Life at the end of the road

November 12, 2018

incommunicado :-)

Filed under: daily doings, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:12 pm

Well, that’s it, a whole month by with already, where did it go? tonight will be my ‘last sleep’ before returning to Hallaig after four weeks off and I gotta say, I’m feeling pretty smug. Tis almost 20:00 now, around 12 hours since I left here (the laptop that is) and I’m pretty chuffed at what I got done today too. Sure, I’ll have most of tomorrow off too but I won’t see much of that at Arnish. Officially I don’t actually start back until Wednesday morning but I’ll let my relief away tomorrow cos he’s a long way to travel and I’ll be heading to Portree in the morning anyway. The ‘wee dug’ is needing her rear offside foot looked at and we’ll be needing pig feed for the two darlings.


I’m really gonna miss these two but they’ll be hams, salami, chorizo, cotechino, black pudding and bacon this time next month. Shock horror, well, if you are gonna eat meat then better you know it’s had a full and happy life is what I say and these two certainly have. They are actually the first two of the dozens we’ve raised that we’ve not named. People often recommend or at least avoid naming then so as not to get too attached to them. We didnae name them cos we’ve done so many that we couldn’t think of any more names Sad smile I was gonna call the one on the left Boadicea cos she’s an ‘Iron Age’ pig which is a cross between a wild boar and a Tamworth, allegedly the closest thing you can get to the very first domesticated pig. However, it doesn’t really ‘roll off the tongue’ does it Smile 

I mean, it would have been nice to catch a week or two in the sun but darling wife only had a week off her work at the Isle of Raasay Distillery and most of that was set aside for the Girvan trip. OK, I may not have been enamoured with that but I did get hunners done at home before and after. The Subaru got welded and MOT’d, the slip got concreted, the Bug fixed and all manner of work got done with Calum and the dumper. All in all it’s been a damn fine splendid holiday that’s gone out with a bang!

The last full day

After the usual ritual of many cups of tea, breakfast, animal feeding and dug walking I turned my attention once more to Lachie’s 500kg tracked dumper


refitting the hardware I’d removed to fit the micro switches, giving a good greasing then testing it in action.

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What better way to test it than use it to fill in some of the boggy ground through that gate out of the hen enclosure. I had made that gate wide enough to ‘track’ Calum through but it was only just wide enough so using the tracked barrow was a wise move really.

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If nothing else it would give the barrow a good testing even if it wasn’t as quick as using the digger.

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Though I did use Calum in the end, he was wide enough to stop the pigs getting into the hen field.


Methinks one of these would make a nice ‘stocking filler’ Smile I do like it.

Back to the ‘Bug’

With the HT500 dumper given the ‘seal of approval’ it was ‘back to the Bug’ and a good testing down to the village. The camper had a couple of minor issues that would need a good run to sort out and I’d some work to do for Callum at the Raasay Sawmill too. Not only that but all the phones had stopped working and the Internet was down so I figured that at least I’d be able to speak to someone if I headed south. The ‘wee dug’ needed the vet and I needed to order stuff for the ‘Bug’, Lachie’s dumper and the pigs.

When I finally did ‘break radio silence’ it seems that there’s been a big landslide on Skye that’s put the power out. This obviously includes many mobile phone masts and the Applenet Internet masts Sad smile Still, apart from our lack of Internet I cannae say it’s a problem, we’ve not had a power cut in thirty years Smile The joys of living ‘off grid’ Smile

The Isle of Raasay Distillery

After tinkering around with the accelerator pump on the Bug’s Solex carburettor

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I headed for the Isle of Raasay Distillery . The Camper had a little ‘flat spot’ so altered the stroke on the accelerator pump to give it a little more fuel which seemed to sort it. Darling wife was at work there and I wanted to let Norman, the manager have a shot in the ‘souped up bug’. Fatal mistake that cos he ‘suckered’ me into fixing their fork lift whilst I was there Sad smile

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The ‘intrinsically safe’ Mitsubishi forklift was needing a new alternator belt and ‘could I just fit one whilst I was there’ Smile Hardly a chore really cos it smells just lovely in there (hence the need for an ‘intrinsically safe’ fork lift) not only that but darling wife was working in the warehouse too, sampling.

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I’m not sure exactly what she was up to but it was fascinating and looked awfully technical. That barrel was a red wine cask and you could see the whisky had already taken on a pinkish hue.

