Life at the end of the road

August 24, 2020

Boodly sore :-(

Well, it’s a promising start to the day for sure

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at 6:00AM, a good hour later than usual the Storr car park was already busy, though I suspect they’d been there all night. Wonder if Boris actually ever did stay in that tent, he was directly east of me looking onto Raasay. Security threat my ar53 he probably got driven away by the boodly midge Smile https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8654271/Carrie-Symonds-32-shares-photos-PM-hiking-Wilfred-baby-sling.html

Another image showed Mr Johnson out walking the dog on a beach during low tide. In the distance is stunning scenery Mr Johnson's three-bedroom property, with its own source of spring water, was likely to have been chosen for its remoteness

Boris and Dilyn with Raasay, Dun Caan and the Cuillin in the background apparently he was bonding with Scotland Smile 

Nothing strenuous 

Well, it’s 21:30 and ‘black as the fire back’ outside, got side-tracked before finishing this morning by my long ‘to do’ list which I approached very gingerly on account of feeling me feeling like a punchbag after my wee tumble on Saturday. Unusually, for me, I’d managed to stay in bed on Sunday, no doubt assisted by the copious amounts of red wine I’d been plied with on Fladda and the San Pellegrino orange juice I’d laced with vodka on my return to the caravan. As you may recall, my Son was having a few pals round and I figured the alcohol would aid in a good night’s sleep. It sure did that right enough, as well as numbing the pain in my ribs and all was silent when wee dug and I finally surfaced after 9:00 to feed the animals. With a splitting head and feeling like I’d done three rounds with a professional I promptly went back there with a just as enthusiastic wee dog. Staying there until both of us were tempted out by the aroma of bacon and sausages emanating from Sonas’s MVHR outlet that points toward the caravan Smile This is the heat recovery and ventilation system in the house which keeps all the rooms freshly ventilated without draughts or loss of heat. It runs 24/7 on low setting but last night I’d switched it to ‘party mode’, seriously it has a setting for a houseful of guests Smile Anyway, it was pushing all the cooking smells our way and Molly was hungry so gingerly I got up and followed my nose and wee dug into the ‘morning after the night before’.

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I was well impressed with the state of Sonas Smile By midday they’d all gone, I’d gained an Audi and the house was spotless, cheers, Guys (and Gals).

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After a couple of sausages and rashers of bacon I felt a little less delicate and once all Ross’s guests had departed I went and got ‘the tank’. That’ll be my neighbours Y61 Nissan Patrol which was running like 5h1t Sad smile Went to collect it, the engine management light was on and it was belching out blue smoke, so much so it made your eyes water and was in danger of making my fresh laundry stink like a diesel locomotive.

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First thing I did was connect my OBDII scanner to it and it would not work Sad smile No surprises there, this truck is a ‘grey import’ and I always have problems with it. The Motor factor never recognises the number plate, parts are a nightmare to get and nothing is straight forward on it. Anyway, after Mr Google and finding an annoying chap on YouTube who suggested unplugging every sensor on the vehicle one at a time then trying the scanner after every sensor I gave up. Having spent most of the sunny afternoon alternating between this and washing all the bedding I went to deliver the truck back. Well, much to my surprise it was running like clockwork, not smoking and the engine management light was now off!!! Not convinced I’ve fixed it right enough but it’s fine for now Smile

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Still not fit for strenuous duty I turned my attention to my bent Honda, which wasn’t half as bad as it looked, damage being confined to a bent, split bumper and front carrier rack. Once I’d actually removed these the twisted red plastic sprang back into shape Smile

Monday

Well, it really was a peach of a day, spent some more time pottering with Honda until the tide was high enough to take the Searider out. I’d be away for a night or so collecting my Land Rover from Tayside Land Rover https://taysidelandrovers.com/. Fair play to him, when I emailed him today to tell him of my accident on the quad and how I was insane enough to be driving down anyway to collect it. He did offer to deliver it to Sconser, however the cynic in me thought that no sooner had I accepted this kind offer than he would tell me of some fresh snag. So, no I politely declined and will be setting off Wednesday, even if it kills me!!!

