Life at the end of the road

June 5, 2014

Saved by the ‘Smidge’ :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:57 pm

Well, it’s been  a while hey, a record in fact, more than two whole weeks since I posted, and apart from emails I’ve hardly switched the computer on. This will be on account of several things, tiredness, sore eyes and most important of all the TV!!! Or should I say the lack of it, me I rarely watch the ‘one eyed monster’ but since our satellite link died three weeks ago the wife has started speaking to me Smile It’s boodly marvellous, so marvellous that I’m tempted not to fix it, I hate the dammed thing at the best of times and could quite happily do without it, indeed I did for years. 

This is what it must be like when people have power cuts, Eastender’s goes down, the broadband fails and the Xbox dies, people start speaking to each other again and the birth rate goes up Smile Of course I wouldn’t know about power cuts because our supply is totally reliable, on the rare occasions that we have ‘blacked out’ it’s been restored faster than it takes you to get to speak to  a real person on the SSE helpline. Not that I’ve ever phoned a utility company up as we don’t have any, which may well be a bonus in the bills department but it’s a pure PITA when trying to borrow money.  

You have no idea how problematic not having a utility bill can. We have just been asked for proof of residency at 3 South Arnish for 2012 and 2013. Now I can provide proof for 2014 and from 2011 right back to 1989 but that’s not good enough for these halfwits!!!!! I phones the clowns up and say ‘look here, I’ve done all my banking ‘online’ since 2011 so have no statements, will older ones do’. Fraid not is the reply, what about council tax receipts says Adam, that’s the ultimate proof. Well, I dunno about you but I use mine to light the fire, why would anyone keep a two year old council tax bill? I’ve solicitors letters, accountants letters, P60’s, wage slips, firearm certificate, passport, disclosure certificate and pension statements but they’re not good enough. No, it has to be a utility bill, council tax or bank statement, whatever happened to common sense?

Adam then tells me to phone up the bank and get them to write a letter, which I did  and Lord knows how much they’ll charge me for that? I despair, why do we put up with this carp? I’ve just spent most of my ‘two weeks on’ putting up ridiculous signs on Hallaig to comply with regulations, my favourite one being this.

Ten of them on manholes with twenty M20 studs holding them down, well you’d be pretty stupid not to realize that it wasn’t after undoing all those nuts!!!

Actually I did phone a utility company once, I called Scottish Water in Edinburgh to ask them who I should pay for the water I was ‘borrowing’ from their tap Smile This would be when we ran out of water a few years ago and I took a bowser down to the pier and filled it with 700lts of their finest diluted bleach. Of course the lassie thought I was ‘off my head’ but said it would be OK just to get me off the phone Smile

Anyway, enough of all my wittering, I’ll try and pick up where I left off over two weeks ago by looking at some pictures.


The two ‘wee boys’ on ‘bin day’ a fortnight ago, right now they’re hanging in Munro’s chill room awaiting butchery.



The ‘Spanish John II’ returning from Rona with Hugh Mackay’s plant after a spot of work up there for Bill

Moving into place

What no ‘salute’ Smile


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An inordinate amount of north wind that first ‘week on’ didn’t seem to stop Raasay House  from carrying out their activities.

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The groups certainly seemed to be having a great time


and they certainly fill the ferry up Smile



The ‘super yacht’ Hampshire II belonging to the dude who owns Ineos I did ‘Google’ it at the time and worked out you could buy a whole fleet of Hallaig’s for what it cost to build.


I’d be surprised if the Hampshire was much quieter than our hybrid ferry though and the food is probably not as good as what our opposite shift eat Smile Our ‘back to backs’ do seem to get a little carried away with the cooking, rumour has it that a full chicken has come out of the oven before breakfast!


A fine sunset on the way home, that will be the Storr taken from near ‘Hector’s croft’ at the bottom of Glam Brae.


A Vanguard class SSBN off Brochel the day after.


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A ‘low flyer’, the Famous Grouse of Raasay wandering haphazardly across the road north of Glam. It’s a great time of year for ‘twitchers’ just now, cuckoos, lapwings, wood pigeon, sea eagle, swallows, wheatear and much, much more can be seen on the daily commute.

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Then of course there are the bluebells.


‘Bring back the Striven’, aye right, a typical summer Sunday sailing, that’ll be the day that no one wanted the ferry to sail and the ferry that’s not as good as a ‘Loch class’. Seventeen cars and a whole load of passengers being ferried to Raasay quickly, quietly and smoothly.


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Home on time, without doing a ‘double run’ I went to see how the hens were settling in. On the face of it ‘well enough’ but they went ‘off the lay’ and are only now starting to produce again.



Well, I’ve no idea what happened between Sunday and Friday as I didn’t take any pictures but here’s the PS Waverly arriving on the 30th of May for a cruise around Raasay.


She certainly is a splendid vessel and the last seagoing passenger carrying paddle steamer in the world . If you ever get a chance to sail on her then take it, it’s a pleasure I went on her three years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.



