It’s been a while I know but that’s me back at work now and by the time I get home I’ve little energy left for anything, let alone blogging. The passing of the equinox seems to have had me awake at ‘stupid o clock’ every morning and falling asleep at the table before 21:00. I had a spell last week of being in bed every night before 20:00, so the clock alteration tonight will be most welcome. Most people I know seem to bang on about losing an hours sleep, not me, I can’t wait until my body starts awaking at 6:00 am BST instead of 5:00am GMT. Perhaps then I’ll be awake at nine pm
Well, the spell since I last posted has been pretty busy for sure, as usual I spent a good portion of Tuesday at my parents on the mainland prior to returning to work. That day started off with catching the early ferry and arriving at a very busy Sconser ferry terminal.
The arrival of staff ‘accommodation pods’ for Raasay House and some serious machinery to install them made for some ‘juggling’ on the car deck to fit everything on.
It would have been three trips on the MV Loch Striven but the Hallaig got them over in one.
Prior to setting off for the mainland I dropped off the trailer at Sconser quarry to get some concrete mix then continued along the ‘Moll road’ to join the A87 once more at the head of Loch Ainort. I thought the roads o Raasay were bad but this once main road was truly atrocious. I guess the only people that use it these days are the fish farms and campervans, but even so it’s a disgrace. No bother to the ‘Old Girl’ with her uprated suspension but we met a BMW estate that was driving extremely gingerly towards the Moll fish farm.
The ‘wee dug’ had been given a new collar and lead, she was not impressed, Molly rarely wears one and is seldom on a lead, so she protested by chewing through the lead in the back of the car
After a lovely day with mum I headed towards Sconser quarry once more, this time taking the saner route over Drum na Cloiche to collect my two tons of concrete mix. Letting my ‘back to back’ away at 16:00 I settled into the first day of my ‘two weeks on’.
The great thing about ‘two weeks on’ is of course the ‘two weeks off’ at the end of it, and, especially at this time of year arriving back at work to be tying up whilst it’s still light. The last time I ‘shut down’ Hallaig it was in darkness, trouble was that the two weeks spent working about the house had also seen me get out of ‘torch mode’. Living where and how we do, you learn quite quickly to always carry a torch during the winter months, there are no street lights at the north end.
It may have been light when we firmly tied Hallaig to Scotland, but by the time I’d gotten up the road it was anything but and all I had for guidance was the screen on my phone!
As soon as I ‘shed my load’ I had time to admire Lachie’s handiwork on the base of the ‘lean too’. This now had it’s concrete base firmly cast on the 100mm thick insulation. This will be the home for the 1500lt Akvaterm http://www.akvaterm.fi/eng/Accumulators/AKVA.38.html thermal store and should make a fine drying room as well as store.
On the roof will probably be another 2kW of solar PV taking our total up to 6.75kW. I did seriously think of fitting solar thermal on the roof instead, as space is limited and hot water panels are actually a good deal more efficient than PV. Still haven’t made up my mind yet but I’m working on it. Fitting the store within the ‘insulated envelope’ would have ensured that any of the heat escaping the store would not be wasted. However it would take up precious space and putting it in the shed along with a dehumidifier will ensure dry washing on the wettest of days with minimal electricity usage.
Over the next few days progress on the house has been steady
and whilst Lachie is now ‘winging his way’ to Oz and a Pacific cruise his brother Donald is just finishing off the plasterboard and windows.
This hind was watching over me as I went to work the day after,
and whatever day that was it was a nice drive into work.
The same day saw plenty of activity on the fish farm
and the ferry.
The next couple of days however reminded us that winter isn’t actually over yet with the first frosted windscreen for over a year
and some snow at Glam.
Living the dream in an Airstream
There may have been a downturn in the temperature and a little snow but that didn’t stop Dougal and Andrew going caravanning
That will be Dougal riding pillion on the Bonneville
and that will be the Bonneville riding pillion in the ‘crew cab’ with the ‘Airstream’ in tow http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airstream . The iconic American ‘trailer’ has changed little since it was first built in the 1930’s. It is probably the only American object on the road that is more efficient than it’s European counterparts With a style and construction firmly rooted in the aviation industry it’s a thing of great elegance and practicality. I even like it more than my Thomson http://www.thomson-caravans.co.uk/index.htm
The rest of the week
With the days stretching I’ve been leaving Torran Schoolhouse without need of a torch, though I guess that’ll change on Monday, still I should be getting back home before it goes dark.
The ‘wee dug’ is really gonna miss living here at the Old Schoolhouse, she’s never had so many walks, neither has the ‘Post Lady’ come to that. We’ve really enjoyed our stay here, sure it was a little chilly in January and the place costs a fortune to heat but it’s been a pure ‘lifesaver’. A winter in the caravan by the new house would not have been an enjoyable experience that’s for sure.
This will be four of the Raasay House ‘pods’ discretely in position in a corner of the grounds.
The Hebridean Princess arrives
Yesterday we had a much welcome boost to Raasay’s economy when the the MV Hebridean Princess arrived during our lunch break. The ex Caledonian Macbrayne ferry RMS Columba http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Hebridean_Princess got a new lease of life some 25 or so years ago when she was converted into a small cruise ship. Specializing in tours around the West Coast to an ‘up market’ clientele she’s even been chartered by the queen http://www.hebridean.co.uk/our-ship.html .
She really is a fine looking ship and looks right at home on the end of our pier with Glamaig in the background.
And for our assistance in berthing we received a bottle of Scotland’s national drink
along with a ‘Hebridean Princess’ specially blended malt whisky OK, the Irn Bru came from ‘another source’
As for today, Saturday 28th it’s the last day that you need to book the late sailing, and as no one did, we got home early
The day itself was pretty cold and fresh but give us a spectacular rainbow or two.
You may find this hard to believe but the only picture I have of my chalet that recently burned down is this one.
Not only that but it’s not even mine!! Gary Brindle of Scotavia http://www.scotaviaimages.co.uk/ took it for me and I really could do with some better ones.
Pretty soon the underwriters are going to be asking for some, so, if anyone could oblige I’d be most grateful.