Life at the end of the road

February 21, 2019

Back to the shed :-)

Filed under: animals, Avon Searider, daily doings, life off grid, listers, pigs, shed/house — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:45 pm

OK, it’s not actually a shed more of a ground mount PV array that I can park the Searider under to keep the sun and weather off it. Sort of a car port on steroids I guess, whatever you call it, it’s certainly gonna be man enough to stand up to the West Coast weather that’s for sure. Callum Findlay, sole proprietor of the Raasay Sawmill and shed designer/builder extraordinaire has seen to that. Me, I’m just the apprentice in this project Smile I guess it’s been three weeks since we got the sturdy frame up and in the intervening period I’ve gotten 12 x Trina 300W solar panels and all the mounting hardware to go on the roof whilst Callum was busy cutting rafters, purlins and boards for the roof and sides.

  Pigs and Listers

Anyway, I’m getting a little ahead of myself, the shed was today, it was pigs and a Lister yesterday, oh and rain, lots and lots of rain. A friend had needed help removing his pigs from a croft they were busy rotovating and myself and A, N, Other had offered to help.

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First thing I had to do though was remove the 12 solar panels from the trailer, easier said than done in a gale of south wind on your own Smile

That done, the trailer sides and roof fitted we set off south to try and get the two beauties into the trailer.

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The girls were not impressed and to cut a long story short my neighbour went for a mud bath, we all got very wet and the two pigs, as far as I know are still charging about the field Smile

After all that excitement I found myself a nice leisurely job on Harry, my trusty Lister HR2 15kVA generator. Truth is, Harry is much larger than we need, a 7 or 8kVA would suffice, but he was dirt cheap and had only done 50 hours running when I bought him despite being 20 years old then. He is over 40 years old now and has still only done 3300 hours so still a ‘spring chicken’ in Lister terms.

Lister fuel solenoid

If I’m honest the fuel solenoid stopped working properly over a year ago which effectively meant that Harry wouldn’t start unless you helped him. Sure he would stop fine but the fuel solenoid needed help to energise. This was never really too much of a problem as the generator doesn’t run much and we have a meter in the kitchen that tells us if the batteries are low.

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Anyway, I thought it was about time I fixed it, especially with me going away next shift for a couple of weeks. The Hallaig will be covering for Lochinvar again at Lochaline so we may have house/dog sitters in. The solenoid is just an electro magnet that once energized lifts up a lever on the fuel pump allowing the fuel to flow to the injectors. It was working but needed a little help to operate.

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The return spring seemed to be too strong for a start so I replaced that for a weaker one as it looked like it had snapped at some point and been shortened. I do have a vague memory of doing this but the main issue seemed to be that the plunger wasn’t in line with the operating lever so it was binding as it travelled upwards. Not sure how this could have happened but a little adjustment with a 5/16” and 7/16” spanner plus some WD40 soon sorted it.

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Plunger off.

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Solenoid energised and fuel on Smile

The shed

Today was a vast improvement on yesterday weather wise, OK, it wasn’t absolutely dry but near enough to not need oilskins and no where near as windy as forecast.

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Callum and Jay arrived around 9:30, just in time for ‘second breakfast’ of eggs fried in nduja and a fresh pot of coffee. Sure the muesli and banana I’d had for breakfast number one had been healthier but home grown eggs, pork fat and chili beats the carp out of it for ‘hitting the spot’ Smile

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Callum had pre cut the rafters and purlins and just like the rest of the construction they fitted perfectly.

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I concentrated on fitting the rafters whilst Callum got on with the purlins.

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After 17:00 I ‘broke out’ the Magners Smile

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By 18:30 it was getting to dark to see the ‘bubble’

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so I ‘called it a day’ Smile

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February 19, 2019

Who knows what will turn up :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, food — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:12 pm

Woo Hoo, that’s me finished work for a fortnight Smile and what’s more I finished early Smile Me trusty ‘back to back’ turned up early and let me away Smile So, that’s it, Darling wife working ‘late shift’ at the Raasay Distillery https://raasaydistillery.com/ and me just in with a large glass of vodka and San Pellegrino aranciata, that’ll be a-ran-chata as they say in Italy or orange juice, which is already ‘going to my head’. You should have seen the size of the glass Smile Well, I’ve got a busy fortnight ahead of me so I’m entitled to it.

Sure, it’s been almost a fortnight since I updated the old blog and much has happened, trouble is, I’m not actually sure what until I look at my photos and the problem with that is, I’ve not actually got many Sad smile Not that there hasn’t been much to photograph just my friggin Nikon Coolpix W300 has died yet again Sad smile After two flooding incidents (on the surface) it is now telling me the battery is discharged and it will not charge up. Rather than send it back I’ve just ordered a battery off eBlag for a fiver, if that works then I’ll send it back with a ‘strongly worded letter’. Of course there’s always my ‘bombproof’ Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ-72 but that’s not exactly pocket sized so doesn’t follow me around like the Nikon.

I can’t be too critical of the Nikon right enough cos I am exceptionally hard on camera’s, I had something like seven Fuji’s in five years and the Nikon has seen a lot of abuse. However the Panasonic cameras seem indestructible, I actually had one fall out of the carrier on a quad then ran over it in a bog, boodly thing was crushed and pushed into the mud but still carried on working for almost another year!!!!

