Life at the end of the road

February 16, 2013

The Doosan in the ‘pooh san’ :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings, shed/house, Trucks and plant — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:55 pm

Home at last, well I’ve actually been home for twenty four hours but in that time I’ve barely switched the laptop on, let alone done anything on it. Two reasons, lack of enthusiasm and lack of data allowance Sad smile the first due to my absence  of ‘home time’ and the second due to half term. Me hardly being at Arnish these days means the Dude has been spending most of his half term eating into my measly 8Gb data allowance,


£50 per month for a carp service from , though having said that their website is now telling me I can get 15Gb for 49.95 euro per month???? Obviously they were going to keep this a secret from me and let me pay more for less, for as long as I was stupid enough to do so, I feel a telephone call coming on Smile Oh well, he’s back at school on Monday and I’ll once more be plying the Minch on the MV Finlaggan, so with a bit of luck I’ll stretch my 1.1Gb out for the next 12 days and will be able to keep you all informed on the ‘daily doings’. That is of course if I’ve not slashed my wrists or thrown my laptop into the sea in a huff Smile


016  030



It was an interesting week aboard CalMac’s newest vessel the 5209 GRT and I managed to catch glimpses of Lochmaddy on North Uist  at its best and worst Smile I dunno if I could cope working as a motorman on the ‘big boats’, you barely get to see the light of day, which is all ‘fine and dandy’ when you can see your compatriots on the deck getting pish wet through in the winter whilst your in a T shirt ‘down below’, but I can imagine it would ‘get to me’ in the spring and summer. If it were not for the CCTV screens in the air conditioned ‘ECR’ (engine control room) where I spend much of my day I really would have no idea what was going on in the outside world, you don’t even feel the sea down there below sea level, or at least not like you do ‘upstairs’.

File:MV Finlaggan at Port Askaig.jpg

Anyway, after a week that included helping service the 4000kW Wartsila

8L32 main engines, changing light bulbs and moving several cubic meters of ‘HFO’ (heavy fuel oil) from one tank to another I ‘jumped ship’ on Friday afternoon.

Same engines, different boat Smile 


leaving Uig at 14:45 I tootled along towards Portree at my usual leisurely pace admiring the view


only to spot this at Kensal Eyre Sad smile Eighteen tons of  ‘Doosan DX190W’ ‘rubber duck’ well and truly bogged on the beach Sad smile The £100K machine had been underwater for at least one tide judging by the water inside the lights and my ‘heart went out’ to the driver. Many is the nightmare that I have had about being stuck on a beach with an incoming tide, having done many ‘beach launches’ and come close to it in the past. Having got into ‘a flap’ on several occasions with both outgoing and incoming tides I feel really sorry for the dude  that was ‘at the helm’. It’s the old ‘King Canute’ thing


King Canute

There once was an old king called King Canute,
And he was a very bossy old brute.
“Bring me my crown, and hurry!” he would say,
He told everyone what to do all day.
He said to the queen “I like being the king
And being in charge of everything.”
The queen looked at King Canute, and she laughed.
She said “Not everything, don’t be daft.
You couldn’t command the wind not to blow,
You couldn’t command a tree not to grow.
You’re not in charge of the birds or the bees,
The sun or the moon, the skies or the seas.
“Oh yes I am” said the King, getting cross
“I am, I’ll prove it; I’ll show you who’s boss!”
He called the servants together and then
He bellowed out an order to his men:
"Pick up my throne and take it to the beach,
There is a lesson that I want to teach.”
So they carried his throne down to the ocean
Followed by crowds, there was quite a commotion.
Canute sat on the throne facing the sea
And spoke to it with great authority.
“I am your king and I give this command –
Stay where you are, do not come on this sand”
But the sea didn’t listen to the king.
No-one can stop the tide from coming in.
As the waves kept advancing up the shore
The red-faced king tried to halt them once more.
“I am the King, you must do as I say,
I command you to go back, right away.”
But the waves still came, right up to his feet.
Canute sighed sadly, admitting defeat.
He faced the queen and said “You won the bet
And I have got my royal slippers wet.
I did my best, but no, I came up short.
I guess I’m not as powerful as I thought.”

It doesn’t matter how powerful or wealthy you are, well unless you’re Tony Curtis that is Smile


you can’t stop the tide Sad smile


Been there, got the book, video and T shirt so to speak, not a pleasant place to be Sad smile 

Anyways, after a mad dash around Portree I headed for the chaos of Sconser and the new ferry terminal development.


There was some serious ‘pile driving’ going on there so I’m guessing that these chaps are building a ‘coffer dam’ before they cast the new concrete ‘permanent slip’ on the east side of the pier.


Now I know that ‘you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs’  but someone needs to be marshalling cars here before there’s an accident. I was around car number 8 and had to initially stop on a very busy main road because the cars were so badly parked, the ferry can take twelve vehicles so you should be able to park at least that number safely.


Well, I finally landed on Raasay just after 16:30 and drove slowly along the crumbling roads homewards



seeing the first sunset over Ben Tianavaig in quite a while and arriving home in daylight Smile

Back on the croft

With only two days to go before returning to work I wasted no time in getting ‘stuck in’, unloading the feed as soon as I got home then pottering about until the light failed completely. This morning I did the usual rounds of feeding before heading up to see our new house.


Angus’s block work was progressing well and more sarking had appeared on the roof, bearing in mind the storm force winds and disrupted ferry sailings of late I was well pleased with progress.






This is the gable that will be finished in local stone, the blocks having stainless ties set into them to grip the stone that will sit on that block ledge. This will be a mighty strong barrier against the elements Smile




Whilst up there the Dude and I hijacked Lachie’s forklift and shifted some wood from the croft up to the site as well as taking up a ton or so of blocks.


The hens and ‘wee dug’ helping by clearing the blocks of worms and ‘beasties’ Smile





  1. Phew, home!

    Comment by may cruickshank — February 16, 2013 @ 10:18 pm

  2. Hi Paul, I used to be a motorman on rigs and we never saw the light of day for 2 weeks!! that digger will be a insurance write off i suspect, the rust bugs and mud in the internals will see to that, sad sight all the same, Glad to see the house looking so good, Spring and you will be in!!

    Comment by v8mbo — February 16, 2013 @ 10:37 pm

    • Yup, you can be sure that the old ‘rubber duck’ is well and truly ‘goosed’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 17, 2013 @ 8:19 am

  3. So do the laws of salvage at sea mean anyone who tows the orange machine to dry land gets to keep it? And was it Wartzilla who ate most of Tokyo ?

    Comment by drgeo — February 16, 2013 @ 11:47 pm

    • Think it counts as ‘flotsam or jetsam’ above the low water mark 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 17, 2013 @ 8:18 am

  4. They might not leave it so long as this one in Ireland but I think they will get it out of there.

    Comment by Phil Cook — February 17, 2013 @ 12:11 am

    • Daren’t watch the videos Phil with my pathetic allowance, looks interesting so will check it out at Tarbert 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 17, 2013 @ 8:14 am

  5. The thermal insulation of your place will mean shorts & T-shirts all year round. The house is looking good.
    Shame to see the digger looking so sad when he realised just because he was orange did not mean he could swim like Nemo.

    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — February 17, 2013 @ 7:25 am

    • Morning ATBH, think he thought those wheels were flippers 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 17, 2013 @ 8:17 am

  6. Hi Paul.

    Its not the data allowance that gets me as we have ‘unlimited’. Its the bandwidth – last time I checked both sons had their phones, playstations, and computers all connected up at the same time 😦 No wonder my connection was sluggish!
    Thanks for the photos of the progress on the new slip at Sconser. It means I will need to update my model of it for Google Earth.

    Roll on Easter so we can get up and see the progress for ourselves 🙂

    All the best

    Comment by Derek — February 17, 2013 @ 9:33 am

    • Hi Derek, they’re certainly doing a fine job at Sconser but I hope they sort out the marshaling and parking arrangements, it’s downright dangerous right just now.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 17, 2013 @ 10:07 am

    • Less than six weeks now to Easter and spring Derek 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 17, 2013 @ 8:55 pm

      • That’s cheered me up :-). There has not been one year in my 46 years that I’ve not been on Raasay at least once in the year and I start getting ‘withdrawals’ in that period between October and easter 🙂

        Comment by Derek — February 17, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

  7. Here’s an interesting question Paul…or not!

    As the orange digger’s sttuck between the high and low water lines does it now technically belong to the Duchy of Cornwall?

    Canute’s maritime episode allegedly happened just along the road from me at Bosham…where at high tides the sea still covers the slipways and the coastal track and advances up the high street…the houses have atypically high doorsteps and in some cases extended leadwork up the walls to ground floor window height…the local hostelry has a submarine door out onto their terrace, but this is clearly no longer watertight as various markings on their waslls proves!

    Odd little place…

    All the best


    Comment by Cogidubnus — February 17, 2013 @ 11:18 am

    • As the orange digger’s stuck between the high and low water lines does it now technically belong to the Duchy of Cornwall? Dunno whether that counts in Scotland Dave. I know that some Dude can ride a horse down the beach and into the sea at low water until his scabbard touches the water. He can then throw a spear out to sea and everything inward of that belongs to him, methinks it may be the Duke of Argyll and this his how he laid claim to the Tobermory galleon 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 17, 2013 @ 9:02 pm

  8. Hi Paul house is looking good was wondering if you have got any photos of jewson truck delivering the other week would be really good to see them

    Comment by erica — February 17, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

    • Hi Erica,

      I’m eagerly awaiting them off Lachie so that you can join the ‘Calum’s road truck club’ 🙂 Then I’m going to send all the pictures of all the trucks and artics that have been up here to Highland Fuels to shame them into delivering to Arnish 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 17, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

  9. Couldn’t agree more on the traffic marshalling Paul. We were not even sure where to queue when we arrived for a sailing last week and the cars behind us ended up hanging out on the road. Not good. Your new house is looking fantastic in those photos though 🙂

    Comment by Janice Macpherson — February 17, 2013 @ 12:58 pm

  10. That’s not the vesion of the Canute story I was taught: to demonstrate to his followers how little power he actually had, he showed them he could not hold back the tide. Wiki has an article, and of course Wiki’s never wrong :).

    Comment by San — February 17, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

  11. Paul I’m confused now. Is it a boat or a ship?

    Comment by Lloyd — February 17, 2013 @ 9:18 pm

  12. Sadly machines seem to find the soft stuff.Been on a few sites when this has happened but there was always enough heavy plant to mount an immediate rescue and no incoming tide to beat.Maddest one I ever heard of was a bulldozer, that dropped clean into an old cellar that had been overlooked during an earlier demolition job. It was such a tight fit around the dozer a large mobile crane was used to lift it out.New house is looking good.Are you using stone from Ireland for the gable end 😉

    Comment by Andy — February 17, 2013 @ 9:26 pm

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