Life at the end of the road

February 19, 2010

Harry’s unwell :-(

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, listers — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:53 pm

Not as planned just about sums up today, no better still totally pear shaped, it has not been a good day ‘at the end of the road’ 😦

A dusting of that cold slushy snow that  melts as soon as it touches you then seeps down the back of your neck started the day off badly but I’d plenty to do so just wrapped up and got on with it. The first job being to head over to Torran and the old schoolhouse http://www.uniquescotland.com/raasayschool/index.html to ship some people out on the quad.

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As I was doing this it was up to the swineherd to take my boy to school, though with the ever falling snow I had my doubts. I did offer to take him down the 11 mile single track after I’d picked up the baggage from Torran but she said she’d have a go. I also set off earlier than arranged so that the people staying in the schoolhouse would have extra time to negotiate ‘Calum’s road’ and beyond.

An hour later, we were all at the ‘kiosk’ as the car park at the end of the road is known by all former inhabitants of Raasay’s north end. They call it the Kiosk because up until 1969 there was a telephone kiosk there, as you will see if you ever look an an old OS map.

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There it is TCB and it must have been one of the only telephone boxes in Britain that was on a ‘party line’, the other ‘party’ being in the Post office which was at various times in South Arnish, North Arnish and Torran. This meant that if one phone was in use and the other phone was picked up you could listen in or even join in 🙂 It probably held some kind of record for how many times the same pennies went through the slot as well 🙂

Anyway, I digress, wifey had given up after the first steep hill and returned along with my boy and my neighbour who was planning to go shopping. We quickly formulated a plan in which I’d lead the way in the Land Rover with the guests following in their hire car. It was slow going but after a few sticky moments

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40 minuets later they were at the ferry and my boy was at school. So far so good but my neighbour still needed to go shopping in Portree and her lift from the south end was stuck in Balachuirn 😦

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Still, I can think of worse places to be stuck and it did give me chance to have a look around

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on what was turning out to be a very bonny day with the sun coming out and melting the slushy snow. The wee loch in the distance is Loch an Rathaid or loch of the road, apparently there’s an ancient rod down there to an old settlement. Anyway by the time we’d had coffee and biscuits the snow had melted enough for my friend to get out of Balachuirn unaided so wifey and I departed northwards to home.

It was now lunchtime and the only thing that I’d ticked off today’s ‘to do’ list was separating Jamie Lee’s seven piglets from her and of course their adopted brother Rocky. I did consider leaving Rocky in with her for company but decided against it in case he started to suckle off her.

Twinny is back on line

It was after a most excellent ham soup that things really took a turn for the worse. The lack of wind and a low charge in our huge battery bank made the generator start, no big deal as that’s what’s supposed to happen. The problem being that Harry, our Lister HR2 generator was not synchronizing with the inverter that powers the house and charges the batteries. A quick look at the Trace SW45/48e inverter revealed that the AC input voltage was fluctuating between 160 and 330v 😦 Not being any kind of expert but thinking as the RPM was stable that it must be the regulator I had a look inside.

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Sure enough that ‘thing’ with W23 written was all burnt, so I ‘phoned a friend’ who I’m hoping can source the offending article 🙂

This left us with a low battery bank and no means of charging it apart from the small hydro turbine until the wind blows. Of course I do have back up generators but none of them are ‘hard wired’ into the inverter and I just happened to have robbed a solenoid off the only one large enough to supply the current required to charge the batteries. It was also buried in a rather untidy shed and had not been run for months 😦

Twinny, my ST2 7Kw Lister was for many years my main source of electricity and has not been used in anger since I installed my wind turbine and Harry almost 5 years ago. I used to run both him and ‘Old faithful’ my 3Kw Lister up regularly but I’ve not done it since December and in the last few months I’ve ‘borrowed’ the starter solenoid for a friends and buried him under bags of salt and crap.

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Not only that but one of our hens chose to lay 30 eggs under him, some of which were rather smelly 🙂

Anyway after fitting the new solenoid he started after a few swings so I switched off the inverter supply to the house and put Twinny ‘on line’ and it’s his own 1500rpm ‘heartbeat’ that’s powering my computer and satellite broadband right now 🙂 I still have to wire him to the inverter but that can wait until tomorrow.

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And just to make matters worse our cooker nearly set on fire AGAIN!!!!!! for the second time in 4 years the fan oven on our Cannon cooker has just switched itself on for no apparent reason, luckily on both occasions the house was occupied and the power switched off before disaster struck. It does not come on, reach a certain temperature then switch off. It comes on when switched off, without the fan coming on and the elements just get hotter and hotter, last time it failed under warranty (just) and was the thermostat but a design that allows a thermostat to fail when the oven has not been used for months and come on even when switched off strikes my as negligence. I feel a strongly worded letter to Cannon coming on 🙂

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