Life at the end of the road

January 12, 2011

It’s funny where life takes you :-)

Filed under: daily doings, hydro — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:09 pm

I have to confess at being totally unenthused on the blog front today, for until almost 14:30 I didn’t actually do anything, or nothing of interest at any rate. It was an early start on a black, wet and very mild Wednesday as we had to catch the  8:55 ferry to get wifey’s car MOT’d, something we’ve been trying to do since late November 😦

The MOT being the annual vehicle inspection that all cars over three years of age must undergo by law. I used to be an MOT tester myself and never thought that I’d see the day when I was sweating every time I put a vehicle through a test. However that was 25 years ago, things have moved on, the test is much stricter and I no longer have access  to a nice warm workshop and four poster lift 😦

The first appointment we made in November had to cancelled because wifey was snowed in for ten days. She made the second appointment just before Christmas to be told that the emissions machine was broken so they couldn’t do it 😦 For the third appointment we were again snowed in, finally getting it to Morrison Motors in Portree on the fourth attempt at Hogmanay, it failed on a tyre 😦 The tyre was not obviously worn and had a tiny bubble on the inside edge, but of course being a funny size one could not be had on Skye before the holidays 😦 Also being a ‘modern’ car it doesn’t have a spare wheel as such but one of those ‘Mickey Mouse’ get you home jobbies.

Why do we continue to put up with this cr4p from motor manufactures ???? If I drive my Land Rover about with odd size tyres of a different specification then I’m breaking the law, any wise ar5e insurance assessor could pull me up on it if I had a bump and refuse my claim . Yet some friggin accountant at Ford comes up with a toy town bit of cr4p that wouldn’t look out of place on a wheelbarrow and says you can fit it to your 120mph car. Of course he paints it orange and puts a sticker on it saying don’t go over 80kmh and calls it a ‘space saver’ when it’s really a ‘dollar saver’ (his dollars not yours). Personally I’d rather have a decent spare wheel than a stupid seat that remembers my favourite driving position or a ‘security system’ that is ‘clever enough’ to lock the car after two minutes if there are no keys in the ignition. Of course it’s not clever enough to know that you’ve left your keys on the drivers seat and just gone to relieve yourself behind a hedge 20 miles from anywhere 😦

Sorry, I got distracted there by that little rant, anyway the toy town spare wheel got fitted and the wee Daihatsu sat outside our house for yet another 12 days, awaiting first the tyre and secondly the road to clear. Finally it looked like we’d be able to get into Portree today so I phoned up Morrison’s yesterday and booked it in. As the car had not moved for quite a while I used it to go and pick up the boy from school yesterday, and guess what, I had a friggin puncture 😦

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To be honest I felt safer with the ‘illegal’ tyre on than this piece of 5h1t but of course I now have to drive a car that has a tyre on that has been condemned by the MOT tester :-(  

So this bit of cr4p that has saved Mr Daihatsu about 20 yen has cost me three lost days driving to Portree and back, risked my insurance being void, cost me £13.50 to have it repaired because it only has two nylon plies and could be punctured by an angry jellyfish. Today we’ve spent a fortune in the Co op and Jansvans buying more rubbish we don’t need whilst awaiting the repair and retest and I’ve had to take wifey out for breakfast at Cafe Arriba in Portree. Actually that’s probably the only good thing to come out of this whole affair 🙂

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For whilst killing time we had a most enjoyable hour in the warmth of said cafe  overlooking Portree bay. Wifey had what she described as the best hot chocolate that she’d tasted in her entire life, and judging by the flakes of Belgian chocolate and marshmallow floating on the top she was probably right. The coffee I had was OK but the smoked salmon and cream cheese ciabata  was delicious as was the one wifey had involving spicy tomatoes and humous 🙂

Anyway, legal at last we headed carefully for the 13:00 ferry,

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I say carefully because the roads on Skye seemed to be in worse nick than the ones on Raasay 😦

Home at last

By the time we got back to Arnish it was well after 14:00 and after a cup of tea I felt in no mood for hard physical labour. The pigs needed cleaning, wood needed cutting and I’d still plenty of work to do up at the new shed site but I was knackered 😦 Seemed like a good opportunity to potter about with the Land Rover and hydro turbine 🙂

My Eberspacher D1LC heater had died around Christmas due to a burnt out heater plug so today I thought I’d change it.

