Life at the end of the road

August 22, 2020

Well, at least the tide was perfect :-)

Filed under: Avon Searider, daily doings — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:18 pm

Not been quite the day I expected really, had a nice easy one planned but then awoke at ‘stupid O clock’ and discovered the lights were out!!! A POWER CUT!!!!. Sure everyone gets power cuts hey, they even had a couple yesterday on Raasay. Well perhaps but I’ve only ever had a handful in thirty years and never for more than 10 or 15 minutes while I reset something. The best thing about living ‘off grid’ is having reliable glitch free and stable power. Well last night mine went off around 4.00AM and the first thing I had to do a few hours later was find out why. Investigations in pyjamas and slippers told me I had at least 3 dud batteries though I actually knew that already, just wasn’t convinced that one of them was as bad as it was.


I’ve got an 800Ah 48V bank consisting of 16 Rolls S530’s, they’ll be about seven years old so just out of warranty and they’ve been ‘iffy’ for a while. Generally this isn’t a problem as I’ve usually plenty of solar, wind and hydro charging them. However, last night it must just not have been quite enough Sad smile Consequently I decided to turn on my hydro turbine at Tarbert for a couple of days. My son was having a ‘bit of a bash’ and ‘yours truly’ would be confined to the caravan for the night with ‘wee dug’. Last thing I wanted was to be awakened by drunk people at ‘stupid O clock’ minus 3 cos ‘the lights have gone out’. I figured a nice steady 800W would more than compensate for a duff cell or two. Thing is, it’s not just a case of turning on a tap and throwing a switch or two. Putting the Powerspout hydro online involves a mile long quad ride over the hill with a water pump then a bit of a trek down to the turbine at Tarbert to turn it on, so after dumping a load of fish guts in the sea Molly and I set off ‘over the hill’


Of course that was after she’d tried rescuing half a dozen mackerel heads and tails from  Davey Jones’s Locker Smile

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We headed over the hill by the ‘Hill of the Hind’ to the wee loch admiring the three well kept cottages on the Island of Fladda. Me having been invited to dinner there and all. After all my Son wouldn’t want his dad hanging around at the party hey Smile Anyway’s,I set up the pump and headed back home, fortunately leaving ‘wee dug’ back there at the same time, cos when I went to turn on the business end at the turbine it all went ‘tits up’ Sad smile

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I managed to roll the quad yet again, this time with it landing on top of me Sad smile And typically my feckin phone didn’t work so I had to walk all the way home to get Ross to help me recover the Honda.

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Again, typically, Callum the Kubota was out of commission but we managed just fine with the Subaru and a small Tirfor, myself escaping with minor injuries and being thankful I’d left Molly at home as she usually sits on the quad.

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We got off lightly really but my Honda isn’t the ‘minter’ it used to be Sad smile Still, nothing on the chassis is bent and we’re all fine Smile

Out for dinner

I was pretty boodly sore after all that and spent the rest of the day just pottering about, bending and lifting being somewhat painful. I figured that I’d just go out for dinner and leave the young folk to do what young folk do. I can’t exactly remember what that is cos it’s so long ago Smile 

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So, I put on my suit, grabbed a bottle of Prosecco and headed out for dinner, after swimming out to my transport of course Smile

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The tide and wind were just perfect for this malarkey, a breeze from the west and a 22:12 HW meaning I could leave the Searider on a long rope and anchor whilst enjoying a glass or two of red wine and a North African dish of couscous and something dead Smile

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There was a yacht in the North Fladda anchorage and the tide just lapping the causeway but apart from that and the local 14’ Orkney it was deserted. I unzipped my dry suit and trudged up the hill for an awesome dinner.

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A couple of hours later after the North African delight, some crab pate on home made bread a Chilean merlot and some splendid Victoria cake I headed home to caravan and wee dog.

August 21, 2020

The first mackerel :-) :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, food — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:59 pm

Without their usual diet of tourists the boodly midges have been desperate this year. My day getting off to a rather irritable start around 8:30 when I went down to my slipway to collect Iain. A friend of Hugh’s he’d ended up stranded on Rona after the funeral with his Land Rover at the Raasay ferry terminal. Yesterday’s strong southerly leaving him stuck there until Bill Cowie could bring him down to Arnish. There was still an airy of wind up at Sonas when I fed the pigs so when Bill phoned to say he was on his way I foolishly headed down to the slip minus any protection from the ‘wee devils’.

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The wind that was present up at my house being totally absent down on the shore Sad smile It was boodly desperate and the conversation that would normally last for ages got cut down drastically as we hastily waved our goodbyes whilst itching wildly Smile

I’d planned my day around taking Iain to the South End so made a morning of it going to Skye for some tyres and shopping, it wasn’t just harissa and anchovies we needed. The chooks and pigs needed feed too.

The turtle is back Smile


On the ferry it was great to see my regular ‘back to back’ in his rightful place aboard MV Hallaig and to see his ‘turtle’ back on the car park. I suppose it’s more like a snail with his house on it’s back really but it sure was good to have him back. Not seeing Hallaig’s ‘other half’ for the whole of ‘Lockdown’ has probably been the strangest thing about the whole affair. We have a lot of catching up to do Smile

Heading home I called at the Raasay Walled garden ‘Veg Shack’

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hoping to get some French beans but left with some lovely flowers to adorn my window ledge and complement the sunsets, not that there was much of one tonight.


The work at the Cnoc an Uan phone mast seemed to have started, I bet there be some pretty pi55ed off campers over the next month or so, this was always a popular spot with motor homes.

When I did finally get home, what I should have done was get on with refitting Callum’s tracks but it was so calm I decided to go out fishing instead.

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I went just off Manish Island, intending to go diving there in about 20M but just as I was considering anchoring I saw what looked like fish on the sonar. My first cast drew in my first mackerel in years, my second four, the third one a nice pollock. The fourth and last cast must have got snagged on the rocky bottom and came up empty and without a weight so that was my line fishing over.


Sure I could have still gone over the side for some scallops or used a couple of improvised weights but I’d got more than enough fish for dinner and I was pretty pleased with myself. That’ll be the Heather Isle left and Horse’s Cave right. The island just round the corner to the north of Loch Arnish and the cave in a small bay on the southern shore.


And this will be the MV Goldseeker of Leith paying Loch Arnish a visit, wonder if was looking for gold Smile Actually methinks it’s an Ullapool dive charter boat, anyway he didn’t stay long Smile

An unfishy dishy

So, after getting home washing off my gear and feeding the wee dog I started thinking about dinner. I can’t remember the last time I cooked a mackerel I’d caught. At one time we used to catch so many whilst out clam diving with Willie Eyre that we (almost) got sick of them. I have cooked and eaten the fish so many ways but it always tastes like mackerel. Thinking about this I thought I’d resort to a pasta recipe I used to make when I was getting tired of fish, cos this one just don’t taste fishy in the least. Dunno where I got it from but basically you just make a pasta sauce, fry off the onions, garlic etc. I added courgette and mushrooms, then you just sit the fish on top of the sauce pour frozen peas over it and leave on a hot plate for half an hour or so with a tight fitting lid on it.

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I served it with rice cos we had pasta last night but if you ever run out of things to do with mackerel then this is for you. Could have done with a sprig of parsley and squirt of lemon right enough but quick, easy and I guess almost healthy Smile

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Callum the Kubota’s tracks will just have to wait until the morning Smile

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