Life at the end of the road

September 19, 2019

Preparing for the heating season :-)

Filed under: daily doings, hydro — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:24 am

Up at 5:00 this morning brimming with excitement cos the wee dug and I is going on a Jolly, not that Molly seems to keen at the moment.

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OK, the picture on the left was taken a couple of days ago but not much has changed, Molly ‘is not a morning person’. Having said that as soon as I open the fridge or gun cabinet she bounces into action like a ‘coiled spring’ just not yet Smile

Anyway, that’s me started me ‘fortnight off’ with a long ‘to do’ list which I managed to ‘make a dent’ in yesterday after a rather ‘shaky start’. I’d been asked by one who knows I’m a ripe target for saving rubbish if I’d like some old sheets of corrugated iron. In true Camilli style I’d agreed to take them off his hands rather than see them go in the skip. Old rusty tin sheets may not be very appealing to most people but they are generally only rusty on one side and at the ends. Turning the round and taking foot off each end with an angle grinder usually leaves you with first class roofing material for yet another shed or pig shelter. The thing is, they are rather heavy and there was a lot of them. Methinks my mate is a little like me in the ‘collecting 5h1te’ department Smile Only he had had his ‘marching orders’ and been told to move them from The Steading,

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which we now call ‘The Alamo’ Smile 

Of course he loaded em onto my trailer with a telehandler so I didn’t know how heavy they were, though I suspected very!!

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Well, I soon found out just how heavy when I tried to tow them up to the hen shed, the WiFE lost traction Sad smile Before I knew what was happening I was going backwards down hill into my lovely drystone wall and the sheets were sliding off. Lessons learned there, 1, Traction Control as fitted to ‘Discovery II’ is not a patch on a locking diff. 2, corrugated iron sheets are much heavier than they look and 3, you really DO need a digger Smile

That took me what was left of Tuesday afternoon to sort out and left me in no fit state for blogging Smile


The first full day of my two weeks off started with preparing for winter and the ‘heating season’. I never actually switch the heating off so that I can crank up the bathroom thermostat if I need to get rid of some heat in the summer. I do like a warm floor after having a shower Smile As the house is all renewable electricity the solar generation is falling away now and pretty soon I’ll be needing a boost from the hydro which has been turned off since April or May.

The 800W Powerspout is one of two hydro turbines that’ll supply a great deal of my power requirement throughout the winter. The other one is a Canadian machine called a Stream Engine and whilst this too produces most of it’s power during the wetter months it is in a location where it ‘self bleeds’. The Powerspout is over a mile from the house and requires a pump to get it going Sad smile

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So I donned my Chinese waders, loaded up the 2” Honda water pump and went off to get it going. The Chinese must have there feet on the wrong leg Smile I got em off eBay but couldn’t be bothered sending them back Smile

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It’s a bit of a trek to the turbine which is down near the shore at Tarbert and I was somewhat surprised to see so many people admiring the beautiful rock formations there. Don’t recall ever seeing so many cars there in thirty years!

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You can only get the quad down so far and then it’s on foot with a handful of tools to change one of the nozzles.

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The turbine has two 7.4mm jets and earlier this year I had experimented with various smaller ones to try and reduce the output throughout the summer. It wasn’t really a success, sure I did manage to reduce the generation but not proportionally so I abandoned that experiment. With almost 8kW of solar PV it was hardly required even on the dullest of days.

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Molly and I soon had it sorted then went back home to fix the Tank.


Next door’s Nissan Patrol was pishing out diesel and required a new fuel return pipe which I soon sorted. I calls it the ‘Tank’ cos this 3.0 diesel automatic is just that, armour plated, solid and reliable. I gotta say I was tempted to buy one myself but by gum it’s thirsty Sad smile That done I headed into Portree for pig feed then spent the evening cleaning and preparing my caravan for a wee jolly.

Well, that’s it, sure there’s more but it’s 7:15 now, time to fit a new clutch slave cylinder to WiFE and a few other jobs before I head off for a day or two.

January 31, 2019

It was on the list :-(

18:30 now and that’s me fed, watered and in for the night. Sure with my nice well lit and dry shed there is stuff I could be doing but I feel no guilt in sitting here in the nice warm house staring out at the blackness. At least not now anyway, a few moments ago I did cos there was a light below the Storr but even that is now extinguished! For as long as I’ve been off work there’s been a light burning brightly just below the Old Man of Storr. So what I can here you say but the truth is despite being able to see from Portree Bay to Harris without moving from the kitchen table bright lights are a rarity here at Arnish. Sure I can see the glow of civilization from Portree reflected on clouds from the bedroom window, I can fishing boats going too and from their grounds. I even get the rare glimpse of a snow plough heading towards Staffin and the odd late commuter some six miles across the sea.