After my spell of Honda tinkering and with the tide suitably high I went to get the boat in, lifting a couple of wee mackerel while I was at it.

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They were pretty small but Ross Camilli turned em into a beautiful dish involving honey and ginger on a bed of rice

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whilst I went to collect a trailer for my Land Rover,

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that ought to be big enough hey Smile

August 4, 2020

Well, it’s been a while hey :-)

August already and I’ve hardly been on here since Valentine’s day and then the ‘world went mad’, strange times indeed. Hope everyone else survived and continues to do so. Me, well I have to confess that I have pangs of guilt for actually enjoying the peace and quiet. The ferry sailings were reduced to three a day, lots of work got done on the good ship Hallaig and best of all my son has been home Smile

I managed to retrieve the young Camilli from Edinburgh around the 16th of February writing the Wife off on the A9 along the way. That will be YH52WFE me old Disco not the dear lady I married 20 years ago Smile

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The NFU, police and Blair Athol garage were so good it was unbelievable. A taxi collected me from Blair Athol and took me to Edinburgh where a hire car was waiting for me. I found another Disco for sale in Hartlepool a few days later, collected that, left hire car at garage where I bought new Disco for £2K and a week or two later got a cheque from NFU for £3K without even having to fill in a claim form!!!! The new Disco is in even better nick than the old one, the police were so helpful, never charged me with anything and the only thing injured was my pride. I was friggin livid at the time cos I’d just spent £200 on canvas seat covers from Exmoor Trim https://www.exmoortrim.co.uk/ and had got rather attached to WFE but they now reside in me new one along with the floor mats Smile

Shortly after that I hitched up my caravan to Disco 2 and went to Lochaline for a fortnight with the Hallaig to cover for Lochinvar who was going into dry dock.

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Molly and I had a great shift down there and had initially planned to spend a few days in the caravan up at Loch Ewe but the World went mad and touring caravans or campervans suddenly became ‘persona non grata’ in the Highlands and everywhere else. Given what we now know it was probably too little too late but I guess that’s what you get with blonde haired buffoons running countries. The ladies seem to have done much better from Jacinda Ahearn to Nicola Sturgeon methinks oestrogen is far better at the helm than testosterone in times of global pandemicsSmile 

Lockdown

Well,it certainly seems to have brought out the best and worst in people that’s for sure, the former being by far the most prevalent in this part of the country in general and our little community in particular. The Raasay Stores deserving particular praise in this respect with orders being taken by phone or email then delivered, collected or even left outside to be picked up later with not a stolen toilet roll in sight Smile Various community groups sprung up around the area with prescriptions being delivered to the ferry and shopping done for the elderly and vulnerable by various dedicated volunteers. I’m sure it would have been the same in other parts of the country but it was refreshing to see first hand humanity at it’s best.

Life carried on for Ross and I quite normally really, insomuch as we did what we wanted when and where we liked and without the need to socially distance, the pair of us being miles from ‘civilization’. I watched winter turn into spring and then summer enjoying the peace and marvelling at the extra flora and fauna appearing due to the lack of human activity. Hedgerows exploded in a riot of colour, foxgloves became 2m tall all the trees seemed to be exceptionally verdant and larger.

I followed the ‘Daily briefing’ from Downing Street religiously for a couple of weeks, giving up after hearing the same questions sidestepped again and again and repeatedly hearing how marvellously we were doing. Hence what was probably the reason for my silence on the blogging front, cos whilst the rest of the country was cooped up inside venturing out only to fight over hand sanitizer, toilet roll and pasta, life here was pretty rosy.

Ross and I coming to an arrangement of ‘two weeks on, two weeks off’ on the cooking front. He would chef whilst I was working, providing me with something to look forward to after my day ‘before the mast’. Not that I never looked forward to my wife’s meals just that Ross has a unique adventurous and mainly vegetarian slant to his cooking. My meals often involving something dead that has been killed or picked locally are OK but hardly a surprise Smile

Still, we both managed some interesting combinations on account of the limited/different range of shopping available. Having no sick or elderly relatives to worry about the worst part of Lockdown for us was the lack of Lidl muesli, yoghurt, tinned tomatoes, pasta and rice. Still have not bought any friggin toilet roll this year as far as I can remember!!! What the feck was all that about hey, people fighting at checkouts over bog rolls hey. The world truly has gone mad, every checkout ‘colleague’ I ever spoke to had a ‘bog roll tale’ Smile I kid you not, people were driving from Glasgow to Morrison’s in Fort William cos they’d heard there was no limit on certain items there.

