Life at the end of the road

January 7, 2020

The ‘New Year Storm’ :-)

Filed under: Avon Searider, daily doings, food, Trucks and plant, weather — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:20 pm

Well, it’s not often you’ll find Molly and I indoors during daylight hours at this time of year. The days may be getting longer but it’s still dark for two thirds of each one and even when wild like today, I still have a shed full of projects Smile 

We’re just back in after a spell of power washing and being power washed ourselves by the south westerly gale, that’s threatening to become a westerly storm. Something that we always expected here on Raasay around the 7th to 14th of January but which hasn’t hit for half a dozen years at least. All the memorable ones I’ve endured have been in that one week window. The ones that damaged MV Raasay and MV Loch Striven to name but two. The tragedy on a Western Isles causeway being another where a family were swept into the sea on such a day.


My son left for Heriot Watt yesterday and that was a bit of an epic, the 7:55 ferry we’d been aiming for not actually departing until 12:15. Leaving Wife, Ross and I playing cards in the village until our departure at midday Smile You can imagine how that went down hey, our ‘shopping time’ in Inverness gradually being eroded away to nothing. We literally had to drive straight to Inverness train station and back with barely time to fill up with fuel and grab a few essentials from Broadford Co op.

It never changes 

I could go into a long rant about the Co op, and had I stayed inside, on here when I started writing I would have. However, once World At One had finished on R4 and I discovered that the ‘clown in the White House’ had not yet started another war I went back outdoors. It’s 19:36 now and I’ve a nice warm glow inside me from the chicken curry ‘n’ chips I’ve just demolished for dinner and I’ve lost the enthusiasm for it. Bizarrely, I actually like the Co op, it was founded on noble principles, there used to be one on many of the mill town street corners where I hail from, they are pretty ethical in their behaviour not American owned and have a good ‘Fair Trade’ policy. That aside, on Skye at least, they are useless and always have been. Thirty five years I have been using the local ones and thirty five years I’ve been astounded at their incompetence.

Right from moving to the area in 1985 it’s always promised to get better but never has. They moved from the inadequate premises in Broadford to Sutherlands Garage some years ago and managed to turn a good petrol station into a disaster area with toilets that NEVER worked. On the rare occasions they did they were disgusting. The supermarket itself was OK, when the tills were actually manned and food was on the shelves. Portree wasn’t much better with the move to larger premises some years ago only bringing about marginal improvements but at least the toilets worked even if they are always smelly Smile

Major works and improvements to the petrol station 12 months ago improved matters in that department and this summer it has actually been possible to buy petrol at peak times without queuing onto the main road. In fact, until yesterday they had started to go up in my esteem, that was until I called in on the way back from Inverness having not emptied my bladder since the 12:15 ferry. The boodly toilets were out of order!!!! and I have to confess at ‘blowing my top’ at the poor chap that told me Sad smile I’ll not tell you what I did immediately after but I was greatly relieved Smile

Of course the shelves were empty inside, what greens and veg there was had only 1 day left on the ‘sell by’ but worst of all there was no one at the tills and they’ve installed those boodly self checkouts which I refuse to use. I do not work for the Co op and fail to see why I should help boost their profits at the expense of  much needed jobs in a locality that needs everyone it can get. Anyway, a cashier eventually turned up and my blood pressure returned to normal Smile For all my despairing I have to say that the staff there are brilliant, be it Portree, Broadford or Kyle, I can only assume that the management never visit the customer toilets and they do their own shopping online Smile

So, that’s what I did on Monday, today it was the aforementioned power washing of the plant, most of which had worked hard this last fortnight.

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Ross having done some sterling work around the back of the big green shed putting some drains in.

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Throughout last night and today they were doing a great job of taking all the rain away.


My weather station died some months ago so I can’t actually tell you what speed the wind was or how much rain fell, suffice to say that it was so bad that Molly wouldn’t come out of the house.

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I wasn’t that keen myself truth be known and I had to ease myself outside gently by doing some work in the ‘Bunker’ which is the ‘lean too’ on the back of the house. I guess you could call it the ‘plant room’ for that’s where much of the heating and electronics reside. I was mortified the other day to find some chewed insulation Sad smile the last thing I need in there is mice that’s for sure. The wee beggars could make an awful mess of me wiring and cause no end of grief, reluctantly I set some traps but what I really need is a cat Smile


Hauled myself one of the salamis out of there whilst I was at it, been curing for a month now and I’ve not tried em yet, well it was just delicious Smile

I guess that apart from managing to avoid doing my tax an VAT returns yet again I didn’t really achieve that much today but I did enjoy not doing them and I could think of much worse things to do or not do as the case may be. At least I had power today, some 66kWh generated by wind and hydro. Down in Inverarish a third of the village was out with no prospect of repair until Wednesday. That’s another things this period in January was renowned for, power cuts. Not for me right enough, I’ve not had one (for more than a few minutes) in 30 years Smile I do love being self sufficient in energy supply.

