Life at the end of the road

September 28, 2011

I hate cars !!!!

Filed under: boats, daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:55 pm

Not quite as planned could have been the title of today’s effort but since that’s the story of my life I’ve probably used it already. The day has been busy indeed, but not actually doing anything that I’d intended, but such are the ‘ups and downs’ at ‘the end of the road’.

It’s been a while since I posted, not through any lack of enthusiasm or things to rabbit on about but I’ve just been spending hours online trying to get to grips with fluid dynamics, the laws of physics and a reluctant siphon on my penstock (water pipe). Consequently my ‘single track’ brain has been unable to concentrate on much else.

As far as I recall Saturday was not such a bad day and I spent a good deal of it down below cleaning the bilges and searching for oil leaks in the engine room.

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One of which turned out to be from a cover on the forward main engines timing chest and the other from the auxiliary drive gear housing O ring. The blanking plate is on the left with two bolt holes and the auxiliary drive on the right with three studs.

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That’s the drive gear and its pulley back in position with the new belts.

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I don’t know who organizes, or what this rally is called but every September around the equinox Skye is visited by a convoy of old commercial vehicles for a couple of days. This one’s an old Volvo tanker that probably has the same engine in it as the Loch Striven as they’re of similar vintage.

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Here’s an Atkinson eight wheeler from the 1970’s

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and another Volvo tractor unit from the early nineties, probably got a leaky auxiliary drive too 🙂

There was however no sign of this beauty

image  image image image

an International Loadstar from Jack Bradley’s in Accrington, where I lived for many years. These American trucks were, for a while built in Doncaster and there’s some much better pictures here

I clearly remember seeing them at his depot when I was a lad in the late sixties, then around twelve years ago I saw this very truck at Clunie but have never seen it since 😦

Sunday was a pure 5h1t of a day, and had we been working from the old terminal at Suisnish there would have been no 10:00am sailing. The rain came down in bucket loads and Raasay House had a ‘changeover’ 😦 The fifty odd going out got absolutely soaked in their short journey from the waiting room to the ferry. Their coach driver had trusted his ‘prat nav’ instead of consulting a map and ended up in Mallaig 😦 So they got even wetter waiting for the delayed coach but the new group arrived just as the rain stopped 🙂


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Monday, as I recall was not a bad day,

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all the fleet out fishing

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and plenty of rainbows.

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Tuesday however was very much like Sunday 😦

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Not quite so much wind but hellish showers. Still I was not caring, for it was my Friday and the forecast for the ‘week off’ was good 🙂

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At lunchtime I went along to for  gas and saw for the first time no timber, for JST had moved it all and pretty soon they’d be taking their excellent floating pier away too.


Today was a rare day indeed for a September day on Raasay, screaming south wind all day and no rain 🙂

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Not only was it dry but it was warm and a pleasure to be outside.


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The day started to go ‘pear shaped’ yesterday when I arrived home to an extinguished oil stove and escaped pigs 😦 So that was two jobs that I had to attend to before I could even start the ‘to do’ list. Then there was the wife’s dads car that had developed a hole in the catalytic converter.

Now I’m big on the environment but the catalytic converter has to be the biggest load of eco bollox on the planet, full of precious metals, uses far more resources than it saves and friggin expensive. Fine on your big US gas guzzling tank but on small European or Japanese cars it saps more power out of the engine than the emissions it saves 😦

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Dad in law’s gazillion pound ‘cat’ had a hole in it and I spent a few hours removing it and patching it up. Of course it wasn’t straight forward because the escaping pigs had chewed through the gas pipe on my MIG welder and I had to fix that first 😦

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Then it was repairing the fence so the pigs could not repeat the incident, a job that was severely hampered by the fact that it’s solid rock 😦

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However, with an extra square post some innovative straining, a few boards, an old bed and a 38mm Hitachi drill I had it sorted 🙂

Then after what would hopefully be the ‘final cut’ of the lawn I tuned my attention to the radiator fan on wifey’s dads car, a Peugeot 206 estate. Now when I was a lad it was quite simple, you had a switch in the radiator that turned the fan on and off when it got hot, there was usually a fuse and occasionally a relay. Of course nowadays it’s all controlled by the ECU via the temperature sensor for the gauge and the relay and fuse are hidden :-(  That’s just fine, well apart from the fact that you really need to take it to a garage to get it checked, for every time you disconnect something to check it by conventional means the ECU registers  a ‘fault code’. No big deal there then, that is until you reach 50 ‘fault codes’ and need a new ECU. Give me an old Land Rover any day, I just hate these modern cars 😦


  1. We’ve just returned from 5 days camping in Scotland – I can certainly vouch for the mixed weather! Sadly we ran out of time to get over to Raasay and Skye, but will hopefully be back in the new year.

    Had the same problem with the ‘cat’ on my wife’s old peugeot – rusted through in exactly the same place! One of the welders at my dad’s place fixed it up for us (as I don’t have any welding gear) and it was right as rain – probably still is! Totally agree with you about new cars though – far too many things to go wrong on them that can’t be fixed with a spanner or hammer!!

