Life at the end of the road

September 13, 2013

Let there be light :-)

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, listers, shed/house — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:27 pm

Well, I’m sure you can guess what I’ve been up to this fine autumn day, well that’s if you agree it is actually autumn, I thought it started on September 1st. Apparently it’s the 22nd, which makes sense in the ‘deep sowf’ but the leaves have started falling here already, not many right enough but just enough so that you confuse them with the yellow mushrooms. Sunday I reckon is the day that she arrives in earnest and my wind and hydro turbines will really start to earn their keep.


Monday looks even worse so the kids will be keeping their fingers crossed for ‘no school’ Smile reckon they’ll be out of luck though Sad smile

Anyway, I slept really badly last night, due in no small part to me wanting to go up to the new house/barn site and start wiring up my lights, sad or what. I’m so determined to get everything just right with this ‘power house’ and good lighting is a huge part of that. I dunno what it is about generator sheds (and my good mate Bill Steele of ‘Generator Services said the same) but they’re always dark, dingy, oily and draughty. OK, they need good airflow to keep cool but there’s no need to have them illuminated by just one 60w bulb that only works if the generator is actually running.

This shed is well bathed in natural light thanks to large double glazing supplied by George Rankine and an opaque roof sheet from Ron Koonstriver. For when the sun goes down I fitted  4’ and 5’ fluorescent  tubes today that I’d gotten from the dump years ago and refurbished with new starters, tubes and a lick of paint. Not yet fitted is a 24v emergency strip light that I salvaged from a converted fishing boat, this will run off the generator batteries in the unlikely event of inverter failure.

The joy of dripping

Anyway, after eating enough fat to grease a channel swimmer I headed up there to get on with the job. I know too much fat is bad for you but if you’ve a long hard day ahead of you and you can’t be bothered making lunch, it beets the carp out of muesli. It wasn’t too bad, one of wifey’s eggs fried in a few millimetres of hardened free range pork fat that had exuded from yesterdays sausages. All served on home made bread with a trowel load of butter on it. Took me right back to Spencer street Accrington a lifetime ago, almost fifty years I guess since my mother would ‘head fot mill’ and leave me at grans prior to school. If it were a cold winters day I’d sit in grans cold kitchen with my feet in the oven eating dripping on toast before walking myself to Peel Park junior school.

  Peel Park Primary School, Accrington

Gosh, it hasn’t changed much!!! thanks Alexander for that.



I was torn between mounting them both along the centre beam but in the end I put the four footer over the door.



Feeling quite pleased with myself I turned my attention to making a concrete base for the fuel tank, something that I’ve never done in the past preferring to use large timbers or even pallets. Now I come to think of it I could still rest it on some timbers, would give it a little more head and make it easier to bleed Smile



First job was to make up some shuttering 1400 x 1800 and 4” high??? OK 100mm high.



A bit of ‘sub base’ came next to fill in the low spots so I’d not be mixing concrete all day, it is after all only a flat area to rest less than one ton over 2.5m square.


The hardest thing about this task was going to be ‘barrowing’ the concrete in, and first I had to fill up the trailer and move the aggregate, a little ‘double handling’ that I could have done without.

007 008

Had I a longer extension lead I could have moved the electric mixer to the pile instead of moving the pile to the mixer.



Still, I did get to plug it into my shed Smile 



I gotta say, I’m really ‘chuffed’ Smile


So ‘chuffed’ in fact that I went back up there in the dark Smile



  1. Paul, your not that mad. There is a community based organisation here in Ireland called Men’s Shed. Basically it seasoned gents meeting up generally in a hall to make or fix stuff in a social athmosphere. The escaping to the shed/hall been key.

    Comment by William Mc Mahon — September 13, 2013 @ 10:06 pm

  2. Molly should sign the new slab, to commemorate the fine occasion .

    Comment by Drgeo — September 14, 2013 @ 3:43 am

  3. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of doing a job properly. Love this blog btw 🙂

    Comment by Graeme Oliver — September 14, 2013 @ 4:17 pm

    • Thanks Graeme and welcome aboard.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 14, 2013 @ 10:01 pm

  4. Hi Paul

    I’ve just laid some SWA cable to a summerhouse I’m building in the garden. Although I had enough length to do it in one piece I seriously considered making a join just so as I could use one of these joining kits! 🙂
    There must be a secret to joining the SWA on to the gland at the end? Either that or these glands I got from Screwfix are just plain rubbish!!


    Comment by Derek — September 14, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

    • Hi Derek,

      there is a ‘secret’ as the ‘screw you fix’ ones work just fine. You need to put the outer nut on before you trim back the outer insulation, then cut it back and spin the inner stuff ’round and round’ to splay out the SWA to fit over the cone.

      Good luck, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 14, 2013 @ 10:01 pm

      • Hi Paul

        Thanks for the advice 🙂 . Your method was how I did it but I found that because the cone was so short and the nut was so shallow it was very difficult to get the but up to meet the threads. I did manage it and the earth bond to the steel armour seems to be fine but it was a real struggle to get that but to reach the thread! Maybe its just practice 🙂

        Comment by Derek — September 15, 2013 @ 7:30 am

      • Another tip Derek is to score around the SWA with a hacksaw whilst the outer sheath is still on rather than strip back and cut with wire cutters, which inevitably bends the ends and leaves them rough, so harder to get on the cone. If you just partially cut the wire then peel of the insulation you can then snap the wire cleanly so it goes on the cone easily. A trick taught me by one of the Scottish Hydro engineers.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 15, 2013 @ 8:58 am

  5. Paul, Loved Monday mornings in the winter when I would pop by my nans on the way to school to have toast made under a gas grill, with butter & dripping. Brought back many happy memories.


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — September 15, 2013 @ 10:36 am

    • butter AND dripping, Arthur ? … that’s a bit overkill isn’t it

      Comment by cazinatutu — September 15, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

      • We never had butter in our house when I was growing up just margarine. Just thinking about it now, butter on hot thick toast cut from a loaf yourself, none of this pre sliced stuff.

        Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — September 16, 2013 @ 12:09 am

      • Now I come to think of it Micheal, I think butter was scarce in my youth too.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 19, 2013 @ 4:18 am

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