On Saturday I put the Searider to bed as there would be no chance of using it again this side of my ‘on shift’.

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At some point I also cleaned and admired the two IBC’s given to me  by an admirer, tis a sad reflection on my life that they are ‘up there’ with my books and camouflage jacket as ‘best Christmas presents’ of 2019 Smile Cheers Charlie.

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Even ‘wee dug’ was impressed Smile

SAS ‘Who Dares Wins’

Apparently it was on Sunday and much of it was filmed here Me, I couldn’t care less ‘who cares who wins’ Smile I never heard of Ann Middleton Smile twas my son who pointed out he was a guy called Ant, as we walked past a bookshop in Edinburgh and he saw one of his books Smile

December 31, 2019

Will I make it? :-)

Well, she’s looking like a bonny day ahead this fine Hogmanay, sure it’s still dark being 7:00am but XC Weather and the BBC both assure me it’s gonna be peachy. Don’t think it’s gonna be the same for the start of 2020 right enough but ‘make hay while the sun shines’ as they say, perhaps we’ll get out in the Searider for a spot of diving again. I’ll certainly not be joining the hardy ‘pier jumpers’ on Raasay tomorrow in the bid to great the New Year with a splash. Nosireee, though I’d be surprised if young Camilli didn’t join in Smile The hardier (or is it more foolish) Raasay folk have already done one on Boxing Day.

Boxing Day dip

Me, I was in a dry suit yesterday and whilst the water is still 10 degrees I’ll no be doing a Seamus Nicolson in my trunks for sure Smile

The launch

It wasn’t exactly a ‘peach of a day’ yesterday but at least it was dry, pretty fresh from the south right enough but dry and mild. Much of my day being taken up by pottering around doing odd jobs awaiting the rising of my son. Sure he’s on holiday and been working hard at uni, me, well I’m practising for retirement which cannot come to quickly and that in itself requires me to slow down and not quite so manic. So whilst he was ‘pushing out zeds’ then taking the obligatory ‘half hour shower’ I launched the Searider.

A 4m tide height is what’s needed to easily launch and recover our RIB and at this time of year with the short days you have pretty short window at times.


Daylight is the straw colour and the 4m height ends at 11:30am so I had to get her in before then, the next time the tide would be high enough is around 22:30 at night so not much use to me.


First thing was to fill her with fuel, top up the tubes then lower her down to the bottom of the shed on an electric winch.


The slope of the shed floor and the long lead I fitted to the winch control make this a ‘piece of cake’ and once the boat is at the bottom I just hitch it to the dumper or whatever vehicle I’m using. It really is so easy, even on your own,


the actual launch too was stress free, despite a change in the wind to the west. This picture being taken at just about the extreme of when it’s possible to launch and recover her.

Yamaha 350 YFM throttle cable

As far as yesterday’s ‘doings’ go an excellent dive for a couple of dozen clams in Tarbert just about sums it it up. These we fried in olive oil and nduja which came from May or Snowy. That was followed by the remains of the turkey curry (which unusually didn’t make it to the next year) and potato wedges.

Also achieved ‘but not necessarily in that order’ was the replacement of the throttle cable on my Mate’s Yamaha 350YFM. The throttle had been sticking of late, well probably about a year Smile but had got really bad recently, a split in the outer cover allowing water into the carburettor compounding matters. As usual I ordered any replacement parts from MSP in Holland and they arrived timeously without hassle or delay. Feck knows what will happen once that blond lunatic has removed us from the EU Sad smile

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The YFM cable is quite easy to change, though I find (as with most cables) the easiest way to route any cable is to attach the new one to the old one then pull it carefully through. This works with all types of cables be they Bowden, control or electrical and can save you immense grief, tape will usually do the trick, just don’t go mad pulling the new one through.

Through the archives

Being almost 9:00am now on a fine Hogmanay I’m tempted to leave warmth of the kitchen table and coffee number 4 behind and get some work done. It’s still quite grey with ‘wall to wall’ sunshine not due for a few hours but there’s barely a breath of wind and I really should go outside to make the most of it. So I’ll just leave you with some salami’s Smile


The Portree fishing boat Green Isle, unusually fishing in Loch Sligachan, in front of an awesome looking shed at Braes Smile 



Fraser in one of Eyre Plant’s Scania’s dragging a 13T Hitachi over to Raasay to help repair the Creagan Baegha.


The Old Man of Storr in a brief snowy surround.

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