Life at the end of the road

November 10, 2013

What no wellies !!!!

Filed under: Land Rover, New hybrid ferry, shed/house — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:20 pm

Words fail me tonight peeps, long has it been since so much was achieved by so few on such a nice day. It even started at a sensible time for me, on the only day when I would have been happy to be up at 5:00am I awoke at 6:30, or was it 7:30?? Who knows but it was certainly later than usual and no red wine was involved.


Anyway, I did it, the dreaded VAT return, it took me four strong cups of coffee right enough but that’s it away and the VAT man should be sending me some money shortly Smile I really dunno why I get so worked up about it, if I was getting paid more than £100 per hour for doing anything else I’d be thinking that I was dreaming Smile

Full of the joys at the beautiful day that was awaiting me I went and did the hens for wifey,


obviously a little late for they were all waiting at the garden gate for the morning treat. The ‘hen lady’ spoils her wee chooks rotten and many is the time they’ve been given the last of the home made bread leaving me short for breakfast!! This morning however it was the mashed potato that didn’t get eaten with last nights smoked salmon pasta ??? Well the plan was actually to carve a chunk off Nanny the sheep for dinner last night, stew it and have it with Arnish mashed spuds. However, by the time I finally got in last night it was far to late for that so a pasta dish was rustled up instead. It was a spectacular affair with hot smoked salmon in a cheesy sauce served with tagliatelle.



Then Molly and I checked on the piglets


and Ellie, who were all doing fine.

That Ellie is turning into a fine mother and is looking really good, pity we didn’t have chance to get her into a proper insulated ark, but once the piglets are a little bolder we’ll lead them all into the next field. We had an ark set aside for her in a field left fallow over the summer but she went and ‘dropped them’ nine days early, still, they’re all wee crackers.

I tackled my next job a little reluctantly at first as it was a drive down to the ferry and back to collect my trailer and four barrels of oil. It seemed like a waste of an hours daylight when I had such a ‘long list’ for the day. Normally I’d have just left the trailer until dark but I was needing to clean it out and get it ready for taking to Dingwall tomorrow.


Once on the road though I we quite enjoyed it, sounds insane I know but I’ve really missed commuting up and down the road this last year or so. I hate driving and have only done half the mileage I normally do this last twelve months but I do enjoy ‘Calum’s road’ in the ‘Old girl’.

013 014

This old Fuji is dead ‘wishy washy’ compared to the Panasonic and doesn’t do the morning justice. Mind you it doesn’t help not having an LCD screen and having to rely on the tiny viewfinder.



Loch na Bron looked far sharper than this in real life too, incidentally this was the fault that Fuji said they’d fixed, it’s all out of focus at around half zoom.

The wee dug and I could see the Hallaig over at Sconser from the hill at Glam, you’d have needed better eyesight than me to see the Striven there. It was still well before 9:00am so I’m guessing they were out early and putting her through her paces.

 MV Hallaig

Thanks to George Rankine for capturing her off Eyre with three of the ‘Five sisters of Kintail’ in the background, I wonder if she was heading around to her namesake, Hallaig.

Only six more days

I’ve started taking the Youth hostel (high road) since they surfaced it so took a wee detour to look at the shop notice board.


Well this is what I was looking for, the high light of the year, the Raasay primary school coffee day, I’m working but you can bet I’ll be up for lunch.

Remembering old friends

It’s ‘Remembrance Sunday’ of course but being the Sabbath the wreath was laid yesterday by Jessie Nicolson


to honour and remember the war dead of Raasay and elsewhere. Being a bit of a mongrel I don’t have anyone specific to remember, other than Francis George Fox Wilson a distant relative who perished in WWI. Still I had many friends who made it safely through WWII that are no longer with us and I remember those well enough.

Murdo Nicolson

Exhibition Image One

Murdo of Torran was great pal and mentor when I first moved to Arnish, he was in France with 1st Battalion Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders and captured at St Valery covering the Dunkirk retreat. Murdo took a German bullet in the shoulder and spent the rest of the war as a POW.

John Nicolson

Exhibition Image One

John ‘the Caley’ Nicolson (right) another good friend and ‘mine of information’ spent the war as a gunner on merchant ships and was only recently laid to rest.

Norrie Gillies

Exhibition Image One

Another Raasay stalwart was Norrie Gillies who served in North Africa with the RAF (far left), Norrie had some great stories to tell of his days after the war shark fishing with Gavin Maxwell.

God bless you all chaps, and your comrades that never made it.

Very smelly

After hitching up my trailer I headed home taking the ‘low road’



past the recently cleaned up dog kennels near the steading. Good to see them in use again Smile


I can never remember the name of this stretch of road that crosses from east to west but can’t believe I took this picture without looking through the viewfinder!


023 024

Once home it was ‘barrels off’, pressure washer out and trailer all assembled for carrying pigs.



