Life at the end of the road

February 19, 2019

Who knows what will turn up :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, food — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:12 pm

Woo Hoo, that’s me finished work for a fortnight Smile and what’s more I finished early Smile Me trusty ‘back to back’ turned up early and let me away Smile So, that’s it, Darling wife working ‘late shift’ at the Raasay Distillery and me just in with a large glass of vodka and San Pellegrino aranciata, that’ll be a-ran-chata as they say in Italy or orange juice, which is already ‘going to my head’. You should have seen the size of the glass Smile Well, I’ve got a busy fortnight ahead of me so I’m entitled to it.

Sure, it’s been almost a fortnight since I updated the old blog and much has happened, trouble is, I’m not actually sure what until I look at my photos and the problem with that is, I’ve not actually got many Sad smile Not that there hasn’t been much to photograph just my friggin Nikon Coolpix W300 has died yet again Sad smile After two flooding incidents (on the surface) it is now telling me the battery is discharged and it will not charge up. Rather than send it back I’ve just ordered a battery off eBlag for a fiver, if that works then I’ll send it back with a ‘strongly worded letter’. Of course there’s always my ‘bombproof’ Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ-72 but that’s not exactly pocket sized so doesn’t follow me around like the Nikon.

I can’t be too critical of the Nikon right enough cos I am exceptionally hard on camera’s, I had something like seven Fuji’s in five years and the Nikon has seen a lot of abuse. However the Panasonic cameras seem indestructible, I actually had one fall out of the carrier on a quad then ran over it in a bog, boodly thing was crushed and pushed into the mud but still carried on working for almost another year!!!!

Anyway, enough of the ‘mince’, I’m gonna pour myself another vodka and orange and download the photos I did take. At least that’ll nudge my sixty odd year old brain into remembering what happened this last fortnight.

Well there was the rugby


I guess most Scots wouldn’t want to be remined of the result but on that particular Saturday the Isle of Raasay Distillery did ‘pie, beans, chips and a pint’ for a tenner so as folk could gather round and ‘cry into their beer’ together. Sadly I was working so had ‘pie, beans, chips and Earl Grey tea’ Smile Still, at least I arrived long after the TV was turned off Smile I don’t like watching TV and hate sport, waay too much testosterone for me but I did watch some of the rugby on the ferry cos my son was in the crowd Smile Never saw him right enough cos there was an awful lot of people there, sorry, I just don’t get this sport thing.


Not like my shipmates, they are well into it and were suitably glum after the result.

The secret of prawns

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Methinks the prawn curry we had may have cheered the boys up a tad, cos there was a serious amount of them in it, three bags in fact!!! The secret of cooking the wee beggars is in the size of the pan, you need a pan that is around four or five times bigger than the amount of prawns you put in it. You boil the water then tip the prawns in for just a minute or two, if the pan is too small then they  don’t cook so well cos the water cools too much. After a minute or two tip them in the sink and pour cold water over em cos this stops them cooking in the shell. If you don’t do this they carry on cooking and ‘turn too 5h1te’ as it takes a long while to shell prawns Smile 


Don’t remember the name of this ‘pirate’ Smile but it’s one I didn’t recognize, a clam dredger busy scraping away in the Raasay Narrows Sad smile

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There’s been some serious rain this last fortnight and some of it brought down a good portion of what was once the Uamh Mhor ‘Big Cave’. I spotted that whilst out walking Bonzo one lunchtime.

On the work front

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I just love this part of the job cos it’s so like my house Smile I kid you not, just like Sonas, the Hallaig has batteries and inverters that you can interrogate and make pretty pictures with Smile


Seriously though, you can really see what is going on in ‘real time’ or log the data at put it on Excel. The top three or from Hallaig and the bottom two from Sonas, sadly I can’t elaborate much but the yellow one looks like battery current on a sunny day and the blue one on a windy day in January with me having a shower at 6:00am and Wifey putting on the washing machine when she finished on the Post Smile


This will be 1000lts of diesel in an IBC ready for pumping into the generator and plant tanks last weekend. That should be enough to keep Calum the Kubota and Harry the Lister going for another year not to mention ‘the dumper with no name’ Smile


The first sunshine of the year at Sconser, sure that may not seem like such a big deal but poor old Sconser looses the sun for the best part of three months of the year and this was taken on the 10th Feb. I used to be the same at ‘Number 3’, we lost the sun in late November and didn’t get it back until around Valentine’s day depending on the weather. It really was cause for celebration when rays of sunshine poured through the house windows.

