Another wild day here on the west coast with ferries cancelled and power cuts rife, perhaps not as bad as yesterday but it seemed much worse. One thing for sure, it is far harder to get out of bed here on a stormy winter’s day than it is at ‘number 3’. This big old schoolhouse loses a lot of heat overnight and the lovely iron bed with its comfortable mattress is very hard to leave on a cold morning, especially if you have not sussed out the central heating timer yet
For as long as I can remember I’ve had two MOT’s a year to prepare for, the Old Girl in the summer and the wife’s chariot in the winter. Driving aged vehicles as we do the stress of two is enough, imagine my horror when I’ve ended up with THREE in the same month!!. The old Almera as usual, Phoebe who just arrived and MiL’s Peugeot that required discs, pads and an exhaust repair. The ‘pug’ I finished yesterday, and whilst Phoebe was due next wifey had taken her to work on account of the snow.
I dunno how many MOT’s I’ve put the Almera through, three or four at least, but every year it’s the same story, seized brake calipers, a dubious hand brake and the flashing air bag light. So, after a hearty breakfast I set off from Torran to Arnish on the quad to feed the hens and sheep. Then it was up to the caravan, house and shed site to start work, calling in the caravan first during the teeth of a squall just to see what it was like.
Well, this is the bedroom window that faces west and the whole wall was flexing inwards in the gusts, parking the Land Rover there seemed to help. However I think it would have been a fitful night had we been sleeping there, it’s warm enough and well lashed down but even so I think we’d have ended up sleeping at the other end.
It may well be a pure PITA having to get a car ready for its MOT in January but what a difference it is having a shed. Ever since I left Accrington 30 years ago and said goodbye to my mates garage http://www.bmsaccrington.com/ around the corner, I have been bereft of shelter. Well not anymore, whilst the storm raged and the hail pelted down
I was toasty in my shed,
freeing off those calipers for the umpteenth time
and thanks to ‘Applenet’ a great internet connection, the best on Raasay The ‘Applecross community broadband project’ provides the three subscribers at Arnish with a fast and reliable connection. I even have WiFi in my shed and an old laptop for finding out how to do stuff or order parts, hard to believe that I lived here for several years without a phone!!!
Sadly the schoolhouse does not have ‘line of sight’ to the mast so is stuck with QSat https://www.qsat.ie/ my old satellite broadband provider. Consequently I keep getting messages like this
Satellite broadband is really only a ‘last ditch’ solution if you can’t get connected by 3g or some kind of wireless network. Sure it’s better than nothing but extortionate, unreliable and often hampered by pathetic data allowances. Prior to subscribing to ‘Applenet’ I was paying £50 a month for a rubbish service and a 3gB limit with QSat. They said it was just ‘throttled’ when 3gB was exceeded but it effectively prevented any emails getting through until the start of a fresh month!! What was worse was that you could do nothing about it other than subscribe to a more expensive package, so if some visitor or offspring went berserk on YouTube for a couple of days you were screwed for the whole month.
Calling it a day after feeding the hens at 16:00 I managed to get home in daylight whereupon I worked out that we’ve managed to burn almost 200lts of kerosene and two bags of coal since we moved in here. Right enough that includes the 4 days in December but I wouldn’t like to try and heat this place with wood
Speaking of which, here was one of today’s causalities, an old willow tree just through the Torran gate.
Tri Star TS-M-2
Being home a little early I decided to fit the optional meter to one of the Tri Star controllers in my mate’s ‘off grid’ system. This system utilizes two Tri Star TS45s, the first set in ‘diversion mode’ to divert the excess from the hydro turbine into the heat dumps. The second one is set in ‘solar mode’ and ‘throttles’ the solar panels if the voltage rises any more.
I’ll finish this off when I tidy the wiring and read the instructions