Life at the end of the road

November 30, 2018

In a sorry state :-(

Filed under: daily doings, How I — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 4:58 pm

Ah well, that’ll be me fully ‘security aware’ now and with a certificate to say so Smile Just finished my course at SMT ,  a well delivered affair that not only brought me ‘up to speed’ on security issues but enabled me to catch up with a few friends from around the fleet too. Now all I need to do is get through the night and get back home. The night should be pretty simple, all I have to do is get to SWG3 and back in one piece. As for tomorrow, well we’ll have to see about that, I’d a helluva drive down yesterday arriving at the Holiday Inn some ten hours after leaving Arnish. My blood pressure was probably ‘through the roof’ and I was somewhat stressed to say the least.

For a start I did not want to come here, only the acquisition of some tickets to a ‘sold out’ gig tonight tempted me to leave home, normally I have to be dragged ‘kicking and screaming’ to attend courses in my time off. Much as I love my job, I hate going on courses, even a single day’s event involves three days away from home two days driving and having to deal with unfamiliar things traffic lights, one way streets and vending machines. I’ve already had a wrestling match with a car park barrier, coffee machine and elevator. For heavens sake, am I the only person who’s fingers don’t work touch screens who speaks a language not recognised my talking machines!!! I swear, I don’t even think ANPR works on my cars!!! This technology stuff id damn, fine splendid when it works Smile Not even my current ‘prat nav’ (a basic Tom Tom) works for me and I only bought that one cos the last cheap Tom Tom worked just brilliantly until it died.

During what was a particularly stressful trip sowf my anxiety was compounded by Bruce’s refusal to lead me in the right direction. Bruce being the name of the Tom Tom’s compare so to speak, Sean, my last Tom Tom had a much more soothing voice but Bruce is quite hilarious in some of his wittering’s. I just wish his sense of direction was better. Sure, I do know the way to Glasgow airport and could manage without a ‘prat nav’, indeed I am of that generation that can actually read a map. Unfortunately, yesterday I wasn’t coming in from the west, I was going via Tayside Land Rover to look at the ‘Old Girl’. This would involve the A9 and lots of motorways. Regular readers will remember I used to have a Land Rover and left it there almost six months ago for a six week job Sad smile 


The job seems to have ‘grown arms and legs’ and looks unlikely to be ready this year!!!

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Still, I’m assured it’s in good hands Smile

Not only did Bruce lead me into the centre of Perth during the rush hour to find Tayside Land Rover, he also refused to look for Glasgow airport being determined to take me to Prestwick some 40 miles away. This compounded with the 6 mile tailback on the M8 due to flooding had me pure wrecked by the time I entered the airport. After several laps of the approach roads and car parks I was eventually directed to the Holiday Inn which I’d been able to see for half an hour but not actually get too!!! From there on in things improved considerably, the staff were helpful, the room lovely, the shower perfect and the food surprisingly good.


I had a crispy calamari starter followed by grilled halloumi kebabs, I gotta say it was awesome, even the tomatoes were the same temperature as the rest of the meal!!! How do they do that? my tomatoes are always scalding Smile

Poor wee dug

As if it wasn’t bad enough being away from home and the gazillion things I could be doing I’m also worrying about Molly.

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As if wearing ‘the collar of shame’ wasn’t bad enough for the poor wee dug, she now has an ear infection Sad smile I left her on Thursday morning looking very sorry for herself and she’ll not be seeing the vet until tomorrow. That will be interesting, she usually needs sedated Smile

Before I left

Still, I did manage to get a few things done before I left home, the main one being ‘The Bug’ or R2T2 as it’s now known Smile The Isle of Raasay Distillery camper van  has a new name as a result of an ‘on line’ competition . Should have told you about that sooner hey Sad smile

Help Name Our VW Campervan & Win a Bottle of While We Wait

Shoulda entered the competition meself hey Smile Anyway, not only does the wee VW T2 camper have a new name, it now has an alternator instead of it’s pathetic dynamo.


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After fitting new barrels, pistons and cylinder to the bug a couple of weeks ago I discovered the dynamo wasn’t working, sadly the dynamo on a VW air cooled engine is harder to replace than the engine Sad smile In fact the old VW manual tells you to take out the engine to change it!!!!!  OK, you can change it ‘insitu’ but it’s not easy, involving some pretty radical levering of the tin shroud on the right hand side. However a kit is available with all the required components including a new mounting and fan pulley. Like the barrels and pistons I got these from MegaBug down sowf and was well impressed with their service.

There was a small part missing in the kit, I phoned them and it was posted out first class the next day. A word of caution though for anyone doing this conversion, if you have the so called ‘PICT34’ Solex carburettor fitted, you will not get ‘full throttle’ as the accelerator pump fouls the alternator. This is not the standard carb but is a popular ‘upgrade’ and I believe there is a spacer available that lifts the card up 12mm to clear the alternator. You can also do what this dude did on YouTube,

Jeff cleverly altered the carb linkage but I think I’ll just buy a spacer Smile 

That was pretty much it for Wednesday, on Thursday I had to walk the dogs, feed the animals, top up my batteries, fit a new volt meter and repair a puncture before heading for the 10:55 ferry.

