Life at the end of the road

October 21, 2012

Twenty eight days later :-(

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, South Shields — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:19 pm

Can’t see this being much of an effort tonight chaps, already after 21:00 and I’ve just sat down, or at least sat down ‘on the blog’ Smile Still I’m just ruining a single malt with some Pepsi so anything could happen, two weeks since I last had a ‘wee dram’ so it’ll probably go to my head and I’ll start ranting and swearing, so you have been warned Smile Well that’s a whole month to the day that I’ve been stuck here ‘in the village’


Prisoner sm.jpg036

and by the time this weeks done I’ll be half way there Smile


Having finished all our tasks in ‘hand fitting’



on Thursday we were let off early for the weekend with our pristine door bolts and pipe wrenches and a glowing report from our tutors Smile And I have to say that we all well and truly deserved it, this kind of work wasn’t new to me but it was to many in the class and our lecturers were well impressed with the standard of work. Me, I was particularly pleased with myself because I’d missed a whole days work whilst stuck on the ‘Porta Potti’ but managed to get a mark of 100% for my door bolt (the only one to do so) smug or what Smile


With the extra day to play with I headed home via Glasgow and the ‘in laws’


where I met wifey, Molly and Charlie.

I really can’t hack this life in the city, or even village, I’ve lived too long ‘in the sticks’. I hate driving because I can’t cope with the traffic, I just can’t get used to locking everything, putting the dogs on leads and walking about with bags for the dog s**t. I really do feel like I’m on a different planet, Friday morning I wakes up in Barrhead and asks ‘anything I can do’, get some rolls and the papers is the reply and I’m expected to take the car. Now this to me is like being asked to produce a rabbit from a hat, in Arnish we don’t ‘do’ papers and if we need bread we make it, but ‘when in Rome’ Smile Anyway off I goes with Charlie and Molly on their leads, something that was alien to both Molly and I, and saw us getting in a bit of a fankle to say the least. When we arrived there I’m suddenly gripped by an irrational paranoia that someone is going to steal my ‘wee dug’ so fasten the pair of them to the railing with a clove hitch and two half hitches figuring that any junkie with an eye on them would be too confused to undo the knots. I suppose you get used to it but I hate it and couldn’t wait to get back to my beloved Arnish and the croft.


The ‘golden brown’ of autumn being a good week or two ahead of both Glasgow and South Shields but I arrived to a roaring stag



with four hinds, probably the same one I’d heard a month ago just as he was getting his voice Smile 

It’s just as well

The homecoming was tempered by several minor disasters that needed dealt with, the first of which was  lack of power from the hydro turbine and the second of which was a broken tow hitch on my mates quad. By the time we’d fed everyone and got unpacked on Friday little could be done but the beautiful day that greeted me on Saturday had me out early investigating why the ‘Stream Engine’  wasn’t producing any power.



It was spinning fast enough and there was plenty of water but the meter was only registering 4v across any of the phases when it should have been reading between 200 and 300v. Turning the isolator off in the turbine shed saw the off load voltage rise to almost 400v whilst turning it off at the transformer end made no difference whatsoever. This could only indicate one thing, a cable short in the 470m of SWA that carries the high voltage 3 phase from the turbine to the transformer.


Sure enough, as I followed the cable I came across one of my ‘homebrew’ joints that had failed Sad smile


Though not at the actual joint but where the cable had been poorly cut and the insulation of the conductors obviously nicked and let water in Sad smile


Fortunately I had a spare proper resin filled joint and sorted it, it’s what I should have done in the first place but we’re not exactly close to civilization where I live and sometimes you just have to ‘improvise’ Smile

With that sorted on what can only be described as an ‘Indian summers’ day I headed over to the nicest house on Raasay to check out the renewables there


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batteries were all good and the excess power was being diverted into the thermal store so after running up the generator and checking all was well I headed home.


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This is probably the only house on Raasay that has a view as nice as our new house Smile

Well at least I’ve learned something



Pigs fed, eggs sorted, power fixed and fires lit it was time to fix my mates quad,



the tow ball bracket had broken off


so armed with an 8mm thick piece of steel from my old fishing boat I set about repairing it with my newly acquired skills using a drill file and hacksaw Smile


Not to mention my MIG welder Smile



That was it really, we all went back down to the ‘secret cove’ to check on the hydro turbine and


rustling aspen



before an early night and a long drive back here Sad smile


The only oak tree at the north end of Raasay, and one which I raised from an acorn some twenty years ago produced its first fruit


or at least the first I’ve ever seen, two lovely acorns Smile


This morning had me away on the 10:00am ferry and back here for 17:00 passing the Forth rail bridge and Lindisfarne


on the way Smile

Once back at the old ‘Thompson Glenelg’ it was time to do all my washing, change the bedding and give the caravan a ‘spring clean’



Just check out that 1970’s carpet and the skull and cross bones quilt cover Smile



  1. So nice to see you feeling fit and well and stacking so much into your weekend away! And well done for the 100%! Great photos too. Hope the next few weeks not too bad for you….can imagine how come you feel like you’re from a different planet.

