Life at the end of the road

February 22, 2019

Moving things and almost moving things :-)

Filed under: animals, Avon Searider, boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry, pigs — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:11 pm

To say that I’ve not achieved much today is a little unfair, for one thing it’s been great practice for me retirement and I guess I’ve helped a few people on the way so that’s not a bad thing hey. First off, I was up early to catch the first ferry, sure that doesn’t leave until 7:55 but I’d lots to do afore even setting off from Arnish, some eleven miles north of the Raasay Ferry Terminal.

My Subaru, which is the wife’s ex Subaru, affectionately know as the ‘Egg Chariot’ was still attached to a trailer at Suisnish in the forlorn hope that Bunty and Judy would go in it of their own accord. Bunty and Judy being two Iron Age pigs who were being evicted from their home there. Myself, good neighbour and the ‘girls’ owner had been trying unsuccessfully for a good part of yesterday to coax the ‘wee darlings’ into the trailer with little result bar frayed tempers and muddy arses Smile

We’d decided that just leaving the trailer and Egg Chariot there would be a good plan and with a bit of luck the two large beauties would make their own way in there in search of food. I’ve used this ploy a gazillion times before with our own pigs and it has always worked. Trouble was this left me without a car or trailer to go to Portree today for a cooker, cement and steel reinforcing mesh for my next concreting project. Of course there was always my Ifor Williams tipping trailer and ‘Darling Wife’s’ Subaru but she wouldn’t be back home from the Isle of Raasay Distillery until long after I was in bed. Solution  being to get up very early, steal Wife’s car, hitch up heavy tipping trailer and disappear before she noticed Smile That way I’d be in Portree at the Skye Express http://www.skyeexpress.com/ before my wife even noticed I’d gone Smile

Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor and water

Well, that worked a treat and on a morning too stormy for Emma C and Annie E to lay anchors at the new Moll fish farm I managed to catch the first sailing.

As arranged, I telephoned Skye Expresses Portree manager when I arrived at their Portree depot for him to come and ‘forklift’ my Mate’s Rangemaster cooker onto the trailer. Whereupon he asked if I could do a spot of delivery work for him on account of him needing to ‘see a man about a dog’ Smile it was much more serious than that and Iain is a good friend so I happily agreed to take the washing machine and sofa bed to Raasay as well as the cement and concrete reinforcing mesh. I’m a huge believer in Karma and ‘what comes around goes around’. A lot of people have helped me out over the years and I’ll never forget it. Of course I spent the next hour regretting my generosity as I crawled to Sconser with a poorly loaded trailer complete with the incorrect number plate Sad smile However, I got there in one piece without loosing anything and was much relieved to meet Simon of FV Speedwell who relieved me of the sofa bed Smile

The porcine refugees

Simon kindly assisted in the sofa bed delivery and Graeme in the washing machine delivery to Braemore where I had the pleasure to meet Ginny and Fiona Smile Braemore is just a few hundred meters from where Bunty and Judy live so another ‘pig rescue plan’ was formulated on account of me needing both ‘Egg Chariot’ and trailer tomorrow.

A kind ‘proper crofter’ with real cows and a tractor had offered the use of his own ‘much larger’ stock trailer to try and get Bunty and Judy moved ‘up north’. So, after depositing the washing machine I headed home with the cooker only to return later to meet Donnie at 14:00.

 P1140645 P1140644 P1140643

Donnie’s trailer is much larger than mine and we felt the Girls would be more inclined to go in it, especially after not having a proper feed for a few days. However the ‘wee darlings’ were still mighty cautious and reluctant to enter.

P1140639 P1140641 P1140642

Given time, I’m sure they will, but for now we just left them to it.

I drove home and managed to get a little work done on me shed.

DSCN2285 DSCN2286 DSCN2287

Plan is to let the wind whistle through the shed so we can hand stuff n it to dry, hence the gaps between the boards.