Anyway, enough of the ‘mince’, I’m gonna pour myself another vodka and orange and download the photos I did take. At least that’ll nudge my sixty odd year old brain into remembering what happened this last fortnight.

Well there was the rugby

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I guess most Scots wouldn’t want to be remined of the result but on that particular Saturday the Isle of Raasay Distillery did ‘pie, beans, chips and a pint’ for a tenner so as folk could gather round and ‘cry into their beer’ together. Sadly I was working so had ‘pie, beans, chips and Earl Grey tea’ Smile Still, at least I arrived long after the TV was turned off Smile I don’t like watching TV and hate sport, waay too much testosterone for me but I did watch some of the rugby on the ferry cos my son was in the crowd Smile Never saw him right enough cos there was an awful lot of people there, sorry, I just don’t get this sport thing.

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Not like my shipmates, they are well into it and were suitably glum after the result.

The secret of prawns

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Methinks the prawn curry we had may have cheered the boys up a tad, cos there was a serious amount of them in it, three bags in fact!!! The secret of cooking the wee beggars is in the size of the pan, you need a pan that is around four or five times bigger than the amount of prawns you put in it. You boil the water then tip the prawns in for just a minute or two, if the pan is too small then they  don’t cook so well cos the water cools too much. After a minute or two tip them in the sink and pour cold water over em cos this stops them cooking in the shell. If you don’t do this they carry on cooking and ‘turn too 5h1te’ as it takes a long while to shell prawns Smile 

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Don’t remember the name of this ‘pirate’ Smile but it’s one I didn’t recognize, a clam dredger busy scraping away in the Raasay Narrows Sad smile

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There’s been some serious rain this last fortnight and some of it brought down a good portion of what was once the Uamh Mhor ‘Big Cave’. I spotted that whilst out walking Bonzo one lunchtime.

On the work front

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I just love this part of the job cos it’s so like my house Smile I kid you not, just like Sonas, the Hallaig has batteries and inverters that you can interrogate and make pretty pictures with Smile

SIhouse

Seriously though, you can really see what is going on in ‘real time’ or log the data at put it on Excel. The top three or from Hallaig and the bottom two from Sonas, sadly I can’t elaborate much but the yellow one looks like battery current on a sunny day and the blue one on a windy day in January with me having a shower at 6:00am and Wifey putting on the washing machine when she finished on the Post Smile

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This will be 1000lts of diesel in an IBC ready for pumping into the generator and plant tanks last weekend. That should be enough to keep Calum the Kubota and Harry the Lister going for another year not to mention ‘the dumper with no name’ Smile

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The first sunshine of the year at Sconser, sure that may not seem like such a big deal but poor old Sconser looses the sun for the best part of three months of the year and this was taken on the 10th Feb. I used to be the same at ‘Number 3’, we lost the sun in late November and didn’t get it back until around Valentine’s day depending on the weather. It really was cause for celebration when rays of sunshine poured through the house windows.

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A Sunday job on MV Hallaig, part of the six monthly PM, ‘coming to anchor’

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or finding a nice deep hole and letting out all the anchor chain.

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Sure, it was a bonny day the Sunday before last when we steamed down to the old pier and ‘let her go’

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and we were not the only ones ‘working on the Sabbath’ Smile Inverlussa Marine’s  Hellen Mary https://www.inverlussa.com/our-vessels was ‘hard at it’ at the Moll fish farm too.

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Aye, last Sunday was a bonnie, bonnie day.

I even set off home in daylight, well almost, and I was pure stunned to see a rather large vessel at the ‘Robbers Port’ in Brochel Bay.

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It turned out to be a Finnish survey vessel called Kaiku https://www.seahow.fi/media/esitteet/merenmittauskalusto/kaiku.pdf

but it really did have me puzzled at the time as it was dark, large and showing red,white,red at the mast head (restricted in ability to manoeuvre). Sure, it’s awfully deep ‘close in’ on the east side, hence all the submarine activity. Indeed the Inner Sound has the deepest waters on the European Continental Shelf but it it surprise me until I got home and checked the Marine Traffic website https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/details/ships/shipid:6341/mmsi:230953000/vessel:KAIKU and saw her creeping down the Raasay shore.

That was it really, I came home early and fitted a set of disc pads on the tank, that’ll be what I call the neighbours Nissan Patrol, cos it really is ‘built like a tank’. Sure, I do love me Land Rovers but this thing really is solid. OK, it’s a mere 13 years old compared to my ‘Old Girl’ at 33 but it really is far better built.

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And now, with almost a third of a  bottle of vodka and three cans of San Pellegrino inside me I’m gonna go to bed with a book,

HM U Boat by John D Drummond. The one and only U Boat to be captured intact and reused by the Royal Navy. U570 was recommissioned as HMS Graph in WWII after being captured off Iceland in 1941  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Graph OK, I’ve read the book several times and even dived on the remains which lie off Islay but that was a long, long time ago and me memory is fading Smile The crew were captured and most of the officers ended up at a POW camp in the Lake District called Grizedale Hall https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grizedale_Hall As a child I often used to go camping there but knew little of its history. Bernhardt Brendt the ‘First Officer’ was shot whilst trying to escape, allegedly to go and sabotage U570 which was lying at Barrow in Furness only 25 miles away. Quite how he knew U570 was there is never explained but he was buried at Hawkshead https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawkshead nearby. I never did find his grave despite looking for it but apparently most of the dead POW’s were exhumed in 1967 and returned to Germany.

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