Life at the end of the road

October 2, 2020

In and oot the dock :-)

Almost 21:00 now and I’m not in my bed at the Holiday Inn yet but perhaps that’s not a bad thing Smile Nope, I’ve just finished a real home cooked ‘lockdown’ special like I’ve not eaten since a barrel of oil cost less than a bulk pack of toilet rolls and pasta was distant memory on supermarket shelves.

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Nope, tonight I’m dining alone aboard Hallaig cos no one else but me would eat anything like this Smile Still, it was all I had left in the fridge and I’m not one to throw food away. Consequently I turned a courgette, aubergine, some cherry tomatoes and five Arnish eggs into something loosely based on a frittata liberally doused in salt and chilli flakes. Wasn’t bad really and I’m sure it’ll have been better that the generic hotel fare served up by the Holiday Inn that will be sustaining me for the next 10 days or so. And why are we still aboard the good ship Hallaig and not in a comfy hotel room?

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Well, we are sat in the James Watt Dock https://canmore.org.uk/site/68371/greenock-james-watt-dock just opposite the 150t Titan crane https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Watt_Dock_Crane cos there was a ‘wee hiccup’ this morning. In fact there were quite a few, once Loch Shira had safely disembarked her cargo from Cumbrae  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Cumbrae and loaded up with more we slipped in her place to discharge ours.

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After that it was a slow foggy trip up the Clyde to Dales dry dock https://www.dalesmarine.co.uk/ for our rendezvous at the dock gates.

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Well, that took a little longer than expected and we crawled by the Canadian Navy ‘oiler’ Asterix https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Asterix that was lying at ‘Ocean Terminal’ Greenock. However, the fog eventually lifted

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to reveal a perfect sunny day. The calm that had slowed the fog’s departure proving a welcome companion once the sun had baked off what the wind refused to move. A ‘textbook’ docking followed after which it all went ‘pear shaped’ and the massive 100 year old gates refused to close fully Sad smile

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Unable to ‘shut the door’ we had to go back out again and lie alongside at the James Watt Dock until the engineers got it sorted. Dunno who the other ‘oiler’ belongs to but obviously something to do with ‘Joint Warrior 2020’

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Still, there be plenty for us to do and we are in good company with the Hebridean Princess https://www.hebridean.co.uk/ just ahead of us. So, we’re still floating and aboard Hallaig and I’m off to bed Winking smile

September 25, 2017

All quiet on the ‘home front’ :-(

Well it’s been a while hey, sure these posts seem to be getting further apart and more disjointed these days. Truth is, ‘yours truly’ is steering gradually towards drawing his pension and has definitely started being a little less manic. Indeed the ‘grumpy old fart’ has even started watching TV!!!, I kid you not, these days I seem to draw more satisfaction from sitting on George our hand made sofa and watching the ‘one eyed monster’ than plinking away on a keyboard glued to my laptop. Sure we paid more for George than I’ve ever paid for a car but I’m hoping he’ll last much longer and not need either road tax or an MOT. I draw the line at soaps, reality TV, Simon friggin’ Cowell and anything on Channel 5 right enough but I do enjoy a good drama or something that doesn’t involve a prostitute being murdered in the first episode.

Still, I’ve actually been without a TV for a good part of my adult life and when I did watch it in earnest there were only 3 channels, no day time TV and a ‘test card’ for longer than any actual programmes Smile

Test Card, BBC2 625 Lines

I even remember getting mildly excited in the late sixties when it was upgraded to this one.

I was only 10 at the time and thought she was a bit of a babe Smile

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carole_Hersee

It’s just not the same

I guess part of it too is not having the ‘boy’ around, not that he was at home much or actually said a lot anyway. Ross left home when he was 11 really when he went off to high school, but it is strange not having him about the place at the weekends. Still, he does seem to be enjoying life at ‘Uni’ Smile I bet he’s not watching TV, do any children watch it these days? I know it’s the age of the mobile phone, video games and social media but I don’t recall Ross ever watching anything other than ‘The big bang theory’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Bang_Theory . I just found it annoying but perhaps that’s why he’s so good at physics Smile

Raasay Distillery is officially open

Anyway, enough of that I’ll try and update you with the news, which in reality means looking back through old photo’s in my camera cos my memory is carp Sad smile 

Of course the big, big news is the distillery is officially open and working, though not actually quite finished yet.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-41284423

https://scotchwhisky.com/magazine/latest-news/16035/isle-of-raasay-distillery-starts-production/

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/tag/isle-of-raasay-distillery/

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/island-of-raasay-celebrates-opening-of-first-whisky-distillery-7clgqjcsk

I’ll let the hacks of more reputable publications describe that to you, me I was working so missed the party, which by all accounts was pretty damn good Smile

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Sorry, that was just a random party on the Hallaig’s car deck a few days before Smile Methinks it was a wedding at Raasay house, whatever it was they were having a jolly old time of it Smile

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Here is the real party starting with the Isle of Skye pipe band who piped both on and off the good ship Hallaig much to the amusement of the passengers aboard. They also received an enthusiastic welcome on Raasay prior to marching the short distance to the newly converted hotel.

