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!!

January 14, 2015

Very wintery

Filed under: daily doings, shed/house — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 2:09 pm

Way too long a day for posting last night so I’ll make an effort during my lunch break here on the good ship Hallaig. A pot of soup bubbling away on the stove and me sitting down in the quiet warmth and luxury of the mess room. Tuesday was an early start at ‘past the end of the road’ and for the first time since arriving at Torran Schoolhouse I couldn’t here wind, rain or both on the bedroom window. You’re talking of needing a good hour to get to the ferry from Torran really, sure you could probably do it in half that but you never know what’s in store.

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Snow for instance, if it’s lying at sea level in Loch Arnish you can bet it’s a foot deep at Glam! Then there are the fallen trees, cows on the road and punctures, all of which have happened more than once on the journey from north to south.

Monday it was the snow that impeded progress and even the Land Rover slid into the verge of the unploughed or gritted road to Arnish. We did make it to the ferry on time though and my son ended his two day unscheduled leave from school and headed for his physics prelim.


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Me, I set off for the mainland and my parents house  where I was surprised to see a blaze of gorse at Dornie, sure you get a few out at this time of year. Indeed for much of the winter they are a most welcome splash of colour on the sombre hill, but this was a true riot of yellow. OK, I know it looks a bit drab but it was a pretty carpy day with frequent showers of the ‘white stuff’.

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I arrived just in time to meet my father and one of the excellent carers that looks after him for the day at Dornie. I dunno what it’s like in the toon but the Alzheimer’s and Dementia sufferers in Skye and Lochalsh get well looked after. I know my dear mum would really struggle without them.

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Definitely the right vehicle for the job, wifey phoned me to tell me Phoebe had slid into the verge at the same place as the ‘Old Girl’. However she’d failed to make it up the hill at Brochel so wifey turned her around and headed back home, even then she had to leave her at Tarbert and walk over a mile to Torran. Me I phoned up the Highland Council and complained nicely, It’s quite simple really, if the road is not gritted and ploughed we can’t get to work. If I don’t get to work the ferry doesn’t run and today Raasay has no mail because my wife could not get to work!

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Anyway, after chopping a few logs, taking the dog for a walk and changing the water filter  headed back to Sconser for the 15:00 sailing to Raasay and two weeks work.

Once the ferry was tied up for the night I headed home down a freshly ploughed and gritted road and was pleased to find Phoebe parked in her usual spot ‘at the end of the road’. The lights were also still blazing and the new house when I went up to collect the quad.

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Despite being well after 20:00, Lachie and Donald were still hard at it putting up the framing for the interior partitioning.

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After that I turned my attention to the power supply for ‘number 3’ and was pleased to see that the Proven 2.5kW wind turbine was belting out its full rated output and more.

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I saw it pass 50 amps several times whilst I was in the shed checking on the batteries and inverter. This must be due to the new springs I fitted after the last storm a month ago exactly. I guess at nine years old they were getting a little weak and I’d never noticed the performance gradually decrease, I’ve never seen it over 40 amps for quite a while.

By the time I finally reached The Old Schoolhouse it was heading for 21:00 and I was knackered. Still after a good sleep I arose the wrong side of 6:00am and headed for work, finding the snow plough heading for Arnish as I went south.


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The day was not always like this!! Smile

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