With the trailer all ‘minted’, greased and with its roof and sides fitted I gave the old girl a ‘once over’, oil, water, washer fluid, belts, lights, brake fluid, clutch fluid and power steering oil. I then spent an hour repairing four of my six spot and rabbit lights that had died through lack of use! Not being switched on for months some of the terminals had corroded, normally the heat from them would dry them out. A bit of judicious work with a small file, some new crimps and some silicon sorted them out and I look forward to dazzling some rabbits in the dark mornings to come Smile

The next task was to recover the Quadzilla from the Torran path where it had died some weeks ago. I should have done it last week but completely forgot about it ‘out of sight out of mind’ so to speak.


Anyway this piece of Chinese carp with only 300 miles on the clock has died once more. Only slightly more reliable than my Chinese wind turbine this piece of oriental junk that was bought new and nursed has, in only four years.

Two clutches,


Ignition switch,

Fuel pump diaphragm,

Tow hitch,

and that’s just from memory and not including all the stuff that’s fallen off, broken, rusted, faded and gone flat.


The boy and I towed it back (another picture without viewfinder) and whilst I haven’t had time to investigate fully, it’s either another dud battery (can’t blame the Chinese for that) or more likely a charging fault Sad smile


Buy a second hand Honda, Yamaha or Kawasaki instead

At last I could get on with the most important job of the day, it was 13:30, the sun and wind had dried out the hen shed frame so I could go up there for the first time in weeks without oilskins and wellies.


To be honest I’d have been better wearing them for the ‘Creocote’ which is a kind of imitation creosote smells just as bad as the real thing whilst only being half as good. Like that old favourite of mine ‘coal tar soap’ it has been banned by the EU Sad smile


Anyway, I got most of it done before ‘light stopped play’,


in fact, I could have finished it but I had three pigs to find and tag before dark.

I also had an early feast to eat, pot roast Soay lamb with Arnish veg and an Arnish apple pie for desert, it’s a hard life in the sticks Smile



  1. hope you can get back into your wellies soon and back to work again, you may need the wellies as we keep getting alot of rain in the pass month

    Comment by neil brooks — November 11, 2013 @ 12:25 am

  2. lord, those chickens are going to have the best view in the world. i hope all their eggs are sky blue and plenty of ’em.

    Comment by Jeannette — November 11, 2013 @ 4:21 am

  3. Morning, Paul

    In the ’80s/early ’90s there were pigs kept in what you remember as dog-kennels at the steading – don’t know whose, but there were a few in there when I last saw them in about 1992.

    Great photo from George of three of the ‘sisters’. I reckon the Hallaig was on her way to Hallaig, going past Fearns and the track to the settlement.



    Comment by Sue — November 11, 2013 @ 8:50 am

    • Hi Sue, if I may butt in to Paul’s excellent blog, the Hallaig actually spent the day doing trials off Eyre, going back and forwards between the Sconser area and the east end of Scalpay, she did venture towards the Crowlins and from there would have seen Hallaig but didn’t go as far as the settlement!
      She can certainly put on a fair turn of speed as well!!!…let’s see how she fares in a strong wind!!
      Thanks for the compliment on the shot!
      Best, George.

      Comment by George — November 11, 2013 @ 9:06 am

      • Hi George

        Thanks for this! Looking forward to crossing on her in July.


        Comment by Sue — November 11, 2013 @ 11:52 am

  4. Paul excellent pictures viewfinder or not, the blog is so much more enjoyable IMHO with the goings on on Raasay. I am sure your days must be 48hrs long for all you achieve in them.
    I take it the five pigs are off to stock up the freezer on the morrow?

    I have used this which is better than the ‘pretend’ creosote,
    not cheap but maybe worth considering.

    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — November 11, 2013 @ 7:11 pm

    • Well I never Micheal, I thought the EU banned its use some years ago and the stuff I bought was £50 so £62 aint bad for the right stuff. Reading up on it suggests that you can indeed still get it.

      In summary:

      Since 30 April 2003 retailers can no longer sell creosote and coal tar creosote wood preservatives to the general public in Great Britain
      Since 30 June 2003 general public can no longer use creosote and coal tar creosote wood preservatives in Great Britain

      Approvals for professional and industrial creosote/coal tar creosote products were allowed to continue, subject to restrictions on the specification of the products and restrictions on where wood that has been treated with creosote/coal tar creosote could be used. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills provided information on these restrictions

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 11, 2013 @ 8:10 pm

    • You’d need a helluva freezer and very deep pockets to keep five pigs in one 🙂 one going there, one for there and one for our freezer 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 11, 2013 @ 8:16 pm

  5. Shame the war memorial is looking so over grown, take it no-one cuts it maybe they should do it up have shingle all around and make a path, love the picture of the hallaig and the snow you should send to cal mac for their calender.

    Comment by Catherine Ann Macleod — November 12, 2013 @ 12:23 am

    • Hi Catherine, aye, that would make an excellent calender picture right enough.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 13, 2013 @ 8:57 pm

      • …But could they afford my fee, Paul???…….George.

        Comment by George — November 13, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

      • But could they afford my fee, Paul???

        You could always try for a free pass 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 13, 2013 @ 9:22 pm

      • HA…..!!…have a look at the strange RIBs that went past the house this morning, they went up yesterday, must have been serious with today’s weather, I registered 62 mph gust this morning!!

        Emailing them now..


        Comment by George — November 13, 2013 @ 9:28 pm

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