Life at the end of the road

October 10, 2016

The ‘fly in the ointment’ :-(

Heaven knows when I last posted, probably a week ago I guess, I’ve kinda lost track but I’m thinking it would be when I last visited me Pop in Aultbea. I’ll be doing the same tomorrow so with any luck I’ll get this posted, for we’re still ‘Internetless’ and I’m sorely dischuffed now. Must be well over two weeks now and I don’t have much in the way of options other than my mates ‘pish poor’ satellite link or a 22 mile round trip to the village. I’ve had a go with the satellite link a couple of times, but to be honest it’s quicker driving to the village and using a 3g dongle than waiting for some of the pages to load on so called ‘satellite broadband’ Sad smile 

It’s really put a whole damper on the month’s holiday and been the ‘fly in the ointment’ of a near perfect spell off work. It’s just friggin impossible to do anything without it these days. Filling in forms is impossible unless you’re online, taxing the car, checking the weather, doing any kind of research and of course blogging all become ‘mission impossible’.

An engineer did come on Friday and do his best but the net result of that was zero as far as getting connected was concerned and he’ll not be back until Wednesday Sad smile I cannae submit any of my forms to get my ‘completion certificate’ and can’t download my ‘sustainability certificate’, whatever that is. In fact I can’t even find out what it is cos I’ve no Google Sad smile 

The Indian summer

Connectivity issues aside it’s been boodly marvellous up here, pure spectacular on the weather front and I’m getting much done on the ‘to do’ list, albeit at my new pace. I’m really enjoying my less manic approach to life, come to think of it so are the rest of the family and dug Smile Seem to be getting everything done and doing far less worrying too, perhaps it’s the Tramadol! I’ve been taking 1 x 50mg capsule every morning now for 2 months and it’s definitely helped the back.

I gave up on it a couple of years ago as it was making me constipated, moody, pass wind from both ends, constantly thirsty and giving me wild dreams. I also couldn’t sleep if I took any after midday. Since then I tried all the other meds, gave up on them and have been drug free for almost two years. Relying instead on my six monthly injections to the sacro illeach joint, and of course being kinder to my back. Sadly the injections become less and less effective so I find myself once more trying to ‘manage’ the pain.

Whatever, apart from the odd twinge it’s not bothered me at all, even after quite a few spells of digging drains and burying pipe.

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Not to mention some rather unseasonal painting and the refurbishment of a proper fire hose real and enclosure. I know from experience that it takes rather a long while for the Fire Brigade to get to Arnish.

I guess it’s a couple of years now since the chalet burned down and I’ve finally got around to clearing up the mess.

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Or should I say ‘we have’, for my son did most of the heavy lifting, I was just in charge of the fire.

I really thought it was two people

I guess it’s just having a serious view now and being able to spend so much time looking out to sea but I’ve never in all my years here seen so many porpoises in Loch Arnish. Every day I’m seeing them now and have been the whole time I’ve been off work. What, with that, the sea eagles and deer, it’s been a regular wildlife safari up here.

Driving home on Friday after collecting my son from school I spotted two people atop a hill at Brochel. At least I thought it was two people, they were too big for sheep and smaller than deer.

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I asked the chauffer to stop the car and enquired of him what he thought. Two people we agreed before one of them flew off!!! They were of course sea eagles with a wingspan much wider than I am tall. I’ve seen dozens of these birds, some at extremely close quarters, indeed I’ve seen them lift salmon within a few yards of me. Even so, their sheer size never ceases to amaze me. Wifey and I saw one perched on the picnic table by the youth hostel a week or two back and we were level with it on the road rushing for the ferry. Twenty yards away at the most and it never even flinched as we passed by.

Wandering the hills

With the weather being so good and the stags being very bold and vocal I’ve been doing much wandering locally watching them. Though sadly without a camera decent enough to take a picture at the distances I’ve been ‘stalking’ them at.

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Rainey’s wall, which they seem to cross with ease, Molly and I crept up the south side and watched a bruiser of a stag on the other side.

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Eastern end of the wall with Dun Caan in the distance.

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One of the many ‘wallows’ used by the rutting stags.


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Twenty seven years I’ve been wandering these hills at the north end and still I’m finding new ruins, this one near an old peat cutting was probably a hen house. Strange place for hens I know but I think they were moved to these outlandish places at certain time of the year to keep them away from the crops.

More turnips

Methinks these wind turnips were heading for Invermorriston, luckily I wasn’t behind them Smile

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I did mention the Raasay Primary school coffee day last time I posted a week ago.

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What I never mentioned was the total raised on the day, yet another day when over three grand was raised for the excellent school by an exemplary community. You have to marvel at this place really, eight pupils and a population of less than two hundred and they raise extra ordinary sums of money consistently. In the twenty or more years they’ve held this event they’ve never taken less than a thousand pounds on the day. Truly an amazing school and community, with tremendous support from local business’ too.

A bit late

A year after I fitted the Navitron solar hot water array of 60 ‘evacuated tubes’ I finally got around to insulating the interconnecting pipes.

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These pipes can reach temperatures well in excess of 120 degrees C so special ‘Armaflex’ or similar insulation is needed. I only had 15mm diameter 13mm thickness stuff but I’d plenty of it so I split it and wrapped several layers around the exposed copper. I then used aluminium foil tape to keep it all tightly wound. Have to say, I was pretty chuffed with the result Smile

I have to say that I wasn’t particularly enamoured with this technology being more of a solar PV man. However, having got the 60 tube array cheap and having the thermal store directly below I thought I’d ‘give it a go’ and I have to say that I’m well impressed.  There are days, and today is one, when this array out performs the solar PV by 100%!!!


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Anyway, that’s it for now, I’m off!



  1. the house is looking good paul.

    Comment by v8mbo — October 10, 2016 @ 7:03 am

  2. Raasay Primary School should be nothing less than utterly chuffed with themselves along with the community that support them. My children attend a MUCH bigger school with an enormous community behind it and we (I’m on the PA and School Council) could only just about match that amount at our last charity gig! Very humbling and I might have to mention this at our next meeting…

    I’m having a serious think about making the trip with the family next year once I’ve rebuilt our 110 (the 90 is good for a quick weekend away but that’s all really) to your neck of the woods… Where’s the links for pads to stay as I’d like proper digs rather than canvas if I’m journeying that far…

    Glad the pain meds are making life easier again. Perhaps a few dietary additions to help with the side effects?

    Comment by Matt — October 10, 2016 @ 10:45 am

    • Hi Matt,

      can thoroughly recommend our old pad

      Cheers, Paul

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 15, 2016 @ 8:04 am

      • Cheers Paul … It’s 500 miles, toll roads, a lot of M6 and a ferry. Might have to stop off with friends in Cumbria on the way!

        Comment by Matt — October 15, 2016 @ 10:04 am

  3. Notice The Dude has been upgraded to Son hahaha

    Comment by Eileen — October 11, 2016 @ 5:04 pm

  4. What plans for the chalet then, Paul?
    It’s all starting to look very nice indeed up there now.

    Comment by Lloyd — October 12, 2016 @ 5:52 pm

    • Methinks it’s a ‘retirement project’ like the Range Rover 🙂

      Comment by lifeattheendoftheroad — October 15, 2016 @ 7:58 am

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