Life at the end of the road

October 30, 2011

Wrestling with the clocks :-(

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, shed/house, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:09 pm

To be honest I’ll be glad to see the back of this weekend for it’s been the most miserable I can remember in a long while at least on the weather front.


That wind speed indicator being the lowest it’s been in days and I’m sure that rain gauge is a decimal point out, it certainly feels like it.

Still, we’ve certainly had plenty of power this weekend, in fact I can’t remember when the generator last ran, probably September. In the 48 hour period between 7:00pm Friday and 7:00pm Sunday, that’s actually 6:00pm because of this pish of changing the clocks. Anyway, it was a full two days, and it that time the Proven wind turbine and the ‘Stream Engine’ water turbine have produced 57Kwh of electricity, 39 of which was ‘dumped’ into the heating elements in the porch, bathroom and bedroom. We used 18Kwh in that period which is over double our normal 4.3Kwh per day. A figure obtained after just three days short of six years usage, in which time we’ve used 9548Kwh.

graph 251011


The reason we used so much is because we tend to do high energy stuff like baking, roasting, washing and tumble drying when it’s wet or windy. Conversely in droughts and calm spells we do less washing and more pot roasting. It’s no great inconvenience and you soon get used to making the most of natures elements :-) 

Well done Raasay

Saturday was ‘postless’ due to a rapid change of plan in the morning, sure I’d got up as normal, fed the pigs, checked Bramble for milk and started to get stuff ready for more ‘hydro madness’. My son and his pal were due to be playing footie on the all weather pitch at Portree high but we all felt certain that would be cancelled and were looking forward to a day at home.

With the wind blowing 35mph and the rain lashing down, we received a call that it was on 😦 Still unconvinced that it actually would be, and feeling certain that once we arrived at Portree High sanity would prevail I offered to take them. I needed my helpers for the days task and would be hard pressed without them. Of course I could have stayed home and done the VAT return, but why break a 22 year old spell of avoiding it until the last possible moment 🙂

Three nil nil draws and two nil one defeats can hardly be called a good result but it was in our book. Our diligent players were playing against well oiled teams twice their size and with  only six or seven of their own players. The rest of Raasay FC being made up with players from other teams and I have to say a most excellent goalie who was responsible for stopping some excellent goals by the other teams 🙂


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We left there at 14:30 and instead of going home headed for the mainland and my parents house. I’d planned to go over on Sunday anyway but visiting on Saturday would make better use of time as I was already on Skye. Not only that but I had a pump on board to fill up their new oil tank 🙂

A boodly disgrace

My elderly folks are having new central heating fitted under some scheme or another for pensioners wishing to upgrade to more efficient heating. It all sounds very good in theory, they have an old and expensive system with not enough radiators and their current oil tank isn’t ‘bunded’ this means having a double skin capable of taking the entire contents.   There’s nothing wrong with the tank, it was quite legal when it was fitted, being plastic and covered in ivy it is unlikely to degrade and not being made by Balmoral is unlikely to split. However every time the tank is filled the driver mentions that it should be double skinned due to its proximity to a burn. Something that as you can imagine worries my folks greatly.

Hearing about this scheme and then actually qualifying for a whole new system and tank seemed like a godsend then, aye that’ll be right 😦 It’s been surveyed three times, the plumbers have turned up twice then left with some lame excuse without doing anything. Three weeks ago my mum moved furniture and carpets for them to do the ‘one day’ job and due to incompetence beyond belief she’s still waiting. One lot came to fit the plinth for the tank, a week later the second lot came to fit the condensing boiler but couldn’t because there was  no plinth for it. The third lot came to ‘fit the plinth’ and just dropped of a paving stone and vanished into the ether :-(   Though that wasn’t before saying that they couldn’t possibly fit the boiler at this end of the house and it would have to go elsewhere!!! Then when she asked them about transferring the oil the 2m from the old tank to the new they replied ‘sno ma job’ 😦 When the seventy odd year old with the eighty odd year old husband enquired as to how they were supposed to do it something about ‘them’ as in Ma and Pa doing it was muttered 😦

Fortunately moving oil is something that I’m well used to after 26 years ‘off grid’ so I did it with little fuss and effort. But you’d think that a company that installs OIL central heating would have some means of putting oil in the friggin tank to test it!! I know when folk have had new systems fitted or new tanks installed on Raasay the plumbers have transferred the oil as part of the job.

