Life at the end of the road

August 9, 2016

Two extra camshafts :-(

So that’s it, home at last and surprised we made it. Saturday night at Belladrum was pretty wet, in fact it was pure pishing down for a while, not that that seemed to dampen anyone’s spirits. Even Madness’s lacklustre performance on the Garden stage didn’t disappoint too much, eventually they did play a few recognisable tunes. Shame really cos both wifey and I were really looking forward to them.

It was a bit like seeing Blondie a few years ago, everyone goes to see them to hear the old tunes that made them famous. Instead they play hunners of numbers you’ve never heard of then throw in a couple of old favourites at the end. Trouble is by then you’ve got fed up with them and moved on.

These Dudes on the other hand were brilliant, Gleadhraich were the band playing in the ‘Grass roots’ tent who’s set included Shang a Lang.



Highlights of Belladrum

For me at least it was these chaps

with their unique musical additions to newsreel, propaganda, public information and movie footage. This being ‘Go’ their latest 7” and final tune. The Orb too were amazing, as were Grousbeater  Sound System, Dreadzone, Alabama 3, toilets and


some of the ‘Mothers Ruin’ DJ’s.

Probably in that order if the truth be known, I was certainly more impressed with the cleanliness of the Portaloos than the performance of The Darkness and Madness. First time I’ve ever been to a festival and looked forward to going for a ‘dump’ Smile


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PSB, The Orb, Madness, and the fireworks

Though to be honest the pictures from my C2 Nokia are so bad their hardly worth clicking on.

Turned into an epic

We really did expect to spend the night in the caravan on Sconser car park it was so wild on Sunday afternoon. Luckily a lull around 16:30 saw the Hallaig coming over to collect a deck load of traffic. Sonas was a welcome sight when we finally got there around 18:30 and the batteries were full, despite my ‘mother in law’ and ‘sister in law’s’ best attempts to flatten them Smile Even the dog got a ‘blow dry’, the washing machine seemed to be permanently on and the showers everlasting Smile Still the house was spotless, the hens alive and the ‘wee dug’ only slightly fatter Smile

In all fairness we’d produced so much wind, solar and hydro energy over the period it would have been hard to use it all.


The 3 day gap is whilst I was away so 189kWh would be the total for 4 days (excluding solar HW, I don’t count these as it’s not an exact science) so over 47kWh per day. Sunday, the day we returned saw us producing 90kWh, 45kWh of which came from wind alone!!!

The ‘07 Forester’ cam belt

Still feeling a little ‘vague’ probably on account of not actually having a drink for almost two days I decided to to a long overdue timing belt change on Wifey’s Subaru.

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Now, this has been on the ‘to do’ list since I bought it last November Sad smile at 123K and with no record of a change it was long overdue.

So, I got a full kit including a quality belt, 4 idlers and the tensioner at almost £300. I even ‘watched the video on YouTube’. This encouraged me greatly as ‘Eric’ said it was ‘the easiest one he’d done’. Trouble was it was for the SOHC cam version and this one is a DOHC engine, which, cos it’s a ‘flat four’ means there are four camshafts and not two Sad smile Not only that but the inlet camshafts appear to be some kind of VVT (variable valve timing) so do not even have a nut on you can turn.

I did get the job done and she ran ‘sweet as’ but it was a bit of an epic and un the unlikely event that I ever do another I’d put a pair of mole grips between the inlet and outlet cams pulleys on the LH side of the car (RH on picture). This would prevent them moving and possibly bending the valves. Sadly you cannot do that on the other cylinder bank as the outlet camshaft pulley is plastic. Still it would make it 50% easier and a lot less stressful.

A good use for the old belt

Now, I do like our new caravan but, unlike the old Thomson everything feels like it’s about to break. The Lunar Chateau has these poxy plastic door handle, magazine rack type things which fall apart if you breath on them.

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One was broken when we got it and the other failed the first time we used the van Sad smile Well they are now made of Subaru timing belts so should be good for a few more years.

Why do we put up with this carp?

