Life at the end of the road

December 29, 2010

Desperate for a salad :-(

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:37 pm

Now let me first apologise for not replying to the multitude of kind words and comments left on my third anniversary, they’re all much appreciated, especially the ones from faithful followers recently emerging from the woodwork 🙂 I will reply, but not just yet cos I’m whacked, the recent festivities and long awaited thaw having taken its toll on my ageing body.

I wasn’t going to even post tonight but the recent surge in activity, due to me being shortlisted along with twelve other ‘proper’ blogs has given a tiny bit of energy to scribble a few lines before bed.

The visitors have all left, the turkey is finished and despite struggling to fasten up my trousers this morning I made it into work. Actually I made it into work yesterday to let my ‘back to back’ away and say hello to the good ship Loch Striven, which had at last returned from the Clyde.

Having to cut my day short to join the ship had seen me just pottering about the croft in the morning, clearing up and doing some work on my old hydro turbine. Since the commissioning of the ‘Stream Engine’ my 200w Navitron has been made redundant. It’s a fine unit, if not a little rough round the edges and I decided to give it the once over with a view to using it on a future project.

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When I bought this Chinese unit a few years ago I stripped it down as far as the guarantee would allow to make it more suited to a harsh west coast environment. I pulled the controller  apart and made good some of the atrocious soldering and replaced all the cr4ppy Chinese bolts and screws with quality stainless items. I did try to remove the ‘turgo runner’ to clean it up balance it, paint it and rebuild it with ‘Coppaslip’ on the shaft. At the time this proved impossible without damaging it and thus voiding the warranty so I left it.

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A few hours work with a drill and tap had it extricated to reveal the ‘dump load’ below it, that’s it around the shaft. Any surplus power generated by the turbine is diverted into that resistive load and cooled by the incoming water.

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It’s quite crude and already the insulation had started to break down but functioned well for the two years that it was running and at the price (a tenth) of the Stream Engine it was good value for money.

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Compared to the beautiful cast bronze runners on the Harris turbine and Stream Engine this bit of mild steel held together by bird 5h1t is a bit of a joke but as I said it was cheap and did the job. With a proper runner, some decent SKF bearings and a lick of paint I’m sure there’s much more mileage in it yet 🙂

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All too soon however it was time to head south past Dun Caan and on to work,

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which at 14:20 was just being detached from Scotland 🙂

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The MV Loch Linnhe may be faster and quieter but it was good to be back on the run with our own ferry 🙂

A ceremonial dinner of turkey pie to say farewell to Christmas kept me up late last night so there was no posting and this morning I was up at 5:30 wrestling with my trousers. So after yet another fine meal involving a dead animal I’m going to bed 🙂 The venison spaghetti Bolognese was delicious and unavoidable due to the time that the mince had been out of the freezer but I’d have much preferred a good healthy salad 🙂

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So I’ll just leave you with the lovely mild weather


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and a picture of the ‘wee dug’

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who took ‘time out’ today for a trip to Torran on the quad, though this is her looking somewhat guilty when she returned to feed her three day old pups 🙂



  1. congrats on being on the shortlist for your blog—we are promoting scotland well—you for the blog award and one of the photos I took flying over the southern alps in new zealand was featured in the Christchurch tourist guide. Always knew us scots were brilliant. So far I havent overdone it foodwise(or drinkwise)been on duty all the time,and will continue over the new year period–then funtime;ha ha:
    Wee molly is looking fantastic as are her babes–do you know the sex of them yet??
    Rght I’m away to work:have a good day

    Comment by frogsaint — December 30, 2010 @ 4:46 am

  2. Congrats on the blog bit Paul, you deserve to win!
    that runner — oh dear!
    Cheap and VERY nasty but easy enough to o/haul, a good scrub off and rectify the welds, red lead or Zincote and bobs yer uncle, no reason not to expect a few years more service.
    Got a chinese made garden chipper and had to re-engineer that quite comprehensively, but now it works fine … we Scots can out-engineer most of the world!!

    Comment by Mike — December 30, 2010 @ 5:07 pm

    • Hello Mike,

      yup, I reckon there’s a good few amp-hours left in the old turbine yet with a decent set of bearings and a bit of fettling 🙂

      Have a good New Year, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 30, 2010 @ 9:18 pm

  3. Hi Paul and Family
    Delighted you are short listed for your “blog”. You put a lot of effort into it to keep us mainlanders informed.
    Have a very Happy New Year 2011.

    Comment by sotw — December 31, 2010 @ 12:06 am

    • The same to you too SOTW,

      a very quiet NY for us at the ‘north end’ I think, but you never know 🙂 one thing for sure I’ll tell you all about it 🙂

      Take care and see you next year 🙂 XXXX P+B+R+M

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — December 31, 2010 @ 8:44 pm

  4. Hi Paul
    happy New Year … hope you have a good 2012
    thanks for sharing your life with us all
    take care

    Comment by carina — December 31, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

  5. Happy New Year to all of you, and special snorgles to the pups, if Molly will permit it!

    Comment by Helen — December 31, 2010 @ 9:37 pm

    • Hi Helen,

      Thanks for your support an Molly loves ‘snorgles’ 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 3, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

  6. Happy New Year and thanks for such an entertaining and informative blog. Something for everyone, whether you are an engineer, a cook, a lover of animals, an admirer of photography or enjoy a damn good tale…and a bottle of wine!

    Comment by Kingdomcat — January 3, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

    • A purrfect compliment KC, thanks 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 4, 2011 @ 11:53 pm

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