Life at the end of the road

July 8, 2012

A dream come true :-)

Filed under: animals, daily doings, Land Rover — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:13 pm

Actually I should have called this post ‘what is the point of hamsters’ for our ‘rodent guest’ has just woken up and will probably prevent me sleeping yet again 🙂 I’m sure they have their place out there in the wild but what is the point of a pet that sleeps all day and keeps you wakened all night??? Seriously what’s that all about, I’m not really a ‘pet person’, I’m not even a ‘dog person’, don’t laugh 🙂 No, I prefer my animals in the wild or on the plate next to the spuds 🙂 OK, I can see how they bring hours of pleasure to some people, teach others how to be responsible, provide comfort and company or even a focal point in the living room. I can understand that, I can even comprehend why people get suckered into thinking they own a cat but this hamster thing has got me beat.

Sure wee Dusty is cute enough, and we were asked if it would be OK to foster him as well as his owners, but you don’t see him all day as he’s fast asleep in the child’s bedroom. Then, come 22:00 he’s ‘up and out’ starting off his day by cleaning and sharpening his teeth on the bars of his cage for about half an hour. An incessant grinding accentuated by the bell like shape of the plastic lid that is invariably louder than the TV 😦

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Of course the child can’t sleep so Dusty comes downstairs in the living room to spend the next six or eight hours running a marathon in his squeaky treadmill or gnawing at his bars 😦

Not only that but we’ve another one arriving next week 🙂 Why can’t people buy gerbils 🙂 Don’t tell me they’re nocturnal too only I remember my brother having one and I’m sure it wasn’t.

Anyway, where was  before Dusty distracted me, well in bed until 7:00am at least savouring the lack of pain in my back for one. After that it was up and eventually out, once I’d done the usual pot of coffee and puter stuff. Feeding everyone then leading out the three Tamworth piglets onto the hill. It really is a pleasure to watch them savouring their freedom, not that they’re particularly short of space on the croft but the ‘big wide world’ has so much more to offer an inquisitive wee pig. In fact they were so excited that the didn’t finish their feed and Jamie Lea scoffed it whilst they shot off down the road at great speed.

That done and my fried breakfast finished I decided to have another go at ‘speaking to my inverter’ thanks to lots of advice given me here,17813.0.html , on the blog and via a couple of PM’s on the Navitron site.

This ‘IT’ thing certainly pi55es me off at times but it never ceases to impress me. Twenty three years ago if I wanted to speak to someone I had to drive eleven miles and use a public phone. Now I come out of my shed plonk my laptop on top of a pig ark and I’m on the web, then just use my mobile to phone a complete stranger for advice, thanks Eric 🙂 Not only that but I’m moaning that it’s only a 2g signal and why can’t I use it in the shed, but that’s human nature for you 🙂

At the end of the day I still haven’t sorted it but at least I feel now that I’m on the right track as more helpful advice comes flooding in from people all over the world.

MOT preparation

All my adult life I’ve dreamt of having a shed large enough to get a vehicle in, no not just a garage but a proper shed with a concrete floor. A shed large enough for you to walk around, pull off all the wheels and still have room to swing a cat. Well I’ve got one now, in fact I’ve had one since the end of April and it’s taken me eight weeks to put my Land Rover inside it 🙂

I think I’ve been scared of doing it in case it didn’t fit or I’d be disappointed or something, just the other day I was messing about in the rain with my power steering box!!!!

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OK, part of it has been that all my tools are still at and I didn’t want to dirty the floor before sealing it, but today I did it. I put the Old Girl in the shed to do some work for the impending MOT.

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Jacked her up using my special shaped bit of wood that fits snugly under the axle allowing you to do it and keep the vehicle on an even keel.

That was as far as I got, the excitement was just too much for me, I checked the front wheel bearings and swivel housings and left it there. To be honest I was in shock that the swivel bearings and wheel bearings were not in need of adjustment. The suspension on this truck takes a severe hammering daily up and down ‘Calum’s road’ so I put its continuing reliability down to the sealed swivel gaiters and ‘one shot grease’ but more of that later.

