Life at the end of the road

January 4, 2014

Talk Talk, aye right :-)

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:48 pm

A better day by far today and I reluctantly set off for Portree at just after 8:00am, having fed the pigs early and left the household slumbering peacefully. Even a quick dash into town eats a precious hole in the working day at this time of year but we were desperate low on sow rolls, weaner pellets, mixed grain, layers pellets, wild bird food and cat food. How on earth we’ve managed to acquire five cats when they’re all neutered is beyond me, especially as I don’t like the bird eating rascals. However we’ve not seen a mouse in years or a rat ever at number 3 so we tolerate each other and I really am quite fond of them. They’re all pretty wild and each one has its own favourite shed that it lives in, one has even been caught sleeping with the hens, though I’ve yet to capture that on camera.

They don’t have names, well apart from ‘mummy cat’, splodge, and ‘Val’s cat’, they’re not allowed (or even want to) come in the house and I generally shoot any toms that turn up at the house. There’s probably a law against that but when the stinking beggars steal all the food from the other cats, pish all over the hens bedding and spray my windows I tend to ‘see red’. It’s not like we’ve any neighbours, our nearest one is some seven or eight miles away, so if a fat tom turns up at the door and all our female cats have been dressed, then to my way of thinking someone has dumped it there. Some ‘cat lover’ has driven at least ten miles and dumped a fat healthy tom because ‘they’ can’t be bothered with dealing with it.

And before you set the SSPCA on me,  I ‘shot’ them with a water pistol or camera  Smile



Anyway, with an empty Land Rover and a fat ‘wee dug’



I set off to catch the 8:55 Hallaig to Skye. I cannot believe that folk are still moaning about this ferry, it’s larger so they don’t get left behind, quieter so they can use the phone, its got free WiFi and costs the same price. How can that be a bad thing, especially as it needs two extra crew Smile Sure it couldn’t berth on Raasay yesterday due to the wind but I doubt that the Loch Striven would have even sailed. This is a really good ship and a pleasure to work on, in fact, I’m actually missing not joining her on Tuesday, though I’m sure I’ll get over that once I’ve been working on her for thirteen days Smile 

After scrounging a bite to eat off the boys, getting the craic and trying to stop my ‘back to back’ feeding Molly I set off for Portree and Harbro, the local feed merchant.



All that and more went into the back of the ‘Old Girl’ and she barely even felt it, 20 sow rolls, 2 weaner pellets, 3 mixed grain, 3 layers pellets, 1 wild bird and 25kg of wood shavings.



A couple of hours later it was all safely stored in our rodent proof steel container on the croft under the watchful eye of wifey’s hens.

After the Dude and I had done that we went over to Torran on the quads to recover our oil drums then went for a drive over the hills to check the hydro turbine pipes.


Almost 16:00 and still light


not that light right enough as it was a ‘long exposure’ but certainly brighter than of late Smile That’s a pretty big ebb there


X and X rarely break surface. Good reefs for lobster they’re usually found with and echo sounder or careless propeller and not so easily seen.

Not always an advantage

Probably the thing that I dislike most after the TV is the phone and I’ve not actually been to bothered about the house one not working, or at least I wasn’t for the first week or so. It was actually quite a novelty not to have it cemented to the wife’s ear for hours on end. It was pure bliss not to have the offer of endless double glazing, solar panels, or gazillions of money from that car accident I had (you know the one I can’t remember having). However, it’s now been the best part of a month since we’ve been able to receive more than the occasional incoming call and outgoing ones are so noisy as to make conversation impossible. Fortunately we have the fastest and most reliable internet connection on Raasay so have not been totally isolated. Unfortunately we are with ‘Talk Talk’ the undisputed worst telephone and internet provider on the planet.

I didn’t choose this bunch of clowns and their Indian call centres, I was in fact with Toucan for years, an Irish company that employed real Irish people who you could actually speak to. No kidding, you could phone up, speak to Sean or Niamh with a problem and then phone them again the day after!!!!!! If they weren’t in Patrick or Aileen would pass the message on and they’d phone you back!!! Sadly, at some point this friendly minnow was gobbled up by the corporate conger eel of ‘Talk Talk’ and Sean became Mohammed. Not that I’ve a problem with either him Rajeev or Geeta but they can seldom understand a Lancashire accent and have little comprehension of rural island life.

A typical conversation would go like this, well it would after twenty minutes of trying to get past all the menus that don’t work because the line is faulty!! Mr Patel would say, “can you just put the phone down and I’ll phone you back”, I’d reply, “I’ve just told you we can’t get incoming calls”, to which Sanjeev would say “I’m sorry this line is very noisy”. Eventually after much shouting he’d say “I’ll phone you back on your mobile”, and this would be after me telling him there is no mobile reception, to which he would respond with great surprise from his air conditioned office in Mumbai “you have no mobile reception!!!”

