Life at the end of the road

February 3, 2012

Bit of a strain :-)

Filed under: daily doings, shed/house, weather — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:14 pm

Well if you read this mornings effort you’ll know I was up at 5:00am and will perhaps forgive me for making this brief, it’s only 20:30 but I’m fading fast 🙂

The day has been just lovely with a good breeze from the south to power the Proven 2.5Kw wind turbine and dry out the boggy ground. Surprisingly there was no frost during the night and certainly no ice in the pig troughs but the wind made it feel much cooler than the


two or three degrees that it actually was.

The swineherd is now the postherd for a week or to so is now gathering mail and not pigs so it was just me and the ‘wee dug’ on the croft today 🙂 So we made the most of the great weather and were off out even before it was fully light. After checking on our expectant sow Bracken, feeding Jamie Lea and her wains I got on with unloading the pile of timber from Raasay house out of the trailer and sorting it out.


By 8:21 the sun had risen, the Storr was a subtle pink and Molly and I went back in for ‘second breakfast’ 🙂 Well I had my second and the ‘wee dug’ got her first 🙂

030212 002

The next job on the list was some fencing up at the new house site to take in this rocky knoll, that slope behind the dog is the perfect inclination and orientation for solar panels. The mast behind is also an excellent site for a wind turbine, I had one up there many years ago but its really too far from our current house to be of much use  for the 24v turbine that I had on it.

The turbine produced loads of power for the two years it was up there, but by the time it got down the 120m of cable there was precious little left 😦 Still it served its purpose of proving that it was a good spot for ‘clean wind’ and  I didn’t put my Proven there because it wasn’t actually my ground then 🙂 The reason that I didn’t do this sooner was because I was hoping to get most of my power for the new house from the hydro turbine I spent twelve months installing. However thanks to some t**t with a grudge that is now on hold. Now don’t get me wrong I think SEPA do a fine job but it’s the same fee and application process for a 100Kw system as it is for a 100w system, well over £600 😦 and I dare not even check their website to see if there’s an annual charge 😦

Thinking that I might have to focus more on wind and sun I ‘apportioned’ this bit of ground behind the new house/barn site. Which is all ‘well and good’ but it’s a bit of a challenge in the fencing department 😦 Fortunately I do have plenty of telegraph poles thanks to a nice man at BT. So Molly and I headed down to the shore at Port Arnish to sort out some old poles from the ‘temporary shelter’ I built there some fifteen or so years ago.

conqueror rebuild_0003

Some of these poles date back to the 1930’s when the phone first went to Arnish as the storm clouds of war gathered over Europe.


030212 003


The first thing though was to cut out the rotten wood. This is all the same pole of around 1980 vintage, the base (bottom left) is completely rotten so I just kept cutting off slices until I got to the good wood (top right)

030212 006

You don’t get treatment like that in modern poles and strainer posts 🙂


030212 004


The next snag was getting through the gate 😦


030212 005

Not a chance, 7’6” post, 5’ gate 😦 nothing for it but to remove them.

All this hilarity kind of distracted me and I was almost late for going to pick up my son from school, or at least the ferry that brought him back to Raasay after his week away.

030212 009

By this time the clear and cool day had given way to some rather heavy an threatening clouds,

030212 016

by the time I got back home

030212 017

Venus was the only star/planet visible and I called it a day 🙂





  1. Hi Paul,
    Perhaps you could drop off a few loads of that wood from Raasay House at the Youth Hostel for the wood burning stove….. and with your painted toenails at the festivals, I think you are the ideal candidate for the beauty event being planned……

    Comment by francesp — February 4, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

  2. It’s just started snowing down here in the sowf!

    Comment by francesp — February 4, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

    • Morning Frances, wrap up well 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 5, 2012 @ 6:32 am

  3. As always Paul some great pictures, If only we could survive on the island I think we would be up there too, unfortunately the monthly trips to hospital, plus doctors etc would make it a tad difficult! Still we look forward to visiting when health allows this year. Already planning a trip down to Nuneaton for my sisters wedding in July so perhaps June or August before we get as far up as you. Although we are making it a priority trip, just got to get the van home and repaired first as well.

    Those telegraph poles certainly are well treated, having socumbed to the one out in our back garden breaking in two at New year I was talking with a neighbour who remembered when it was installED In 1950’s not a bad investment for Bt if they only need to replace it every 60years. Like all things things from back then and further do last the test of time, If only todays products where as reliable!

    Just a thought but would it not be possible to add side paniers to the quad for these longer loads, might take a bit of thought but could be worthwile in the long run! (-;

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — February 4, 2012 @ 7:13 pm

  4. Anyone else think the small wood in the first photo looks like a profile of Mr Burns from The Simpsons?


    That’ll be my coat on the left then :).

    Comment by San — February 5, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

    • “Anyone else think the small wood in the first photo looks like a profile of Mr Burns from The Simpsons?


