Life at the end of the road

April 15, 2014

It must be the Tramadol!!

Filed under: daily doings — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:17 pm

Just after 20:30 and I really did not want to come in but light is fading and I have been at it since ‘stupid o clock’. Yes, it definitely is spring, all we need now is the cuckoo to confirm it, wouldn’t be surprised if he’d already been but was blown out into the Atlantic and drowned. It really has been the wettest winter and spring I can remember, having said that we’ve  certainly had the warmest winter ever inside the cosy wee house. We normally leave the little oil stove running 24/7 during the winter but with all our excess power the house has been far too hot for that and we’ve only been lighting it to heat water. In fact there’s been relatively few nights that we’ve actually lit the wood burner either, even then it’s been more for effect or cremating stuff rather than the need for heat.

If we were getting paid for all the electricity we’ve produced this winter we’d be rich and bare in mind that we don’t get power cuts either. There will be very few people in the UK reading this that hasn’t had a power outage this winter. Ours can be counted in minutes and on one hand in eight years, not six months. There is much to be said for life ‘off the grid’ and on the whole ‘off the radar’, though that’s rich coming from one who has had several million visits on here over the last seven years Smile It’s a determined Jehovah, Mormon, double glazing salesman or tinker that calls here, but there have been at least one of each in twenty five years. Me, I reckon that if they’ve made such an effort then I will at least listen to them.

Back to the ‘chicken run’

It’s a sad indication of how mundane my life is when I can’t stay in bed for the excitement of wanting to do some fencing, but that’s what it’s come to. Midlife crisis long gone, years of risking my life daily fishing and diving and a few close shaves with the ‘grim reaper’ have all contributed to me getting my priorities right. So, a fine day fencing with my son gets me far more excited than the latest iPhone or being one number short of the jackpot. Yep, after feeding the pigs well before 7:00am I headed for the shore and a telegraph pole, one of my last telegraph pole no less Sad smile



It’s hard to believe that I once had a hundred and now I’ve only two left, well one and a half now, for I lopped 3m off it and towed it up to the ‘chicken run’.

When after almost four years BT finally came to install a phone line for us for the regular connection fee I managed to blag 100 telegraph poles off them for free. We’d applied for a phone as soon as wee moved in but couldn’t get one until the old copper overhead lines were replaced by an underground cable. There were only two wires and both were in use, well I say in use but they were both in houses that were unoccupied for 90% of the year and there were no mobile phones in those days. Of course BT didn’t see us a priority and it was probably only constant badgering of them by my mother that got it so quick Smile Well what are mums for, it’s hard badgering anyone when you’ve no phone and only get mail once a week, though like the phone we improved on that.

Anyway, the whole phone thing was a pure epic and we ended up with a ‘fifty pair’ cable as far as the car park!!!!!! This was someone in BT’s idea of using up several miles of the stuff that was lying in Aberdeen, some nine miles of it !!!!!!!!!!! Cock up number one was that the lorry they sent couldn’t get on the ferry, so they hired a smaller one. Cock up number two was the cable was too heavy to lift onto the wee lorry so a crane had to be hired also. Cock up number three was trying to take a brand new cable laying tractor down the Torran path and getting it well and truly ‘bogged’. And this is where I came in one Friday evening, “I’ll get your tractor out by Monday in exchange for 100 telegraph poles” say I, quick as a flash Mr BT says “phone (which was a laugh cos at that time we still hadn’t got one) Kyle and tell them the situation and I’m sure they’ll agree, I’m off to Crete tomorrow so don’t give a feck”.

Several hours with a Land Rover and Tirfor later we had the bright yell tractor on the car park and I was the owner of 100 standing poles. I can tell you that moving those with a Peugeot pickup was a bit of an epic too, how I wish I’d had a camera in those days. It probably took me a year or two to get the lot as some were way off the road and quite a few were rotten but I made good use of them all, even if some of them did go in the fire.

I got that strainer up and the rest of the ‘deer stobs’ before calling on my son to help, it was pretty easy going down this leg with everything being in peat.


This little square with three spirit levels on is really handy for getting the tall ‘deer stobs’ plumb, when stood on a step pelting the ‘cyberman’s head’ onto the top of the post it’s hard to get a perspective on how straight the post is.



I’ll let you work out which is which Smile


The soft ground being one of the reasons why I opted for square posts even though they’re £1 dearer. Round posts are far easier to put in, for a start they don’t have any ‘right way round’ so to speak and whilst they’re much better in stony ground they’re pretty rubbish in peat. Due to their shape, almost like the bow of a boat they offer much less resistance when pushed against a soft medium, unlike the 4” flat side of a square post.



This is where the extra pair of hands came in, as you can see we’d strained a wire top and bottom. The top one would give us something to hang the netting on, the bottom one for a guide to place the poles in line and also for fastening the bottom and discouraging rooting pigs.




The netting is 6’ high but we set the top wire at 5’ which would give us a foot to play with at the bottom. This allows the netting to be folded outwards and have rocks placed on it to tension it and discourage rooting pigs.



Pretty soon the grass and heather will grow through it and make it impossible to lift, if you were doing this to keep rabbits, foxes or mink out you could bury it.