Work on the good ship Hallaig last week was dominated by painting and the MEWP, I just love this ‘mobile extendable working platform’, though I spent longer filling the forms in than actually painting Smile


The truth of the matter was that we’d actually hired the MEWP from Jan’s so that Ferguson’s could replace some rusty bolts. Still, it seemed like a golden opportunity to paint some of those awkward wee corners.


This will be Jim and Alec from Ferguson’s making a fine job of some minor alterations to our ramps on Sunday.



Not the same Ferguson this is the ‘Jodie Anne’ working hard at the Braes fish farm



along with a fleet of other wee workboats.

Monday had me up at ‘stupid o clock’ to load up the two ‘wee boys’ for their one way trip. My mate Brathain taking them through to Dingwall with two of his own. I met him at Oskaig in a cloud of midges as he brought the two ‘spotties’ up to the road with the 6×6 Polaris.

054     055              


Monday also saw the MEWP going back to Jan’s Sad smile

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Of course Monday and Tuesday flew by in a mad rush of finishing everything off ready for my ‘back to back’.

Wednesday morning had me taking the ‘beetle man’ away, collecting gas from and of course admiring Ron’s slating on the Raasay Heritage Centre.




It also saw work commence in earnest on our new house Smile


and me back working on the hen house.



The last couple of days has seen me filling in drains with pipes and rocks in preparation for making a firm path, track and parking around the hen house.

Today I awoke, after eleven hours sleep! yup, I was in bed at 20:00 last night and didn’t arise until 7:00! I got up to a grey, damp, calm and midge infested day saved only by the miracle ‘Smidge’ the only insect repellent that actually works. After a morning’s work on VAT return, drains and rocks I called it a day outside and turned my attention inside.



Whereupon made time to fit a new wood burning stove for my neighbour from Natural Heating . Never a fan of cheap Chinese carp I cannot praise this stove highly enough. It’s called a ‘Trilby’ and I bought it to replace one I’d fitted for her some seven years ago. That would be seven trouble free years, in truth the stove is actually repairable and I’ll probably get around to it one day, but for now it was quicker and easier just to fit a new one for her.

Whilst my £800 Morso stoves burn out £40 grates and £50 Baffle plates annually this £300 Trilby has had just one grate in seven years!!!!!! The glass has never cracked and the baffle plate is still like new. Sure the casting is a little ‘rough around the edges’ but the product preforms brilliantly and Natural Heating are a pleasure to deal with.

And now I’m off to bed!



  1. The roof is making the new Heritage Centre look really good. It’s taken a while but it is going to look great when it’s done. Welcome back, began to think you had tired of the blog!

    Comment by Anne Macdonald — June 5, 2014 @ 11:22 pm

    • Morning Anne, it’s the sore eyes more than anything, I even went to bed with cucumber on them (which seemed to help) but I’ve got an appointment to see the quack next week.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 6, 2014 @ 7:15 am

  2. Great to see your back and I’m looking forward to some good one liners.

    Comment by Polite Scouser — June 6, 2014 @ 5:08 am

    • Morning Walter, well the cider I used for my rant last night certainly left me with a headache, not sure if it produced any ‘good one liners’ though 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 6, 2014 @ 7:13 am

  3. Missed you and your musings -glad you’re back

    Comment by Lisa — June 6, 2014 @ 7:01 am

    • Glad to be back myself Lisa 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 6, 2014 @ 7:11 am

  4. Good to see you back Paul, missed you when I stop for a coffee.
    Totally agree about proof of id everything is online, which of course is not acceptable, bills have to be under 3 months old! Trying to prove Sarah’s existence is near impossible.
    How goes the veggies? Are the hens laying away?
    A+. Andrew

    Comment by Andrew — June 6, 2014 @ 9:15 am

  5. Glad to see you back Paul. I spend last week staring over at you from Gairloch. I had a trip on the Waverley, what a cracking ship she is. Smidge saved my life one evening in Torridon, they are horrid already.

    Comment by Simon — June 6, 2014 @ 10:14 am

  6. Ohhhh yes, the Waverley is a great trip, went out on her years ago from North Somerset.

    Comment by Alison Hall — June 6, 2014 @ 11:37 am

  7. Was getting really worried about your long absence, but nice to read the latest updates! I can just about make out me, Reg and Heather on the deck of the Waverley – we saw you taking photos and waved but you didn’t see us! Heather had been pointing out the house she used to live in. We’re coming over to Raasay on 21st June with the Field Club, and hope to pop up Calum’s Road, so might see you.

    Comment by Sue from Sallachy — June 7, 2014 @ 11:15 am

    • Morning Sue, we’ll maybe see you then.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 9, 2014 @ 5:57 am

  8. Great to see you back, Paul. In my present sad and very uncertain world, your blog is a real breath of fresh air.

    Comment by Lloyd — June 7, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

    • Aye Lloyd, it’s good to be back 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 9, 2014 @ 5:56 am

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