Life at the end of the road

July 4, 2018

Another ‘off grid’ paradise :-)

Another fine day here in paradise, another fine day everywhere else by the look of it, and already people, myself included are looking back towards the ‘summer of 76’ I remember it well, tarmac melting, reservoirs empty and cruising the Yorkshire Dales in my 1962 MG Midget Smile It’s almost 8:30 though and I’m stuck in the house with a panty liner on my head!!!! I kid you not!!!!

Panty liner

Me scleritis flared up again yesterday and I’m awaiting a lift to the Wednesday surgery on Raasay. It started around seven years ago when I got thwacked in the eye with a hawthorn bush and flared up every 12 months or so for the next couple of years. It’s been fine for the last two or three years so I’m puzzled by this sudden recurrence. Perhaps the intense hay fever I’ve had has brought it on, who knows, but I cannae see out of it now and it’s boodly sore. It is also not the first time I’ve used sanitary products as a temporary repair. Once used a Tampon to fix a cylinder head water leak on said MG Midget in the ‘Summer of 76’ Smile

 MG Midget

Mk1 Midget, notice no side windows or door handles!!! it was pretty basic!!! Was even more basic when the heater didn’t work cos it had a Tampax in the inlet valve right enough. Not that was ever a problem in the ‘Summer of 76’. Anyway, (as usual) I digress, it’s even hard work typing with one eye, I keep hitting the key to the left Sad smile


Sorry, got distracted there, it’s now 21:00 and I ended up in Portree after seeing the Doc, she was quite worried and got me an appointment in Inverness on Friday. Meanwhile I have to stick steroid drops in me left eyeball every hour. Seems to be working OK cos I’ve no longer got a sanitary towel on my head and can almost see through the fog in my left eye Smile


I did fully intend some serious blogging yesterday but the day was long and it ended up a late one. First off it was out with wife and the dugs for a wee romp through the woods, half hoping to collect some chanterelles on the way. It’s been far too dry really and my eyesight isn’t just keen enough with this malady, which the doc informs me now post traumatic uveitis. Well that was a relief the other thing sounded pretty serious and I’ve not taken the time to ‘Google’ this one yet, probably never will truth be known, I’m a great believer in ‘ignorance is bliss’. Sure, if it was the Land Rover, car, boiler, inverter, wind turbine or a gazillion other mechanical objects I’d want a full report or post mortem. As for my body, I just want it to work and then get fixed when it goes into the surgery Smile 

As expected, it was pretty grim on the ‘shroom front but they went into the prawn stir fry anyway.


Having lost my digger driver yesterday I took on the mantle of chief road builder myself.


Burying a power cable before I built a track over it, something I should have done several years ago. This track is going through one (the main) hen run as it’s quite soft here during the winter and would be way too risky bringing a digger or dumper for much of the year. I did start it early on in the year right enough and yes it is possible to just keep ‘tipping and spreading’ to make the track as you. The problem with that is that you really need two diggers, one to load and one to spread.


Doing it when the ground is hard means you can start at the far away end then dump your load going ‘back the way’, then just bring the digger up to spread all the ‘cow pats’ you’ve dumped.


It would have benefitted from a few more loads had I been planning heavy traffic but it’s only really for walking and the quad.

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Having said that, I did widen the gate to just over 5’ so I can track the digger through if I want.


At least now I can get the quad and trailer up to easily change the pigs bedding, move the ark and a whole heap of other stuff.


Most of the day was spent in the Raasay surgery or in Portree on ‘eye business’. Portree was not as mobbed as expected and I managed to get home for 14:30.

MV Stardust II another ‘Wildcat 40’ just returning to Portree from Holoman Island on Raasay.


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I don’t recognize this one moored at Brochel but her passengers were very much enjoying the walk along Calum’s Road.

Once home and with my eyes almost working I got on with creosoting my extended gate.

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Fed the animals and then spent some quality time with the pigs.

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That hen is REALLY pushing her luck Smile

It was whilst I was painting the gate that the pigs came round for a play, I wish I’d have got pictures but it was a bit boisterous for that. Pigs really are great fun, we had a great game of me scratching them and they rolling over onto my legs. Seriously, if folk knew more about pigs they’d no be so keen on cheap bacon, pigs are far too sentient to be farmed industrially, they deserve respect Smile 

If I had to move, it would be here!

I had a surprise email from my good friend Jamie Robinson of Alternative Engineering   the other day saying he was ‘selling up’ having been offered the ‘job to die for’ in Gloucester heading a team that repair old wooden boats. Not just yer regular 13’ clinker but the likes of HMS Victory and the RS Discovery. Jamie lives in what can only be described as one of the few locations that I’m envious of, the Knoydart Peninsula

For the price of a broom cupboard in Knightsbridge or a semi Slough you could have all this!!!!!!

Amongst Jamie’s many hats he’s an expert in renewables and I know from corresponding with himself and Hugh Piggott that this place is ‘fully sorted’. I could just see my own Avon Searider on that mooring were I not a slave to CalMac Smile

August 23, 2014

‘Meet the neighbours’ :-)

Filed under: Croft house for sale, daily doings, life off grid — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 10:10 pm

Considering I’ve been at home for days doing very little I’ve spent hardly anytime ‘on line’, not just blogging but anything ‘virtual’ has been very much on the ‘backburner’ of late. Sure I’ve done more than a little ‘pottering’ in the shed, managing to finish the overhaul of my Warn XP9.5 winch.


