Life at the end of the road

March 11, 2015

Plasterboarding :-)

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid, shed/house, Trucks and plant — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:00 pm

Well that’s me starting another ‘two weeks off’ with a list of jobs the length of my arm, and a few more hastily added due to the tragic fire. However, it’s been an inauspicious start with weather more suited to the depths of December or birth of January than to March. It has in a word been pish, that’ll be a Scottish word that sums it up nicely, sort of miserable and wet to put it in a nutshell. The ferry has missed quite a few sailings and I’ve been home early far more often than I would have liked.

Trees have been uprooted, the Skye bridge closed, power cuts abound and 23 out of 24 Cal Mac services cancelled due to hurricane force  winds yet still people wonder why the ferry isn’t sailing.  I despair, my son cannot get to school, my builder cannot  get to Raasay and people think we cancel the ferry ‘at the drop of a hat’. Believe me, if it was safe to sail we’d be sailing, my house would be finished sooner and my son better educated.

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Somewhere under there is the road along ‘The Avenue’, believe me, it’s a right PITA for my darling wife if the ferries don’t run, we do all we can to keep the connection to Skye open.

The whole day off Sad smile

We had fully expected the ‘blacked out ship’ on Tuesday morning as we’d missed all day Monday due to storm force southerlies. We had however expected to ‘get in’ at least the 7:55 and 8:55 but that didn’t  happen as the front arrived a couple of hours early.

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Consequently I left Torran at an unsavoury 6:00am to allow for fallen trees and a ‘blackout recovery’. Sure enough, after negotiating the debris left by Monday’s storm half an hour earlier than usual I arrived to a totally dead Hallaig. The power had tripped around 19:00 and the whole ship was in darkness, however being ‘well practised’ in the art we were up and running without a hiccup and in ‘hybrid mode’ before most of the scholars would have been out of bed. My son having been kindly ‘put up’ for the night by a friend in the village did not have to get up at 5:30 like me Smile 

Anyway, Tuesday was indeed a ‘pure peach of a day’ by recent standards

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and amongst other things saw the very first gas tanker ever heading to Arnish. Eddie the driver being quite enthusiastic about driving up ‘Calum’s Road’ for the very first time.

Lachie and Donald also arrived in two vans full of insulation and plasterboard for Sonas

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and wasted no time in getting started.

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This is going to be some seriously warm house and so far we’re well on target for our power requirements.



The values are in kWh, the daily average requirement for March being 54, the ‘harvested’ being in the column marked ‘total’ and the column on the right being our surplus/shortfall. As you can see, apart from the 3rd and 6th we are well up and the battery bank would easily cope with the shortfall on those two days. Of course it’s ‘early days’ and these are just predictions but we are well on the way to having a totally renewable energy house barring the gas hob. 

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There is one good thing about the ‘pish’ weather though,

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Lachie and Donald are trapped over on Raasay until Friday Smile

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  1. With all your electricity ever thought of an induction hob? I’ve used gas all my life swapped about 5 years back amidst much mutterings and now would not go back. It is as quick and completely controlable, plus no more gas bottles. House looking good.

    Comment by Andrew — March 12, 2015 @ 8:06 am

    • Morning Finisterre, yes I did think very carefully about that Andrew but we’re using a large gas range here in the Schoolhouse and Postie loves it. Won’t even let me get one with electric ovens.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 13, 2015 @ 6:47 am

  2. Hi Paul

    Your house is looking great – there seems to be a lot of light coming in through all those windows. Sad about the storm damage. There was a huge storm in, I think, 2004 or 5 (you would remember) when the rhodos on he Avenue and elsewhere were uprooted and trees at Orchard blew down all over the place. Part of the roof of what was still the Isle of Raasay Hotel blew off and I guess there would have been structural damage elsewhere as well. When it blows it certainly blows!



    Comment by Sue — March 12, 2015 @ 9:09 am

    • Just back from the mainland Sue and we seem to have ‘got off lightly’ on Raasay, lots of trees, roadsigns down and debris everywhere.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 13, 2015 @ 6:45 am

  3. Paul,
    Can you tell me what insulation you are putting in, I can see you have fibe wool in between the vertical timbers and what looks like about 30mm kingspan – where is that going?
    And the stuff in the yellow rolls must be for the loft, but what thickness?
    Basically – what thickness of what are you putting where?
    Never have to much insulation.

    Comment by Kev — March 12, 2015 @ 12:19 pm

    • Morning Kev, yes 150mm wool then 30mm Kingspan on the walls and 300mm wool in the loft, or was it 450, can’t remember.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 13, 2015 @ 6:43 am

  4. Hi Paul … good to see the house coming along so well … you’re going to be very comfy in there soon

    thought you might find this interesting reading

    Comment by cazinatutu — March 12, 2015 @ 1:55 pm

    • Hmmmmm Caz, methinks perhaps someone was afraid of getting ‘bagged’ ?

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 13, 2015 @ 6:41 am

  5. Sounds like a bad week up on Raasay! Occupants of the chalet lucky to have got out in one piece! SYHA have given us Loch Ness hostel instead of Raasay, nowhere near such a delightful situation! We’ll be able to monster watch instead of dolphin/otter watch!

    Comment by Frances — March 13, 2015 @ 8:57 pm

    • Aye Frances the YH lost part of it’s ‘shed’ roof and I believe it’s sold, apparently there was a planning application in for it.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 14, 2015 @ 7:03 am

      • I’ve just checked and a woman from Brighton!! has put in an application for change of use from a youth hostel to a house 😦 Wonder if she’ll live there permanently, use it a few weeks a year as holiday home, or holiday rental?! A sad day for all of us who volunteered at the hostel!

        Comment by Frances — March 14, 2015 @ 1:48 pm

      • A sad day for all of us who volunteered at the hostel!

        A great day for Raasay as it’s a young family.

        Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 20, 2015 @ 6:15 am

  6. Paul, – great blog, haven’t visited for some while, so nice to catch up. Daily av req of 54 kWh seems a lot: is that energy into the battery bank or what you take out of it ? Or have I got completely the wrong end of the stick ? With hydro 1 putting out between 16 and 21 kWh on different days, what makes for the variation? Change of nozzle size ? A great read: thanks.

    Comment by Bill Cave — March 15, 2015 @ 12:12 pm

    • Hi Bill,

      the 54kWh per day is the total estimated energy requirement for a day in March. That will be everything from the UFH, DHW, and electricity, the house will have no other form of heating and the only fossil fuel will be the LPG cooker. The variation in ‘Hydro 1′ is due to the day length and temperature, sometimes I take the readings a little before the 24 hour period is up and sometimes longer. Also the 800m long penstock is black with most of it overground, consequently during freezing weather it must be slightly narrower so produces around 20w less. I also just ’round up’ to the nearest kWh. Hydro number 2 is very much ‘up and down’ with the available water in the burn and uses a system of multiple penstocks and nozzles,9390.0.html It works very well but only because the pipe was free, I certainly wouldn’t say it was ‘cost effective’.

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — March 15, 2015 @ 8:10 pm

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