Life at the end of the road

August 30, 2013

Harry sees the light

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, listers, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:47 am

Thursday evening

Eight PM already and I’ve still not finished outside, but you can blame my internet provider and son for that. The Dude managed to munch through most of my 15gB monthly allowance in about  two weeks and I’ve spent an inordinate part of the day trying to speak to my ISP. Q-Sat leave a lot to be desired in the ‘customer care’ department, 9:30 am when they promised to phone me back, four more calls from myself and 18:10 by the time I spoke to someone!!! They normally email me at 80% of my allowance but they never did this month and by the time I checked my data allowance two weeks ago there was only 2% left!!! However no amount of pleading would persuade them to ‘un throttle’ me. Joe said it was not physically possible, well unless I upgraded my package, b*****r that I thought.

Hallaig progress

So, with my internet ‘like treacle’, or as the wife would say ‘as slow as a week in jail’, I’ve not had an email for three days or been able to post. Not that I’ve actually felt like it, I’ve been a little busy this last few days to say the least.

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I arrived at Ferguson’s on Tuesday morning as the lounge seating was being made ready for fitting, the exterior seating on deck 4 got fitted a little later in the morning after being lifted on board with a crane.



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The ramp and after part of the car deck got a good coating of a special coating that gets put on with a ‘hopper gun’ a kind of serious spray gun with a hopper full of paint above it. It must be harder than shearing sheep on the back so the contractors kept taking turns.


This will be a couple of views of the luxurious mess room

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which has a toilet/shower room and a drying room at the entrance, there’s also a good sized office off it and all the usual ‘mod cons’.


We ran all three Volvo generators up for an hour to check for leaks etc and, as you’d expect, all was fine, in fact you can barely hear them outside, or at least I can’t Smile

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I can’t check as I’m not online but from memory they’re D12 (or is it 13’s) of 360kW each.

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After work I headed north



and met a serious load just after Fort William!!!


And that was after the wheels had been removed !!!



I wasn’t the only one who had supper at my parents house on Tuesday night Smile these two pine marten’s tucked into peanuts and hard boiled eggs whilst I was there.



By 10:00am I was at the beautiful ferry terminal at Sconser that was already missing a corner of a wall and a slate off the roof Sad smile


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Still, it does look lovely Smile


As soon as I got home I wasted no time and got straight on with painting the floor of my new house for Harry.


It wasn’t the ‘priority job’, that was a service and front wheel bearing on Wifey’s car but I wanted to get the first coat on and give it chance to dry.

Nissan Almera front wheel bearing

That done it was onto the serious business of the Almera 1.5 SVE who’d been grumbling all the way from Greenock with a duff front offside wheel bearing. A job that would have bee relatively straight forward had I not had to drill out every single split pin!!

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It really is an easy job if things are not seized as they were on here, and is if rusted split were not bad enough, the circlip that retains the actual bearing took me about two hours to remove with heat, drill, grinder, chisel and mole grips. I can safely say that in forty odd years of removing circlips, it’s the most obstinate one I’ve encountered.


Eventually I managed it, though I very nearly resorted to putting the whole hub inside the wood burning stove for the rest of the evening.


First job, before finishing wifey’s car, was to go and set the ‘mink trap’, well rabbit trap that my mate had loaned me.



Baited with a piece of lithe I set it near where it had last been seen, though I’ve checked it once or twice during the day and again just after 20:00, all to no avail.

As well as that I made up, fitted and painted some corner flashings on the shed, gave the floor another coat of ‘Leyland tile red’ floor paint and removed Harry from his shed.

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Dragging the Lister HR2 into the trailer with a Tirfor winch was pretty straight forward, it’s getting out at the other end which is going to be interesting Smile



Aint he just beautiful Smile and with a bit of luck I can post this from my dongle tomorrow.

Well, that’s it, 11:43, I’m awaiting the ferry now to go and get feed, so I’ll post this then jam up my puter with four days emails Sad smile

August 26, 2013

Well that didn’t last long :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:58 pm

Monday evening, the lovely pasta and Greek salad that I demolished for dinner has settled nicely, aided no doubt by several glasses of a fine cheap dry cider from Llidl called Woodgate . Which at £1.99 for two litres has to be the bargain of the summer, just wish I was drinking it at home with the wife and not here in my mates flat in Gourock.



Having said that it’s been far nicer than any hotel, giving me the freedom to eat several groves worth of olives, a crop of chilli peppers, a few goats worth of feta cheese and a  whole shoal of anchovies. Not to mention half a pigs worth of salamis from Naples, Rome, Milan and Bologna, I’m not comfortable in a town but I have enjoyed the grub Smile 

At home I’m 100 miles from a Tesco, Morrison’s, Asda or Llidl and here I drive past several on the way to work, back on Raasay a Screwfix  order is a week away whilst here it’s open from 7:00am until 8:00pm. Here I see more people pass by my window in an hour than I’d see at Arnish in a lifetime and wherever I look on this dark night I see a myriad of lights. Back home I cannot see one single man made light from my house and hear only the wind or roar of a rutting stag, Gourock offers me the ceaseless roar of traffic and a train every half hour, the contrast could not be greater. Still, I’ve enjoyed it, I’m getting paid, the weather has been great, I’m back on shift and I’ll be heading north tomorrow, not actually home but at least as far as my parents.

Not only that but I’ve had the privilege of seeing the worlds first sea going Ro Ro hybrid ferry come together in its final stages.

CMAL Announces Name of the World’s Second Hybrid Ferry (VIDEO)

She may be a little behind schedule, but much of that is due to extra ‘hoops’ that the builders have had to jump through to satisfy Lloyds and the MCA, not a bad thing for they only have the safety of the public in mind. One thing for sure, by the time the MV Hallaig does arrive on Raasay, she will be the safest, quietest, cleanest and most economical vessel in her class.

The ‘broken wall from Donegal’

Today, no doubt because it was my penultimate day at Ferguson’s, I was up early and managed to catch a glimpse of the


‘Saga Sapphire’ heading up the Clyde from my window. OK, not my window but my mates


and she was escorted by the tug Anglegarth.


She went to ‘Ocean Terminal Greenock’ and I went to Ferguson’s at Port Glasgow, the last shipbuilder on the lower Clyde.



I’d left the yard quite late on Sunday, but the workers there had obviously left even later for deck 4 had been painted in my absence.


The car deck was also getting serious preparation with all unnecessary equipment getting craned off.



Much of my day was spent assisting the yard in doing some work on the cooling system for the forward drive cabinet.


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This will be the fresh water system that cools all the electronics for the electric motors that drive the ferry, a completely sealed and pressurised system that is cooled by another fresh water system that is cooled by sea water.



As well as that there was work done on the sewage plant, fire alarms, Novec system and much more painting and insulation. I also arrived ‘home’ just as the ‘Saga Sapphire’ had had enough of Greenock, a bit like me I suppose Smile

The ‘broken wall from Donegal’

Just like the inadequate exit from the new  ferry terminal at Sconser was pointed out to the council clowns, so was the inadequate entrance.



Of course the ‘council clowns’ took no heed when it was pointed out to them that lorries would struggle to turn into the car park, and this is the result. Less than a month after the place was opened, the ‘wall from Donegal’ has been demolished by an incoming truck Sad smile And just as every resident from Raasay prophesised the car park is too small,


a plague of locusts in the form of 12 cars with kayak racks and several vans jammed it up for the bank holiday weekend Sad smile

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