Life at the end of the road

November 4, 2019

King Neptune’s blessing :-)

Filed under: animals, boats, daily doings — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:15 pm

Well we are some 200 odd miles north of the Arctic Circle now, having just left Tromso, which is Norway’s ‘northern capital’ if there is such a thing We actually crossed the Arctic Circle yesterday but King Neptune was busy so we didn’t have the ceremony until today Smile Perhaps he works ‘22 days on 22 days off’ like the rest of the crew and he was ‘off shift’ Smile I wonder how that works cos, unlike us at CalMac, their ‘change over days’ will always be different, so they’ll change at a different port every shift I guess. Anyway, there were one or two different faces aboard today and we have a new Master, perhaps he’s King Neptune in disguise Smile

Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, water and nature Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, nature and water Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor and water

Anyway, after leaving Haarstad around 7:00am, having yet another monster herring, caviar and other fishy delights breakfast we went to summon King Neptune. Sure there’s the usual fried egg, bacon and sausage for people with a less than nautical palate but hey, I can get that at home anytime hey.

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The first recipient of King Neptune’s blessing was this German lady who won the ‘guess what time we cross the line competition’. Along with her signed (by the Master) Hurtigruten ‘house flag’ and crow berry wine she was also the first to get the ladle of ice cubes down the back. Andre the Viking and I being the last but he had the good sense (or lunacy) to remove his shirt first. They breed them tough at this latitude Smile

An hour or two up the coast to Finnsnes where we tied up for 30 minutes

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and had a walk into town.

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I could have sworn I saw John and Murdo on the roof of a house near the pier Smile John and Murdo being a pair of hooded crows that live at Arnish. Having seen many a live lamb or sickly sheep have it’s eyes plucked out or umbilical cord complete with belly eaten I’ve shot plenty. Must be getting soft in my old age cos I’ve gotten quite fond of my two. Like most creatures in life ‘they’re just trying to get by’ Smile Well apart from the mink I guess but that’s an American import and like junk food I can do without it  Smile

Gone to the dogs

Three hours sailing and an excellent lunch later we berthed at Tromso around 14:30,


just as the Arctic dusk was arriving. It had been snowing steadily and we were going dog sledding, something that I cannot say has been high on my priorities of things ‘to do’ and most certainly didn’t appear on my ‘bucket list’. Well, make sure you put it on yours, it is a great experience Smile


Even in the dark with cold snow on yer face it’s a joy Smile


After the trip we got to meet some of the dugs, not all 300 plus right enough but quite a few.


The whole pack of them made less noise and were better behaved than Molly and Leah Smile

That was it really, we had an excellent dinner, saw the northern lights again and now I’m off to bed somewhere above 70 degrees north, which is a couple of hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle.

October 21, 2019

An ‘off grid’ Sunday

Filed under: animals, daily doings, life off grid, listers, pigs — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:35 am

Well, it’s a grey, dry but lovely mild autumnal morning here at the ‘North End’, Ronnie’s hinds are grazing all about the perimeter in the half light but there’s no sign of his magnificent self.


My Panasonic DMC-FZ72 seems to be showing its age of late, having a jammed lens on more than one occasion, hardly surprising considering the abuse it gets. Anyway, that’s me just back in for breakfast after feeding everyone, I didn’t let the pigs out this morning cos I never brought them in last night. Was down in the village for dinner with a friend and didn’t get back in until after dark so May and Snowy got fed late. As they’d managed to find and bed down in a cosy wee spot I left em out.

I’ve always kept the pigs we fatten on the hill in years gone by but I don’t want em getting too friendly with these two beauties that roam the ‘North End’.

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At a couple of hundred kilo’s each my neighbours ‘iron age’ pigs make short work of any fences they encounter if they’re wanting to get to the other side Smile Last thing I need is them trying to join May and Snowy for dinner or a spot of girlie fun whilst I’m away Smile

Batteries galore

Sunday was a lovely leisurely day spent pottering about doing a little ‘planned maintenance’ an my and my neighbours batteries etc. Starting with the main 800Ah 48V bank that supplies Sonas.


Eight Rolls S540 6V batteries making up the bank and requiring regular topping up with de-ionized water. Rolls actually spec distilled rather than de-ionized but apart from what comes out of my freezers and dehumidifier it’s impossible to get here. Sure I can order it from Dingbro or Macgregor Industrial supplies but it always arrives as de-ionized Smile  Don’t actually think it makes a great deal of difference to be honest. Anyway, after logging the SG, voltages, temperatures and the 15lts of water used I turned my attention to Harry’s bank.


My 1974 15kVA Lister HR2 has his own 450Ah 24V bank of fork lift truck cells, which is a little OTT to say the least but they came from a house installation with a couple of dodgy cells. Whilst not up to running an entire property they are ‘damn fine splendid’ for sitting there without use for months on end and firing up Harry when required. Since fitting the extra solar PV on Callum’s shed he’s been made all but redundant. Prior to that I did run him whilst the diving compressor was running but I don’t even do that now. So long as I fill my diving cylinders in daylight there’s little load on the inverter. Indeed, in days gone by I used to run him when welding but I’ve not done that for years now and as anyone who owns old Land Rovers will verify, they need lots of welding Smile

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Anyway, just to ‘keep him sweet’ I flashed Harry up for an hour to give him some exercise, leaving him ‘on load’ with the 6kW immersion in the bottom of the 1500lt thermal store and a 2kW load charging battery bank number 3.


I have a complete spare ‘off grid’ system in the ‘Bunker’ behind the house which really is OTT, comprising of 900Ah 48V bank, Outback GVFX 3048 inverter and 600W solar panels it gives me complete redundancy should anything fail on the main system. Whilst not really practical or necessary it has been built up over the years from bargains found on eBay or just acquired opportunistically. The solar panels on the roof keep it all ‘ticking over’ very nicely and in times of excess energy production from the main system it gives me somewhere to put the electricity Smile I really do need an electric vehicle Smile

More of the same

That done it was over to Torran for ‘more of the same’,

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Adam and had made a fine job but himself and his two compatriots would have been working the ‘off grid’ system hard running the cement mixer etc. so Molly and I gave the battery bank there the ‘once over’ too.

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All was in order so we went back home and got on with some ‘civil engineering’.


Tracking to Tarbert we managed to get overtaken by a walker Smile getting one dumper load for the latest project before heading south for dinner.

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