Life at the end of the road

October 31, 2018

The engine is oot :-)

Filed under: daily doings, stonework, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:48 am

Managed to stay in bed until 5:30 this morning and slept right through the night, so that’s a result, still pretty tired right enough. It was another magnificent day yesterday and boy, did I make the most of it.

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The Storr and his Old Man didn’t have Monday’s fiery red glow, just a fluffy white hat, but was magnificent as usual and once it was fully light we went out for a walk.

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The tide was just about right for us to survey our handiwork so that’s where we went, disturbing this fine young stag on the way.

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That would be the end of the slip at around 3.0m of height and still I’d be able to get the Searider in or out, which is all I was ever aiming for. This means that I’ll always be able to get my boat at every day at high water, even on the smallest of neaps Smile


Even Leah was impressed,


unlike a few hours later when I switched on the heating at 18:00, she went into an instant sulk, wouldn’t eat a treat then went and hid for four hours.

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My task before the hot smoked salmon and scrambled egg promised me by Wifey was to do some tidying up on the slip access. For that I had to go and collect the dumper a mile away past the old sheep fank at Tarbert. Using the natural stream that runs through it and making abundant use of the readily available rock this is where sheep would be sheared, dipped and marked back in Calum’s day. As with most dry stone construction hereabouts it carries the signature of several masons in its stonework.

The brief visit home for the most excellent brunch was somewhat tempered by a blocked sewage pipe Sad smile


Still, it cleared easily with a length of alkythene water pipe as a rod and at least the sun was out, the last time I had to do this it was dark with a covering of snow Smile

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After doing that and washing Wifey’s car as a thankyou for the salmon I returned to levelling my turning and parking area.


How did it happen

I pottered happily away at this and some dumping of rock up on the croft until around 16:00,

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when my next job was delivered to me on a trailer Sad smile I dunno how I got suckered into this right enough, probably nostalgia but what started off as “can you have a look at the Distillery camper, it’s not running very well” has grown ‘arms and legs’ as the repairer of my Land Rover would say. The badly misfiring and spluttering bus has no compression and all the cylinder head bolts are loose Sad smile Had it been a modern vehicle that was spluttering or not starting I’d have said no but seventies vintage petrol engines are what what I cut my first teeth on and these old flat four Vee Dubs are bombproof. Well most of them Smile

I’d already been tinkering with it out the back of the distillery in my lunch breaks and discovered the lack of compression. As the cylinder head nuts were loose and further investigation would require the engine removal I’d said to Norman the distillery manager that if he could get it to Arnish I’d investigate further. This I can honestly say is the only time I have been glad not to have the ‘Old Girl’ Smile I was kinda hoping he’d be too busy and get someone else to take it to a proper garage Smile

Ah well, that didn’t work so I changed tack, I figured if I reversed it into my shed, then I’d have to fix it!!!!!

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The camper is in amazing condition for a 45 year old vehicle and probably came off the production line around the time I left school and started work as an apprentice mechanic. Having a decent workshop with all the tools turned a relatively easy job into a breeze and I had the engine out in not much more than an hour (about 45 minutes longer than an expert Smile ) Truth be know, where it not for the seized heater cables it would have been half that but hey, it is almost half a century old.

October 29, 2018

Seven more cube :-)

Only 6:00PM, but black as pitch outside and me in for the night. No work in the shed, no wine, just a quiet night in with the dugs and early to bed. Though I guess the ‘early’ is debatable with all this messing around with clocks and the quiet bit isn’t exactly relaxing cos I had the heating on for an hour and it upsets Leah!!!

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First off she went in her air raid shelter, a covered dog cage hidden amongst some furniture in a bedroom, someone suggested that she needs a safe place to call her own. That was fine until I went for a shower whereupon she followed me and curled up in a corner of the bathroom shivering. It can’t be the heat she dislikes cos we do not heat any rooms other than the bathroom and living area and the bathroom floor really is warm.


Then it was a spot of whinging and shaking under the table whilst I was on me laptop before sulking in a corner of the room and finally settling down under the sink!!


I finally gave in and switched it off at 18:30, sure it’s not cold anyway, 22 inside and 4 out but it would be nice to use it once in a while without the dug getting all neurotic Smile

The BIG pour

Well, it really was the perfect day for concreting at the foot of the slip, I could see that right from the moment dawn broke.

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The Royal stag was out there when I fed the animals at 7:00 but light wasn’t that great for pictures and he was moving amongst the trees.

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However, the Storr, Old Man of Storr and Brothers Point kept still enough for a couple of shots whilst I had my bacon sandwich for breakfast.

Then it was off to Tarbert for a walk with the dugs to collect the dumper,

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I just love the swirls of ancient volcanic rock along this section of Calum’s road, often wet and south facing so they grow no moss they look truly beautiful in the sun.


Rainey’s Wall built to keep the tenants on the most unfertile ground and save the rest for game.

On the way back Molly hitched a lift and Leah brought up the rear. I never noticed this morning but that’s her just found my ‘sports exhaust’ which must have fallen off the dumper (again) Smile

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With the dumper down at the slip I dumped and spread its load and started working on the turning area whilst waiting for Lachie and Ross who I’d rebooked on the 11:25. Much to my surprise (and delight) they caught the 10:25.

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Sure it was an hour too early for the tide but it gave us chance to have a coffee and get set up. Plan being to fill the dumper bucket on the road, reverse down, turn in my turning spot then dump as directed. Ross operated the batcher, Lachie did all the hard work and I wet my pants driving the dumper Smile

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The pigs came along to keep an eye on things and assist with ‘car marshalling’.


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The ‘swivel tip’ made life easier but there were still one or two hairy moments turning the dumper with a full bucket.

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Ross had done a nice stiff 50 Newton mix with fibre glass strands in it and we added reinforcing mesh at the bottom for good measure.

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All the while the two professionals poking and then tamping the mix into every crevice.

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The last couple of loads went down bucket first which was easier  and by 14:30 we were done, the boys having laid some 7 cubic meters of concrete in the time it takes me to mix a few barrow loads in the Belle Smile That would be some 15 tons lighter in Eyre Plant’s Scania as Ross headed for the 15:30 ferry after washing his batcher and my dumper Smile


All I need now is my Land Rover back to use the slip Smile Methinks I’ll be fitting a tow ball to the blade of Calum meanwhile Smile

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