Life at the end of the road

February 4, 2011

Back on the fence :-)

Filed under: animals, daily doings, How I, hydro, life off grid, shed/house, weather, wind turbine — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:30 pm

Well we got through the storm with little more than a few lengths of plastic pipe moved and the roof of my trailer detached and lying in the car park 😦 Quite how this happened is a bit of a mystery as I could have sworn that it was latched down properly, anyway it suffered no damage and is easy enough to refit.

The hydro turbine stopped last night but to be honest I was quite glad as the wind turbine had been putting out its full output for hours on end. There are dump loads to get rid of the excess but these are oil filled heaters in the porch and bedroom and they’d been on so long that the thermostat inside one of them kept switching it off. Not the end of the world for the turbine automatically disconnects from the batteries at 60.5v to protect them and the Proven is well up to coping with these conditions. Whilst I’ve every confidence in the turbine I was not so sure about the charge controller which was being asked to cope with almost an extra kilowatt from the hydro turbine. We had of course had roast pork and potatoes, done all the washing and tumbled dried just about everything to keep the load on but still the controller was still going into ‘mode 3’ occasionally (see picture below)


040211 011

So when the hydro turbine output started dropping from it’s peak of 960w to around 100w as the storm raged I just left it.

030211 013

There was no point getting dressed up in oilskins to go and mess about in that torrent during the night when we already had more than enough power 🙂

Pigs fed, roof refitted, I then turned my attention to clearing the fine screen inside the header tank,

dirty water

as you can see from yesterdays picture it’s rather dirty 😦

This morning the flow had moderated and the water was running clear so I removed the coarse top screen and cleaned the fine internal one with a wire brush that has a long handle.


200111 006

With the ‘Stream Engine’ back on line I then cleaned out the pigs yet again as all this rain had made an awful lot of mud that was getting tramped back into the arks.

At last, for the first time since finishing work I managed to get back up to the fence that I’d started in November.

040211 006

Just in time for the snow and temperatures of minus .4 that felt like minus 5 in the chill south easterly wind.

 040211 007

Still, I stuck it until 12:30 when my wet and frozen feet said “enough” and carried me the short distance home to a cremated breakfast that wifey had made me. It may have been a little on the crisp side but the bacon, sausage, black pudding and egg revived me so much that I fell asleep 😦

It was a full two hours before I ventured back up, and what a difference, the temperature had rocketed to over 8 degrees and I beavered away until dark.

040211 008

Up until then I’d been using various small ‘left over’ coils of wire so I’d just unrolled it by hand, taking care to take equal numbers of coils off, first one way and then the other to prevent twists and kinks. A new 400m coil of wire is far too heavy to do this so I broke out my home made spool.

040211 009

I know it’s a cr4p picture but it was raining 😦 anyway it’s the base of an old cable reel with a cross made out of wood screwed to the base. Through that is a long spike that sticks in the ground and on the cross are four bits of pipe to hold the wire. A piece of wood with a ‘bungee’ over the top stops the wire coming off, though I doubt it would.


weather 040211

That was about it really apart from a spell of cutting wood from the store for the fire.

graph 040211


The wind is still howling but without last nights ferocity or thunder to set the dogs off, 

040211 003 040211 002

Wee Haggis was so upset last night that I had to put him in my pocket whilst I did the washing up 🙂

I know, it’s pretty lame but I’ve just been reading back through 20 years worth of diaries and forty years worth of diving log books and not a great deal seems to happen on the fourth of February 🙂

060209 003

So I’ll just leave you with some images of early February in years gone by, Sgurr nan Gilean,


070209 016

south of Manish with fresh north westerly,

190210 010

the ‘Five sisters of Kintail’,

060209 009

Calum’s cairn and

080209 034

‘Calum’s road’



  1. the thunder wrinkles on little haggis’ puppy brow are enough to melt the stoniest heart, as is the gorgeous 5 sisters pic, tx.

    Comment by jeannette — February 5, 2011 @ 12:35 am

    • Hi Jeannette,

      five sisters and five puppies and they’re all gorgeous 🙂 Thanx 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 6, 2011 @ 10:21 pm

  2. Might not seem like much to you, Paul, but I enjoy your posts even so. Those pictures of your fence work made my feet freeze!

    Comment by Bob — February 5, 2011 @ 1:52 pm

    • Hi Bob,

      glad you’re still here, sometimes it’s an effort to post but comments like yours help 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 6, 2011 @ 10:22 pm

  3. Hi Paul,

    Splendid pics as usual, the ones of the clam divers made me shiver – must have been mighty chilly out there this time of year. I don’t know about you but as soon as i approached 40 the water always seemed colder than i remember when i was younger, i must be getting soft in my old age…

    Any interesting bits from your diving logs? Can’t believe you’ve kept 40 years worth!, i only wish i’d kept all mine as it would be great to look back at.

    And belated congratulations on the blog award, it’s very well deserved, keep it up!


    Comment by Rich — February 5, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

    • Hi Rich,

      February and March were the really cold months, the months when I actually felt really chilled. Me though, I was lucky as I had a nice warm dry and well insulated boat with a diesel stove waiting to pick me up when I was in my fourties 🙂

      Aye, I’ve got sport and commercial logs going back to 1976 for more or less every dive that I’ve done, one where I found a cylinder of mecury, one where I found a dead compatriot, a couple where I got bent and thousands more besides. One day I will write a book 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 6, 2011 @ 10:33 pm

  4. You really should go up Sgurr nan Gillean one day. It is a cracking hill and the summit is a magical place on a sunny day.

    Comment by simon — February 5, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

    • It took me thirteen years to get up Dun Caan Simon 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 6, 2011 @ 10:37 pm

      • Maybe if i leave a bottle of 21 year old talisker up there and tell you where it is you might be tempted to go fetch it!

        Comment by simon — February 6, 2011 @ 11:07 pm

      • Hi Simon,

        hmmmm, very tempting, I could get my dad to take me up, he did it in his seventies and he likes a good dram 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 9, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: