Life at the end of the road

August 23, 2019

The ‘Best Man’

Well, ‘that’s it’, almost the whole summer is by with and I’ve not written a word, truth is, much has changed and I’ve not really felt like it. Sure there’s been many a time I’ve felt like writing something, if for no other reason than to keep a record of it. This blog was after all a replacement for the diaries I kept for years. I last posted some 107 years after the RMS Titanic left Queenstown (now Cobh) in the Republic of Ireland and like the Titanic I hit an iceberg shortly after Smile Well, metaphorically at least Smile Unlike the White Star Line’s iconic vessel I’ve proceeded on my journey relatively unscathed, albeit maintaining ‘radio silence’ Smile

William Macleod

To be honest, had it not been for Willie Eyre I probably wouldn’t be writing even now, in fact had it not been for Willie I probably wouldn’t be where I am now and doing much of what I do. To say Willie was a huge influence on my family and I is something of an understatement.

I’m sure Willie made an impact on all the people he met with his gentle manner and unique outlook. Well Willie passed away around 18:00 on Tuesday evening after a long battle with dementia. Something that was particularly cruel for those that loved and knew him, as Willie’s mind used to be as sharp as a razor. Willie took in all that went on around him and missed nothing. He had a theory for everything, could tell you which birch tree on Raasay would be the first to turn green then offer the explanation of why. He could find scallops and drop me in on the best of marks despite not being able to swim let alone dive. Not only would he tell me exactly which way to swim he’d tell me exactly what the tide was doing on the bottom and be waiting for me wherever I ‘popped up’. Well apart from when he was changing Ross’ nappies that is Smile Willie not only looked after me, he looked after my son who also accompanied us daily on our fishing trips.

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Willie was the Best Man at my wedding and the ‘best man’ I have ever known, he is sorely missed by all that knew him. My thoughts and love to all that knew him especially Tekela and Duncan.

On Death
Kahlil Gibran

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Willie read Gibran’s works, or at least The Prophet and could pretty much quote the poem below, which he said was one of his favourite. Funny that cos I never had Willie down as a reader of poetry but that was the thing with Willie, he knew about everything.

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Aye, there was a lot going on inside Willie’s head Smile 


The summer of 2019 in pictures 

When I left you I was just in the middle of a spell at Lochaline covering for MV Lochinvar that was having an unexpectedly long dry docking, problems with the rescue boat davit having delayed her departure from the Garvel Clyde dry dock in Greenock. After that me son came home from Uni, we did lots of diving, concreting and cooking Smile Boy, that son of mine is some mean cook.

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Taken in April from my ‘pitch’ down at Lochaline by the West Pier. Jifmar’s wee workboat MV Paul B, a regular visitor to the many fish farms in the Sound of Mull, hardly an attractive boat hey Smile The MV Isle of Lewis heading out to Barra from Oban at sunrise and sunset.


The old Ardtornish castle with it’s strategic outlook over most of the Sound of Mull guarding the entrance to Loch Aline.

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MV CEG Cosmos loading timber at my campsite, a Latvian registered coaster she hides her age well, built in 1983 she looks very well kempt, even close up.

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One of the many small coasters from the continent calling at the Loch Aline sand mine for quality silica sand.

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Molly the ‘wee dug’ exploring, Sound Diver loading hobby divers and OB26 MFV Creachan unloading dived scallops.

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MV Yeoman Bridge heading for Glensanda quarry, one of the worlds largest self discharging bulk carriers.


Big crane working at Lochaline pier.


The fully laden MV Victress heading south down the Sound of Mull.

That was my stint in Lochaline over with, I departed on the 1st or 2nd of May, heading back to Arnish with my caravan then getting ready for two new arrivals.

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Snowy and May seemed delighted with their new surroundings and May took great delight in eating Nigel Farage (if only) Smile


Oh it was so good to be back home for my birthday and an Arnish sunset Smile

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The day after was just as good with two large cruise ships passing my house heralding the start of Portree’s cruising season.

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The 20th May now with Portree Lifeboat Stanley Watson Barker in Loch Arnish and another fiery sky.

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June now and off out in the Searider with my sun for a spot of clam diving.

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More pesky sunsets and diving at the end of June.

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Scallops on the doorstep Smile a fine way to spend a summer evening, he’d just finished a full day’s work at the Isle of Raasay Distillery. Oh the joy of youth and enthusiasm Smile

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July now and The Old Man of Storr at breakfast time.

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The ‘Silly Season’ once more


What can I say, it’s that time of year again Smile Having got sick of towing people out last year I parked a large rock in the way so you could get by with the quad but not a car Smile There’s always one hey Smile

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All our hard work paid off at the slipway, some 22 cubic meters of concrete, 14 of which we mixed with the wee Belle mixer, easy enough now to launch and recover with the dumper at any high tide Smile

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A lovely Reliant Scimitar GTE at ‘the end of the road’ and the complete shed with ALL the plant, quads and Searider in Smile

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MS Columbus cruising by Brother’s Point Skye on the way to Portree and another boodly sunset.

The summer high

Sure it’s been a busy old summer on Raasay with much happening at our very own distillery , more employees taken on, new warehouses built.

