Life at the end of the road

March 6, 2013

Lamping up

Filed under: daily doings — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:43 pm

Well that’s the ‘Lochmaddy lurch’ so we can’t be far away from North Uist Smile No matter how calm (or even how rough for that matter) the Minch is there’s always a noticeable change it the ships behaviour about ten minutes from Lochmaddy. Dunno if the ship passes over a trench or alters course slightly, as I seldom see the light of day but you can certainly  feel something Smile

Had a terrible nights sleep last night for some reason, perhaps the lack of breakfast Smile whatever the cause, lack of drink, lack of wife or just plain too much going in in my head, I was up early Sad smile Unusual, as I normally sleep very well in my cosy little cabin and am often quite reluctant to get up at 5:30 for the ‘start up’. No problem this morning though, I was up well before that and plonking away on here for an hour before going down below to help fire up the ship. Not that the ship needs any help from me right enough, she has a very capable crew who were getting on just fine without us four itinerants from Raasay clogging up the spare cabins Smile 

To be honest, I just had to get down to the ECR (engine control room) to get away from the smell of bacon and tuck into my muesli Sad smile Still, I managed yet another day without a fried breakfast and threw myself into the days work, which revolved around lights. Lots of them, strip lights, compact fluorescents and of course Satan’s lamp of choice the 50w downlight,  that has become the latest rage in kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms  the length and breadth of the nation. I swear these little ceiling heaters were invented by SSE or one of the ‘big six’ generators, if people stopped using these ‘electricity guzzlers’ we could probably close down one nuclear power station, build 1000 less wind turbines and save a whole load of polar bears. All this could be achieved  with absolutely no subsidy, Greenpeace demos or carp written in the Daily Fail or Torygraph Smile 


All you have to do is stop buying 50w halogen downlighters and the planet would be saved, I kid you not these little beggars are ‘the work of the devil’. Ten or more are common in many houses, that’s 500w or 12.5kwh per day if left switched on, our entire house only uses 3.5kwh per day and we posses all the Chinese carp that most folk do.

I dunno how many of the ‘ice cap melters’ are on this ship but we seem to be changing around 30 per week, for that’s the other thing about them, they don’t last.



That’s around a months supply of the ‘empties’, half a dozen 18w CFL’s, ten 18w strip lights and at least 200 of those frigging ‘ozone depleting’ friggin GU10 downlights Sad smile

Anyway, in an effort to lessen the cost of such futility and perhaps reduce the ships carbon footprint they’re gradually being replaced by 4w LED’s !!!!! yup that’s a bulb that uses one twelfth of the power for more light and won’t  heat up your ceiling Smile

 013  015

However beware, not all LED’s are created equal, the cheaper ones do not have that lovely spiral metal heat sink around them and last only a little longer than the standard item.

More lights

Sorry I went ‘off on one there’ but I really do hate them, anyway, where was I ??



Well, I did manage to poke my head outside as I went up to the emergency generator room this morning before we left Tarbert at 7:30. I was heading up there to remove a light fitting to repair it in the workshop,


no messing about here, the Finlaggan has a special test rig for just this kind of thing


and we soon had it sorted.



This will be Harris from deck six and that’s the starboard side FRC, there sure is a lot of rock on Harris Smile



Lochmaddy at lunchtime, just after the twentieth lamp and just before the potato and leek soup, salad, ham, chips and rhubarb crumble. I skipped the sweet but boy did those chips taste good after the muesli Smile



There’s a good few of these Evance 9000 5kw wind turbines in these parts

007 and I could really fancy one myself. They seem unobtrusive, reliable, offer good customer support and are made in the UK, much as I love my Proven 2.5kW I’d prefer this 5kW to a KW6 (the old Proven 6kW) .



After lunch it was back to ‘lamping up’, this time around ‘The Fountain’ where we replaced 1kw of GU10 halogens with 80w of LED’s Smile

Another sad loss

On a sadder note, Donald Macleod was laid to rest today on Raasay, at around 93 years of age he would be the last of our good friend Jessie Nicolson’s siblings and our thoughts are with her and Donald’s children and grand children.

Anyway, that’s it, I’m off to eat another couple of ‘roll mops’ and go to bed.



  1. Hi Paul,

    There is indeed i trench just outside Lochmaddy beyond the ‘maddies’ as i’ve heard them called. In bad weather there can be quite a big sea at that point. Hope you’re enjoying your time on the big boats!