That leg took us up until lunchtime, by which time I was a wreck, enter the Tramadol Sad smile



I haven’t taken it in over a year as it makes me constipated, fart, prevents me from drinking alcohol, dries my mouth, stops me sleeping, makes me grind my teeth and gives me nightmares. However, unable to get a doctors appointment on Raasay and being in agony I relented, for it does actually work if you can put up with those side effects. The talking rubbish, hyperactivity, general ‘spaced out’ feeling and indecision I can cope with, it’s just my family that get annoyed with those Smile



By around 17:30 we’d completed two legs and my son had worked like a trooper, so prior to stopping for dinner I sent him off on ‘pigeon watch’. Another advantage of our new run and large shed will be the ability to feed the hens inside, thus saving a fortune in feed costs. I wouldn’t mind so much if we could eat the ‘flying rats’ but the last one I tried made me ill and it’s really put me off, especially as it was so tasty fried with chanterelle mushrooms.



Probably as a result of the Tramadol I was back outside after dinner, ostensibly to clear up my tools but in reality finishing off fitting the battens to hold the wire on.



I much prefer this method to staples, it gets a better grip of the wire, does less damage to, doesn’t flap in the wind and is easier to remove if you want to reuse the netting. Which by the way came from here quickly, cheaply and great quality. Boddington’s didn’t slap on a huge surcharge for delivering to my parents on the mainland and 200m of the stuff was £211 inc VAT and delivery.

Speaking of delivery

I am absolutely sick of being ripped of for delivery, there’s this marvellous thing enshrined in law called ‘Universal Service Obligation’ which amongst other things includes Postal services at an affordable, uniform tariff across the UK so why don’t people use it instead of losing custom in the highlands or just plain robbing folk.

I’ve been trying to by a ‘wet and dry’ vacuum cleaner now for weeks, my Karcher one (which was frankly carp) died and a new motor was £75 (more than a new vacuum), there’s been plenty for sale but as soon as you mention an IV postcode they bang £15 on the cost and I’m friggin sick of it. The best one had to be this clown.


This dude in East Kilbride will send a hoover 560 miles to Lands End for free but wants £15 to send it the 178 miles to my parents house on the mainland!!! Anyway, I got one from Buckinghamshire for free,


well free delivery at any rate.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm 23:00 I’m not falling asleep but my jaws are killing me and I’ve drunk about a gallon of tea, methinks it’s going to be a long night Sad smile


  1. like one of your posts of old! love reports from ’round the croft and the tale of the telegraph poles, thank you.
    here is a once famous, now old-fashioned poem, by the american poet robert frost. this post reminded me of it. (also have to thank you for inspiring me to procure and read “I Remember” by John Nicolson.

    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
    And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
    And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
    The work of hunters is another thing:
    I have come after them and made repair
    Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
    But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
    To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
    No one has seen them made or heard them made,
    But at spring mending-time we find them there.
    I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
    And on a day we meet to walk the line
    And set the wall between us once again.
    We keep the wall between us as we go.
    To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
    And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
    We have to use a spell to make them balance:
    ‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
    We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
    Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
    One on a side. It comes to little more:
    There where it is we do not need the wall:
    He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
    My apple trees will never get across
    And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
    He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’.
    Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
    If I could put a notion in his head:
    ‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
    Where there are cows?
    But here there are no cows.
    Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
    What I was walling in or walling out,
    And to whom I was like to give offence.
    Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
    That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
    But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
    He said it for himself. I see him there
    Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
    In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
    He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
    Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
    He will not go behind his father’s saying,
    And he likes having thought of it so well
    He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

    Comment by jeannettesmyth — April 16, 2014 @ 4:08 am

  2. Nice bit of fencing chap, does chicken wire cost a fortune there too. Do you ever have an oh feck it day and just put your feet up?
    Get that boat of yours to steer south !
    One good thing here is you can get a physiotherapist on the health service. Don’t say that you get cured but a massage is not a disagreeable experience!

    Comment by Andrew — April 16, 2014 @ 10:48 am

    • Morning Finisterre 🙂

      Had an unintentional ‘feck it’ day yesterday Andrew but if I ever have an intentional week or two I might haul the Thomson down to see you and Clockman 🙂 I can get a good massage here for forty quid!!!! and the day after I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck 🙂 On the chicken wire front I thought that stuff was very cheap, normally it is a fortune.

      Good luck with the beanz 🙂 I have a wonderful recipe for just beans and potatoes that is just so simple and delicious.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — April 17, 2014 @ 7:34 am

      • Sitting with a glass of white (OK I know its early) looks a cracking dish.
        You are very welcome whenever you need a change of rain!

        Comment by Andrew — April 19, 2014 @ 2:58 pm

  3. Delivery charges really can be the bane of ones life Paul, when I had my Landy I started off using Screwfix until I rapidly realised they were charging DOUBLE for a Brechin post code (DD6) and ToolStation are much the same! Orders over £10 from Machine Mart are free however and maybe only pennies different!
    Nobody minds e-bayers charging a wee bit extra if the price is on the low side to maximise their profit, but its a far cry from mice having a wee nibble to rats gnawing the hell out of it!
    Anyway, good luck with your endeavours, it’ll be nice to see the new turbine up and spinning!

    Comment by caadfael — April 17, 2014 @ 8:20 am

  4. Hi Paul, sorry to hear your back on the tramadol but if it works then use it why suffer, the tramadol doesn’t work too well for me (don’t get a decent kick oot o it) its the codydramol that works for me but gladly hav,nt needed to take much lately. Hope all is well with the rest of the family all the best.,

    Comment by jimmy mcmillan — April 21, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

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