Life at the end of the road

January 12, 2015

The builders are back :-)

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, shed/house — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:54 pm

Monday night now and I’m just through the door, it’s been a busy old day and I’m back at work tomorrow, so who knows when I’ll be back on here. It’s a long enough working day from Arnish and whilst Torran is only another half mile north, it’s not exactly ‘street lit’ tarmac. Still, the arrival of Lachie and Donald today has given me a ‘shot in the arm’ on the enthusiasm front so you never know.


It’s probably pretty average winter weather to be honest but we’ve been let off lightly the last few years and I’ve got a little soft. However 2015 really has arrived with a bang with just one depression after another leaving chaos in its wake. Power cuts seem to be affecting many, certainly it’s been off a few times on Raasay and my parents have been ‘on and off’ for days. The ferry services have been hit pretty hard too causing disruption to everything from the mail to schooling.

My son came home a day early last week and never made it in today, along with the rest of the Raasay scholars he got an extra day at home studying for his prelims. I was up at 6:00am ready to take him right enough but one look out of the window told me it would have been a wasted journey. So, I left him in bed and went back to mine, sure enough, Hallaig never left her berth until the wind eased at 9:55.


Anyway, back to yesterday which had me fruitlessly trying to get some sense out of Vodafone for an hour. Now I’m sure there is a perfectly good reason why you cannot just email or phone someone without spending half an hour on their website first but I don’t know what it is. I’m also convinced that they make their website deliberately slow to load for anyone with a poor phone reception or satellite broadband link. I’ve been with them for 15 years and just dread trying to contact them, they are in my opinion just one step behind BT in the ‘worst to speak to a real person’ department.

We are in effect completely cut off here 11 miles from anywhere and only able to contact the outside world via email. Skype is not an option as it’s worse than useless via this satellite link and even going to Arnish and standing on a hill didn’t work like it used to. So, yesterday I ‘bit the bullet’, tried to ‘live chat’ with a real person from my laptop at Torran and gave up after twenty minutes. For some reason the facility didn’t seem compatible with the satellite link, nothing fresh there then!

Heading for the new house and caravan with it’s wireless link to Portree I had another go, this time I even managed to speak to Mack but that ended badly after 45 minutes of typing to and fro. I’m sure he did his best but these people just don’t listen and cannot think ‘outside the script’. I gave him all the info including the postcode and the first thing he did was ask me the postcode. I told him that our Vodafone link was our only connection to the outside world apart from emails and the next thing he asked was ‘can I phone you on another number’. So, after 45 minutes of going around in circles I was not surprised when he got an engineer to phone me and ended ‘our chat’ Smile

Giving up on that and accepting the fact that I’m just not going to be able to speak to anyone on the phone for the foreseeable future I vented my rage on the Nissan.

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The trusty old Almera was needing a couple of anti roll bar links and after much WD40, Coppaslip and cursing I ditched the 14mm socket in favour of the angle grinder.

It is such a pleasure doing this in a warm dry shed and not outside in a gale with water running down your neck! The annual ‘air bag reset’ followed and apart from a pair of wiper blades I think that’s the car ready for its MOT Smile

I finished work in daylight for a change and headed home to get changed but the endless battering from the west had ‘taken its toll’ at ‘Port Arnish’.


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The amazing little shed that served as a store and workshop for mariners and fish farmers from Torran and Arnish had lost some of its roof.

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The ‘flubba’ had parked itself in a strange place

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and the ‘Old Mission House’ had part of its roof lying on the track Sad smile

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The reason for the early finish had been so we could go and have supper with the new neighbours at ‘number 3’.  A nice bowl of soup, cheeses, olives and of course celebratory champagne followed and we were all back home for 19:00 with me in my bed shortly after.


This morning arrived with a bang at 6:00am for me, however a quick scan online and out of the window told me the ferry was going nowhere, so disappointed, I went back to bed. My son had been keen to get to school, I had work to do, not least of which was repair a roof and Lachie was due over at 8:25. That clearly wasn’t going to happen and when I left  Torran at 9:00 the ferry had still not sailed, mind you neither had half of the ferries on the west coast.

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Imagine my glee when Lachie and Donald arrived off the 10:25 sailing from Sconser Smile Smile

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After a spell of helping them move timber into the house for the partitioning and finishing off in the barn I headed back to Torran to finish wiring the Morningstar controller and repair the shed roof.

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It was a bit hairy up there but I managed to get the sheet back in place and secured against anymore gales. Not the neatest of jobs but watertight for now and well held down.


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Next I fitted a fused switch to the air dumps on the Tri Star TS45, I’ll do the same on the immersion element too, that way you can switch between them as required. I’m doing something similar on my own system at the new house, the water dumps are much more useful but the air dumps are better if you are leaving the property unattended. Obviously if you’re heating water then there is a danger of boiling it all away and doing some damage. Not likely if you’re using the water or heating but possible if no one is home.

That done and feeling quite ‘chuffed’ with my last days labours I made dinner for us and the dogs, all of it being venison based. Molly and Charlie getting some mince that I’d found in our freezer and labelled ‘dog’, the family being treated to something I created from a haunch involving red wine, leeks, mushrooms, harrisa and spuds. There was none of it left over Smile 

Reluctantly, after dinner I headed over to Arnish on the quad to collect a few things from ‘number 3’ and take my tools back to the barn.


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Well, you can’t see it very well and I don’t have ‘Photoshop’ to enhance them but above the lights of our new house are

the top six stars in Orion.


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Donald and Lachie were certainly putting the hours in Smile

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Gosh it’s strange seeing ‘number 3’ as a house and not home, how we all loved that wee house.

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