Life at the end of the road

October 16, 2021

One year on!

Well almost, last time 1 actually posted something that actually got into print so to speak was around the 11th of November 2020. Methinks I was buried under the bonnet of the ‘Old Girl’ having recently returned from Hallaig’s annual dry docking on the Clyde. Sure, I tried several times to kick start my ramblings again but they never made it to off my laptop into the ether. Still, life goes on here on Raasay, which has got a lot busier over the last year with folk preferring staycations to vacations. My dear wife is now my dear ex wife and I have a new dog though the events are unrelated. Bonzo you may remember was Peter Stillman’s wee dug that I used to walk for him, Sadly Peter died in January so Bonzo moved in with Molly and I.

COVID restrictions were still in place but it was a lovely sunny day with a few friends at the graveside  to hear Michael Milne’s beautiful Rabbie Burns themed eulogy.


Sadly I saw very little of Peter or Bonzo the previous year with COVID and all but at least I’ve got Bonzo to remind me Smile

DSCN0121 DSCN0206

Bonzo has settled in really well and is now very much an Arnish dog. Being very prone to wandering off I have to keep him on a lead wherever I go but not here at home, here he’s free to wander where he likes and always comes back (eventually)

So where was I

So what have I been doing, certainly not as much as I used to that’s for sure, I was going to retire when I was 65 but my birthday came and went and I decided not to bother. Having just had my own month’s staycation at home seeing nobody other than the postman twice a week I figured I may as well stay on at work, at least then I’d see some other human beings Smile So I’ve just retired from hard physical work on the croft and will carry on at work until I can’t get a medical. Though judging by my blood pressure that may be sooner than I’d like Sad smile Seriously, after my first COVID jab it went ‘through the roof’ taking ten days to return to something like normal. It remained normal for six weeks until I had my second jab whereupon it skyrocketed once more Sad smile This has caused me to drastically reduce my fat intake which isn’t easy for one who loves eating pigs. Muesli is OK for breakfast but there’s nothing like bacon, sausages, chorizo or black pudding to start of your day.


The first thing I did this fine autumn day was to go and feed my newly acquired wiglets, not had any since last December so it was great to have some back on the croft.


Though I was more than a little perplexed when I couldn’t find them this morning. The wee darlings having buried themselves under all the straw in their shelter Smile


Having given them breakfast I then set about cutting rushes for bedding as it was such a lovely day the grass was pretty dry.

The long dry summer

It’s not been a hot summer by any stretch of the imagination, listening to the radio harping on about temperatures in the 30’s would have you think otherwise but here in the north west it didn’t reach double figure until June and rarely has the thermometer hit the mid twenties even in August. However it has been very dry, something that is very unusual in this part of the world. In short it’s been the best summer I can ever remember in over thirty years of living here, warm, dry, calm and midge free. Don’t think I got a midge bite until July or August, normally I get my first one around my birthday in early May Smile

After cutting my pre dried bedding  I cut my lawn, surely that’ll be the last time this year, normally it’s in September that I do that. Then it was down through the birch woods to the secret cove where one of my hydro turbines lives.


The ‘Stream Engine’ hydro turbine has barely turned this last six months, there being precious little water in the burn. However when it has started working it was making a helluva racket, suspecting bearings I went down with my tools to remove the turbine and take it up to my shed to have a look. As you can see,it doesn’t live in an ideal environment. Just above the high water mark in a very wet, dark, damp and airless corner.

Once it was on the bench it became apparent that the bearings were OK, the problem lying with one of the rotor magnets which had become detched and was rubbing on the stator.

P1190052 P1190050 P1190051

Lots of cleaning with a wire brush, emery and die grinder cleaned everything up and I’ve re-bonded the magnet to the rotor with epoxy resin. Left it clamped overnight so will continue with that project in the morning.

The ‘Old Girl’

The 1986 Land Rover which I’ve had for over twenty years is finally road legal once more, passing it’s MOT with no advisories in August. Mind you I’ve been working on it for almost a year but that’s pretty standard for a Land Rover even when you are using it Smile My latest task being to replace the transfer box for a lower ratio one. The original ratio for mine when I bought it was 1.667:1 which was standard at the time for a normally aspirated 110. However a few years ago it failed and I fitted the later 1.410:1. This being slightly higher ratio making it a little quieter and more economical. That transfer box lasted a few years before failing once more so I fitted the only one I had which was out of a Discovery with a ratio of 1.2:1 which is great on the open road, lovely and quiet with good MPG but pretty hopeless for towing heavy trailers up and down Calum’s Road. The large wheels and tyres only exasperating matters.

