Life at the end of the road

November 9, 2013

Back to the Fuji

Filed under: daily doings, food, shed/house — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:43 pm

You will gather from the photographs that my camera is about to join the Chinese wind turbine in the intensive care ward. Unlike the Chinese offerings this Japanese camera managed a full fifteen months before becoming hospice material, and I’m talking cameras now and not wind turnips. This will be my ninth camera since starting the blog in 2007, it’s my second Panasonic after seven Fuji’s, none of which lasted the year. Now I am seriously hard on my cameras, they go everywhere with me and I put the early demise of the first half a dozen Fuji offerings down to my own lack of care. However it would seem not, they are in short carp with woefully weak screens, OK, I did drop one or two but some of them died in my pocket and all were rejected under warranty as ‘damaged’. I should have seen the ‘writing on wall’ after camera number three but one thing about Fuji, their repair facility and ‘new for old’ deals are pretty good.

At least I thought so until camera  number seven a FinePix S8000fd, which at around ten months old refused to focus properly at around the halfway mark of its 18X optical zoom. I sent it back along with loads of pictures out of focus and got a lecture on how to use the camera!!! They changed the lens on the third attempt and it worked better but had a severe rattle when you shook it as if the lens was loose. By now it was out of the warranty, I was sick of Chinese cameras and bought myself a Panasonic DMC FZ-38. Talk about ‘chalk and cheese’, for only a few pounds more you get a much sturdier and robust camera with far better quality pictures.

Now this camera with its 18X zoom did have a hard life, it was left out in the rain, it got sprayed with hot hydraulic oil when a pipe burst on the Striven and still it worked. I was seriously impressed until one day I was riding the quad quite hard up a hill to traverse a tricky bit. It was one of these bogs that require a run at it, but there was a bit of a solid lump in the middle. The camera which was in the front carrier box jumped out, landed behind the front wheels and got run over by the rear ones Sad smile Not just run over but pushed into several inches of mud Sad smile I was a long way from home with only half a used Kleenex to my name so wiped it down as best I could but it was dead. Once back home I hung it over the wood burner overnight and in the morning it was working!!! I was stunned. The camera went onto give sterling service right up until some thieving delinquent ned stole it off the ferry.

My good ole mummy took pity on me and bought me the replacement, a DMC FZ-48 with 24x zoom. That was fifteen months ago and apart from a little dust inside the lens its been every bit as good as the last Panasonic. Whilst leading a far easier life on account of me not actually doing much ‘proper work’ this last year or so it’s certainly had its share of knocks.

However this morning it stopped focusing properly,


and I’m going to have to send it back. Luckily my mum got me an extended warranty and my old Fuji is still working, well apart from the screen that is Smile I couldn’t believe it, the camera has been sat in a cupboard unused for moths and I went to see if it still worked only to discover the screen has failed.


018 017 015

The one area where the Fuji scores over the Panasonic is the lens cap, the Fuji’s goes over the lens and secures on the body of the camera. The Panasonic’s just covers the actual lens so when the camera is in your pocket all the carp and fluff that’s in there can get inside the camera.

The last sheep

Once more I was up at ‘cock crow’ raring to get up to the hen shed, I’d put out Rocky yesterday after Ellie had farrowed and set off on the quad to look for him.



Our ‘gentle giant’ was in the ark at the bottom of the hill with his five young offspring boars nearby in the bracken. Much is written amongst the pig keeping fraternity about keeping boars apart but as you can see from the first picture ours get on just fine. Obviously if they were all the same size as Rocky and there were sows about it would be a different matter but those young fellows are six months old and are absolutely no trouble.

Just as I’d finished feeding the herd the last member of the ‘flock’ turned up,


the only remnant of our foray or should that be folly into Soay sheep. I kind of liked the idea of these St Kilda sheep, low maintenance, no shearing, no foot rot and easy lambers.  What none of the enthusiasts mentioned was the fact that they’re more like goats than sheep, take little  heed of a dog and scatter rather than flock together. We’ve gradually eaten our way through them over the years, I’ve only seen this one twice this year and thought that she’d maybe died. However just as I went to put the feed bucket away I turned around an there she was, unfortunately for her I had my shotgun.

007 008

Twenty minutes later she was skinned, Molly and I had her heart for breakfast and we’ve sorted out Sunday lunch. Don’t get all weepy and sentimental about her if you eat meat, she’d had a good life on the hill, bore a few lambs, wasn’t stressed and never felt a thing. Anything you’ve bought from a shop will have had a much worse time of and be full of God knows what. The Soay meat is unlike any lamb you’ve ever tasted with less fat and a gamey, almost venison like taste to it, only trouble is there’s not much of it.

Next it was back up to the hen house


this time with the Dude


whom I’d managed to send up on the roof to bend some nails Smile


This he continued to do very ably until he mistook his left thumb for one, after bandaging it with a baby wipe and parcel tape we retired for lunch. Luckily it wasn’t his X box thumb and I continued on my own for a couple of hours prior to pressing him into service once more.

Leaving the house site in the gloom I fed the pigs and hacked off Sunday dinner whilst he did the hens and collected the eggs.


013 014

To be honest its best left hung for a few days to tenderise it but there was absolutely nothing wrong with the few little chunks that I threw in the frying pan to try.

And I’ve still not finished the VAT return Sad smile



  1. Fantastic Blog as always Paul, I wonder what the last thoughts of the sheep were? ” O Sh*t ” : )

    I will be up your way in December to see Grant Frazer and we will have Dram of ” Scapa ” Then I hope !!!

    Comment by v8mbov — November 9, 2013 @ 10:02 pm

  2. Perhaps if you told the VAT you hit your thumb with a hammer and couldn’t type?

    Comment by drgeo — November 9, 2013 @ 10:41 pm

    • Better still DrG, I could get the Dude to do it 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 10, 2013 @ 7:01 am

  3. Paul,
    Excellent blog over the last couple of posts what with piglets arriving unexpectedly, the Soay having for it an unexpected end and then the dusting of snow on the ridge.
    I would when I get to Skye permanently like to have some Soay as well as the Black faces. The Soays for the positive reasons you mention and not for any financial benefit. Would you have them again?
    Look forward to the next blog & review of Sunday lunch.


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — November 10, 2013 @ 8:11 pm

    • Nah Michael I don’t think I’d have them again as long as I had the pigs, but that’s because it’s impossible for us to keep them separate when the pigs are on the hill. Consequently the Soay’s steal a lot of pig food, not such an issue in the winter when the sheep do need extra but the trouble is pig food has too much copper in it for sheep and it can make them sick.

      If you have a well fenced, well drained area with some way of catching them they’re fine, otherwise the only way you’ll stop them is with a gun, either that or feed them daily but that’ll cost you. The beauty of the Soay meat is its flavour from the rough grazing, feed them daily to get them ‘friendly’ and you will, to some degree loose that. Mind you it’ll still be ten times nicer than the stuff from Tesco 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 10, 2013 @ 10:36 pm

  4. Your right about soay meat, it’s delicious. We keep a flock here in the Republic. .in fact Mrs R is off to st kilda next July on a photographic expedition

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — November 10, 2013 @ 10:43 pm

  5. Just echoing the sentiments above about your great blog. I’m afraid I laughed at your description of the last moments of the last soay on Raasay. Wish I knew how it tasted! Interesting to find out about soay sheep – they must have evolved like that to survive life on St Kilda. So enjoy your blog. Most entertaining, informing and conversational. Mind you, I sometimes skip the very technical bits! Cheers, Carolyn.

    Comment by Carolyn — November 11, 2013 @ 12:30 am

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