Life at the end of the road

February 1, 2012

Six by two anyone :-)

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:27 pm

Now this is going to be really short because I need to find some money, around £150K in fact 😦 and the bank I’ve been with since 1985 is about as much use as a chocolate teapot 🙂 Nay friggin wonder they make obscene profits not content with screwing me for damn near £1000 a month for the foreseeable future they want to charge me £895 for the privilege. Of course they couldn’t have told me that in the branch two weeks ago, I’d to wait for one of their ‘advisors’ to phone me 🙂

My Friday

OK, it was actually Tuesday but as it’s  my last day at work it feels like a Friday 🙂 It was a bonny day and flew by with me rushing round demented in the morning finishing off the weekly and monthly planned maintenance.

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Recycling some wood in my lunch break 🙂

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I’m not complaining because I, and whoever else in the community can be bothered to collect it has got some nice timber FOC, but was it really necessary to replace all this wood in Raasay House ??

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Here comes some more, but that won’t be heading up to Arnish 🙂

I had to laugh really, it was like a scene from ‘Whisky Galore’, a couple of weeks ago I gave a mate a lift north. I’m building a shed says he with all that timber from Raasay House, you should go and get some. A week later my mate from Torran says to me, “I’ve just got some timber from Raasay House to repair my barn roof, you should go and get some”. Next time I saw him a few days later he was hauling wood to Torran and offering me the use of his trailer 🙂 Of course when I went to collect it another pal already had it full of wood 😦 Undeterred I phoned up yet another ‘man with a trailer’ and went to collect it Tuesday lunch time.

When I arrived at to collect Simon’s monster trailer I nearly split my sides with laughter. There right next to the trailer was a pile of wood, was I the last person on Raasay to collect this bounty ?? Apparently not for just as I finished loading up two other salvors turned up 🙂

Anyway, finishing early, after my ‘back to back’ arrived on the 16:15 I headed home in daylight, or at least a little before the sun went down.

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Catching the wife ‘red handed’ using an iron!!!!, I didn’t even know we possessed one, I was mortified 😦


This morning I was up with the larks, well I would have been had we had any, it’s a long while since I’ve been so enthusiastic about the day. The incessant rain, wind and t**t that complained to SEPA about my hydro turbine has had me feeling ‘as low as a snakes willy’ of late 🙂 Anyway that’s all behind me right now and I’m back to my annoying self 🙂

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So after feeding my herd I got stuck into the ‘priority task’ of the week, sorting out my electrical problem. Regular followers will know of the short but frequent power cuts that started last Tuesday night when my Trace SW4548e inverter started ‘tripping’ and going ‘over current’


I knew it wasn’t actually getting overloaded so the fault was more likely a short, especially as it seemed to be far worse when it was raining. I’d isolated a few circuits to no avail, spoke to an electrician and borrowed a ‘Megger’ to test for shorts and insulation breakdowns.


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So after cutting the power, isolating everything and disconnecting the supply at the fuse board in the house I got out the ‘Megger’.

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Now don’t for a moment think that I actually know what I’m doing, well at least I didn’t until I ‘phoned a friend’ 🙂 This handy tool fires an extremely high voltage down the cables and measures the resistance between them in megga ohms, which I guess is millionth ohms. You check between live and earth and live and neutral and it should be over 200, any less indicates poor insulation or a short circuit.

It says a lot for ‘Densotape’

Sure enough the readings were far too low, around 6 or 7 from the breakers in the generator shed to the fuse board in the house 😦 Digging up the cable and following it back towards the house I came across this. 

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Before my time, and I’ve lived here 22 years it was a bodged joint in one of the dry stone walls between some armoured cable and ‘twin an earth’. This was taken after I’d cut the ‘Densotape’ open with a knife but it says a lot for its waterproofing qualities if it’s taken all these years to let moisture in 🙂

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Cutting out the bad joint I replaced it with SWA (steel wire armoured) cable by taping it to the old cable and pulling it through the  stone work.

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Next task was to fit a rubber band to the tail of my Rutland FM910 wind turbine that sits atop an 11 or so meter mast. This little 50w turbine has served me well for twenty two years, OK it’s had rather a lot of repairs done on it but it is still working 🙂 Anyway it’s in a rather poor and turbulent spot despite being so high but over the years I’ve discovered that wrapping an old inner tube around the tail greatly improves its performance.

