Life at the end of the road

November 30, 2018

In a sorry state :-(

Filed under: daily doings, How I — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 4:58 pm

Ah well, that’ll be me fully ‘security aware’ now and with a certificate to say so Smile Just finished my course at SMT ,  a well delivered affair that not only brought me ‘up to speed’ on security issues but enabled me to catch up with a few friends from around the fleet too. Now all I need to do is get through the night and get back home. The night should be pretty simple, all I have to do is get to SWG3 and back in one piece. As for tomorrow, well we’ll have to see about that, I’d a helluva drive down yesterday arriving at the Holiday Inn some ten hours after leaving Arnish. My blood pressure was probably ‘through the roof’ and I was somewhat stressed to say the least.

For a start I did not want to come here, only the acquisition of some tickets to a ‘sold out’ gig tonight tempted me to leave home, normally I have to be dragged ‘kicking and screaming’ to attend courses in my time off. Much as I love my job, I hate going on courses, even a single day’s event involves three days away from home two days driving and having to deal with unfamiliar things traffic lights, one way streets and vending machines. I’ve already had a wrestling match with a car park barrier, coffee machine and elevator. For heavens sake, am I the only person who’s fingers don’t work touch screens who speaks a language not recognised my talking machines!!! I swear, I don’t even think ANPR works on my cars!!! This technology stuff id damn, fine splendid when it works Smile Not even my current ‘prat nav’ (a basic Tom Tom) works for me and I only bought that one cos the last cheap Tom Tom worked just brilliantly until it died.

During what was a particularly stressful trip sowf my anxiety was compounded by Bruce’s refusal to lead me in the right direction. Bruce being the name of the Tom Tom’s compare so to speak, Sean, my last Tom Tom had a much more soothing voice but Bruce is quite hilarious in some of his wittering’s. I just wish his sense of direction was better. Sure, I do know the way to Glasgow airport and could manage without a ‘prat nav’, indeed I am of that generation that can actually read a map. Unfortunately, yesterday I wasn’t coming in from the west, I was going via Tayside Land Rover to look at the ‘Old Girl’. This would involve the A9 and lots of motorways. Regular readers will remember I used to have a Land Rover and left it there almost six months ago for a six week job Sad smile 


The job seems to have ‘grown arms and legs’ and looks unlikely to be ready this year!!!

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Still, I’m assured it’s in good hands Smile

Not only did Bruce lead me into the centre of Perth during the rush hour to find Tayside Land Rover, he also refused to look for Glasgow airport being determined to take me to Prestwick some 40 miles away. This compounded with the 6 mile tailback on the M8 due to flooding had me pure wrecked by the time I entered the airport. After several laps of the approach roads and car parks I was eventually directed to the Holiday Inn which I’d been able to see for half an hour but not actually get too!!! From there on in things improved considerably, the staff were helpful, the room lovely, the shower perfect and the food surprisingly good.


I had a crispy calamari starter followed by grilled halloumi kebabs, I gotta say it was awesome, even the tomatoes were the same temperature as the rest of the meal!!! How do they do that? my tomatoes are always scalding Smile

Poor wee dug

As if it wasn’t bad enough being away from home and the gazillion things I could be doing I’m also worrying about Molly.

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As if wearing ‘the collar of shame’ wasn’t bad enough for the poor wee dug, she now has an ear infection Sad smile I left her on Thursday morning looking very sorry for herself and she’ll not be seeing the vet until tomorrow. That will be interesting, she usually needs sedated Smile

Before I left

Still, I did manage to get a few things done before I left home, the main one being ‘The Bug’ or R2T2 as it’s now known Smile The Isle of Raasay Distillery camper van  has a new name as a result of an ‘on line’ competition . Should have told you about that sooner hey Sad smile

Help Name Our VW Campervan & Win a Bottle of While We Wait

Shoulda entered the competition meself hey Smile Anyway, not only does the wee VW T2 camper have a new name, it now has an alternator instead of it’s pathetic dynamo.


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After fitting new barrels, pistons and cylinder to the bug a couple of weeks ago I discovered the dynamo wasn’t working, sadly the dynamo on a VW air cooled engine is harder to replace than the engine Sad smile In fact the old VW manual tells you to take out the engine to change it!!!!!  OK, you can change it ‘insitu’ but it’s not easy, involving some pretty radical levering of the tin shroud on the right hand side. However a kit is available with all the required components including a new mounting and fan pulley. Like the barrels and pistons I got these from MegaBug down sowf and was well impressed with their service.