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A Sunday job on MV Hallaig, part of the six monthly PM, ‘coming to anchor’

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or finding a nice deep hole and letting out all the anchor chain.

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Sure, it was a bonny day the Sunday before last when we steamed down to the old pier and ‘let her go’

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and we were not the only ones ‘working on the Sabbath’ Smile Inverlussa Marine’s  Hellen Mary was ‘hard at it’ at the Moll fish farm too.

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Aye, last Sunday was a bonnie, bonnie day.

I even set off home in daylight, well almost, and I was pure stunned to see a rather large vessel at the ‘Robbers Port’ in Brochel Bay.

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It turned out to be a Finnish survey vessel called Kaiku

but it really did have me puzzled at the time as it was dark, large and showing red,white,red at the mast head (restricted in ability to manoeuvre). Sure, it’s awfully deep ‘close in’ on the east side, hence all the submarine activity. Indeed the Inner Sound has the deepest waters on the European Continental Shelf but it it surprise me until I got home and checked the Marine Traffic website and saw her creeping down the Raasay shore.

That was it really, I came home early and fitted a set of disc pads on the tank, that’ll be what I call the neighbours Nissan Patrol, cos it really is ‘built like a tank’. Sure, I do love me Land Rovers but this thing really is solid. OK, it’s a mere 13 years old compared to my ‘Old Girl’ at 33 but it really is far better built.


And now, with almost a third of a  bottle of vodka and three cans of San Pellegrino inside me I’m gonna go to bed with a book,

HM U Boat by John D Drummond. The one and only U Boat to be captured intact and reused by the Royal Navy. U570 was recommissioned as HMS Graph in WWII after being captured off Iceland in 1941 OK, I’ve read the book several times and even dived on the remains which lie off Islay but that was a long, long time ago and me memory is fading Smile The crew were captured and most of the officers ended up at a POW camp in the Lake District called Grizedale Hall As a child I often used to go camping there but knew little of its history. Bernhardt Brendt the ‘First Officer’ was shot whilst trying to escape, allegedly to go and sabotage U570 which was lying at Barrow in Furness only 25 miles away. Quite how he knew U570 was there is never explained but he was buried at Hawkshead nearby. I never did find his grave despite looking for it but apparently most of the dead POW’s were exhumed in 1967 and returned to Germany.


January 31, 2019

It was on the list :-(

18:30 now and that’s me fed, watered and in for the night. Sure with my nice well lit and dry shed there is stuff I could be doing but I feel no guilt in sitting here in the nice warm house staring out at the blackness. At least not now anyway, a few moments ago I did cos there was a light below the Storr but even that is now extinguished! For as long as I’ve been off work there’s been a light burning brightly just below the Old Man of Storr. So what I can here you say but the truth is despite being able to see from Portree Bay to Harris without moving from the kitchen table bright lights are a rarity here at Arnish. Sure I can see the glow of civilization from Portree reflected on clouds from the bedroom window, I can fishing boats going too and from their grounds. I even get the rare glimpse of a snow plough heading towards Staffin and the odd late commuter some six miles across the sea.

This one however had me puzzled as it was always in the same area just below the road and was often burning when I went to bed and awoke in the morning. Apparently it was a timber harvester and as they cost around a quarter of a million and the operator gets paid by the ton I guess he preferred the heated cab to his unheated caravan Smile Well, even he’s turned in, the light has gone out, you can just see it in the first image taken on Tuesday. The other two are from today and what a peach of a day it’s been.

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Another alternator

I never got posting yesterday cos I was in my bed at ‘stupid o clock’ with two dugs and a good book, the freezing weather forcing darling wife to abandon me in favour of the ‘toon hoose’. A more than sensible decision considering her 6:00am start and the icy road conditions.