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The heater plug is a service part and it’s four years at least since mine was changed so I can’t complain, as well as the plug I changed the metal screen that surrounds it, as this sometimes gets neglected. Both parts are readily available from dealers but I was fortunate enough to pick them up off eBay for less than half price.

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The plug itself is easy enough to remove, just an allen key to remove the cover, a 7mm spanner to undo the terminal and a 19mm spanner for the glow plug. With the plug removed you can get at the stainless steel screen that surrounds it. Mine’s a little awkward to get at but with the aid of a mirror and some long nosed pliers I managed to dig out the old screen.

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It had to be broken up in situ but it did come out, and after cleaning the hole up with some emery paper I fitted the new screen and plug.

Rebuilding the heater and testing it to my satisfaction I then went back to the XJ14-0. 2DCT4-Z, that little turbine with the very long name 🙂

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Starting off with removing the paint from the cast iron base of the 200w Navitron turbine in readiness for giving it a few coats of POR15

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a durable coating for iron and steel that really does work. I’d read about this stuff years ago when I was looking for something to paint the overhauled rear axle on the ‘Old Girl’, this seemed to be the ‘dogs danglies’ so I bought a box from and was most impressed.

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Twenty odd quid may seem extortionate for six tiny tins of paint (three of each) but I only used one undercoat and one top coat on my Salisbury rear axle four years ago and it’s still as good as new. The four remaining tins don’t seem to have taken any harm from there long storage and after a good stir the first coat went on a treat.

I have to say that I was feeling pretty pleased with myself, having written the day off at 14:00 I’d managed to achieve something after all and when wifey served up some of our own boiled ham for dinner I was ecstatic 🙂

It really is funny where life takes you, for after my boiled ham, spuds and sweet corn I went for a nice long soak in our wholemeal organic bathwater 🙂 Lying there in about eighteen inches of whisky coloured water I heard my eleven year old son playing ‘Calum’s road’ on his tin whistle


It’s the first time I’ve heard him play this tune and it brought a tear to my eye. The first time I heard this tune was on the Grampian TV series ‘The blood is strong’ in 1988 whilst living on Scalpay,


not long afterwards I bought the tape by Capercaillie (though this one has six extra tracks on).

Who would have thought that a year later I’d be living at the end of ‘Calum’s road’ and twenty one years later my son would be playing the tune 🙂 Life really does have a way of sweeping you along 🙂

Hugh’s Fish Fight

Now, I’d like to say that I watched the whole of the second program, but I didn’t 😦 The whole discard thing and the lunacy of the EU fisheries policy is nothing new to me, but wifey did watch it and wifey is incensed. Now this always amuses me because like free range chickens, food miles, MacDonald’s and the Freemasons I’ve been banging on about this for years 🙂 However whilst my rantings on the subject fall on deaf ears, when it’s shown on the ‘one eyed monster’ it must be true 🙂

And on this occasion it is, so if you’d like to see an end to a policy that sees thousands of tons of perfectly good fish dumped in the sea please sign the petition. As with most things in life it’s not quite as simple and clear cut as that but when you consider that it takes four tons of anchovies or pilchards from the other side of the world to produce one ton of Scottish farmed salmon and we’re throwing tons of this stuff back in the sea a stones throw away something is seriously wrong.

We have this juggernaut called the EU which forces us to use unsuitable diesel fuels on plant and machinery in the aid of the environment, yet they send fishing boats to sea seven days a week to throw back tons of perfectly good fish. Surely it would make more sense to send the boats out for fewer days and keep all the catch, or am I missing something ?



  1. Morning, Paul

    Your rant about silly spare tyres hits the mark. I have recently changed my car and when looking at a certain type of vehicle and saw no spare tyre at all, the salesman told me that it came with a ‘puncture repair kit’, and it could be driven about 10 miles safely. With images of tyre levers and rubber patches in my mind I asked him what I would do if I had a puncture at the end of a small Scottish island. Clearly puzzled, he said that it couldn’t be far to an xxx make of car garage. Yes it is, I said – it’s in Inverness. When he said ‘where’s Inverness?’ I gave up. I now have a Land Rover Freelander with a full size spare tyre.



