Life at the end of the road

February 18, 2012

Rocky’s back :-) :-)

Filed under: daily doings, pigs — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:35 pm

Right enough, he nearly wasn’t 😦 It all got off to a great start, yours truly was up just after 5:00 am and after doing a wee spell on here started getting ready for the big day ahead. A mountain of shopping, food for the pigs, essential parts for the stove, disposing of six piglets and collecting Rocky being Saturday’s prime objective.

We had left Sandy’s bash early so there was no problem of a sore head or blood alcohol count, but there was still much to do before we trundled down the road to catch the 8:55 ferry. All the bins needed dragging to the end of the road one at a time, that’ll be three of them full of carp from the house and outbuildings as we struggle to make our house look bigger 🙂 Apparently the advice from is to ‘de clutter’


When you are living in a house day in and day out, it is sometimes difficult to see things objectively or through ‘fresh eyes’ and that’s when it is important to ask your Estate Agent to be honest with you and advise you on what should be done to improve your chances of obtaining the best possible selling price. The general rule is to depersonalise and de-clutter your home so viewers can easily imagine themselves living in it.

Back to those first impressions . . . is there somewhere for viewers to park their car safely on arrival . . . is your house clearly numbered or named so they don’t have to work too hard to find your property?  And don’t forget that a ‘For Sale’ board will not only help viewers find the property and also alert potential purchasers who may be passing that you are ‘on the market’.

Once inside ensure that your house is light and airy, keep curtains well off windows and make sure that your hall areas are as clear as possible. Your living areas should be made to look as spacious as possible and this may mean removing a chair or two and clearing tabletops and worktops of unnecessary items. The kitchen areas should be immaculately clean and try to avoid any dishes in the sink. A vase of flowers on the dining room table always gives a good impression, as does a strategically placed plant. Beds should be well made and clothes should be tidied away in drawers and wardrobes. The minimalist approach in the bathroom is the best and the toilet seat firmly down. If you are thinking of decorating prior to sale it is advisable to go for light plain colours – ‘magnolia’ always gives a neutral palette for others to work with. Floor coverings are again, best kept plain, but if you do have patterns on your floor coverings it is doubly important to have those plain walls and curtains.

“is there somewhere safe to park their car” 🙂 🙂 last time I took the keys out was when I was at Belladrum 🙂

“"is your house clearly numbered” 🙂 Well it would be if I was actually certain whether I’m number 3 or 4

“keep the curtains off the windows”  What curtains 🙂

“ The minimalist approach is best” well that’s why I’m filling up the bins 🙂

And don’t spend hours looking for “3 south Arnish” on their website because we’ve not put it there yet, I’ve gotta paint the place first and remove even more carp because “first impressions are most important” 🙂

So, with everyone fed apart from the six ‘spotties’ that were going south, all the paperwork sorted and the rest of the household ready we set off just after 8:00am. The Land Rover had already been hitched up and the piglets had been using the trailer as their bed for a few days, so rather than inject them for worms on the croft then rush down the road we decided to head south slowly first. The weather had closed in, snow was falling and if pushed we could do it on the ferry.

After such a smooth morning something had to go ‘tits up’ and so it did, 100yds down the road the right hand wheel nearly fell off the trailer 😦 😦 No kidding, I looked in the mirror as we rounded the first bend and the wheel was wobbling like a hoola hoop 😦

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Of course it was nothing simple like a loose wheel and upon turning around, heading home and jacking the trailer up I discovered a collapsed inner wheel bearing. By now I’m starting to flap, we’ve obviously missed the ferry and one of my three customers has come all the way from Dunbar for two spottie gilts. Rocky is stuck in a windswept Kilmuir and I really need to get some money in the bank.

With the six piglets still rattling around in the trailer I pulls it all apart and starts looking for spare bearings. Of course in my quest to ‘rationalize’ and ‘minimalize’  I’ve thrown lots of second hand ‘taper roller’ bearings out and I’m just left with two, one slightly too big and one slightly to small 😦 Not wanting to grind down the stub axle to fit the bearing I opted for looking for something to ‘sleeve’ the big one.

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I found it in a 1” water pipe compression fitting, the large bearing is on the left, the compression olive in the vice and the old collapsed bearing on the right.

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I cut about 19mm out of the olive, pushed it inside the bearing and all seemed peachy, rebuilding it all up with some nice thick grease we gingerly headed south for the 9:55 ferry an hour later.

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It was a pretty 5h1tty drive down the road,


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but we managed to get the six little piggy’s jagged and painted before the ferry came in

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then had a smooth delivery at Sconser.

