Life at the end of the road

October 22, 2017

The phantom puncture :-(

Well, that’s the ‘wrong cockerel’ finished apart from the stock that’s boiling away on the cooker, sure that was a good 3 or 4 meals out of him and we even took a small dinner around for me Mam on Saturday. We called in there yesterday as we passed through on our way to ‘snecky to pick up the ‘Searider’.


That’ll be us on Lidl’s car park, aint no point going to Inverness without calling into at least one German supermarket. The nice man who sold me the boat kindly towed it to Inverness for us and we met him on the car park at Tesco’s. I cannot emphasise enough how grateful I am for to be quite honest I think driving to Aberdeen and back would have killed me. Jeez, I’ve certainly clocked up some miles this last month, first the courses in Glasgow, then the dry dock return via the ‘Granite city’ and now Inverness and back. Sure most folk probably think nowt of these kinda trips but I hate driving and I’m carp at it.

Anyway, we got home safely on the 16:15 and by the time we’d unhitched the boat, emptied the car and had a delicious chicken curry it was time for bed. OK, it wasn’t even 21:00 but I was pure wrecked and was looking forward to taking the Searider out today.

The right bird at the wrong time

First job whilst it was still dark this morning was to despatch cockerel number two, at least I thought it was. Wifey had changed her mind last night on account of him calming down once the ‘competition’ had ‘gone away’. Trouble is, she came to this decision after I’d gone to bed and neglected to mention it to ‘your truly’. The two cockerels never stopped fighting and taking chunks out of each other so you’d think he’d be happy on his own now with just the two hens, not a chance, he was moping about on the verge of depression, well, at least he was until around 6:00am when I carefully lifted him off his perch, tucked him under my left arm and rung his neck. Something my Granny could do whilst walking and talking at the same time, me, I need to concentrate Smile


As soon as he stopped flapping I set about plucking him as Wifey had done the last one and I was expecting ‘brownie points’ when she arose. Not a chance, instead of smiles and a thank you, I got a row and lecture on how we were gonna keep him a little longer cos he’d settled down Sad smile A well too late now Smile


And once all the easy feathers were removed by hand I took him out to the shed and finished him off with some pliers. There he hung for a few hours before Darling Wife eviscerated him something like this.

It was a fine day ashore but perhaps a little to fresh for going out in the boat with the wife so I skipped that idea and got on with some work at Torran Schoolhouse instead.


The large rock I placed in the Torran track as a ‘Clown deterrent’ seems to have worked, though it seems to have attracted some other stones atop it Smile Best be careful or it may end up like this

Loch Loyne stones

overlooking Loch Loyne

I gotta say that I got a little distracted and headed up to the ‘Pipers Rock’ with the wee dug.


The track up there is getting a bit overgrown so it’s good to take the quad up every now and then to help keep it open.


On a good day the views are spectacular, the Glas Eilean with a shower hiding the Storr on Skye.

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Our house and our old house from a very, very long way away

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and Loch Arnish, Loch Beag and the Brochel loch from even further away.


Torran croft house with golden aspens behind it.


The top,


Piper’s Rock and the wee dug.

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pipe alterations to filter the water supply through a bed of gravel.

Tyre trouble

Sure life has got much simpler since I got the 3ton tyre removal tool also known as ‘Calum the Kubota’ but I still hate repairing punctures. Not having to spend ages driving over them with the Land Rover nowadays makes it much less of a chore right enough but I always despair when I see a wheel that aint round but flat at the bottom Sad smile

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New tool on left is much easier than the one on the right Smile So when I noticed that the Yamaha rear left hand tyre was flat on Friday morning I just pumped it up and crossed my fingers. Quad tyres require so little pressure in them that even a slight loss of pressure makes then appear punctured. Indeed most people run quad tyre at far too high a pressure which results in poor traction a hard ride and much skidding on loose surfaces. A typical quad tyre pressure would be around 3.5psi, almost a tenth of what you put in your average car and the difference in grip twixt one at 4psi and one at 20psi is staggering.


Well, it was flat again this morning so I removed the tube and spent an hour or so trying to find the puncture without success, even went in for some chicken curry and left it for another hour but still the tube stayed firm. Reluctantly I rebuilt it in the sure knowledge that it’ll be flat again shortly Sad smile


October 20, 2017

Real dark meat :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings, food, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:11 pm

Well that’s it, Phoebe serviced a cube or so of concrete mixed and dinner eaten, exactly 12 hours after I pulled its neck. It has been a very satisfying ‘first day back on the croft’. I actually left the dry dock around 15:00 on Wednesday but didn’t actually land back at Arnish until well after midday on Thursday after what’s been quite a long journey since I spoke to last. Methinks that would have been in Campbelltown  where we dodged the worst of Ophelia.

Despite not actually going anywhere there was still plenty to do to get ready for the docking on Wednesday. Loads of paperwork to catch up on and some repairs on the lounge doors for me. The boys busy ‘passage planning’ keeping up with the regular ‘planned maintenance’ and other essential stuff.


All our vehicles getting regular blasts of the pressure washer throughout the trip south.