The problem with society today is that it is run by ‘bean counters’ and nothing has any slack or leeway. Of course they call it efficiency and encourage all businesses to work to the ‘just in time principle’. From a car production line to a supermarket everyone operates on the mantra that stock is dead money and they make just enough Honda right hand front headlamps as they need and they arrive on the production line just as it is time to fit it to the car. Well, it is just the same at all the major supermarkets and it only needs every person to buy one extra bag of pasta to grind the system to a halt. Two days of snow on the A9 and a couple of road closures and that will be the Orkney islands with no bread, even Portree has run short in such scenarios, saved only by the lorries that could not make it further north with goods for Shetland. Me, I always have hunners of tins, pasta, rice, bog roll, soap, mouthwash, muesli, nuts and just about everything non perishable. Even so, with pretty much everyone ‘being in the same boat’ it’s hardly surprising things started going ‘tits up’ Sad smile 

So without any further ado and with a little explanation here is Sonas Lockdown in pictures Smile

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Ross and I managed a little work on the Range Rover during the wetter days. Tayside Land Rover https://taysidelandrovers.com/ having had my Land Rover for two years in March and it ‘going backwards’ Sad smile

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Here it is last week above and one year ago below.

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I only left it in Matthew Webster’s hands in March of 2018 cos he assured me he would have it finished for June. In due deference to law, I have to admit not specifying which June Sad smile Sadly I have since found out that four years is not unheard of Surprised smile Well, if it aint ready in three weeks time I’ll be going to collect it on a trailer, again, I would not be the first Sad smile A lady contacted me once saying she had had to collect hers off him after 18 months and it cost thousands to put right Sad smile Me, well I just cannae wait to get it back and document the excellent work he’s done cos praise where it’s due. What he actually has done has been pretty good Smile

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This will be the MV Loch Bhrusda https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Loch_Bhrusda heading by Raasay one breezy day in March.

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Of course the weather hasn’t always good but the lack of con trails has improved the views of the sky Smile

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The odd shopping trip by boat for stuff not available at the Raasay Stores. With only three ferries a day it was much, much quicker by boat from Arnish than car.

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The deer around the house were plentiful whenever they were out of season Smile

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This wee wagtail and its partner built a nest under my egg poacher and reared some chicks that got killed by something Sad smile

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A northern diver, some shags on Grian a Sgeir west of Fladda and one of my pet crows Murdo or John Smile I say pet but that’s just cos I’ve got rather attached to them hanging round the croft, not so long ago I would have shot them and left them hanging from a fence to discourage others.

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Dun Caan with a river of mist rolling into the sea on Raasay’s east side, gorse, Holoman Island the Storr and the new organic salmon farm at Lealt north west of Raasay.

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May snow on the Storr and rhododendron at North Bay.

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The last ‘black house’ on Raasay, the Torran Mission house and a white tailed sea eagle.

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Cleaning the catch with wee dug and painting garden furniture before the summer lushness.

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The wee wagtail sat on its eggs under the egg poacher, a sea eagle and one of Ross Camilli’s creations, baked pepper and feta, yum, yum.

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A golden eagle lifts off at Tarbert and a hind rushes off at Arnish.

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Another sunset at Sonas Smile

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Bismarck, Tirpitz and Rodney arrive 79 years after the Battle of the Denmark Straight https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Denmark_Strait . Our three wee boars are not so wee now Smile Ross Camilli working on the Torran track and yet another golden eagle saw May out and a delightful ‘Lockdown spring’.

Thanks for all the concern and sorry for the lack of input as life returns to some kind of normality I’ll endeavour to keep this up.

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