Life at the end of the road

November 7, 2016

Back up the road again :-) :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, life off grid, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:46 am

Sunday night already and by now I guess both Bute and Hallaig will be out of the dock. Not spoken to any of the crew yet but the yard were scheduled to start flooding the dock around 11:00am and I can’t see any reason for them not doing. Methinks it was a far better day down the Clyde than up here at Arnish. The afternoon sun did arrive as forecast but much later and with less of it, much of the day being blighted by cold showers of rain or sleet. Not that you’d guess from inside Sonas, boy, I just love this house.

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Of course it’s pitch black outside now but every so often I hear the hail pelting the triple glazing yet I’m sat here in a T shirt with no heating on!!!! Sure I might just turn it on for an hour later as the battery bank is well topped up, sitting at 58V and there’s still a good hash of north east wind.

Internet woes again

I did actually arrive home on Tuesday night and would have ‘checked in’ earlier had it not been for my lack of Internet. I say ‘my’ rather than ‘our’ cos wifey’s is working just fine, my son’s isn’t on his laptop but is on his kindle and phone so it’s a bit of a puzzle. However, mine mysteriously appeared again on Friday night but his is still off!!

Farewell to the Clyde

Not sure when I last posted but I guess it would have been from the Tontine hotel on Sunday. Monday afternoon my ‘back to back’ arrived and Tuesday morning was a bit manic in the dock.


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OK, not manic but I was rather looking forward to going home Smile


Anyway, I’ve been far too excited, not to mention busy, for blogging because I bought a digger whilst I was away. I say ‘I’ but it was actually we, cos it’s only half mine, my good mate from Torran being the other shareholder. Sure, I was going to buy one anyway but this enabled us to get one twice as good.

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This Kubota KX71-3 complete with three buckets was just a wee bit more than we’d budgeted for but I don’t think we could have found anything better. I saw it on eBlag at Corsehouse Commercials near Stewarton

Construction Equipment and Machinery Sales

and after speaking to Barrie arranged an evening viewing. I did not require any persuasion to buy it, one local authority owner, well serviced, low hours, 3 buckets, piped for breaker, kept inside and an unripped seat!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a machine for sale without holes or tears in the seat Smile Anyway, we got enough of a discount off Barrie to get it delivered to Sconser and it was waiting there when I arrived on Tuesday night. I tracked it onto the Lochinvar and then took it home on Wednesday.

First task was to remove the Proven/Kingspan KW6 turbine head off the trailer, where it had been sat since March!

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I had to do that cos I needed the trailer to collect fuel for it so I could fill up my newly positioned oil tank on top of the container. Just collecting the digger from the ferry terminal and messing about with the oil and tanks took two days and several journeys up and down to the village.

It was actually Friday before I got any serious digging done and that was making a road to the new digger shed Smile

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You cannae buy a digger that’s been kept inside for years then leave it outside to rust can ya Smile 

Of course as soon as my son arrived back from boarding on Skye for the week he was put in charge.

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He’s far more patience than I, so clearing the drains on the Torran track was his first task.

With wifey having abandoned us for a couple of days we went ‘out on the town’ on Saturday night. Well actually my son, wee dug and I walked along to Torran in the dark for dinner at my mates house. Choosing to walk rather than take a quad cos the lights and starter didn’t work on mine and my mates Honda wouldn’t start and had a puncture!!!

Anyway, after a fine roast chicken, chickpea casserole and harissa sauce, not to mention ample red wine we wobbled home. I say ‘wobbled’ but to be honest I’ve little recall of the event but I do remember my mate telling my son to take me home on his Yamaha Smile  It was great night for sure with the world ‘put to rights’, me in bed before 21:00 and a clear head in the morning.


Up early and with the animals sorted I turned my attention to the two broken Hondas in my shed.

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Well, it was pretty clear where the puncture was in my mates Foreman! and a relatively ‘easy fix’, or so I thought.

