Life at the end of the road

February 21, 2019

Back to the shed :-)

Filed under: animals, Avon Searider, daily doings, life off grid, listers, pigs, shed/house — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:45 pm

OK, it’s not actually a shed more of a ground mount PV array that I can park the Searider under to keep the sun and weather off it. Sort of a car port on steroids I guess, whatever you call it, it’s certainly gonna be man enough to stand up to the West Coast weather that’s for sure. Callum Findlay, sole proprietor of the Raasay Sawmill and shed designer/builder extraordinaire has seen to that. Me, I’m just the apprentice in this project Smile I guess it’s been three weeks since we got the sturdy frame up and in the intervening period I’ve gotten 12 x Trina 300W solar panels and all the mounting hardware to go on the roof whilst Callum was busy cutting rafters, purlins and boards for the roof and sides.

  Pigs and Listers

Anyway, I’m getting a little ahead of myself, the shed was today, it was pigs and a Lister yesterday, oh and rain, lots and lots of rain. A friend had needed help removing his pigs from a croft they were busy rotovating and myself and A, N, Other had offered to help.

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First thing I had to do though was remove the 12 solar panels from the trailer, easier said than done in a gale of south wind on your own Smile

That done, the trailer sides and roof fitted we set off south to try and get the two beauties into the trailer.

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The girls were not impressed and to cut a long story short my neighbour went for a mud bath, we all got very wet and the two pigs, as far as I know are still charging about the field Smile

After all that excitement I found myself a nice leisurely job on Harry, my trusty Lister HR2 15kVA generator. Truth is, Harry is much larger than we need, a 7 or 8kVA would suffice, but he was dirt cheap and had only done 50 hours running when I bought him despite being 20 years old then. He is over 40 years old now and has still only done 3300 hours so still a ‘spring chicken’ in Lister terms.

Lister fuel solenoid

If I’m honest the fuel solenoid stopped working properly over a year ago which effectively meant that Harry wouldn’t start unless you helped him. Sure he would stop fine but the fuel solenoid needed help to energise. This was never really too much of a problem as the generator doesn’t run much and we have a meter in the kitchen that tells us if the batteries are low.


Anyway, I thought it was about time I fixed it, especially with me going away next shift for a couple of weeks. The Hallaig will be covering for Lochinvar again at Lochaline so we may have house/dog sitters in. The solenoid is just an electro magnet that once energized lifts up a lever on the fuel pump allowing the fuel to flow to the injectors. It was working but needed a little help to operate.

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The return spring seemed to be too strong for a start so I replaced that for a weaker one as it looked like it had snapped at some point and been shortened. I do have a vague memory of doing this but the main issue seemed to be that the plunger wasn’t in line with the operating lever so it was binding as it travelled upwards. Not sure how this could have happened but a little adjustment with a 5/16” and 7/16” spanner plus some WD40 soon sorted it.


Plunger off.


Solenoid energised and fuel on Smile

The shed

Today was a vast improvement on yesterday weather wise, OK, it wasn’t absolutely dry but near enough to not need oilskins and no where near as windy as forecast.

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Callum and Jay arrived around 9:30, just in time for ‘second breakfast’ of eggs fried in nduja and a fresh pot of coffee. Sure the muesli and banana I’d had for breakfast number one had been healthier but home grown eggs, pork fat and chili beats the carp out of it for ‘hitting the spot’ Smile

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Callum had pre cut the rafters and purlins and just like the rest of the construction they fitted perfectly.

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I concentrated on fitting the rafters whilst Callum got on with the purlins.

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After 17:00 I ‘broke out’ the Magners Smile

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By 18:30 it was getting to dark to see the ‘bubble’


so I ‘called it a day’ Smile


February 8, 2019

Eleven hours in wellies :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:44 pm

Home early tonight thanks to Erik who’s 60 knot winds put paid to the last two sailings. He was late in arriving right enough but the pishing rain was well ahead of the blow. It was so wet this morning that I put my wellies and oilskins on just to get to the car and open the gate !!! In all my years working on the ferry I’ve never done that before, sure, once or twice I’ve wished I had but today is my first day with CalMac when I have spent the entire day in wellington boots and waterproof trousers. I didn’t even take em off when down in the engine room working on the sewage plant, though that would probably have been a good move even on a sunny day Smile 

The drive down the road to work was something else, I swear I’ve never seen so much water. I know I say that every year and today I figured out why, it’s cos the frigging council have stopped clearing run offs at the side of the road so the water just lies in the many hollows and pot holes. The whole stretch from Holloman to Oscaig is like a river, purely cos there are no run offs through the grass at the side of the road to let the water away. Every summer the verges at the side of the road get higher and every winter the puddles get deeper. Sure, occasionally they’ll pay someone to patch up the holes in the road but why can’t they just pay someone to clear the water off first??

Whilst Erik was well predicted, we were supposed to be ‘in the eye of the storm’ with average wind speeds of only 19knots, well they got that bit spectacularly wrong. The solitary sun that XC placed in one of its hourly predictions did appear, albeit only briefly but it was a welcome break in the relentless rain. Not enough to remove the wellies right enough but bright enough to produce a nice rainbow or two in-between the gloom.

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The Spindrift decided to leave her mooring in favour of a sheltered berth astern of Hallaig

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and that was it really. We put extra ropes on Hallaig and bade her farewell, I even got halfway home in daylight. Once home I locked the hens in, collected the eggs, cleared a blocked drain, finally removed my wellies and ‘called it a day’.

You call that an egg!!


Look what one of our chooks laid, probably in protest of me forgetting to let them out this morning Sad smile Luckily I remembered before lunch and one of our neighbours let them out Smile

Stir fried monkfish


It may have been a stormy day but the fish van managed to make it safely over with some lovely haddies, smokies, cod, salmon, scallops, prawns and much more. I came away with a nice piece of monkfish that darling wife stir fried and boy was it deelish. The lovely glass of McGuigan Back Label is washing it down just right Smile Sure they say white for fish, me, I say white for cooking, red for everything else Smile 

A wee night out

Isle of Raasay Distillery

Tomorrow afternoon it’s ‘Pie, beans and a pint’ all for a tenner at the Raasay Distillery Actually it starts with the rugby at 14:00 and finishes at 23:00 but I’ll be popping in for the ‘pie and beans’ after the 18:00 sailing from Sconser. Methinks they stop serving food at 19:00 so I’ve booked my pie already Smile perhaps I’ll go back for my pint after the late sailing Smile Might even have a few more and stay in the ‘toon hoose’ Smile

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