Life at the end of the road

September 6, 2014

Another Jag :-(

Filed under: life off grid, Range Rover, shed/house — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:19 pm

A week already, how time flies but I’ve had little time for blogging, having been snowed under with a mountain of paperwork and ‘puter work surrounding our house and croft. Much of it needing various trips to visit surveyors, solicitors and the like. The removal of our cosy little house from the market has also brought with it the realization that we have an awful lot of stuff to deal with. The priorities being an independent power supply closely followed by a huge clear out and the moving of twenty five years worth of treasure up to the new house. There’s a gazillion and one other things going on in the background like resurrecting old quotes for various tasks on the new house and seeking new ones.

All this with a delicate a back and a visit to the chronic pain clinic in Golspie has had me in bed early and up late. A pair of eyes that feel like their full of sand has also not helped, but I’m guessing that’s the medication which I’m now cutting back on. Me thinks that the cocktail of drugs I’ve been on for six weeks has had my doing things out of character as well as all the physical side effects. As if constipation, wind from both ends, dry mouth, sore eyes, boils, mouth ulcers, insomnia loss of appetite weren’t enough. I’ve been as paranoid as a skunk smoker and on a very short fuse of late.

Anyway, the recent visit to the Lawson Memorial Hospital in Golspie for another jag in the sacroiliac joint has enabled me to start weaning myself of my ‘smarties’. Not only that but I’ll now be able to have a drink without feeling like carp the day after, at least I hope I will.

B200 VHU

I’ve no idea whatsoever of the order of things, but judging by my photos, a spot of work on the Range Rover came first.


Young ‘Lightning Maclennan’ being task with removing the hideous side steps from the sills of the latest acquisition.



Definitely a big improvement, not only that but methinks I can graft them onto the side of the ‘Old Girl’ with a little welding. I aim to restore B200 VHU to her former completely original glory, no big wheels, spotlights or aggressive tyres on this classic, just the twin ‘Kenlow fans’ and perhaps a decent stereo of the same vintage.

With a house to build, house to vacate and a million other things to do I need this project like a ‘hole in the head’ but if I can just get it running sweetly and arrest the impending corrosion I’ll be happy for now. One of the two large SU carbs sat on top of the V8 was pishing out petrol so that’s a priority. These beauties only do around 4MPG on choke without the fuel pishing out and the electric fuel pump means they’re quite easy to set on fire Sad smile Just ask my mate MW from Accy, he’ll tell you, I nearly burnt down his garage welding up my first Range Rover in 1983 Smile 

After removing the steps Lightning and I attempted to remove the right hand SU carburettor but it became very rapidly  apparent that this was not going to happen without, A, removing the whole manifold or B, buying a special spanner.


The removal of the inlet manifold isn’t exactly a major job but it would require new gaskets, draining the coolant and take a few hours to do. The spanner purchase would be also leave me with a useful tool I’ve been meaning to purchase for around thirty years and it was only £11.00 of eBlag.

That was taken just a couple of hours ago and sure enough, when I got the carb on the bench the float chamber O ring was split.


012 061

The genuine SU kit I got from for less than £30 including Royal Mail ‘Special Delivery’.  I’ve not had chance to do anything more than remove the one carb yet but ‘watch this space’ (but don’t tell the wife) Smile

Three ‘large piggy’s

This week should have seen us with three less pigs in the herd but that went a little ‘pear shaped’ to say the least.  The preparation I’d gone too being thwarted by, amongst other things the weather. I’d put the trailer in with Rocky, Jamie Lee and Ellie days ahead of their movement. The boys had sealed up their ark and so they’d no alternative but to sleep in the trailer, or at least that’s what I thought. Trouble was that the weather was so good that Ellie chose to sleep outside and made herself a cosy wee nest in the rushes.


Even though she wouldn’t sleep in there I fed them all in the trailer so they’d get used to it, not a chance, Ellie was just too afraid of the other two to go in with them. I did manage to get her inside the night before they were due to go away but ‘come the morning’ she wouldn’t look at it. So I left her behind and just took Rocky and Jamie,

001 002

they were not very happy, but word from their new owner said Rocky had wasted no time in getting acquainted with his new sows Smile

Ceps galore

Every year brings with it some exceptional crop, be it bog cotton, heather, rowan berries, fox gloves, chanterelles or fly agarics, well this year it was most certainly the cep, or penny bun. The ‘Rolls Royce’ of the mushroom world that commands silly prices in London restaurants was more abundant than I’ve ever seen in twenty five years.


These delicious meaty mushrooms of the boletus family are extremely versatile and remain firm no matter how you cook them. We have them chopped finely in pastas or more wholesome just fried in butter like the offering below.