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Once the forklift was fettled I headed for the Raasay Sawmill and Callum’s ‘skid steer’ loader that was very reluctant to start. Now, I have a vested interest in this cos he’s cutting wood for the car/boat shelter Smile

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Anyways, after much grubbing about methinks it just needs a new battery and a few cables making up.

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The battery was organised by Callum and I’ve just made up some new cables in me shed. Dunno when this’ll get posted right enough cos I’ve still no Internet. It’s 21:20 now and I’m ready for bed bed but I cannae go cos Wifey is till at work so it’s pointless cos the friggin dugs will bark like mad when she gets home Sad smile

Back in the groove :-)

Gosh, it’s 6:45 and that’s me just up, almost feeling ‘normal’ again after the clock moving nonsense. Truth be known, I could have happily stayed in bed until daylight but ‘one more sleep’ and I’ll be back at work after my month off and I’ve far too much to do to be lying in bed Smile First task being Lachie’s tracked barrow which has taken a back seat of late on account of the ‘Bug’ mainly but also cos the parts have only just arrived.


Well, it was a lovely day yesterday for sure and as has become the custom of late, I have been ‘taking it easy’ on the Sabbath, well easy for me that is. So, after dropping the ‘Bug’ off it’s stands and moving it out the way,

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to reveal the scene of carnage that was left behind, I went indoors to make breakfast for darling wife, another recent task on the Sunday timetable I’ve been cultivating.


The 45 year old VW camper started a treat and ran like a clock, I was well chuffed Smile

After the ‘heart attack on a plate’ of home grown sausages eggs and Co op British bacon and shrooms had settled down we went to ‘walk it off’ with the dugs.

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Taking the track to Torran and resting at Jessie Nicolson’s memorial bench on the way, methinks a discreet chainsaw is called for on a couple of birch trees to improve the view Smile

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With a few calories burnt off and after yet another cup of tea we went out for a Sunday drive, which is something I’ve yet to re- embrace in my preparations for ‘taking it easy’ and preparing for retirement Smile

We are sailing

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The Wee Bug ran like a dream up and down Calum’s road which is as hardy a test for a campervan as anything I know, with exception of ‘The Bealach’ to Applecross . I gotta say, we thoroughly enjoyed our little ‘sail’ cos that’s what driving one of these is like, it’s soft suspension making it comfortable but very ‘roly poly’. I can see why people fall in love with these things and the ‘air cooled donkey’ in the boot.


That done and I turned my efforts onto another Sunday task, washing the car, or fleet as in my case Smile

Engine Management Lights

Next wee job was to check out the engine management warning light that had appeared on Wifey’s Subaru last week on the way to Girvan.


This would cost you at least £40 in a garage but a few years ago I bought an OBD II code reader off Amazon for less than a tenner and it’s saved me hunners. Having said that, it does ‘have its moments’ and yesterday was one such day. The Chinese piece of carp brought up the fault and it’s code P0420 in what may as well have been Mandarin Smile 


Catalytic System Efficiency Below Threshold Bank 1

I dunno why it does this but every now and then it reads ‘backwards’ well almost but you ‘get the gist’ and it was only a tenner. Anyway, I cleared the code and ignored it, the exhaust is new, the car averaged just over 40MPG on the recent trip to Girvan and back so there is sweet ‘foxtrot alpha’ wrong with the catalytic converter. Which after all is just an American con to try and keep foreign cars out of their markets. The ‘cat’ cleans up dirty exhausts rather than encouraging manufactures to develop ‘lean burn’ technology. An engine fitted with a cat will always produce lower CO readings at the exhaust so it penalizes smaller engines which produce slightly higher readings but much less of them. Hence the cat is much more suited to larger thirsty V8’s that the American’s love. They’re expensive to make being full of precious metals, sap energy from the engine and cost a fortune to replace.

Back to the dumper

After a light lunch of soup Callum and his dug arrived with the roofing for the car/boat shelter.

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The dug was a great help unloading the roofing sheets Smile

Then, with a nice tidy shed to work in I set about the unenvious task of replacing the spool valve micro switches on the HIT500 tracked dumper.

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A task which has more in common with watch making then engineering. These tiny switches being very awkward to get at are held in position with small Allen screws and a steel backing plate.

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The plate is almost impossible to hold in place so I stuck it with silicon whilst I fitted the first screw using the Allen key through the holes in the outer switch. So, it’s not possible to fit the inner switch without removing the out one first and it’s not possible to fit the inner switch using slotted screw or bolts. Anyway, it’s about time I fed the pigs and got back on with it.

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