Life at the end of the road

January 17, 2015

Vodafone, Crapfone

I’m not expecting any sympathy because there’s folk that’s had it far worse than us, but that’s it now, I’ve had enough of this winter and it’s only half way through. Still the days are certainly stretching which helps, mind you I guess one of the reasons for that is all the friggin snow. OK, it’s probably nothing by east coast standards but it’s a lot for here and I’m sick of it. Right from the Tuesday and the start of my shift it’s been a battle to get into work, not quite so bad for me in the Land Rover right enough but the Post Lady has really been struggling.

The worst of it is the lack of mobile phone signal which means that I have to email her every morning with a road status report once I’ve got into work at 7:00.

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Well, that will be 7:00 if there are no trees in the way, for when it’s not been snowing it’s been pishing with rain and blowing a gale. Actually it’s been blowing a gale for weeks now and I’m getting pretty pi55ed off with that. I kid you not, on Wednesday night I was down to second gear in this

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at Glam. Then two miles up the road at Brochel it was pouring rain and the snow had all but vanished.

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As usual I called in at ‘number 3’ to check everything was OK and was confronted with this,

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it really has been exceptionally windy, even for here.

Fortunately that was the worst and its easily repaired, though I was a little worried about what greet me up at the new house. Luckily, despite being more exposed, all was well and there had been progress on the interior partitioning.

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Typically, the day of the tree across the road that delayed me by ten minutes was the day that I arrived to a totally blacked out ship.

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A power surge at 5:10am had tripped Hallaig’s shore power connection and left me with the task of recovering all the systems and still sailing on time. Well, I never got my morning cup of tea or two fried eggs before 7:55 but the ship did leave on schedule Smile

After that drama an easy day followed with my hardest task being to repair Henry.

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That will be Henry next to Charlie and two finer companions in the engine room you could not ask for Smile Seriously these Numatic vacuum cleaners are the ‘dogs’, especially Charlie the wet one. Charlie will suck up anything from gear oil to sewage and he never complains. To be honest, the only reason Henry needed a new motor was because some clown (probably me) had failed to realize he was ‘DRY ONLY’ Sad smile Anyway, the motor was cheap enough at £50, when the motor failed on my £80 Karcher it would have cost me £79 for a new one!!!! Needless to say I reluctantly bought another new one and sent my old one to the landfill.


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The deluge and thaw by with saw the return of the snow

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and once more I left the Schoolhouse at ‘stupid o clock’ after checking my emails. The council had at last put out piles of salt and I was at least able to throw out a few shovel loads for wifey on my way to work.

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Phoebe may be 4WD but that’s no use on ice and there are a couple of hills in particular that always have water on them which turns to ice at the first opportunity.


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True to form the council gritted the slipway at 9:30 once everyone had already been pushed up the hill and several people had slipped and fallen.

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Still, at least they sent more salt over to Raasay, this time in A Macleod’s lovely old Daf.

The ferry however was ‘quiet as the grave’ with four empty crossings one morning alone.


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Well, at least we managed to give her a good scrub, the Hallaig that is.

Vodafone Crapfone

Whilst the Vodafone phone signal has at last returned to Sconser, Raasay and parts of Portree it’s still off at Torran so we’ve no way of speaking to the outside world at home. I have tried several times to report the fault without success, despite spending hours on the phone and computer. It really is a friggin joke, their website takes longer than any other website I know to load and is impossible on a poor connection like we have in Torran. If you can get on it it doesn’t give you any contact email so your screwed if there’s no signal. The site has no way of reporting a fault and just keeps sending you around in circles. If you do manage a ‘live chat’ with anyone they’re incompetent, at least that’s my experience after 40 minutes with someone who obviously cannot get by ‘the script’.

If you do manage to find somewhere with a phone signal the story is just the same.

ME I have been cut off for a month in a house at IV40 8PF for a month now, there are three of us here with three phones and we have no way of speaking to the outside world.