Whilst over in Portree delivering ‘Arnish Eggs’ to Relish I’d purchased a lovely smoked chicken breast from . Cut in half with a simple white parsley sauce and served with fresh Rooster boiled spuds the mushrooms in butter were just awesome. The chicken portion may look small but it was so rich that it was just plenty. I really don’t think I could have eaten a full portion, gosh that’s making me hungry again just looking at it! And that will be just two hours after having some delicious fresh haddock fried in breadcrumbs and served with chips and a tomato salad Smile

The new ‘power station’

Our imminent departure from ‘number 3’ has seen us accelerating our ‘off grid’ system for the new house, the second 2.5kW solar array came.


The ten REC 250w panels arriving from Wind and Sun via Skye Express just yesterday. These will be just about the only thing in our long and drawn out building project that have actually come down in price. In fact Hugh Piggott of Scoraig Wind Electric is supplying these 10 for less than the 8 230’s he quoted me for a couple of years ago. This array is going just below the 10 Yingli’s on the hen house, but unlike those which are ‘AC coupled’ via a ‘Sunny Boy’ inverter these will be going straight to the 16 x Rolls batteries just like in number 3.



It’s a rubbish copy but basically the 10 Yingli’s are at the top of the page in one long series string giving a voltage of around 300vDC which goes into a standard ‘GTI’ or grid tied inverter. The 10 REC panels are 5 pairs in series giving a voltage of around 60vDC that will go straight into the 48v battery bank. The advantage of the first ‘AC coupled’ array is that it’s more efficient if you are using the power as it’s produced. The advantage of the second being that it’s more efficient if you store the power and of course you don’t need the added expense of an inverter or charge controller.

Sure there’s been much more going on at the north end but it’s after 22:00, I can barely keep my eyes open and I don’t want to bore you with the ‘ins and outs’ of configuring inverters or the ‘Old Girl’ passing her MOT. Suffice to say that ‘all is rosy’ here and I’m just going to have a cup of ‘Sleepy time’ tea donated by the neighbours Smile


  1. Hope your jag at Golspie sets you back on an even keel, Paul, I must say the side effects of your daily cocktail do not sound very appealing! He’s a grand lad is young Lightning, what sort of age is he now?

    Comment by Anne Macdonald — September 6, 2014 @ 11:44 pm

  2. Perhaps next Fall, after everything has gotten sorted, Rocky might sire your new herd…if he’s not too busy?
    Once your solar array and turbine are in place, will you have enough heat for Lachie to work inside the new house this winter? He might be glad for indoor work. A win-win all round!

    Comment by Drgeo — September 7, 2014 @ 12:54 am

  3. Cheers for the solar insights. Are the Rolls AGMs? Hope that back heals…

    Comment by Panomphaean — September 7, 2014 @ 10:24 pm

  4. Hello. I am croft-sitting on Eigg just now and the boss wants some pigs… Could you help me out? preferably GOS or GOS/tamworth weaners would be just right.

    Comment by dougal — September 8, 2014 @ 8:16 am

    • Hi Dougal and welcome,
      sorry no piglets available here but I’ll forward your email address to someone who may be able to help, say hi to ‘Donald Eigg’ from me, I worked with him on the MV Hebrides.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — September 8, 2014 @ 12:21 pm

      • Hi Paul.
        Thanks for the welcome and your help with piglets. I’ll say “hi” to Donald.

        Comment by dougal — September 10, 2014 @ 3:28 pm

    Your sons and friends wood pile could develop into something artistic

    Comment by willie — September 12, 2014 @ 7:34 pm

  6. i thought this was hilarious. hope you can watch it. don’t go, scotland!

    Comment by Jeannette — September 17, 2014 @ 1:53 am

  7. Looks like you’re having good year for the Fungi… Not so down here in Devon… not a single mushroom even from my best place last year… Just have to keep taking the blackberries which are the most abundant that I have ever seen.
    Good luck with the move and gazillion other jobs. Hope the Jabs are working for you

    Comment by chrisbbbbb — September 19, 2014 @ 12:48 pm

  8. This mushrooms look like pure heaven! We moved to Hawaii in November and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of mushrooms available for purchase in the markets here. That said, none of them are grown locally (most are flown in from Japan & Washington) so there is a fair amount of guilt that comes with buying them… of course, there’s no real alternative. There are a few wild edible mushroom in Hawaii but they are extremely rare. Oh well, I’m hardly complaining as I get to live in paradise. 😉 It was great catching up on your blog. -Lacy

    Comment by — September 21, 2014 @ 7:45 am

  9. 20 days since the last blog, hope you well and back in blogging mode soon.

    Comment by Steve — September 26, 2014 @ 6:21 am

  10. Good news for Ferguson’s the shipbuilders, a third hybrid ferry forCalmac !!

    Comment by caadfael — September 29, 2014 @ 4:08 pm

  11. Paul your very quiet, have you contracted a sickness called writers block, I don’t think so but it would be great to hear of your latest challenges and achievements. Hope you and your family are all keeping well.