  P1190042 P1190044 P1190045

Guess what I’m doing after I finish my hydro turbine Smile


  1. Great to have you back!

    Comment by A Cresswell — October 16, 2021 @ 9:23 pm

    • Hi Adrian, good to be back, how’s things?

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 16, 2021 @ 9:25 pm

  2. Hi’s been a long time since I posted any comment stuff my end too….sorry to read about your issues but glad you are still working the ferry and dabbling with the croft tasks .

    Comment by Gordon Smith — October 16, 2021 @ 9:25 pm

    • Gotta do something to keep me sane Gordon 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 16, 2021 @ 9:30 pm

    • Hellooo! Great to see a post from you.
      Completely understandable why you haven’t been on.
      I have watched the SAS programmes and always marvel at the beauty of your island home.
      I WILL get there and would still love to show you around Scilly even if it’s only for a day.
      Take care 🙂

      Comment by ministryofscillywalks — October 16, 2021 @ 10:13 pm

  3. Glad to see you’re back.

    Comment by grumpy0one — October 16, 2021 @ 9:26 pm

    • Aye Grumpy, glad I finally made it 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 16, 2021 @ 9:29 pm

  4. Great to have you back!!

    Comment by Ron Lobban — October 16, 2021 @ 9:32 pm

  5. Lovely to hear from you again,my wife is also my ex wife now in last year,30 years married very painful, keep working long as you can,good for company if nothing else

    Comment by Phil — October 16, 2021 @ 9:32 pm

  6. Hey Paul
    Good to see you back blogging. Very sorry to hear that you’ve had a tough time. I’ve had a strange year too, survived a heart attack and covid. I’m back climbing the mountains now thankfully.
    Did I hear that you were doing some work at the distillery as well now?

    Comment by Simon — October 16, 2021 @ 9:47 pm

  7. Glad you’re back!

    Comment by mickatdunge — October 16, 2021 @ 9:53 pm

  8. Woohoo he’s back!!! That was a shock seeing your email in my inbox, nearly as much as getting one from people’s Republic of Northumberland a few weeks ago. Just need an update from Rona. Sadly we will no longer read the pros of Ali in Applecross.

    Comment by artimaginguk — October 16, 2021 @ 10:04 pm

  9. Welcome back! You have been missed.

    Comment by Ian — October 16, 2021 @ 10:05 pm

  10. Great to hear from you, I often wonder how you’re doing

    Comment by Caroline — October 16, 2021 @ 10:12 pm

  11. Glad to have you back !

    Comment by TC — October 16, 2021 @ 10:30 pm

  12. What a year it has been for us all. I found I had prostate cancer, and the wife followed suit with colon rectal cancer. However, all is now going well – especially as you are back 🙂

    Comment by monitoringmatters — October 16, 2021 @ 11:15 pm

    • Hope you both are doing OK now.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 18, 2021 @ 6:39 am

  13. So nice to read your blog again and to know that you’re Ok

    Comment by midgiemo — October 16, 2021 @ 11:24 pm

  14. Good to have you back

    Comment by Anne Beaton — October 16, 2021 @ 11:31 pm

  15. Hurrah! Radio silence is over…



    Comment by Damon Hart-Davis — October 16, 2021 @ 11:33 pm

  16. Im glad to see you back. 0therwise it is really hard to find out what the weather is really doing on the west coast. A lot like Nova Scotia.
    Cheers, Bruce.

    Comment by Bruce MacCullos= — October 17, 2021 @ 12:13 am

  17. Smashing to see your post. Great stuff.

    Comment by Malcolm Wood — October 17, 2021 @ 1:28 am

  18. It’s very good to hear from you, I’ve often wondered if you were ok in these troubled times. Excellent news ref the Land Rover, it will be tax exempt in 5 years won’t it! (I’ve now bought another 110, I’m not feeling the love for this one though sadly).
    Sorry to hear about your divorce and the passing of your friend.

