Life at the end of the road

November 11, 2009

First frost

Filed under: daily doings, harbour, Land Rover — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:29 pm

Conversations on the ferry with motorists that have come from the south or east over the last few days have indicated heavy frosts in parts of Scotland. Here with the sea and the gulf stream we’ve been spared the slippy roads and icy puddles, until today that is. whilst I say there was a frost it was pretty unspectacular and did not even warrant a photograph but it was most definitely there in the odd cold spots seldom frequented by the sun at this time of year.

It was of course on what is probably the coldest night since last winter that I chose to let the oil stove go out so I could change the burner pot. Our Morso Squirrel oil burning stove in the kitchen provides us with a cosy kitchen and hot water. It is also guaranteed to throw a wobbly whenever I go away and with the annual dry docking of the Loch Striven imminent I thought I’d better give it a good service.

However when I got up at a very late ( for me ) 6:55 to a cold kitchen and nowhere to sit my coffee pot I was wishing I’d kept it going until morning 😦 Still once I was out in the fresh clear and sunny, or at least threatening to be sunny morning, I wasn’t caring 🙂 Being a little later than usual everyone (pig wise) was up and waiting, the three Tammy’s and three Spottie’s  screaming at the croft gate, Bramble climbing up her gate, the six wee Tammy’s grunting away at their gate, Shona squealing because either Ginger or Braken were taking chunks out of her and Jamie Lee lolloping about patiently by her gate!

The ever so slight headache brought about by the Damson gin ensuring that the noisiest pigs got fed first 🙂

111109 005  Then it was Bramble’s turn before she managed to climb over the gate and with her head firmly in the feed trough I went inside the insulated ark to check on the 7 wains.

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All destined for Jonathan Quirke of and all looking very cute indeed.

It’s only taken me 15 years!

Piggies fed and boy ready for school it was time for the ‘school run’ and today it fell to me as I had at last made an appointment to visit the doctor about my arm! The arm that I have been unable to lift more than shoulder height for 15 years! I dunno what the opposite of hypochondria is but I’ve definitely got it.

I think I hurt my left arm fish farming around 15 years ago and I’ve only just around to seeing the doctor about it, actually that’s a lie, several months ago after a particularly painful episode that coincided with breaking out the emergency ramp lifting gear I accosted him on the ferry. I even got as far as making an appointment for some cortisone injections but failed to keep them because I went to the instead, well one must get ones priorities right 🙂

Anyway, after shifting several barrels of diesel the other week and feeling a twinge in the right arm I got to thinking it was about time I made a visit.

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So off we went on a beautiful morning, passing a hind and her calf on the way south.

I called at the surgery to meet the doctor on his once weekly visit to Raasay, whereupon he diagnosed  and told me to visit him in Portree on Friday for some injections 😦

Feeling that my visit to his surgery in Portree would be accompanied by the words REST I headed off to get as much quarrying in as possible. Stopping at a favourite spot by the road for ‘pot hole filling shale’ I could see him shaking his head as he drove past on his way to the ferry 🙂

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With a good load in my trailer I took the ‘low road’ via Oscaig to have a look at the new harbour, which judging by the blue arm that is the concrete pumping boom and the mixer lorry on the pier was having another pour 🙂 It also took me past the rear of Raasay house

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and several guys swinging from a crane 🙂

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Arriving back at Arnish 40 minutes later I was met by Christmas dinner, the three Tammy’s who were out enjoying the sun.

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After filling a few pot holes in the drive Molly and I started repairing the trench that had been worn by last weeks minor flood.

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Though she spent quite allot of the time digging up what I’d deposited in there.

Better than I thought

After second breakfast of Cumberland sausages and eggs I replaced the burner pot in the squirrel

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re lit it and headed out into the sunshine

where I was not the only one making the most of it. Then it was on to the other love of my life, the ‘Old Girl’. With the annual winter trip to the Clyde only a couple of weeks away I had a few jobs to do on her. The most expensive / important of which was ( I thought ) the alternator. A 75amp heavy duty one that I’d fitted in July and was now rattling away merrily as if it was about to die. It was of course covered by a guarantee but having come from Suffolk off eBay it was going to involve at the very least a week off the road, an alternator swap or replace the bearings myself. Imagine my joy when I discovered it was after all the power steering belt idler that was making the noise and I had a spare 🙂

The next job, which should have been the easy one got complex,

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when I removed the rear prop shaft to check and adjust the handbrake I found that the rear universal joint  or Hardy Spicer was worn out. Despite regular greasing the old girl demolishes these at the rate of about 1 a year due in no small part to the 3” lift at the rear and the increased angle that it’s working at. To be honest the only advantage of having a Land Rover as high off the ground as mine is that you can see better, well that and the fact that to a minority of sad people like me it looks great  🙂 The disadvantages are many, special radius arms required at the front to retain castor angle, special prop shaft required at the front to stop vibration caused by special radius arms :-(  special shock absorbers and brake pipes etc etc. I’m sorry girls it’s just a phase that guys of a particular age go through though with most it’s manifested in a motorbike or sports car, with me it’s a 23 year old Land Rover 🙂

All the spare ones that I had were the wrong size so I had to order some and they’ll not be here until tomorrow, the worst of it being that the ones I had would almost fit, in fact they are so similar to the ones fitted that the unwary could indeed (as I have in the past) try to fit them 😦 I have no idea how many different size Hardy Spicer’s have been fitted Land Rovers over the years but it must be getting on for 10 and the ones I had were only 2.5mm wider than the ones fitted but the cups were the same size making it a very easy mistake to make.

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