Life at the end of the road

January 27, 2013

A day in ‘The Republic’ :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, shed/house, South Shields — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:35 pm

Sunday, 17:30 and I think that I’m going round the bend, only one third of my ‘sentence’ by with and I’m seriously fed up Sad smile The college work is just fine, it’s interesting and by the time I get home, or should I say back to the B&B and have a bite to eat it’s almost time for bed. Well perhaps more a case of sitting on the bed and watching the ‘one eyed monster’, though I have to say the novelty of the television is starting to wear thin after a week Sad smile I don’t watch TV at home, in fact I hate the thing and would quite happily bin it were it not for wife and child. However with nothing else to do other than eat and drink in pubs and restaurants I’ve been finding a diet of Frost, Whitechapel, Lewis and Poirot a pleasant distraction, though I seriously wonder if there are actually any people left in the village of Midsomer Smile 

The last couple of days at the college have been particularly interesting as much of it has been taken up with generators and batteries, two things that are very close to my heart Smile Is that sad or what Smile



I got really excited by this lead topped bench and the old ‘Chloride’ displays Smile

004  005 006

Not to mention the Nife battery poster Smile


What I did not get excited about was this


the sight that greeted me on Friday morning, more friggin snow Sad smile

It was however refreshing to receive these from wifey



on Friday night and to learn that it had been yet another good day on Raasay


with more progress on the house front. The timber frame walls were now fastened onto the foundations


and just for good measure held in place with a forklift Smile The forecast being for wind, lots of it, so Lachie was obviously not taking any chances Smile


So after a night in front of the box with a bottle of wine for company and not a great deal to look forward to, I wakes up to an email from ‘The Republic’ a very snowy republic Smile I’ve been trying to meet up with Steve for months but have been thwarted at every turn by circumstance. Despite being down here in the vicinity for almost three months last year I never managed to ‘hook up’ with my fellow ‘off gridder’ in the wilds of Northumbria.

The snow was by no means as bad as it was on Friday, but it was still there and would be far worse inland, however my mate phones me to say that he’ll meet me in his Land Rover at the nearest village a few miles from his house. Even so the 50 mile drive took me deeper and deeper into Northumbria’s dark interior Smile



The solid black roads became quieter, the drifts deeper and they eventually gave way to to black lines on the single white track.


The last few miles being covered in Steve’s Discovery,


an essential tool for getting up to ‘The Republic’ at this time of year.



Steve’s house being powered by this WhisperH80 and 2kW of solar PV,

the turbine, despite its rugged looking components and sturdy build has not been a success. In fact I think Steve is on his third one Sad smile I really like the look of this turbine, it seems to have large bearings, heavy castings and lots of stainless steel. I dunno whether they’ve outsourced production to China but they just seem to keep falling apart Sad smile In fact I’ve just received an email saying that the one in the picture has just died Sad smile and looking on their website it looks like they were just bought out recently, on the 13th of January no less, and there is no longer any mention of the above turbine.


After my excellent visit to

I had yet another night alone with a bottle of wine and the TV and had a lie in, OK, it was only 9:00am but late enough for me.

The day was lovely, if not a little breezy, so after a breakfast that was slightly smaller than usual I set off north toward the Tyne.




Just in time to catch the MV Spirit of the Tyne to North Shields,



the river being surprisingly busy


with vessels of all sizes. The Banff registered trawler Bountiful of just a few tons and the 60,000t monster  Pleiades Spirit registered in Panama being another. The trawler looked like she was heading for a rest and the car carrier fully laden with Nissan’s I guess, or at least going to load them after discharging something else.

Once at the other side I planned to pickup where I’d left off one Sunday four months ago in September. A sunny September afternoon that saw me arriving at the Tyneside priory just as it was closing and then contracting food poisoning from a well known chippy near the ‘fish quay’ Sad smile A dose that had me stuck on the toilet and not eating for almost a week Sad smile


Little remains of the warren of properties that covered the river bank on the north side but that building outlined in red is one.


When I was here last year the windows were bricked up and it looked derelict but it looks like it’s about to get a new lease of life as part of some yuppie development.


That’ll be an artists impression that was pasted to the security fence Smile nice to see the building being saved, can’t imagine the developer was too chuffed at not being able to flatten it and put more of those lovely flats Smile



Very 21st century Smile


Anyway it’s 22:30 and I need my bed so I’ll finish this off tomorrow.



  1. Will the new ferry have a new improved kind of battery?
    Good to see the tie downs on your hoose… They are required in hurricane country hereabouts. I reckon your gales are close enough to a hurricane that it just makes sense to tie everything into each other.

    Comment by Drgeo — January 27, 2013 @ 11:13 pm

  2. That’s a good number of holding down straps on the timber panels for the house, but really, would they stop your house blowing down or away? I had to ask that question of the engineers who engineered our new house and they just smiled in the same way architects smile when you ask them how effective all those silly little plastic cavity vents or cavity weeps are. What makes me laugh is that the render now hides about 50% of them! If you want ventilation in the cavity, stick in a terracota air brick or two.

    I’ve never seen dpc behind the holding down straps but it won’t do any harm. Bodes well if that is the attention your builder is paying to detail.


    Comment by Alan — January 28, 2013 @ 8:25 am

    • Hi Alan,

      aye, Lachie’s ‘attention to detail’ is one of the reasons I used him. I’ve seen him build many things on Raasay from houses to waiting rooms and have been most impressed.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 28, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

  3. hi paul bw here ,, on the old pic you got on you can see the 2 lights i was telling ya about,, the high one on the left an the low one on the right,,, when you got the 2 in line outside the harbour , you got the centre of the piers for entering ,,,even at night,,, with todays sat nav,s and plotters you dont need these but if they crash then you never know do ya,,, try to stay on the north side more often eh !!!!! hope your house stays intact cos we got plenty wind here on skye !!!

    Comment by brian wells snr — January 28, 2013 @ 10:08 am

    • Hi Brian,

      house is still there apparently 🙂 definitely nicer on the other side of the river 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 28, 2013 @ 5:08 pm

  4. Hi paul they used to say the sun shines on the south of the tyne but the money was made on the north side , due to the ship building work , Swan Hunters & Smith Docks & the naval yard, My Grandmother was born just above the building you outlined and married a skyeman from waternish in 1912, David Macdonald, my grandfarther was a fisherman, love your Blog

    Kind Regards

    Comment by Terry Scott — January 28, 2013 @ 8:33 pm

    • Well I never 🙂 Fancy that Terry, glad you enjoy the blog, your grandfather would be following the herring when he met your grandmother ???

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 28, 2013 @ 8:37 pm

  5. The lead topped bench has given me an idea for our new kitchen worktops 🙂 Possibly a bit cheaper than granite, but with the current price of metals who knows?

    Comment by Andy — January 29, 2013 @ 9:10 am

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