Apologies for the lack of input of late but it’s been pretty ‘full on’ at work and I had a minor depressive bout on Wednesday morning when I awoke to commence my 59th year I was only 58 right enough but it was an expression my dear old pop used to use prior to his dementia, he’d always add a year onto his age. I never knew for sure it was an ‘Italian thing’ whether he did it deliberately or like me, kept forgetting his age Well I remembered my age this year sure enough, in fact I had a pure meltdown and didn’t want to get out of my bed. The reluctance to leave the marital nest on a bright spring day being unusual to say the least. Normally at this time of year I can’t stay in the bed, let alone struggle to get out of it, especially on the first day of my ‘two weeks off’ with a long list to tick off.
Rare indeed is the day that darling wife gets out of bed before me, well Wednesday 7th of May was such a day and it was 8:50 before I reluctantly left its womb like warmth. Once up and presented with my presents, another ‘redneck hillbilly’ jacket and a bottle of El Dorado cream http://theeldoradorum.com/speciality-products/cream-liqueur
“Very inviting nose packed with spice, rum and toffee. Full creamy texture with seductive roundness and extremely smooth flow across the palate. Flavours of spice, toffee and rum fill the mouth with fine spirity lift highlighting everything. Ongoing release of flavours and aromatics in very long, well sustained finish. Absolute delight.”
2006 International Wine & Spirit Competition.
my mood improved. I think it would have improved even more had I substituted the milk in my morning cuppa with the rum liqueur but I settled on trying out my new hunting jacket instead. The old ‘Ridgeline’ that my parents bought me some years ago for Christmas was, like me getting a little ‘long in the tooth’ so wifey had bought me ‘Jack Pyke’s’ version of the same thing and I was well impressed.
The Ridgeline will still have a couple of years life left on the croft but I’ll be able to wear my new ‘real tree’ camouflage jacket in public now without the fear of offending folk with the whiff of pig pooh and dead things Not that it’s ever bothered me before but I’m 58 now and should start acting like it.
Raasay in bloom
Since I last put my wittering’s down on here ‘live from the Hallaig’ much has happened, Saturday was followed by Sunday
which may well be quiet on the sailings front but is the day when much of the maintenance and drills get done. It’s usually the day that I, or should I say ‘we’ enter the ‘forbidden room’, the battery rooms are kept permanently locked and can only be entered by observing strict protocols. A ‘permit to work’ must be issued, I must be accompanied, the ship must be in ‘DG mode’ (diesel generator) and the drives in ‘maintenance’.
Only then, and with permission from the bridge may the compartment be entered for the weekly checks of communication systems, bilge alarm and fire alarm checks. With 540kwh of storage in each room and a voltage of around 750dc it’s not somewhere you’d go wearing jewellery or hob nailed boots.
A little bit of work on the coupling between the 375kW permanent magnet motor and the ‘Voith unit’ was followed by a ‘boat drill’.
The Turkish davit rusting very nicely as you can see, I can’t recall the manufacturers name but they produce davits of a similar quality to my Hatsan Turkish shotgun.
in a word lethal Fortunately both the davit and shotgun have been fixed
Whilst our Sunday passed very without incident some poor holiday maker wasn’t so fortunate
and landed upside down outside Sconser lodge http://www.sconserlodge.co.uk/ on the A87.
Work finished I headed home to my family but couldn’t actually get passed the ‘border guards’ who’d not been fed.
After dealing with Jamie, Rocky and the two ‘wee boys’ I went to check on Ellie who was ‘imminent’. She held off until Monday night but then produced a litter of eleven, three of which died. Two of them from natural causes and one being squashed, no doubt because she was unsettled by the two sickly piglets.
Still, the other eight are doing really well and were out in the sunshine the day after.
That’s one of the sickly ones there that Molly is looking concerned about, it’s backend wasn’t properly formed and I guess I should have just ‘dispatched’ it there and then but it was such a feisty wee thing.
The old iron ore pier and Rubh na Cloiche on Tuesday, which may not have looked ‘up to much’ in the picture but by the time I headed north at 16:45, having been relieved by my ‘back to back’ it was a peach of a day.
The sixth of May saw an explosion of rhododendron, fuchsia and much, much earlier than usual
mayflower. Now the hawthorn may well bloom in the first week of May down sowf but it’s never ever done it here at Arnish before!!!
Starting in earnest
The exhilaration of finishing work, spotting lapwing, grouse, eagle, lambs, piglets, cuckoo and a bottle of red wine didn’t last, for when I got home the TV had stopped working Now I couldn’t give a feck about the TV, if it were up to me it would go on the fire along with all the copies of the Daily Record and Sun that get left here by visitors. That way I wouldn’t have to pay a TV license and people wouldn’t be under the misapprehension that I indulge in Rupert Murdoch’s trash. However wifey does enjoy the ‘one eyed monster’ so in the interests of marital harmony I endeavoured to point Rupert’s dish towards his satellite.
Now this is quite a regular occurrence during a southerly storm but it was hardly that on Tuesday night, fresh, certainly, but hardly gale force. Anyway, after the usual tinkering with a 10mm spanner failed to resolve the issue I turned my attention to the flora.
This entailed scaling that pine tree in my pyjamas and lopping off a few branches with a billhook. It didn’t actually fix the problem but it did earn me a lot of ‘brownie points’.
The failure of fixing the TV and a lack of enthusiasm for blogging on account of my impending 58th had me in bed early. Having conquered my brief bout of depression I headed up to the hen house to start laying the floorboards, or should I say nailing them. I had laid them over a month ago but wanted to let them shrink for a few weeks before fastening them down.
Sure enough, in just over a month they’d shrunk 2” over 8’ and Wednesday turned out tom be a great day for internal work as it pished down for most of the day.
This also gave me the opportunity to tinker about with the ‘Stream Engine’ http://www.microhydropower.com/ and squeeze a few more watts out of it.
Just by changing the jets I managed to increase the output from 150w to 300w, which may not seem like much but you have to remember that that’s 24/7 so around 7kWh. Just to give you an idea of what that is, we ran our house off 3.5kWh per day for years.
Even at that the ‘dynamic head’ is just under 4bar, which compares very favourably with a ‘static head’ of just 4.2 bar.
Having got over my ‘meltdown’ with the assistance of a loving wife, dog and bottle of Chilean red I headed off for Portree at 7:15 this morning but it’s after 23:00 now and time for bed so that will have to wait.