July 15, 2017

Seven weeks ‘offline’ :-(

It’s been a while hey, well things have been a little ‘topsy turvy’ here and ‘your truly’ has been severely distracted of late. Not only that but we lost our normally fast and reliable Internet connection at 23:00 on the 23rd of May and I’m not ‘holding my breath’ until the next promised date for a fix. To be fair it’s not entirely my ISP’s fault, I do believe they are doing their best to restore it, sadly I think the main issue is beyond their control.

Apart from that my laptop died, me Mammy aint well and I’m trying to get to grips with Windoze friggin 10 on this Dell Latitude Rugged 5404 that I just bought. The solid, functional and ‘idiot proof’ ‘puter I love, the operating system I hate. I don’t want all these messages it keeps sending me, I despise all that mince appears when you press the Windoze key and who on earth is Cortana. Worst of all the new OS is no longer compatible with ‘Windows Live Writer’ the software I use to do my blog. Of course they don’t tell you that and I spent hours trying to install it!!!! Of all the carp that Bill Gates tries to force on you Windows Live Writer was the one thing that I really liked and used a lot, surely I can’t be the only blogger that misses it?

Off on a real holiday

Having been under pressure for several years now to go on a ‘proper holiday’ involving an aeroplane and sun I reluctantly booked an apartment in Malta for a week and some flights from Prestwick via Ryanair. The £39 deal quickly became nearer £600 for the four of us once you had added all the ‘bells and whistles’ like baggage and an 8 Euro sandwich for the 4 hour flight though.

The last time I was in Malta was 1981, this I know cos I found my diving permit for then in my old log book which I had to dig out to present to the Watercolours Dive Centre in Sliema http://www.maltadiving.com/en/home.htm . The plan being to put my son through a 3 day PADI course then do some diving with him.  I’d spoken with Jason Fabri the owner prior to booking the course and he was fine with my 1977 BSAC logbook as I couldn’t find my commercial ones, they seem to have gone AWOL in our house moves. The young Belgian instructor Veronique who examined them on my arrival was somewhat amused at what she called vintage documentation right enough.

050617 Malta 014 050617 Malta 017050617 Malta 020090617 090

Sliema turned out to be a great choice, we were just five minutes walk from the bus station, ferry terminals, shops, restaurants and night life. Every morning a ten minute walk to Tigne had us swimming in the warm clear sea and it was just an extra five minutes jaunt to the dive centre.

The apartment in Sliema was amazing, just a couple of minutes walk from everything https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/1519582?location=Sliema%2C%20Malta&s=NSf2rlfy . Ok, there was the odd cockroach in the morning but they were invariably dead and it is after all an old house in the Southern Mediterranean, not a 5 star hotel. Vanessa was the perfect hostess and arranged our airport transfers which all went smoothly.

090617 035  090617 038 090617 043090617 040

A week there only gave us chance to ‘scratch the surface’ of Malta’s many attractions but it was long enough for me and will give us a good excuse to go back. We did a few of the touristy type things, ate out every meal bar breakfast and really enjoyed it. Took a day trip to Gozo and Comino and moored up in the Blue Lagoon right next to an old CalMac ferry, the MV Kepple https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Keppel

 MVKeppel.jpg

The old Kepple was on the Largs Cumbrae route for years until she was replaced by the MV Loch Striven on which I served for years until we got the Hallaig.

 090617 170090617 164

Other stuff

The beauty of working ‘two weeks on two weeks off’ meant that we arrived home on Saturday and I still had a few days of my ‘off shift’ on the croft before going back to work.

 090617 003 

Not that I got that much done right enough, I was hoping to get on with more concreting but that never happened.

090617 004 090617 005

I did however get some posts in position for the new deer proof fence though.

090617 016

I wouldn’t want this chap getting in and munching all our herbs, hedge and plants again.

