Life at the end of the road

April 3, 2011

The magic 2 bar :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, shed/house — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:06 pm

I dunno how much electricity we’ve made today but it’s a lot, between the near gale that’s been blowing all day from the south west and the water pouring off the hill we’ve been a proper power station 🙂 The best of it is though, it’s actually been a lovely day, OK there’s been the odd shower but only one caught us out and I’ve managed to get far more achieved than I was expecting.

Starting whilst the rest of the house was in bed I cleaned out the pigs and changed their bedding whilst they were busy eating. Poor Bramble and Jamie Lee must have slept outside somewhere in protest at the state of their shelter as they were nowhere to be seen. Pigs are very clean animals and unless they have piglets in with them once a week is usually plenty between bedding changes. However the incessant rain of Friday and the mud brought in on their bodies had turned the old stone hen house that is their home into a swamp and they’d refused to sleep in it 😦

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It took me a while to get the old stuff out but Bramble gave me a hand to put the fresh rushes in and rearrange them.

After  having a late breakfast with the family I took the boys out to have a go with the new shotgun I purchased on Friday. Probably irresponsible in the eyes of many, but it’s only a tool to do a job on the croft and no more dangerous than an angle grinder or chainsaw in the wrong hands. My son was at sea in his nappies and driving a quad at eight or nine, he’ll probably grow up to be a banker but if he does choose life on the croft then at least I’ll have shown him how everything works 🙂


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Having scared all the crows away yesterday we resorted to some empty tins of Carlsberg at 25 yards and I have to say that I was most impressed with boy and his pals performance. I am also impressed with the performance of this Hatsan Escort 8 shot semi automatic shotgun that has little recoil, cycles faultlessly and puts the shot just where you point it. OK if I turned up with this little Turkish delight at some woodcock shoot at more than a days wage per day no one would speak to me but it does exactly what it says on the tin 🙂

To be honest the shooting lesson was a little bribery, being ‘quadless’ meant that the days tasks would not have the same attraction as normal and I needed muscle 🙂 The boys may be keen to help but when it just means, humping, pulling, digging and walking without the prospect of a little blast on the quad they’re not quite so keen.

By far the most important task, at least in my eyes was to measure the water pressure at the new shed/house site. Our totally ‘renewable’ heating and water system needs far more pressure than the .5 bar we have at present to operate through a ‘thermal store’ and TMV (thermostatic mixer valve). A minimum of 2bar is what I’m told by our designer and I was a little dubious if we had it. A quick look at the contours on the OS map had revealed that it may be just possible but there’s no substitute  for a pressure gauge. Of course we could use a pump but we’ll already need pumps for the solar hot water, under floor heating and loading valve on the wood boiler, another pump would just be a drain on the battery bank 😦

I had plenty of 32mm pipe but of course that was down on the shore half a kilometre and 120m lower down, which was where the boys came in 🙂

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It was hard work but we did it, well he did it, my boys pal that is, my boy was ‘double digging’ the garden for wifey 🙂

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A pressure gauge was soon rigged up and despite a few leaks crept up to over 2.4bar,

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I was ‘well chuffed’ 🙂

fresh bedding

The arrival after lunch of my mates quad and trailer enabled us to get some more bedding cut and stored in the barn, not to mention injecting some enthusiasm into my workforce 🙂

The royal alternative

The boys had worked well so after getting caught in a nasty shower on the way back from Brochel with the bedding I sent them in to dry out whilst I spent the rest of the day cutting wood and just pottering about, I love pottering about on my own 🙂

I think the last big media event that I got excited about was the moon landing in around 1967, I never watch Wimbledon, the Olympics or world cup and the last royal wedding I remember was Charles an Diana in 1981. The only reason I remember that is because I was underwater at the time on the German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow, so I certainly won’t be watching this one. Oh no I’ll be on the last sea going passenger paddle steamer in the world cruising around Raasay on the 29th of April . The website is not very clear but she’s doing a few cruises that include Raasay in the itinerary and will be berthed at our new pier for two nights.


Here she is captured in her full glory by ‘phillandthehounds’ on flickr

Built in 1946 to replace an 1899 PS Waverly that was sunk clearing mines at Dunkirk she plied the Clyde under various owners, including my employer until 1973 when she was withdrawn from service as a bit of a dinosaur that was too costly to operate . She was purchased for £1 by the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society and was back in service in 1975,

shrunk poster

since then she has undergone many refits and attracted funding from the National Lottery to become a star attraction all around the UK.

 shrunk poster 2

Anyway, that’s it, I’m off to bed.



  1. Have you thought about using a ram-pump Paul?
    Theres lots of info on them on Mother Earth News and you-tube.

    Comment by Mike — April 4, 2011 @ 8:35 am

    • Hi Mike,

      I’ve thought about a ram pump in the past as I know a couple of people on Raasay that use them but to be honest it completly slipped under my radar for this application and would probably have worked a treat. As for Alex the ‘Landyman’ I’m wracking my brain but can’t think 😦 The memory is not what it used to be, I’m sure it’ll come back to me soon 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 4, 2011 @ 8:37 pm

  2. I am considering a trip on the Waverlee this year. There is a certain wedding at the end of the month that I am keen to avoid, and they are doing a long day trip from Oban to Knoydart which should be a corker. Trying to convince the family that this is a good day trip is another matter 😦

    Comment by simon — April 4, 2011 @ 10:49 am

    • Just noticed the date – it is 29 April Paul, not July! Might see you on the boat!

      Comment by simon — April 4, 2011 @ 10:51 am

    • Hi Simon,
      ‘senior moment’ there, 29th of July was when I was diving the Scapa Flow wrecks on the other wedding day, it should have read 29th April as you pointed out. See you then 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 4, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

  3. I’ve just said farewell to “the Beast”, to a guy with the intriguing e-mail of “skyelandy”, and guess what Paul, even though he lives in the borders … HE KNOWS YOU!!
    Chap called Alex, says he’s worked with you at either the fishing or coal!
    Small world or what?

    Comment by Mike — April 4, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

  4. Hi Paul

    Thanks for the mention about the Waverley – booked Neil, Finlay and myself for the cruise. See you then


    Comment by Phil — April 5, 2011 @ 7:57 am

    • Good Morning Phil,

      glad you managed to book and get on despite me saying it was on the 29th of July 😦 Look forward to seeing you, the boys will also be onboard, as well as much of Raasay 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 7, 2011 @ 5:08 am

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