Life at the end of the road

October 16, 2021

One year on!

Well almost, last time 1 actually posted something that actually got into print so to speak was around the 11th of November 2020. Methinks I was buried under the bonnet of the ‘Old Girl’ having recently returned from Hallaig’s annual dry docking on the Clyde. Sure, I tried several times to kick start my ramblings again but they never made it to off my laptop into the ether. Still, life goes on here on Raasay, which has got a lot busier over the last year with folk preferring staycations to vacations. My dear wife is now my dear ex wife and I have a new dog though the events are unrelated. Bonzo you may remember was Peter Stillman’s wee dug that I used to walk for him, Sadly Peter died in January so Bonzo moved in with Molly and I.

COVID restrictions were still in place but it was a lovely sunny day with a few friends at the graveside  to hear Michael Milne’s beautiful Rabbie Burns themed eulogy.


Sadly I saw very little of Peter or Bonzo the previous year with COVID and all but at least I’ve got Bonzo to remind me Smile

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Bonzo has settled in really well and is now very much an Arnish dog. Being very prone to wandering off I have to keep him on a lead wherever I go but not here at home, here he’s free to wander where he likes and always comes back (eventually)

So where was I

So what have I been doing, certainly not as much as I used to that’s for sure, I was going to retire when I was 65 but my birthday came and went and I decided not to bother. Having just had my own month’s staycation at home seeing nobody other than the postman twice a week I figured I may as well stay on at work, at least then I’d see some other human beings Smile So I’ve just retired from hard physical work on the croft and will carry on at work until I can’t get a medical. Though judging by my blood pressure that may be sooner than I’d like Sad smile Seriously, after my first COVID jab it went ‘through the roof’ taking ten days to return to something like normal. It remained normal for six weeks until I had my second jab whereupon it skyrocketed once more Sad smile This has caused me to drastically reduce my fat intake which isn’t easy for one who loves eating pigs. Muesli is OK for breakfast but there’s nothing like bacon, sausages, chorizo or black pudding to start of your day.


The first thing I did this fine autumn day was to go and feed my newly acquired wiglets, not had any since last December so it was great to have some back on the croft.


Though I was more than a little perplexed when I couldn’t find them this morning. The wee darlings having buried themselves under all the straw in their shelter Smile


Having given them breakfast I then set about cutting rushes for bedding as it was such a lovely day the grass was pretty dry.

The long dry summer

It’s not been a hot summer by any stretch of the imagination, listening to the radio harping on about temperatures in the 30’s would have you think otherwise but here in the north west it didn’t reach double figure until June and rarely has the thermometer hit the mid twenties even in August. However it has been very dry, something that is very unusual in this part of the world. In short it’s been the best summer I can ever remember in over thirty years of living here, warm, dry, calm and midge free. Don’t think I got a midge bite until July or August, normally I get my first one around my birthday in early May Smile

After cutting my pre dried bedding  I cut my lawn, surely that’ll be the last time this year, normally it’s in September that I do that. Then it was down through the birch woods to the secret cove where one of my hydro turbines lives.


The ‘Stream Engine’ hydro turbine has barely turned this last six months, there being precious little water in the burn. However when it has started working it was making a helluva racket, suspecting bearings I went down with my tools to remove the turbine and take it up to my shed to have a look. As you can see,it doesn’t live in an ideal environment. Just above the high water mark in a very wet, dark, damp and airless corner.

Once it was on the bench it became apparent that the bearings were OK, the problem lying with one of the rotor magnets which had become detched and was rubbing on the stator.

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Lots of cleaning with a wire brush, emery and die grinder cleaned everything up and I’ve re-bonded the magnet to the rotor with epoxy resin. Left it clamped overnight so will continue with that project in the morning.

The ‘Old Girl’

The 1986 Land Rover which I’ve had for over twenty years is finally road legal once more, passing it’s MOT with no advisories in August. Mind you I’ve been working on it for almost a year but that’s pretty standard for a Land Rover even when you are using it Smile My latest task being to replace the transfer box for a lower ratio one. The original ratio for mine when I bought it was 1.667:1 which was standard at the time for a normally aspirated 110. However a few years ago it failed and I fitted the later 1.410:1. This being slightly higher ratio making it a little quieter and more economical. That transfer box lasted a few years before failing once more so I fitted the only one I had which was out of a Discovery with a ratio of 1.2:1 which is great on the open road, lovely and quiet with good MPG but pretty hopeless for towing heavy trailers up and down Calum’s Road. The large wheels and tyres only exasperating matters.

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Guess what I’m doing after I finish my hydro turbine Smile

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