For now I went over to the ‘Old Schoolhouse’ at Torran to cut the grass for the first time in a month, a job I was hoping that my boy would do. Still, he’s on his hols, his pal is here and they’re having a great time so I did it myself.

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Well almost 🙂 Of course when I got there the brush cutter wouldn’t start, I couldn’t find a plug key and had to return home for a fresh spark plug but we got there in the end. The satisfaction of cutting a months worth of growth being marred when I killed a slow worm with the strimmer 😦

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I don’t have any qualms about killing anything that I’m going to eat or shooting vermin like crows but I hate to see creatures killed unnecessarily and taking this ones life really pi55ed me off. For a start I didn’t even know you got them on Raasay and the last time I saw one was in Tenby around 1966. This one was, or at least seemed to me to be a particularly fine specimen and had been unfortunate enough just to have his head in the wrong place at the wrong time 😦

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Although it looks very much like a snake a slow worm is in fact a lizard without legs, the second picture on the right quite clearly showing where the body ends and the tail starts. Slow worms also have proper eyelids and some even have ears.

With most of the lawn cut, the batteries, turbine and generator checked I headed home before the traffic 🙂

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Though I did get stuck in traffic on the way home 🙂 Meeting these two ‘rednecks’ and their ‘responsible 21 year adult’ following closely behind with the ammunition and crash helmets 🙂

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and the pedestrians were a nightmare 🙂



  1. Can hamsters be trained to give back massages?

    Comment by drgeo — July 9, 2012 @ 12:33 am

    • Hi DrG
      Can hamsters be trained to give back massages?

      Perhaps I could hook it up to a dynamo and run an electric massage device 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 10, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

  2. Hi Paul,

    Been a long time follower of your blog “and loving it” but have never left a comment till now.
    I too would love a garage like yours and was wondering what size it was as it looks like you
    can get a few cars in it.

    Hope you don’t mind me asking,


    Comment by willie — July 9, 2012 @ 2:53 am

    • Hi Willie and welcome aboard, that will be a 40′ x 20′ Robinson’s steel shed and It’s the ‘apple of my eye’ at the moment 🙂 Not just the shed but a real smooth concrete floor that a jack can roll on and axle stands sit on, pure luxury. I’m used to working at strange angles with water running down my neck and getting eaten alive by midges 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 10, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

      • Hi Paul, Thaanks for the reply and the warm welcome.Know exactly what you mean about working in some rather odd spots with water running down your arm,i had a 110 defender that i worked on out side too.not much fun putting a new rear cross member on in the pouring rain under a tarpaulin. 😦

        Take care


        Comment by willie — July 11, 2012 @ 10:43 am

      • Aye Willie, been there, got the book, the video and T shirt 🙂 Once did a Land Rover layshaft in a field on the Isle of Mull whilst on a weeks holiday 🙂 That was after driving around in it for a few days with just high and low fourth gear 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 11, 2012 @ 8:14 pm

  3. Morning Paul

    You are quite right about people ‘thinking they own a cat’. No-one owns a cat – they (as someone famous once remarked) have staff, not owners. Much better than a nocturnal hamster.

    What a shed! I have a garage that wouldn’t even take a mini, let alone the Land Rover.



    Comment by Sue — July 9, 2012 @ 7:26 am

    • Hi Sue, hope you’ve not been washed away, still lovely up here and we seem to be feeding another cat 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 10, 2012 @ 4:20 pm

  4. Morning Paul

    Them 2 axle stand things are they meant to go under the axle or are they just for show. Hope you leave your shed less clutterd than you used to leave my garage after working on your Range Rover all them years ago.

    Comment by MW — July 9, 2012 @ 8:06 am

    • thats you told Paul lol

      Comment by jay mitchell — July 9, 2012 @ 8:43 am

      • He did nothing but tell me at the time Jay and reminds me of it everytime I see him 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 10, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

    • I’m a changed man MW and I’m definitely not going to set this one on fire whilst welding 🙂 🙂 Was it yourself that gave me that vintage oil pump ???? bet you wished you’d kept it now and flogged it on eBay 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 10, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

  5. I do hope you have a massive sound system, banging out some Richie Hawtin (or similar) in one corner of that shed Paul. It is far too peaceful at Arnish and you need to sort it out!

