Life at the end of the road

January 6, 2019

Concrete by moonlight :-)

Filed under: animals, Avon Searider, daily doings, How I, shed/house, Trucks and plant — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:35 pm

Well that was a quick day by with and I definitely prefer them that way, retirement cannot come too quickly for me, then perhaps I can start doing things I dislike to stave off the arrival of the Grim Reaper Smile Yup, keeping busy and doing things you enjoy definitely makes the days fly by, perhaps I’m just easily satisfied Smile Anyway after retrieving the Searider I headed home for first breakfast and awaited the arrival of daylight, fixing myself some crab on toast and using Baileys in my tea instead of milk.

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Most things seem to go down better with the help of some Baileys and fresh crab on toast is no exception. Armed with my Internal glow fortified by breakfast number one I went back to the slip to bring the Searider home.

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I then gave it boodly good wash and flushed out the engine with freshwater, this is just so much easier than having to drive over ten miles to the sowf end to launch and recover her. Not only that but all the best dive sites are up this end of the island too and it’s so much nicer having the boat swinging on the mooring on my doorstep so to speak.

After a second breakfast of porridge with fruit honey and yet more Baileys, I kid you not, Baileys in porridge is even nicer than  Baileys in tea or coffee Smile After that and with an even nicer ‘glow on’ I took the dogs for a walk to Torran in the hope of blagging a nice strong cup of Italian percolated coffee with me mate.

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Well, that never happened cos I couldnae find him, so we all walked back home whereupon Molly and Leah did a disappearing act, turning up some while later covered in muck and licking their lips. It doesn’t seem to matter what I do with dead things, the dugs seem to find them (usually weeks later) these days. I had buried the two pig carcasses nice and deep with Calum the Kubota but somehow Molly had managed to find the spot. Not only that but they’d both puked in the house when I got em back inside.

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Well, they’ll have to dig awful deep this time to find em Smile 

With the pig bones now ‘six foot under’ I turned my attention to the mountings for the boat shelter, the Hilti HIT RE500 would be nicely set by now so it was time to ‘torque em up’.

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I tightened the plate mounts down with the impact wrench then tried out the four upright mounting studs on my dummy upright. A few minor adjustments can be made using washers or shims to get them perfectly perpendicular once the time comes.

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Then it was mixing, pouring and poking concrete until well after dark. Truth is, had I started this job and hour or so sooner I’d have got it all finished. As it was ‘poor light stopped play’ and I had to clean up all my tools and work area as I was making a right mess in the dark.


Worst of it was that most of the concrete needed to go at the other side of the fence which meant I had to tip it down a small hole this side then ‘poke’ it to the other side with the vibrating poker. Not a hard task but not so easy in the dark, methinks that’ll be tomorrow’s project Smile

So at around 18:00 I came in for chicken pie and called it a day,


MiL was packing up ready to leave tomorrow and Charlie was making sure she didn’t go without him Smile


The chicken pie was awesome even without any Baileys Smile


December 29, 2018

Eleven years on!!!!

Filed under: Avon Searider, boats, daily doings, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:42 pm

I kid you not, WordPress  just informed me that I’ve been at this blogging carry on for 11 years!!! I’d just turned 51 when I started and now I’m counting the weeks to retirement, where did it go hey, Some 2090 posts, 3.2 million visitors and 1830 comments. Sure, it’s been hard work rustling up the energy at times but it is an awfully handy way of keeping a track of things. Since the 1970’s I’ve kept logs of all my dives both professional and pleasure, thousands in all, and since the eighties I kept diaries (all of which I still have) but this has been great for being able to refer back to stuff. I guess the whole world can refer back to it if they want, which might no be such a good thing and I’m sure there’s many an alcohol fuelled rant I regret but ‘what you see is what you get’ Smile 

No heating for three days!

Having got my son home for a couple of weeks it was inevitable we did a spot of diving together. The forecast was reasonable, the Searider had a new prop that needed testing and of course, Calum had a tow hitch on his blade. Trouble was, it was quite a bit windier during the night than expected, not only that, it came from the worst possible direction. How do I know this, well, I made the mistake of turning on the heating last night for a few hours. Not that it was actually cold, five people, three dogs and the cooker provide enough heat, the insulation keeps it in the house and the MVHR keeps the air fresh. However, it didn’t seem natural to have no heating whatsoever on in December for three days so I switched it on in the evening for a couple of hours. Big mistake, both wife and son flung open the bedroom windows to cool down and I couldn’t sleep for wind noise and ratting doors Sad smile 

Once daylight arrived I went down to survey the slip and it didn’t look good.

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Sure, I could and have launched boats in much worse conditions but that was when I younger and not quite so philosophical. The forecast was for the wind to fall away and the tide was rising, so I got on with other tasks and walked back down a few hours later with the dogs. By midday all was peachy so my son and I got kitted up and we headed down to the shore.

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It was quite slow going using Calum cos there is no suspension on a digger, so if you try to go to fast it starts to bounce. Still even tracking at slow speed is a gazillion times quicker than driving down to the sowf end and launching there. The control you have with the digger is far far superior to using a regular wheeled vehicle and you don’t after worry about the handbrake not holding or rolling into the sea. There was one minor hiccup right enough, the angle of the slip is quite steep, I had the blade lifted quite high and the boat was very ‘stern heavy’ on account of all the diving cylinder and weight belts at the back. So, when we slid the Searider off the trailer it got ‘pooped’ with a wave and filled with water Sad smile I got Ross to haul the trailer out with Calum, the Searider levelled up, Ross jumped in the boat and we set off at high speed to clear the deck via the ‘elephant’s trunk’. All was well and ‘another lesson learned’.


We found a nice sheltered spot to dive, got a few clams, checked a mooring and found a nice big stockless anchor. Typically on this dive we didn’t take a marker buoy but I reckon I could find it again cos I surfaced and took some photos of the area. I also took some pictures of the anchor but stupidly left the flash switched on so all you can see is bubbles, ‘another lesson learned’ Smile

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Off to see the neighbours

After that productive wee dip we set off north to visit Bill and Lorraine on Rona though he seems busier here these days Smile

I gotta say that when we headed north to Rona and saw Stanley Watson Barker ahead of us

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I was a little concerned, today is Saturday and Lifeboat practice is on Monday Sad smile

However, upon following Hamish and the crew in it became clear that they had just moved ‘practice’ from Monday to Saturday cos of Hogmanay Smile

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Bill and Lorraine were just fine and we came away with two fine Italian reds in exchange for some chops and rolled shoulder of pork Smile


So, we bade them all farewell and headed back to Loch Arnish.

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The Searider got left on the mooring and we deposited a few scallops for the other neighbours before going home to shuck scallops, fill diving cylinders, read new book and drink Bill’s red wine Smile 

Donitz’s Last Gamble may not seem like riveting reading but some of the best shipwrecks I have visited have been because of it. By 1944 the Battle of the Atlantic was won and the allies had by far the upper hand, pretty much entire ‘air cover’ from New York to London and a huge superiority in radar, radio DF and ‘anti submarine’ measures. The hard pressed U Boat commanders were reduced to seeking out coastal targets round Britain by staying submerged using their new snorkel or schnorchel as they called it. Whilst allowing the submarine to stay submerged and use it’s diesel engines to recharge batteries, the schnorchel  emitted a vastly reduced ‘radar signature’. The downside being it made the unbearable life of a submariner even worse and in rough weather could lead to severe depressurization of the submarine hull and the build up of noxious gases for the crews.

The ‘Liberty ships’ James Egan Layne and John R Park were both casualties of this last ditch campaign and I have dived on them both. Bizarrely my dear departed neighbours father, Jan of Birchwood cottage served on HMS Watchman which sank U1195 . Whenever I visited Jan I would admire the wooden carving from HMS Watchman that was proudly displayed on her chalet wall. Sadly it was consumed in the fire which engulfed it in 2015

In the grand scale of things this is ‘no big deal’. I just think that if people realized how intimately we are all connected they’d be a little less inclined to start wars. I’ve been less affected by conflict than most yet I have visited the final resting place of thousands, HMS Otranto, 470 dead, HMS Vanguard 843 dead to name but a few. I have dived on hundreds of wrecks, the majority of which were the the result of war, why the feck do we do it? Of course the media will give you all this bollox about democracy, saving Europe and blah, blah, blah, truth is it’s usually about colonialism, communism, capitalism or some other ism, me, I feckin hate ism’s Smile

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