Life at the end of the road

February 29, 2016

High tide at Cluanie :-)

Filed under: daily doings — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:03 pm

It was forecast to be pretty miserable today and it certainly started that way at Arnish with a good dose of rain power washing the back door. Despite only having one door it will always be the back door I guess, ‘Number 3’ only had one door too but we always referred to it as the ‘front door’. I hadn’t really thought about it until now, but right enough, they do actually face at opposite points of the compass. Anyway, the Russell Timbertech  door we have at Sonas is pure pish and I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone, already it has swollen and after two or three days of yer regular West Coast deluges it starts to pish in water around the glazing. Even before the door was hung I was in a dispute with them about it swelling. Sadly it was over two years old and despite it lying down on its original pallet for two years in my dry shed they insisted that it’s swelling was due to incorrect storage. They kindly offered to fix it for £400, aye right.

I’ve not had many regrets about the new house but buying that door was one of them. I seriously wish we’d bought the £4K Internorm door we looked at but dismissed on cost. I’m sure we could have got a good deal off Mark Dunn of Dunn Homes who supplied and fitted the windows.

Anyway, being Monday it was off to the abattoir for me, school for my son and Glesgie for the wife. Two of the pigs were going for the chop and that was mine and Molly’s task, that and ‘holding the fort’ for a few days whilst the ‘Egg Lady’ is away visiting family.

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Bit slender on the picture front today as I’ve spent most of it driving but this is the Home Loch from the Youth Hostel road. Bit sparse now but in a few years it’ll be lovely and it won’t be half the midge trap it was.

Once the two ‘wee darlings’ had been dropped off at Munro’s I made a pilgrimage to George Cockburn’s butchers on Mill Street.


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There prize winning haggis and black puddings are well worth a try and you can get nice wee ones too.

A ‘mega shop’ at Lidl’s followed  and I then headed for Inverness weighted down with chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, chick peas, muesli, butter beans, Montipuliciano D Abruzo and of course £1.99 bottles of cider. Well I’m all alone with the ‘wee dug’ and on holiday Smile The shop also enabled me to grab breakfast in the form of a couple of sandwiches, four pork pies and two Scotch Eggs. The dug managing to scoff two of the pies whilst my I nipped into Screwfix for some welding rods. I can tell you, ‘I was not best pleased’ to say the least Sad smile

The carp weather of the west had been left behind pretty much as soon as we crossed the Skye bridge around 9:00AM, even the wind socks were limp. However, when returning west, the ‘great divide’ around the Cluanie dam saw the first signs of rain, and judging by the water level it had been raining for most of the winter here.

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I’ve never seen it so high in thirty years, usually, and certainly for as long as I’ve been blogging it’s waaaay lower than that.

Having said that it didn’t start raining proper, that’ll be proper as in real West Coast rain, until Broadford.

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Ten miles further on the waterfall at Drum na Cloiche was a raging torrent, six hour earlier it had been just a trickle!

Once back on Raasay I was stunned to see the first lapwing,

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three swans on the little loch before Brochel who’s name escapes me. I have never ever seen swans there before, and just a little further on three grouse. Sure the grouse are common enough but it’s not often you see three flying together here.

Cheaper than a motorbike or sports car

Having got through my ‘mid life crisis’ some years ago and not purchased a sports car or motorbike I got myself a much cheaper alternative to assert my masculinity as my libido fails Smile The Hatsan Escort semi auto shotgun with a seven round magazine is far more assertive than a Mazda MX5 or Harley Davidson, ‘tis much louder and gives you a ‘bigger bang for your buck’. It does however, just like the former, need maintenance and mine had started to jam. So, with the wife being away I took the opportunity to try out the kitchen table for a spot of gunsmith work.

