Life at the end of the road

January 28, 2019

More haggis :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, Land Rover, stonework, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:21 pm

No sign of the snow yet but apparently it’s on the way shortly and through the night, sure the road has been well gritted but darling wife is on early shift tomorrow so staying in the ‘toon hoose’ Smile That leaves me in charge of the two dugs with Leah curled round my feet under the table and Molly warming the bed. It also means complete silence in the house with just the occasional whirr from the fridge or freezer, pure bliss, normally the TV is on at this time of night belching out some pish Mancunian, Glasgow or Yorkshire accent from the likes of Corrie, River City or Emmerdale. Still it could be worse she could be addicted to the American pish and its canned laughter Smile I am not a fan of the TV and I’d quite happily do without one, did so for years and I can’t say I’ve missed out on anything bar a few episodes of Red Dwarf. Well that and the Russian coup of 91 or was it 93, perhaps both even, I know I discovered those on their anniversaries  same as I did with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. Still, I’ve always found that you only discover the truth behind any news story a couple of decades after it actually happened. The Suez crisis, Lockerbie bombing and Sadam’s WMD’s to name just a few. Can’t wait to read about really happened with Brexit and Alex Salmond in another decade or so Smile

Not quite the ‘Old Girl’

Having fixed my tipping trailer yesterday by drilling 5mm countersunk holes in the 3mm thick steel galvanized sheets and screwing them onto the 19mm phenolic ply with 5mm stainless screws,

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I stole the neighbours Nissan. OK, I borrowed their Nissan as I’m awaiting a new alternator for it and it’s only usable with care, care equating to leaving it running, not using the lights, heater, radio, wipers or even brakes unless you have too, which is kinda hard as it’s automatic Smile Anyway, with the alternator not charging you have to keep electrical usage to a minimum or the fuel solenoid shuts off the diesel supply and it conks. So, I had its own battery on charge all night and took another one with me along with jump leads and a battery charger.

My own trusty stead the ‘Old Girl’ has been indisposed at Tayside Land Rover since April having a six week job done Smile

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The new galvanized bulkhead, chassis, B posts and doors seems to be turning into a bit of an epic Sad smile

I never really realized just how essential the ‘Old Girl’ was until I had to do without her, there aren’t that many vehicles that’ll legally tow 3.5t up and down Calum’s Road. Luckily the neighbour’s Nissan Patrol 3.0D is one of them and whilst it’s certainly comfortable by heck it’s thirsty!!!! I put £60 worth of diesel in it and it only went just past half way and by the time I got home it was well below it Sad smile

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Fuelling the tank up, collecting dog food and cement from Portree then filling up the trailer with 2tons of aggregate at Sconser taking up most of the day really. SI I got back to the ferry terminal in plenty of time to admire the beautiful stonework on Hector’s bothy cum takeaway, which I’m sure is gonna be a valuable asset to those queueing for the ferry when it opens in the summer.

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I was back on Raasay for 13:20 but by the time I’d had a look at me Mate’s lighting tower,

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called at the Raasay sawmill to admire my timber and visited darling wife in the ‘toon hoose’ it was almost dark when I got home. Still, at least I didn’t have to make dinner, Wifey had managed to rescue some leftovers from the Burns supper so that was me sorted with more of that excellent haggis and some cock a leekie soup.

All I had to do first was tip the aggregate, park up the Nissan with the battery on charge and mend a puncture on the Subaru.

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The tyre was only just legal and the puncture was right next to a previous plug so I just fitted a new tyre, no use messing about with tyres at this time of year and I had a new one at hand.

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That was it really, after the most excellent haggis, neeps and tatties (shame there was no whisky sauce left Sad smile) I went back out to the shed and chopped up some threaded bar for the legs on me boat shelter. Time now for another glass of San Pellegrino and to settle down with a good book, this one being ‘Stalin’s Gold’ by Barrie Penrose about the sinking of and subsequent salvage of HMS Edinburgh


January 27, 2019

A serious haggis :-)

Filed under: daily doings, food, hydro, life off grid — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:44 pm

Being a bit of a mongrel of mixed English, Italian and Argentine heritage I can’t really say I’m a huge fan of Rabbie Burns  , who, to my way of thinking was just a smooth talking womaniser with 17 illegitimate children to his his name and didn’t speak properly Smile I’m more an admirer of his contemporary William Blake  Smile However Rabbie seems to be a big thing in my adopted homeland so who am I to argue Smile Anyway, it appears  that ole Rabbie is quite popular in these parts so I allowed ‘Darling Wife’ to drag me down to a ‘Burns Supper’ organized by the Isle of Raasay Distillery and I gotta say that it was a pure amazing night out.

