Life at the end of the road

November 30, 2018

In a sorry state :-(

Filed under: daily doings, How I — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 4:58 pm

Ah well, that’ll be me fully ‘security aware’ now and with a certificate to say so Smile Just finished my course at SMT ,  a well delivered affair that not only brought me ‘up to speed’ on security issues but enabled me to catch up with a few friends from around the fleet too. Now all I need to do is get through the night and get back home. The night should be pretty simple, all I have to do is get to SWG3 and back in one piece. As for tomorrow, well we’ll have to see about that, I’d a helluva drive down yesterday arriving at the Holiday Inn some ten hours after leaving Arnish. My blood pressure was probably ‘through the roof’ and I was somewhat stressed to say the least.

For a start I did not want to come here, only the acquisition of some tickets to a ‘sold out’ gig tonight tempted me to leave home, normally I have to be dragged ‘kicking and screaming’ to attend courses in my time off. Much as I love my job, I hate going on courses, even a single day’s event involves three days away from home two days driving and having to deal with unfamiliar things traffic lights, one way streets and vending machines. I’ve already had a wrestling match with a car park barrier, coffee machine and elevator. For heavens sake, am I the only person who’s fingers don’t work touch screens who speaks a language not recognised my talking machines!!! I swear, I don’t even think ANPR works on my cars!!! This technology stuff id damn, fine splendid when it works Smile Not even my current ‘prat nav’ (a basic Tom Tom) works for me and I only bought that one cos the last cheap Tom Tom worked just brilliantly until it died.

During what was a particularly stressful trip sowf my anxiety was compounded by Bruce’s refusal to lead me in the right direction. Bruce being the name of the Tom Tom’s compare so to speak, Sean, my last Tom Tom had a much more soothing voice but Bruce is quite hilarious in some of his wittering’s. I just wish his sense of direction was better. Sure, I do know the way to Glasgow airport and could manage without a ‘prat nav’, indeed I am of that generation that can actually read a map. Unfortunately, yesterday I wasn’t coming in from the west, I was going via Tayside Land Rover to look at the ‘Old Girl’. This would involve the A9 and lots of motorways. Regular readers will remember I used to have a Land Rover and left it there almost six months ago for a six week job Sad smile 


The job seems to have ‘grown arms and legs’ and looks unlikely to be ready this year!!!

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Still, I’m assured it’s in good hands Smile

Not only did Bruce lead me into the centre of Perth during the rush hour to find Tayside Land Rover, he also refused to look for Glasgow airport being determined to take me to Prestwick some 40 miles away. This compounded with the 6 mile tailback on the M8 due to flooding had me pure wrecked by the time I entered the airport. After several laps of the approach roads and car parks I was eventually directed to the Holiday Inn which I’d been able to see for half an hour but not actually get too!!! From there on in things improved considerably, the staff were helpful, the room lovely, the shower perfect and the food surprisingly good.


I had a crispy calamari starter followed by grilled halloumi kebabs, I gotta say it was awesome, even the tomatoes were the same temperature as the rest of the meal!!! How do they do that? my tomatoes are always scalding Smile

Poor wee dug

As if it wasn’t bad enough being away from home and the gazillion things I could be doing I’m also worrying about Molly.

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As if wearing ‘the collar of shame’ wasn’t bad enough for the poor wee dug, she now has an ear infection Sad smile I left her on Thursday morning looking very sorry for herself and she’ll not be seeing the vet until tomorrow. That will be interesting, she usually needs sedated Smile

Before I left

Still, I did manage to get a few things done before I left home, the main one being ‘The Bug’ or R2T2 as it’s now known Smile The Isle of Raasay Distillery camper van  has a new name as a result of an ‘on line’ competition . Should have told you about that sooner hey Sad smile

Help Name Our VW Campervan & Win a Bottle of While We Wait

Shoulda entered the competition meself hey Smile Anyway, not only does the wee VW T2 camper have a new name, it now has an alternator instead of it’s pathetic dynamo.


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After fitting new barrels, pistons and cylinder to the bug a couple of weeks ago I discovered the dynamo wasn’t working, sadly the dynamo on a VW air cooled engine is harder to replace than the engine Sad smile In fact the old VW manual tells you to take out the engine to change it!!!!!  OK, you can change it ‘insitu’ but it’s not easy, involving some pretty radical levering of the tin shroud on the right hand side. However a kit is available with all the required components including a new mounting and fan pulley. Like the barrels and pistons I got these from MegaBug down sowf and was well impressed with their service.

