Life at the end of the road

July 9, 2010

Calm at last

Filed under: daily doings, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:01 am

The ‘near gale’s’ and driving rain of late that have enabled us to get the mountain of washing left by our drought done as well as tumbled dried seem to have passed by. it’s 6:30am now and whilst it’s looking a little damp outside there’s hardly a breath of wind. This will no doubt herald the return of something that’s been absent for a week or more, the dreaded midge 😦

Still it will at least enable us to at last launch the boat and go out fishing with my boy and his pal, which is what’s on the cards for today once everyone wakes up.

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Whilst spending the entire day outside from 7:00am until 20:30pm I did not actually seem to have achieved much. Most of the day was spent working on  my hydro turbine.

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The extra water in the burn giving me chance to couple up and test all three of my supply pipes and check the high pressure side for leaks. Unfortunately I had a couple of drips down at the turbine itself and seemed to spend most of the day travelling back and forward to the turbine and house with tools 😦

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We turned the gate upside down in Jamie Lea’s field so that her wee spotty piglets could get out and mingle with the rest of the herd (and Molly :-)). Having the wider bars at the bottom of the gate allows the piglets to get out whilst preventing mum, this means that they can feed without mum stealing their smaller and higher protein pellets.

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Being a little short of pictures for Thursday, here’s one of Wednesdays many rainbows and a picture of Brochel castle 🙂

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There is one behind the castle but by the time I’d got out the camera it was almost away, anyway it’s 7:00am now and I must go out and feed everyone.

A triple celebration

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 5:17 am

When I left you all at 6:00am yesterday to go and deal with the pigs it was a beautiful morning and after feeding and watering them I wasted no time in getting on with a few jobs. My MOT test was not due until 14:00 in Portree and I would have had plenty of time to get there even if I’d caught the 12:15 from Raasay. However there were three or four commercials booked to come into Raasay during the morning and at least one of them was due out on that ferry, probably with a large chunk of Balfour Beatty’s concrete batching plant on board so I decided to aim for the 10:55 instead.

The on and off torrential rain of the previous few days had left all our water tanks topped up, and whilst we had been very short of water we had not, like in previous years run out. In fact we still had about 1500lts left without having to resort to using my bowser. My bowser is an old fish cage float that I converted to a 700lt container that just sits in my trailer, in previous dry summers I’ve used it to ‘steal’ Scottish Water’s finest chlorinated Dun Caan loch water from the tap at the pier. Steal is probably a little strong a word because I did phone up their helpline and offer to pay for it, needless to say Caroline (I’ve changed her name for legal reasons 🙂 ) in Edinburgh thought I was bonkers and said she had no way of raising in invoice, still I did try 🙂

As I figured that this was the driest I’d seen Arnish in 21 years and we’d not actually needed it I decided to make it into storage for the veg garden which had suffered through lack of water.

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Where would I be without pallets 🙂 After lifting it up there I connected the overflow from our main tanks to it and pretty soon it was full, there’s a tap on the garden side so wifey can now water the garden without hauling buckets of water 25 yards.

Having made the swineherds watering duties easier I set about making my ‘oiling’ duties much less physical. I’ve been hauling 200lt barrels of oil, kerosene and diesel by hand for 25 years now without any great hassle. I started in 1985 when I lived on Scalpay when we had to fill them in the back of a Land Rover on Skye, push them out of the back, roll them down a beach and into a boat then roll them up the beach at the other side. I quickly got used to moving them by just balancing them on the rim and rolling them and to be honest, on a hard surface with the odd pallet to help you it’s actually quite easy when you get the knack.

I’m not getting any younger though so a couple of years ago I bought an oil tank to use as a bowser though I never got around to putting taps on the vent and outlet and sealing the inspection cover. That spell in April and May when I was flat on my back for a month changed all that and I did conversion ready for my next oil delivery.

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No more barrel rolling for me 🙂 now the tanker can fill it at the south end and I can just pump it straight into my tanks via a fitting at the bottom, I should have done this years ago!

I had planned to tow it down on the way to the ferry but needless to say it all took a little longer than expected and we ended up rushing down without it. Well rushing as fast as is possible in 24 year old 87hp truck that weighs almost 2 tons 🙂

Halfway down the 11 mile road the heavens opened and we had pouring rain driven by a south westerly ‘near gale’ all the way to Sligachan on Skye. We were not in good spirits, this wind was much fresher than the forecast and I was not convinced we would get back home as it was supposed to get worse in the afternoon. Ah the joys of island life 🙂 It may have been lashing with rain at Sconser and the south end of Raasay but Portree was much better, as was my mood when the Land Rover passed its MOT 🙂

60, 40 and a wedding!

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If the Old Girl passing her test lifted my spirits then the sight of the Loch Striven arriving at Sconser put them into orbit. Having to ask a friend to watch my boy overnight and pester my neighbour to feed the pigs whilst we took refuge at my parents 40 miles away on the mainland was bad enough but missing the ‘big bash’ at the Raasay village hall would have been catastrophic.

Arriving home around 17:30, where, like Portree, it looked dry we fed the pigs got cleaned up, had dinner then headed back down to the Raasay village hall for the big celebration. A grand affair in the hall organized by Rosemary Bungard and her husband Stephan to mark 60 years on this earth, 40 years of marriage and the forthcoming wedding of their daughter Elita to John Poulter at St Columba’s in Portree on Saturday.

The weather outside may have been miserable but the mood inside the hall was anything but

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and by the time we arrived the guests were already ‘stripping the willow’ to the sound of an excellent young band made up of some of Rosemary’s ex pupils.


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One of who played a magnificent solo on the pipes.

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There was a delicious buffet with such delights as little pieces pieces of smoked salmon wrapped around cheese, which probably has a very posh or French name. There were prawns and soft cheese on oat cakes and of course a splendid cake.

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The many children were entertained (and painted) by my neighbour and friends and this ‘little devil’ gave everyone a fright 🙂

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The Highland Scottish, Canadian barn dancing, and stripping the willow continued,

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with young Calum never leaving the dance floor and wearing out his poor gran :-).

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There was singing in Gaelic by one of the band who had a voice like an angel and I even managed to get wifey up for the last strip the willow before we headed home at a very respectable 23:30.

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