Life at the end of the road

February 2, 2016

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse!

Filed under: life off grid, shed/house, weather — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:26 pm

All I gotta say is ‘thank God we aren’t in a caravan’ and my sincere heart felt sympathy for anyone that was last night. Even I was wakened by the weather at 3:00am with a loose gutter outside the bedroom window. Sure it was west or north west wind which is the worst up here but even so, it was boodly wild. Just as well I abandoned the idea of taking my son to school for the ferry never ran at 7:55 and we’d probably have missed it anyway.

When I did eventually brave the elements around 8:00am I went to let the hens out but they thought better of it and most of them stayed inside. Normally I’d walk or take the quad to feed the pigs at Tarbert but it was way too wild for that so I jumped into something unlikely to be blown away and headed over there in the Land Rover.

Foolishly I parked next to an overflowing drain that was running over the road, when I stopped there it was during a relative lull. When I returned to the ‘Old Girl’ after coaxing the ‘wee darlings’ out of the ark I got soaked. The freshening gale had started lifting the water up off the road and directing it with uncanny accuracy at the drivers door. In the few seconds it took me to get inside, both I and the interior of the ‘Old Girl’ got power washed!!!

Being so well wrapped up against the elements I couldn’t turn my head and the Land Rovers windows were about as clear as frosted bathroom glass after a steamy bath. Consequently I abandoned the usual ‘three point turn’ an headed up to the quarry at Tarbert to turn around.

 020216 001

Well, I tried to, the two Pioner plastic boats that son and I had put onto the trailer on Sunday were now blocking the road. Now under normal circumstances moving them would be ‘a breeze’ but not today.  I dragged the white one out of the way first and tied it to a large rock, whereupon the wind caught it and lifted it in the air!!!!! The larger, heavier red one I had to cut off the trailer and managed to manhandle it into the ditch. Then I dragged the trailer out of the way and took ‘my sorry ass’ home.

Most definitely a morning for ‘inside jobs’,

020216 002 020216 003 020216 004 020216 009

you can never have too many coat hangers living in a place where you can get four seasons in one day.

By lunchtime the wind had eased to a mere gale and the rain abated enough to do some outside jobs

020216 007

that loose guttering for one and a concrete mount for the ‘whirligig’ for another.

Morningstar MS View

Now for someone who drives a thirty year old Land Rover because he loves simplicity and hates computers it’s a bit of a contradiction that much of my house is ‘high tech’. I’ve not even managed to work the central heating thermostat out yet and the MVHR control is ‘white mans magic’ to me. However all that ‘stuff’ in the ‘Powerhouse’ requires tweaking with a ‘puter and I’m not very good at it. So today I thought I’d have a go at familiarizing myself  with ‘Morningstar MS View’.

  020216 008

I use four Tristar TS45 ‘charge controllers’ to divert excess power into heating elements in the thermal store. Whilst there’s four of them they’re actually paired up to drive two SSR (solid state relays) and two AC immersion elements in the store. A simpler way would be to just use them to drive individual DC elements but then you have the problem of what to do when the store gets up to temperature. Switching high DC currents requires special switches and a regular thermostat aint just up to the job. Doing it this way means that once the thermostat opens the controllers just divert to the original air heaters fitted before the house was built.

080215 009  080215 010

There are eight of these large wire wound resistors capable of dissipating over 10kW. Like the software for the SMA inverters this is downloaded for free off the manufactures website. Unlike the SMA ‘Sunny Data Control’ this is actually east to use and pretty straight forward.

Blog at