Life at the end of the road

March 9, 2015

Up in smoke :-(

Filed under: daily doings — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:25 pm

Well that’s the fortnight aboard the good ship Hallaig and I’ve barely looked at the blog, let alone posted. It’s been pretty grim couple of weeks really with the passing away of Ewan Macdonald from Oskaig and Alex Moody of Inverarish. Alex was probably the first person I ever met on Raasay, along with his wife Margret as they held the keys for ‘number 3’ when I came to view it in 1989. Alex and his dog were a bit of an institution on Raasay and it was not that long ago that he stopped helping to unload the shopping and papers for the local shop. He’d be there waiting outside the shop come ‘rain or shine’ in a sports jacket and tie about twenty minutes before the van actually arrived Smile As he was in his eighties he must have still been unloading that van in his seventies. Always a keen motorist Alex took great pride in his cars and was driving well into his seventh decade. I always remember him telling me that he once owned a Ford Corsair that belonged to Mike Avory, the drummer from the The Kinks.

Many is the Corsair that I’ve worked on in my yoof, the rough and oily V4 Essex engine probably amongst the worst that Ford ever made Smile Still, it was a boldly styled and well loved car, especially the 2000E version.

Two weeks ago tomorrow, the day I started work was almost spring like and the visit to my parents house on the mainland turned up a few surprises.

070315 011 070315 012 070315 013

As did my start ‘on shift’ a few hours later,


070315 015

a fine bottle of red wine had been left for me by the ‘relief motorman’. It certainly wasn’t necessary but the ‘Marquis D Carano Gran Reserva’ 2008 went down a treat with Sunday dinner.

Looking back through my pictures over the last couple of weeks has turned up these.


070315 002

An errant tup that had been wandering the Arnish hills finally caught and returned south, he’s in fine strip considering the work he’s been doing over the winter.

070315 003 070315 004

A proud ‘wee dug’ showing off her new camouflage coat, ‘aye right’, she looks well impressed hey.


070315 006 070315 007

A Mark II Ford Escort recently returned from the Snowman Rally, of around 1979 vintage I remember doing PDI’s (pre delivery inspections’ on these when they were new!!!


070315 008

A Honda quad outside Macgregor Industrial Supplies in Portree, now that really would go anywhere Smile 

Once back at work I could admire some of the ‘modifications’ carried out in  my absence.

 070315 020

‘A tidy ship is a happy ship’ Smile


070315 019

My first task was repairing a ‘UPS’ (uninterrupted power supply) that was suffering from a loose battery fuse.

 070315 017 070315 022

Now, I really could do with a couple of these big 160amp fuses an holders in my setup but at a couple of hundred quid each I’ll give it a miss.

070315 023 070315 024

In Like a lion

One thing for sure it’s been an eventful spell at sea, with weather like we’ve not seen in years. March certainly has come ‘in like a lion’, lets hope it ‘goes out like a lamb’.

070315 026 070315 027

Lachie and Donald made a great start on the plasterboard at our new house

070315 028 070315 029

but have been unable to get back due to the weather, which has been exceptional.

Another ‘great fire’

Friday’s depression brought storm force southerlies and saw us missing the afternoon sailings, but it was well forecast and I’d already gotten my son home from school on Thursday night. However, in what almost felt like a rerun  of the great Raasay House fire of 2009 I received a phone call. Only a few hundred meters away, in storm force southerly winds and torrential rain we had a blaze.

070315 032

Our neighbours home was an inferno a mere 10 minutes after receiving the call.

070315 034

Of course the blaze had tripped the power so the alarm had to be raised via mobile phone, not a simple task in an area of poor reception in the middle of a storm.

070315 036

However, despite that the Raasay volunteer fire brigade were soon on the scene.

It was far too late to save the chalet but they managed to prevent the brand new Peugeot going up in smoke. Also despite the storm Portree lifeboat managed to get get reserves sent over from Skye to help.

My neighbour was lucky to get out alive in his stocking feet with no jacket but their home was ‘raised to the ground’ with the loss of all their possessions.


