Life at the end of the road

August 6, 2012

Eggs for breakfast :-)

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:51 pm

Who knows when it was that I last posted, I’ve kind of lost track being two or even three days behind and even staying up until 1:00 am one night, or is it morning. Anyway, I am at last back to ‘normal’ whatever that is for an eccentric old git with poor eyesight a bad back and a fondness for pigs and red wine. Or at least I used to have, to be quite honest the very thought of a glass right now makes me feel queasy. Though with all sincerity I’m more inclined to think it was food poisoning and Tramadol related. Speaking of which I didn’t have any for a couple of days and the back was just fine, then during a bout of serious pain in the evening  took two and was awake all night. Just what you need after two days of feeling like carp 😦

Anyway, enough of the whining, I’ll try and get back on track with the old blog and ‘life at the end of the road’, which I’m thinking would be Saturday morning.

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A very misty morning indeed, and an early rise on account of not actually having slept. In retrospect I should have just stayed up all night and continued blogging but I mistakenly thought that sleep was just a wink away. Consequently I lay in bed with the wee dug on the quilt, though even she got fed up of my tossing and turning and went off to join the young chap who is staying with us.

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I’d noticed one of the chooks go charging eastwards as soon as she was out of the house, being involved in other things I sent my apprentice off to have a look. Five foot tall wet rushes making the task impossible so we made a note to check on Sunday and follow her.

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After putting out the bins, feeding the pigs and splitting some logs we repaired a slow puncture on my mates quad before heading up to Pipers rock to repair a water pipe.

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Not that there was any actual water in the pipe 🙂 the rest of the UK may be having a poor summer but up here we’re having a drought 🙂

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As we were in the area anyway we continued on to  Loch Airigh na –Aon Oidhce  (the Loch of the one night shieling) to see the red throated diver but her and her chick had long gone. We some lovely small white flowers though growing from the peaty bed of the lochan, though they were away from the edge and swaying in the wind so difficult to photograph.

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Walking back to the quad by way of Meall Dearg and Loch Malachite we followed the fence line on past Pipers rock and down towards Fladda.

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I’d heard that the fence had been rolled back and wanted to investigate, but turns out it was the wrong fence 🙂

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Lunch, then refitting the starter solenoid that I’d borrowed off Harry, my HR2 Lister was next on the cards before following the neighbours back to Torran after a shopping trip.

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The traffic really is hellish this time of year 🙂


The first job of the morning was the great ‘Arnish egg hunt’ so after letting the girls out we observed carefully and followed at a discrete distance.

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Spotting the hen we left her on the eggs and returned ten minutes later to find 17 eggs, joy of joys, some eggs at last. Keeping only the one warm one for sale I popped 1 in the pan and 15 in the fridge. I really can’t remember the last time I tasted an egg so good 🙂 OK, that’s more to do with my poor memory than anything else but eating any eggs without permission is a capital offence here 🙂

Old Faithful does a turn

With the day not looking very promising I decided to concentrate on indoor work, not the VAT return I should have been doing but my Lister SR1 generator. The 1969 single cylinder Lister 3Kw generator has not run in months. I run them up regularly just to make sure the oil gets circulated and valves, brushes etc don’t get stuck. However the last time that I’d run this old thing that has probably been several times around the world in terms of hours/mileage, he wasn’t generating any electricity 😦

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With me due to be away for three months I thought it would be a good idea to check it out, in the unlikely event of anything going wrong with the battery/inverter system ‘Old Faithful’ good supply the juice.

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As I suspected it was just worn DC brushes so I replaced them with some from an old Brush alternator I’d been given. They weren’t identical but near enough to do a turn.

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Once they were fitted I cleaned up the commutator by folding some fine ‘wet or dry’ around a piece wood and placing firmly on the commutator, whilst it was running!!!!!! Shock horror, ‘do not do this at home’.

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Seriously, it is fraught with the danger of losing fingers or electrocution 😦 It does however work and is done by many people who actually know what they are doing, unlike me 🙂

Never has solar been so attractive

Our excellent summer of no rain or midge has left us ‘off gridders’ at the north end of Raasay a little short of power, especially at that does not have the benefit of a wind turbine. Consequently we decided to fit an extra 690w of solar PV to complement the 510w that’s already there. The price of solar PV just keeps falling and these three 230w REC panels that we’ve just ordered off Hugh Piggott from come in at £190 each, less than half of what the BP ones did four or five years ago. Sure you can get panels cheaper elsewhere, but not much and these are quality Norwegian ones. OK, all cells probably come from China  but at least they have sturdy frames a proper warranty from a company that will likely still be around in 25 years and Hugh’s service and advice is second to none 🙂

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The first job before the new panels arrive being to fit another 16mm square armoured cable and re route the current 25mm square one.

Though as soon as the new holes were bored through the block work and the cable jointed we rushed home to meet wifey who was due on the 16:30 ferry 🙂

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No rest for her though, as soon as the car was unloaded it was hard at work checking, candling, stamping and boxing ‘Arnish eggs’ for the Raasay stores 🙂


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Well, I spent most of it up a ladder and on a roof

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on a peach of a day. The roof needs re slating so it’s only a temporary wooden mount that will be going up.

There was more, much more but that’s me off to bed now 🙂


  1. purely from a selfish point of view; so us guys get your posts do something about your back, before it does something to you, it sounds girlie, and believe me its not my big man of a husband does it….try Pilates to ease your back pain, look at this link
    Cat curl/stretch you never see cats with a bad back!
    hanging over a pc doesn’t help, so stop and do some stretching you are getting on a bit, so use it or lose it.