The ‘battleship grey’ finish turning out far better than I expected, though that’s hardly surprising after me giving it three gloss coats with a rub down between each. I do hope I don’t have a bad back when I retire, there’s only so many light jobs you can do on a croft, Land Rover or house. I think I’d go barmy very quickly, it’s only since my son has returned from school that I’ve actually been able to do any serious work. Or should I say direct him to do any Smile

I must say though I’ve been getting quite involved with the wife’s chooks since I’ve been off, lugging feed sacks for the pigs is still out. One thing for sure though, that ‘solar powered’ hen shed that took me months to construct was worth every minute, penny and chilblain I suffered in freezing wellies.

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Those ‘roll away’ nesting boxes just make life so much easier and result in far less dirty or damaged eggs. They were larger than we needed so we closed off the bottom row of both as they seldom used them for some reason and they were harder to clean, though even that wasn’t difficult. Having both the feed and bedding stored in the shed means far less fetching and carrying and the house is large enough to clean easily without bending down. Electric light will make such a difference for wifey in winter and feeding the chooks inside saves a fortune on feed and shotgun cartridges for the crows and pigeons.

Yes, considering this was just built as a frame for a 4kW solar array it has to be one of the most useful of my constructions to date. OK, it’s not actually got any solar panels on yet but that is about to change Smile

Another enquiry about the house inspired me to remove the huge redundant satellite broadband dish off the rear of the house. Or should I say it persuaded me to give my son a lesson in how to remove ‘Rawlplugs’ and unused hardware from an old stone building then repaint it.



I had a good feeling about this inquiry, we’ve had quite a few of late but this particular one sounded very encouraging. It’s one thing selling a house but for us here at the ‘north end’ we’re also purchasing a neighbour so to speak. The folk that live here will be an integral part of our tiny community where we all at times have to rely on each other. Consequently I don’t think removing an old dish, mopping the kitchen floor, hiding the bills and hoovering the bedrooms was going to make a blind bit of difference. It did however make me feel much better and to my mind at least made the wife’s ‘meadow’ look much better.



We used to have a lawn out here but the wife stopped me cutting it this year and I have to say I’m glad I did, dunno what it’s going to look like in the winter but just now it’s amazing and must be good for the birds and bees.

As has been quite normal for several of our prospective buyers we’ve let them stay in the caravan so they can get a feel for the place. Not only that there’s precious little accommodation to be had for folk with dogs at the best of times and in August hardly a bed on Skye let alone Raasay.

It was of course typical August weather when the ‘old Jeep’ arrived,


well if that’s old then I’m ancient Smile

Anyway, despite the grim weather we went on a tour of the estate picking up a few chanterelles on they way, returning wet, thirsty and hungry to our cosy kitchen and its round table. At a lightning quick pace our guests unpacked all the goodies they’d brought and I rustled up a quick salad. The empty stomach, rich cheeses, olives and sun dried tomatoes conspired with the wine to very quickly ‘get a good head on’ and the house was sold. In all honesty I think the house was sold the moment they stepped out of the Jeep, the evening just sealed what I think will be a great friendship. It also gave us flavour of things to come, I can’t wait Smile

The day after was like August should be, a fresh morning and sunny day with five sore heads,


well perhaps not that sore. Anyway after several pots of coffee, lots of deliberation and another quick tour our new friends left to set the ‘ball in motion’.

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Taking with them some bog myrtle


their two Venezuelan dogs and almost a stowaway.

The euphoria of finally selling our very special, quirky and cosy wee hoose was not in the least bit tempered by the thought of spending the winter in a caravan, at least not yet anyway. A few nights have past and I’ve been sleeping better than I have done in a long while as the thought of servicing two mortgages recedes over the horizon Smile 

A real community

I kinda lost track of things after that  but my camera would seem to say that I repaired my mates trailer.

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Probably the most taxing thing I’d done in three weeks and a job that was long overdue, it being me that probably did most of the damage anyway.

The bad back has driven me to do something I’ve not done ever, buy some wood. Luckily the Raasay Community company does a really good deal on split logs. It does an even better deal if you uplift and cut it yourself, for residents, that service is free!! Anyway, I wasn’t fit for doing that and my son is only home for the weekend, with more pressing things to do than cut wood. However we arranged to go down to the pit and collect a mixed load of split and unprocessed timber for a nominal fee and the Dude came along to do the donkey work.

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There were already a handful of volunteers there cutting and splitting wood for sale and another couple delivering uncut lengths to elderly people fro neighbours and relatives to cut. Perhaps when I retire I can get more involved in this kind of work, it’s just amazing watching people ‘pull together’.

The day was turning into a pure belter with just the odd shower that was soon forgotten and I spent most of the afternoon teaching my son how to use a chainsaw.


My mates Sthil MS180 was needing a service so I ran through that with him, but the first thing I noticed was the brake wasn’t working.

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Removing the cover I saw the clutch housing was blue and the plastic shroud melted, someone had been running it with the brake on!!! The linkage was also broken, probably as a result of being forced after the brake band melted into the plastic. Anyway we removed the chain and I showed him how to sharpen it before putting him to the wife’s Kevlar trousers, lecturing him on safety and giving him a shot with the electric one.


To be honest it’s at its limit on that piece of wood but it’s quiet and does give you a feel for it. After that he graduated to my 026 and the chain snapped!!!!!!


It’s almost new, I don’t think I’ve ever sharpened it and it wasn’t even being worked hard. It’s a genuine Sthil chain too, or at least that’s what it says on the links, 30 years I’ve been cutting wood and I’ve never seen a chain snap until today.


Didn’t put the boy off though and as soon as I’d fitted another chain he was right back into it.

A solar hen shed at last

I know I keep referring to the solar powered hen shed, which was in fact a wooden solar ground mount made from reclaimed pier timbers and parts of Raasay House. The mount got turned into a shed, or at least I started to build it in September


and that’s it in March, so it gives you some idea how long it took. Anyway, the panels and mounts are at last being fitted to it.


My son will be doing solar PV in physics soon so this is good practice for him,


what a guy Smile

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