    Comment by may cruickshank — October 21, 2012 @ 10:33 pm

    • Morning May,

      ‘stop the world I want to get off’ 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 22, 2012 @ 6:49 am

  2. Glad you could get back for a visit! Those door bolts you fashioned might be just the thing for your new kitchen cabinets! Maybe you should ask your instructor if you could make a few dozen more, for extra credit!

    Comment by drgeo — October 22, 2012 @ 12:59 am

    • Morning DrG, twas good indeed to see all the family 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 22, 2012 @ 6:47 am

  3. congrats on the 100% Paul … doesn’t it feel good when you can prove you’re still good even tho the hair’s going grey

    Comment by cazinatutu — October 22, 2012 @ 1:49 am

    • The hairs going grey and the middle age spread spreading 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 22, 2012 @ 6:46 am

  4. top marks again, glad you got back to the island. something on the horizon that may be a nice send off for you, are your around in Newcastle up to Dec 5th, the hartnoll brothers aka Orbital are playing in town…. your cup of tea sir ?

    Comment by mike — October 22, 2012 @ 2:43 am

    • Morning Mike,

      the hartnoll brothers aka Orbital are playing in town

      Just typical Mike, I love them and will be in Holland 😦 not only that but Alabama Three are playing on the 2nd 😦

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 22, 2012 @ 6:45 am

  5. Morning Paul, nice clove hitch and half hitch,what did you do about the clip that connects the lead to the coiler.

    Comment by mw — October 22, 2012 @ 9:31 am

  6. Have to take issue with you about the view from the schoolhouse, Paul – the view from Ewen Macdonald’s house at Oscaig Lodge has to be the most stupendous in Raasay. Glad you’re back to normal and had a chance for a short trip home.

    Anne Macdonald

    Comment by Anne Macdonald — October 22, 2012 @ 10:53 am

    • Hi Anne,

      Paul – the view from Ewen Macdonald’s house at Oscaig Lodge has to be the most stupendous in Raasay.

      Does that include all the scrap wood and shuttering from the harbour Anne 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Sorry, I couldn’t resist 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 22, 2012 @ 11:21 am

  7. I know how you feel about being on another planet when away from Raasay! I’m just catching up with your blog now that I’m back down sowf after being in the Outer Hebrides for 2 weeks doing maintainence work on the Gatliff hostels (! Felt like a different world up there! We had fantastic sunny weather, hardly any rain, lovely sunrises and sunsets, saw a green glow one night which we thought was the aurora, and what looked like snow on the tops of the Cuillin on Skye, now confirmed by your pictures. Had a lovely journey on the replacement bus rather than train yesterday from Oban to Glasgow, and as you say the autumn colours were beautiful. Don’t agree with you that the best views on Raasay are from the schoolhouse and your new place – the views from the YH, and the house near the path to Dun Caan, and at Holoman, I think, are just as good! Now that you’ve reached the half way stage of your course, it will hopefully go quicker now and you’ll soon be back home!

    Comment by Frances Passey — October 22, 2012 @ 10:53 am

    • The views from both our new house and the schoolhouse are unique in that you cannot see a single man made light from them excepting fishing boats and the odd car headlight on the Storr 🙂 I would say that’s very hard to beat 🙂 You may well love the views of Oskaig and Braes but you’ll never see total darkness unless there is a power cut 🙂 Me, I could be in the stone age or on a different planet at Arnish 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 22, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  8. good to see you back in the thick of it, your like me, town life is alien.

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — October 22, 2012 @ 7:28 pm

  9. See all that filing has already come in handy :-). Maybe one day you will be called upon to file a complete quad bike out of a lump of Raasay iron :-). It is so relaxing to see pictures of your home again.

    Comment by Andy — October 22, 2012 @ 8:07 pm

  10. hi paul
    nice to see that you are ok

    Comment by bernard fernyhough — October 22, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

    • Morning Bernard and welcome aboard.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 24, 2012 @ 6:33 am

  11. Will you be harvesting the acorns and planting them at the new house? Perhaps the Dude will see some shade one day.

    Comment by drgeo — October 22, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

  12. Great to here you had a good weekend at home Paul, the best reward for your 100%.
    The old Thomson is looking good and great to see you are keeping it tidy!

    As always a pleasure to see the views of Home, and the crossing of the Forth Bridge, one I have walked a few times in my younger days and in latter years went over in a mobility Scooter.

    Take care, time is getting closer for returning home and each day closer is no doubt a blessing.
    All the best

    Comment by Thomson Caravans — October 22, 2012 @ 9:08 pm

  13. happy to think you got to renew your strength by touching your feet to arnish and the secret cove. love to the beautiful miss molly, and mrs. lateotr, nice to think they’re doing well. those acorns on the oak you planted must be very very satisfying. thank you for sharing them with us.

    Comment by jeannettesmyth — October 23, 2012 @ 5:16 am

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