Life at the end of the road

February 25, 2019

The ‘organic’ shed :-)

Filed under: Avon Searider, boats, daily doings, food, shed/house — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:48 am

Well, ‘stupid o clock’ on Monday just now and I’m just trying to scribble a few lines down before yet another journey off the island Sad smile That’s all I seem to be doing this ‘rest period’. Anyway, I’m taking Leah to the vet, not cos I’m actually convinced that there is anything wrong with her but cos Darling Wife has talked me into it. Me, I just think the dog is mentally unstable and missing me dear old Mam who died just a year ago. Anyway the large black dug has taken to hiding in daft places again and chewing up anything she can get in there with her, usually a bag of some description.


That’ll be her just dragged out from under a shelf in the utility room having eaten a pair of overalls. Not content with that, in the time it took me to put a few board up on me shed she managed to eat a leather briefcase, large diving bag, thick polythene bag, cardboard box and Jacobs cracker box!!! Each one of them dragged into a small dark corner and chewed to bits Sad smile I was not best pleased. So on the ‘off chance’ that she has got earache, toothache or bellyache and this his her bizarre way of telling me, I’m gonna let the vet have a look at her.

Anyway, where was I, well Saturday saw us in Inverness collecting furniture for the ‘toon hoose’

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and that wasn’t straight forward. It was boodly wild with a good gale of south wind and spring tide so despite being down at the ferry for 7:45 we didn’t actually get off the island until 10:55. Choosing instead to drive back home, have some breakfast and collect a house key for the ‘toon hoose’ that we’d both forgot Sad smile As it happened the Hallaig actually sailed at 9:55 so we could have got away an hour earlier. Still, we were not actually needing to go shopping in Stressness so five to eleven was OK.


The Inverness trip went well and we even managed to collect a friend who was meant to be catching the 17:35 bus to Sconser. She treated us to fish and chips and got home three hours earlier with us Smile

Sunday was a pure peach of a day and I managed to get some work done on the shed/shelter.

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First job being to assemble the new stand for my saw.

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Fifty quid well spent on an Evolution stand for my Evolution radial arm saw from Screwfix ‘click and collect’, saves much bending down and wear & tear on the knees.

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Also decided to put some windows in the first two bays and leave the last one open, mainly cos I found 3 x 3m lengths of clear corrugated plastic sheeting in my shed, along with a box of fixing screws Smile 

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Reluctantly I left the shed to go and take the dugs for a walk and do some DIY in the ‘toon hoose’,

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though the dugs enjoyed the wander down to Screapadale.


And I did manage to get a little bit more done before it got dark and I turned my attention to one of Donnie Oliphant’s Dexter’s.


A fine rump steak from the Raasay Stores which Darling Wife seared in olive oil with pepper then served up with tomatoes and melted blue cheese. A boodly awesome Sunday dish Smile

So that’s it really. 6:45 now and I’d better be off, gotta walk the dugs and catch a ferry.

December 31, 2018

Scallop sushi :-)

A real scabby start here to Hogmanay with me staying in my bed until almost 9:00am !!!! Well it was far too wild for messing about in boats, mixing concrete, working on my new shelter or pretty much anything else outside. Perfect weather for doing the VAT return in fact and surprising HMRC by getting it in on time. Never went as far as to fill in my self assessment tax return right enough but that’s not due for a whole month and the VAT return was quite enough paperwork for one day.

Once I had actually extricated myself from bed I turned my thoughts to the bucket of scallops we’d caught yesterday and then ate some for breakfast, raw. They are actually very tasty and the roe isn’t half as fishy tasting when uncooked. In the past I’ve just eaten them this way when desperate for protein and out on the boat. When I was clam diving professionally I was pretty much vegetarian cos I wouldn’t eat anything that was processed. Sure I ate stuff I’d killed myself  stuff caught whilst fishing, even roadkill but I’d no eat anything I hadn’t known personally if you get my drift. The upshot of this being that I could go for a week or two without eating any meat. However, once or twice after particularly physical dives I’d start to feel week. Eating a few raw scallops soon sorted me out, a bit like giving a hypoglycaemic diabetic Pepsi, and I’ve had to do that more than once to a friend at Arnish.

Richard the ‘Beetleman’ (long gone now) was always doing it and it’s really boodly scary the first time you see it. I’ve lost count of the times I found him convulsing and blubbering on the floor but just get something sweet into him and he’d recover in seconds, be ‘right as rain’ and ask why you were all looking at him. He used to do it so frequently the nurse gave me a syringe full of adrenaline and instruction on how to use it. Imagine doing that in today’s ‘risk averse’ society Smile Of course that was in the days when Raasay actually had a nurse out of hours and at weekends. Methinks ole Richard would have died here up at Arnish years ago under the current regime. To be honest I always thought it was boodly irresponsible of him choosing to holiday for weeks on end in such a remote place with no phone. However, dear old Richard had been living alone for years in York, managing his diabetes quite well and never actually seen himself having a fit.

