Life at the end of the road

July 12, 2008

The Frenchman, the old blind dog and a goose called Duck!

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:19 pm

After yesterdays fit of depression caused by the self induced demise of my power steering box I decided to approach today at a more liesurely pace. I’d loads of crofty stuff to do but decided to spend a day with the boys instead. The Dude’s had some pals staying with him and I’ve been promising to take them out in the boat as soon as the weather was in it, though the winds been stuck in the north for days now and   UK Wind Map said it was still going to be breezy so fishing was looking doubtfull. With that in mind we headed down to the village for calor gas and a look around the new harbour site. Now I apreciate that this may not sound very exciting to most people but in our household it’s comparable to a day out at a theme park, with the compulsary visit to the ‘Raasay stores’ for a bag of crisps ranking higher than a visit to Macdonalds for a ‘Happy meal’ call me a sad old git if you want but I’m not going to change now. Anyway Donald the gas man was out so I left the empty cylinders at his workshop and loaded the back end of an old Land Rover onto my trailer instead.

This may just seem like a piece of junk to the uninitiated but I’d already turned the hardtop off this into a des res for piglets

a couple of weeks ago and had a similar fate in store for this bit. That was after I’d removed the galvanized body cappings so I could fit them to the old girl.

The goose and the ‘Golden Emblem’

With our strange trailer and bag of crisps each we all headed down to the new harbour site, parking up near the ‘Battery’ a small fortification ontop of a mound overlooking the harbour. Built when the threat of invasion from Napoleon seemed imminent it now just has one remaining cannon and two ugly mermaids to keep watch over the Raasay narrows but before we got up there Louis our very own resident Frenchman beckond us over to his caravan. Louis has been restoring ‘Jeffs boat’ the large red ex fishing boat that has resided on the beach near the old pier for several years now. Louis and his old blind dog Max returned to Raasay recently after a winter away arriving back with a large van full of fixtures, fittings and a goose named Duck!

You can’t help but be impressed by Louis vision and enthusiasm for the ‘Golden Emblem’ It may still look a bit of a wreck but after spending some time looking around it with Louis I left feeling that I would see it sailing away under it’s own power in the not to distant future. Looking magnificent in midnight blue with ivory superstructure and perhaps 2 red sails.

Seeing what Louis had ahead of him in the way of work and how enthusiastic he was about his project made my power steering box oil leak seem pretty trivial to say the least!

Back to sea

The day had been pretty poor so far with lots of drizzle, low cloud and a stiff northerly breeze but by the time we got back up to Arnish the day had improved considerably and the wind had dropped  so for the first time in a month we put to sea. Our attempts at fishing for mackeral produced zilch but our 3rd creel returned a fine crab and lobster.

and by the time we’d got home we’d 4 fine crabs and a bag full of chanterelle mushrooms!

Where did it go?

Filed under: daily doings, Land Rover — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:04 am

I dunno what happened yesterday, it started off going to plan but then went decidedly pear shaped. My broad program of events was to consist of fitting some spring isolaters under the old girls front springs, making a mark 2 piglet carrier and most important of all repairing a gaping hole under a fence in Gingers field. Ginger our most laid back Tamworth boar has a huge field that’s all his, It must be a couple of acres with birch trees and a rocky outcrop that has the wind turbine on it. He has pigs on two sides for company and part of it is quite close to the car park at the end of the road so he can even wander down there to check out the cars. Being so large and him being so lazy he never ever tries to get out even when the girls are on heat. Just recently however the wee spotty pigs have taken to tunneling under the fence in an attempt to take a short cut at feeding time and this is what happened. I went out to do the morning feed to be greeted by 10 frantic pigs in the same enclosure 8 of which should not have been there and if you’ve ever tried to sperate hungry pigs you’ll know it’s not easy. Eventually after feeding the 20 others I managed to do it and peace was restored though it took me the best part of half an hour. I’d get 8 of the piglets through the gate, open the gate to let the other two in then one that was in would go back through the gate or Ginger would try and get through, It was a pure picnic but somehow I managed.

A simple little job or how NOT to change steering box seals on a Land Rover

When I fitted the ARB locking rear diff and disc brakes to the Land Rover I made some seats for the rear springs out of 180mm blue water pipe. This is the stuff the use for serious water mains and is 17mm thick. I had been hearing an occaisoinal groan from the rear suspension over the years and had put it down to the rear springs binding on the dislocation cones. When I had the springs off to do the job I cut around 20mm off a length of this MDPE pipe and inserted it under the rear springs and what a difference it made. No graons and it isolated some of the road noise transmitted through the springs to the chassis. I had resolved to do the fronts but that needed 160mm water pipe which is not quite so common. For the last couple of months I’ve been pestering people at Scottish water for a short length of this and was at last given a small off cut.

I cut 2, 30mm lengths off the end removed the front springs and shock absorbers and inserted the bit of pipe

So far so good, it was at this point that things started to get complicated, with all this kit removed it was much easier to get at the steering box (not that I’d intended doing anything with it) and it seemed like a good idea to change the seals on it. I’ve had a small leak on the box for years but only just got around to buying the seals. The hardest part of this job is removing the drop arm but as I’d had that off in the past it was quite straight forward

especially since I had some help with the tools! with that out of the way removing the metal washer that protects the seal was proving more difficult than expected. I resolved this by drilling a small hole in it to pull it out with a wee hook. This proved to be my downfall as I caught the shaft with the drill damaging the sealing surface! though at this point I thought I might have got away with it.

I removed the seal itself with a long screw, replaced everything in reverse order and overhauled the drop arm ball joint whilst I had it off. By the time I’d done all this it was now 4:00pm and I was well pleased with the result. The old girl was sitting a bit higher at the front and felt good on the road however my joy was short lived as when I had a look underneath the steering box was leaking worse than before due to the damage I’d done with the drill bit. I now have to buy a new steering box though to be honest I would do the job again I’d just be a bit more carefull with the drill or try a strong magnet on the washer to pull it out.

A very nice single malt

The mark 2 piglet carrier had to be shelved though I did manage to repair the fence before firing up the barbecue. Our good friend and nieghbour came around and once the children where in bed we all had a wee dram. Now I’m not a whisky drinker but had been given this bottle in May

by my good friend Bill Cowie from for assisting with the installation of another Proven 2.5kw wind turbine. It’s been unopened for 3 months but when I got up this morning half the bottle had vanished! and I had no headache which is the sign of a really good dram when you don’t remember drinking it but still feel good in the morning!

Blog at