      That’ll be my coat on the left then”

      I’ll ask my son San, he’s the Simpsons expert 🙂 and please don’t get your coat 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 9, 2012 @ 6:03 am

  5. This has nothing to do with this post, just that I have at last typed Colin’s memories of Raasay and Alan Evans and figured out how to make them into a link, therefore making it possible to attach. No idea if they will be of interest to you or anyone else (other than Lyn at the hotel/centre) but thought I might put them on for you anyway! From the perspective of an 80 year old who first visited almost 70 years ago…. Not the world’s best published document in terms of layout but I wanted to include the images too. Will take a while to read. No snow here, lovely bluesky day (Edinburgh).
    C:\Users\Any Authorised User\Documents\may documents\may documents\may’s documents\memories of Alan Evans and Raasay attachable docs\Memories of Alan Evans and Raasay.html
    Hope it works!!, May

    Comment by may cruickshank — February 6, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

    • doesn’t work, am working on it!!

      Comment by may cruickshank — February 6, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

  6. So sorry to mess up your space! Think this one will work, but only for as long as the OU hosts my posting!
    I will give up if this doesn’t!! Can’t get it to make into a link but should copy and paste.

    Comment by may cruickshank — February 6, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

    • I loved reading that, thanks May

      Comment by carina — February 6, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

      • Thanks, Carina. It is interesting being married to someone who is forever coming out with things you’ve never heard before but a devil to get him to write them down!!

        Comment by may cruickshank — February 6, 2012 @ 6:17 pm

    • Morning May, that is a great piece of writing and you would not believe hoe much of that ‘Ferranti’ stuff has found its way into mine and Willie Eyre’s creations 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 9, 2012 @ 6:05 am

      • Glad you enjoyed! Now I have to get him to write about memories of other places as it is indeed interesting. I’ll pass on the message about the ‘Ferranti stuff’, sure Colin would be interested to know what has become what!

        Comment by may cruickshank — February 9, 2012 @ 8:31 am

      • Aye May the Ferranti stuff was always a bit of a mystery as it was obviously very ‘hi tech’ (for its time) and of military extraction. I remember much of it turning up on the dump next to the youth hostel some twenty years ago. I’ll cut and paste Colin’s tale into a post if that’s OK.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 11, 2012 @ 6:18 am

      • That would be great if you cut and paste Colin’s Raasay memories, interesting to see what they turn up!!

        Comment by may cruickshank — February 12, 2012 @ 10:26 pm

  7. Dear Paul,
    thanks for confirming my suspicion that some twit or was it tw*t had shopped you too the environment Gestapo over your new hydro system. Don’t get me wrong I am all for laws that stop polluting the the environment, chemicals pesticides etc, but most renewable energy systems don’t, never have done and never will. What impressed me most about your system is that Proven windmill had such and impressive pay back, I think you mentioned that it cost you 15,000 pounds and saved you 4,500 litres diesel in the first year which would mean a saving of 20,000 over 5 years. If the money saved on that hasn’t paid for the system I don’t know what has. From what I have seen from the system it is built like a brick toilet. The only maintenance seems to me to be the bearings, slip-rings those irritating yaw bushes springs and of cause the so called wings, sails what ever you want to call them. All this is doable for you. Like me you have had a good apprenticeship. If you have got the spare parts you can easily swap them out, the sail or wings you can cover in carbon fiber. I would estimate a 1,000 pounds and you are good for at least 10 years. which is good for 40,000 litres of diesel a good investment under any circumstances. Now I presume that the barn gets built first and you will put all your services in the barn. Now that knoll comes between you and the old house and the new house and the barn. Now I am not trying to teach you how to suck eggs, as you well know it is almost impossible for a tyke to tell a lancastrian owt. Now I remember, it must be nearly a couple of years back when you spent a rather amusing few days getting back to arnish a rather long sort of lighting pole, twice as high if I remember than the one you have go for your wind turbine, and much easier to drop. It certainly made me chuckle. you had arranged everything yourself and everything went wrong, in the end the fellow at the quarry put in a comment that you should have asked him and he would have let you use his stuff. Now that knoll is at the back of you house, I am guessing a hundred yards away, now that pole you got free after being reconditioned paint grease etc perhaps a new top to take a Proven wind turbine. would be an ideal place to put it My guess it is at an higher elevation, Once the barn is built you will put all your services in the barn. Four bolts and that pole it is fast to mother earth. perhaps a few extra batteries a PV array and your literally off the grid, not that you are not now but wind and PV are complementary. If the wind doesn’t blow the sun is usually shinning. All nicely clustered together small cable runs lower loses and all ready for the new house. That extra hydro turbine then becomes superfluous. I know it is not much comfort but they don’t have you by the short and curllies

    Deep regards


    Comment by Yorkshire Miner — February 6, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

    • Gosh Dave, you really do pay attention don’t you, I think you’ve just about summed up my grand plan, though the big mast is still at the back of Raasay House awaiting delivery 🙂 As for the hydro turbine, well I’m just going to burn two bags of coal a week instead 🙂 So much for ‘environmental protection’ and ‘climate change’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — February 9, 2012 @ 6:11 am

  8. That would be great if you cut and paste Colin’s Raasay memories, interesting to see what they turn up!!

    Comment by may cruickshank — February 12, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: