Well, that’s it 2014 is here with a new moon for a new beginning
and a whole load of carp on the way. Don’t think that it’s any more than we’re used to here but the high tides, wind and rain look like they might cause chaos down sowf.
Here it’s just been your average winter gale, if anything it’s actually been nicer than usual.
Just wish I’d have had this weather station up and running a few weeks ago when we really did have some weather to shout about.
New years eve wasn’t only the end of 2013 it was the end of my regular ‘week on week off’ shift pattern which to be honest I’ve seen little of this last year. twelve months of ‘training’ having messed that up good and proper and even after that my spells in the yard and on Hallaig have been frequently extended. Not that that’s bothered me in the least, every day aboard the worlds first hybrid sea going ferry is a learning day. However, life should at last be settling down into some kind of routine and we’re all looking forward to 2014, ‘the year of the house’
The actual day, the ‘Hogmanay’ day that is, was nice enough, with a mainly fine day and not much in the way of wind, well apart from the brief gale that came out of nowhere at 11:30. This unforecast blast only lasted about half an hour but the wind was up to 40 knots for a while, however it died as quickly as it came and left in its wake a fine afternoon.
Being the last day of both the year and my shift I was of course running around for most of the day like a headless chicken trying to leave the ship in a fit state for my ‘back to back’ who’d now be stuck on her for a fortnight.
Changed days from checking the batteries with a hydrometer, rubber apron and face shield, now it’s a screen and laptop Having said that I wouldn’t like to have to go around all 216 of them with a voltmeter and hydrometer, even if I could.
Once I’d done the ‘walk round’ with my ‘back to back’ and left her in his capable hands I headed north in the ‘Old Girl’ with great intentions of returning south a few hours later. Sadly it never happened despite me getting bathed, shaved, doused in aftershave and prised out of a CalMac Tee-shirt, I must be getting too old Somehow the prospect of a quiet night in with the family watching the TV, drinking wine and playing games seemed preferable to driving down to Raasay House for what turned out to be a banging night by all accounts.
I’ve certainly had some memorable ‘Hogmanay’s’ in my time, a rave in a church for the millennium, that would be after leaving Raasay around 22:00 in the MV Conqueror and driving 40 miles to Strome. A night in Glasgow with wifey watching fire eaters and some dude from Barrhead impersonating Freddie Mercury.
My feet were friggin freezing in the snow and slush but Gary Mullen was quite simply brilliant despite looking absolutely nothing like Freddie. Then there was the night in Roxie’s basement underneath the Koh i noor restaurant in Paisley
at the legendary ‘Club 69’ a real ‘techno dungeon’ if ever there was one.
Calor gas heaters, toilets straight out of ‘Trainspotting’
and two junkies on the door wearing parkas but what a night Of course we couldn’t get a taxi back to Barrhead so had to walk, getting a lift for the last mile with some space cadet in a Peugeot, I swear he was about sixteen and had stolen it
Anyway, there was none of that ‘nonsense’, I was in my bed not long after watching Jackie Burd and Rab C Nesbit herald in 2014 and stayed in it until after 10:00am.
OK, that picture is from Hogmanay but it was just as nice on New Years day, especially without the hangover I would have had, had I gone down to the village and joined in the festivities.
Nice it may have been but there had certainly been some wind during the night, my trailer had parked itself around 20’ from where I’d left it!!
Much as I hate Scotland’s other national drink, taken with a good slug of vodka for breakfast it’s probably one of the reasons that I didnae have a hangover
It may have been New Year’s day but the pigs needed cleaned and fed just like every other day so we took advantage of the dry weather to get some bedding cut.
The ‘first footers’
It was just as I’d got back home with the first load they arrived, our very first batch of ‘first footers’ complete with a bottle of wine and tales of the excellent night had by all. Yup, a car full of my shipmates arrived looking pretty fresh considering that most of them had been up until 5:30 the night before. They didn’t stay long as the venison AND silverside were in the oven but it was great to see them and provided a welcome break from ‘mucking out’
The ‘New Year’s day walk’ that we’d planned never actually happened until after 15:00, by which time light was fading, but it was good to see a whole heap of cars in the Arnish car park running just as late as us
However, as the hen lady was wearing her mad leggings we decided not to walk to Torran for fear of meeting anyone, so we walked up past the new house towards Tarbert instead.
Which was just as well for I discovered that the lid was missing off our ‘settling tank’ and found it about 100m away. After the Dude and I recovered the thick metal lid we replaced it and piled some rocks on it to prevent a repeat performance.
Another ‘blog free’ night followed, this time a game of Trivial Pursuits and Sherlock Holmes taking preference, though I have to admit that the highly rated offering by the BBC struck me as pure confusing pretentious crap. Obviously I’m not ‘wired up right’ as Benedict Cumberbatch is supposed to be the ‘dogs danglies’. Well, he may well be but I was left ‘dazed and confused’ by the whole affair (and wine)
Today we decided to go and get our bedding from the side of the road rather than our neighbours croft, firstly because we nearly got stuck yesterday and secondly because we could take the larger trailer and just fill it. This would save us having to ‘double handle’ the huge pile of rushes into the barn, they could just be left in the trailer until required.
We weren’t the only ones on ‘Calum’s road’ today though
The rest of the day was spent messing about with ‘lifting gear’
a 20 ton ratchet strap that needed repairing with a stainless washer and bolt. A far easier thing to say than do, for a start the washer was too small and it took me an hour to file it out.
After that it was the 3200kg Tirfor winch that hadn’t been used in years and needed much WD40 and effort to get it all ‘ready for action’