Life at the end of the road

February 8, 2014

A spot of insulation

Filed under: boats, daily doings, life off grid, shed/house — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:11 pm

A grand start to the day it was indeed here at ‘the end of the road’, yours truly had a wee lie in bed until 7:30 and really enjoyed it. The forecast was good and I decided to do a few jobs around here before going up to the new house site. It had rained through the night and I figured that a few hours cutting wood and pruning trees around the house would be a good move. First though I had to do all the feeding and egg collection,

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though I had to get past the guard cat first Smile This will be ‘Mummy cat’ so named because, well she’s the mother of all the others. I’m not a cat fan and they certainly seem to know it cos they always come and sit on my knee if I go to anyone’s house that has one!!! However we tolerate each other and they certainly keep the mice away. When I say I’ve had loads of cats that’s not really true because a cat never really belongs to anyone, but I inherited one called Sooty when I bought this place in 1989 and I guess they’re all related to that one. Sooty had a deformed ear when I bought the house and a broken jaw after I accidently shot her, but she forgave me and lasted for years.

Kremlin was one of Sooty’s kittens and again I had her for years before having to watch her die in agony before my very eyes, a victim of a long since banned rat poison. I’ve never named ‘my cats’, Kremlin acquired her name from a Dutch friend who actually called her Gremlin because she scared him whilst he was washing the dishes Smile My mate had been up for dinner one night and was at the sink doing the dishes when the cat jumped onto the window ledge in front of the sink and peered in at him “it’s a gremlin” he exclaimed, but I thought he said Kremlin and the name stuck.

None of the cats were ever allowed in the house but we made an exception for Kremlin when she took ill from the rat poison, it was a long and agonising death and I should have just shot her, but she did seem to rally at one point. It wasn’t until she was dead that we actually realised the cause of her sickness, the very same thing had happened to a friends dog a year or two earlier Sad smile 

The ‘new’ chainsaw broke

Anyway enough of moggies, after bacon, without eggs the rest of the family went on a coppicing course at Raasay House and I got on with some, well ‘coppicing’ of a sort.


The sawing of birch came to an abrupt halt when my chainsaw didn’t, stop that is. My ‘new’ Stihl 026 is probably nineteen years old now, and I only know this cos when it was sixteen I found the receipt after thinking it was only five Smile After all these years of sterling service it’s had no more than a couple of spark plugs an half a dozen chains, and there was a time when i was keeping two wood burning stoves going!! Well today I came to switch it off and it just kept on running, eventually stopping after I choked it several times and ‘blipped’ the throttle.

Taking it into my nearby little workshop I pulled off the top cowling and air filter, though not having my Karcher vacuum cleaner to remove all the sawdust I borrowed the one out of the house.


The ‘kill switch’ works by shorting the ignition coil to earth, so the first thing that I did was test the continuity from the switch to the saw casing. As that was OK I then delved deeper into the ignition coil itself,



and sure enough the earthing lead had become detached.



I refitted the lead and routed it into that clip above the coil and all was peachy once more.


So ‘peachy’ that I set about judiciously pruning the holly and birch trees about the rear of the house.


It would allow a little more of he late evening sun on the solar panels and make the barbecues a little less midge infested in the summer.

Once I’d dragged all the cuttings down to the ‘Loggit’ ready for the rest of the family to ‘sned’ , I would have done it myself but they’d taken the ‘billhooks’ for the coppicing course.




So, I hijacked Lachie’s ‘telehandler’ and did a spot of boat and rubbish moving Smile This took me nicely up to 13:00 and lunch time, after which the day went to 5h1t Sad smile I returned from my ‘Pot Noodle’ and ham sandwich to pishing rain that had me manically running around closing windows up at the house, on the Land Rover and bringing in the almost dry washing.

What I thought was a shower turned into proper rain so I turned my attention to indoor activities


and the ‘power station’ up at the new house.

Initially I’d acquired this superior insulation to make an insulated battery box for the sixteen Rolls batteries that will be the heart of my system. Having already built the majority of the shed with 6” framed timber filled with ‘Rockwool’ and double glazed it, I got to thinking that I’d probably be better just insulating the rest of the shed! Battery performance deteriorates spectacularly as temperature drops below minus 5, both the storage capacity and the time taken to recharge. A well insulated battery enclosure can make a huge difference to the time top up a bank and the time taken to flatten it. As my shed would also have within it several inverters and a generator I figured that the best plan would be to keep everything warm and not just the batteries. The inverters themselves dissipate much heat that if contained would keep the shed temp up and of course there’s Harry himself, if he has to run, then why not contain the warmth?

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The frame below the window is already double skinned and well insulated and some Recticel or Kingspan under the roof should sort that.



Not only that but the 80mm insulation brightened the place up no end Smile



That was about it really, I did a little tidying up around the new house site, collecting kindling and the like. I did the usual bout of feeding and egg collecting but sadly never got near the ‘solar powered hen house’.

However, I did get a couple of emails Smile



first the MV Loch Bhrusda (the Brewster) departing Raasay early this morning. Our new harbour is certainly becoming a favoured berth for vessels on passage to and from ‘dry dock’ Smile The Bhrusda having just handed back to the MV Loch Portain who’d left Raasay yesterday for the Sound of Harris.


IMG_7214 Loch Portrain Berneray

Many thanks to Gary of for that cracking picture of Portain and her water jets at



  1. How you accidently shot the cat – that will have to go in the book.

    Comment by Kev — February 9, 2014 @ 9:51 am

  2. SNEDING – can’t wait for the next Scrabble session with grandkids!

    Comment by David & Margaret Gartside — February 9, 2014 @ 1:42 pm

  3. Sorry – 2 Ds in SNEDDING – no wonder they always beat me!

    Comment by David & Margaret Gartside — February 9, 2014 @ 1:44 pm

  4. What an interesting life you lead – but there will be real hardship in the poor weather out in the isles of Scotland. The English do not really understand the variety of lifestyles to be found in the length & breadth of the country they are attached to, but then, a little bit of heavy rain floods their homes & cellars so they call in the army ( serves then right for building £1M homes on Flood Plains ) – The Independence Debate show how little they know about Scotland – Gordon ( ex-Aberdeen, Glasgow now doing “missionary work in England’s Education System” ) but still flying the Flag for Scottishness.

    Comment by Gordon Dunbar — February 24, 2014 @ 9:57 am

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