Life at the end of the road

June 27, 2012

Pretty thick :-(

Filed under: boats, Croft house for sale, daily doings, Land Rover, pigs — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:56 pm

Well that’s it, summer’s here at last, the kids are about to break up and the weather has gone ‘bottoms up’ after almost two months of glorious sunshine 😦 In all honesty we were probably needing the rain, well not me personally but the poor souls in the outer isles that were having to buy in hay on account of their grass not growing. Me I was loving the fact that I’ve not cut the lawn in two weeks and have forgotten where my wellies and waterproofs are. That all ended round about when I went back to work after what can only be described as the best (and cheapest) holiday in years, three weeks and two days sunshine at Arnish, why would you go anywhere else 🙂

Of course half the stuff I’d planned didn’t get done and I never did get out fishing, but who cares, apart from not getting to Rockness and having two ‘live wires’ staying with us for two weeks it was perfect 🙂 The two extra days I had tagged on the end courtesy of my ‘back to back’ finishing it off nicely. Even the ‘pay back’ on Friday and Saturday wasn’t so bad as the weather was poor, but hey ho that’s it, normality is restored and I’m now back at work for a rest 🙂 To be honest I’m quite glad, the fright that I had on Sunday when my back went left me once more feeling very vulnerable, I really cannot live here with a duff back. At least not in our current house, I simply could not cut the wood haul the coal or oil or a hundred and one other things. The pigs would have to go and I’d be well and truly stuffed 😦

That was a real scare I had on Sunday and left me unable to sit down for any length of time let alone bend down and do any lifting. Consequently the visit to my parents on Monday was cancelled, as was all the ‘pig movements that we had planned, two weaners to Balmacara, two to Sconser on Monday and two more on Tuesday. They all got shelved, leaving us with six extra mouths to feed and a shortage of grub 😦

Monday, the day I’d set aside to visit my parents so me flat on my back, unable and unwilling to get out of bed until late in the morning. Actually that’s not true, I did get up and even attempt some of what I had planned before quickly realizing it was a bad idea, then I went back to bed. Wifey taking charge of the important stuff like feeding hens, pigs and getting the teenager off to school. Me I was just really crabbit, stormed off in a huff and never said goodbye to my boy 😦

DIY resin filled joints

Eventually, around 11:30 I did get up, riddled with guilt from my bad mood of earlier and pi553d off at not being able to do anything. We had folk coming to look at the house tomorrow and I’d an open trench across the drive with some serious looking cables in it 😦 So sitting on a stool and getting wifey, the beetleman and her parents to help I started to joint the cable. It’s only 48v so not dangerous and the cable is only so thick because of the distance form the wind turbine and the 40amps that it has to carry in a gale, however it does need to be watertight and buried so I jointed it thus. A crimped ring terminal on each end fastened with a stainless steel nut and bolt then covered with ‘self amalgamating tape’. A nylon ‘cross piece’ that I’d found in the remains of an old jointing kit for 185mm square cable being inserted to keep the cables apart.


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A 90mm diameter of MDPE pipe was then cut to cover the bare area, a hole bored in it and then split with a jig saw so it could be slid over the cable, though had I not been so keen to keep the turbine connected I could have just slid it over the end.

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The ends of the joint were sealed with ‘Densotape’ and then the 50mm hole in the top built up with plasticine so the resin would come above the level of the pipe. A small hole was drilled at each end of the pipe to exclude air and then the resin mixed up.

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OK, it’s six years past its best before date, that just means you have to mix it harder and it goes off a little slower, bear in mind that this stuff is made for 33,000v joints so it’ll be just peachy on a 48v joint 🙂 The well mixed resin is then poured into the large hole until it comes out of the two wee holes at the end.


Once that had set I got my team to bury it then went to park my Land Rover over the cable and in front of some rubbish to hide it from Tuesday’s visitors.

