Life at the end of the road

May 19, 2014

A full week :-(


Almost 22:00 and that’s me just in and bathed after yet another fruitless search for Jamie Lea, who has now been missing for a full week, she’s either gone over a cliff or been rustled. Though I find that very hard to believe, right enough she’d go into the back of a white Transit van no bother. It’s always a white Transit van isn’t it Smile you buy a dodgy generator and it’s always out of the back of one, you see something heading for the scrappie with a tow bar dragging on the floor on account of all the church lead in the back, yup, it’s white and a Ford Smile

Anyway, after casting unfounded aspersions upon white van owners I’ll now continue with the matter in hand, which is trying to relate what’s been happening at the north end.


 Well, so much for Sunday’s effort, it’s now almost 21:00 on Monday and as you may gather I never managed to post last night. It had been a full, long and productive day. I was too tired to open a bottle of wine, let alone finish off my ramblings, the eyes were heavy and the realization that we’d be highly unlikely to see Jamie Lea again had taken its toll.

So imagine my surprise when returning from taking my son to school to see a fit healthy sow at ‘the end of the road’ with nine piglets following her like a small shoal of fish!!!

009 011 014

To say we were overjoyed would be a bit of an understatement, nine healthy piglets and a very vocal sow Smile



A noisy, hungry mum in great condition considering she’s not had a good meal in a week. The piglets are a little smaller than normal but that’s to be expected as Jamie must have been short on milk.

No sooner had I put feed out for her when Rocky and the boys turned up, but a sow with piglets wasn’t going to take any nonsense off the men and they very wisely followed me onto the croft. Once they were in a secure field I left the gate open and got on with hen shed painting. I figured that they’d eventually make there way in under their own steam and sure enough an hour later they were settled in the barn.


Believe it or not there are nine piglets under that heap of rushes!


So, rewinding back a few days to Saturday, all the hens were still shut in the shed so I took the opportunity to prime the front and take up an old pig shelter for them.


001 002

I say pig shelter but it’s actually half of an old Balmoral oil tank and we have a few of them about the croft as arks. I dunno why but the hens seem to love them, the one in front of our house always has at least half a dozen in it whatever the weather. If it’s sunny they seem to like the shade and if it’s wet the shelter so it seemed a good idea to take a spare one up there for them.


The forecast said dry until 13:00 so I bashed on with priming the front, I’m leaving the other three sides creosoted as that soaks into the plywood. All the hens were still shut in at this point so they’d get used to their new home


and it was very satisfying to hear and see the fresh clean eggs roll out of their new nesting boxes.

004 007

Once I’d got the primer on I let the first batch out into there new run, leaving the pullets inside for another day or two until they settle down.

Hotpoint Tumble drier drum seal

The rain that was forecast for 13:00 arrived 15 minutes early but by then the paint was dry and it was time for lunch. Also the felt seal for our Hotpoint TDL11 had arrived so I set about fitting that as the rain teamed down.

013 014

Dave’s video was invaluable but just check out all that carp inside the drier, it’s a miracle it never set on fire, anyway I cleaned it all out with a vacuum then opened up the seal from eBay


to discover that it was completely wrong Sad smile This seal was designed to mate on a vertical face whereas mine (like the one in the video) was supposed to seal around the lip horizontally.

016 017

However, almost thirty years of living ‘off grid’, in the sticks, and a hundred miles from anywhere has taught me to improvise, so wifey carefully peeled off the felt from the new seal and I glued it on with contact adhesive Smile Despite being the wrong shape it fitted a treat and the tumble drier is now working like it it did fifteen years ago!!!

Later on I went to visit my mate at Torran, proudly taking three pigeons with me that I’d managed to down with two rounds. Mind you I failed to mention that the last one I’d shot took five rounds, which at 29p per cartridge is an expensive pigeon Sad smile Still, once all the hens are being fed indoors that should make life at Arnish quieter and cheaper. It wasn’t so bad when I was eating them but the last one I ate made me sick and put me off, still my mate just reported back from London to say he was still alive and well after eating three. I must have another go, I really hate killing things and not eating them, well apart from crows that is.


Twenty five years faithful service

The ‘good hash’ of wind on Friday had taken its toll on my trusty Rutland FM910 12v wind turbine Sad smile



The old turbine was my main source of lighting for over fifteen years and I’ve had a ‘love hate’ relationship with it for twenty five. In the days before our totally reliable and seamless electricity supply this little turbine saved me a fortune in paraffin. Sure we had the reliable ‘Mr Lister’ but he was only ever run to top up the freezers or run the washing machine. For the dark mornings it was always the 12v power supplied by this little Marlec that ‘saved the day’. Since we fitted the Proven some eight years ago and now have cheap reliable power the Rutland has become obsolete but I’ve always maintained it and kept it going for ‘old times sake’. However at 58 I’m getting far too old for scaling an 18m mast, so when the top rusted through I decided to ‘call it a day’.