Much, much worse than the Darkness performance, Beardyman’s ‘doon yer arse troosers’ and ‘Black Friday’ is this pish below!!!

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Ho Ho feckin’ Ho Christmas mayonnaise in August!!!!! Never checked the ‘use by’ date but it was probably before Halloween, I despair.


So, I guess it’s back to normality today

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though these pictures of The Storr and Loch Arnish are from BB (before Belladrum).


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This ‘lake’ at the bottom of a hill near Tarbert needed emptying, and I do it regularly. In ‘days gone by’ HRC managed to look after the roads on Raasay, now it’s left up to who ever can be bothered Sad smile

A ‘Tri Star’ issue

Whilst our totally ‘off grid’ electric hoose as performing better than envisaged I do seem to have developed a problem with one of my ‘Morningstar’ diversion load controllers. I have four of these in my system that can divert up to 10kW of excess power into various ‘dump loads’. However ‘Number 3’ seems to be reading .8V higher than the others so is diverting power early. Not that that is a major issue but I’d like to get to the bottom of it.


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Very much ‘work in progress’ at the moment, after spending several hours looking into it I’m still no wiser. However, what I did as a temporary measure was reduce the voltage threshold on the other controllers by the same amount.


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That should keep things ‘peachy’ until I get chance to check it out properly.

Overrun by ‘wimmin’

Being in a house full of women, with my only allies being two Jack Russell dogs I’ve been keeping out of the way.

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Far better to get into the Range Rover than an argument Smile



  1. It was wild up in Orkney as well Paul, The dive boat was stuck in port and that unusual! Btw what happened to the wee Daihatsu your good lady had??

    Comment by v8mbo — August 10, 2016 @ 8:14 am

  2. btw watch for corrosion on the sub frames on the Soo Baa Roo, Very bad for rotting through.

    Comment by v8mbo — August 10, 2016 @ 8:16 am

    • Aye robin, noticed it was a bit murky under there when doing the clutch so clarted everything with old engine oil. Wee Phoebe has been recycled to my son after much work, brakes, joints, fuel tank, exhaust, O2 sensor, etc. She passed the MOT last Wednesday with no advisories 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 11, 2016 @ 5:11 am

  3. Impressive recycling of an old cam belt! Your a braver soul that me… I’ll happily run an old single cam and at a push maybe a twin cam belt but I’d probably run for the hills at four!

    Comment by madmort — August 10, 2016 @ 7:28 pm

    • Aye Mort, waay too complexicated for my liking. The old cam belts also make fine rear door check straps for the likes of 4 x 4,s with a spare wheel on the door.

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — August 11, 2016 @ 5:07 am

      • You genius I just snapped the 90’s rubbish rear door stay (clean out of the very corroded tub) and was scratching my head over a replacement! Now I have to dig around and see if I’ve got an old belt knocking around. Either that or I guess I could change the 90’s 2.8 Isuzu belt which to be honest probably needs doing. That or wait till I get round to the 300tdi that’s sitting on the floor till I put my 110 back together… decisions decisions…

        Comment by madmort — August 11, 2016 @ 11:44 am

  4. Yer lad should be your best mate against the odds?

    Comment by green van man — August 11, 2016 @ 6:04 pm

  5. Hi Paul,
    It’s great to have you posting again, your news from Raasay has been missed! Sorry to hear about the mink problem. I spent a few days on the island with a friend back at the beginning of May, after a cruise on the Caledonian canal from Fort William to Inverness. It was her first time on the island, and she loved it! We had fantastic weather, Skye was the hottest place in the country on one particular day (28C) we climbed up Dun Cana and then went skinny dipping in the small loch without a name? at the top of the steep ascent, on the way back. We stayed at Raasay House, as now no YH, but it was very comfortable. Visited the new owners of the ex-YH, who seem to be loving living on the island; and wow the two lovely fireplaces they have uncovered; it brought back happy memories of running the hostel over the last 14 years. SYHA now has no volunteer-run hostels since selling Loch ness YH recently!

    Comment by francesp — August 14, 2016 @ 12:58 pm

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