Life at the end of the road

June 7, 2014


Filed under: daily doings, shed/house — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 5:14 am

A late start this morning despite the sun blazing in through the bedroom window at ‘cock crow’, the late night and multitude of cider cans had left me a little ‘delicate’ to say the least. No clear plan of what I was actually going to do had also contributed to the rather tardy commencement of work, not that I’ve any shortage of tasks. Rather my ‘dazed and confused’ state prevented me from putting them in any meaningful order. Still a hot shower followed by a trek around the herd and flock blew the cobwebs away and around 9:00am I settled for a couple of fried eggs. You’d think I’d be sick of them by now, but not a bit of it, at least not yet anyway, I’ve sickened myself with many things over the years but eggs and scallops are still firm favourites.

I think the first thing I that got struck from the ‘menu’ was trout, years of poaching them with my dad in the streams and becks of the Dales and Lake District saw to that. The next thing I guess would have been UHT milk closely followed by corned beef, four years on Scalpay without much in the way of fresh stuff had those two items high on the island diet. I still can’t drink UHT milk and it took me 15 years to open another tin of corned dog.

Years of fish farming saw salmon removed from the menu for a couple of years but I’m pleased to say that I’ve got over that. I lived alone for many years and had several rules that I used to abide by to ‘keep me sane’. Firstly I would never drink alone, secondly I would always cook a proper meal every day, brush my teeth, shave and eat salmon at least once a week Smile Not sure why I made the ‘salmon rule’ but I guess it had more to do with cash than sanity, anyway, it was the first and only one that I broke. This left me in a dilemma because I’d a freezer full of them and needed to empty it before I went to America.

My trusty wee Jack Russell Malin became the first recipient, she was overjoyed with her new diet for a whole week before sharing my dislike of the ‘pink fish’. The cat managed a full fortnight before refusing ‘point blank’ to eat any more, I think the rest of the freezer went as bait, and this was when it was still relatively expensive. 


There’s nothing in the picture to really give you an idea of scale but that’s a single egg sized frying pan and I was stunned to see that double yoke in such a tiny egg. This would be one of the eggs that wifey rejected as being too small, there’s quite a few at the moment as the new chooks have started laying and the eggs are pretty tiny at first.

What I’d finally settled on doing was repairing my wee trailer that had been languishing with a broken hub for several months. It’s a very old East German affair that I fitted with balloon tyres for dragging heavy loads over soft ground. I have probably moved hundreds of tons of sand, aggregate, rocks and beach pebbles in this tiny trailer but it was very sick. Being from behind the ‘iron curtain’ however it wasn’t fitted with anything standard in the way of the hubs and bearings, so I decided to cannibalize an old boat trailer lying in the long grass.




The hubs were much stronger, the bearings a standard size and the wheels the same PCD (pitch circle diameter).





Dead straight forward methinks


the whole axle came off without a hitch and after a little drilling and grinding I had it bolted under the trailer. All I needed to do was bolt on the wide wheels, simple, well not really, they were too wide and fouled the axle Sad smile


The net result being a trailer with lovely smooth bearings and skinny tyres with the load carrying capacity of your average wheel barrow Sad smile However, being the same PCD as an old mini wheel (4” or 101.9mm) I have a cunning plan.

Mini Wheel Spacer Kit(Classic) 32mm with extended Studs

A set of 32mm mini wheel spacers should do the trick but at £24.50 it’s no longer the cheap repair that it was Smile

Saturday 5:00am

Well I never finished this last night and was in my bed before 22:00 pure knackered, it’s just after 5:00am now, the sky is blue and I’ve been up for an hour. Still a little midge infested outside for my liking so I thought I’d finish off my effort. I’ve a busy day ahead of me and want to make the most of it.


Once the trailer was ‘fixed’ I went to collect half an oil tank for ‘modification’, it had already been cut in half to make two weaner shelters but I wanted to fit a door on the back to remove eggs! Now I realize that doesn’t make much sense but I took one of these up to the new hen enclosure a few weeks ago to provide shelter and shade for the chooks. We have a few of them dotted about the croft and the hens seem to love them.

The problem being that they’ve now started laying inside it, fourteen eggs yesterday!! Now that’s not a problem in itself but getting them out without dropping the tank back on several curious chooks is. They’re a boodly nightmare, as soon as they see you coming they charge towards you and flock about your feet. As soon as you lift the tank there’s several dozen of them under it and they don’t seem in any hurry to move as you lower it back down. I’ve trapped a few feet and wings but on Thursday I managed to lower it onto a hens neck without noticing. Luckily wifey arrived a few moments later, spotted it and gave me a right royal row Sad smile

Better than paying for removal

Being in a serious recycling mode and with my workshop area bathed in sunshine I set about the old washing machine as the days of free uplift of old ‘white goods’ by the council have long gone. Now me I’d have absolutely no qualms about dumping it in the sea, years of spending my working life under it have taught me that that she devours such things very quickly and they provide much shelter to marine life. However the world has gone a little barmy on this front and such behaviour is now regarded as ‘environmentally unsound’. What a load of bollox says I, having dived on several hundred ‘casualties of war’ torpedoed, mined or just plain shipwrecked I can tell you that such ‘junk’ is a haven for wildlife and the bane of industrial fishing. We should be dumping more stuff in the sea not less, few few hundred scrap cars with the oils removed and left in the Inner Sound would soon sort the clam dredgers and trawlers. Makes far more sense than sending them back to China to be turned into more tack we don’t need.

