Life at the end of the road

January 13, 2020

Eighteen ropes !!!!!

Well, that was a short day Smile Home during the hours of daylight in January? unheard of. Sure ‘Storm Brendan’ was pretty well forecast but we were at least hoping to get a couple of runs in prior to ‘knocking it on the head’. Alas that wasn’t to be and the furthest we moved today was up and down the berth to lash more ropes onto Scotland.

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That in itself being ‘no mean feat’, between the wind that was strong enough to knock you off your feet and loud enough to drown both radio and speech it was a miracle we got any extra ropes on at all. Still we did, just about every strand we had aboard went out, eighteen in total, all ‘bar tight’ and singing like ‘piano wires’ once we’d finished.

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Speedwell ahead of us at the berth, the Mary M having moved round to the ‘wee pier’ a few days ago Smile

Having secured the ship, finished the paperwork and shut down the vessel we called it a day. Miraculously we were all still dry, tis a rare thing indeed to have a storm like this unaccompanied by pishing rain. Sure it wouldn’t be far away, but for the morning at least it was just the waves we had to dodge Smile

Me, I headed off to see Peter and share his 92nd birthday cake,

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prior to taking Bonzo and Molly for a walk, and, it was still dry!!!!!

Home in daylight

It was still dry when I drove home and stopped at Brochel castle for a wee walk there with Molly.

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Was pretty boodly wild there too considering this was Raasay’s sheltered side!!! It wasn’t much better at home, in fact, I could barely stand up and Molly refused to get out of the car until it was parked safely in the shed. Normally she tries to leap out when I get out to open the gate onto the croft. Once out she made a ‘B line’ for the front door and then once inside went straight to bed. Me, I toured the ‘estate’ making sure all was lashed down securely, the drains were free from debris and picking up a few stray buckets, plant pots and scallop shells (don’t ask) Smile Then it was indoors to think about dinner or should I say wade through the fridge and freezer looking for something suitable. Being short on inspiration I boiled a few Roosters for a couple of minutes then threw in some chopped asparagus, leaving that to boil for a further five or ten mins. Then with the asparagus nicely tender and the spuds cooked I drained the pan contents into a large sieve, leaving it to dry whilst I added chopped garlic, olive oil, sea salt and balsamic vinegar to the now warm dry pan. I put contents of sieve back in pan, drizzled a little more olive oil on it then refitted the pan lid and shook it enough to bash and mix the contents. Serving said concoction with a few slices of nduja and home made black pudding Smile Hardly ‘haute cuisine’ but quick, easy, very filling and just as good without the dead animal on the side. OK, perhaps not quite so good without the charcuterie but a really good vegetarian option

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The rest of the week

Truth be known I’m only on here cos I finished work early, normally by the time I get home and make dinner I’m too knackered to blog. We did finish early the other day and I managed home for 19:00 but by 19:30 I was in me bed too tired even to read a few pages of my current riveting publication, ‘The Darkest Dawn’ https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darkest-Dawn-Story-Iolaire-Tragedy/dp/1789070244 

At 1.55am on 1st January 1919, a naval yacht carrying sailors home on leave ran aground on rocks near the village of Holm, a mere 20 yards from the shore of the Isle of Lewis and less than half a mile from the safe harbour of Stornoway. HMY Iolaire was crowded with 280 men, mostly naval reservists returning to the safety and comfort of their homes after the horror of the Great War.

by Malcolm Macdonald and Donald John Macleod. An examination of the loss of HMY Iolaire on Hogmanay 1919 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMY_Iolaire

Sunday

Anyway, it’s ‘pitch black’ outside now, not even 7:00pm and the rain is well and truly lashing the windows, so where was I?

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Well, today wasn’t my first daylight commute of the year, that ‘milestone’ fell to Sunday morning and was blessed with a full moon over the sycamore at the bottom of Glame Brae.

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Was pretty nice when I got to work too with a dusting of snow on the Black Cuilin.

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I even managed a spot of painting whilst the boys prepared for Brendan by splicing a new spring and extra head ropes for the aft quarter.

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Another day Smile

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A mountain hare in its winter coat, OK, I know the picture is pish but I only ever see this chap in the winter and always here at Glame. Probably only actually see him cos he’s brilliant white in the winter and sticks out like a sore thumb in his ‘camouflage’. I guess this another sign of global warming, probably there was much more snow back then when evolution gave him suitable winter attire Smile

 

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The Portree creel boat Mharie Bhan II off to catch an early prawn or velvet crab.

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Wrong way from Sconser? Smile sailing this way to execute the famous ‘Henderson turn’ at Raasay, awesome seamanship Smile

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The most important job of the week, Raasay’s new ambulance and the magnificent Storr from an unusual angle.

With ‘SAS who cares who wins’ topping the Raasay TV viewing charts https://www.channel4.com/programmes/sas-who-dares-wins/on-demand/70078-001 the Hallaig’s crew have drawn up a daily exercise regime.

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Brimming with testosterone the ‘young bloods’ have been aboard at 6:00am every morning working out!!!!! I kid you not Smile

October 17, 2019

Back under the Arnish sky :-) :-)

Home at last, how many times have you heard that hey Smile It matters not where I go or what I see, ‘there’s no place like home’ and here I am at last with my ‘wee dug’.