    Comment by David Brodie — October 17, 2021 @ 6:00 am

    • Aye David, it’ll be tax exempt if they don’t move the goal posts again. When I bought here in 2000 it was 25 years old to qualify. Think I only had a few years to wait when they bumped it up to 40 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 18, 2021 @ 6:37 am

  19. Like all the others, It’s great to hear from you again. Hope to see you next spring.
    (Green van man)

    Comment by Ray Wilshire — October 17, 2021 @ 8:42 am

    • Hi Ray, was thinking of you a couple of weeks ago when a green van like yours passed by the ferry at Sconser. Was wondering where you had been. When were you last here?

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 18, 2021 @ 6:33 am

      • Hi Paul, Not been to Raasay since 2019 and I think I missed you then. Van’s up on stilts at present as new tyres were fitted March 2020 for a trip up to you and then the thing happened. Really looking forward to next spring and getting back up there.

        Comment by Ray Wilshire — October 18, 2021 @ 11:37 am

  20. Nice to see you back , I have missed your updates – ( was rather worried that you had passed on ) Glad to know that you are ok 👍

    Comment by nigelsonline — October 17, 2021 @ 8:45 am

    • Still here Nigel, one of the reasons for my silence was, well it seemed to me that everyone else was having a truly terrible time with lockdown restrictions and yours truly was still carrying on as usual. Seemed a bit unfair to be advertising the fact.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 18, 2021 @ 6:31 am

  21. We were wondering where you were! Hubby and I found you and the blog after visiting Raasay in 2018, we were Peter’s neighbours for a week. Sorry to hear of his passing, our condolences to the community on Raasay.

    Comment by Elaine — October 17, 2021 @ 9:16 am

    • Hi Elaine, Peter used to often puzzle over his different neighbours, will you be coming back at all?

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 18, 2021 @ 6:26 am

  22. Hi Paul

    Good to hear you are back, sorry to hear about the passing of your friend, I did think often I wonder how you are doing – during our west coast summer hols we went over to Gigha for the day and the thought crossed my mind then as well when on board Lochranza.

    That’s good that “the old girl” is back on the road, my 9 year old son has a fascination with Landrovers, his pals dad has a 110 and over the last year or so its developed greatly. We’ve a landrover dealership nearby and often I’ll detour slightly for a drive passed. I heard through the garage owner I take my non-landy car to, that the new landrover is a bit of a machine, his daughter in law has one, he says, the tow bar swings out at the press of a button, you hitch the caravan up and it weights the load, adjusts the suspension accordingly. It probably does other things and you head off – he said you really don’t know you are towing anything!

    Take care and post when you can!

    Kind regards

    East Lothian

    Comment by Stuart Anderson — October 17, 2021 @ 9:39 am

  23. Good to see you back Paul, sorry about some of your news.

    Comment by Kev Watson — October 17, 2021 @ 9:40 am

  24. Yay! You’re back! Fantastic…we’ve all really missed your postings(and occasional rant😆)…was up staying with Jo(sister/Holoman)and it was great to see your ‘ Old Girl’ back on the road, and to see you were still on the ferry and OK. You keep me posted with what’s what on Raasay👍.cheers Heather. P.s. so good that Peters dog has found a home with you and Mollie.😊

    Comment by Heather McClure — October 17, 2021 @ 9:40 am

    • Aye heather wee Bonzo came just at the right time for me making my divorce much more bearable. It was also good that Molly already knew him so there was no drama from her either.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 18, 2021 @ 6:21 am

  25. Hi Paul, glad to see you back.

    Comment by englishjim — October 17, 2021 @ 10:06 am

  26. How great to hear that you’re OK.

    Comment by Vicki Morton — October 17, 2021 @ 12:25 pm

  27. Welcome back you have been missed
    Life events are never easy
    Put your energy’s into the wee dugs

    Comment by Chris — October 17, 2021 @ 12:38 pm

  28. So nice to hear that you are back; fettling the old Land Rover. Sorry to hear of your marital issues. I just hope that your divorce did not go the same as mine, where to say that I got fleeced, is an under statement. My own 1998 Defender 90 went away on 18/11/20 to undergo a complete rebuild. This task has also taken much longer than I anticipated, only hoping to see it back on the road someday. Keep on in there, I am sure that your job will keep you on the straight and narrow, plus a sprinkling of human contact will also help. You can’t live totally in isolation, altjhough some may try. Best of luck and now that you are back, keep on posting, no matter how sporadic.

