Life at the end of the road

January 10, 2015

MOT’s again :-(

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:25 pm

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 Smile

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.

100115 005

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 around the corner, I have been bereft of shelter. Well not anymore, whilst the storm raged and the hail pelted down

100115 010

I was toasty in my shed,

100115 008

freeing off those calipers for the umpteenth time

100115 009

and thanks to ‘Applenet’ a great internet connection, the best on Raasay Smile 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 my old satellite broadband provider. Consequently I keep getting messages like this Sad smile 


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.

100115 006 100115 007

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 Smile


100115 011

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.

100115 014 100115 015

I’ll finish this off when I tidy the wiring and read the instructions Smile



  1. It’s not just a shed Paul. .. that’s the hilton of man cave’s

    Comment by The Peoples Republic of Northumbria — January 10, 2015 @ 11:32 pm

  2. Having owned an Almera for 10 years, from the age of 3, until it bit the dust last year due to a NATS fault, I can sympathise with the decidedly dodgy handbrake and seized calliper issues. Having said that, until it died last year, the car was the most reliable one we have ever owned. We now have a Juke and a Leaf, having traded in my X Trail for the Leaf in November, will they last as well I wonder?

    Comment by Alison Hall — January 11, 2015 @ 1:25 pm

    • Aye they certainly are reliable cars Alison, just incredibly nondescript and dull. It has several features that I loath, for a start you cannot lock or unlock it with a key. If you get locked or trapped in the car you are supposed to lower the passenger front window, remove the key from the ignition, prize a black cap off the outside door handle and insert the key!!! I have never heard anything so stupid in my life. What if the battery is flat or the electric window doesn’t work? Then there is this stupid ‘Climate Control’ which makes it impossible to have warm air on your feet and cool air on your face. I hate it!!

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — January 15, 2015 @ 6:23 am

      • That’s odd, ours was a 2001 model and we used to use the key if we had the dogs with us as it didn’t activate the alarm. It was superbly reliable for the duration of our ownership though and we were virtually sobbing when it had to go, it was part of the family by then.

        Comment by Alison Hall — January 16, 2015 @ 3:36 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: