Life at the end of the road

April 30, 2013

Probably not a good idea :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings — Tags: , , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:15 pm

A pure peach of a day its been here in Aberdeen, right from the first moment the suns rays spilled through my window sometime after 6:00am. It seems a million miles away from Arnish on Raasay, just a couple of hundred miles away, the grass is six inches longer and the sun has real heat in it. OK, the towels are black with city dirt every time I take a wash and my ears are assaulted by the constant sound of traffic but at least its warm and I’m having a good time. Well perhaps ‘good time’ is a little over enthusiastic but the course is interesting and the company great Smile not only that but I’m hammering the broadband connection here to death Smile Tonight’s choice being techno legend Dave Clarke who’s streaming away merrily in the background as I type.


A ‘banging’ set from 12 years ago in Holland, which, along with a bottle of red wine gave me the enthusiasm to do my VAT return on time.

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Probably not a good idea, my maths is rubbish when sober, let alone after two glasses of red on an empty stomach but ‘The Baron’ has just been announced to headline the EM-it tent at alongside Justin Robertson and Meat Katie so it’s got me in the mood. My festival days are over until the house is finished but Dave Clarke, I could be tempted, again, ‘not a good idea’ Smile

Free fall

Anyways, after the sun awoke me and a nice healthy breakfast of muesli, dried fruit and yoghurt was downed I set off on the 20 minute walk to Petrofac with the rest of the ‘Hybrids’ Smile 



Class got a little delayed as the ‘free fall’ lifeboat was getting launched at 8:30



so we watched that prior to a lesson on ‘boat handling’ prior to the 10:00am break.


After which it was ‘out on the river’ for a spot of training in the open lifeboat, both with ‘Mr Lister’ and the oars, a long session of ‘man overboard’ exercises and rowing.


and a very interesting place the river Dee is indeed, full as it is of oil rig supply vessels from all over the globe.






A shortened lunch break that had me sunbathing and was followed by pretty similar exercises in the TEMPSC, that will be Totally Enclosed Mechanically Propelled Survival Craft Smile



One of those three orange submarine like objects on the left.



A kind of fibreglass sausage with doors on and an engine which allegedly can accommodate some 42 people Smile


Though, most of us preferred the sunshine outside to the noisy interior Smile 



For there really was much to see out there in this busy port.



By the time we came in, around 16:00, the ‘free fall’ lifeboat was due for another launch, designed mainly for use from oil platforms, tankers and cargo ships that may need evacuating quickly these are very expensive and extremely spectacular.










Sadly it’s not on our course Sad smile

That was it really, I wandered back to the hotel past the multitude of ‘supply boats’ and a couple of ‘anchor handlers’ berthed alongside the various quays and docks.



Kind of hard to see in this picture but that’s an ‘anchor handler’ on the left and a ‘supply boat’ on the right, the left hand one having a clear rounded stern for shooting anchors and some frigging great winches for tensioning and recovering them.

April 29, 2013

The granite city

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:26 pm

Well, I had intended to post last night but got side tracked by the bed Smile the long days travelling was just too much for a tuechter like me. Having risen early, plonked away on here for an hour or so, then set off for the ferry twice, prior to driving for five hours and going for a ‘march’ with my dad, I was whacked. Then I discovered that the granite in Aberdeen’s city centre buildings isn’t very conducive to 3g phone signal and had to purchase some internet access from my hotel Sad smile

So, here I am in the Premier Inn     just across the road from the Lemon Tree furious that I’m going to miss Public Service Broadcasting’s gig on Skye on Wednesday.



I really can’t believe it, they’re playing across the road from here on the 9th of May so I’ll miss them, they’re in Stornoway on the 3rd, so had I been on the MV Hebrides I could have seen them, Inverness on Thursday so not practical and I’m certainly not driving to Ullapool on Saturday Sad smile


Anyway, apart from being miffed at that, miserable cos I’m away from home and peed off due to having to travel on my precious days off everything is peachy.

Back on track

So, where was I, well I trundled down the pot holed road gingerly to the ferry terminal to catch the 10:00am ferry to Sconser,


marvelling at the size of this electrical cabinet for our new ferry. You really couldn’t make this up, this cabinet is the size of a good sized shed and probably cost a years wages. Heaven knows who paid for it, but at the end of the day, be it HRC, CalMac or CMal it’s you and I, no planning permission or anything, up it goes. You and I want to fart and we need planning permission, they want to put up a friggin warehouse next to the waiting room and ‘not a problem’ Smile When the harbour was built it was known that a hefty power supply would be required down on the pier but no one would pay for it so an inadequate one was installed. A few years on we end up paying ten times as much, digging up the old cable and installing a heavier one, this will be the ‘green option’ Smile You could not make this up, I despair.

Making use of the time afforded by not having to rush, and once at Sconser I took advantage of the lack of activity on the Sabbath to take some pictures of progress.



The waiting room and store were looking beautiful and a whole pile of Caithness flagstones were stacked ready for use,


this is going to be one lovely looking ferry terminal.



Or at least it is until the droves of canoeists, sorry, ‘sea kayakers’ turn up and jam the place up with all their cars and carp. Now I’m really sorry if you’re reading this and happen to be a kayaker, but for every responsible one there are ten ‘planks’ that jam up the slipway, park their cars stupidly and generally act like pricks showing off their middle aged ar5es to all and sundry at Sconser. No, I’m not making this up and I’ve photographs to prove it, we really do not want to see your bottoms, and whilst your canoes, sorry kayaks, are very expensive they should not be left on the slipway for us to drive around. Joe public is not impressed by them, only other canoeists, sorry enthusiasts appreciate a nice kayak  Smile



A mighty fine shed indeed, OK, the slates and hinged doors will probably be in Sconser golf club by this time next year year but it sure is a beautiful bit of masonry Smile

Sorry if I’ve lost the the thread a little but some chicken goujons, prawn cocktail and several glasses of beer intervened so I could be a little more crabbit than usual Smile Anyway, after leaving Sconser I headed to my parents via Kyle,



the Hebridean Princess and a helicopter


probably returning from Rona



after delivering the Sunday papers Smile

A lovely lunch and then walk with my father followed,


dementia may be a terrible affliction but it certainly doesn’t affect his stamina and I was absolutely stunned when we passed this sign on the road.


That’s an air valve he chirps !!!!! he doesn’t know who I am, what day it is or which planet he’s on but my dear dad informs me that buried beneath that sign is a water main air valve. I am gobsmacked, I’ve been seeing these signs for years and never knew what they were about Smile



Eventually I arrived at the hotel in Aberdeen, met my ‘hybrid’ compatriots and settled down for the night prior to heading off for Petrofac in the morning.



It was a very interesting day amongst the hustle and bustle of the UK’s busiest oil port on the banks of the river Dee and much was learnt.



Things like how to start a Lister ST1 Smile


and get into a really scary lump of aluminium some long way above the sea Sad smile



OK, perhaps not that scary Smile

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but the ‘tied alongside’ version somehow seemed more appealing Smile



I have to confess at being somewhat bewildered by it all, I’ve never seen so many ships, let alone virtually in a city centre,


and it was good to be amongst members of the regular ‘hybrid team’ Smile

Another familiar sight was the Geco Diamond



a seismic survey ship that I’d seen last week in the Minch,




only this time she was berthed securely in port behind a listing supply boat.

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