Life at the end of the road

January 7, 2020

The ‘New Year Storm’ :-)

Filed under: Avon Searider, daily doings, food, Trucks and plant, weather — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:20 pm

Well, it’s not often you’ll find Molly and I indoors during daylight hours at this time of year. The days may be getting longer but it’s still dark for two thirds of each one and even when wild like today, I still have a shed full of projects Smile 

We’re just back in after a spell of power washing and being power washed ourselves by the south westerly gale, that’s threatening to become a westerly storm. Something that we always expected here on Raasay around the 7th to 14th of January but which hasn’t hit for half a dozen years at least. All the memorable ones I’ve endured have been in that one week window. The ones that damaged MV Raasay and MV Loch Striven to name but two. The tragedy on a Western Isles causeway being another where a family were swept into the sea on such a day.


My son left for Heriot Watt yesterday and that was a bit of an epic, the 7:55 ferry we’d been aiming for not actually departing until 12:15. Leaving Wife, Ross and I playing cards in the village until our departure at midday Smile You can imagine how that went down hey, our ‘shopping time’ in Inverness gradually being eroded away to nothing. We literally had to drive straight to Inverness train station and back with barely time to fill up with fuel and grab a few essentials from Broadford Co op.

It never changes 

I could go into a long rant about the Co op, and had I stayed inside, on here when I started writing I would have. However, once World At One had finished on R4 and I discovered that the ‘clown in the White House’ had not yet started another war I went back outdoors. It’s 19:36 now and I’ve a nice warm glow inside me from the chicken curry ‘n’ chips I’ve just demolished for dinner and I’ve lost the enthusiasm for it. Bizarrely, I actually like the Co op, it was founded on noble principles, there used to be one on many of the mill town street corners where I hail from, they are pretty ethical in their behaviour not American owned and have a good ‘Fair Trade’ policy. That aside, on Skye at least, they are useless and always have been. Thirty five years I have been using the local ones and thirty five years I’ve been astounded at their incompetence.

Right from moving to the area in 1985 it’s always promised to get better but never has. They moved from the inadequate premises in Broadford to Sutherlands Garage some years ago and managed to turn a good petrol station into a disaster area with toilets that NEVER worked. On the rare occasions they did they were disgusting. The supermarket itself was OK, when the tills were actually manned and food was on the shelves. Portree wasn’t much better with the move to larger premises some years ago only bringing about marginal improvements but at least the toilets worked even if they are always smelly Smile

Major works and improvements to the petrol station 12 months ago improved matters in that department and this summer it has actually been possible to buy petrol at peak times without queuing onto the main road. In fact, until yesterday they had started to go up in my esteem, that was until I called in on the way back from Inverness having not emptied my bladder since the 12:15 ferry. The boodly toilets were out of order!!!! and I have to confess at ‘blowing my top’ at the poor chap that told me Sad smile I’ll not tell you what I did immediately after but I was greatly relieved Smile

Of course the shelves were empty inside, what greens and veg there was had only 1 day left on the ‘sell by’ but worst of all there was no one at the tills and they’ve installed those boodly self checkouts which I refuse to use. I do not work for the Co op and fail to see why I should help boost their profits at the expense of  much needed jobs in a locality that needs everyone it can get. Anyway, a cashier eventually turned up and my blood pressure returned to normal Smile For all my despairing I have to say that the staff there are brilliant, be it Portree, Broadford or Kyle, I can only assume that the management never visit the customer toilets and they do their own shopping online Smile

So, that’s what I did on Monday, today it was the aforementioned power washing of the plant, most of which had worked hard this last fortnight.

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Ross having done some sterling work around the back of the big green shed putting some drains in.

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Throughout last night and today they were doing a great job of taking all the rain away.


My weather station died some months ago so I can’t actually tell you what speed the wind was or how much rain fell, suffice to say that it was so bad that Molly wouldn’t come out of the house.

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I wasn’t that keen myself truth be known and I had to ease myself outside gently by doing some work in the ‘Bunker’ which is the ‘lean too’ on the back of the house. I guess you could call it the ‘plant room’ for that’s where much of the heating and electronics reside. I was mortified the other day to find some chewed insulation Sad smile the last thing I need in there is mice that’s for sure. The wee beggars could make an awful mess of me wiring and cause no end of grief, reluctantly I set some traps but what I really need is a cat Smile


Hauled myself one of the salamis out of there whilst I was at it, been curing for a month now and I’ve not tried em yet, well it was just delicious Smile

I guess that apart from managing to avoid doing my tax an VAT returns yet again I didn’t really achieve that much today but I did enjoy not doing them and I could think of much worse things to do or not do as the case may be. At least I had power today, some 66kWh generated by wind and hydro. Down in Inverarish a third of the village was out with no prospect of repair until Wednesday. That’s another things this period in January was renowned for, power cuts. Not for me right enough, I’ve not had one (for more than a few minutes) in 30 years Smile I do love being self sufficient in energy supply.

On Saturday I put the Searider to bed as there would be no chance of using it again this side of my ‘on shift’.

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At some point I also cleaned and admired the two IBC’s given to me  by an admirer, tis a sad reflection on my life that they are ‘up there’ with my books and camouflage jacket as ‘best Christmas presents’ of 2019 Smile Cheers Charlie.

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Even ‘wee dug’ was impressed Smile

SAS ‘Who Dares Wins’

Apparently it was on Sunday and much of it was filmed here Me, I couldn’t care less ‘who cares who wins’ Smile I never heard of Ann Middleton Smile twas my son who pointed out he was a guy called Ant, as we walked past a bookshop in Edinburgh and he saw one of his books Smile

January 2, 2020

First Footing with a 12 year old :-)

Filed under: Avon Searider, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:53 am

The promising start to 2020 yesterday came to an abrupt end sometime throughout the night, not that I noticed it. Me, I was in me bed before 22:00, leaving the family and guests to fend for their selves. Hardly the best behaviour of a host hey Sad smile  

I guess it all started to go ‘pear shaped’ about half way down the Loch Lomond 12YO, which surprisingly is not yet finished Smile


The new decade’s first day actually got off to a promising start, Molly and I went to retrieve the Searider ahead of the promised gale.

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Sure the gale would be from the south so not really an issue in Loch Arnish, however it was supposed to veer round to the west or north west at some point so we got it on dry land at least. No point hauling it up to the house as we may be out again before my son returns to uni.

It was after this, whilst still wearing my dry suit that it struck me as a good idea to go visit my neighbours with the aforementioned bottle and do some ‘first footing’. Well, I’m surer there’s something about being a ‘tall dark stranger’. OK, I’m hardly tall at 5’8” but the suit is black and I was already on the quad Smile

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Preparations were already well advanced for the New Year feast at Torran so after sharing a few drams I headed over to my old house to have some more with Maya and Nicky.

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Returning home to some fresh warning signs on my gate!!!!!! Smile Dunno who had the sense of humour but certainly made me smile.


All that is missing is the one that says ‘Trespassers will be shot’ Smile

Could have been anyone I guess, as the lovely day had brought many visitors to Arnish with the carpark as full as a fine summer Sunday.

That was it really, after that I started preparing the traditional Glasgow New Year dish of steak pie for the family who would be arriving for dinner. Now do not for one minute think that I actually made a steak pie, my wife brought two with her on Christmas day Smile By the time the dinner was eaten my hangover started and had me going to bed with a splitting head Sad smile 

This morning it’s so dark that not even my solar inverters have woken up yet and it’s almost 11:00am!!!

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