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Molly has not let me out of her sight the whole day, insisting on ‘helping’ me drive whatever bit of machinery I’ve been on or in and sticking to me like glue with a mistrustful look in her eye. Well, I did arrive home late last night after a rather slow but uneventful journey north. The good weather seeming to bring out a swarm of poorly driven hire cars and campervans, still, I got home in one piece to a spotless house and fine supper. My MiL not only made a fine job of looking after Molly but she (as always) gave Sonas a full spring clean and made me a fine pasta bake.

Back to ‘normal’

Thursday morning now, 5:00am and things are ‘back to normal’. I gave up trying to blog around eight o clock last night and went to bed with a good book. Phil Durham’s https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fuhrer-Led-But-Overtook-Him/dp/1858213657 ‘The Fuhrer led but we overtook him’ caught my eye cos the author had spent time aboard HMS Graph, the captured U-570 that was used by the Royal Navy. Phil Durham was just 18 years old and serving aboard the battleship HMS Barham in the Mediterranean when war was declared in 1939. I left him last night in 1940 on the cruiser HMS Norfolk in Narvik, what an exciting life I lead hey Smile 

After several patrols HMS Graph ended up wrecked off the island of Islay where I first dived on her almost 40 years ago after reading the (even then) long out of print ‘HM U boat’ by John D Drummond.

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So, that’s it, I’m back home with a wee dug sneaking under the covers once I fall asleep, getting up at ‘stupid o clock’ and listening to the BBC World Service despairing at what that clown in the White House has been up to Smile I rarely watch TV and only listen to the radio if in my workshop or travelling to and from work. Consequently my news is generally like my work ‘two weeks on, two weeks off’ Smile Having been chauffeured to and from the dry dock in Richard’s comfortable Jeep the last fortnight and not having fresh ‘titty papers’ delivered to Hallaig everyday I’ve been somewhat incommunicado with global events. Not that I read the newspapers either but it is difficult not to notice life changing news on the front page of the ‘red tops’ when they sit on the mess room table. You know the kind of thing, some third rate celebrity has been ‘romping’ in the jungle, or Beckingham palace has been burgled and David’s favourite pair of boxers stolen Smile

Anyway (as usual) I digress, the last week I was down at Dale’s dry dock in Troon, the former site of Ailsa Troon shipbuilders  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ailsa_Shipbuilding_Company with our very own Hallaig.

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After a spell of anchor painting and ‘touching up’ with my shipmate Richard I managed to sneak away early on Sunday to go and see my Boy at University Smile

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Sure, it was work related, we went to the National Museum https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Museum_of_Scotland to study the 500ton anchor chain and a model of Hallaig Smile

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An interactive Morse code display making me more homesick than usual when it spelt out my wee dugs name Sad smile

Yesterday

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Well, it was a peach of a day but with a far more autumnal hue than when I left a fortnight ago.

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My first serious task of the day being a puncture repair for Adam the Polish builder working next door. Unbelievably, it took me the best part of two hours to remove the tyre and repair the two holes in the tube.

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The ‘wee dug’ and I delivered the repaired wheel to Torran and I was pure flabbergasted by the work Adam and his two builders had done in just seven days. A beautiful block extension with a slate roof

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sat in the place where my Mate and I had laid a concrete pad in July.

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By now, even though it was only early afternoon with the Torran aspen turning golden yellow, a stag had started bellowing from his high vantage point miles away at Arnish. Once home, ‘I put the glass on him’ and he had the look of one of Bill’s stags from Rona, with antlers as thick as a babies arm.

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Noisy beggar Smile

Discovery II clutch master cylinder

The clutch master cylinder having arrived just before I headed off with Hallaig was the next job ‘on the list’. The ‘Wife’ my Disco WFE had developed an annoying clutch problem whereby if the clutch was held down for any length of time whilst manoeuvring it would gradually start to engage. Although a classic symptom of failing master or slave cylinder this is usually accompanied by a leak on the offending cylinder. On this occasion there was no ‘tell tale’ weep of fluid so I changed the slave first last month as it as only £20 for a genuine one and an easy job. Unfortunately it didn’t cure the problem, in fact it made it worse on account of these Discoveries can be a ‘pig to bleed’. Well, I sussed that out shortly afterwards when I realized (in typical ‘Green Oval’ fashion) that the slave cylinder bleed nipple actually points slightly downwards!!!!!! So, lesson learned there, whenever you want to bleed a Disco clutch, jack up the front end Smile

   

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I also learned something else, the new master cylinder came with a plug in it which needed to be removed fit the ‘Traction Control’ sensor. This plug is an Allen type grub screw and is a bizarre size, it seems to be 4.5mm. Now, I have a gazillion Allen keys, Allen sockets and wrenches of every shape or form but no 4.5mm one and I doubt anyone else has either Sad smile Luckily a 30 Torx key is ever so slightly bigger and can be tapped gently into the offending grub screw allowing it to be eased out. Apart from that the job was a ‘piece of cake’ just remove some trim inside, take off the clip and remove the clevis pin from the pushrod. One 13mm nut, one 10mm bolt and the hydraulic pipe and ‘Bob’s your uncle’. Make sure the front end is high enough and bleed as normal.

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