Life at the end of the road

August 31, 2011

Southampton to South Arnish

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings, harbour, life off grid, listers — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:44 pm

Early nights and mountains of paperwork have been responsible for very little effort on the blogging from Raasay front of late. A terrible memory will ensure that I’ve forgotten most of what I’ve done but the pictures may help. Monday was memorable for its drama, for the customers at least, of timing their crossing of the ramp with the rolling swell and it wasn’t even particularly windy. There may not have been much wind but it had been steady from the north for a couple of days and built up quite a sea.

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As you can see from this picture taken on the way to work from Glame looking over to Portree, a big lift but no white horses. Still with the new moon on Saturday and high tide around 7:30 it was going to make the 7:55 sailing, or at least boarding interesting 🙂

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It had also been ‘interesting’ for this little boat that didn’t belong there 🙂

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I arrived at work around high water to find that the car park had got a wash 🙂

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Then I got one myself

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as I foolishly lingered on the pier

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to watch Jim’s van getting its tyres cleaned 🙂

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It’s really difficult being a teenager and trying to look cool whilst your running, especially if it’s on the way to school 🙂 Fortunately as the tide ebbed and Goat Island was once more joined to the Arduish things improved greatly, but I can’t help thinking that it was a mistake not to fill in the gap whilst the machinery was here. 

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But then I suppose it was only ever a ‘proposed breakwater’, somebody with sense proposed it and someone holding the purse strings un proposed it 🙂

After the day at work I arrived home to find two of the ‘spotties’ digging up the veg patch, having burrowed their way under the fence,

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so we arranged fresh accommodation for them. It would be fairly easy to have repaired the fence but I was far too tired and added it to the ‘to do’ list for the week off. Meanwhile they could go in the field in front of the house 🙂

The swell had moderated on Tuesday, assisted by a change to a more westerly quarter and the day passed quickly in the mad rush of week and month end paperwork.

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The harbour master making use of the large ebb to make a fine job of power washing growth off the slipway whilst we had our lunch.

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Work was progressing nicely on the new house sites between the village hall and School Park

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and this fine catamaran belonging to SeaFari flew by at 15:30 but it’s so new that it’s not even on their website 😦

Cyril arrives safely

You may think I’m bonkers for parting with £700 to a complete stranger at the other end of the British Isles to buy a generator that I’ve not seen or even know works. Especially when the chap himself didn’t even know, it was however a Lister with only 50 hours on it, and as these generators are virtually indestructible I took a chance. It wasn’t much of a gamble really, despite it being almost forty years old and having lain idle for ten. It came out of a police station in Winchester so would have been ‘maintained  regardless’, so basically if it turned over, which he assured me it did, it would be OK.

Still, when I went over on the first ferry this morning to collect it from Skye Express in Portree I was a little apprehensive. ‘Tibster’ may have been honest enough but who knows what can happen to a 450Kg lump with ancillaries attached on the 650 mile trip north. When I arrived at their depot I was not disappointed, even with its ‘shrinkwrap’ coat I could see that this was a pure gem. Not only was the exhaust spotlessly clean, a sure sign of low hours but all the bolts, pipe wiring and fuel tank were carefully parcelled up.

After collecting some wormer from our vet twelve bags of pig feed from and no wine from the Co op 😦 I raced for the 10:25 ferry. Five minutes waiting for that bottle of red would have caused me to miss it. What is the point of a law that forbids you to buy a bottle of wine before 10:00am????? How many wino’s, teenagers, or delinquents do you see out of bed before then, let alone queuing up for Buckfast 😦 It may have taken me twenty five minutes to drive the eleven miles from Portree to Sconser but it took me almost an hour to weave my way round and over the pot holes on the last eleven miles home, I did not want to damage my precious cargo 🙂 It had travelled 650 miles without incident, I wasn’t going to jolt it off its mountings on the last leg.



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As I eagerly unwrapped my new, well new to me 1972 Lister SR2 6Kw generator it just kept getting better and better.

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No carbon up the exhaust, no dust or oil on the flywheel,

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and just look at that valve gear, as new, this baby was as good as new, and for the same price as some high revving piece of sh1t from China 🙂

I just coupled up the fuel tank, changed the fuel filter, bled the fuel line, turned the handle, heard the distinctive ‘crack’ of a pumping injector, flipped the decompression lever over and he fired up. As soon as the first pisto hit TDC it burst into life, not even one full turn!!!

Next I got a couple of batteries connected up, wired up the electrical panel into the workshop main after isolating it from the house and started it on the motor.


