Life at the end of the road

December 30, 2019

A hundred years on :-)

Filed under: daily doings, food, life off grid, the disaster thread, Trucks and plant — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:44 am

17:30 now on the Sunday after Christmas, tis as ‘black as the fire back’ out with the triple glazing and pretty wild ‘to boot’. A ‘quiet night in’ is tonight’s plan, after three lovely days with a houseful of dugs and family it’ll be a welcome change Smile Tonight, it’s just my son, Molly, the last of the turkey in a curry and a couple of good books washed down with San Pellegrino. I’m four days into ‘Scapa 1919’ The archaeology of a scuttled fleet by Innes McCartney, a riveting work with a wealth of images I’ve not seen before, which, considering the amount of books I’ve read about the German ‘High Seas Fleet’ it’s scuttling and subsequent salvage is rather unusual. It was the centenary of the event in June and I’d dearly like to visit the ‘Flow’ once more, this time with my son, perhaps next year. 

The sight of the massive ‘Dreadnought’  battleships lying on the sea bed, the massive guns that fired salvos at Jutland, long since impotent but still menacing is indeed something etched in my memory. Nowhere else on earth can you visit so many capital ships, cruisers, torpedo boats, destroyers and associated fleet craft from two world wars in one place.

A hundred and one years on

Well, that didn’t get me very far, it’s almost 8:30 on Monday now and still black outside, though admittedly not half as wild. A lack of inspiration on the blogging front had me buried into the scuttled German High Seas Fleet once more. Probably in a rush to start book number two, The Darkest Dawn before Hogmanay and the 101st anniversary of a little known tragedy (to the rest of the UK) in Lewis, an island (along with Harris) who had already given up more of its men and youth per capita than anywhere else in Britain to the folly that was WWI. Some 280 men and boys having survived the horrors of the trenches only to be drowned within sight of home on New Years Day 1919. Just two months after the Armistice and hoping to return to a better life with the promise of their thirst for land being slaked by a grateful nation. Well that didn’t end very well either, the land was only given after much protesting and jailing and Iolaire’s tragedy was buried in the archives at Westminster until the 1970’s. A grateful nation indeed!

For the want of a spade

By an unfortunate coincidence, the last time I actually did any writing/ranting was on the 9th of December and much of it involved me venting my indignation at HRC and their lack of road maintenance. Now I’m not talking about the expensive hauling of men and materials over to Raasay to actually repair the roads. No, in these cash strapped ‘austere’ times that would be too much to ask for. No, I’m talking about giving a man a spade just to clear the feckin drains!!! Well, if I can spare ten friggin minutes of my ‘busy’ life to do it without getting paid then surely the effing Council can give a man who IS getting paid a boodly shovel and tell him to use the feckin thing!!!!!


And I wasn’t alone in my desperation with HRC, other Raasay citizens also ‘took up the spade’ to clear the odd drain or ‘run off’.

Anyway, the day after said rant this happened on the Fearns road

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and this at the Creagan Bheaga

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the ‘low road’ is now closed and it’ll probably cost hunners of thousands to repair it, all for the want of ‘a man with a spade’, you couldn’t make it up really. Chances are too that the ‘executive’ who saved all that money out of the ‘road maintenance budget’ got a healthy bonus on top of his £119, 235 salary too.

Fair play to the Council though, they have got on with it pretty quickly.

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Eyre Plant are already ‘on the case’ though I do wonder about the sanity of hauling rock from over a mile away, through the village in a 50t dumper!!!! I wonder just how long it’ll take HRC to repair that damage?

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For want of a nail the shoe was lost,
for want of a shoe the horse was lost,
for want of a horse the knight was lost,
for want of a knight the battle was lost,
for want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
So a kingdom was lost—all for want of a nail.

Well, you can clear an awful lot of drains for what this will end up costing for sure Smile

Where was I?

Right, so twelve years after starting this blog I’m still at it, albeit not quite so regular or with as much enthusiasm but I’m trying. It’s just that I don’t seem to have the energy I once had and am rarely awake after 9:00pm these days. Anyway the ‘two weeks on’ passed pretty quickly and I even did a couple extra days for my ‘back to back’, though in reality it was just a couple of hours work and I was glad to get out the house on the 26th and 27th. Much as I love the family being around it was good to get out.