910 tail 

Due to the ‘lie of the land’ and nearby trees the tail ‘hinges’ far too quickly and turns the wee turbine out of the wind. Initial trials many years ago of bolting the tail solid improved performance but put too much strain on the little Rutland so I tried putting a bit of old inner tube around the tail to act as a damper. It proved a success and for the last few years it’s worked really well, that is until it snaps and I have to climb up there and replace it 😦

Only a handful of years ago it would not have bothered me in the least but nowadays I find myself getting quite apprehensive as I don my safety harness and climb up there 😦

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Still, once your actually up there and tied on, it’s a fine view,

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all the way to Lewis 🙂

That done wifey and I unloaded the trailer at the end of our drive,


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I really will have to incorporate some of this into the new house then I can say, “see those timbers, they came from Raasay House after the ‘great fire of 2009”.

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These in our kitchen reputedly came from a nineteenth century wreck off Rona called the ‘Caribbean’ or ‘Caribbea’

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and these in our living room from the ‘Great exhibition’ of 1938 in Glasgow,_Scotland_1938

Anyway, that’s about it, I got more wood, fed the pigs and had my dinner so I’ll just leave you with some decent pictures of the steel cutting from 30th Jan 2012 of ‘yard number 725’, Raasay’s very own hybrid ferry 🙂


Left to right, Guy Platten of CMAL the vessels owners, Stewart Stevenson minister for the environment and climate change (any chance of a word with SEPA 🙂 ) and Alan Dunnet chairman of Ferguson’s on the podium.

P1020444 P1020450

Here’s a couple of Marylyn Johnson, the wife of CMAL chairman Grenville Johnson ‘pressing the button’ 🙂



  1. meggers measure in millions of ohms. Resistance between the wires should be very high, 200 million ohms or higher would be about right. Since they are insulated from each other, in theory the resistance would be infinite, which would mean zero current flowing across the cable. In practice nothing is perfect so there’ll always be a little. But should be very little.

    Comment by Bob — February 2, 2012 @ 12:04 am

  2. Hmmm…what are those 3 bottles above wifey? Not cleaning supplies; perhaps a nip o cheer? 😉
    Those timbers look brand new. I can’t imagine they’re being discarded, but there you go. Another new shed.
    Glad you’re back to your old self. (Not annoying to your readers!)

    Comment by Flora — February 2, 2012 @ 12:27 am

  3. Not only is the iron shocking news, I am also concerned that she appears to be ironing a cushion cover. That really is a waste of time and energy 😉

    Comment by Simon — February 2, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

    • “Not only is the iron shocking news, I am also concerned that she appears to be ironing a cushion cover. That really is a waste of time and energy”

      You’re telling me Simon, I didn’t even know we had one and certainly consider ironed pillow cases a bit decadent 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 3, 2012 @ 7:34 pm

  4. I take my hat off to you climbing that mast Paul. Is that all the ‘gubbins’ for your weather station up there as well?

    Comment by Derek — February 2, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

    • Hi Derek, can’t see me doing it for much longer. Once upon a time I used to scoot up there without a second thought, now it’s safety harness and heart in the mouth 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 3, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

  5. I bought the wife an I-ron a few years ago and she through it at me!

    Know about the climbing thing, used to do it in one of the jobs I had in my 20’s, never a nerve showing. Funny how nowadays because of the health problems I get anxious climbing stairs to the upstairs in our house, somewhere I thankfully don’t do very often since everything is downstairs for me now.

    I spotted the bottles too Flora, wonder how long they will last lol!

    All the best, Graham

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — February 2, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

  6. Re the wood, hard to believe they are just getting rid of all that good wood, glad the Islanders are getting it. Folks used to laugh at my wood collection in the shed, never throw any of it out. Having seen the price of timber these days I find I am now the one that is laughing, still got loads and spent an afternoon last year trimming some lengths down to the thickness for use on the caravan walls and internal cupboards. Had to take it off the shed roof spars though as the roof was starting to sag, so this year will be strenghtening the roof with a few extra joists so I can use the top for storage again. Probably got enough to build a new caravan and trailer out there!

    That tape is amazing stuff, no doubt your new repair on the electrics will last a lot longer though!

    Paul, is there anywhere on the island to stay in a caravan, thinking ahead to visiting up there this year?

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — February 2, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

    • Hi Graham,

      there’s a lovely wee spot near the waiting room, just tucked around the corner out of sight. Or there’s the old ferry car park at Suisnish if you want a little less traffic 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 3, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

  7. Hey boy! Just seen your dit on stopping the rutland spinning all ways, leapt into the shed and 20 mins later the bugger is standing four-square, chin to the wind. Many thanks

    Comment by moran — September 12, 2015 @ 11:51 am

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