Life at the end of the road

May 31, 2008

Flotsam and jetsam

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:24 pm

It’s been a busy day at the north end today despite the rolling sea mist. This cold mist that can linger for days at this time of year has been hanging around all day and I wouldn’t be surprised if they’d had none of it at the south end of Raasay. There’s just been a light northwesterly all day to keep the dreaded midge away and it’s either been cool in the mist or roasting in the sunshine all day. The conditions were however perfect for a bit of beach combing and after the usual round of feeding that’s just what we did, though this morning I did have to alter my feeding round somewhat. I usually feed Bramble first as she gets a bit frantic and has been known to climb over the odd fence to get ahead of the queue however today there were 9 wee piglets waiting for me by the feed store so I elected to deal with them first.

Though wee Arthur would not leave my side until I fed her separately, I’m really gonna struggle parting with this wee pig as she’s such a cutie and is constantly wanting her belly rubbed.

Off to sea

With all the animals fed off we went to sea in search of treasure.

Complete with midge protection as the sun had not yet sent them to wherever they go during the hottest part of the day. The first stop was at the west side of Fladda where a 13m long length of 250mm pipe was lying.

I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with this but I’m sure it will come in useful for something, I dragged it down the beach and then we towed it round to Loch Arnish where it looked like some kind of sea monster following us!

Once that was safely put ashore we turned our attention to the south side of the loch where I knew there was a large round fish cage float that would do as a base for my hydro turbine. Unfortunately we got distracted by loads of other fish boxes, floats, stock board, fish cage pipe and wood so the float will have to wait until tomorrow as we were all getting pretty hungry and had to rush home for lunch.

Fitting the solar PV array

After lunch I set about making a temporary mount for my mates solar panels. These will eventually be mounted on his slate roof but as the roof needs a bit of work doing on it I decided to make a mount on top of his coal bunker for the time being. It’s not ideal as the angle is a bit steep and it will be shaded in the evening but it seems daft to let all this sunshine go to waste. They are 2x80watt 12v panels and I’m dead envious as they just look beautiful. We made up a rough frame from that most ubiquitous thing, the humble pallet and then fastened it on top of his coal bunker.

And with a bit of luck I’ll get it wired up tomorrow.

May 30, 2008

Boxers on a hot tin roof

Filed under: daily doings, harbour, How I — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:05 pm

Been another scorcher here at the north end but I missed most of it as I was being a responsible parent for a change and helping out at the school. Well that’s a bit of an exaggeration actually, I was sat in the mini bus making up ‘responsible adult’ numbers for the swimming lesson in Portree and we did manage to get back to Raasay on the 11:20 ferry ( just )

Raasay Harbour

As i’ve been on holiday and spending most of it on the croft I’ve not seen much of the new harbour works lately. The Dude said there’d been some blasting done yesterday but by all accounts the warning sirens were more spectacular than the event. Anyway after disembarking from the ferry I went over to the battery for a mermaids eye view of operations.

The story goes that the commissioning of these two stone mermaids bankrupted the last Macleod at Raasay house and he fled to Tasmania. Personally I don’t believe it and if it is true he must have had pretty poor taste or bussiness acumen because they’re hideous and I’m sure he could have blagged his way out of the deal under the sale of goods act or at least its 19th century equivalent. But whatever you think of them they do have a fine view of the Cuillins and the harbour!

No that’s not the new harbour wall but some steel shipping containers filled with rock to act as a temporary structure for loading and unloading and if you ask me it’s probably better than the one the ferry is using now.

Anyway I’m off to bed and I’ll finish this in the morning.

Well I’m back now after red wine induced sleep and feeling much better after lying in bed until almost 7:00am which must be a record for May.

The mountain moves again

This roadway which is being built by ‘Twiggy’ ‘Popeye’ and ‘Hooky’ ( the artist formally known as ‘grumpy digger driver ) is the latest resting place of Raasay’s very own ‘moving mountain’ having first of all resided in front of the ‘Raasay village hall’ for a year it was then deposited at Clachan and is now being used here. As well as this the accommodation units had arrived for the divers and were being craned into position.

Painting corrugated iron

With my spying completed at the harbour site I headed home to get a bit of roof painting done whilst the sun was high. Now I don’t profess to be an expert at this but having 7 sheds and 1 house with ‘crinkly tin’ roofs I have done rather allot of it so will pass on some of my observations. The first and most important being that you can’t just paint it when it’s new. That is unless you use a specialist ‘etch primer’ if you paint it without an etch primer it will just peel off after a couple of years making it impossible to paint properly without removing all the old paint. You can get two types of primers that are suitable. One is just like an ordinary paint to use and the other is like water to use I think it’s called a ‘wash primer’ they both seem to work well enough but the wash is much quicker to apply. The easiest way however is just to let it weather in the elements for a couple of years, It used to be that a year was long enough with all the acid in the rain but nowadays I’d give it 2. By far the best tool for the job is a ‘barn roller’ a 9″ wavy paint roller available from

And whilst this is by far the easiest tool to use the company that sell them are less than helpful to say the least. They advertise free carriage on goods over £50 but when I ordered £50 worth of  rollers and brushes they were going to charge me £44 extra for delivery, when I pointed out that they could post them here for £5.50 they were not impressed and when I gave them an alternative mainland address they said that they could only deliver to the card holders address. This is despite having done so before so in the end I gave up and used a 4″ brush!. In the past I’ve used a long handled sweeping brush and a big tray and whilst being very quick and effective it is a bit messy so I confine that method to barns and sheds. The best paint by far for the job is

I used to use ‘Trimite farm oxide’ but they appear to have gone out of business. I’d chosen to do this now as it was too hot for the dreaded midge, however the heat does not seem to bother the ‘clegg’ or horse fly. Now you can usually kill these blood suckers quite easily before they bite but up a roof with a pain brush in one hand and a bucket of paint in the other it’s risky to say the least. With this in mind I decide to wear my overalls despite the heat. 10 mins later they were thrown on the floor closely followed by my T shirt and I ended up painting in my boxer shorts! I never did get the roof finished as I’d promised the boys that we’d go out fishing as we’d seen mackeral playing in the loch. We never caught any but we did catch this wee chap and let him go.

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