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The two gilts ending up in a crate full of toasty bedding for the long drive south

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that left four boars for Portnalong and Fiskavaig, (or so we we thought) 🙂

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Stop number two saw a couple of boars thrown out of the trailer and into a fresh bit of ground at Fiskavaig.


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They weren’t long in settling in, the tails started to curl and we headed off for our last delivery


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not a million miles away 🙂

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And the customers are still smiling, even after discovering that your truly cannot tell a boy from a girl 😦

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The wee cutie on the right with the black cheek turned out to be a lassie 😦 it is not the first time I’ve made this mistake 🙂

Next it was the long drive to Kilmuir to get Rocky back, OK, it’s not that far but it seems it in a Land Rover 🙂 Rocky had been out that way servicing a couple of fine young gilts and now it was time for him to come home. He really is the most ‘laid back’ of boars and clambered into the trailer with just a little handful of sow rolls to coax him. Fat chance of our old boar Ginger ever doing that, he took one look at a trailer and ran for miles 🙂

Once our  young stud was loaded up we turned back to Portree, stopping occasionally to give Rocky the odd carrot or apple. If our boar is going to be doing this kind of thing regularly then he’d better associate the trailer with food and not fear.

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Skye’s finishing touches was our next port of call in a blizzard to get some fire cement and rope to try and fix the stove Stocking a selection of both, we got what we needed and headed for Sconser.

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We arrived home at around 17:30 to find Jamie Lea, Bramble and Toots waiting at the gate to be fed, I stopped the Landy and lowered the gate for Rocky. He came charging out of the trailer and Jamie Lea ran in 🙂

That was about it, i left them to it and got on with trying to repair my stove

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which was black, sooty and not very warm 😦 However, a little work with a hammer, some new rope seals and a little fire cement to replace the clay form the new house site seemed to have it firing on all four cylinders again 🙂

Sandy’s seventy :-)

Filed under: daily doings, pigs — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:37 am

What I should be doing now is trying to fix my oil stove and not plonking away on here at 5:30am in a freezing cold kitchen, but that’s dedication for you, or is it obsession 🙂 Anyway we’ve a long day ahead and an early start so the last thing I want to do before I set off out to catch, inject, and deliver piglets is to get covered in soot and oil at 6:00am.


Yesterday turned out to be a bit of a ‘wash out’ on the things achieved front, the day started off well enough and I got Bracken all cleaned out and some fresh bedding down whilst she was distracted by breakfast.


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Of course it wasn’t good enough for her and she had to rearrange it all 🙂

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The next couple of hours were spent with our Surveyor, Iain Lewis of Alan Torrance Associates in Portree who was giving 3 South Arnish the once over ready for it going on the market. Though I would have liked to have finished painting the place first, not that a lick of paint will make a great deal of difference to the value he puts on the old homestead but first impressions count for a lot.

I had made a start on Thursday afternoon at feathering the edges of the paint on the roof, but true to form, as soon as I got out the grinder it started raining 😦 Painting and prep work were out of the question for this particular day however, for as the afternoon arrived the showers became more frequent

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and I contented myself with clearing up around the croft. It’s amazing how many old batteries one acquires around the croft when playing around with wind turbines 🙂 At one time you couldn’t give them away, now they’re paying around £400 a ton.

There was much more done, like getting covered in black nasty smelly kerosene and soot trying to fix the stove. Catching the hens and putting them somewhere where Charlie wouldn’t try and rip they’re throats out :-(   Charlie being one of Molly’s offspring that’s staying with us just now.

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I also made up some new cables for the 12v battery bank under the small wind turbine mast as I’d discovered some 70mm square cable in the long grass 🙂


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You really do need heavy cable with 12v systems if your transmitting power any kind of distance.

Happy birthday Sandy

Work on the croft finished with an early feed at 16:00, so early in fact that I couldn’t find Bramble, Jamie Lea and Toot’s so they went without 😦

It was Sandy MacLeod’s birthday party in the village and we knew that pretty much the whole island would at some point ‘pop in’ to wish our ‘postie’ well.

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Wind, ice, snow or rain rarely stops Sandy getting the mail and if it’s too rough for the ferry to land he just comes and gets it 🙂


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Sure enough at some point, despite the atrocious weather everyone turned up, and there are probably one or two of them not long away 🙂

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Just a small selection of the ‘usual suspects’ and I’m probably in the deep brown stuff now for posting this picture 🙂

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Three cards the same !!!!

Anyway, that’s it, 6:30am, piglets to deliver and a boar to collect.

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