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,


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.


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


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’ 

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


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.


Another day Smile


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 the Hallaig’s crew have drawn up a daily exercise regime.


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

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

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