Now this has not just happened to me, it has also happened to the hen lady too, you couldn’t make it up could you, some dude in a third world country is expressing surprise that I’ve no mobile phone reception, do you think he watches too many UK soaps??? Anyway I’ve reported the fault several times, as has the wife and we’ve been promised several engineers that have never arrived.

Steer clear of Talk Talk, they’re shite.    

It wouldn’t be so bad but we’ve sixteen piglets for sale and nobody can get a hold of me, well that and the fact that I can’t phone up the bank and pay any bills Smile



  1. Didn’t you once say that you didn’t like dogs either? How is wee Molly, not seen her for a while!

    Comment by Simon — January 4, 2014 @ 9:57 pm

    • Morning Simon, the ‘wee dug’ is sat on the back of the quad at the Torran gate 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 6, 2014 @ 6:47 am

  2. How does the piglet selling work Paul? does someone buy it, then get you to feed it for a fee until its time to turn it in to kit form? and can the piggy in question be supplied in kit form?

    Comment by v8mbo — January 4, 2014 @ 9:59 pm

    • Morning V8,

      does someone buy it, then get you to feed it for a fee until its time to turn it in to kit form? and can the piggy in question be supplied in kit form
      Funny you should say that Robin, as there are people that do that, and we did think of it. However we normally just sell the weaners at 6 weeks or sell the finished product either full or half, butchered or not.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 6, 2014 @ 6:46 am

  3. It did make me smile when reading your conversation with Mumbai, even more so when you use an Indian accent. What narks me is when they try and be your mate and say their name is Brian or Jeff. No it’s not !

    That aside 16 little porkers looking for new homes, you should have put a wee sign up in Harbro’s and folk could pm you on here if they wanted a couple. They are a good bunch of chaps in Harbro’s who are always happy and pleased to see you……………..and your money.


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — January 5, 2014 @ 7:47 am

  4. Hi. Suggestion. When you get your house phone working again get a TrueCall unit. I have used one for the last 14 months now and it is wonderful. Zero spam calls period! Put you family and friends on the star list or tell them to put a code at the end of the dial string. They get through, others have to say their name for you to screen and accept. All other numbers get # and get un obtainable tone. You will get the odd uk number displayed. I look them up and then zap the required number of digits to blanket the offending call centre.

    Comment by Lynn R — January 5, 2014 @ 7:53 am

    • ‘True call’, I like the sound of that Lynn.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 6, 2014 @ 6:38 am

  5. Hi Paul.
    Now that you have a decent internet connection, you could always use VoIP instead of the fixed line. I finally gave up with my land line and now that I have a microwave connection (same kit as you have by the looks of it), my VoIP is just fine. I’m using but there are loads of suppliers. All you need is a VoIP phone with SIP firmware. There’s loads of these about, I have the Cisco 7960 as they are pretty robust, just make sure when you get one off ebay it has the SIP firmware. offer you to keep your number (well, mostly, anyway, I don’t know off the top of my hat for Raasay of course, but I kept mine). If you want to talk this through for more info give me a shout.

    Comment by Eric Bautsch — January 5, 2014 @ 8:25 am

    • Hi Paul
      Long time lurker here.
      I second the use of VoiP. I use it for work and as a back up for the land line. I have it configured to have the land line calls diverted to it when the family are talking for hours on the land line so that I don’t miss any calls. Also if the land line dies as yours has the number is still available. I use voipfone who have been very good but as Eric says there a re loads of good suppliers out there. Set up is easy and not expensive.

      Comment by Allister — January 5, 2014 @ 10:11 am

      • Morning Allister and welcome, I’m tempted I must say.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 6, 2014 @ 6:35 am

    • Good to have you ‘out of the closet’ Eric 🙂 thanks for the tip, I’ve had a look at a few links, now I’m going to try and speak to someone about keeping my number.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 6, 2014 @ 6:37 am

  6. If you can extract yourself from Talk Talk Paul, I think you would find that the Phone Co-op would tick all your boxes – and than some. They certainly have done for me over several years and you only get to talk to helpful Brits for whom nothing is too much trouble. The only downside is that, like all the independent providers, they’re lumbered with BT infrastructure, but they will do all within their power to compensate for that inescapable millstone hung around their necks.

    Comment by Jonathan — January 5, 2014 @ 9:34 am

    • Vote for phone coop as well, had them for five tears and wonderful friendly people and you can talk to eric or whoever the following day. Highly recommended and they do mobiles.