After doing that, fitting a shelf, having a bite to eat and being given a fine 2007 Chianti (which I’m now savouring) we left for the 21:00 ferry from Sconser.

Messing about with clocks

Arriving on Raasay at 21:25 we headed north in the dark, collecting another one of my team along the way 🙂 I went straight to bed leaving wifey with the ‘three amigos’ 🙂 This morning I arose at the usual time by my body clock, which is insanely early according to the time that the freshly altered clock says. I friggin hate all this messing about with clocks, it leaves both me and the pigs confused for weeks 🙂 It’s not just the fact that my body clock is messed up, it’s all the pishing about with the multitude of timers, clocks, thermostats and alarms that seem so abundant in twenty first century life. What is the point of it!!!! I don’t care what time we use, GMT, UTC, BST, CET or friggin Arnish Pig Time but can we please just pick one and keep to it.

It’s not ‘rocket science’

The day really did not get off to a good start, I was already in a foul mood after all the clock fettling when I went to feed Bramble and Jamie Lea. As has been usual for the past week I checked Bramble for milk, and sure enough she had it in abundance so I went to move Jamie back onto the croft. That was when I noticed the piglets, four of them all curled up in a nest of bracken inside the ark.

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Four live ones and four dead ones 😦 Bramble had farrowed early and Jamie had squashed four. We thought she wasn’t due until November and wifey had checked her for milk last night and found none. They can’t have been more than an hour or two old for a little later she had another making five live ones in all. I can’t help kicking myself for not splitting them earlier but there’s not a lot that I can do about it 😦


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It may have been dark wet and windy last night, and the ‘GDD’ of Hugh Mackay plant may have been working all night at Glenelg loading timber onto the Red Duchess


for JST but that didn’t stop him bringing up more plant to Arnish 🙂

After feeding and moving everyone then having breakfast we turned our attention back to the hydro pipe at Tarbert.

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Of course we couldn’t use the cattle grid as the council had ‘fixed it’ 🙂 Perhaps I’m being unfair as I only complained about it collapsing on Thursday, but it will be interesting to see how long it takes them to actually replace it. They will of course deny all knowledge of the cattle grid actually being fecked for months despite their surveyors and the bin lorry being over it many times over the last few months 🙂

The pipe in the picture was dragged down to the end of the pipe from Loch Beag and attached to it.

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Adding this 50 or so meters on the end would give a little more head, shorten the cable run and put the turbine in a sheltered position.


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The Powerspout will be going where the spade is, sheltered from the majority of the weather and most of the salt spray.

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But first we had to take the valve back to the workshop to do some mods,

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but by the time we returned to fit it the heavens had opened into a relentless deluge.

It was only 14:00 by the clock but 15:00 in reality and my team were soaked to the skin so I took them home and ordered them to stay on the ‘Xbox’ 🙂 To be honest I’m sure they’d have rather been out in the pishing rain but I didn’t want them getting pneumonia 🙂

I had packed the Honda 2” water pump with the intention of getting the siphon flowing but realistically it was a ‘none starter’ due to the time. Had I started messing about with the pump in Loch Beag it would have been dark by the time I’d have got water flowing, so I headed home.

Now this aint ‘rocket science’ but you can clearly see that this quad is in rather a deep puddle,

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where’s it gone !!!!!!!

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That’s where it’s gone,

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five fecking minutes it took me with a £15 garden friggin spade from Jansvans in Portree to fix that. OK it still left a 100mm deep pothole, but if the council kept the water off the friggin road the potholes wouldn’t fester. Every fortnight they send a pickup over on the ferry at the cost of £90 to pick up none existent litter, how much money would they save if they sent a spade over as well 🙂

Better still why not employ a contractor on Raasay to do both, save a fortune and give some much needed local employment?