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Well that’ll teach me for being ‘disingenuous’, for with my bad back and being unable to turn my head properly I reversed into a tree :-(  The rear window got smashed and the back door dented, serve me right 🙂

Calling it a day, before I did any more damage I went to bed early and blogless 🙂 Tuesday being yet another bonny day had me up earlier and gingerly feeding and worming the pigs.

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Four over ripe bananas being hacked apart to hide the 15g of ‘Flubenol’ required for each sow, a little molasses added to bind it all together 🙂

The rest of the day was spent quite leisurely and when our guests left  I got on with fixing the ‘Old Girl’,


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cleaning out the broken glass with a hoover, chisel and Stanley knife.

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Double luckily I had an old one on the croft, I say doubly because not only had I not thrown it out, smashed it or buried it but the window had at some time been replaced making it easy to remove. Normally these kind of ‘direct glazed’ windows require removing with piano wire if you do not want to break them, however I managed to cut it out easily with a sharp knife.

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The window sorted I turned my attention to a coat of paint on the new generator shed up at the house site before heading down the road to let my ‘back to back’ away.


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The first job before heading for work was a trip up to the water tanks to see what the ‘state of play’ was after almost two months of drought. I’d not checked since Sunday due to my back and someone leaving the bathroom tap running for three hours on Monday morning had made me fear the worst. However all was peachy with still over a thousand litres stored and the level rising. Water has always been an issue here at this time of year and it’s taken me the best part of twenty years to sort it properly, happily long gone are the times when we had to cut down on bathing, washing and flushing the loo in June 🙂

Once back on the good ship Loch Striven for the first full day it was straight into ‘defibrillator training’

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as all of our vessels will now have them on board. I’m not sure who’s providing them but the Scottish Ambulance Service provided  the excellent course. I have, along with many on Raasay already done one but that was in the village hall, doing the same thing on the ferry in service was a much more realistic affair. It makes more sense to deliver training in a cramped and moving saloon with a ‘Voith unit’ drowning out the instructions from the machine than in a silent and still hall with perfect conditions.

After that the day gradually deteriorated into a murk that seems peculiar to Skye and the western isles, a kind of muggy, mild and damp gloom infested with the dreaded midge 😦

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Though not before our namesake the ‘SD Raasay’ steamed by heading northwards through the Raasay Narrows. A mooring and anchor handling vessel built for SERCO and their billion plus pound contract to provided services formally delivered by the RMAS she is not the prettiest of ships. In fact she’s pretty ugly but certainly a very capable tool with her large deck and two big cranes Pity she had to be built in Holland and Poland to ‘save’ money 😦

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And speaking of the ‘Scottish Ambulance Service’ they were over today to attend a casualty that had to be airlifted from the east side of Raasay with a suspected broken ankle.

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Though by the time they left you could hardly see Glamaig or even Raasay for that matter 😦

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Talk about ‘Scotch mist’ 🙂

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  1. Glad you are once again vertical! Have you located a chiropractor in need of eggs?

    Comment by drgeo — June 27, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

    • Morning Dr G, or perhaps a piglet 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 28, 2012 @ 5:28 am

  2. Take great care of your back. Get lots of info about the jag and where it is to go. Is it steroid? If so you have a lifetime limit on the number you get. Enjoy the tramadol but exercise is good..maybe the exercise you do should be modified. Are the mantles mentioned in last blog M3769 alpha inverted ?

    Comment by SOTW — June 28, 2012 @ 2:09 am

  3. Welcome to summer Paul, tipping down outside on top of the rest. UK wind give no hope of any thing else.
    Get your back sorted, proper and soon. Tramadol is not the cure!!!!!!

