Life at the end of the road

February 28, 2011

4.4 TGM :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:35 pm

You could just tell that it was going to be a pure peach of a day today, the sky was pure black velvet at 5:00am studded with stars and the air pressure was 1041millibars and rising. As usual we had no frost at Arnish but I knew the story would be different to the south and after my usual morning rituals I headed down the road to find out.

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A little less moon than yesterday met me at Tarbert but of HMS Astute there was no sign, in fact there was no sign of any boats to the east.

It was a truly magnificent morning but once at work I saw little of it as I spent most of the morning servicing the port generator that had just clocked up 500 hours since it was installed at last December. The two Perkins Sabre 4.4TGM generators were fitted to replace the Lister HRW6 sets that had clocked up some 100,000 hours between them. To be honest there was probably another 100,000 hours of life left in them but spares are getting harder to source and maintenance was labourious  and expensive.

I miss the old Lister’s but the Perkins are half the size, more powerful, more economical and much quieter, though I doubt they’ll last as long.

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The generators are run ‘week about’ and the port one had been in service last week so on ‘start up’ this morning I fired up both, the starboard to supply power and the port one to warm up. Once good and hot I set about servicing it, removing the front cover to check the alternator V belt and draining the 8lts of engine oil into a bucket, a far cry from the Lister’s 20 🙂 As well as oil, fuel and air filters to change there was the Jabsco impeller to inspect.

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By rights it should be taken out but a good look with the back plate off and a power light is enough at the first 500 hours.

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As well as the normal fuel filter there’s a pair of duplex ‘pre filters’ fitted as an extra safeguard against contaminated diesel. These can be switched and changed in service with the engine still running so I changed the one in use then switched over to the reserve one once I’d bled the system and run her up for a while.

To make life simpler for me and easier on the engine I fill all the filters up first before fitting them, the fuel ones with diesel from the tanks and the oil one with new lube oil. The handbook says that it’s necessary to bleed the injectors after a filter change but I find that filling the filter with fuel first negates this 🙂

This took me nicely up till lunchtime whence I wandered along to the village hall to have a look at the various plans for new parking facilities at Sconser. The council were doing a mini presentation of the various options there which were basically a big square area extended sea wards, a long thin area extended westwards and an in between one with a bit of both.

To me the big square one going seaward looked the best option, but then I don’t live at Sconser and have to look at it all day 🙂 It was great that the council consulted Raasay but it is the good folk of Sconser that will have to live with it, lets hope it’s as tasteful as our new ferry terminal 🙂

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That was it really on the work front, I spent the rest of the day painting handrails in the sun 🙂 then after the 16:15 sailing touching up the bits over the side with a roller on a broom handle.

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Pickings must have been good off goat island because Atlantia was back again 🙂

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So I’ll just leave you with the weather,

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it’s 21:30 and I need my bed.

February 27, 2011

Proper poohs :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:58 pm

I think tonight’s effort could be a bit on the rambling and disjointed side, it’s been a while since I posted, and as you know, ‘I’ve a memory like a hen’. It’s not like I’ve not wanted to post but on the whole I’ve been pretty knackered at nights and weighed down with loads of croft related paperwork. As Charles Kennedy once said when asked what a croft was, “ A small piece of land surrounded by mountains of paperwork”. At least that’s what I read in  the West Highland Free Press many moons ago, so it must be true 🙂 Our local comic, unlike the nationals tells few lies and whilst a little left of centre in its reporting is pretty good as far as rags go 🙂


As you well know, ‘I am not a dog person’ so you can imagine how overjoyed I was to see the last of Molly’s puppies leave the nest. We had intended keeping one but the endless mopping of the kitchen floor, sleepless nights with all the barking and jobbie hunting in the morning was starting to grind us both down, so when ‘mum in law’ fell in love with Biff I couldn’t get rid of him quick enough.

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Well you would wouldn’t you 🙂 Of course as the day approached I was wishing I’d not been so hasty and by the time Friday and his lift south arrived I was really hoping she’d change her mind. Needless to say she didn’t so Biff accompanied me to work to hitch a lift to Glasgow.

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Wee Biff had already spent plenty of time in my pocket and was quite happy there but I took Molly along to keep him company once I’d got there and would have to lock him in the mess room until his lift arrived.

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Biff curled up and an hour or so later was on the back seat of a car as I waved to him through the window :-(  Apparently he slept all the way :-)  he may well have been awake all night but his new owner is deafer than me so never heard 🙂

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Me, I spent most of the cold and showery day down below painting the floor plates in the engine room.