    Comment by Seumas — March 7, 2013 @ 1:43 am

    • Morning Seamus, thought as much, the ‘big boats’ are just fine but I can’t wait to get back to the wee ones 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 7, 2013 @ 5:39 am

  2. Absolutely spot on regarding the light bulbs.Using less juice by turning lights off etc always used to be the message.Nowadays it seems to be more about buying something else that is branded more energy efficient.Maybe laptops and playstations should all feature a chain- driven pedal- powered dynamo in future.

    Comment by Andy — March 7, 2013 @ 8:52 am

  3. Saw in newspaper the Finlaggan is to stay on the Uig run for the foreseeable. Agree with you about the GU10s, energy rating E, yet supposed to last for 2000 hours burning, if they do 100 hours that’s good going, and make loadsamoney for the makers in china. Bad choice for ceilings – they shine down inside ones spectacles and make seeing even more difficult.

    Comment by SOTW — March 7, 2013 @ 9:03 am

    • Saw in newspaper the Finlaggan is to stay on the Uig run for the foreseeable.

      which paper would that be She, first we’ve heard about it 😦

      they shine down inside ones spectacles and make seeing even more difficult.

      you’re dead right there too, I thought it was just my eyesight getting worse She, as yesterday I couldn’t read the long number on my debit card, turns out it’s just those infernal lights 😦

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 7, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

  4. I dislike those downlighters and we don’t have any. All energy efficient here 🙂 But I am horrified at that stack of waste 😦

    Comment by knotrune — March 7, 2013 @ 10:59 am

    • They truly are the ‘work of the devil’ Knotrune’

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 7, 2013 @ 6:59 pm

  5. Lovely comment re Uncle Donald. End of an era indeed….

    Comment by feemac — March 7, 2013 @ 11:04 am

    • So sorry about Donald Fee, I never really knew him but still called him ‘Uncle Donald’.

      Loads of love from us all at Arnish X

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 7, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

  6. Does the comment that Finlaggan is to stay at Uig mean that she is going straight from Uig to her drydocking in April. I think CalMac are cutting it fine to get Hebrides back to Uig from drydock in time for the start of the summer timetable.

    Comment by Nigel Macleod — March 7, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

    • Dunno where the ‘comment’ originates from Nigel or if there is any truth in it, certainly it’s news to the crew. However she will be in Islay for Easter prior to docking at the Garvel and I’m really looking forward to the sail south. It’s almost thirty years since I was on Islay 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 7, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

  7. Spot on about the GU10’s. We’ve just put in a heap of the Fusion 4W LEDS you have on the Finlaggan in the new house here and they are superb. Would recommend they for your new house but be careful if you have two or three way switching on LEDS – induced voltages will light up the LEDS even after live is switched off. Had our electrician going around the bend trying to work out what was going on and the only solution that he or SELECT could come up with was to fit a supressor to the live feed to each fitting. There’s still 8V across live when switched off but at least the lamps don’t light up. Me thinks he is switching neutral and won’t admit it.


    Comment by Alan — March 7, 2013 @ 1:06 pm

    • Hi Alan,

      I’ve had issues with stray voltages with my LED’s in the house too, don’t think it’s anything to do with switching the neutral, with mine it was just picking up a voltage from another live cable/appliance nearby.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 7, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

  8. Re halogen downlighters , are the 20w/12v type with transformer OK?

    Comment by confidential rick — March 7, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

    • Hi Rick and welcome, well 20w is certainly much better than 50w but nowhere near as good as 4w. By the way you can get 12v LED’s too, I use them in my bathroom.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 7, 2013 @ 7:11 pm

  9. Hi Paul,

    Re the halogen bulbs, no-one can deny that they are brilliant, literally, but too many people are fooled into believing that ‘low-voltage’ means ‘low-power’ and forgetting that 50 watts (typical) means lots of heat and lots of cost.

    As for the Evance 5kW turbine, I had one installed a year ago and (so far) I can’t fault it – more details available if you’re interested…


    Comment by Andrew — March 7, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

    • Hi Andrew and welcome, yes I’d love to hear about your Evance.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 7, 2013 @ 7:13 pm

  10. Hi there Paul,
    Did I read that right. Are you on the Islay run around Easter?

    Comment by Green Van Man — March 7, 2013 @ 8:12 pm

    • Hi Ray,
      Hi there Paul,
      Did I read that right. Are you on the Islay run around Easter?

      only as far as the trip down and then Good Friday, though I may be back there after the dry docking.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 7, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

  11. RIP Donald MacLeod, known round the world for his kindness and craic.

    Comment by drgeo — March 8, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

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