There was a small part missing in the kit, I phoned them and it was posted out first class the next day. A word of caution though for anyone doing this conversion, if you have the so called ‘PICT34’ Solex carburettor fitted, you will not get ‘full throttle’ as the accelerator pump fouls the alternator. This is not the standard carb but is a popular ‘upgrade’ and I believe there is a spacer available that lifts the card up 12mm to clear the alternator. You can also do what this dude did on YouTube,

Jeff cleverly altered the carb linkage but I think I’ll just buy a spacer Smile 

That was pretty much it for Wednesday, on Thursday I had to walk the dogs, feed the animals, top up my batteries, fit a new volt meter and repair a puncture before heading for the 10:55 ferry.

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The wee dug knew something was going on and followed me about all morning, I felt really bad shutting her in the house and leaving Sad smile

Groove Armada here we come Smile

So that’s it, after being stressed out my nut yesterday and stuck in the classroom today I’m gonna go see one of my favourite live bands, Groove Armada who I first saw at T in the park almost 20 years ago. This is their 21st anniversary tour and their first live tour for seven years so it should be good. Sure I’ve seen them recently at Rockness and Eden doing ‘DJ sets’ but they’re far, far better live.


November 12, 2018

Back in the groove :-)

Gosh, it’s 6:45 and that’s me just up, almost feeling ‘normal’ again after the clock moving nonsense. Truth be known, I could have happily stayed in bed until daylight but ‘one more sleep’ and I’ll be back at work after my month off and I’ve far too much to do to be lying in bed Smile First task being Lachie’s tracked barrow which has taken a back seat of late on account of the ‘Bug’ mainly but also cos the parts have only just arrived.


Well, it was a lovely day yesterday for sure and as has become the custom of late, I have been ‘taking it easy’ on the Sabbath, well easy for me that is. So, after dropping the ‘Bug’ off it’s stands and moving it out the way,

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to reveal the scene of carnage that was left behind, I went indoors to make breakfast for darling wife, another recent task on the Sunday timetable I’ve been cultivating.


The 45 year old VW camper started a treat and ran like a clock, I was well chuffed Smile

After the ‘heart attack on a plate’ of home grown sausages eggs and Co op British bacon and shrooms had settled down we went to ‘walk it off’ with the dugs.

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Taking the track to Torran and resting at Jessie Nicolson’s memorial bench on the way, methinks a discreet chainsaw is called for on a couple of birch trees to improve the view Smile

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With a few calories burnt off and after yet another cup of tea we went out for a Sunday drive, which is something I’ve yet to re- embrace in my preparations for ‘taking it easy’ and preparing for retirement Smile

We are sailing

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The Wee Bug ran like a dream up and down Calum’s road which is as hardy a test for a campervan as anything I know, with exception of ‘The Bealach’ to Applecross . I gotta say, we thoroughly enjoyed our little ‘sail’ cos that’s what driving one of these is like, it’s soft suspension making it comfortable but very ‘roly poly’. I can see why people fall in love with these things and the ‘air cooled donkey’ in the boot.


That done and I turned my efforts onto another Sunday task, washing the car, or fleet as in my case Smile

Engine Management Lights

Next wee job was to check out the engine management warning light that had appeared on Wifey’s Subaru last week on the way to Girvan.


This would cost you at least £40 in a garage but a few years ago I bought an OBD II code reader off Amazon for less than a tenner and it’s saved me hunners. Having said that, it does ‘have its moments’ and yesterday was one such day. The Chinese piece of carp brought up the fault and it’s code P0420 in what may as well have been Mandarin Smile 


Catalytic System Efficiency Below Threshold Bank 1

I dunno why it does this but every now and then it reads ‘backwards’ well almost but you ‘get the gist’ and it was only a tenner. Anyway, I cleared the code and ignored it, the exhaust is new, the car averaged just over 40MPG on the recent trip to Girvan and back so there is sweet ‘foxtrot alpha’ wrong with the catalytic converter. Which after all is just an American con to try and keep foreign cars out of their markets. The ‘cat’ cleans up dirty exhausts rather than encouraging manufactures to develop ‘lean burn’ technology. An engine fitted with a cat will always produce lower CO readings at the exhaust so it penalizes smaller engines which produce slightly higher readings but much less of them. Hence the cat is much more suited to larger thirsty V8’s that the American’s love. They’re expensive to make being full of precious metals, sap energy from the engine and cost a fortune to replace.

Back to the dumper

After a light lunch of soup Callum and his dug arrived with the roofing for the car/boat shelter.

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The dug was a great help unloading the roofing sheets Smile

Then, with a nice tidy shed to work in I set about the unenvious task of replacing the spool valve micro switches on the HIT500 tracked dumper.

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A task which has more in common with watch making then engineering. These tiny switches being very awkward to get at are held in position with small Allen screws and a steel backing plate.

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The plate is almost impossible to hold in place so I stuck it with silicon whilst I fitted the first screw using the Allen key through the holes in the outer switch. So, it’s not possible to fit the inner switch without removing the out one first and it’s not possible to fit the inner switch using slotted screw or bolts. Anyway, it’s about time I fed the pigs and got back on with it.

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