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Christmas Day saw Ross and I going out to ‘hand pick’ the starter to accompany the turkey. This I have to say was a masterpiece on my behalf, seriously Smile fresh prawns courtesy of Donnie Mackenzie’s Mary M, served in a sauce made from mayo, ketchup, Sriracha, crab, Baileys and a dash of lemon then poured over a scallop fried in butter. There were no complaints Smile

We all got lovely presents,


the 21 year Groove Armada 4CD boxed set getting much airplay in Casa Camilli of late. I know, I know, who buys CD’s these days, well Ross does for me cos he knows what a Luddite I am Smile

Boxing Day had us delivering furniture

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and the day after heating oil Smile

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800lts, 200 at a time along to the Old Schoolhouse at Torran, it’s far, far easier in a Mule than with a quad and trailer I can tell you Smile

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And yesterday it was more drain and road work on the croft with young Camilli having lost none of his touch whilst at uni Smile

Well that’s it, sure there was more, lots more but it be almost 10:00am now, the day has vastly improved and it’s time to drag my son out of bed Smile

December 9, 2019

Lots to do :-(

Golly gosh, 6:30 already, black and wild outdoors with plenty of stars but no sign of the moon, he must be hiding in the west somewhere cos he sure was bright last night. Well, it’s gonna be a short one this morning, about as long as it takes me to drink five cups of strength 5 Italian blend. Well, they are small cups and I don’t usually go higher than 3 Smile

It’s getting ‘that time’ when the ‘fortnight off’ draws to a close and I’m preoccupied with all the tasks left, as yet undone. Dealing with the pigs and associated shenanigans have taken up a good chunk of the last week, though I must confess to not having played much of an active part in the butchering this year. Living alone these days and already having a freezer full of deer, fish, scallops and even pork meaning, well, I just don’t want to be greedy Smile Having said that last night’s offering of faggots, spuds, broccoli and asparagus was deelish Smile


Balls of meat, seasoning and onion wrapped in this membrane called caul fat that surrounds some of the pig’s internal organs. Amazingly storng and sometimes called lace fat, you can see why. Well, I have one left and can’t make my mind up whether to put it on tonight’s menu or freeze it Smile


With a huge contingent working on the remains of Snowy and May I’ve been keeping myself amused with other tasks. An early morning trip to Brochel to service my Mate’s 6kW petrol generator being the first task. Early being quite relative, it was probably just before 9:00 but still dark when I set off.

The Dunan Star must have been out early for she was already lifting her trawl aboard before 9:00am, unusual here for a Sunday.

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The SDMO SH6000 petrol generator is far from the ideal or suitable machine to power an ‘off grid’ property. With a 13HP Honda GX390 as the ‘prime mover’ it’s pretty boodly thirsty, however it is quiet and starts easily. Unlike the brand new Stephill SSD6000 diesel supplied and fitted by a ‘reputable’ firm in England. And whilst it’s extremely frustrating I don’t think there’s a great deal wrong with the Stephill other than the clowns who fitted it.

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The Honda had recently had an oil change and I confined my work to a new recoil assembly and air filter. Starting her up easily when finished and leaving to running to put some life into the 10kWh BYD LiFePO4 battery pack which was down at 37%


With the Honda purring away I set off to do some road repairs,


sure, this is what I pay my Council Tax for but to be honest it’s actually easier making ‘run off’s’ with a spade than getting sense out of HRC. Why the feck they cannot drive around with a spade and do it themselves is beyond me. No they’ll just wait until potholes are deep enough to damage a car then pay a contractor to patch the holes and leave the root cause of the problem (water lying on the road) to make the next feckin pothole. I despair, not to mention have to fit yet more suspension joints and bushes to my cars to get them through the MOT Sad smile


That done I continued on to Torran doing more of the same,


the Council having long given up on repairing this track. They used to maintain it when I first moved here in the late eighties, now they do ‘feck all’ yet still charge full council tax to the properties it serves. Leaving path repairs to Raasay volunteers and the people who live here.

After breakfast at Torran and Molly drying herself we returned to Brochel to check on progress, calling at Brochel Loch on the way back.



The batteries being at a healthy 60% I left the solar panels to finish off, though there wouldn’t have been much from them yesterday Smile

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