Life at the end of the road

July 9, 2009

Almost a holiday

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:12 pm

The ‘hyperactive’ previous ‘rest week’ and the hectic 7 days at work on the Loch Striven have meant that I’ve been taking things easy since I finished my last banana 🙂 It’s at times like this that I realize that I’m not getting any younger and I just can’t do the things I used to 15  years ago. The fact that I’ve been in bed before my 10 year old son most nights for the last week is a sure indicator that I need to slow down, which is exactlywhat I’ve done the last couple of days.

Wednesday

My first day off started as usual with me taking over from the swineherd in the feeding department, giving her a little lie in and me a chance to re acquaint myself with our herd and flock.

Nice finger!

Nice finger!

Whilst I was getting aquainted with the herd this wee rascal was getting aquainted with my finger!

Once everyone was fed we headed south down ‘Calum’s road’ to catch the 8:55 ferry as we needed to stock up with feed for the next ‘rest week’ as we’d planned a trip to http://www.thewickermanfestival.co.uk/. This festival in Dumfrieshire is supposed to be very ‘child friendly’, those masters of  ‘Techno, dub, reggae’ http://www.dreadzone.com/ are playing and me and my 10 year old are great fans.

More Classics

Landing at Sconser sometime after 8:15 I got distracted by these,

Norton 650 twin

Norton 650 twin

A beautiful 1966 Norton 650cc twin

BSA 'Super rocket'

BSA 'Super rocket'

and an as yet ‘unrestored’  BSA Super rocket of around 1963 vintage. Having traveled all the way from Shetland they were about to visit Raasay for the first time, so after a quick chat they boarded the Loch Striven and we headed for Portree.

The fresh north westerly breeze keeping the temperature cool and good fortune made us miss the odd shower. After filling the old girl with diesel, shopping  and sow rolls we went down the town and bought a couple of fishing rods from ‘Island cycles’ in Portree. As it was too late to catch the 11:30 ferry and too early for the the 13:00 we opted for  a ‘fish supper’ from the ‘Lower Deck’ chippy down by the harbour and half an hours fishing off the pontoon.

Portree fleet

Portree fleet

I’m not sure why all the boats were tied up on such a nice day as the weather was not that bad and the moon was full but from memory the second row are, Iris, Paulana, Hopeful, Three sisters and the large one nearest the pier is the Iris II.

070709 064

Whilst they did not actually catch anything they did have a good time and it was hard work dragging them away to catch the ferry.

A fine barbie

It was at this point that things started to go a little astray, we got back to Arnish around 14:00 and did a few odd jobs before sorting out the fine box of  ‘half pig’ that George of  http://www.lochalshbutchers.com/ had butchered for us.

Half a pig

Half a pig

The freezer had already been on ‘superfreeze’ for a few hours so the majority went in there but a few sausages and almost all the ‘trimmings’ found their way onto the Bar-b-Q

'Trimings'

'Trimings'

Apart from saving a few bits for making soup and stock most of the bones went on the barbecue and we had a fine evening picking away at them and some makeral that we’d been given. The makeral were scored with a sharp knife then lots of sea salt, olive oil and finely chopped rosemary rubbed in, making them a fine accopaniment for the pork.

An irresponsible adult!

Good company, over eating and drinking meant a sore head on Thursday and yours truly struggled out of bed at well after 9:00am! Fortunately I had a willing helper in the shape of my boys pal who assisted with carrying the feed, watering the pigs and keeping me supplied with coffee. Still the splitting headache gently slipped away southwards on the back of what was a lovely refreshing northerly breeze that kept the day fresh, the midge away and the wind turbine spinning.

Changing an outboard impeller

Not as yet being fit for doing anything too physical I opted to have a look at my mates ‘Yamaha 9.9HP’ outboard motor that had been sitting in my workshop for a couple of weeks. This little engine is one of the finest of the idestructable Yamaha range and despite years of neglect, should with a little TLC go for many more. The 9.9 is actually a 15 with a smaller carburettor to resrict the power so even when thrashed it is hardly stressed. This one had been left out in the elemnents since last autumn, was partially seized and I suspected had a duff water pump impeller.

I’d already taken out the spark plugs last week and soaked the cylinders with WD 40, so my first step was to start moving the flywheel round, initially with a long screwdriver wedged in the starter ring gear. Once I’d got it moving I removed the recoil start, to gain access to the 22mm crankshaft nut so I could get a long socket wrench on it, a couple of minutes turning by me and many more minutes turning by my able young assistant had it spinning nicely. Experiance has taught me that this will be all that is required though I’d have been happier to take the cylinder head off and have a look at the bores, however experiance has also taught me that the head bolts WILL on an engine of this age snap off like carrots in the cylinder block 🙂 I also know that the bolts and threads on this particular engine  are M7 which is as rare as rocking horse pooh so I did not go down that road (yet)

Once that was nice and free we set about the ‘simple’ job of checking the water pump, I say simple because in theory it should be as it only requires 8 bolts undoing and one split pin. Firstly the gear linkage split pin under the carb, which if you don’t push it all the way out will make assembly that much easier. Then the 4 bolts that hold the gearbox on to the leg, these are prone to snapping so plenty of tapping with a hammer on the heads first helps, as does a little tightening of the bolt before attempting to loosen it. Even after these precautions and lots of WD one of them snapped off 😦  Still it did not snap off flush with the casing and at least it’s M8 so I do have a tap and bolts.

With the gearbox off it’s just a matter of sitting it in a vice clamped by the skeg and removing the 4 bolts that hold the water pump body on, despite lots of tapping with a hammer and WD, 3 of them snapped, however this is not the end of the world as once the plastic body of the pump is off.

Whoops!

Whoops!

you can get a blow lamp in and remove them with a set of grips.

Yamaha 9.9 water pump

Yamaha 9.9 water pump

A new impeller, plate, oil seal and 3 gaskets should do the trick, though I hope my mate is sitting down when he prices them up 🙂

Watching the water

Still not being quite 100% I accepted the offer of another friend who’d said he would take out the eager boys fishing and lifting the creels in my mates Pioner Maxi. Not being gauranteed to catch any bait I delved into our freezer for some they’d caught a few days ago.  The only problem being that the freezer was still on ‘super freeze’ for the multitude of pork that went into it yesterday so at -32 the bait needed some serious cutting up

Solid fish!

Solid fish!

Good job I have a band saw 🙂

With the boys out of the way I set off checking the various springs and lochs that keep us and our nieghbours supplied with water and power.

Water lilly

Water lilly

All were OK (just) apart from our own and I was treated to some beautiful water lillies in the loch above Torran.

First 'shrooms'

First 'shrooms'

On the way back through the birch wood I came accross my first chanterelle’s of the year, though it looked like they’d been out for a while and now at 9:00am on Friday I’m going to fry them up for my breakfast in butter 🙂

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