Vodafone Can I phone you back on another phone!!!! What is your postcode!!!!! What model of phone are you using!!!!

I despair, it just went on and on, she told me I had a Suresignal, well yes says I but that’s at another house and doesn’t work either. She then promised to phone me back in half an hour, that was on Tuesday and I’m still waiting!!



  1. I know someone at Vodafone – let me see if he can help.

    Comment by markphelandotnet — January 17, 2015 @ 8:57 pm

  2. Right, your best bet is to go on the Vodafone forums. My friend can escalate the issue internally but it’ll just end up being passed to an Indian call centre I’m afraid. The forum is monitored by 30 staff in the UK so may be your best bet to getting a resolution. Good luck!! 🙂

    Comment by markphelandotnet — January 17, 2015 @ 9:49 pm

    • I’ll try the forum again Mark, last time I couldn’t ‘log in’ because I couldn’t remember my password.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 18, 2015 @ 7:49 am

  3. Note for growing “flags of what not to do and who to avoid when the self build in Totaig in Dunvegan starts in July !!!” – Ta, I will avoid Vodafone at all costs, despite having a mast 1/2 a mile away at Dunbeag we can`t get a mobile signal here either – thanks for the comprehensive record of their “service”, left them a couple of years ago and its seems they are still no better – from someone else who live out in the sticks, thanks for the recent info on the powerspout. Now for the battle with BT for a new decent landline (any chance of connecting into the fibre link to Uig please sir ?, “hollow laugh”) Hope weather improves for you – Roy

    Comment by Merlinshealinghouse — January 17, 2015 @ 10:13 pm

    • Good luck Roy, but O2 are even worse than Vodafone, 3 seem to be the best now.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 18, 2015 @ 7:47 am

  4. I see Phoebe has the larger ” Sport ” alloys and tyres, perhaps if you got a set of winter wheels and tyres she may be better? if you remember you commented on the 16s and the winter tyres on my E class but its grip is superb and I have not been stuck yet, though I have no wish to preach to the converted!!

    these non sports?

    Comment by v8mbo — January 17, 2015 @ 10:19 pm

    • Must admit Robin I’ve been considering it, typically though he ‘DOES NOT POST TO SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS’.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 18, 2015 @ 7:46 am

  5. Paul,
    From what I have seen and heard the weather up there has been quite something and Skye has three gritters off the road. I have come to the conclusion that mobile phone companies once they have your ££ and you signed into a contract do not give a stuff about their ‘service; or lack of it.

    On the plus side Lachie & Co seem to be making real progress with your house, the woodwork looks all so very square and straight. In for Christmas 2015?
    Maybe the Highland council would loan you one of these and then pay you to drag it down to Clachan every day you are working:
    Great to see the results of your three guests before Christmas and the handiwork that went into transforming the two pigs into every conceivable non vegetarian delight.

    Happy New Year.


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — January 17, 2015 @ 10:31 pm

    • Cheers Michael and Happy New Year.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 18, 2015 @ 7:45 am

  6. The Vodafone signal is no better the other end of Raasay. At Eyre I have to climb the hill at the back to get any sort of signal!

    Hope the snow goes soon. Bacup is under snow, too.


    Comment by Sue — January 18, 2015 @ 9:01 am

  7. Morning Paul, if you want get the whatever sent to me in Edinburgh or Grant in Perth and we will send the parts up to you in Rassay. or if we are coming up I am sure we could deliver . problem solved, btw I suspect you can get wheels cheaper than the ones I used as a example.

    Comment by v8mbo — January 18, 2015 @ 10:55 am

  8. That guy WILL post to the highlands Paul, Just at extra cost. try paisley freight, I find them very good.

    Comment by v8mbo — January 18, 2015 @ 11:06 am

  9. tyres…

    Comment by v8mbo — January 18, 2015 @ 11:22 am

  10. Hi Paul & gang. Happy New Year!!! We buy our tyres through a German online outfit – Dack online. We bought from then when in Sweden and again now in France. They seem to have depot/distri deals all over and pricing and delivery seems good and reliable. Just a thought. Of course, in Sweden, we could and did use studded tyres so snow and ice never a real problem. EAsily the best solution to treacherous weather conditions as I’m sure you know.