      Comment by Ron — January 5, 2014 @ 11:17 am

      • Thanks for that Ron.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 6, 2014 @ 6:30 am

  7. Tell me about it Paul, When you get through it’s press button 1,2 or 3 and so on, BT is the same and when you get through you get please hold your call is important to us, all our operators our busy at the moment. At least 10 minutes you get this and then you get your so called friends who say we are here to help you. They have even admitted to me they deal with more then one person at a time and what they say is written down, they are completly lost if you come up with a problem they have not got written down in front of them and they then say I will pass you on and another 10 minutes you might get some one I’ve even had the phone go dead on me. I thought it was BT and I keep telling them if I could find somebody who offers the same package as I’ve got with them I would move yesterday, oh well better the devil you know.

    Comment by Stan — January 5, 2014 @ 11:06 am

    • Morning Stan,

      better the devil you know

      I thought that for years Stan and so kept my line rental with them on the misapprehension that they’d repair faults quicker because you were one of their customers.

      As you know I work on the ferry and I can assure you that they DO NOT many is the time that the engineers from ‘Openreach’ have been over to repair faults for none BT customers and left BT ones without a phone!!!

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 6, 2014 @ 6:34 am

  8. May just hijack your blog to have a rant! Going into the 5th week without a phone line, without internet connection and without mobile phone reception – thank you BT (well, apart from the lack of mobile phone reception, one thing I cannot blame on them…). Keeping track of the countless calls I’ve made so far (thank you for all who have allowed me to use their phones again and again!) and the comical responses (I am not yet there, but I’m sure one day I’ll laugh about it) has so far filled 3 A4 pages. BT’s outside-UK call centre was causing too much stress to my nerves (Paul, you already gave a very good description of how those generally work…), so my contact is now with their call centre in Exeter – more sympathetic people there (I’ll forgive them for suggesting it may take so long because the engineer couldn’t get there because of the weather being bad and the ferries off…), but in the end I now just want my connection back! And not BT blaming it on Openreach and me wondering who Openreach will blame, I don’t care – just get it fixed!

    Comment by outonskye — January 5, 2014 @ 2:33 pm

    • Morning OutonSkye,

      Hijack away and welcome, feel free to rant all you like, I’ve just had an email back from Dido Harding the CEO of Talk Talk, be interesting to see what happens now, it even looks like she’s a sense of humour 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 6, 2014 @ 6:29 am

  9. Last time I went to Jolly Old I made train reservations ahead of time. Trains to Scotland, of course. Anyway when I ran into a problem with their web page I telephoned. Talked to an Indian who had obviously never been to England in his life and mostly read from a script of vague apologies. There is a chance he didn’t speak English at all and was just waiting for my sentence to end before reading a random response from his list. One day I will call again and see how many all-purpose apologies I can write down. With sufficient mechanical responses to my wife’s pleadings, I might never have to take out the garbage again!

    PS You called Molly “fat”… When objects are heated they expand. So she’s not fat, she’s “Hot”!

    Comment by drgeo — January 5, 2014 @ 2:57 pm

    • Morning DrG, do they not use Indian call centers in the US then???

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 6, 2014 @ 6:27 am

      • Can’t tell if call centers here have shifted from India to Phillipines, or whether I buy less stuff that has a call center. Apple employs locals and horse feed has very few instructions to get wrong.

        Comment by drgeo — January 6, 2014 @ 9:40 pm

  10. I have my business with Talk Talk. I don’t have many problems apart from the fact that they took over the actual line which now goes to their own exchange. As a result i cannot move without losing my number as they will not release it. This was un be known to me at the time of agreeing it.

    Comment by Alistair — January 5, 2014 @ 7:30 pm

    • Morning Alistair,

      Talk Talk have 2 sides- Talk Talk residential and Talk Talk business. I was with business and they were very good. For some reason I was ‘upgraded’ even though I was on a 2 year contract and later found out they had moved me to Talk Talk residential. Residential were utterly useless and more expensive. I’m now back with business after much hassle.

      Quote from another forum

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 6, 2014 @ 6:26 am

  11. Paul, you are so right about Talk Talk, they are the worst service provider I have ever come across. I ditched them a few years ago only to find my mum’s phone provider, PIPEX, had been swallowed up by Talk Talk. When she moved from Nelson to Helmshore, I wrote to cancel her service. It was finally done after 10 months of letters, phone calls and emails!!

    Comment by victor marcinkiewicz — January 6, 2014 @ 12:29 pm

  12. T T are a bunch of damned thieves, I left them after they took over Tiscali, who were well ok! Six months later they tried to get money off me again, fortunately, the bank were very sympathetic and promised to send them a stiff e-mail warning them of legal action … leave them ASAP!!
    Good luck with the wee piggies, I’m sure they’ll all find eager buyers!
    Oh, a belated Happy New Year to you and yours!!

    Comment by caadfael — January 7, 2014 @ 2:43 pm

    • T T are a bunch of damned thieves
      Aye your not kidding CF, just got my bill for December and it’s £17 more than usual and we can’t use the phone 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 8, 2014 @ 7:52 am

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