    Comment by Simon — July 9, 2012 @ 8:17 am

    • Still got the amps and speakers Simon, several hundred watts of them 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 10, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

  6. Your son is so lucky to live in such a special place. Me and the wife will be moving up to Sutherland in the next few weeks. Once where there the grand kids will be up all the time. Cant wait to see them running wild

    Comment by rob sherman — July 9, 2012 @ 8:46 am

    • Aye they’ll love it Rob, there’s not many that don’t. Of the dozens we’ve had staying only two preferred to stay watching the TV or playing games than being outside in all weathers ‘doing stuff’

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 10, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

  7. Hi Paul,
    Surely, for a man of your calibre and talents the hamster represents an opportunity? 6-8 hours of wheel-turning, free, electricity generating hamster power? It wouldn’t take much to rig up a dynamo would it?

    Love the blog,


    Comment by thejonesweb — July 9, 2012 @ 9:23 am

  8. Glad I am not the only one with steering box woes.I was beginning to think the power steering fluid was meant to be on the outside of the box 🙂 Lovely shed.

    Comment by Andy — July 9, 2012 @ 9:46 am

    • Gosh Andy, I looked at mine today and it’s started to go rusty !!!!! will have to loosen some bolts to let the ‘rust preventer’ out 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 10, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

      • What a wonderful system the LR- on board-rust prevention- via leakage-is .Shame some parts of the chassis are not covered by it though 🙂

        Comment by Andy — July 10, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

  9. Hi Paul, firstly I like so many others will be pleased you finally saw about your back, next time don’t leave it so long, you know how quick the relief is so maybe a 6monthly visit may prove fruitful! (-:
    As said, your son and his mates really do have a lot of freedom to explore the island which is brilliant, it will help them in all sorts of ways in later life. No doubt your young foster kids will also benefit from their time with you as well, despite the noisy night creature the present one has with them. Never could see the point in these nocturnal pets, dogs are good for many reasons, and as work animals on any farm or croft they do a great job as indeed in the Mountain rescue, disabled persons seeing eye and hearing dogs as well as of course the helpful hand ones. Like you say never did understand the owner of cats, who is in fact just a feeder and cleaner as the cat pretty much rules the roost. Having said that I am a bit of a pet lover but don’t tell the missus as she will soon have the house full of furry and feathery creatures and that means less caravanning! )-:
    Your journey home with traffic jams and pedestrians reminded me that my brother and his wife got stuck in one recently on Orkney, no cars involved but a stray bull wandering down the white line and causing as much chaos as possible. The perils of island life! lol
    Today will be the last day of work on the Thomson, two days ahead of schedule, just the fitments to add to the table and the girls can get in there and hoover and clean before we put the caravanning gear back in. As I write this my living room resembles a workshop having removed all the excess tools from the van, better get my bum in gear and put them away or I will get into trouble from she who must be obeyed!

    Great blog as always and looking forward to the next one!

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — July 9, 2012 @ 10:24 am

    • Good luck with the Thomson Graham, that should be you finished? was thinking of you today when I came across an old Glendale whilst delivering pigs. Not that I’m an expert but it looked like one of the last, still the classic shape but with lots of plastic mouldings fore and aft to make it look modern.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 10, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

  10. I’ve just come in after lying on wet hardstanding under my Land Rover while the rain fell all around. I’m not jealous of your shed. No, not a bit. Really.

    Comment by Stonehead — July 9, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

  11. A slowworm without its head is new to me – I’ve only seem them minus thrown tails. Plenty grass snakes around Torran…if there is no noise ! Specimens were taken and bottled in some Edinburgh museum.
    We went through the hamster trials, and the many funerals ! Electricity production what a great many more hamsters will you need ? I could arrange a delivery…….!

    Comment by SOTW — July 9, 2012 @ 9:25 pm

    • Perhaps you could train hamsters to carry your bags She 🙂 🙂 Grass snakes hey, must keep an eye out for them. Bit disappointing about the tobacco right enough, much better story than burrdock for a drink 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — July 10, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

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