Life at the end of the road

November 4, 2017

Tastes of the sea :-)

Filed under: daily doings, food, How I, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:16 am

Half four now, a blazing full moon outside and I’ve been up for half an hour after a tortured sleep. The first bit was fine right enough, assisted by a very busy day, some fantastic FRESH food and a couple of glasses of red. Had me mate round for dinner again and he’s got an awesome cellar which he always sees fit to share with us. So that was just fine until 1:09 when a awoke like a coiled spring ready for action, after that it was all ‘tossing and turning’ for three hours until I finally gave up and had a shower.

Truth is we’ve yet another busy day ahead and I really am ‘raring to go’. If we get half as much achieved as yesterday I’ll be happy.

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First off, after feeding the animals and before it was fully light I greased and fuelled up Calum, tracked him up to the hen enclosures and started to spread the infill I’ve been dumping up there for the last few days. I’m putting a road through here so we can access the pig’s arc with a quad and trailer, at the moment I can get the quad up there but not with a trailer. A good track through here and a widened gate in this field will sort that and the stuff kindly given me by the broadband mast contractors is perfect.


Not bad and delivered 11 miles for a couple of cases of beer, having said that methinks they didn’t actually realize how far it is to ‘the end of the road’ Smile

With the dumpers greased and fuelled too I took half a dozen eggs round to my mate at Torran for an 8:00am breakfast with coffee you could stand the spoon in so started the day ‘rattling’. The plan was to finally sort out the constantly blocking culvert at the bottom of the first hill on the track.


That’s it on a good day with the pipe ready to go in, mind you it’s been ‘ready’ for several months now Smile

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So, with a little help from Molly we set about digging out the old collapsed one.

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Another anchor

By midday we had that pretty much sorted and pretty much ‘called it a day’ on the roadwork’s front. We did a little more drain clearing and spreading right enough but wanted to catch low waterish which was around 11:00. The next task was a diving job to check out and put a mark on a missing anchor at the old fish farm slip. My son and mate had found it during the summer and marked it with a buoy but that had vanished, the low tide would help in its location, it would also mean a much shorter swim out.


Boodly kayakers, they get everywhere Smile That’ll be my mate and fellow Hallaig crewman returning from a wee sojourn in the loch.


As is quite usual at this time of year if the weather has not been too wild, conditions were perfect, the sea was warmer than the land and visibility was excellent due to lack of plankton and algae. We soon found the anchor, marked it and the continued with a 35 minute dive to around 17m, picking up a dozen scallops, a bonny male crab and a couple of sea urchins.


I have dived commercially for sea urchins in the past, or more correctly, I should say that I did a spell of supplying them to a local shellfish merchant who was searing for a market in the far east. I can’t really remember much about it other than they were very choosy about the size and £1.00 each seems to stick in my mind. At the time it wasn’t as lucrative as diving for scallops and the buyer never really found a market so after a couple of weeks I gave it up. Bizarrely, for me, I’ve never actually tried one until yesterday, mainly cos I’ve never actually know which bit you eat.

After our excellent dive I did a little more work with the digger and my own dumper up at the hen field whilst filling the diving cylinders with my Bauer Utilus 10 diving compressor and then replaced the oil in it whilst it was warm. The design of this German high pressure 3 stage compressor dates back to WWII and whilst mine isn’t that old, I did buy it new in around 1983. When you consider I was diving three times a day, six days a week for many years and this little beauty lived on my boat, it is in remarkable condition. In all that time it’s only had a couple of third stage inserts a couple of intercooler pipes, quite a few drive belts and regular oil changes. When I had it on the boat it was driven by a Honda petrol engine, the vibrations of which caused the intercooler pipes to fracture occasionally, since ‘going electric’ it’s never broken another. The design of this compressor is such that the petrol and electric motor can be changed in minutes with no tools. It’s also single phase and can (just) be run off a 13A supply if you’re careful and start it ‘off load’. However, I run it off a 16A supply and only fill diving cylinders whilst the generator is running. It takes around 40mins to fill an empty bottle so a couple of hours for 3, as the motor is 2.2kW then I guess that’s around 4.4kWh of energy so I suppose it is feasible to fill it via the inverter, must try it one day.

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The wee dug’s life jacket arrived today Smile she does not look impressed hey.

I’ll not be ordering it at a restaurant

Whilst filling the cylinders I did a few jobs in the barn and taped up the wrist seals on a spare dry suit, mainly cos the adhesive, (Bostik 2402) has a limited shelf life so I thought it best to do as many repairs as I could. I’ve also mislaid my watch so thought I’d better stay by the compressor in case I forgot about it Smile

Before I knew it, it was time to make dinner, apparently I said I would and Wifey came out to the shed 20min before my mate arrived to eat, to remind me. She had however found me a good quick recipe on the Internet first Though we added some finely chopped scallops to the fresh crab and used a heaped teaspoon of chili.

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  • 4 tbsp olive oil

    olive oil

  • 1 large shallot


    , finely chopped, or 100g frozen chopped onion

  • 2 fat garlic cloves, crushed, or 1 tbsp crushed garlic paste
  • 1 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped or ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • 43g can dressed crab


  • 400g can cherry tomatoes in juice
  • pinch of sugar


  • 50ml single or double cream (optional)
  • 200g linguine
  • 170g can crabmeat chunks in brine, drained
  • handful parsley


    or basil, leaves only, roughly chopped (optional)


  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and boil the kettle for the pasta. Add the shallot to the oil and gently sizzle for 5 mins until soft. Add the garlic and chilli, and cook for another 1-2 mins.

  2. Tip the kettle of hot water into a large pan, add the pasta and cook following pack instructions. Meanwhile, add the dressed crab to the frying pan. Drain the tomatoes over a bowl and tip the juice into the pan. Add the sugar, cream (if using) and some seasoning. Bubble gently while the pasta cooks.

  3. Just before the pasta is finished, add the cherry tomatoes and crabmeat chunks to the pan, stir for 1-2 mins, then drain the pasta (reserve a little pasta water) and add this too. Cook everything for another min, adding a splash of pasta water if the sauce looks dry, then season to taste. Stir through the herbs, if you like, and serve.

Bit like oyster

As soon as my mate arrived he showed us what to do with the sea urchin,

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which was basically, cut around the mouth, scoop out all the insides bar the roe. The roe being that five pointed bit at the bottom, which is actually the top of the urchin. You then give it a squeeze of lemon and scoop it out with a spoon. Sure it was very nice and similar to oyster but I’d no be paying £8.00 for one in a restaurant. What I may do is get another couple today and try them with tabasco sauce.

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