Life at the end of the road

December 23, 2021

Christmas is cancelled :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, food — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:53 am

It’s bee a while hey, two weeks in fact since I last looked at the blog let alone sat down and wrote some mince Smile Truth is I’m kinda getting slow in my old age and needing all the sleep I can get. Consequently by the time I get home after twelve hours on the ferry, bed is never far from my mind, especially this time of year with little more than six or seven hours of daylight on an overcast day.

So that’s it another fortnight has flown by on the good ship Hallaig and once more I’M sat at the ‘puter in my kitchen. Unusually though tonight I’m sharing the table with a large glass of Tomatin Legacy single malt whisky, breaking my unwritten 1st Commandment of never drinking alone. One of the golden rules I have for staying sane ‘at the end of the road’, the other major one being to cook a proper meal every day. Though that comes far easier than leaving my choice whiskies unopened on a cold dark night Smile Especially when I have the choice of such good ingredients at hand, pork, venison, mushrooms and organic garden produce to name a few. Sure there’s precious little coming out of the Raasay Walled Garden this time of year but I just baked me a piece of a 30kg ling I had given the other day and that was boodly deelish Surprised smile

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It was so big I needed two chopping boards to cut it up and there are still three large pieces left in the freezer. Simply baked a good chunk of it at 200 for 20 minutes in a tray with a knob of butter two cloves of thinly sliced garlic seasoned with a little salt and pepper. Served with boiled spuds and steamed veg it was awesome.


It looks more like an eel than a fish but is actually related to the cod family, the rod caught record in the UK is 10kg so the 30kg one that I had half of must have been a monster Surprised smile Unlike monster lobsters and skate though this one tasted even nicer than the regular ones I’ve eaten before. The wee dogs didn’t get a single morsel of it despite their hopeful looks Smile


The Raasay fishing fleet of FV Speedwell and FV Mary M, the source of of much of my locally sourced produce Smile

The Ullapool registered Auk UL534


diving for scallops by the Penfold rock buoy off Braes on a good day.


Here she is a few days earlier on a poor day, when it’s much pleasanter underwater looking for clams than in the boat waiting for divers Smile Been there, got the book, video and T-shirt Smile

The ‘two weeks on’ flew by as usual, though I’m never sure these days if that’s cos I enjoy my work or I’m of an age where time goes by faster and faster Smile 

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Generators got serviced, paperwork done and dugs got walked at lunchtimes.

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The best made ‘plans of mice and men’

Perhaps one of the reasons the fortnight flew by was the fact that I’d be going down to Girvan for Christmas with my ex wife, family and son. However that’s gone all ‘tits up’ due to the rampant Omicron variant which has infected or put my family ‘in close contact’ with ‘significant others’ who have it Sad smile So now after a fortnight of eating everything in the fridge and not getting any food in for Christmas I’m gonna be having my first Christmas alone in over 65 years Surprised smile 

Now I appreciate that in light of the last two years and what everyone else has been through this is no big deal but it did kinda ‘upset my applecart’ and has left me with the unenviable task of going shopping tomorrow Sad smile

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With tomorrow finally here I’ll just leave you with some pictures of last Sunday’s dug walk over on the Arduish.

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October 18, 2021

I thought it was Tuesday :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, Land Rover, life off grid — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:14 pm

Well, that was a pleasant surprise, I awoke this morning at ‘stupid o clock’ thinking it was Tuesday and spent the entire day under the same illusion. Not until steaming my beans and broccoli for dinner was I relieved of this misconception. To say it came as a relief would be an understatement cos I’d been rushing round like an eejit all afternoon trying to get stuff finished for Wednesday Sad smile

Despite my best efforts I couldn’t stay in bed but tried pretty hard until finally giving up round 6:30. Going out about an hour later, feeding Marmalade, Spotty and Jiffy before going walkabout with Bonzo when the sun rose. Not that you’d know it cos the cloud was so thick as to give no clue as to its whereabouts.


With mushroom’s becoming thin on the ground we chose the road rather than the birch wood for this mornings perambulation and wandered by my old croft towards the head of the valley and back.


One of Raasay’s fishing boats the Mary M was looking for a late lobster or some velvet crab over at Ard Torran. Bonzo and I returned home for our muesli, having made the mistake some time ago of giving the pair of them a little yoghurt and the remains of my breakfast between them. Now they won’t leave me, alone as soon as my spoon starts rattling on the last dregs in my bowl Bonzo starts bouncing to the accompaniment of Molly’s whining. Not until they each have a spoon of yoghurt, milk and raisins in their dishes will they give me peace.

Unlike yesterday where the day was too nice to be in the shed all day, today was perfect, grey and damp with no sunshine and blue sky to tempt me outdoors. So, after giving my Stream Engine rotor another coat of paint I dived under my Land Rover.


Removed the centre section of the exhaust and most of the nuts and bolts securing the LT230 transfer box to the LT77 gearbox ready for lifting it out. Now with the handbrake drum and back plate removed it’s not that heavy and if you are doing it on the floor it’s not hard to lift it onto your chest, which is what I’ve always done in the past. However those days are gone Smile

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I bought me a transmission jack with a built in scissor lift and strap to hold the box securely and just wheeled it out after making a wooden support to steady it better.

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With the two boxes side by side I swapped the speedo drive and diff lock linkages, tested the indicator lamp switch and then put the new box onto the jack.


Before putting it in I made up a new wiring loom for the diff lock and reversing lamp switches and did a couple of jobs that were far easier to do with the transfer box out of the way. Tidied up some sound proofing and re routed some breather pipes. Putting the box insitu and securing it to the main gearbox before abandoning it in favour of the Stream Engine which I wanted to get fitted before the day was out.

The hydro turbine seemed to back together without any major drama and once built up I ferried it down through the birch wood to my secret cove.


It really is quite magical down there especially when the tide is high.


I’d like to say that that was it sorted but I’m not convinced. Methinks the stator is damaged as it’s vibrating and the voltages are uneven across the phases Sad smile However it’s not all bad cos at least it’s Tuesday tomorrow and not the Wednesday I was expecting Smile

So, now I don’t have to go to Portree tomorrow I can investigate the turbine and finish off my transfer box Smile

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