Life at the end of the road

March 28, 2015

Springing forward :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, shed/house, weather — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:04 pm

It’s been a while I know but that’s me back at work now and by the time I get home I’ve little energy left for anything, let alone blogging. The passing of the equinox seems to have had me awake at ‘stupid o clock’ every morning and falling asleep at the table before 21:00. I had a spell last week of being in bed every night before 20:00, so the clock alteration tonight will be most welcome. Most people I know seem to bang on about losing an hours sleep, not me, I can’t wait until my body starts awaking at 6:00 am BST instead of 5:00am GMT. Perhaps then I’ll be awake at nine pm Smile

Well, the spell since I last posted has been pretty busy for sure, as usual I spent a good portion of Tuesday at my parents on the mainland prior to returning to work. That day started off with catching the early ferry and arriving at a very busy Sconser ferry terminal.

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The arrival of staff ‘accommodation pods’ for Raasay House and some serious machinery to install them made for some ‘juggling’ on the car deck to fit everything on.

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It would have been three trips on the MV Loch Striven but the Hallaig got them over in one.

Prior to setting off for the mainland I dropped off the trailer at Sconser quarry to get some concrete mix then continued along the ‘Moll road’ to join the A87 once more at the head of Loch Ainort. I thought the roads o Raasay were bad but this once main road was truly atrocious. I guess the only people that use it these days are the fish farms and campervans, but even so it’s a disgrace. No bother to the ‘Old Girl’ with her uprated suspension but we met a BMW estate that was driving extremely gingerly towards the Moll fish farm.

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The ‘wee dug’ had been given a new collar and lead, she was not impressed, Molly rarely wears one and is seldom on a lead, so she protested by chewing through the lead in the back of the car Smile

After a lovely day with mum I headed towards Sconser quarry once more, this time taking the saner route over Drum na Cloiche to collect my two tons of concrete mix. Letting my ‘back to back’ away at 16:00 I settled into the first day of my ‘two weeks on’.

The great thing about ‘two weeks on’ is of course the ‘two weeks off’ at the end of it, and, especially at this time of year arriving back at work to be tying up whilst it’s still light. The last time I ‘shut down’ Hallaig it was in darkness, trouble was that the two weeks spent working about the house had also seen me get out of ‘torch mode’. Living where and how we do, you learn quite quickly to always carry a torch during the winter months, there are no street lights at the north end.

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It may have been light when we firmly tied Hallaig to Scotland, but by the time I’d gotten up the road it was anything but and all I had for guidance was the screen on my phone!

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As soon as I ‘shed my load’ I had time to admire Lachie’s handiwork on the base of the ‘lean too’. This now had it’s concrete base firmly cast on the 100mm thick insulation. This will be the home for the 1500lt Akvaterm http://www.akvaterm.fi/eng/Accumulators/AKVA.38.html thermal store and should make a fine drying room as well as store.

AKVA 1500 EKakvair solar accumulator tank cut out

On the roof will probably be another 2kW of solar PV taking our total up to 6.75kW. I did seriously think of fitting solar thermal on the roof instead, as space is limited and hot water panels are actually a good deal more efficient than PV. Still haven’t made up my mind yet but I’m working on it. Fitting the store within the ‘insulated envelope’ would have ensured that any of the heat escaping the store would not be wasted. However it would take up precious space and putting it in the shed along with a dehumidifier will ensure dry washing on the wettest of days with minimal electricity usage.

Over the next few days progress on the house has been steady

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and whilst Lachie is now ‘winging his way’ to Oz and a Pacific cruise his brother Donald is just finishing off the plasterboard and windows.

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This hind was watching over me as I went to work the day after,

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and whatever day that was it was a nice drive into work.

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The same day saw plenty of activity on the fish farm

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and the ferry.

The next couple of days however reminded us that winter isn’t actually over yet with the first frosted windscreen for over a year

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and some snow at Glam.

Living the dream in an Airstream

There may have been a downturn in the temperature and a little snow but that didn’t stop Dougal and Andrew going caravanning Smile

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That will be Dougal riding pillion on the Bonneville

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and that will be the Bonneville riding pillion in the ‘crew cab’ with the ‘Airstream’ in tow http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airstream . The iconic American ‘trailer’ has changed little since it was first built in the 1930’s. It is probably the only American object on the road that is more efficient than it’s European counterparts Smile With a style and construction firmly rooted in the aviation industry it’s a thing of great elegance and practicality. I even like it more than my Thomson http://www.thomson-caravans.co.uk/index.htm Smile

The rest of the week

With the days stretching I’ve been leaving Torran Schoolhouse without need of a torch, though I guess that’ll change on Monday, still I should be getting back home before it goes dark.

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The ‘wee dug’ is really gonna miss living here at the Old Schoolhouse, she’s never had so many walks, neither has the ‘Post Lady’ come to that. We’ve really enjoyed our stay here, sure it was a little chilly in January and the place costs a fortune to heat but it’s been a pure ‘lifesaver’. A winter in the caravan by the new house would not have been an enjoyable experience that’s for sure.