Burns Supper Menu

Reception Drink:
Wee Dram Or Fizz

Cock-A-Leekie Soup (Leekie Vegetarian Option)
Raasay While We Wait cured Salmon with tarragon crème fraiche and pickled vegetables

Both served with homemade bread and butter

Haggis, Tatties & Neeps With Raasay While We Wait Whisky & Thyme Sauce (Vegetarian Haggis Available)

Rhubarb Cranachan With Homemade Shortbread

To End:
Coffee and whisky fudge

Sure I would have given this a good plug but the sixty tickets available had gone before I had a chance.

Much as I’m not a great fan of the Scots lothario himself, I do like a good haggis and I gotta say that the one served up tonight was nothing short of spectacular. Though before we could start the ‘Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!’ had to be piped in as tradition demands Smile

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Unusually the address was in Gaelic and whilst I didn’t understand a word of it, it sounded lovely Smile

I gotta say this haggis truly did deserve all the attention and praise given to it, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad haggis, even the tinned ones or OK but this fella was a king amongst Haggi or is it Haggises. Sadly I can’t remember the chefs name to laud him with praise but anyone who can make me enjoy turnip has to be good Smile Normally I only eat it out of respect for the person who cooked it for me, on this occasion I really enjoyed it.

Back to the ‘toon hoose’

Having recently acquired one of the old miners cottages in the village we’d no need to fight over who was going to be ‘designated driver’ so the pair of got wrecked on several bottles of reasonably priced ‘house red’.

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The ‘wobble’ back to the village with a girl on each arm would I’m sure have been approved of by Rabbie Smile

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All in all a fabulous evening’s entertainment by the staff and management of the Raasay Distillery.

Afore o that

My relief and satisfaction at completing my online ‘self assessment’ tax return on Friday had me all revved up to do my VAT return on Saturday morning, well that and the pishing rain. The forecast was for a better afternoon so I launched myself into that with some gusto prior to going out when the rain eased to Scotch mist.

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Then a walk out with wife and dugs to check on the hydro turbines that had been working so hard of late. The Stream Engine  inlet we pass regularly on our walks and all was well but I’ve not been down to the ‘turbine house’ for a few weeks.

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The corrugated iron shack nestles alongside a cliff in what I call the ‘Secret Cove’ that has an old path right up to our previous house. In days gone by this was used for bringing nets ashore at high tide and it truly is a magical place.

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The same little burn that gushes through the roots of this ancient aspen tree powers the turbine.

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Though how much longer that venerable aspen can cling to that cliff is anyone’s guess.


The turbine itself has three different nozzles capable of producing between 300W and 900W but for months now it has just been on the 300W setting which gives us around 6 to 7kWh per day. With all the rain of late and plans to do much washing this weekend I opened the largest nozzle too which pushed up the output to around 14A @ 56.5V or 800W and around 19 to 20kWh per day. Between this, the 20kWh per day we get from the other hydro turbine and our wind turbine we seldom need the extra. However the new washing machine is ‘acting up’ so it would be getting ‘run hard’ over the weekend to try and either fix it or have a decent diagnosis for the person at Beko’s call centre Sad smile Friggin washing machines, we just have no luck with them and they are just about the worst appliance to transport and fit into a remote house.

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The boodly thing had started leaking, apparently from the powder drawer,

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so I pulled it out and we did some washes with the top off.

Leaving the washer in bits and wifey in charge I went to look at turbine number two, the trusty Powerspout

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This little New Zealand made number just runs constantly on two nozzles and produces around 800W constantly. Apart from greasing twice a year and getting the odd frog jammed inside it, it needs little attention.


After that it was a minor fencing job then off to get showered and changed for the Burns bash.


Well after a good sleep in the ‘toon hoose’ we awoke to a fine morning and somewhat unfamiliar surroundings.

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A proper tree and civilization, very strange Smile bit like being on holiday and after breakfast we called on Peter to collect Bonzo and go for a stroll.

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Heading up to the distillery to collect the car and turn on the boiler ready for the ‘early shift’ tomorrow.

Home at last

It was almost 13:00 by the time we got back to Arnish after what seemed like a bit of a holiday if the truth be known. The day was dry and sunny with the solar hot water producing for the first time since last October.

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The little green light was solid on the TDCH solar controller indicating that the pump was running and the solar collectors were at 51 degrees despite the Baltic north wind. The lowest part of the store where the UFH comes from was at 73 degrees and the collectors had harvested some 4kWh of energy. Pretty good considering the time of year, so with all this excess and a toasty house I went to tinker with the Powerspout.

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Image 1 is both nozzles and producing 800W the other images are top and bottom nozzles respectively and I’m wanting to see the difference in output between each and if I can tweak it. Just now I’m running on the lower nozzle (3rd image) and it’s producing 450W. Tomorrow I’ll swap em over to see the difference and if I can improve on it.

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