Another example of the lunacy that we put up with to enhance our ‘green credentials’ being the ‘Zero Overboard’ garbage policy of my employer. I am now not allowed to throw anything over the side of the ship, not even chicken bones our fish guts, we now have to keep them on board in the bin for up to a fortnight!!! Well you can imagine what a few prawn tails smell like after a week in July and as if to confirm this idiocy a rat was spotted on the car deck last week!! Now in all probability it had probably hitched a lift on the bin lorry that was also on board at the time but it’s not ‘rocket science’ is it. If you’re going to leave waste food festering in bins then it’s going to attract vermin and cats.

I’m not making this up, on more than one occasion I’ve boarded the MV Loch Striven to find the bins rifled and once, when someone left the mess room door open the frying pan was licked clean! What on earth happened to common sense.

Anyway, enough of the rant, it’s almost 6:00am now, the sun really is pouring through the window and I have to go. So rather than pay to have my old washer removed or risk becoming a pariah I recycled it.

    005 006

The immersion element will make a good ‘dump load’ or water heater, the water pump and solenoid a great watering system for plants, veggies or even the hens. The safety, heat resistant glass of the door a salad bowl? the stainless steel drum a hydro turbine inlet filter. Two heavy bearings will go into my stores along with all the screws and the cabinet now resides in  the hen shed as a store and worktop Smile

007 008

The rest of it I’ll ‘drip feed’ into the green bin over the next few weeks!



That’s it really, I’ll just leave you with Jamie Lea and her wains helping me

010 011

our new front door

012 013

and the view without scaffolding


or interior walls Smile




  1. yay …. a front door !!! … looking good Paul

    Comment by cazinatutu — June 7, 2014 @ 5:26 am

  2. What a view, looking good Paul.

    Comment by Andrew — June 7, 2014 @ 6:32 am

  3. Paul,
    Nice to have you back ‘ranting’ sorry ‘blogging’.
    You need to live down south, If you leave any metal including washing machines outside your house you can bet your life one of our travelling gypsy friends will recycle it for you. Come to think of it you don’t even need to leave it outside in a pile, they kindly recycled the lead from my garage roof for me. Very clever they were as it was only a couple of years since it was installed, I did not realise it needed to be recycled.

    Time is indeed precious and to sit on the computer tapping away when the weather is so good can make you feel that time can be better spent elsewhere. Glad the weather is being kind to you & the chickens are back laying & the house is coming along nicely.


    Comment by Arthur T Bomber Harris — June 7, 2014 @ 7:38 am

  4. Paul like the open space of the house, especially the full view bathroom with open tub.

    Comment by Polite Scouser — June 7, 2014 @ 8:16 am

  5. After 3 years of pulling morts out of salmon cages and the inherent smell, I have vowed never to eat salmon again. I will still eat mussels and oysters that i also farmed and I crave a plate of garlic squat tails but never again will I eat a piece of salmon fresh or smoked.

    Comment by Alistair — June 7, 2014 @ 7:50 pm

    • I’ve been buried in 2m of rotting morts and farted salmon for days Alistair, you need to work at it 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 9, 2014 @ 5:55 am

      • I once had to do a ‘head count’ of two tubs of rotting morts which had been on a barge in the middle of Kishorn for two weeks in the middle of summer.Tubs of rotting Mussels aren’t much better either. Lol

        Comment by Alistair — June 9, 2014 @ 7:40 am

      • Yup, anything from the sea festering has a smell all of it’s own, I can see how counting a tub of morts would ruin your day 🙂

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 10, 2014 @ 4:54 am

  6. Nothing goes overboard? Must be time to start a compost pile and double the depth of your fertile soil!

    Comment by drgeo — June 7, 2014 @ 8:00 pm

    • Well nothing is ‘supposed’ to go overboard 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 9, 2014 @ 5:54 am

  7. Know how the cat felt about the fish, I used to do a lot of poaching and if we had 200lbs of salmon that I couldent sel,l after salmon for breakfast, lunch and dinner and on sandwiches at work, believe me you can go off fish for a while, he he happy days 🙂

    Comment by jimmy mcmillan — June 7, 2014 @ 9:53 pm

    • Ahh happy days indeed Jimmy, I could just go a piece of salmon myself right now 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — June 9, 2014 @ 5:53 am

  8. love these long omnibus posts from you about island life. too much hand caught salmon, wow. do y’all make gravad lax? it’s good, but not forever.

    Comment by jeannettesmyth — June 9, 2014 @ 6:15 am

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