This one however had me puzzled as it was always in the same area just below the road and was often burning when I went to bed and awoke in the morning. Apparently it was a timber harvester and as they cost around a quarter of a million and the operator gets paid by the ton I guess he preferred the heated cab to his unheated caravan Smile Well, even he’s turned in, the light has gone out, you can just see it in the first image taken on Tuesday. The other two are from today and what a peach of a day it’s been.

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Another alternator

I never got posting yesterday cos I was in my bed at ‘stupid o clock’ with two dugs and a good book, the freezing weather forcing darling wife to abandon me in favour of the ‘toon hoose’. A more than sensible decision considering her 6:00am start and the icy road conditions.

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In the ‘grand scale’ of things it’s hardly a ‘huge dump’ or particularly cold but the road is steep and treacherous with both of us having come off it at times. Phone reception is dubious and it’s at least seven miles to the next house. When Ross and I came off the road in the Land Rover a couple of winters ago I had to walk over a mile to get a phone signal and he had to walk two miles home. That was it yesterday morning and even when I headed sowf some five hours later than Wifey would have, had she stayed at home, it was pretty boodly slippy.

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Normally ‘wild horses’ wouldn’t have dragged me down the road yesterday but I’d an appointment to see the Doc so thought I’d better make the effort, especially as he’d telephoned from the ferry to say he’d made it despite the state of the roads on Skye!!!!


Still, it gave me a chance to call on Callum and Jay at the Raasay Sawmill to see how me shed was coming along. Also managed to pop in and see Peter to give Bonzo a walk before heading back home.


Good to see the gritter in action at Scrapeadale

For the want of a shovel

Once home I jumped on the quad to go and check my hydro turbine at Tarbert which had stopped.

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Having to first negotiate a lake in the road that’s been growing daily for weeks now. It’s not alone right enough, there’s hunners of them on all the roads but 10 minutes with me wellie had the tide going out on this particular expanse of water. Now if I can do that with my foot just imagine what a well directed Council worker could do with a yellow pickup and shovel!!!! I mean it’s not friggin’ ‘rocket science’ is it. The drains get blocked, the water makes a lake which either freezes or turns into a raging river every time someone drives through it. Either the ice fecks it or the waves feck it. There’s no money in the budget they say, fer fecks sake how much money does it take to give a man a spade and tell him what to do with the friggin thing.


  • Chief Executive – £146,517 (2016/17)  £147,989 (2017/18)
  • Depute Chief Executive and Director of Corporate Resources – £116,370 (from 1 April 2017)
  • Director of Care and Learning – £111,370 (from 1 April 2017)
  • Director of Community Services – £111,370 (from 1 April 2017)
  • Director of Development and Infrastructure – £111,370 (from 1 April 2017)

For £111,370 you would think you could find someone with the gumption to give a man a spade hey Sad smile

After the road repair and turning off my hydro turbine I turned my attention to the storm damaged deer fence at the back of the house and put some stays behind it.

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Then, as darkness fell I got on with the 10 or was it 11kg ham that had been drying in the bunker. The ham had been soaking in all manner of goodies for over a month. So much so the the sweet smell of cider, sugars, spices and wine had been lingering around for days Smile I’d decided that it was way too big so reckoned I’d chop it up into manageable pieces, put one in the fridge for the weekend and the others in the freezer.

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The only problem with hams is passing them without hacking a bit off to eat Smile I kid you not, this baby had been hanging in the shed for a few days and the aroma was just impossible to resist, it was even worse when it was on the bench in front of me with a knife in hand. Of course a month in brine had made it rather savoury so I had a bottle of San Pellegrino at hand to quench my thirst. Even so, by the time it cut it up I’d lost my appetite for dinner Smile

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Mind you, that didn’t stop me turning the bone and some off cuts into a fine soup Smile


Another sharp but fine day

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with the day’s first task being the removal of the alternator from this lighting tower that was deposited on me yesterday Smile I’d already had a look at it and discovered a poor output, further investigation this morning confirmed the problem to lie within the alternator.

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It wasn’t too bad to remove the alternator after taking out the control panel, transformer and mounting brackets.

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After just a couple of hours work it was in the back of the Subaru ready for delivery to its owner who would either get it repaired or more likely replaced. Methinks these Linz alternators are quite sensibly priced.


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Of course whilst down at the sowf end I had to go and check on me shed and wife Smile The shed was coming on fine and darling wife was busy forklifting, I was greatly impressed Smile

Creosoting in January

OK, I know it’s the last day but still Smile

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I didn’t do it all right enough cos some of it was still covered in ice!!! but I got a good deal of it done Smile

Beko washing machine drawer leak

And, I almost forgot, the washer is fixed, I managed to stop the annoying leak on our otherwise excellent Beko machine just by turning the cold fill tap down a touch.


Sure, it takes a minute or two longer to fill but it still washes far, far quicker than our extortionate 4star plus Panasonic piece of carp.

How could I leave these out ?

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Glam, the Five Sisters of Kintail and a daft dug in the snow Smile

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