Anyway, back to the scallops, I tried em with just a squeeze of lemon, then soy sauce, and finally Finlay’s magic sauce Smile I call Sriracha hoy chili sauce after me mate Finlay who introduced this fiery red number to me and I gotta say it goes really well with a raw scallop. The lemon was good too but I wasn’t so keen on the soy sauce, methinks a little tabasco might have been nice but we haven’t got any. 

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Creeping round to the north

Well I never actually submitted the VAT return, kinda got distracted and went for a drive down the sowf end to get a few supplies, walk Bonzo and take some scallops down for Willie Eyre and Tekela. My old skipper Willie aint in the best of health these days, dementia dulling a once razor sharp mind and making him quite frail. 

The picture was taken just shy of a year ago, probably the last time I gave him some clams when Tekela and himself came to visit.

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I told him the wee boy he used to look after whilst I was lifting clams had picked them specially. I dunno if he remembered Ross or that he used to change his nappies whilst I was diving but they were priceless days with the three of us aboard MFV Conqueror. Indeed the boat was built for one of Willies cousins in the 80’s named after his grandfathers fishing boat and another cousin helped me out after I’d salvaged her. Willie himself put many hours of work into her during the couple of years it took me to restore her and the many years we fished from her. Happy, happy days Smile

After seeing my old pal I went to see Peter and Bonzo,

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taking all four of them out for a shortened walk. We did try to walk along the shore but the tide was too high and the weather too wild so Bonzo, Leah, Molly, Charlie and I did an ‘about turn’ towards the village on the road.

The mooring at the old fish farm slip is quite sheltered from the the NE right through to the west and whilst it’s been howling all day it’s been from the SW and now west, but I see the anemometer veering clockwise (as was forecast). Hopefully (as was forecast) it will now moderate as it veers.

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Methinks a few stiff drinks are in order tonight to help me sleep Smile 

Battery care

So after stopping to check the Searider on the way back we unloaded our New Year treat from the car,


some fine Dexter beef form Donnie and Anne’s croft opposite the Raasay Distillery. Available from the Raasay Stores along with local venison and lamb.

Some warmed up soup from yesterday inside me (made even warmer with Finlay’s sauce) I went outside to potter around with my batteries. Outside being in the generator shed and not the great outdoors, it was like being power washed in the real outside.

I’m a bit of an ‘anorak’ when it comes to my various battery banks, I’ll also be the first person to scream from the rooftops that you only need one of them and having two or more makes absolutely no economic sense. However, aside from the new 800Ah 48v bank of Rolls batteries that ‘drive’ my house I also have an 800Ah 24v bank of forklift cells connected to my Lister generator and a 950Ah 48v bank connected to an Outback GVFX 3048 inverter charger in the ‘bunker’. These last two banks are old and tired ones that I’ve acquired over the years and are pure eccentricities that I don’t need. However they would give me a completely independent source of power in the unlikelihood of something like a lightning strike. It did happen to my good mate Bill Cowie on Rona so it’s not impossible, it just does not warrant the expense of all the spare kit needed and of course it’s upkeep. Still, I have never really been driven by money or even common sense for that matter so I keep all this stuff well maintained or at least better than most people who live ‘off grid’. People that mix up different types of cells, top up with rain water, top up only when the batteries are dry, deplete their banks to below 40% and blah, blah, blah.

I’d already done the main house bank yesterday,

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The main Rolls batteries are really treated well, with regular monthly checks and logs, having said that, the last time I logged them was September Sad smile Must try harder hey,


The ‘forklifts’ in the bunker were given a good charging yesterday as I mentioned but today I did the final set on the generator.

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This bank really only supplies the generator and is normally charged from it, though at one time it did have a Chinese wind turbine supplying too. Sadly the Chinese turnip died after less than two weeks and I always meant to fit some solar PV on the roof of the shed to keep them topped up. That never happened and as a consequence these cells are never really fully charged as the hydrometer indicates. I did leave a 25A charger on them all day but they really need a good blast at 100A to get em fizzing and equalized for a few hours.


So that’s it, another year is almost over and the island is getting ready to celebrate, my son, along with others will be heading to the Raasay Village Hall for what promises to be an excellent evening. Darling wife and I will probably veg in front of the TV with a bottle of wine, the dugs and MiL. Sure, we really should make the effort but it’s friggin ‘orrible outside and 23 degrees in here Smile Perhaps the neighbours will pop round or I’ll get ‘tanked up’ enough to put me oilskins on and quad over to Torran. Who knows what the night will bring, one thing for sure I’ll be thinking of the Iolaire tragedy of 100 years ago today. Not enough has been written or said of this tragedy in which 201 perished, mostly brave men of Harris and Lewis who had survived the  gassing, trench foot, dysentery and horrors of the Western front. Many of them in sight of their own homes and all of them conned into believing they had ‘fought to end the war of all wars’  on a promise of land at a fair rent in return for their sacrifice, aye right.

Well, we’ve all heard that before hey, ‘the mother of all wars’, ‘the war to protect us all from imaginary WMD’s’ ‘the war against fascism, communism or to protect some sheep in the South Atlantic’. Truth is, as Axel Rose says ‘it buries the poor to feed the rich’ Sad smile

Can’t say as I’m a great fan of Gun’s n Roses but right from the opening lines (taken from Cool Hand Luke this is an awesome song.

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