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Not to mention ‘essential repairs’ to darling wife’s car at Largs. The fire proof silicon I’d used on the door repair and stainless turbo pipe I had taken from home to repair number 2 DG proving invaluable as an exhaust repair kit Smile I had planned to use Phoebe the wee Daihatsu Terios that is now my son’s steed, however the front left hand out CV joint had just failed on that, so on Saturday morning just prior to leaving Raasay I loaded all my stuff into the Subaru. As soon as I started it up I heard the exhaust blowing Sad smile Well no time to do that at 6:30 AM prior to going to work so I thought ‘I’d risk it’. Upon phoning Wifey I says ‘the exhaust has gone on your car’. To which she informed my that she thought so !!!!! Never actually mentioned it to me right enough Sad smile

Anyway, after the pummelling we got west of the Mull on Sunday, the trip northwards from Cambelltown to Largs was a pure joy.

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Towards the upper end of the Sound with Arran and  Lochranza to starboard we caught sight of our younger sister Catriona plying the Lochranza Cloanaig route, which until recently was a ‘summer only’ crossing, now it’s on all year round.

Kilbrannan Sound

Millport on the Isle of Cumbrae


Largs at around 17:00 on Monday evening,

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our much welcome berth for the night.

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As soon as the regular Largs/Cumbrae vessel MV Loch Shira cleared the slip we dodged in there with the Hallaig, discharged the cars and tied up for the night. As soon as we were secured for the evening I went ashore to get a salad. we had eaten well, if not quite irregularly on the trip but I swear, had I seen another sausage or some mince I’d have screamed Smile

In with a warship

At 9:30 the following morning we slipped our moorings and headed for the dock gates, where we were due at around midday. Unusually we‘d be sharing the dock with a warship, HMS Shoreham,  would go ahead of us. Made of fibreglass these Sandown class vessels can often be seen off Raasay, though I don’t recall ever seeing the Shoreham before.

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And I don’t ever recall seeing an armed escort for us before Smile

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I’ve been looking for a RIB myself but though that this one was a little out of my league Smile 


Kinda lost track of the time once we were in but pretty soon the dock was getting pumped out and the sleek hull of Shoreham revealed, not to mention the box shaped Hallaig’s Smile After a good ‘face to face’ handover with my relief and a few little jobs done I was ‘off like a shot’ as soon as the gangway was on around 15:00. There was of course no chance of getting home that night but that isn’t where I was going. I was off to Aberdeen to look at a boat.


A 1990 Avon Searider 5.4 Deluxe, a pure classic and the first true commercial Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat. There are very few of these left in this 2+2 configuration, most have been ‘hacked’ and fitted with console seating but this one is pure unmolested and original. I had the 4m version for a few years in the early eighties, amazing boats and a perfect diving platform.

Arrived in Aberdeen around 20:30, he boat was even better than I thought with just 11 hours on the 90HP Tohatsu TLDI engine and hardly a mark on the unmolested hull Smile

Home at last

After calling to see me Mam the following morning I managed to catch the 11:30 ferry and take my ‘wee pal’ Bonzo for a walk.

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Unfortunately, the only time my ‘wee pal’ keeps still enough to photograph is when he’s taking a leak! Bonzo is my old friend Peter’s dog. I often take him out for a walk when I’m working but as I’m off for a month now I thought I’d call in and se him as ‘I was in the area’ so to speak Smile

As soon I was home I got stuck into replacing the CV joint on Phoebe the Terios, a task that proved to be alarmingly straight forward for a job on the Daihatsu. The Terios is a great wee car, perfect for Raasay with its four wheel drive and low gearing, however every little job I do on it usually turns into an epic. Not last night however, I got the joint changed without a hitch and even started on giving it a service before coming in to watch Red Dwarf series XXII Smile

Roast cockerel

After the best night’s sleep in over a week I went out long before sunlight to dispatch one of our table birds, an aggressive cockerel that had started taking chunks out of the hens and anyone who tried to feed it. Whilst it had never had a go at me, it had turned on both the wife and sister in law, so it was time for it to ‘go’. So rather than get into a scrap with it or start chasing around the croft with the shotgun I went up in the dark and quietly lifted him off his perch, tucked him under my arm and wrung his neck. Then whilst he was still nice and warm passed him onto the wife to pluck him.

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Most Internet sites (which seem to be American) tell you to pour hot water over them first to soften the fat that holds the feathers in, but to be honest we’ve always found it easier and less messier to just pull them out dry. Once she’d done that I hung the 3kg bird in the barn for a few hours to drain the blood to the head after which Wifey eviscerated it and stuck it in the oven.

Me, I was busy mixing concrete once more Smile

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Oh, it’s so good to be back Smile

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And I just finished in time for dinner,

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the most succulent and tasty chicken I’ve had since I last killed my own, proper dark leg meat that you can taste. OK, turned out I killed the wrong bird but that’s not the first time and he may well start behaving now the ‘competition’ has gone, if so it’s chicken for Christmas dinner, if not, well, it’s chicken next Sunday Smile

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