Life at the end of the road

August 18, 2011

Like pushing water uphill :-(

Filed under: animals, daily doings, hydro, life off grid, pigs, shed/house — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:26 pm

That’s exactly what I’d got planned today, a little water pumping on the new hydro project but it all went a little pear shaped 😦 but more of that later. The reason I’ve not been on here of late is the copious emails that I’ve been composing to politicians councillors and education officials in an effort to secure a place for our son at the Portree high school hostel. Me naively thinking that any child who had to endure a ten hour day would automatically qualify, especially when children with shorter journeys do. He’s twelve years old for heavens sake, is it really fair for him to be expected to leave the house at 7:10 and not return until 17:30!!! 

Anyway I’ll not say any more for fear of ‘going off on one’ and our long uphill struggle does seem like it may be bearing fruit 🙂 So where was I, well the first full day off saw us in Inverness for an appointment at Raigmore hospital and a little shopping.

We were all up early on a beautiful Wednesday and bumped our way down the road for the 7:55, me being more than a little pi55ed off at having to spend what looked like being the best day of the week off the croft 😦

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The boy headed to school and we soon left the Red Cuilins, Loch Ainort and Skye behind

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stopping only at the Red Burn cafe in Glen Morriston. The food is great, the portions generous and the atmosphere friendly 🙂

Our visit to Raigmore  also gave us chance to pop in and see our good friend, blog contributor and Raasay native Shelagh Taylor


who is having a battle with kidney cancer. Shelagh had already undergone two operations when we saw her, and whilst we met Shelagh she was just about to go in for a third as the result of an infection from the second. The second being to remove some lymph nodes and she had not even got the results back from that before being taken ill 😦 Kidney cancer is a little understood type of cancer that claimed an acquaintance of mine last year, Dickie Livingstone, a popular and respected fisherman from Shieldaig  on the mainland. She’s set up a ‘just giving’ account where all the money apart from a 5% fee goes to the charity. Please make Shelagh’s day and help her on the road to recovery by visiting it 🙂

Back to the hydro

After having to cope with all those roundabouts, traffic lights and people it was a relief to get back on Raasay, Portree is busy enough for me in a car. My two ton steed may not be the ideal ‘town car’ but people do tend to keep of its way 🙂

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Collecting the Dude from his pals on the way back it was good to see that work had at last started on the new housing association house behind the village hall.

Today’s plane was to get stuck straight into the hydro project after taking the Dude to the ferry but things did not go to plan. Belladrum and lack of pipe fittings got in the way of getting it sorted last ‘week off’ and Bracken put a spanner in the works this morning by producing milk.

We of course knew she was about due so moved her into a field that had been fallow for a few months to have her litter. When a sow starts producing milk she’s not far from farrowing, so as well as moving her we decided to shift her ark to a cleaner patch of ground.

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Normally I’d just move it a few meters with levers and rollers but the field was firm enough to get the ‘Old girl’ in so I decided to shift it right to the other end with the winch. This seemed quite logical as I would then be able to move it back over good solid ground without driving into the field during the winter.

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The only problem being when the ark got caught and I did not stop the winch quickly enough, its 9500lb pull being far too much for the 400lb house 😦 I then had to spend the remains of the morning repairing it 😦

Much later than planned I finally opened my box’s of goodies

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and headed off on the quad with the ‘wee dug’ to join up all the pipe I’d laid for the new turbine.

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These plastic 90mm compression fittings from are by far the easiest I’ve used. When this MDPE pipe gets above 50mm it can be quite difficult to get into the ‘O’ rings and get the pipe fully home. I always chamfer the pipe first and mark it with a saw cut but to be quite honest with these Italian fittings it’s not necessary, though the mark is a good idea to see if the pipe has come out under pressure or by contraction in the cold. The black pipe especially does expand and shrink allot with temperature, not such an issue once there’s water flowing through it but after lying in the August sun a 100m length will contract a good few inches once the water is in it.

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As I had plenty of the 90mm pipe I re routed some of it to remove some high spots that could trap air

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though some of the ‘routes’ were a little overgrown and my helper was not impressed 🙂

All this took far longer than expected, as did writing this, so I’m off to bed without finishing it 🙂



  1. whats the dog called ..Arrrr

    Comment by Gaz — August 18, 2011 @ 10:59 pm

    • Morning Gaz, that’ll be Molly my boys world famous wee dug, even comes up on Google images 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 19, 2011 @ 5:09 am

  2. Looks like a sort of productive day or two. Hopefully, the Dude’s hostal place will be secured soon. ‘Tis absurd expecting kids to travel daily and esp in winter and then keep awake and learn anything! If nothing else, he’ll already have learned the lesson of how generally useless and inconsistent local authority and government bureaucrats can be!
    Bracken’s looking a fair size there whereas Molly looks swamped amid the bracken!

    Comment by Iain — August 19, 2011 @ 4:42 am

  3. One advantage of carrying pig huts, yes, including ones as large as yours, on my shoulders is that I can’t pull the ends off. One of the disadvantages is that when it’s really boggy, as it is now, I find myself sinking downwards as I lift instead of finding the hut going up. Then I have to get someone in to pull me out. Hmm, perhaps I should invest in a winch for our Defender, too.

    Nah, where would be the fun in that! 😀

    I’m enjoying watching the steady progress of the pipework. Bearing in mind how the road to your place progressed, I wouldn’t be surprised if, in 20 years or so, there’s a TV report about a mysterious drop in water levels at Loch Ness being traced to a very, very long 90mm black pipe…

    Comment by Stonehead — August 19, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

    • Morning Stoney,

      you’d struggle standing inside mine and carrying them on your back as they have heavy wooden floors inside them 🙂 On second thoughts perhaps I should fit a trapdoor in the middle for my legs 🙂 Most definitely a design flaw on my behalf 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 20, 2011 @ 7:07 am


    i hope you’ll pass this info on to your hard-working assistant, you slave driver you, with special emphasis on the working in high bracken when you’re only 16 inches at the withers.

    Comment by jeannette — August 19, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

    • …sorry, that would be “special-emphasis-on-the-working-in high-bracken-when-you’re-only-16-inches-at-the withers hazardous duty additional pay clause….

      Comment by jeannette — August 19, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

      • That wee dug is far too fat at the moment for extra pay Jeannette 🙂 Only one week with my mother in law in the house and she turned into a wee barrel 🙂 or ‘white pudding’ as Willie Eyre calls her now 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 20, 2011 @ 7:11 am

  5. Hi paul we doon here are all sorry to hear about shelagh, so tell her the next time you see her we hope she has a swift recovery

    Comment by jimmy mcmillan — August 20, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

    • Morning Jimmy,

      will do but I’m sure Shelagh will read it on here 🙂

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 22, 2011 @ 5:38 am

  6. Got a “pass” for a few hours from Portree Hospital so I could come home and take care of some things and of course, one of those things was to check out Paul’s blog! Still struggling with an open wound and infection so it looks like I could be in hospital for another 2 weeks or so. Results in from lymph node and it is inconclusive. Sample has been sent to some big pathology lab in London where a panel meets once a month to discuss interesting and complex cases. I should hear more in another couple of weeks. Although it is looking like lymphoma, they are not 100% sure as it is not a clear and uncomplicated case of it. Thank you so much, Mr & Mrs C for coming to see me. It was a lovely surprise! Thank you Jummy for you kind wishes

    Comment by Shelagh — September 4, 2011 @ 10:18 am

    • Hope all goes well Shelagh and glad to here that you’re nearer to home.

      Get well soon, Love from us all, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 6, 2011 @ 5:13 am

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