    Comment by yractual — January 18, 2015 @ 11:50 am

  11. I wouldn’t have Vodafone again, they are still trying to get 30 quid out of me for a contract that ended 4 months ago. Evidently they didn’t realise I had cancelled even though they issued me with a PAC and I ported the number to 02.

    Comment by artimaginguk — January 18, 2015 @ 12:41 pm

    • Well O2 are even worse up here Alistair, they still have not started working at Sconser despite Vodafone and 3 coming back ‘online’ there.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 18, 2015 @ 3:58 pm

  12. Re vodafone:

    You could try this Paul:
    Supposedly a direct link to the CEO.

    Or contact Jeroen Hoenncamp, Chief Executive via:

    Telephone 01635 33251


    Comment by Patrick — January 18, 2015 @ 2:17 pm

    • Cheers Patrick, I’ve just dropped Jeroen a line or two,

      I’m sorry to be bothering you Jeroen,

      Paul Camilli here from the Isle of Raasay I write a blog, which for reasons beyond my comprehension has a huge following. Anyway we live out in the sticks at the end of an 11 mile single track and then some, once I’ve parked the car it’s a further half mile down a rough track on a quad. Our only means of speaking to anyone is via the mobile phone network and we chose yours 15 years ago because it was ‘simply the best’ and worked where and when few other networks did. The house we are staying in at the moment has always had a good signal, for at least ten years anyway, so much so that the owner removed the landline some five or six years ago.

      I have tried several times to report this fault but your advisors just do not listen and it’s really frustrating to be asked the same questions over and over again. Someone promised to phone me within 30 minutes on Tuesday 13th and I am still waiting!!!

      Cheers, Paul Camilli

      I’d phone but I can’t 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 18, 2015 @ 3:53 pm

  13. Don’t get me going on Vodafone, left them years ago and will never use them again, at the moment I have 3 and O2 available, 3 is certainly the better of the two as far as I have used them across the south of the UK.
    Hope the weather gets warmer soon, can’t stand this white stuff either, and the cold just causes me more pain.
    well done for getting the Hallaig out on time.

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — January 18, 2015 @ 3:19 pm

    • Aye Graham, Vodafone used to be the best but 3 are streets ahead now.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 18, 2015 @ 3:55 pm

      • I know this is probably a bit too techno for you, Paul, but there is one provider (I’m only aware of one) in the UK who can provide you with a SIM that roams across most of the available UK networks. It’s also reasonably priced. Here’s the link: — their tech support isn’t bad, and they would be able to tell you what you need to do if you wanted to go with them. No affiliation, just have similar issues to yourself with poor network coverage on remote islands 🙂

        Comment by Patrick — January 19, 2015 @ 1:24 pm

  14. Hi Paul, great job with the Henry.
    I changed our Dyson motor last weekend. Cost £43…. new comparable Dyson £230.00……. Not bad for an Office boy
    Nearly enough saved for a new old Kona Explosif…..
    By the way E-Spares brill to deal with

    Comment by chrisbbbbb — January 20, 2015 @ 9:03 pm

  15. Hi Paul,

    I thought I’d take your mind if phones with this fun page about Pelton wheels and such.

    Comment by Panomphaean — January 21, 2015 @ 9:00 am

  16. Hi Paul. Just wondered if you would like me to send you a pic of LOCH SEAFORTH and HALLAIG taken today from An Aird Braes. If so, just let me have your email. Keep up the good work. Best Regards, PERRY.

    Comment by PERRY DARK — January 23, 2015 @ 7:49 pm

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