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That’s the site being prepared in May, they’re almost finished now but I’ve no pictures Sad smile

There was also the ‘Gin launch’ in July,

Isle of Raasay Gin Launch Party

sadly Ross and I missed it as we were away wreck diving out of Lochaline with Lochaline Boat Charters on MV Brendan.

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Last time I dived down here was 1984 and it was a pure joy to visit some of the fine wrecks in the area, most of which I knew very well from ‘back in the day’. The joy was in sharing it with me boy though, Ross is just a natural diver, calm, relaxed, methodical and very economical with his air. We were sharing MV Brendan with a group from London who obviously took their diving very seriously with two or three times the amount of kit we carried. Consequently they only chartered boats with a diver lift!!!

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Still, they were a good crowd if not a little bemused by our basic dress Smile

The fantastic weekend rummaging around SS Thesis (1889) SS Breda (1940) SS Shuna (1913)  SS Hispania (1954) and MV Tapti (1951) was nicely rounded off by acquiring another vehicle.


Meet the ‘Wife’ YH 52 WFE Smile me new (to me) Disco, had no MOT and an alarm/immobilizer fault (don’t they all) but she’s all sorted now.

March 31, 2019

The eleven hour pour :-)

Filed under: daily doings, food, How I, shed/house — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:56 pm

A cracking few days behind me, in which I have achieved much, mainly on account of having no Internet Smile We lost it the day after I last posted, which I guess must have been Thursday, sorry I cannae be more specific but it has been a bit of a blur. Sure I missed it but to be quite honest I doubt I would have got the 20M square slab for the 5m extension to ‘Callum’s shed’ poured on Friday had I been able to get ‘online’. At least I wouldn’t have been able to mix the 2.5 cubic metres AND go and see Willie Campbell playing at the Isle of Raasay Distillery


As it was I managed to start mixing concrete at 6:30 and had it finished by 17:30, leaving me just enough time to get cleaned up and get to the gig for around 8:00pm. This just gave us enough time to order a couple of lemon juices and sit back in a cosy corner of the lounge and listen to Willie’s first hour long set. I was driving and Darling Wife would be doing an early shift so it wasn’t going to be a ‘full on sesh’. No, it was just a great night of Willie’s eclectic mix, a few of his own tunes and songs, some country and western, a little traditional, a dash of Gaelic and the odd ‘sing along’. A ‘perfect end to a perfect day’, tis a sad person indeed that considers mixing concrete for eleven hours ‘perfect’ Smile

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Sure, a 20m square slab 125mm thick is a little ambitious for one man approaching retirement with a Belle mixer but conditions were ideal. It was mild and damp to stop the concrete cracking, a gale of south west wind kept the mixer happily churning away for the whole day on wind energy Smile The mixer was parked in the shed out of the wind so no eyes full of cement and I kept the trailer fed with aggregate from my stockpile with ‘Calum the Kubota’.

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Barring the tuna salad I had for lunch I never stopped and was well pleased with my effort Smile Sure I was mightily miffed I couldn’t tell anyone about it on Facecloth or check for the likelihood of a downpour ruining my handiwork on XC Weather, but had I done that then I’d have probably missed Willie.

Draught proofing

Despite the visit to the distillery I did manage to get in bed at a sensible time and arise early without a headache thanks to the St Hellier lemonade I’d been drinking all night. Saturday was a cracking day and I set about making a windbreak for the wee garden. I had knocked one up last year using netting and steel poles but the winter’s gales had bent all the poles and the netting was full of holes from rubbing on the poles. Still, it had served it’s purpose and allowed Darling Wife to establish the makings of a lovely wee garden.


I’d drilled the rocks to support the original 6mm steel posts and most of them were now actually stuck into the rocks so I just cut the poles leaving around 75mm sticking up. I then drilled the bottom of some 75mm square posts and hammered them in. Sounds far simpler than it actually was cos none of them lined up and there was a great deal of messing about. However by making up custom brackets, drilling more holes in the rocks etc. etc. I got on just fine.

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That cheap Evolution mitre saw from Screwfix cuts steel just as well as plastic conduit and wood Methinks that’s a newer model than mine as mine was under £100 but worth every penny of £125 they’re asking for it now.

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It took me just about the whole day to do that

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and I managed to finish it before starting to at last paint Sonas Smile

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Sure, I didn’t get very far before having to pack up, get cleaned up and head of to Raasay House for our 16:30 ‘table for two’. This week I had roast pork belly and Darling Wife roast beef, both of us choosing a starter rather than dessert, me going for a hot smoked salmon salad whilst herself had haggis fritters. It was all totally delicious as usual and well presented by courteous staff but I gotta say the haggis fritters were pure amazing.

That ‘time of year again’

How I hate this feckin around with the clocks business, I don’t really care who’s time we are on, BST, GMT, UTC or CET but can we just stop changing the feckin things. I’m gonna spend the next six weeks or so feeling hungry at ‘stupid O clock’, the dugs will be following me about wanting fed at the wrong time, the hens won’t know what is going on and I’m bound to forget to alter at least one clock!

Anyway, that’s it, it’s 8:00 PM which is really 7:00 PM so I’d better go and shut the hens in an hour later Sad smile Whatever, I’m going to bed, but it’s only 19:00, guess I’ll be up at 4:00 tomorrow Smile


Still, at least the clocks moved the right way Smile

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