaries from the eighties and nineties and find it hard to believe what I did in a day. Still, like you I’m suffering for it now, deafness, sore joints and a memory like a hen 😦 Still I would not change one single minute of it 🙂 Well apart from the time that the Dutch lady doctor ran off with my girlfriend 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 11, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

  7. glad you made it back , still have to buy you that pint one day (like passing calmac ferries in the night) summers on it way

    Comment by mike — February 10, 2013 @ 5:33 am

    • Back in a month Mike 😦 😦 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 10, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

      • Ha your never going to escape, well 3rd time lucky mate

        Comment by mike — February 10, 2013 @ 11:36 pm

      • Two weeks I can handle Mike, if you promise to buy me a pint (of anything but ‘Old Rosie’) 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 11, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

  8. Paul,

    Great to hear & even better to see that you are back at TEOTR. I hope that once you get your breath back you will soon be unscunnered. Is that the end of your trips abroad for the forseeable future?

    Thanks for the update from Sconser, really getting a wiggle on. Even better to see how Chez Paul is progressing.
    Just booked my time to head up to the promised land for a week or so from 9th May. Top of my list is to pop by & say hello for a little longer than on the last visit.


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — February 10, 2013 @ 7:52 am

    • Look forward to it Michael 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 10, 2013 @ 10:00 pm

  9. Hi Paul,
    Glad to hear you’re safely home.
    The house looks fantastic and what a view.
    I well remember cooking some lovely steaks for the family when we were in Tenerife
    Christine applauds me on the beautiful tender and fat free meat Until I said it’s wonderful what you can do with a bit of meat from a HORSE.
    There ended the applause and a bit of a slapping occured.
    There’s nothing wrong with horse meat, the problem is; where it’s come from and all the rest of the rubbish that’s mixed with it
    Also with Donkey it’s one of many possible ingredients of Salami
    Best wishes and very many thanks for the Blog
    Chris & Chris

    Comment by chrisb — February 10, 2013 @ 9:52 am

  10. Glad to hear that you’re back home, and that you have survived the storm without much damage. Is the hostel ok?
    House looking good!
    Shame that the toilets have gone at Sconser – a case of now having to cross one’s legs and wait til you’re on the ferry! Will new ones be built?
    Had a nice bit of (probably) horse steak in France several years ago! Can’t see the difference between eating horse, cow, pig, lamb, it’s just that we’re not used to the idea of eating horse in this country, and the fact that people think they are buying products with beef in which turn out to have other things in instead of/as well as. As you say, at least you know where your meat comes from when you eat your own pigs!

    Comment by Frances — February 10, 2013 @ 11:12 am

  11. hi paul ,,,, when your over in portree will you call in at the house an pick up some shell grit for the hen’s,,, I got a wee bag of it for ya ,,, an will you bring me some egg’s please ,,,, or are ya back at work on monday ?

    Comment by brian wells snr — February 10, 2013 @ 1:03 pm

    • Cheers Brian, back on the Finlaggan on Tuesday, will try and call in on Friday afternoon for the grit.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 10, 2013 @ 10:03 pm

  12. Hope the vibration from the vibratory pile driver,hanging off the crane, was not the reason for the demise of the stores 🙂 Just had a ready meal so may be off at a gallop shortly or a trot(s) if really unlucky 🙂

    Comment by Andy — February 10, 2013 @ 6:40 pm

  13. Hello Paul, things will soon get much better now that you’re back where you belong. It’s good to see not too much damage and great to see your new house progressing so well.

    Those Rigger Boots of yours look a bit like the up-market DeWALT ones 🙂

    Comment by Tigger — February 11, 2013 @ 10:06 am

    • Hi Tigger,

      wondered where you’d been 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 11, 2013 @ 9:26 pm

  14. Hey Paul, welcome back! If the caravan had not moved would the landslide have scunnered it? 🙂

    Comment by Lloyd — February 11, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

    • Hi Lloyd,

      caravan is completely ‘unscunnered’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 11, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

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