Monday 18:30 in ‘Sunny Gourock’, which is just a mile or two from ‘Sunny Greenock’ which I’m sure is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic ‘grian’ which is all about the sun. Not sure what the literal translation is, but Grian a Sgeir off Raasay is the ‘sunny rock’ and a sea eagle is called Iolair Suil na Grian or the ‘eagle with the sunlit eye’, how I wish I could understand Gaelic, it’s just so descriptive.
And, it certainly was ‘sunlit’ at 7:30 this morning during the commute to Ferguson’s to join the Hallaig once more. I’d travelled down yesterday after what had been a couple of busy and emotional days on Raasay. The former being my involvement with setting up the broadband relay station and the latter being Annie’s funeral.
The funeral of Annie MacLean took place on Saturday at 11:30 and was attended by relatives and friends from far and wide, the day was beautiful and the service moving. Many is the funeral I’ve attended on Raasay and it’s the only time I ever visit the church, I’m not a ‘believer’ but respect those who do. Of the all too many funerals that I have attended in the ‘Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland’ on Raasay, this is the first one where I’ve heard psalm 23 in Gaelic.
It’s not psalm 23 and I’m certainly no ‘bible basher’ but just listening to that makes my hairs stand on end and my eyes water.
It was whilst there at the church, on the car park in fact, that I learnt that an old colleague, nay, friend had passed away. I’ve not seen Balfour Christie from Portree in years but at one time we were good friends and neighbours, at least when he was when ‘on shift’ at ‘Rona Salmon’ that is. I first met Balfour when he was an ‘operative’ at Highland Fish Farm’s’ Rona Salmon branch in the nineties. Balfour and his compatriots DJ, Christie, Tommy, Bernie, Willie and Whizz worked ‘two weeks on one week off’ at the salmon farm in the Dubh Camas (black bay) there.
They lived in a ‘Portakabin’ on the shore for a fortnight at a time, just two of them except at harvest time, and apart from whoever happened to be living on Rona as caretaker, I was their nearest neighbour.
Many is the time that Balfour and his workmate would come down from Rona in the summer for a ceilidh and many is the dram that we’ve shared whilst ‘putting the world to rights’. Having said that I’ve just remembered that Balfour’s favourite tipple was rum with a dash of water
The things that we got up to One time he and his workmate turned up at my front door soaking wet with a bag of potatoes, apologizing because the rest of the stuff they’d brought for me had fallen in the sea Basically they’d made the six mile trip from Rona in the 21’ ‘tin can’ safely but fallen in the sea rowing ashore in a 10’ plastic boat, all the ‘gifts’ they’d brought me had fallen in the sea and the spuds were all that could be salvaged Of course I knew that this was just a ruse for me to drive them the 10 miles to the pub, but that was what we used to do then. Happy happy days indeed, priceless days in fact and I’ll never forget them.
Not the best picture of Balfour, but it’s the only one I have, that’s him on the right with his distinctive flat cap We’re harvesting salmon in Fladda almost 20 years ago. A talented musician, songwriter and accountant Balfour is sorely missed by all who knew him.
Anyway, on a lighter note I’ve finished the baked halibut done with new potatoes, mustard and butter and am just going to stick some pictures on here before going to bed.
Faith, Hope and Charity awaiting a breeze at the Raasay WTW
Bonk’s tractor having just finished work at Clachan, and by the way ‘get well soon’ you old devil
More ‘resting’ tractors, this time at Oskaig
Heading home down ‘Calum’s road’
which, even after a quarter of a century of commuting never ceases to amaze me
Well it was a bit of a mad rush and I never even got chance to mow the lawn but it was a bonny day and I did manage to get a third coat of paint on the generator shed floor and wire up the hour meter.
The ammeter will have to wait until I get a charger connected up to the generator but the hour meter is fed from a 12v power supply that runs directly from Harry. The power supply is only live when the Lister HR2 is running, so basically it has only done 3016 hours since 1978 and 2940 of those have been since I bought him 10 years ago!!!
Accompanying the bellowing stags was this twisted, broken and stripped willow tree. I’m not sure if it’s the antlers teeth or both that do this to the willows every autumn but it’s never the birch or rowan!!
Raasay Outdoor Centre on ‘Calum’s crag’ and our new broadband mast on ‘Meall Dearg Arnish’.
Eilean Donan castle on the way south
and Loch Cluanie and its environs.
Well, it was back on the Hallaig which was having a few last minute alterations whilst the crews had familiarization with the fire fighting and life saving equipment.
It was a very busy and interesting day indeed
and I’d left my hard hat in the canteen