    Comment by Mark Phelan — September 29, 2011 @ 6:16 am

    • Morning Mark,

      definitely a ‘spanner and hammer’ sort me 🙂 The wife’s car drives me nuts with all its ‘features’ climate control instead of a nice knob with blue and red on it. Friggin thing has this feature called ‘super locking’ and no door keys. This means that once it’s activated you cannot get out of the car unless the key is in the ignition!!!! what the feck is that all about? The handbook which is the size of a bible tells you that if you are in an accident and it fails you have one or two options as your car goes up in flames. Option 1 is to lower the passenger window, remove the ignition key, crawl over to the passenger side, prize off a blanking plate on the outside of the door, insert the key and unlock manually 😦 Option 2 if you’ve lost electrical power is to smash a window (with the hammer they don’t provide) and crawl out through that.

      The world has gone mad

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 30, 2011 @ 6:42 am

  2. Paul, methinks you hate cars like you hate wee dugs

    Comment by carina — September 29, 2011 @ 6:35 am

    • No Carina, I really do hate modern cars 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 30, 2011 @ 6:42 am

  3. Hi paul, doon this neck o the woods the boys cut the cats off the cars and replace them with a straight pipe and only put the cat on for the mot,s keeping the cat,s nice and new and dry in the shed, its better and cheeper than replacing them. Give the family our best wishes, the twins keep wanting to get back up and see you all again (more so the piggies) 🙂

    Comment by jimmy mcmillan — September 29, 2011 @ 11:25 am

  4. Hi Paul

    Fully agree with you re modern cars and their ECU’s although a few years back I got an OBDII adapter from this crowd – and I was ably to read and reset any fault codes using a laptop and free software! From memory the adapter lead was around £35 although I think their prices have gone up 😦

    Comment by Derek — September 29, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

    • Morning Derek,

      I really must get something like that and learn how to use it, as you suggest the new boat will be full of ECU’s I’m sure. Many of the modern Volvo commercial diesels can only be properly fixed by connecting to the main computer in Sweden via the internet 😦 You can fit an injector using a generic machine to match it to the ECU but final setting must be done via Volvo’s own computer, how useful is that when at sea, the satellite link is down due to really bad weather and heaving seas 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 30, 2011 @ 6:49 am

  5. Hi Again

    I meant to say – I see there is some news of your new ferry – A Hybrid no less! Hope it doesn’t have ECU’s and fault codes 😉

    Comment by Derek — September 29, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

  6. Hi Paul, love the old trucks ! wouldnt mind a shot at driving the Atki, tho i havent driven a ‘crash box’ since learning to drive class 2s, so getting goin wouldnt be a prob, just the downshifting to stop would be LOL I think the tour is called the Britsh Commercial Vehicle Museums Outdoor show ( i searched it!,) dont mean to be a geek or a show off LOL Thats another think about Scotland i love, how you will stumble upon classic vehicles in far flung and unlikely locations. Cant see many modern euroboxes ever becoming ‘classics’!

    Comment by Gordon — September 29, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

    • Hi Gordon,
      There was a little bit in the WHFP about the rally and some nice pictures but it never mentioned the name. Many had started off in Leicestershire but one old Comma TS3 had come from Norfolk.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 30, 2011 @ 6:53 am

  7. prat nav, hee hee.

    Comment by jeannette — September 30, 2011 @ 2:07 am

    • There is an even better name for a satnav Jeannette but it’s not printable 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 30, 2011 @ 6:54 am

  8. Hi Paul,
    As you know I follow your blog on a regular Basis. And was surprised to see the photo of the Jack Bradley International. What a small world, I knew Jack Bradley from the seventy’s when he had a sub depot in Weston super Mare, delivering Cardboard boxes from a local company. I was employed by him as a class 1 driver for eleven years at Weston and He still had Internationals on the Weston site when I started there. They were a great truck to drive, if not a bit basic, but the looks you got as you drove by made up for that. Thanks again for that memorable photo.

    Green van man

    Comment by Ray Wilshire — September 30, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

    • Morning Ray,

      you’ll have to thank Paul Anderson I spent hours on his site looking at the pictures and reading the stories 🙂 They used to have a depot at an old drift mine near Accrington where the Internationals were parked up and I was at college with an apprentice mechanic there. The tales he used to tell, the one that sticks in my mind is how they broke into the gas main and put a tap on it. Then when it was cold they’d open the tap and set fire to it 🙂 Never knew if he was pulling my leg but I’ve never forgot it 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 1, 2011 @ 6:30 am

  9. Mallaig!!! What a prat! Do we know whether he entered “Skye ferry” (which sort of describes Sconser) into the prat nav and it sent him, perfectly logically, to Mallaig? Or did the p/n’s route finding software give him a route to Sconser via Mallaig-Armadale rather than the bridge? Either way, you’re better off with a big AA Road Atlas.

    Comment by Neil King — October 1, 2011 @ 9:43 am

    • Hi Neil, you can’t beat a map and a hard copy of an instruction book hey, aparantly TV’s now have their manuals ‘on screen’ fat lot of use that is is you can’t switch the friggin thing on. I’ve already had one rant about the Panasonic camera that requires you to carry a laptop around to read it’s manual. Brilliant for carrying about on the quad 🙂 As for the ‘Prat nav’ and Mallaig, that’s the third one that I know of, the best of it was that one of the people LIVED on Raasay 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 3, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

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