090315 003

Two days later I saw the true horror of it,

090315 007

nothing but cinders, twisted steel, cracked concrete and the remains of a ‘Super Ser’ gas heater.

090315 009

you can see that going off in the video at around 30 seconds.

Two peoples entire life gone up in smoke in a couple of hours due to an unattended candle Sad smile

After that Monday’s inclement weather seemed rather inconsequential.

Sure, it was a bad day, my son never got to school and my builder never got to Raasay but ‘in the grand scale of things’ it’s pretty ‘small beer’ really.



  1. How incredibly sad for those involved in the fire. Very lucky no-one was injured of worse.

    Comment by Simon — March 9, 2015 @ 9:52 pm

  2. sorry about the fire,,send my best wishes,

    Comment by Duncan Boyle — March 9, 2015 @ 9:53 pm

  3. Shocking news. So sorry for your neighbours of what seems like many years. What a horrific situation. Hope the pets got out ok ? The chalet will be missed and we hope it will reappear from the ashes in due course.

    Comment by SOTW — March 9, 2015 @ 10:09 pm

  4. The house was fully involved before the gas cannister exploded. Anyone know the cause?

    Comment by Mike Sterling — March 10, 2015 @ 12:34 am

    • Morning Mike and welcome,

      Anyone know the cause? The occupant said he left a candle burning in another room then fell asleep in front of the TV. He was very lucky to get out alive!!

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 10, 2015 @ 5:47 am

  5. STREWTH ! He was lucky to escape that ! Some years ago when I lived in Dundee a garage was likewise razed to the ground involving a propane cylinder in Lochee … we heard a terrific bang from just over 3 miles away!!

    Comment by caadfael — March 10, 2015 @ 6:53 am

  6. I take it you found the wrights coal tar soap in the old girl?

    Comment by v8mbo — March 10, 2015 @ 8:33 am

  7. Jeez, lucky. .. what now for the owners?

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — March 10, 2015 @ 8:45 am

  8. So very sorry to hear about the fire, Paul. Please pass our condolences when you see your neighbour. It’s a cautionary tale for all of us in Fladda….
    Sad, too, about Alex. He has always seemed a permanent fixture in Raasay.
    Glad your house progresses well. Here’s to improvements in the weather!
    We’re up in June,
    All the best, piers and Sally

    Comment by Piers and Sally — March 10, 2015 @ 8:52 am

  9. How terrible. So sorry for the losses for the past week.

    Comment by SK Waller — March 10, 2015 @ 3:33 pm

  10. How awful, I really feel for them. On the bright side, they’re alive.

    Comment by Steve — March 10, 2015 @ 5:31 pm

  11. Sorry for your neigbours. At least they are alive

    Comment by Eileen — March 10, 2015 @ 7:25 pm

    • Aye, Eileen, could have been much, much worse.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 13, 2015 @ 6:49 am

  12. Couldn’t see Molly in the photo because she was camouflaged.

    Comment by drgeo111 — March 11, 2015 @ 4:27 pm

    • Morning Texas, long time no speaky 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 13, 2015 @ 6:48 am

  13. Sounds like a rubbish couple of weeks indeed. However… your blog has inspired me to visit Raasay! I’m ploughing my way through ‘Calum’s Road’ at the moment and may or may not be coming over with the tin can on wheels. I hope we bump into each other.

    Comment by Andrew J Ditton — March 11, 2015 @ 11:44 pm

    • Forgot to mention it’ll be in a couple of weeks, just before or as you head back to work. Can I get an upgrade to Club Class? 😉

      Comment by Andrew J Ditton — March 11, 2015 @ 11:46 pm

    • Sounds like good weather ahead Andrew so best get yourself over while it lasts 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 13, 2015 @ 6:47 am

  14. Oh what a very tragic fire. Such complete devastation. I hope they have a place to stay and can recover from this loss. What a graphic warning to be vigilant with those pretty candles.

    Comment by flora — March 13, 2015 @ 1:29 am

    • Morning Flora, yes, a lesson to us all. Luckily my neighbours have a relative at the south end of the island so can stay there till they find something permanent.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 13, 2015 @ 6:36 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: