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

April 10, 2019

A lot has happened

The last ten days have been a bit of a whirlwind really, after my last effort and the visit to the Isle of Raasay Distillery to watch and listen to Willie Campbell I got on with painting the house. Conditions were far from ideal with showers forecast but I chose the lee side to make a start.

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Moving from one side to the other as the wind changed, then when it got just too wet I set about strengthening up some fences.

We’ve bought a couple of pigs to fatten and plan to keep them on the croft in the hen and wind turbine fields for a while. We normally do this anyway but there are now a couple of extra ‘ladies’ at the ‘North End’ charging about the hill. Judy and Tilley, two rather large ‘Iron Age’ gilts (wild boar cross Tamworth) have been a welcome addition to the Arnish ‘wildlife’ but they’re somewhat impervious to fences of the regular calibre required for ‘tame’ pigs Smile So rather than have them tunnelling into ‘meet the neighbours’ I started beefing up the fences ‘just in case’ using timber grown and milled on Raasay.


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The two ‘darlings’ had been at Arnish for a good three weeks and I hadn’t actually seen them despite walking the two dogs every day in the general direction of where I thought they may be. Typically when I stopped for lunch I returned to my labours to find one of them in the hen field Smile

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I soon got her out and then the pair of them made off, not to be seen again (by myself at least) until today, ten days later Smile

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I also made good use of some old corrugated iron sheets from my mums house to provide a wind break and discourage porcine mining in the turbine field.

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There was some fearful showers, even some of snow but most of them seemed to miss the ‘North End’.

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This is me new pal Murdo the ‘hoodie’ who seems to know I’ve lost my appetite for shooting crows. I’m sure that as soon as I picked up a gun he’d be off like a shot but I seem to be getting soft in my old age. Mink excepted I’ve taken to not shooting anything I can’t eat, sure there are recipes for crow but Darling wife refuses to try them out Smile  I’ve seen enough sheep and lambs have their eyes plucked out whilst still living by a hoodie or raven to not be sentimental but as my lovely wife says ‘they’re just trying to survive’ and I’ve no had sheep for many years now. Ole Murdo is getting bolder and bolder and can be often seen in the garden but this rocky knoll just outside the gate is where he can watch over his territory and he probably knows it’s just outside the range of me shotgun anyway Smile


Well, I guess that picture was taken a week ago on ‘bin day’ Smile

More solar

Not that we actually need it but I decided to fit some more solar panels to the bunker. These would be just to supply a spare 48v 900Ah battery bank that sits in there doing nothing. Sure that makes no sense whatsoever but along with the Outback GVFX3048 inverter it feeds it’s just something I ‘acquired’ along the way Smile Like these thick heavy duty stainless steel brackets I found on eBlag at just £40 for 25. I cut half a dozen of the in half and fashioned them into mountings so I could put two 300W panels above the 60 hot water tubes on the bunker.


There was just enough room for the two mounted ‘landscape’ fashion.

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One end I fastened into the gable end with 10mm x 100mm ‘Multimonti’ fasteners . These fasteners are fantastic in concrete blocks, you just drill an 8mm hole and screw them in, no plug, no resin and you torque em up to 50Nm, though I filled the hole up with silicon sealant too to stop any dampness.

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It may not be very high up there but it wasn’t easy getting those 20kg panels up over the 60 glass tubes without breaking any I can tell you.

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Still, I managed all on my own last night and left the wiring for today, servicing the wife’s Subaru in-between lifts Smile


I do like my Chinese lift Smile 

The Land Rover saga

With Tayside Land Rover having had my dear old Landy for just over a year now for what was allegedly a six week job I decided to pay an unscheduled visit.

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It was 2:30 on Friday afternoon and nobody was home Sad smile

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We were going to spend the weekend in Edinburgh with our son anyway so it wasn’t a wasted journey.

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The weather wasn’t up to much right enough but we managed some good meals out and to see some of the sights.

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Korean barbecue at was well impressive, though I missed the signs that would have been mandatory on a CalMac ship. You know the signs for stupid people, like, ‘Surface may be hot’

Of course it’s hot, it’s a feckin barbecue Smile There wasn’t even one above the hot tap in the toilet to tell me the water may be hot!!!! Smile Not only that, they never provided a thermometer to tell me if the prawns were cooked inside. Really, it’s a miracle we made it out alive Smile

We also managed a fine Nepalese and French Caribbean meal as well as a trip to at the National Museum of Scotland.

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Where I got to meet one of my ‘screen idols’, Maria from Fritz Lang’s 1927 epic Metropolis Sure there was lots of hi-tech stuff there too but Maria made it for me Smile

On the way back I paid another impromptu visit to Tayside Land Rover and was most impressed to see THREE people actually working on the ‘Old Girl’ Smile


A tragedy

On Sunday 31st, probably around the time Darling wife and I were getting ready for Sunday lunch at Raasay house an elderly gentleman went missing on Raasay.

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Alistair Lovie, or Chop has he was affectionately known, that’ll be him doing some dry stone walling in the ‘hi-viz’ coat. Alistair went out for a walk and never came back, and whilst ‘as fit as a butchers dog’ he was suffering from dementia and despite a week long search by local volunteers, Skye Mountain Rescue, Portree Lifeboat, Coastguard, Police, Fire and Rescue using dogs, boats and the helicopter not a trace has been found of him. The search was called off a week later after a stupendous effort by all involved, including all the community members who kept the searchers supplied with coffee, baking, soups, sandwiches and help. Our thoughts are with Alistair’s wife, family and friends, not to mention the ‘wee dug’ that he was always out walking. And here I have to smile despite the tragedy for I suspect Alistair’s dementia was like my fathers insomuch as he kept forgetting he’d taken the dug for a walk. No sooner had my father sat down in the chair after taking Leah for a walk, then he would get up and take her out again Smile After three or four walks Leah would eventually get pi55ed off and leave my Pop to go out on his own Smile 

There was more but it’s after 22:00 now and time for bed.

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