There was a small part missing in the kit, I phoned them and it was posted out first class the next day. A word of caution though for anyone doing this conversion, if you have the so called ‘PICT34’ Solex carburettor fitted, you will not get ‘full throttle’ as the accelerator pump fouls the alternator. This is not the standard carb but is a popular ‘upgrade’ and I believe there is a spacer available that lifts the card up 12mm to clear the alternator. You can also do what this dude did on YouTube,

Jeff cleverly altered the carb linkage but I think I’ll just buy a spacer Smile 

That was pretty much it for Wednesday, on Thursday I had to walk the dogs, feed the animals, top up my batteries, fit a new volt meter and repair a puncture before heading for the 10:55 ferry.

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The wee dug knew something was going on and followed me about all morning, I felt really bad shutting her in the house and leaving Sad smile

Groove Armada here we come Smile

So that’s it, after being stressed out my nut yesterday and stuck in the classroom today I’m gonna go see one of my favourite live bands, Groove Armada who I first saw at T in the park almost 20 years ago. This is their 21st anniversary tour and their first live tour for seven years so it should be good. Sure I’ve seen them recently at Rockness and Eden doing ‘DJ sets’ but they’re far, far better live.

November 27, 2018

Back to the ‘Bug’ :-)

Well, that’s it, the ‘two weeks on’ is by with and now the work can really begin Smile It’s only 19:00 and that will be my second glass of red in over a fortnight, thing is I’ve had em both in quick succession so have got a ‘real glow’ about me Smile Almost the end of November it is and what a spell of weather it’s been up here, sure the first day back was miserable and the second pretty draughty but since then it’s been boodly amazing.

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Mornings like the one on the left, days like the centre and evenings like the right being the norm for the best part of a fortnight, I kid you not, I’ve never known a spell like this in late November.


At least not for so long and not with such high temperatures. I didn’t even see the first sign of frost until Sunday morning and that was in a valley that’s renowned for it. Ice being first spotted by myself on Monday whilst walking the dugs.


A wee bit of ‘stiff’ water in an old boat at Suisnish being my first experience of ice this winter. Sure, there has been frost at Sconser and even one or two places on Raasay but Sconser will not see sunshine now until February and there are one or two ‘frost pockets’ here on the island that are notorious.

November weather

Not here at Arnish though, just look at the temperatures, I even saw someone cutting their grass the other day!!!

Power chaos

We’ve no had a power cut here at Arnish in thirty years, one of the joys of ‘off grid’ life along with no ‘standing charges’ or utility bills. However Skye and the mainland were not so lucky with a landslide at Invergarry taking out a pylon and causing untold chaos throughout Skye, the Isles and the mainland Just check out the video Anyway, this baby caused mayhem both here, on Skye and beyond, with much of Skye still running off generators even late last week. I had to laugh when we were bunkering Hallaig on Thursday, upon asking the driver how the power outages had affected the oil depot he said ‘you couldn’t make it up’. Half of Skye was running off generators that needed filling twice a day, the fuel depot had no power and SSE were screaming for more fuel Smile

Anyway the glitches sent Hallaig’s electronics a little ‘pear shaped’ too and I’ve spent the best part of my ‘fortnight on’ trying to fix them Smile 

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The battery charger and its fuses being just a couple of the casualties of the unstable shore power. Luckily I’ve now left that in the capable hands of my ‘back to back’ Smile


Like I said, apart from the lack of phone (we have a mobile in the house) and Internet, Sonas wasn’t affected, but in the unlikely event of a lightning strike or other failure we have a back up system in the ‘bunker’ consisting of a 900Ah forklift battery bank and 3kW Outback inverter.

Tomorrow’s project

So, now I’ve bade Hallaig goodbye for a couple of weeks it’s down to my own projects, number 1 being the Isle of Raasay Distillery ‘bug’ which is having an alternator conversion. Next it will be Lachie’s tracked barrow which needs a heater plug (easier said than done) followed by a course in Glasgow on ‘Ship security’ and a trip to see Groove Armada play live for the first time in seven years.

I seen em live a few times and they are awesome, the ‘DJ sets’ are OK and we saw em at Eden and Rockness but live  is something else. Yours truly managed to get tickets for a sold out gig at SWG3 so that’s where I’ll be Friday night Smile ‘Supersylin’ and ‘shakin my arse’ Smile

So, that’s it really and I’ll just leave you with some pics I took in-between being buried in the guts of Hallaig Smile

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Sun rising in the mirror and moon setting in the windscreen. Beinn Fhadda at the Sconser fish farm.


New fire appliance for Raasay arrives.


Hallaig, Creachan Mor, Speedwell and Lustre at Raasay pier.

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Moonset over Braes, sunrise and Goat Island.

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A misty Cuillin peak but I have no idea which one Sad smile

1000 casks

There may have been chaos with the power outages last week but that did not stop the Isle of Raasay Distillery filling its 1000th cask today Smile

Joseph and Iain busy filling number 850 of 2018 today, along with 150 from September last year that’ll be 1000 barrels of Raasay whisky in the making Smile

Poorly wee dug

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Molly wearing the ‘collar of shame’, she is not impressed Sad smile

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