    Comment by Richard EDMONDSON — October 17, 2021 @ 12:41 pm

    • Hi Richard, no fleecing here, parted very amicably and still good friends. She just can’t live with me 🙂 Hardly surprising really I couldn’t live with someone as eccentric as me 🙂 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 18, 2021 @ 6:18 am

      • Glad to hear that the parting was amicable, unlike my own.

        Comment by Mr Richard EDMONDSON — October 18, 2021 @ 11:25 am

  29. Lots of folk glad to see you back, Paul, so feel I must add to them. Have missed the blog and Raasay updates. I notice you’ve lived there for thirty years, so that’s the length of time I’ve been visiting the island, except for these last two years. What changes! It’s like a different place altogether. Good to know you’re still working and maybe I’ll see you on the ferry before long.

    Comment by scotmusik — October 17, 2021 @ 1:01 pm

    • Aye Caroline, huge changes, the shop, the church, the ferry and the harbour to name a few.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 18, 2021 @ 6:23 am

  30. Good to see your back 🙂

    Comment by Gareth — October 17, 2021 @ 6:21 pm

  31. Welcome back from me too. Must be telepathic. I saw the Loch Striven pottering about in Oban harbour yesterday afternoon whilst I was waiting for the ferry to take me to Mull and I thought of you, wondered how you are and wished that you were posting again. When I logged on during the evening there was an email waiting. Good to see you again Paul

    Comment by glenelgadventure — October 17, 2021 @ 8:04 pm

  32. Great to see you back, and appreciate the updates and the time it takes you to document it. You’ve had a lot to deal with by the sounds of it. Take care.

    Comment by Stuart — October 17, 2021 @ 8:20 pm

  33. Glad to see you back. I did miss you.

    Comment by eileen1929 — October 17, 2021 @ 8:25 pm

  34. Smashing to have you back chap… Have honestly missed your blog and a few emails here and there to check in isn’t nearly good enough!

    Great to see you making some choices regarding near complete failure to retire but do respect the nod to your health despite the dietary shortcomings (I only morn your loss as I tucked into black pudding earlier today and can barely imagine life without it). Still if it means you get to do more of what you want to do for a fair bit longer then I’m sure it’s the right decision…

    Nice to see the eternal tinkering of things that go wrong hasn’t left you bored with nowt to do. I’m sure there’ll be more challenges ahead! I’m sure this can include Ye Olde Landy … having currently 4 transfer boxes in various states of rebuild or pinching parts from I can sympathise. I was considering fitting one of those fancy 1.3 gears as I can never quite settle between the 1.4 and the 1.2 having lived with a 1.6 for several years and never using first gear…

    Right… prattled on enough. Just as much or as little as you like fella it will just cheer several peoples day… All the best.

    Comment by Matt — October 17, 2021 @ 8:54 pm

    • Aye Matt, the Sunday ‘big breakfast’ really is missed specially the Aultbea black pudding with it’s big chunks of fat 🙂 Looking forward to getting back under the Landy today and getting stuck in to my transfer box. How sad am I 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 18, 2021 @ 6:13 am

      • Only ’bout one quart as bad as me being that there are four of the buggers loitering round the back of mine… I’ll try to limit my black pud intake in sympathy 😉

        Comment by Matt — October 18, 2021 @ 7:59 am

  35. Great to have you back and to hear that you are continuing on the good ship Hallaig. Your knowledge of that ship and the battery systems must be invaluable to Cal-Mac. Keep well.

    Comment by Raymond Brown — October 18, 2021 @ 9:09 am

  36. Welcome back! You have been missed. Hope things settle down for you!

    Comment by dreamsofthedragonfly — October 20, 2021 @ 3:53 pm

  37. Paul
    re the intrusive lights, I imagine that being a “dark sky” area is one of your area’s selling points. Could you get the owner of the lights to either screen them or paint inside the upper half of the covers with aluminium paint? (which won’t get blown away in a gale.) I did it with a bulkhead light in my side passage just to prevent the glare from it shining directly in my face and it worked a treat.
    Good to see you back posting too.
    Andrew E

    Comment by Andrew E — October 22, 2021 @ 8:27 am

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