Life at the end of the road

November 17, 2009

All tanked up!

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, listers, pigs — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:07 pm

With the stress of MOTs and trips to Portree behind me my last ‘rest day’ was like a day in spring and I could not wait to get outside and make the most of the precious daylight.

Feeding everyone in the half light of  a cold grey dawn so I could get down to the shore at Arnish to retrieve my new pig arks 🙂

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Or should I say the 1500lt Balmoral oil tank that was about to become two new pig arks 🙂 my good friend Bill Cowie, the caretaker on had been cleaning up again and had dropped this tank off on his way to Portree yesterday.

He’d phoned me up yesterday asking if I’d like it and could I meet him on the shore, well of course I’d love it, but my day was already arranged on Skye and the mainland says I. “No problem” says Bill, all casual, “I’ll just throw it off the boat and tie it to the shore for you”  as if it was the kind of thing he did every day. I of course new that it would not be the easiest of tasks for Bill and his partner but he did it anyway and there it was bobbing away merrily on the ebbing tide.

I’d arrived just in time  as the wind had taken it into the ‘Caridh’ an old stone fish trap at the south end of the tiny port at Arnish. The ruins of these old dry stone fish traps abound on the west coast and hark back to a time when fish were so plentiful that they would get carried in on a rising tide only to be trapped as the water ebbed out through the stone walls. If the fish were still there many of them would still work, I remember years ago finding salmon in the one in the Fladda anchorage, not wild salmon but fish farm escapees, needless to say the bodies  went in the freezer and the heads and tails were used as bait for lobster 🙂

Dragging it over the wall just in time,

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I pulled it up the narrow inlet that is port Arnish, a combination of natural rock features and beautifully laid stones that make an ideal place for bringing small boats and fishing gear ashore.

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Once I’d got it this far and drained the water I lashed it to the quad an towed it up to the track for later as it was out of harms way and not a priority.

Faulty ‘Balmoral’ oil tanks

Somewhere there must be a whole pile of these faulty tanks, made with a dubious batch of plastic from Switzerland, Balmoral where very reluctant to admit liability. I don’t know how many people ever got money out of them but I suspect it was quite a few in the end.

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Pretty much everyone that I’ve seen that’s been exposed to direct sunlight has failed along the top edge of the waist band where it meets the ribs. Funnily enough I’ve had one of these very tanks for well over 15 years and whilst it is from the affected batch, because it’s in amongst the trees it’s still fine, though I have got a spare ‘Titan 1200’ just in case 🙂

Whilst the dodgy tanks were bad news for Balmoral and their customers they’ve made fine pig arks for your truly up at Arnish once cleaned out and cut in half 🙂

Another tank!

With the tank safe and sound well above the high water mark I headed home for second breakfast and to start fitting an extra water tank to supply the house.

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Passing the three ‘spotties’ grubbing away happily under the birch trees on my way home for the fry up 🙂

The day was fast turning into a cracker and I used the fact that all the piggies were out in the sun to change their bedding,

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Bramble’s litter of seven had made their first visit outside on Sunday at a week old, I dunno if they were out yesterday as I never really saw the croft in daylight but today they were in and out all day.

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Beds changed and I got out my power washer to give the other tank in my life at the moment a good scrub and wash inside. I’ve no idea what was inside this tank but judging by the state of it, it had been rolling around in the sea long enough to be cleaned. As it smelt of nothing other than plastic I was quite happy to clean it out with some sodium carbonate and a little bleach and turn it into a water tank for the house.

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Once the tank was in situ and piped up I insulated the exposed stuff with the lagging that I’d rescued from the skip at School Park last week 🙂 burying being out of the question as it’s solid rock 😦

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Leaving the tank to fill with our lovely ‘wholemeal organic peaty’ water I got on with clearing everything away and battening down the hatches ready for the poor week ahead. Well poor according to the forecast that is. Of course it might not happen but If I’m on the Loch Striven ( or perhaps Loch Linnhe ) this week and things go pear shaped at home then there’s not allot that I can do about it 😦

That was about it really, I gave Harry my HR2 Lister a check over and realized he was due a 500h service,

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his last 500h service being in July of 2007, quite something when you consider that before the wind turbine arrived he would run at least 50 hours a week!

I was going to service him but his special ‘long running’ dry sump takes 40lts and I simply did not have enough oil 🙂

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