Life at the end of the road

September 6, 2014

Another Jag :-(

Filed under: life off grid, Range Rover, shed/house — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:19 pm

A week already, how time flies but I’ve had little time for blogging, having been snowed under with a mountain of paperwork and ‘puter work surrounding our house and croft. Much of it needing various trips to visit surveyors, solicitors and the like. The removal of our cosy little house from the market has also brought with it the realization that we have an awful lot of stuff to deal with. The priorities being an independent power supply closely followed by a huge clear out and the moving of twenty five years worth of treasure up to the new house. There’s a gazillion and one other things going on in the background like resurrecting old quotes for various tasks on the new house and seeking new ones.

All this with a delicate a back and a visit to the chronic pain clinic in Golspie has had me in bed early and up late. A pair of eyes that feel like their full of sand has also not helped, but I’m guessing that’s the medication which I’m now cutting back on. Me thinks that the cocktail of drugs I’ve been on for six weeks has had my doing things out of character as well as all the physical side effects. As if constipation, wind from both ends, dry mouth, sore eyes, boils, mouth ulcers, insomnia loss of appetite weren’t enough. I’ve been as paranoid as a skunk smoker and on a very short fuse of late.

Anyway, the recent visit to the Lawson Memorial Hospital in Golspie for another jag in the sacroiliac joint has enabled me to start weaning myself of my ‘smarties’. Not only that but I’ll now be able to have a drink without feeling like carp the day after, at least I hope I will.

B200 VHU

I’ve no idea whatsoever of the order of things, but judging by my photos, a spot of work on the Range Rover came first.


Young ‘Lightning Maclennan’ being task with removing the hideous side steps from the sills of the latest acquisition.



Definitely a big improvement, not only that but methinks I can graft them onto the side of the ‘Old Girl’ with a little welding. I aim to restore B200 VHU to her former completely original glory, no big wheels, spotlights or aggressive tyres on this classic, just the twin ‘Kenlow fans’ and perhaps a decent stereo of the same vintage.

With a house to build, house to vacate and a million other things to do I need this project like a ‘hole in the head’ but if I can just get it running sweetly and arrest the impending corrosion I’ll be happy for now. One of the two large SU carbs sat on top of the V8 was pishing out petrol so that’s a priority. These beauties only do around 4MPG on choke without the fuel pishing out and the electric fuel pump means they’re quite easy to set on fire Sad smile Just ask my mate MW from Accy, he’ll tell you, I nearly burnt down his garage welding up my first Range Rover in 1983 Smile 

After removing the steps Lightning and I attempted to remove the right hand SU carburettor but it became very rapidly  apparent that this was not going to happen without, A, removing the whole manifold or B, buying a special spanner.


The removal of the inlet manifold isn’t exactly a major job but it would require new gaskets, draining the coolant and take a few hours to do. The spanner purchase would be also leave me with a useful tool I’ve been meaning to purchase for around thirty years and it was only £11.00 of eBlag.

That was taken just a couple of hours ago and sure enough, when I got the carb on the bench the float chamber O ring was split.


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The genuine SU kit I got from for less than £30 including Royal Mail ‘Special Delivery’.  I’ve not had chance to do anything more than remove the one carb yet but ‘watch this space’ (but don’t tell the wife) Smile

Three ‘large piggy’s

This week should have seen us with three less pigs in the herd but that went a little ‘pear shaped’ to say the least.  The preparation I’d gone too being thwarted by, amongst other things the weather. I’d put the trailer in with Rocky, Jamie Lee and Ellie days ahead of their movement. The boys had sealed up their ark and so they’d no alternative but to sleep in the trailer, or at least that’s what I thought. Trouble was that the weather was so good that Ellie chose to sleep outside and made herself a cosy wee nest in the rushes.


Even though she wouldn’t sleep in there I fed them all in the trailer so they’d get used to it, not a chance, Ellie was just too afraid of the other two to go in with them. I did manage to get her inside the night before they were due to go away but ‘come the morning’ she wouldn’t look at it. So I left her behind and just took Rocky and Jamie,

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they were not very happy, but word from their new owner said Rocky had wasted no time in getting acquainted with his new sows Smile

Ceps galore

Every year brings with it some exceptional crop, be it bog cotton, heather, rowan berries, fox gloves, chanterelles or fly agarics, well this year it was most certainly the cep, or penny bun. The ‘Rolls Royce’ of the mushroom world that commands silly prices in London restaurants was more abundant than I’ve ever seen in twenty five years.


These delicious meaty mushrooms of the boletus family are extremely versatile and remain firm no matter how you cook them. We have them chopped finely in pastas or more wholesome just fried in butter like the offering below.



