Life at the end of the road

September 30, 2018

Two bags short :-(

Filed under: daily doings, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:30 am

Gonna be a bit seldom on the picture front today, I took plenty but my SD card failed and I never noticed until Jessie’s bench at Torran. Sure the morning had gone really well with a good hash of south west wind delivering the odd shower but also keep the turbines spinning merrily. A brace or two of rainbows lifting the spirits and the wee Belle mixer churning away all morning. The dogs could have late walk  giving me time to ‘bash on’ and the ‘Distiller’ a lie in bed Smile

It had become apparent yesterday afternoon that I was gonna be a little short of cement if I kept up with these strong and stiff mixes so rather than starting at one end of the trench and working my way to the other. I had concentrated my pours around where each upright would sit. I’m sure I could have borrowed a couple of bags off someone at the south end but that would take me time to go and get them and I was going to need more cement for the ramp and other projects. You can never have too much cement Smile Especially these days when it comes in manageable 25kg weatherproof seal bags. It’s not that long ago that it used to be sold in 50kg paper bags!!! so you only ever bought what you needed cos bags of cement very quickly turned into bag shaped bricks of cement, cement being hygroscopic draws in moisture from the atmosphere if not sealed. The West coast of Scotland is not the best place to store cement in a paper bag Smile

Me, I’m no weakling but 50kg is rather heavy if you have to ‘hand ball’ more than a few bags. I may live at Arnish but unlike generations past I haven’t spent my whole life hauling 56kg bags of grain and stores up from the shore!!!! I kid you not, it’s not that long since 10stone (140lb 52kg) was the standard bag size, a testimony to how weak and lazy we have become.

This reminds of some years ago when that mountain of a man Donald Eyre (a veteran of North Arnish) was tasked with repairing an old barn at Number 2. He’d just finished most of the dry stone work and was looking for some cement to tie in the corrugated iron roof. I told him I’d a spare (50kg)  bag he could have and offered to take over for him on the quad (it’s a good 300m of rough ground in a straight line). He declined and said he’d carry it, now this is a man in his sixties. I offered him a wheelbarrow, which again he declined! Well that man just picked up the bag, put it on his shoulder and set off waking across the valley to Number 2, he never broke step or slowed down the whole way, I couldnae believe it. And this was after helping me move a Rayburn! when he came over to ask for the cement three of us were struggling pushing the old Rayburn out of Number 3 up the concrete path from the door, Donald just moved us out of the way and pushed it up himself Smile

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Anyway’s, I managed to get it all poured bar a section between two of the posts which I can do later. After that we decided to go for a family walk to Torran and visit the neighbours.


Stopping on the way to sit and have a rest on Jessie Nicolson’s memorial bench, which is when I discovered my SD card wasn’t recording pictures. The bench sits on what is known as ‘The Green’ cos even in my time it was a lush green patch of ground overlooking what was once a fenced area that grew damn fine spuds. Now it’s a clearing of scrub birch and bracken, but that does not detract from the view over Loch Arnish to the Storr, which is still amazing. Not that you could see much yesterday Smile

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After a cuppa and some good craic Molly and I headed home leaving ‘the party’ which had been joined by Nicky from my old house Number 3 . I had a feeling it would get ‘messy’ if I stayed and I’d still much to do back home Smile


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So off we went by the Old Mission house, and you gotta ask, why on earth someone would plant what looks like a fig tree right at the gable end Surprised smile 

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Past the Mission house you come to the Old Schoolhouse which had clear signs of pigs rooting. Now the only way pigs can get here is if some numpty leaves the friggin’ gate open.


Not only had the gate been left open on Thursday it had been tied back! I mean there’s a ‘kissing gate’ there to walk through, why would you open the ‘quad gate’ and tie it back!!! Friggin’ tourists.

Maintaining the plant


Once back home and with all the concreting paraphernalia cleaned and put away I set about repairing a puncture on me dumper.

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And whilst I was at it I turned the tyre around as it had been fitted (by one who shall remain nameless with the tread pattern for a right hand wheel. I certainly wouldn’t like to fit four new tyres to a dumper in a hurry. Even using Calum to ‘break the bead’ I was pure wrecked by the time I’d finished it Smile

Luckily my next task was more leisurely,


the electric motor on my hydraulic tipping trailer had failed. When I came to tip the trailer to clean it the motor just hummed and got hot. The motor is just basically a 12v starter motor and exposed to all the elements. It has failed before and I stripped and cleaned it then, even had a go at sealing it up with silicon but it’s a losing battle. The winch on my Land Rover is the same and if you don’t keep using them regularly they seize up and this tipper has been used since my Land Rover went away in May. Not only that it’s been sat exposed to all the salt spray down at the slipway for weeks on end. Still (unlike the Land Rover winch) it’s easy enough to remove.

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Sure enough, once on the bench and stripped down, all four brushes had seized in their holders (which is exactly what happens on the Landy’s Warn winch). Plenty of patience with emery paper, a file and some Coppaslip grease had it all sorted, by which time the Distiller and Leah had returned from Torran. Methinks it had got a ‘little messy’ Smile

September 29, 2018

More rainbows less rain :-)

Filed under: boats, pigs, shed/house, weather — Tags: , , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:27 am

On the face of it today’s forecast wasn’t as good as yesterday’s but it got off to a great start and just got better. Even the dogs had a spring in their step today and when we got back in from our 7:00am walk it was fully light and the first breakfast of last night’s baked potato fried up with an Arnish egg went down a treat. Fatally I didn’t go out straight away cos I kept getting distracted.

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Well you would wouldn’t you with a view from the breakfast table like this hey Smile 

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And it just kept getting better. Rainbows there may have been a plenty but the actual rain never really arrived and I managed to get well stuck into my shelter foundations.

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First job was to finish the shuttering then seal the smallest of gaps with expanding foam. Normally the foam wouldn’t be required but I’d be using the vibrating poker on this job to ensure a good bond into all the nooks and crannies. Whilst out side doing that I found a few good pieces of steel so hacked them up and threw them in the founds. Next it was down to the shore to drag up some reinforcing mesh to add into the founds.

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For this I had the company of our pigs who were quite clearly on heat Smile The wee beggars followed me all the way home then proceeded to eat my newly injected foam Sad smile

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Me, I got on with cutting up the mesh then mixing concrete, the vibrating poker turning the large cow pats of stiff and strong mix into a lovely soup that flows into all the voids and air spaces. Trouble is yer concrete don’t go anywhere near as far Sad smile Still it’ll be really strong.


The me of not that long ago would have kept going until I finished but with the distiller being home and hungry at around 15:30 I joined her for some lovely fresh haddock around 17:30 then cleared up the mess and came in just as the MV Albatross  was departing Portree.

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All lit up with the Trotternish ridge behind, it was pretty poor light by then and she was a long way away.

MS Albatros.jpg Better picture of the 1970’s beauty from Andreas Trepte on Wikipedia. Probably one of the last cruise ships of the 2018 I would guess, It’ll October soon.


So that’s it, almost 7:30 now and my plant beckons Smile

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