    Comment by mi — June 28, 2012 @ 5:54 am

    • Aye Mi, that’s the summer here right enough, water tanks full, midge out and grass growing about a foot a day 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 28, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

  4. Have to agree with comments thus far, get that back seen to professionally soon and stop relying on the pills! Take it from someone who knows Paul, it is not worth letting it get out of hand the the extent that it cripples you!
    Telling off finished lol!
    while you have been enjoying the great weather some of us have suffered with rain day after day with only a few good days in between, thankfully enough good days for me to get on with the caravan which is coming along nicely, just a shelf and cupboards and the table to finish off before completing the wiring, gas, and giving the chassis a service! with 12 days left till we go away it is looking tight but more doable tah I first thought. Should be about 4 days work left to do and then its test everything and make sure its ready for the road again, after wifey does her magic with cleaning materials and hoover of course!
    now so as to give your back a rest why not have a look at the pics of the work so far, its looking good according to my friends on facebook!!/media/set/?set=a.10150860960936909.411996.677416908&type=1

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — June 28, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

    • Hi Graham,

      good work with the caravan but the link isn’t working for me 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 28, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

      • Try this link Paul and go to my pictures to see the album, if it doesn’t work let me know and I iwll e-mail you some.

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — June 30, 2012 @ 8:10 pm

      • Morning Graham, thanks for those great working links, I cannot wait to get the old Thomson in the shed, start a restoration project and join the rest of the Thomson ‘anoraks’ 🙂 Gotta build a house first though 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 1, 2012 @ 6:47 am

      • Glad the link worked! Been rather enjoying doing the van and it has given me some great memories, not just of the job but of being able to do DIY, something I don’t manage as much as I used to and do miss. Thankfully nowadays I have the power tools to cope with the carped body parts, although even they seem heavier on the worse days!
        To be honest, reading your blogs is what actually has given me the strength of will to do the job, Reading your vast array of talents at work has certainly helped keep me going and I am delighted that we met, even more so because as always I have a new great friend through Thomson Caravans!

        How are the plans going for getting the house started, looking forward to hearing and seeing the progress! There is just one thing that worries me (greatly) you really do need to take action and get something sorted with your back, take it from me the longer you put it off the worse the outcome can be. Make that appointment and get on top of it now! Tramadol is not the answer, that was where I started and now I am on the Morphine which is no picnic! Please, please, please do it asap! (-; We all worry about you!
        Love to all the family, Graham & Joan

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — July 3, 2012 @ 11:28 am

      • Morning Graham,

        I’m inspiring you, your inspiring me 🙂 keep up the good work, ran out of Tramadol a few days ago and have an appointment with Catriona Purll tomorrow in Staffin So I’ll feel great tomorrow as I skip out of her house. Then on Saturday I’ll feel like I’ve been hit by a train 😦

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 5, 2012 @ 6:56 am

      • Great news indeed Paul, glad you are back to feeling better! Nothing worse than feeling under par, then again I feel that way most days but you never ever get used to it! I love that first two minutes every day when I awake and think I am fit and well again, then the first movement usually brings me back down with a bang! Still as my mum used to say there are others out there who would be glad to be as lucky as me. Something I know all too well about as when I attended the day centre I knew some who where in a worse place and never complained.
        Keep up the great work!

        Comment by Thomson Caravans — July 9, 2012 @ 10:43 am

      • Try this link Paul and go to my pictures to see the album, if it doesn’t work let me know and I iwll e-mail you some.


        Comment by Thomson Caravans — June 30, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

  5. Hi Paul –Italy 2 Germany 0, maybe you don’t watch the footie but flat on your back you could do worse!!!Drove to chiropractor Monday put up with caravanettes got sort of sorted but still have pins/needles. Was recommended at Staffin. Maybe next monday we’ll see. been trying to reply by email but it is bouncing back. Good luck with the back say hi to B, be in touch,


    Comment by ronalodge — June 28, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

    • Aye Bill, Catriona will sort you out but she’s away until next week 😦 or I’d have been round there myself 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 28, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

  6. Hi Paul,
    Glad things are looking better than several days ago.
    We hope the visitors took a fancy to your lovely house.

    Comment by chrisb — June 28, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

    • Good morning Devon 🙂 or is it Amalfi 🙂 hope you’re all well too Chris, all is fine here except the weather 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 1, 2012 @ 6:45 am

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