Whilst over in Portree delivering ‘Arnish Eggs’ to Relish I’d purchased a lovely smoked chicken breast from . Cut in half with a simple white parsley sauce and served with fresh Rooster boiled spuds the mushrooms in butter were just awesome. The chicken portion may look small but it was so rich that it was just plenty. I really don’t think I could have eaten a full portion, gosh that’s making me hungry again just looking at it! And that will be just two hours after having some delicious fresh haddock fried in breadcrumbs and served with chips and a tomato salad Smile

The new ‘power station’

Our imminent departure from ‘number 3’ has seen us accelerating our ‘off grid’ system for the new house, the second 2.5kW solar array came.


The ten REC 250w panels arriving from Wind and Sun via Skye Express just yesterday. These will be just about the only thing in our long and drawn out building project that have actually come down in price. In fact Hugh Piggott of Scoraig Wind Electric is supplying these 10 for less than the 8 230’s he quoted me for a couple of years ago. This array is going just below the 10 Yingli’s on the hen house, but unlike those which are ‘AC coupled’ via a ‘Sunny Boy’ inverter these will be going straight to the 16 x Rolls batteries just like in number 3.



It’s a rubbish copy but basically the 10 Yingli’s are at the top of the page in one long series string giving a voltage of around 300vDC which goes into a standard ‘GTI’ or grid tied inverter. The 10 REC panels are 5 pairs in series giving a voltage of around 60vDC that will go straight into the 48v battery bank. The advantage of the first ‘AC coupled’ array is that it’s more efficient if you are using the power as it’s produced. The advantage of the second being that it’s more efficient if you store the power and of course you don’t need the added expense of an inverter or charge controller.

Sure there’s been much more going on at the north end but it’s after 22:00, I can barely keep my eyes open and I don’t want to bore you with the ‘ins and outs’ of configuring inverters or the ‘Old Girl’ passing her MOT. Suffice to say that ‘all is rosy’ here and I’m just going to have a cup of ‘Sleepy time’ tea donated by the neighbours Smile

August 30, 2014

Like sweaty socks :-(

Filed under: daily doings — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:47 pm

Almost 22:00 now and it’s most definitely the ‘torch season’, come 21:00 you’re needing one to do anything outside, as I’ve just discovered when I went a looking for my camera. This will be the one I left out in the rain a few days ago and now has no functioning ‘on off’ switch. Never fear I’ve managed to fool it into booting up by pressing the gallery button then the shutter, followed by opening the SD card door to switch it off. I’ve yet to find a camera that is totally ‘Camilli proof’ but the Panasonic’s come pretty close, this Fuji has been repaired 3 times and breaks at the drop of a hat. The Panasonics can be dropped in mud, rained on, sprayed with hydraulic oil and run over by the quad and still carry on functioning.

The subcontractors are here Smile

The old ‘bad back’ has had me working the Dude pretty hard at the weekends doing all the fetching and carrying for his ailing father. This weekend though I was going to have to get the subcontractor to help, as there was just too much to do.


First off, after feeding the hens was to reverse the Land Rover and large trailer into position between the open gateway of a fresh field. I’m going to be working away for a few weeks this winter and be it caravan or the Torran Schoolhouse it’s going to be tough on the wife. Consequently Rocky, Jamie Lee and Ellie are sold, we’ll still have five but they’ll all be gone by Christmas and we can think about a fresh herd in the spring. It’ll be really good to give the land a rest and we’ve bought some sheep that’ll take far less looking after.

The trailer is left hitched up ready to go on Monday and the herd can use it to sleep in until then.


This is far easier than messing about early in the morning trying get three reluctant pigs into an unfamiliar trailer.



By the time Monday comes around it will be their regular home,

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it’ll have to be cos Lightning and the Dude screwed a pallet to their current one Smile

Next to a lesson on how to refit a driveshaft to a Yamaha quad.

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This being kind of essential for the next ‘backbreaking’ task which was to take 600lts of heating oil to the Old Schoolhouse at Torran . This would mean three trips along the track 200lts at a time.


It’s no wonder my back is a mess, I’ve been moving barrels like this on my own for thirty years, well I’m paying for it now!



It was rather busy on the half mile path from the road end to Torran, the spritely nonagenarian Jessie Nicolson still walking the path regularly to her old family home.



Then a traffic jam! three quads, two towing trailers meeting at one of the narrowest sections!! That took a little sorting out I can tell you Smile


A work of art in the woodpile department courtesy of my son , almost as good as Willie Eyre’s at ‘The Cottages’

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but not quite.

There was more but it’s 22:30 now and I’m just going to drink my valerian tea and go to bed. I dunno why but you can’t seem  to get it in the UK anymore, well you can but it’s invariably been imported from the States or Europe. I’m going to try some to help me sleep, but this lot whiffs of sweaty socks despite tasting quite nice. You could even get it in the Raasay stores at one time but now none of the UK based outlets seem to have it. It’s where the val in Valium (now called Diazepam) comes from and when I’ve had it in the past I’ve had great sleeps and pleasant dreams. Well fingers crossed as we’ve a lot to do tomorrow.

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