 

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The newly laid ‘stripy’ lawn looking, well, very stripy Smile This is just gonna look boodly amazing next summer, looks pretty good now right enough compared to what it did only a week previously.

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The various contractors ‘pulling out all the stops’ to make the day a success.

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Some 13 tar lorries arriving over a two day period to get the car park and access road ‘fit for service’, not to mention keeping the crew of Hallaig ‘on their toes’ Smile

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A trio of Scania’s from Mackenzie & MacLennan, Eyre Plant, A Macleod and Alec Beaton’s DAF making several trips to and from the Sconser quarry tar plant.

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The many and varied guests arriving sometimes by more exotic transport than the Hallaig Smile

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The Midnight Rose and Dignity making Raasay look a little more like Monaco for a day or two at least.

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The local fishing boat Lustre moving to her mooring for the festivities Smile 

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The fine Astandoa 70 being available for charter from her owners in Barra http://www.hebrideanprestigecruise.co.uk/ One of whom I sailed with aboard MV Finlaggan some year s ago, not that he’ll remember Smile

The rainbows and skate

One thing about all the rain we’ve had,

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there’s been no shortage of rainbows.

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There’s been an abundance of porpoises too, as well as a rather large skate that was swimming on the surface.

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Dunno if it was sick or confused but it must have been a good metre ‘wingspan’ and it was flapping about both upside down and the right way up before disappearing into the depths.

I know, I know, it’s pretty rubbish, you had to be there Smile

Meanwhile ‘back at the ranch’ I’ve been concreting, ‘digging and dumping’, fencing and preparing moorings for next year.

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This is a 4 strand 24mm ‘Sea steel’ rope that I’ve had tucked away in my barn for years. They don’t seem to sell it any more and I was never really sure of its advantage over a 3 strand rope. However with a steel ‘tube eye’ and good size swivel it’s eminently suitable for what I require. The rope is spliced just like a 3 strand apart from peeling the 5th inner core right back then folding three strands instead of two one way and the last strand the opposite way. You know if you have it right if you look at it upside down after the first tuck, you should see ‘one over, one under’ all the way around. I guess you would do four tucks instead of three to be ‘kosher’ but I never left the tails long enough so left it at three.

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IT will be just fine, I’ll do four on the next one Smile

Yamaha 350 Bruin rear shocker

My mate’s 2007 Yamaha YFM350 Bruin celebrates a decade of hard work this year so I thought I’d treat it to a new rear shocker and handbrake cable.

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This quad has done some serious work over last ten years, you only have to read this blog to realize how many tons of coal, oil, rock, pigs, furniture, building materials, fencing stuff, hydro turbine pipe and batteries it has shifted over the years. In all that abuse it has had little more than batteries, oil, tyres, brake pads, starter brushes, track rod ends, steering bushes and one or two electrical faults. It has had less money spent on it in ten years than a Quadzilla I know had in ten months. However the rear shocker failed recently, luckily quality ‘pattern’ ones are available for a fraction of a genuine one and they’re a piece of cake to change. Just jack up the quad under the frame until the rear wheels are just about to lift off the ground, remove the lower split pin and clevis. Lots of WD40 beforehand helps, once that’s out remove the top nut and bolt then replace the unit with lots of grease on everything. The cable is even easier, just cut through all the ‘tie wraps’ holding it to the frame, remove the clevis off the brake handle, undo the wing nut off the rear brake, tape the new cable to the old one then carefully pull it through. After that just connect everything up and adjust it, simples Smile

In the airport

So that’s it really, I’m stuck in the Holiday Inn at Glasgow airport having just completed my five yearly update of ‘Personal Survival Technique’s’ and now know how to do sea water colonic irrigation with a life raft foot pump. Tomorrow it’ll be a fire fighting update, hopefully I’ll not be going into a dark steel container and set on fire like what happened to me in Hull some years ago. That was real scary sh1t and I came away with singed ears and a healthy respect for fire prevention Smile

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