The lights blazed on in the workshop, the pillar drill ran, the grinders worked and I was ecstatic 🙂 the only fly in the ointment being that the voltmeter does not work, think I’ll ask for my money back 🙂

With so many of these old standby ‘mains failure’ sets still about I find it hard to comprehend why anyone living ‘off grid’ would consider anything else. A new Chinese clone of a Honda or Yanmar would cost as much and you’d be lucky to get three years out of it. A quality Kubota or genuine Yanmar or even a new Lister would cost you three times as much and you may get 10 years out of it. My 1978 ST2 7Kw (for which Cyril is a replacement) ran twelve hours a day for 18 years before I bought it and is still perfectly good as a standby thousands of hours and 15 years later. They just don’t make em like this anymore 🙂

August 28, 2011

It’s all in the tactics :-)

Filed under: daily doings, pigs, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:14 pm


I left you with a hurried effort last night before receiving a most excellent picture from a justly proud parent who’s children had contributed greatly to Raasay’s success on Saturday.

Here’s the scores 

    Raasay 3 Dunvegan 0 Goals from Ally, Ryan and Robin,,
    Raasay 1  Kyleakin ) Goal from Ryan
    Raasay 4 staffin Flyers 0 Goals from Ryan, Robin, Euan and Morgan
    Raasay 2 Portree B 0 Goals from Ryan and Euan

here’s the picture of the victorious team


and here’s the cup once again just in case you missed it 🙂

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I really shouldn’t be ‘reporting’ on football because apart from watching Accrington Stanley once in the 1960s I’ve never been to a match and I’ve NEVER watched a match on TV. The only reason I went to that match was because the ground was next to the Peel Park primary school that I attended and we went with them 🙂



Found this image here The caption underneath it reads

“Talking of wet afternoons in Accrington, the above pic is one of my all-time archive favourites. It shows the first Stanley’s final non-league game (against Glossop) in January 1966. Oh, to have been one of those boys on the wall …”

One of them could have been me 🙂 or certainly one of my school pals, for there is Peel Park primary in the top right of the picture, happy days 🙂

Though not long after I went the club  went bust, the stadium ended up like this


then burnt down 😦

Anyway, I digress, what I was going to say before my trip down memory lane, or was it Peel Park lane, that leads past the ground and up to the Coppice (the Copy as we used to call it), that hill in the background. There I go again, what I was going to say was. This whole footie thing is lost on me, but those ‘in the know’ tell me that the reason they play so well is down to Roger, their coach, for Roger makes them play as a team. None of this huge bundle of players chasing the ball for Raasay, no they’re disciplined, if Roger tells the defence to stay back, it stays back. If he tells a player to mark an opponent he (or she) sticks to them like glue 🙂 Well it’s paid off and a big thank you to Roger for his efforts from all the parents 🙂


So after the first tie up last night with the pier lights on I returned home in the dark with all lights blazing, had a bath and went to bed. Sure enough the North wind arrived with a bang, well it seemed like a bang when I stirred from my bed at 6:45. The northerly winds are the only ones that we really feel at the house and it was good to see the wind turbine working well and feel the cool blast as I opened the front door.


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As is usual for a Sunday I fed the pigs and noticed, much to my surprise that Jamie Lee was on heat! This puzzled me for she still had six piglets suckling and sows don’t usually come on heat until their piglets are weaned. At just seven weeks of age they were ready for weaning but I’ve never seen a sow come into heat before her piglets have gone. I could have done it before I went to work but decided to leave it until later when the swineherd could help.

The day at work was the usual Sunday routine of cleaning, a couple of runs to Sconser and back, a fire in the engine room (drill of course) and maintenance. Today’s essential task being a 500 hour service on the Volvo main engines.

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Though that’s an old picture because I forgot my camera, so no pictures of the cars and passengers driving and walking through the sea due to the huge northerly swell on the slip 😦

When the working day was done, and with none of the rain that was forecast arriving I headed home to do a few jobs before dinner. First being to load up an oil tank onto my trailer ready for an expected delivery of diesel, after which I weaned Jamie lee’s spotties.


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The four gilts and two boars following me quite happily into the small field next to the veg patch that we reserve for weaning piglets. They’ll only be in there for a few days so its plenty large enough, and far away from mum, who will be glad enough to see the back of them 🙂

After that it was feeding bracken and her seven wains who, after only a week are starting to take an interest in mums dinner 🙂


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Well they were until I came along with the camera 🙂

Next I opened the gate to let Rocky and Bramble into Jamie Lee’s field and vice versa. Poor Bramble will probably get chunks taken out of her until the ‘pecking order’ is re established  so it’s best to give them plenty of room. At least by leaving the gate open she can sleep in Jamie Lee’s bed whilst she ‘gets it on’ with Rocky. it’s no use trying to keep them apart, for pigs are gregarious creatures and even if bullied will try to get back to the herd. So long as they have plenty of room they’ll sort it out amongst themselves.

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At least I hope they will because Rocky looks like he still has a thing or two to learn about the whole ‘making bacon’ thing 🙂 Though Jamie Lee should know better by now 🙂


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In all fairness to our young boar I think he’d already served her whilst I was fitting a new carburettor to my Honda water pump. But you know what guys are like ‘two pumps and a squirt’ and it’s all over for them 🙂

So before I dig an even bigger hole for myself I’ll leave you with the weather

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