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In the ‘grand scale’ of things it’s hardly a ‘huge dump’ or particularly cold but the road is steep and treacherous with both of us having come off it at times. Phone reception is dubious and it’s at least seven miles to the next house. When Ross and I came off the road in the Land Rover a couple of winters ago I had to walk over a mile to get a phone signal and he had to walk two miles home. That was it yesterday morning and even when I headed sowf some five hours later than Wifey would have, had she stayed at home, it was pretty boodly slippy.

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Normally ‘wild horses’ wouldn’t have dragged me down the road yesterday but I’d an appointment to see the Doc so thought I’d better make the effort, especially as he’d telephoned from the ferry to say he’d made it despite the state of the roads on Skye!!!!


Still, it gave me a chance to call on Callum and Jay at the Raasay Sawmill to see how me shed was coming along. Also managed to pop in and see Peter to give Bonzo a walk before heading back home.


Good to see the gritter in action at Scrapeadale

For the want of a shovel

Once home I jumped on the quad to go and check my hydro turbine at Tarbert which had stopped.

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Having to first negotiate a lake in the road that’s been growing daily for weeks now. It’s not alone right enough, there’s hunners of them on all the roads but 10 minutes with me wellie had the tide going out on this particular expanse of water. Now if I can do that with my foot just imagine what a well directed Council worker could do with a yellow pickup and shovel!!!! I mean it’s not friggin’ ‘rocket science’ is it. The drains get blocked, the water makes a lake which either freezes or turns into a raging river every time someone drives through it. Either the ice fecks it or the waves feck it. There’s no money in the budget they say, fer fecks sake how much money does it take to give a man a spade and tell him what to do with the friggin thing.


  • Chief Executive – £146,517 (2016/17)  £147,989 (2017/18)
  • Depute Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Resources – £116,370 (from 1 April 2017)
  • Director of Care and Learning – £111,370 (from 1 April 2017)
  • Director of Community Services – £111,370 (from 1 April 2017)
  • Director of Development and Infrastructure – £111,370 (from 1 April 2017)

For £111,370 you would think you could find someone with the gumption to give a man a spade hey Sad smile

After the road repair and turning off my hydro turbine I turned my attention to the storm damaged deer fence at the back of the house and put some stays behind it.

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Then, as darkness fell I got on with the 10 or was it 11kg ham that had been drying in the bunker. The ham had been soaking in all manner of goodies for over a month. So much so the the sweet smell of cider, sugars, spices and wine had been lingering around for days Smile I’d decided that it was way too big so reckoned I’d chop it up into manageable pieces, put one in the fridge for the weekend and the others in the freezer.

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The only problem with hams is passing them without hacking a bit off to eat Smile I kid you not, this baby had been hanging in the shed for a few days and the aroma was just impossible to resist, it was even worse when it was on the bench in front of me with a knife in hand. Of course a month in brine had made it rather savoury so I had a bottle of San Pellegrino at hand to quench my thirst. Even so, by the time it cut it up I’d lost my appetite for dinner Smile

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Mind you, that didn’t stop me turning the bone and some off cuts into a fine soup Smile


Another sharp but fine day

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with the day’s first task being the removal of the alternator from this lighting tower that was deposited on me yesterday Smile I’d already had a look at it and discovered a poor output, further investigation this morning confirmed the problem to lie within the alternator.

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It wasn’t too bad to remove the alternator after taking out the control panel, transformer and mounting brackets.

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After just a couple of hours work it was in the back of the Subaru ready for delivery to its owner who would either get it repaired or more likely replaced. Methinks these Linz alternators are quite sensibly priced.


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Of course whilst down at the sowf end I had to go and check on me shed and wife Smile The shed was coming on fine and darling wife was busy forklifting, I was greatly impressed Smile

Creosoting in January

OK, I know it’s the last day but still Smile

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I didn’t do it all right enough cos some of it was still covered in ice!!! but I got a good deal of it done Smile

Beko washing machine drawer leak

And, I almost forgot, the washer is fixed, I managed to stop the annoying leak on our otherwise excellent Beko machine just by turning the cold fill tap down a touch.


Sure, it takes a minute or two longer to fill but it still washes far, far quicker than our extortionate 4star plus Panasonic piece of carp.

How could I leave these out ?

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Glam, the Five Sisters of Kintail and a daft dug in the snow Smile

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