Life at the end of the road

May 9, 2013

Back on the night shift

Filed under: daily doings, shed/house — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 1:52 am

Almost midnight and I was up at 4:30 this morning Sad smile mind you I was back in my bed by midday and not out of it until 19:00 and our departure from Uig Smile The news that I was to be night watchman couldn’t have come at a better time because it gave me the opportunity to have a kip whilst at sea. I just love sleeping whilst the boat is on passage, especially on a day like today with a slight sea from the east, just enough to bring back subliminal memories of the womb I guess. My only gripe being that it was actually not a bad day and I was quite enjoying continuing with priming the fo’cs’le when the news came.


You’d be forgiven for thinking she was a warship from that picture of the bow visor.



So that’s about it really peeps, I’ve been in bed all day so hardly much to write about, the day got off to a fine start at Tarbert



and the rain that was forecast never arrived. Well not that I’d have noticed in my bed but I was reliably informed that it didn’t.



Sleepy Tarbert had little traffic for us this morning and we had the car deck loaded early, we being a sort of generic term I use and not to be taken too literally Smile My contribution to the smooth running of this vessel is minimal, though I’m feeling quite useful right now, which reminds me, it’s midnight and I need to do my rounds with the machine.

The cuckoo Smile

Were was I ??? well the cuckoo arrived at last, not that I’ve heard it but the swineherd assures me that it’s busy making a racket, so pretty soon the poor little wheatear will be trying to keep it from its nest. Why such an odious creature as the cuckoo should be welcomed  never ceases to amaze me but I’m just as guilty as the next person. It could be that I’m just travelling less these days up and down the road but there do seem to be fewer wheatears than usual this year.

1 1a

As you can see the cuckoo is considerably bigger and quite soon the young intruder is bigger than the foster parents.

Other good news from Arnish was the house roof,


8 may 13 001

which is now blue Smile

8 may 13 002



So I’ll just leave you with the MV Hebrides at Lochmaddy


and the view from the fo’cs’le as I did my rounds.






2 x MAK 8 M32, Gear Box: 2 – Ulstein 1500 AGSC

Bow Thruster: 2 x Electric Ulstein 90TV each 7.0 tonnes (69 kN) thrust

16.5 knots (30.6 km/h; 19.0 mph) (service)

612 passengers, 90 cars


Funny where life takes you, I remember enviously admiring this very bell from SS Hebrides I of 1898 when it resided in the observation lounge of MV Hebrides II


The original steamship had served with MacBraynes until 1955 having taken part in both the evacuation of St Kilda and Soay, after she was scrapped the bell found its way back to Harris and resided in the foyer of the Harris Hotel for the next twenty years. In 1964 it was presented to the newly launched MV Hebrides II and I saw it some thirty years ago on one of my many trips to the area for scrap. The waters around here being littered with the wrecks from two world wars and the treacherous rocks, reefs and shallows that make the coastline so spectacular.

My living room, house and garden being once full of portholes, telegraphs, trinkets and even two large propellers but I never found a bell. I recall well enough admiring it back then in the eighties, thinking how nice it would look in place of the broken TV Smile I’ve never really been into the ‘one eyed monster’ and managed without for years, having been given one as a Christmas present once I placed it in the living room and watched it occasionally. However one day it died but by then it seemed to fit in well with the rest of the junk about the house, being reluctant (or two lazy) to move it I covered the screen with stick on fish Smile It was a great ‘conversation piece’  but not half as nice as that bell would have been Smile Who’d have thought that all those years later I’d be ‘guarding’ it on another ship!!!!

Anyway, almost 3:00am and time for my rounds.



  1. if the original steamship was scrapped in 1955 and the bell was presented to Hebrides II in 1964, which is 9 years later, then how did it find time to spend 20 years in the Harris Hotel … either I’m missing something or midnight maths is not your best subject, Paul

    Comment by cazinatutu — May 9, 2013 @ 6:19 am

    • how did it find time to spend 20 years in the Harris Hotel

      It used to go home when the ship tied up in Tarbert 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 9, 2013 @ 5:30 pm

  2. Morning Paul

    I’ve missed a few blogs so it’s a bit late to say co-latha breith sona but better late than not. Love the pics of the house – shall have a closer look in June when on our way to the end of the island.

    Enjoy the rest of your time on MV Hebrides.



    Comment by Sue — May 9, 2013 @ 6:34 am

    • Cheers, Sue.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 9, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

  3. hope your taking some choice trinkets to the new dwelling Paul, which by the way is looking more and more cosey with every post. looking forward to our week up norf, maybe we could have a wee dram…

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — May 9, 2013 @ 7:26 am

    • Aye Steve, looking forward to a ‘wee dram’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 9, 2013 @ 5:28 pm

  4. Ah, night watch on the “Heb”. Been there done that. Brings back memories of lookin’ after the Heb’ tied up in Uig. Got offered the job when the previous watchman decided to run the watch from “The Bakur”, I’m sure you’ll know what I mean. I also “caught” the ropes “up front”, out on the dolphin etc. Do you still carry that “wee” box machine and visit the six key points around the boat? Being shore based it was carp money but great fun. If you meet Mr McSween from Scalpay give him my regards – he’s the one on the gangway duty – maybe promoted by now! Must say he looked like Captain material.

    Cheers Arthur

    Comment by Arthur — May 9, 2013 @ 8:54 am

    • Hi Arthur,

      yup, still carry the little clock machine and I’ll pass your regards on to the quartermaster 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 9, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

  5. Paul – I may be wrong but can you not fit a few more cars on the mezz deck if Heb is extremely busy. Clansman can get an extra 10 (I think) hoisted out of the way.

    Comment by Nigel Macleod — May 9, 2013 @ 11:08 am

    • Hi Nigel,

      aye there are actually two mezzanine decks on the Hebrides, both on the starboard side and used quite often, I guess the hold around ten cars each.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 9, 2013 @ 5:25 pm

  6. The roof is now blue– the first wrap was white, does the blue have a different purpose?

    Comment by drgeo — May 9, 2013 @ 5:50 pm

  7. Sleeping all day easy life ! iam shore it willnot last long Paul enjoy the posts .

    Comment by mike smith — May 9, 2013 @ 6:38 pm

    • Telly wi stick on fish???? To many herbal ciggys methinks 🙂 The hoose is really starting to take shape paul, have you got the other one sold yet, if not and you fancy renting give me a shout, staying there would be a good excuse for me to get a wee creel boat, regards to all the family hope everyone is healthy.

      Comment by jimmy mcmillan — May 21, 2013 @ 7:56 pm

      • Morning Jimmy, speaking of boats, i was working with the owner of the Larne last week 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — May 22, 2013 @ 5:04 am

  8. ive still got a starter motor for that wee boat, hope he enjoys the Larne as much as i did.

    Comment by jimmy mcmillan — May 22, 2013 @ 10:30 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: