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 5, 2019

A ‘Dark Matter’ day :-)

Filed under: Avon Searider, boats, daily doings, shed/house, Trucks and plant — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:01 pm

In early tonight but still feel I’ve earned my ‘tot’ . Golly gosh it was 1970 when the Navy stopped the ‘Rum ration’, I remember it well Smile Not that I was ever in the Navy, just remember hearing it on the news.

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Though tonight’s ‘tipple of choice’ will be ‘Dark Matter’ at Ron’s suggestion Smile Took a bit of finding right enough, tucked away at the back of the drinks cupboard, I swear the wife was hiding it from me molecular engineered in Aberdeenshire, and yes Ron, it is nicer than Kraken Smile

You can never have too many sheds

Normally I’d be back at work today and most definitely not drinking rum but my ‘back to back’ is doing an extra day for me so I spent most of the day concreting yet again. Callum hasn’t even finished putting my shed up and I’ve decided to extend it by another bay. Sure it would have made more sense to do it all at once but it suddenly occurred to me the other day whilst shuttering the ramp, that due to the slope of the ground, if I continued the shelter westwards it would be high enough to take the digger or dumper without interfering with the view from the house. Of course before I’d arrived at this stunning conclusion I’d already shuttered the sloped pad for the access into the end of the shelter.

I fitted a tow ball onto Calum’s (the Kubota) blade last year so I could use him for launch and recovery of the Searider. Initially I did this cos me Land Rover was at Tayside LR but it worked so well I think I’ll use him in future. The blade means you can raise and lower the hitch at will, the hydraulic drives mean no handbrake to worry about, the traction is phenomenal and the skid steering very precise.

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The car/boat port was designed to be long/wide enough to to push the boat in from the western end but I now reckon I could even get Calum the Kubota in there too. Even if I couldn’t then it would give me another 3 or 4m of shelter to shade a car from the worst of the weather or half of the dumper. You really cannot have to many sheds or shelters on the West Coast of Scotland cos it’s always boodly raining Smile

Anyway, having set one of my post mounts within the ramp itself yesterday, I set about the other one today. Sure it would have made more sense to do them both in the same reinforced slab but as is often the case my thought process is ‘dynamic’ rather than well perused beforehand Smile

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The additional mounting would be between the ramp and fence so another section of Hallaig’s bottom was selected, chopped then carefully positioned just 3m away from the last upright.

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It was then drilled and four M12 rods firmly attached to it, these being covered in plastic conduit to protect the threads and allow some movement for bolting to the posts. That Evolution radial arm saw from Screwfix being used to chop the studs That’s the newer model, mine was less than £100 years ago, will quite happily cut scaffolding tubes, has cuts lots of them and wood yet is still on its original TCT blade.

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Golly gosh, I never photographed the finished result Sad smile but I was well chuffed with the result.

That was it really, I went along to my Mate’s house to top up his batteries

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watched the ‘Green Isle’ in Loch Arnish and cleared away all my mess.

Not even 21:00 now and I’m seriously thinking of going to bed with ‘Salvage of the Century’ by Ric Wharton, yet another book about HMS Edinburgh and her five tons of Russian gold. The house is once more so quiet that I’m seriously thinking of removing the clock batteries just to savour the silence even more

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