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Just ‘break the bead’ in a wood working vice and plug the hole I thought, ‘if only’. Only one side of the tyre came off and the other resolutely refused to budge so I tried to break it with the digger bucket, still no luck. I then tried with the digger bucket, a lump hammer and crow bar, all that did was damage the bead, not enough to wreck the tyre but enough to mean I’d have to fit a new tube Sad smile Eventually I did manage to break the bead using the teeth on the digger bucket but it wasn’t easy. I have literally changed and repaired hundreds of tyres and punctures but by far the hardest have been on quads and trailers and not the much larger dumpers and Land Rovers.

Thinking it could only get better I turned my attention to the engine, it was starting but running erratically then suddenly stopping, restarting, stopping, starting, spluttering and stopping again. Classic symptoms of water in the fuel, sadly this was a pretty model and fuel injected so not a simple matter of draining the carburettor to check. No this ‘new and improved’ version doesn’t have a reserve tank or even fuel tap, no on this one you have to dismantle half the quad to even see anything!!!

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Eventually I got to the injection pump and drained off the fuel, sure enough, more water than fuel.

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Drained the tank and fuel pump, the contents of which can be seen in that tray Sad smile Cleaned out the tank, refilled with clean fuel and ‘all is peachy’ once more, apart of course from the tyre, which now requires a tube.

Mine just turned out to be a bad connection on the starter solenoid and a fuse on the lights, probably related as they’re both on the same circuit.

Eleven good years

The afternoon was taken up with servicing my neighbours wind turbine, or perhaps more correctly training my neighbour to do her own Smile

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The Proven 2.5kw, now KW3 is the ‘Land Rover’ of wind turbines and I installed this one 11 years ago

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with my good mate ‘Willie Eyre’. It kept ‘Number 3’ supplied with electricity through the worst of storms when the rest of Raasay was blacked out and will hopefully do so for many more.

It just got a good check over and greasing prior to being raised again for the winter.

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You can of course always sample ‘off grid’ life by staying in my home of 25 years and more

Hardly saves you that much money!!

When we designed, or new house the emphasis was always on ease of maintenance, energy efficiency and warmth. So, as well as the triple glazing, super insulation, airtightness and quadruple A+++++++++++++ appliances Smile we fitted a heat recovery system by Genvex. It around £3K plus installation and I have to say it’s one of the best things in the house. Towels are permanently dry despite rarely having any heating on and the air always fresh without any draughts. It does however have at least two severe downsides. Firstly the washing up is always harder because if you don’t do it right away, which we never do, preferring instead to do it in daylight and watch the birds. The house is so dry that by morning everything is hard baked onto the dishes Sad smile

Secondly is the cost of the filters which need changed every three months.

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There’s one for the inlet and one for the exhaust and by the time you have paid for postage they are over £50 to change!! So that is £200 a year plus the actual running cost of the unit. Now I don’t have too much of a problem with this as once the warranty is out I’ll be using much, much cheaper filters. It is however a little rich when they quote only the actual electricity used in the annual running costs when making a claim about how much money it’s gonna save you.

I changed the filters on Sunday and that’s when it struck me as we’d recently visited another beautiful energy efficient ‘self build’ that had no heating other than one small wood stove and one of these. We were very impressed. However it turns out that the projected energy bills would only amount to around £300PA plus of course £200 for these friggin filters!!!!



  1. A good hash of wind. I’m sure I remember Captain Haddock uttering that expression. Might just check up on that later.

    Comment by Leo Zinovieff — November 7, 2016 @ 8:53 am

  2. Paul,
    Now you have a digger you will find more and more jobs you can do with it, I use the blade for breaking beads as its more controllable and once you get some quick couplings on the pipes you will start thinking of all sorts of hydraulic things for it.
    First job maybe make a crane hook for it.

    Comment by Kev — November 7, 2016 @ 9:36 am

  3. Your Digger will be great for knocking in fence posts and running over mink…

    Comment by Robin Galloway — November 7, 2016 @ 12:21 pm

  4. Paul
    I’m delighted for you, a digger, something I think you’ve needed for years. Enjoy it and great to hear your stories and travels. Look after yourself. Willie in Ireland

    Comment by willie — November 7, 2016 @ 10:56 pm

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