    Comment by Sue — January 13, 2011 @ 8:49 am

  2. Morning Paul,
    Can I nominate you to be the next Prime Minister, you explain things in terms that I can understand and more importantly it make so much sense.
    Thanks for the many hours of pleasure and knowledge your blog brings us

    Comment by chrisb — January 13, 2011 @ 9:16 am

    • Hi Chris,

      I’m flattered by your nomination but struggle running a croft let alone a country. Mind you if I did I certainly make some big changes 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 15, 2011 @ 6:38 pm

  3. Hi Paul.The madness of the modern world is enough to wind anybody up.I try and take solace from the fact mother nature will always win however hard mankind tries to better/destroy or alter it.For all we know the asteroid that: A)The powers that be have not detected, or B)Have detected, and a Bruce Willis lookalike and team are currently onboard jack hammering like crazy, attemting to break it up,is spinning through space towards us.Mother nature just happens to have selected point of impact as EU parliament, Strasbourg, with a number of fragments landing on all automotive spare wheel R&D departments, who are all currently developing the square shaped space saver tyre to fit in the glove box of the modern car.Result: mother nature 1 mad world 0.



    Comment by Andy — January 13, 2011 @ 11:16 am

    • Hi Andy,

      the square wheel for the glovebox is not as bizarre as it sounds, I once knew an American girl who had helped develop a square tomato as it was easier to pack:-)

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 15, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

  4. Hi Paul

    That tune by Capercaillie is great and always makes me want to jump in the car and drive up to Raasay. I had the great pleasure of going to a Capercaillie gig in Paisley Abbey just before Christmas and It was great! They had traveled through the bad weather from all over the UK to play but the guitarist could not get a flight out of Belfast but they managed (at about an hours notice) to get a local Glasgow girl that they knew to stand in. What a night!



    Comment by Derek — January 13, 2011 @ 6:39 pm

    • Hi Derek,

      would love to have been at that gig myself, lucky you 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 15, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

  5. Hi Paul,

    Great to listen to the Capercaillie Calum’s Road again.
    Thought my version may make you grin – it was recorded during my Raasay solo bass clarinet course last April at Raasay Community Hall as never heard before … 12 bass clarinets!

    We’ll be doing it again this April hopefully with a different 12!

    All the best,


    Comment by Sarah — January 13, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

    • Thanks for that Sarah,

      funnily enough I did come across it on YouTube before and it brought a smile to my face 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 15, 2011 @ 6:48 pm

  6. Hi Paul,
    as I had an experience with a puncture with an only 4 weeks (!) old car, I can tell you it was no fun at all. It happend on a highway and not at the end of nowhere, but I had luck and got one of the last cars with a proper spare tyre – I don’t know what they are thinking selling that rubbish called “emergency” spare tyre! What for? (Okay, their own benefit maybe)…

    Really like your way of telling – even the daily doings are sounding interesting while reading :-), I’m looking forward to it every morning and having a bit for inspiration before breakfast. Anja

    Comment by Anja — January 13, 2011 @ 11:09 pm

    • Hi Anja,

      thanks for the compliment and glad that I make your breakfast more enjoyable 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 15, 2011 @ 7:11 pm

  7. Hi Paul,

    your streets are looking similar then the streets here in germany. every year the same 😉

    all the best

    P.S. afterwards i will wish you a happy new year and congratulations for the puppies.

    Comment by belquam — January 14, 2011 @ 6:20 am

    • Hi Belquam,

      bet they repair them much quicker in Germany though 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 15, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

  8. Paul did you happen to get a copy of the Beano (WHFP) this week? There is a very interesting article in regarding the island’s water supply and THM’S (think that’s what they are called)which makes me say that we should all stick to the peaty water. I tghink article is on page 4. Cheers.

    Comment by Shelagh Taylor — January 14, 2011 @ 8:23 am

    • Hi Shelagh,

      glad you’re still keeping up, it’s been a while 🙂 Hope life in the big city suits you 🙂 Just got my Broadford Beano but not had chance to look at it yet.

      Cheers, Paul and all 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 15, 2011 @ 7:16 pm

  9. I quite fancied the YRV Turbo, a wee pocket rocket but dont think i’ll bother after reading the problems you’ve had, also Daihatsu have pulled out of Europe according to message on their website –

    Comment by Zak — January 15, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

    • Hi Zak,

      the ‘wee car’ does have its good points but ease of maintenace and reasonably priced and accesible spares is not one of them 😦 Over £40 for an alternator belt from a dealer, not a cam belt but an altenator belt 😦 Even if you know the size (and I think it’s 4pk 1425) it’s not easy to get, Over £200 for an exhaust and that’s only the center section at trade 😦 Over £200 for a clutch kit 😦 It’s agreat wee car if you’re tall and have a narrow driveway 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 15, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

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