This mast at the back of the house was once the mount for my VHF prior to getting the phone and for my TV and analogue satellite dish. Times have moved on and I’ve lost my ‘head for heights’ so on Sunday the Dude and I took down the turbine and rusted top section of mast.


I really am getting too old for this kind of thing.

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Anyway, we got the turbine down, removed the rusted section of mast and refitted the 50w solar panel.


That’s the rusted end Sad smile


Well, as you know, the pig is fine but apart from that it was a bonny day and I got two coats of paint on the shed.




I got bedding cut



and the lawn


but now I need my bed.


  1. 😄😄Hope you find Jamie your pig Paul, maybe she knows she’s in a safe area and will return with litter and all, when she’s ready.😎😎
    I’m not going to say I told you so, but I used a bit of your logic & faith.
    Great everything turned out the best for Jamie Lea & piglets . Walter👍

    Comment by Polite Scouser — May 19, 2014 @ 11:05 pm

  2. You must have been very glad to see the sow when she finally decided to come home and show off her babies. Maybe she’s been to Fladda for a wee break.

    Comment by Anne Macdonald — May 19, 2014 @ 11:14 pm

  3. so glad to hear Jamie Lee’s back Paul … usually “no news is good news” but I was beginning to fear the worst

    re your tumble drier, you’re doing well at 15 years … they’ve been talking on the radio this last week about how appliances (especially the cheaper ones, but also some of the more expensive ones) are being made to last only 7-8 years, down from the previous 10 years or so … and also about how some of them aren’t made to be stripped down, they’re riveted rather than screwed

    Comment by cazinatutu — May 19, 2014 @ 11:52 pm

  4. Perhaps the Dude could “reverse track” Jaime Lea to learn where she’s been vacationing? It must be a good hiding place!

    Comment by drgeo — May 20, 2014 @ 4:10 am

  5. Happy to read that Jamie Lea and little ones are home and ok.

    Comment by mimi — May 20, 2014 @ 4:12 am

  6. So pleased she’s back – no wonder you are smiling!


    Comment by Sue — May 20, 2014 @ 8:11 am

  7. So glad the sow came home and with 9 piglets. Hen house looks great in green too. Best wishes for a good summer, from Mull

    Comment by headlandoftrees — May 20, 2014 @ 8:14 am

  8. I bet she was probably only hiding round the corner and kept one step ahead of you. Glad she is safe and well with a new little family in tow.

    Comment by Alistair — May 20, 2014 @ 8:21 am

  9. Great to see Jamie Lea and her little ones turn up safe and well – made my day!

    Comment by Jane — May 20, 2014 @ 8:35 am

  10. glad to see Jamie Lee back and with a lovely wee family

    Comment by Judy Hallinan — May 20, 2014 @ 8:40 am

  11. Came in for a coffee after rotavating the last bit of veg patch, the return of the pigs has made my morning. Chuffed that JL and brood all doing well. The hen house looking great. You will need to crack a bottle to wet the litteuns heads!!

    Comment by Andrew — May 20, 2014 @ 8:46 am

  12. 9 new wee piggies and 20 eggs, I’d say thats a good day in anyones book!
    Looks like the grand plan is all coming together, well done yourselves!

    Comment by caadfael — May 20, 2014 @ 9:25 am

  13. Brilliant news on all fronts, Paul.

    Comment by Lloyd Owen-Reece — May 20, 2014 @ 9:48 am

  14. Great news to see Jamie Lee back home and with 9 healthy piglets too, great start to the day for all who follow her blog 🙂

    Comment by Tigger — May 20, 2014 @ 10:28 am

  15. Glad to see Jamie Lee back. You might need to think about a tracker collar.

    Comment by Nigel Macleod — May 20, 2014 @ 12:04 pm

  16. Best news this week to see Jamie Lea back

    Comment by Donald Hen — May 20, 2014 @ 3:15 pm

  17. So glad the pig turned up – and with 9 piglets too! Jean rang us first thing on Monday morning to tell us the good news! Just wonder where on earth she can have been hiding! New chicken shed looks great and the nesting boxes are working a treat! And you even had time to mow the lawn!!!! We would love to come and visit sometime this summer (in between visitors) as we have still never been to Raasay…..

    Comment by Sue from Sallachy — May 20, 2014 @ 5:36 pm

  18. Love the Green hen shed.

    Comment by The Green Van Man — May 20, 2014 @ 5:52 pm

  19. Delighted Jamie Lea and piglets made it home safe and sound. Glad she found a safe place for birthing.

    Comment by Marjorie Stintzi — May 20, 2014 @ 7:59 pm

  20. Sometimes it was a red transit van.

    Comment by MW — May 20, 2014 @ 8:46 pm

  21. Glad amie is back.

    Comment by eileen1929 — May 20, 2014 @ 8:52 pm

  22. so wait, jamie lea was pregnant when she tottered off, and she had those piglets all by herself? WOW!!!!
    and, that chicken house looks beautiful painted green. you ever get tired of chickens you could rent it out to me. luxe!!!!

    Comment by jeannettesmyth — May 22, 2014 @ 4:52 am

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