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The wee dug knew something was going on and followed me about all morning, I felt really bad shutting her in the house and leaving Sad smile

Groove Armada here we come Smile

So that’s it, after being stressed out my nut yesterday and stuck in the classroom today I’m gonna go see one of my favourite live bands, Groove Armada who I first saw at T in the park almost 20 years ago. This is their 21st anniversary tour and their first live tour for seven years so it should be good. Sure I’ve seen them recently at Rockness and Eden doing ‘DJ sets’ but they’re far, far better live.

November 19, 2017

The Hunter is back :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:23 pm

Well, he was probably back sooner right enough but ‘Orion the Hunter’ is one of the many good things about winter in the Highlands, along with the woodcock you only ever see him in the darkest of months. The woodcock who normally arrive in droves around the first full moon after the equinox though have yet to put in an appearance, perhaps they’ll be here on the 4th December. Anyway’s I saw him last night on the way home from work and this morning, dominating the southern sky. Sure he’ll have probably been visible earlier but the skies either have not been clear enough or I’ve been tucked up inside.

The favourite day

So, it’s Sunday now and my favourite day of the working week, the one where I’m always late for work Smile Well, not actually late, but late for me, I’m still there an hour before sailing, just I’m never the first on a Sunday.


Trouble is, I keep getting distracted, I awake at the same time, lie in bed an extra 10 or 15 minutes, perhaps even an hour or so if it’s scabby day. Today however it was a peach so I was outside at first light,

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and, after dealing with the animals,

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13 impatient chooks and two hungry pigs, I started messing about.

Clam diving kit

In preparation for some pre Christmas clam diving with me boy I started fixing up and power washing my various storage bags and creels.

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Unused for some 15 or so years they’ve sat in a nearby ruin for long enough, probably since clearing out ‘Number 3’  prior to selling it. The trawl netting bags and mesh boxes are what I used to store my weeks catch in prior to landing. If scallops are kept cool, damp and out of the wind they’re quite happy for an hour or two and can be put back into the sea in bags or keeps where they’ll stay healthy for long enough.

Clam diving 2001 1 001

Here we are in 2001 putting them in the very same keeps and so long as you didn’t put too many in, made sure they were well away from freshwater and preferably on a clean bottom. That is clean as in rocky or hard, not muddy or silty and out of turbulence. Providing they’d not been exposed to heat, wind and rain prior to going back in the sea then the healthy clams would keep for a couple of weeks, more at this time of year.

Clam Diving 2001 2 001

My sons job at the tender age of three was to catch my marker buoy and count the scallops, probably explains why he’s so good at maths and is now at university Smile Anyway, who would have thought we’d be doing it again, this time together Smile

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After pressure washing by bags and kit I filled up the car with petrol from the boat tanks, at least one of which had had fuel in it for a long time. Petrol goes off much quicker than it did in the past and six weeks is considered to be about as long as you can keep it. Personally I think that that is bollox and 3 months is probably just fine, however it seemed like a wise idea to ‘play it safe’ and use the old stuff in the car. It’s one thing spluttering and misfiring on the road, quite another when you are at sea.


I do love driving the wee Daihatsu Terios on Raasay, it’s tall stance, narrow wheelbase, low gearing and good ground clearance make it perfect for the poor single track roads. However, as with all the Daihatsu’s we’ve owned, the fuel tank is pathetically small and Phoebe struggles to do a weeks worth of commuting without refuelling.

That done, I headed for work in daylight, albeit a later later than normal.

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Deer being plentiful at this time of year as they search for a mate and then try to hang onto them. The scabby looking stag on the right is unlikely to breed this year, there are far healthier and larger beasts on the hill hanging onto their harems.

On the job training

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Ben Tianavaig and some of its rocky outcrops highlighted in the morning sun.

I finally arrived at work around 9:05 just as my crewmates were lifting the gangway aboard and after ‘start up’ and a morning coffee we sailed in ‘Battery Only’ mode with an almost full deck of cars. The return trip was less profitable but did bring with it a couple of chaps from SMT

Stream Marine Training Logo

who were here to give us some ‘on the job’ training


in rescue from ‘enclosed spaces’


which have all done before and regularly drill for. However it was still great to run through a realistic scenario and rescue Duncan (again).


Duncan having just returned from ‘sick leave’ after being rescued from the sea during the annual ‘sea trials’ after dry dock.

Perhaps we should have put him in ‘the recovery position’ afterwards Smile The Hallaig’s ‘fifth man’ Duncan the dummy has the worst job in the fleet Smile


Still, at least he didn’t get another ‘dunkin’ when we did a boat drill too, all in all it was a rather busy day for a Sunday!

That was it really, we tied up in the dark and still I saw no woodcock on the way home!

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