Life at the end of the road

January 31, 2018

Numb fingers :-(

Well, it’s boodly freezing here at my mate’s where I’ve come to do my tax return. It was the first thing I planned to do on my first day off last Wednesday. Typically the Internet went down as soon as I tried, hardly surprising really as it was almost hurricane force winds and the power was off on Raasay at least. Not that that affects us, we’ve not had a power cut of more than a few minutes in 29 years. Being led to believe it would be back on in a few days I didn’t do anything about it (the tax return that is). Then I had to work for a couple of days, then it was the weekend, all the while the 31st of January deadline was creeping up on me.

Not being able to get online at home I’d already printed out the forms and filled them in manually so I thought it wouldn’t  be such a hard job just to go online and transfer the info. How wrong was I, they have to send you a code to a phone, only the phone that’s registered is the fixed one at home!!!!!


So, I went back home and brought the phone with me (it’s a fixed mobile)


Kinda like that one and despite having very poor mobile reception at the house the external aerial means it works just fine in ours despite triple glazing and a meter thick stone wall. Just got my phone bill in yesterday too and it was £10.38 for unlimited calls. Beats the carp out of BT and their rip off charges. You know we actually ordered a landline and paid for it, BT said it would be installed on the 23rd of March 2014, which of course it wasn’t. Not that I was expecting it to be, we are a little remote to say the least. Next thing I know I get a bill for ‘Early termination of contract fee’ including call charges I’ve made on a phone I’ve never had!!!! You couldn’t make it up really. Then there was the Indian merry-go-round that lasted three months and a gazillion phone calls before they admitted their cock-up, refunded my money and compensated me. Net result, I thought blow this and got the phone above Smile We’re 11 miles from the exchange so cannot get broadband down the phone line anyway Sad smile

Hence I’m sat here freezing my nuts off in my mate’s hoose using a 3 MiFi 4G dongle thing

   Main device image for Huawei E5573 4G Mobile Wi-Fi in white.

it’s not much bigger than a credit card and I can pick up 4g here from Scriag on Skye Smile It will run up to 4 devices and is ‘chap as chips’. Can’t remember the data allowance, perhaps 20Gb but it’s  £13 a month or  something, just wish it worked at home as a back up to our normal provider

They had a bit of a disaster last week,


hopefully it’ll be sorted soon but the weather is still atrocious.

Land Rover heater and starter.

After the euphoria of actually completing my tax return I returned home to the relative warmth of my shed to crack on with the starter and heater on the ‘Old Girl’. OK, I severely doubt it was warmer in the shed than the schoolhouse but at least I was moving around and not frozen to the spot Smile

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I had actually planned to remove the whole heater unit but the bulkhead is so rusty (another job on the list) that it proved impossible, or at least not worthwhile. Instead I drilled out the rivets, bent the top of the heater unit out of the way, removed the hoses and lifted out the radiator quite easily. As you can see, it’s beyond repair or at least a repair where it would actually still produce any heat. A new one is less than £30 anyway so not really worth while.

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The heater radiator is ‘in the post’ so to speak so I turned my attention to the starter, a Bosch exchange unit that was twice the price of a Chinese clone but will hopefully last much longer.

Well that’s it for now, there was more,


Tug and barge in Kyle,


Viking Gripfisk and Ronja Commander at the Railway Pier,


Inver Lussa’s Naomi Jennifer,


The Sky Bridge with Ben na Calieach and the Cuilin mountains in the distance.


Hallaig, Ben Tianavaig, the Storr and Troternish ridge.

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A goat at Ratagan and Bonzo’s rear end Smile Wee Bonzo heads straight for this upturned boat every time I walk him, he once chased a cat under there and has never forgotten, despite it being moths ago and never having returned.


December 23, 2017

The longest night

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:12 pm

Friday here and we’re Internet less again so this will be coming from my 3 Mi Fi device anywhere I can find a signal. Well, it’s been a boodly windy day here on the ferry for sure.

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A good steady Force 9 from the south west on the Beaufort scale when we arrived on Hallaig at 7:00. The Captain took the wise decision not to sail as it looked like there was more on the way, no point taking risks in the dark but we did sail at 8:55.