    Keep the posts coming Chris, we all just love them

    Comment by Jackie — August 6, 2012 @ 11:12 pm

  2. The white flower could be Lobelia dortmanna. It’s certainly a Lobelia, and it looks just like L. dortmanna. You’d have to check if that species grows in your area, or if it’s a look-alike.

    Comment by jomegat — August 7, 2012 @ 2:20 am

    • Yes it’s Lobelia dortmanna. Stephen (BSBI vice-county recorder)

      Comment by Stephen — August 7, 2012 @ 8:12 am

      • Cheers for that Stephen, any idea what the bug is 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 9, 2012 @ 4:58 am

  3. What a lovely clutch of eggs!

    Comment by heartlandroad — August 7, 2012 @ 7:09 am

    • And they sure taste good Heartland 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 9, 2012 @ 4:58 am

  4. Paul do you ever get a break lol. You seem to be busy every minute of the day 🙂

    Comment by jay mitchell — August 7, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    • The saying is that if you want something done, ask a busy man to do it. 😉

      Comment by jomegat — August 7, 2012 @ 1:49 pm

      • The saying is that if you want something done, ask a busy man to do it. true enough JG 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 9, 2012 @ 5:00 am

    • Morning Jay, when the house is finished I really am going to take it easy 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 9, 2012 @ 4:59 am

  5. Lovely afternoon/evening here at the YH. Maybe we’ll get another glorious sunset, like Friday and Saturday, later. I’m having Arnish eggs for tea!

    Comment by Francesp — August 7, 2012 @ 4:24 pm

    • One of our hens periodically takes a rush of blood to the head and scarpers off over the wall to lay her eggs there instead of in the barn like all the others. She’s a serial-sneak. The worst time was nearly thee dozen eggs all going slowly rotten.

      Had a man round to quote us for PV panels because our place is oriented East-West so we have a whole south-facing roof pitch. Unfortunately they wouldn’t touch it because the ‘slates’ are actually asbestos tiles. 😦 Will have to factor it in when we re-roof it in a few years.

      Comment by Gary Sutherland — August 7, 2012 @ 8:22 pm

      • Morning Gary, had the same here a couple of years ago before finding a stinking pile behind one of the generators 😦 Aye there’s a lot of those asbestos tiles in these parts. Surprised he turned the job down for that, would be worth trying elsewhere. Sure asbestos is dangerous but a mask and gloves would take care of that.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 9, 2012 @ 5:08 am

    • Morning Frances, glad you’re enjoying them 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 9, 2012 @ 5:03 am

  6. Some good points here Paul. Stretching excercises, approaching tasks in a new way, using labour saving devices, making some “me” time to rest and relax, allowing yourself to do a little less, and so on. This won’t go away without your agreeing to it matey. Okay, speech over.

    Comment by Lloyd — August 7, 2012 @ 10:06 pm

  7. To all you fellow bloggers and green energy buffs. Here at we installed solar ten year ago and it’s the best investment you can put into your property. Be you on grid or off. Wind generation in my experience is vastly overpriced, high maintenance and limited life span. Take these multi million pound windfarms popping up everywhere. I was told by a vestas engineer that they would be lucky to get ten year out of one turbine. Me i’m on my third in ten year and that needs replacing. So Paul go and get more solar, it even works well on snowy days… Steve

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — August 7, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

    • Morning Steve, sure I need more solar but the house is up for sale and I’m not fitting it for someone else 🙂 2Kw planned for the new house right enough but it may end up being more. Our energy shortfall there will be in Feb March


      Just look how much power a 2.5Kw Proven produces then as opposed to a 2Kw solar array 🙂 You need a mix and of course the right wind turbine, not spent a penny on my Proven in seven years, as for maintenance it gets lowered once a year, hardly ‘high’. In December it produced 744Kwh as opposed to 23Kwh for a 2kw solar array. To get that kind of output here from PV I’d need 60Kw and a football pitch to mount it on 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 9, 2012 @ 5:14 am

      • surely the hydro will cover that..

        Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — August 9, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

      • The blue sections on the graph are hydro Steve, remember this is the total load for heating, DHW, and electricity consumption. So yes the hydro will give me extra but not in those months. The only resource capable of supplying that demand in those months is wind 🙂 Unless I install 60Kw of PV, burn diesel or install a batch boiler. It is actually on the plans to install one but I’m not going to do it unless I have to, a 6Kw wind turbine would cover it but it would have to be a good second hand one.

        Cheers, Paul

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 9, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

      • i take it back paul, you’ve convinced me that the replacement for my poor turbine is a bigger more robust unit. hoping mine lasts one more winter..

        Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — August 9, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

      • Morning Steve, my advice would be either a Proven 2.5, steer clear of the 6Kw unless you’re an enthusiast 🙂 Better still build your own if you have the time using Hugh’s plans

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 10, 2012 @ 5:24 am

      • that looks interesting, i have the time and a full fabrication shop stocked with austrian, german and english engineers. well i say i have, what i mean is work has. is it back to college for you in september then

        Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — August 10, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

      • Aye Steve,

        Hugh’s turbines have been well tested in the harshest of climates, if they work at Scoraig they’ll work anywhere. I really should make one myself but just don’t have the time, perhaps once the house is finished.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 11, 2012 @ 7:43 am

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