  1. Your comments about the time change had me really laughing out loud! I don’t have the body clock thing so the time change has never bothered me but I am sure for yourself and many others it a real hassle. And the poor pigs never knowing when breakfast is! LOL. You have some cute babies there.
    I was reading older posts from the beginning and was totally amazed to find that you were living off the land and without all the “modern” things such as electricity. I sometimes wonder if I ever had the choice if I would want to live that way. I sometimes think it would be easier in some ways and more difficult in others….and as I am more the lazy type I would probably starve or freeze to death! Now if I could quit having to work a job, move to the mountains in the wilderness, live in a cave and live off the land I think I would give it a go. I would much rather work to take care of my needs than work to pay the utility companies, our governmants wages, insurance companies, etc.

    Comment by susan67 — October 31, 2011 @ 12:51 am

    • Glad you enjoyed it Susan67 🙂 I’m looking forward to being a ‘lazy type’ when I retire 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 31, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

    • I don’t have this body clock thing either, but I *always* find it a huge struggle to get out of bed in a morning and once I am up I can’t go to bed until I am just about ready to drop. I always used to think I had no problem adapting to the clock changes, but perhaps it’s the opposite and in fact I *never* adapt!

      Comment by Nick Bennett — November 1, 2011 @ 12:41 am

      • I wish I didn’t have it sometimes Nick and I wish that sometimes I could actually stay in bed 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — November 1, 2011 @ 10:01 pm

  2. Hi Paul,
    Loved the rant today about clocks and pot holes and yes, I know what you mean about the body clock thing. It takes me weeks to get used to the time change and I don’t have livestock to see to. Pity about the pigs, but it doesn’t often happen. The survivors look quite sturdy.

    Comment by Carolyn — October 31, 2011 @ 1:26 am

    • Another one bites the dust Carolyn 😦 typically it was the largest, hopefully that’ll be the last one.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 31, 2011 @ 9:32 pm

  3. that is weird about buckets o money for no litter and no money for huge cracking road repairs.

    and it’s wondrous as usual to see Madame Puppus so assiduously inserting herself into the center of the action, where work is being done. hilarious.

    Comment by jeannette — October 31, 2011 @ 5:18 am

    • That ‘wee dug’ must have a screw loose Jeannette, would you voluntarily go out on a day like today!!!

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 31, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

  4. Hi Paul, Saw your comment on the Fearns road – it has been resurfaced up the hill to Glen Lodge and as far as the winding house at the bend, after that same old same old although nothing like as bad as Calum’s road obnviously is – we didn’t even attempt that! I understand the re-surfacing was paid for by the forestry as this would be where the cutting machinery made most mess, so Highland Council had no part in it. A blistering letter will be going off (again) to the council.

    Anne Macdonald

    Comment by Anne Macdonald — October 31, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

    • Get busy with that pen or Keyboard Anne 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 31, 2011 @ 9:35 pm

  5. That poor wee dog looks miserable in the cold and wet, I think he needs a raincoat! Nice to know local goverment has its head firmly up the a** far away in your part of the world as in ours. I also think the time change is stupid, if it saves so much energy/money to go to the later, then why not do it year round? Poor piggletts, glad you got half the crop at least. Hope your week is better than the weekend, for your mood anyway. No hope for the road. And why doesnt the cattle grid go all the way across the road? Surely the cows just go around it… ours will 🙂

    Comment by Kate — October 31, 2011 @ 6:35 pm

    • Hi Kate, good to know we’re not alone 🙂 The other part of the road normally has a gate on it then you can drive stock through it but I took it off so I could drive around it 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 31, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

  6. Fab post again, as always Paul. Love the numerous rants. Another few years and you may even look like Victor Meldrew! 🙂
    Totally agree re: changing the time. WHY??……What on Earth is the point???…..Does ANYONE benefit???

    Comment by Lloyd — October 31, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

    • Nope Lloyd I can’t see anyone who actually benefits, I see people missing buses and ferries, I see boats getting stuck in harbours and just as you get used to it they change the friggin things back!!!

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 31, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

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