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This will be four of the Raasay House ‘pods’ discretely in position in a corner of the grounds.

The Hebridean Princess arrives

Yesterday we had a much welcome boost to Raasay’s economy when the the MV Hebridean Princess arrived during our lunch break. The ex Caledonian Macbrayne ferry RMS Columba http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Hebridean_Princess got a new lease of life some 25 or so years ago when she was converted into a small cruise ship. Specializing in tours around the West Coast to an ‘up market’ clientele she’s even been chartered by the queen  http://www.hebridean.co.uk/our-ship.html .

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She really is a fine looking ship and looks right at home on the end of our pier with Glamaig in the background.

 

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And for our assistance in berthing we received a bottle of Scotland’s national drink

 

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along with a ‘Hebridean Princess’ specially blended malt whisky Smile OK, the Irn Bru came from ‘another source’ Smile

As for today, Saturday 28th it’s the last day that you need to book the late sailing, and as no one did, we got home early Smile

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The day itself was pretty cold and fresh but give us a spectacular rainbow or two.

Photographs wanted

You may find this hard to believe but the only picture I have of my chalet that recently burned down is this one.

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Not only that but it’s not even mine!! Gary Brindle of Scotavia http://www.scotaviaimages.co.uk/  took it for me and I really could do with some better ones.

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Pretty soon the underwriters are going to be asking for some, so, if anyone could oblige I’d be most grateful.

March 23, 2015

The usual rush

Monday ‘number 2’ already and yours truly will be back aboard Hallaig tomorrow, so as per usual I’ve been rushing round demented. Starting at 5:30 when I started catching up on some paperwork then dragging my son out of his bed to get him off to the school. That would be via the hens of course, who ‘true to form’ are getting more and more active as the daylight lengthens, 60 eggs being a regular tally for the day.

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Down to the 7:55 ferry and an exceptional tide

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and a crossing that was ‘par for the day’, lots of sun interspersed with ‘short sharp’ showers. Great March weather with sun, water and wind to keep the batteries topped up.

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No great trip to Skye for shopping,  just a quick visit to the quarry for more ‘chuckies’ whilst I had the use of Lachie’s tipping trailer.

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The Sconser quarry was considerably quieter than the last time I visited, the ‘big blast’ done and with everything crushed the machinery was leaving.

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Well, the big stuff at any rate Smile

Though they don’t start quite so young at Sconser.

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Grant’s lovely old Foden just beat me to the weigh bridge Smile

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And, as I only had 1.6T of ‘chuckies’ on board I took half a ton of coal up to Arnish too.

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Lachie was busy preparing the ‘lean too’ base for the concrete tomorrow so I gave him a hand with some ducting for the power and water.

 

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The water duct, a 110mm salmon cage pipe was a little reluctant to go through the wall so Lachie gave it a wee push with the digger.

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Then a little ‘sub base’

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To make a good earth I laid several meters of copper braid under the base then out through the wall to bury in the water pipe trench.

There was more, much more but it’s 19:30 and I’m ready for bed!!! Well perhaps I’ll just have a shower first and see if that wakes me up Smile

Excess on Excel

Amazing what a cold shower and even colder bottle of Magners can do, OK, the shower wasn’t actually cold, but the room was. Someone in the family had obviously got carried away with the afternoon sun and left a window open Sad smile Anyway the ‘quest for power’ has taken a turn for the better with my 54kWh per day beaten (just), for the first time in 10 days.

 

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So far my daily average production has been 51.5kWh, 3.5kWh short of my ‘Daily av req’ but that figure included the chalet and assumes insulation to current building regs and three adults at home. Our insulation is well above even the latest regs and there are only two of us for most of the week so I think we are well ‘on course’ and we still have another wind turbine ‘on the cards’. Having said that, the days we are short there was little in the way of wind or sun on some occasions.

Of course as soon as we deplete the battery bank to 50% then Harry the Lister HR2 12kW generator will start up but my ‘mission’ is to have a totally renewable house and retire my 1978 Lister for all but emergency use. Having said that I should really run him up every month for a few hours just to exercise his legs and keep the diesel fresh Smile 

And don’t for one minute think I had anything to do with that ‘spread sheet’ my seasoned Excel guru and ‘back to back’ is coaching me Smile

Nissan Almera for sale

Now if you want a totally reliable car that is never going to get stolen then look no further than a Nissan Almera 1.5 SVE petrol. A completely ordinary car that will not get noticed by anyone, probably the ideal car for a bank robbery Smile Anyway, when I finally get around to it I’m going to put it in the WHFP or Gumtree, only 82k and with 12 months MOT and I guess it must be a 2004, well it’s yours for £800.

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It’s got ‘all the toys’, air con, electric sunroof, 15”alloys, climate control, dog guard, sat nav, electric windows, super locking (whatever that is!), power steering and it’s still ‘dull as dishwater’ Smile

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