Life at the end of the road

April 12, 2019

Murky ??? :-(

Filed under: Avon Searider, daily doings, food — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:33 pm

Well, that’ll be the telly fixed Smile It died a couple of months ago and cos I rarely watch it I never got around to fixing it, what with all my other ‘wee projects’ on the go. I’d kinda been putting it off on account of where the antennae resides, which is in the loft above 900mm of insulation. I’d a feeling it wasn’t a good idea fitting it up there when I installed it 3 or 4 years ago as it would obviously be loosing some efficiency through the slate roof. However, external TV antennas and dishes in these latitudes usually get battered by the wind, loose signal and inevitably leave rusty streaks down your walls. Anyway, I’d traced the fault to the booster which was no longer showing its ‘powered up light’ and fitted a new one with a built in amplifier and 4 way splitter. That was of course after carefully peeling back 3 x 300mm layers of insulation from above the loft hatch and carefully picking my way through it complete with breathing mask and gloves. Boy does that stuff irritate or what. So, now I’ve got my gazillion TV channels back but after a quick look through them tonight I figured I’d be as well off on here Smile How is it possible to have so many channels full of 5h1te?

Thursday

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Yesterday I once more borrowed the neighbours ‘Tank’ to go and get stone from Sconser Quarry, this time 20mm ‘chuckies’ for the drive around ‘Callum’s shed’.

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Thanks to a Windoze or Firefox update I’ve lost most of me pictures right enough but I was really chuffed with the outcome Smile

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MV Loch Bhrusda, the noisiest ship on Scotland’s west coast and FV Sarah the best clam diving boat on the planet Smile Don’t let looks fool you Smile

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Friday

Sure Thursday did have a great deal more to offer but as I mentioned previously I lost all me pictures thanks to an update Sad smile Why do we need all these friggin updates (please don’t answer that). My first laptop was an old IBM Think Pad with a pirate copy of XP on it running Firefox. I had that laptop for years and cos it had this pirate software on, it never had a single update installed in all the time I had it. The thing preformed faultlessly for years until the actual laptop keypad failed and even then I fixed it temporarily by putting it in the freezer overnight. Every time  install a Windoze or Firefox update something barmy happens Sad smile is it just me?

Anyway, with the weather being so settled and me having ‘worked my butt off’ this last wee while I figured I was due some ‘me time’. So after getting the Searider all ready for sea and polishing up my diving gear I went for a ‘blast’ Smile I had spent the morning dropping off my neighbour and collecting cement from Sconser then returned home to take generator, mixer, poker and wot not down to the shore at me slip. The tides were just about as small as they could be with a HW of only 4m at 13:05. They do not get much smaller than that and my goal during all my slipway ‘civil engineering’ had been to make my slip usable at ANY ‘high water’. Well today I did it Smile I managed to launch the Searider around an hour before at around 3.93M Smile Sure the wind was from the east and the pressure high so it was probably even lower than that but I was ‘well pleased’.

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And after a quick tour of Loch Arnish

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and a visit to the ‘Horses Cave’, which looked like it had suffered another ‘roof fall’, I sped around through the Fladda Narrows into Loch a Sgurr for a dip.

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  That’ll be the ‘Huntsman’s Leap’ on Fladda, legend or is it ‘nonsense’ has it that someone jumped the gap on a horse ‘aye right’ Smile Anyway, it’s pretty spectacular and as you can see from the vegetation devoid of sheep and deer Smile

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Managed to drop my anchor almost on top of the first scallop Smile this ‘clam diving’ is a bit like ‘riding a bike’ Smile

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I gotta say though that I was severely disappointed with the water clarity, it was a tad murky, which was a surprise after all the settled weather. Perhaps it was a plankton bloom cos the water temp was 8 degrees!!!! which from memory is a good 2 degrees higher than normal for this time of year.

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Once I’d finished ‘catching dinner’ it was a mad rush to Sconser quarry to load up a couple of tons of aggregate ready for tomorrow’s mix, if it ever happens Smile

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Aggregate back home, dugs fed and then back down to the shore to recover my trailer, diving cylinder and dinner. I gotta say, it’s much easier with a digger than Land Rover Smile I had just one scallop for me dinner fried in the same pan as a cod fillet and some chorizo, it was boodly amazing Smile

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,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypoglycemia 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.

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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,

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some fine Dexter beef form Donnie and Anne’s croft opposite the Raasay Distillery. Available from the Raasay Stores https://www.facebook.com/RaasayCommunityStores/ 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,

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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.

Hogmanay

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  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMY_Iolaire 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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cool_Hand_Luke) this is an awesome song.

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