090617 017

The fine looking chap still covered in velvet is ‘out of season’ and the freezer is full of Django and Ozzie, well not quite, Raasay House https://www.raasay-house.co.uk/ took over 50kg. So if you fancy some proper Raasay free range ‘Black Pig’ then now is the time to ask, 01478 660 300 Smile

Boats

Here’s the trusty old MV Lyrawa Bay steaming through the Raasay Narrows, built in the 1970’s I spent many a happy trip on her commuting between fish farm sites to haul out dead salmon, happy days. For years I worked as a diver hauling out ‘morts’ from the fish cages and I never ever got used to it. I would spend much of my time throwing up after a spell in the water doing that job. Luckily I worked with two heroes who had stomachs stronger than I and they would often ‘pull me out of the brown stuff’ Smile 

P1110560 

P1110561 P1110562

The Portree Lifeboat, Stanley Watson Barker passing by one fine evening.

090617 029

The locally built trawler Sea Ranger heading south.

090617 015 090617 010

Coastworks http://coastworks.co.uk/ tug Coastworker and a ‘spud leg’ barge laying an outfall for the new Raasay Distillery.

 090617 026

The fish farm landing craft Emma C at Sconser.

090617 028

MV Hebridean Princess and MV Hallaig at Raasay pier.

P1110581

An unusual visitor to Churchton Bay, the tri-maran Kanga Roo Too.

Back in the water

It’s not just the laptop and Internet that died during the last few weeks, so did my pocket camera, yet another reason for lack of blogging and enthusiasm. Whilst the lack of Internet has prevented me from doing lots of things and made life very difficult in some aspects like moving pigs, transferring money and paying bills it has brought with it some very welcome benefits. For one thing I’m speaking to my family more and I’ve started reading again, something I’ve not done for around twenty years. Sure it has been entirely non-fiction and related mainly to ships, salvage, wrecks and the sea but this, allied to my son’s new diving qualification has got me all fired up again to go diving.

As soon as we returned from Malta and completed my next ‘on shift’ we tried on the newly acquired eBay dry suits and went for a dip. In fact it was usually several ‘dips’ cos stuff kept breaking and or leaking. It says a lot for my son’s character that none of this phased him in the slightest, not even a few blown O rings and duff demand valves seemed to damp his enthusiasm. Anyway, by the end off the fortnight off he’d at least another 10 dives under his belt, mainly looking for lost anchors and clams.

 P1110580

It’s a bit like ‘riding a bike’, you never forget it and boy did we feast on scallops last week Smile

We also spent quite a lot of time looking for my old mooring in Loch Arnish for the MV Conqueror,

3515

my trusty old fishing boat from years gone by.

Whilst we never actually found that one, we did find and lift two more that had been lost and this beauty

P1110576 P1110578

that I came across in over 20m of water some 200m off the shore. Weighing in at 200kg it was great experience for the boy, especially as we had to remove the chain from it. We put around 175kg of bags and containers on it, took down a spare bottle and filled them on the bottom using an old regulator 1st stage. The ground around the anchor began to ripple and shudder then it lifted off the sea bed in a cloud of silt. slowly at first and only a couple of meters due to the huge ‘stud link’ chain attached to it. We were not sure how much chain was on the end but it was plainly obvious that it was far too much for the lifting capacity we had so we slowly returned to the surface. Once there we hatched a plan for the second dive of the day and returned home to fill the diving cylinders.

On the next dive we took down tools as well as the spare bottle, once on the bottom we emptied the three bags and gently lowered the anchor to the sea bed again. Ten minutes hammering and some work with a pair of large stillsons managed to undo the shackle and we once more filled the lifting bags.

IMG_0404

Our man in the boat some 21m above us said it was very spectacular as it broke surface and we shouldn’t lift the chain until he had a video camera with him. This was just fine by us as we had worked hard enough for one day and with the chain marked by a buoy it was going nowhere. Having said that the first marker we put on the anchor snapped but luckily the bags an containers attached to it on the seabed made it quite easy to find in the good visibility underwater.

That’s about it really, well apart from doing loads of concreting, erecting a fence, fixing a quad, refitting a digger track and a gazillion other things. 

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.