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Surfacing only briefly to catch the odd rainbow or two, this one just over Suisnish hill on Raasay with a fainter one just visible by the ships bell.

Another dead Fuji

Saturday promised to be a bonny day, and it certainly looked that way when I headed south for work,

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and it was by far the brightest morning of the year so far. The reflected sunshine in the waning crescent moon over the Sithean Mor making it seem like 7:30 and not 6:30.

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It wasn’t all sunshine though, for every time I started painting topsides a shower would arrive 😦

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Still the attendant rainbows were some consolation for the spotty paintwork 🙂

Saturday also saw me posting off dead Fuji number seven!!!!!! Now nobody can accuse me of not giving Fuji a fair crack at the whip in the camera department for I have had seven of them and five of them were new. The one thing that they have all had in common, apart from an easy to use menu is that not one of them has gone the full twelve months without dying.

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Now I’m not going to pretend that I’m a saint when it comes to my cameras because I’m not, I take my ‘pocket camera’ everywhere and take thousands of images. However a pocket camera should be capable of staying in your pocket and these clearly aren’t as I’ve lost count of the number of LCD screens I’ve trashed. Of course the screen is not covered by the warranty if it’s damaged but these Fuji screens break if you breath on them after eating garlic. This particular JX200 has managed to function for almost seven months without any major breakdowns, well I say major, the lens shutter failed at three weeks, all the graphics off the thumbwheel have worn off and the battery no longer holds its charge but it did still work and take pictures. OK the pictures were cr4p because the lens was dirty cos the shutter didn’t close and I was often on the wrong setting because there were no graphics on the controls but it did work. It worked until the other night when it fell out of my trousers as I sat on the loo, the slight knock as it fell 18” onto the tiled floor proving too much for its Chinese body 🙂

Now I’m sure there are hundreds of you out there that have had no problems whatsoever with the Fuji that comes out of its padded bag to take the odd holiday snap. I am sure that Fuji have at some point made a good camera, it’s just that I’ve never found it 😦 Contrast that with my Panasonic DMC FZ 38 that bounced out of the quad, fell in a bog and then got run over by the back wheel a few weeks ago, the one I’m using now, the one that was built in Japan 🙂


Saturday also saw me home early, well early for a Saturday at any rate, Saturday usually involves a late ferry that sees me home some time after 22:00 but not today 🙂 For it’s a bookable sailing and no one had booked it 🙂 It was a double bonus because it meant I could escort wifey to a delicious duck dinner at our neighbours chalet just around the corner. Of course I only had a couple of glasses of wine and retired early but it was lovely and I was in my bed before 23:00.

You’ll be sick of hearing about how much I love my Sundays but it’s true, and this one was even better than usual. Of course as I lay in my bed at 6:00am listening to the lashing rain I was wishing it was not a Sunday and I could just slope off to work and leave the swineherd to deal with the pigs 🙂 However I arose at 7:00, the rain stopped, the sky cleared and I went out to see our herd with a light heart,

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and so did Molly 🙂

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and another person with a funny hat 🙂

Squiffy no more

The highlight of Sunday though had to be this,

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a nice firm pig jobbie, not just one, but all of them 🙂

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A few days into an eight day course of some antibiotics and a charcoal based powder have cured our piglets of the runs 🙂

Feeling great after seeing our thriving four spotties passing normal turds I headed for work and was cheered even further to see HMS Astute again.


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Quite why I should be so cheered to see 1.2billion GBP of white elephant in these times when they’re talking of cutting classroom assistants the ‘ETVs’ and the coastguard is beyond me but it did make me smile. Must be a ‘guy thing’, you know what they say ‘ the longer the bonnet the shorter the d*** :-) 

Anyway it was good to see her back after her little mishap off Kyle last year and it’s good to know that we’re well protected with our 6 billion pound deterrent of Astute, Ambush, and Artful, OK, Artful might be a bit late because Astute now has her hydroplanes and Ambush got launched without actually going into the sea 🙂 but it does at least look like Astute got her toilets fixed 🙂 

Anyway I got to work eventually and we did the usual Sunday stuff of drills, cleaning and boat launching

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and once the working day was done I headed home.

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The drive as usual being full of surprises and interest,

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though I’m not sure what could have caused this damage to a young gulls wing 😦

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