Life at the end of the road

April 10, 2019

A lot has happened

https://www.facebook.com/RaasayDistillery/videos/377852142944061/?t=199

The last ten days have been a bit of a whirlwind really, after my last effort https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/the-eleven-hour-pour/ and the visit to the Isle of Raasay Distillery to watch and listen to Willie Campbell I got on with painting the house. Conditions were far from ideal with showers forecast but I chose the lee side to make a start.

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Moving from one side to the other as the wind changed, then when it got just too wet I set about strengthening up some fences.

We’ve bought a couple of pigs to fatten and plan to keep them on the croft in the hen and wind turbine fields for a while. We normally do this anyway but there are now a couple of extra ‘ladies’ at the ‘North End’ charging about the hill. Judy and Tilley, two rather large ‘Iron Age’ gilts (wild boar cross Tamworth) have been a welcome addition to the Arnish ‘wildlife’ but they’re somewhat impervious to fences of the regular calibre required for ‘tame’ pigs Smile So rather than have them tunnelling into ‘meet the neighbours’ I started beefing up the fences ‘just in case’ using timber grown and milled on Raasay.

  

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The two ‘darlings’ had been at Arnish for a good three weeks and I hadn’t actually seen them despite walking the two dogs every day in the general direction of where I thought they may be. Typically when I stopped for lunch I returned to my labours to find one of them in the hen field Smile

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I soon got her out and then the pair of them made off, not to be seen again (by myself at least) until today, ten days later Smile

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I also made good use of some old corrugated iron sheets from my mums house to provide a wind break and discourage porcine mining in the turbine field.

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There was some fearful showers, even some of snow but most of them seemed to miss the ‘North End’.

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This is me new pal Murdo the ‘hoodie’ who seems to know I’ve lost my appetite for shooting crows. I’m sure that as soon as I picked up a gun he’d be off like a shot but I seem to be getting soft in my old age. Mink excepted I’ve taken to not shooting anything I can’t eat, sure there are recipes for crow but Darling wife refuses to try them out Smile  I’ve seen enough sheep and lambs have their eyes plucked out whilst still living by a hoodie or raven to not be sentimental but as my lovely wife says ‘they’re just trying to survive’ and I’ve no had sheep for many years now. Ole Murdo is getting bolder and bolder and can be often seen in the garden but this rocky knoll just outside the gate is where he can watch over his territory and he probably knows it’s just outside the range of me shotgun anyway Smile

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Well, I guess that picture was taken a week ago on ‘bin day’ Smile

More solar

Not that we actually need it but I decided to fit some more solar panels to the bunker. These would be just to supply a spare 48v 900Ah battery bank that sits in there doing nothing. Sure that makes no sense whatsoever but along with the Outback GVFX3048 inverter it feeds it’s just something I ‘acquired’ along the way Smile Like these thick heavy duty stainless steel brackets I found on eBlag at just £40 for 25. I cut half a dozen of the in half and fashioned them into mountings so I could put two 300W panels above the 60 hot water tubes on the bunker.

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There was just enough room for the two mounted ‘landscape’ fashion.

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One end I fastened into the gable end with 10mm x 100mm ‘Multimonti’ fasteners https://www.heco-schrauben.com/screws-accessories/screws/multi-monti/ . These fasteners are fantastic in concrete blocks, you just drill an 8mm hole and screw them in, no plug, no resin and you torque em up to 50Nm, though I filled the hole up with silicon sealant too to stop any dampness.

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It may not be very high up there but it wasn’t easy getting those 20kg panels up over the 60 glass tubes without breaking any I can tell you.

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Still, I managed all on my own last night and left the wiring for today, servicing the wife’s Subaru in-between lifts Smile

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I do like my Chinese lift Smile 

The Land Rover saga

With Tayside Land Rover having had my dear old Landy for just over a year now for what was allegedly a six week job I decided to pay an unscheduled visit.

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It was 2:30 on Friday afternoon and nobody was home Sad smile

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We were going to spend the weekend in Edinburgh with our son anyway so it wasn’t a wasted journey.

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The weather wasn’t up to much right enough but we managed some good meals out and to see some of the sights.

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Korean barbecue at https://daochef.com/korean-bbq/ was well impressive, though I missed the signs that would have been mandatory on a CalMac ship. You know the signs for stupid people, like, ‘Surface may be hot’

Of course it’s hot, it’s a feckin barbecue Smile There wasn’t even one above the hot tap in the toilet to tell me the water may be hot!!!! Smile Not only that, they never provided a thermometer to tell me if the prawns were cooked inside. Really, it’s a miracle we made it out alive Smile

We also managed a fine Nepalese and French Caribbean meal as well as a trip to https://www.nms.ac.uk/exhibitions-events/exhibitions/national-museum-of-scotland/robots/ at the National Museum of Scotland.

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Where I got to meet one of my ‘screen idols’, Maria from Fritz Lang’s 1927 epic Metropolis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolis_(1927_film) Sure there was lots of hi-tech stuff there too but Maria made it for me Smile

On the way back I paid another impromptu visit to Tayside Land Rover and was most impressed to see THREE people actually working on the ‘Old Girl’ Smile

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A tragedy

On Sunday 31st, probably around the time Darling wife and I were getting ready for Sunday lunch at Raasay house an elderly gentleman went missing on Raasay.

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1713068/rescue-teams-search-for-missing-person-on-isle-of-raasay/

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Alistair Lovie, or Chop has he was affectionately known, that’ll be him doing some dry stone walling in the ‘hi-viz’ coat. Alistair went out for a walk and never came back, and whilst ‘as fit as a butchers dog’ he was suffering from dementia and despite a week long search by local volunteers, Skye Mountain Rescue, Portree Lifeboat, Coastguard, Police, Fire and Rescue using dogs, boats and the helicopter not a trace has been found of him. The search was called off a week later after a stupendous effort by all involved, including all the community members who kept the searchers supplied with coffee, baking, soups, sandwiches and help. Our thoughts are with Alistair’s wife, family and friends, not to mention the ‘wee dug’ that he was always out walking. And here I have to smile despite the tragedy for I suspect Alistair’s dementia was like my fathers insomuch as he kept forgetting he’d taken the dug for a walk. No sooner had my father sat down in the chair after taking Leah for a walk, then he would get up and take her out again Smile After three or four walks Leah would eventually get pi55ed off and leave my Pop to go out on his own Smile 

There was more but it’s after 22:00 now and time for bed.

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.

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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.

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Plunger off.

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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’

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so I ‘called it a day’ Smile

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