    Comment by Polite Scouser — October 1, 2014 @ 8:59 am

  12. Well Paul after following you from the very start of “life at the end of the road” I feel very let down by your lacklustre approach to your blog this last few months and your lack of replies to the loyal followers who ask if your ok, if you can’t be arsed with the blog any more please say so, so we can stop wondering if all’s well with you and its just that you’ve had enough of blogging. If you have we will miss the going’s on up there but thank you for the past few years.

    Keep well Paul.

    Comment by fred — October 6, 2014 @ 12:10 am

    • Fred if Paul wishes to have a rest period or stop blogging it’s his business.
      It’s his blog his family life, be privileged to view his written words and pictures from his life.
      🙈🙉🙉 hope alls well with you Paul ,family & friends.

      Comment by Polite Scouser — October 6, 2014 @ 7:11 am

  13. A month off the blog is a short time in the Big Picture of Life at the end of the road.
    Best wishes Paul,,, don’t be bullied into coming back.
    I have known you for long enough to know you will come back when the time is right

    Comment by chrisbbbbb — October 7, 2014 @ 4:19 pm

    • We both agree.

      Comment by Polite Scouser — October 7, 2014 @ 8:55 pm

      • same here … and given what Paul is going through at the moment (back problems, clearing out the house, moving into temporary accommodation etc etc) I don’t find it at all surprising that he’s got more important things on at the moment … plus if he’s staying in the Old Schoolhouse I don’t think there’s much in the way of an internet signal there

        good luck Paul, I hope all is going well

        Comment by cazinatutu — October 8, 2014 @ 10:31 am

  14. lovely to see you Paul on your neighbour’s blog

    Comment by cazinatutu — October 15, 2014 @ 9:52 am

  15. Good to see that smile at the end of the rope….. often seen it at the end of the shot line…
    Best regards to you and the family

    Comment by chrisbbbbb — October 15, 2014 @ 10:40 am

  16. Who would have though the absence of a few posts could cause such high blood pressure. I have greatly enjoyed reading this blog, stuck as I am in London. In a good year I get up to Scotland at least once to walk and fish. This year I will be just south of Skye. Who knows I may even see the CalMac vessel with our man on board! I have learned a lot about what it is like to live in the wilds of Scotland and quite frankly it has probably saved me from hankering after that life, fun though it is to read about it.

    Good luck Paul and I hope the Range Rover does not give you high blood pressure!

    Comment by Charles Lock — October 16, 2014 @ 11:10 am

  17. Best wishes, Paul. I hope you’re doing well. I miss your blog and hope to see you writing again when you can. Meanwhile, I respect your need to live your own life!

    Comment by flora — October 17, 2014 @ 1:33 am

  18. Hope all is going well, Paul.

    Comment by Marjorie Stintzi — October 19, 2014 @ 8:35 pm

    • Still checking in for the latest on all important things – and missing the updates enormously. I sat comfortably in the East of England watching the trees rock slightly but so missed the news of the roofs, hens, ferries and .water running uphill.

      A blog is a thankless task, write a book and I can assure you that of all your followers I will not be the only one buying it, but I will be the first.

      Comment by Rushes — October 22, 2014 @ 9:30 pm

  19. Hope all is ok Paul. I haven’t had the time to check your blog over the last month and was very surprised to see no updates etc. Hope all is ok with the house move and all. Take care Jay and Sharon

    Comment by jay and sharon — October 22, 2014 @ 5:23 pm

  20. as you can see Paul, we are all getting a tad worried about you, hope all is ok, missing your blog.



    Comment by Jackie — October 24, 2014 @ 9:00 am

    • Still alive and well Jackie, stuck in Campbeltown at the mo so who knows, I may even put ‘pen to paper’ later 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 25, 2014 @ 2:44 pm

      • Hi Paul
        So it’s not true that you’ve joined the Monastry on North Uist🙏.
        All jokes aside its great to see that you will be putting fingers to keyboard, await your tales of your travels & dones

        Comment by Polite Scouser — October 25, 2014 @ 3:16 pm

  21. Nice to see you back in both places!
    Cracking season for ceps here as well.
    Strewth you and the lad don’t half go for it. Hats off. Do you have a proposed finish date for the new house?
    I wish I could copy the PV chicken coup, but too many trees. What did you do for flooring, I’m sure you said but I’ve totally forgotten. Chicken poo is so corrosive.

    Comment by Andrew — October 26, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

    • Cheers Andrew, the old chicken shed has a wooden floor and we’ve been really pleased with it so far.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 26, 2014 @ 4:42 pm

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