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The Hatsan uses a ‘blowback system’  to reload the next round by utilizing some of the spent combustion gas energy from the previous round. This however requires a good seal to prevent a loss of pressure and thus a misfire, upon stripping the Turkish wonder I found a dodgy seal that was allowing some of the gas to leak and thus prevent proper ‘cycling’ of the next round. A quick search on the Internet found some on eBay and with a bit of luck they’ll be here before the wife Smile

February 28, 2016

Waking up early :-)

Filed under: daily doings, stonework, wind turbine — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:05 pm

There’s a real feeling of spring in the air, it’s not going to last right enough as tomorrow looks pretty grim by all accounts. The nice fresh, crisp and sunny weather about to be replaced by milder, cloudy and wet stuff. Still, I aint complaining, my back could do with a rest. I’ve started most days with a spell of rock shifting to make a small kerb around the house the side of the house as means of retaining the ‘chuckies’. It’s only a temporary measure, though I use that term lightly, chances are I’ll be retired when I start building the proper retaining wall I have planned.

The longer days have seen a rapid increase in the amount of energy we’ve been harvest from the sun, both the solar PV and solar hot water ‘waking up early’ just like me Smile

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Those ‘traffic lights’ on the solar inverter signifying that it’s about to start extracting energy from the sun and that was at 7:15 yesterday morning. Sure it wasn’t much, a mere 15W from each half of the array but it rose quickly as the sun came up. Just as well really as the water was frozen, perhaps I’ll have to sack my son and finish off burying the water pipe myself Smile Not that it’s any fault of his that he’s not finished filling in the trench, it’s all the frigging homework he gets!!! I kid you not, I’ve just taken him a cup of tea and he’s got two laptops going to try and do his English homework. Yesterday it was maths and just looking at his notes made me feel inadequate.

Anyway, the routine in the mornings has now got me letting the hens out just after 7:00, cleaning out the nesting boxes and eggs before the third cup of tea. After that I hitch up the trailer on the quad and head off to Tarbert on the quad to feed the pigs and collect some rocks.

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Had to replace an ear tag on this little darling today as she’ll be heading to Dingwall tomorrow with one of her siblings. You used to be able just to mark them with paint for a trip to the abattoir but now they insist on a tattoo or ear tag. Bit of a nuisance really as quite often they loose them.

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Starting to look good around the house now with those 20mm ‘chuckies’, Molly certainly approves and tomorrows pishing rain will hopefully give them a wash. I did try the hose but it was frozen Sad smile

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Managed to sort that by splitting one of the joints and shaking the pipe, got soaked in the process right enough but by 10:30 we had water again. Just as well as there was a mountain of washing to do and it was perfect drying weather.


Being absolutely determined not to wreck my back again I’ve been restricting my ‘hard labour’ on the rock front to just one small trailer load and a bit of rock moving before ‘second breakfast’. So after that I went along to sort out my mates Lister ST2,

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fitted the new solenoid and ‘ran it up for and hour’. Hardly taxing or strenuous but I’m determined to start ‘winding down’ and start practicing for my retirement Smile We put a lot of effort, ‘blood sweat and tears’ into Sonas and I’m not going to mess by back up or turn grey before I have time to fully enjoy it.

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Back home I did some work on my battery banks, the one on the left being the main one for the house and that just got the usual SG check and top up. The one on the right is for the generator, it’s a little OTT at 24V and 450Ah but a couple of the cells are a bit dubious so not really fit for a ‘house bank’. It’s also suffering from a good bit of verdigris around some of the terminals. Removing all the interconnectors then pouring boiling water over terminals removes most of it. A good wire brushing then a liberal coating of Vaseline or silicon and they were as good as new.

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A spot of welding

As the wind turbine mast is lowered and a good friend had left me his 200A inverter welder I took the opportunity do do a spot of welding around the base.


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Probably not really necessary but my welding is carp and it’s not often I have a good enough excuse to practice on something this beefy.


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That thick piece of angle iron was courtesy of SSE and it was just bolted through the centre of the turbine base, well now it has a weld resembling bird 5h1t holding it too Smile I’m not going to ‘beat myself up’ about it, the only rods I had were 8018’s and they’re not for novices like me.

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