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The squalls off the Cuilin down Loch Sligachan regularly topping 60 knots !!!! We did one more sailing then ‘knocked it on the head’ until 14:30. At lunchtime I went to see my wee pal Bonzo


but by then it was pure pishing down and I couldn’t drag the ‘wee dug’ out of the house. Instead I had a bowl of ice cream with his master Peter and we looked through some old pictures together.

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This one of ‘The end of the road’ must have been taken before I moved there in 1989 as I planted some trees there and now they’re about 20’ tall. That’ll be my boy at the same sign and he’s at university now!!

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I had to smile at this though, a book of knitting patterns from WWII specially designed for the Merchant Navy. What made me smile was the fact that I used to a very similar book for the army from WWI Smile Something along the lines of ‘Knitwear for the trenches’ complete with Balaclavas and my favourite, the knee warmers.

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Just like this pair, I did have a pair but they kept falling down Sad smile

The solstice has past Smile woo hoo

It’s easy to see why our ancestors got so excited about the winter solstice and built the likes of Callanish and Stonehenge. I truly hate this time of year with the short, short days and unpredictable weather. Illogically I see the passing of the shortest day as a sign that things will improve, yet I know that isn’t the case, there will be much worse to come before the spring equinox. Still, it is one of the year’s milestones by with, just like the snowdrop, wheatear, clock change, cuckoo, mayflower et al. Then of course there is always Christmas, the festival the Christians hijacked, I love that Smile The early church set the date as 25th December so it would coincide with the Pagan solstice and Roman Saturnalia  . No one is actually certain when Jesus was born but it certainly was not December the 25th or AD1. General consensus is around AD 4 to 5 and somewhere between June and October. A classic bit of early corporate rebranding I would say. Whatever the reason it does come at a time of year when lots of people in the Northern Hemisphere do need cheering up.

Me, I can’t wait, the Aldi wine arrived yesterday, the home grown chicken is plucked and the presents are under the tree.


Well, they are now, that pictures a week old,


as is this one of the extra crewman, he’s now got a puncture and is lying in a heap Sad smile Job for Sunday methinks.

They gotta be kidding

One thing about boats is that everything is expensive but this simple ‘limit switch’ that we got a quote for recently really is the limit Smile


There are around 9000 similar switches on eBay between £1.99 and £128 but this is a quality German one made by so I’d expect to be paying up to a couple of hundred quid for it but check out that quote from Survitec UK £1092 !!!! You could not make it up really could you, I bet one for the space shuttle wouldn’t be that expensive Smile


Sun rising over the Moll fish farm on the 20th.


Raasay’s only commercial fishing boat, MFV Lustre at the end of long day.

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A fine start and finish to yesterday, though ‘red sky in morning sailors warning’ didn’t happen and yesterday’s ‘red sky at night shepherds delight’ proved a little optimistic, we missed four sailings today.

Still the four missed sailings gave me chance to spend hours interrogating the data we’d logged over the last couple of days from our 216 LiFePO4 battery modules.


After four years of daily usage, around 1400 cycles to 80% DoD (depth of discharge) our European Battery modules are holding up very well, shame the company went bust Sad smile Still, we do get excellent support from the company that fitted them. The graph represents one charge cycle for 54 of the modules from 20% SoC (state of charge) to 100% , the spike and tail off at the end is the last hour and is the cells being balanced by the BMS (battery management system).

Bonzo chasing a plate cos he didn’t go out for his usual lunchtime walk.

Someone who did get an unexpected walk was this two tentacled octopus the the ‘Wilk Maester’ found on the slip at 18:00

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With six of his legs missing he was hardly worth eating so we threw him back and off he swam, the ‘Wilk Maester’ reckoned that he’d been dragged up the slip by an otter. Probably right as they are often seen playing round here. He swam off pretty sharp right enough and there was plenty of suction left in his tentacles but they usually change colour to match there surroundings and this one didn’t, or at least not very well. Mind you, I guess that if I’d had six legs gnawed off I’d not be feeling 100% but normally it’s amazing to watch them. If I caught one in the creels whilst fishing I’d put them on the grey deck they’d turn grey, stick them to a buoy and the creature would instantly change to red, almost like a traffic light.

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