Life at the end of the road

September 27, 2019

Porpoises galore :-)

Filed under: animals, Avon Searider, daily doings, Discovery, life off grid, stonework — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:13 am

Well, staying up late never worked, I’m still up at ‘stupid o clock’ despite not putting my book down until 23:00 last night!!! I suppose 5:00am is better than 3:30 but it’s still ridiculously early at this time of year when I’m not working, Methinks I’m not working until late enough, I’ve no problem staying in bed until 5:45 when at work on Hallaig, none whatsoever. Sure, 6:30 is early enough during the week hey Smile


Whilst not actually ‘at a loose end’ yesterday I was, unusually ‘without a plan’ other than at some point I may or may not go for a dive/fish. I could perhaps take the Searider out of t he water and I did have a shocker to fit to the WiFE, my golden Disco Smile It wasn’t a bad morning right enough so after feeding the pigs, letting them out on the hill and dealing with the hens and noisy cockerel I turned to my shed. I wish I could blame Cocky the cockerel for my early rising but truth is, my hearing is so bad and the triple glazing so good that I seldom hear anything outside. Once outdoors though he certainly makes his presence felt as he struts about the place cockadoodling. I do love the sound of male poultry about the place Smile

My least used spanner

Back in the day when I worked on and with cars for a living, which would be when tappets were still a thing you ‘set’ under the rocker cover, points needed replaced regularly and you could fix cars by the roadside.

I hesitate to call them the ‘good old days’ cos to be honest cars were carp back then, sure they were a sensible size, actually fit with car park spaces and had lots of character, mainly on account of their always leaking oil, breaking down or letting in water. However they corroded quickly and most ten year old ones were in the scrap yard, indeed some models rusted so badly they failed their first MOT at three years old and required welding!!!

Back in those days,the seventies and early eighties I had, indeed still have many Snap On tools. Quality American tools that are guaranteed for life and still command extortionate prices second hand.

Well yesterday I had to ‘break out’ my ‘get me out of a hole’ spanner on the front shocker lower mounting bolts.


The lower bolts have 13mm heads (both of which were rounded off) and this spanner is 1/2” which is actually 12.7mm in fact on this particular tool it’s nearer 12.3mm. Consequently it is actually quite a tight fit on a half inch AF nut or bolt making it difficult to use quickly, on the other hand that hexagon end means it’s perfect on 13mm bolt heads that are a little rusted and rounded. The net result is that I still have this spanner after forty years cos I rarely use it so have not lost it Smile And I can always count on it for tricky little jobs like this.

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A coupe of new rear ‘bump stops’ and an exhaust repair by welding the broken hanger to a clamp took me most of the morning, albeit at a rather leisurely pace with frequent tea breaks.


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A new CV joint clamp, rear discs and fuel filter also kept me amused for an hour or two, as did the pigs Smile

In between tasks I pottered about weeding, clearing stuff away and going to check on my water supply. For some reason there was no water coming out of the overflow. As the tank is several hundred meters from the house I piped the overflow to the back of my shed using old pipe given me by Bill on Rona. He had several hundred meters of 32mm blue water pipe that had, in a previous life, been used for diesel. Now this pipe was never going to be fit for anything other than watering the garden but I did have rather a lot of it. So, when I put in the supply I buried this pipe alongside the house pipe and connected it to the overflow. That way, at a glance and without trailing up the hill, I could see if the tank was full. Handy in early summer when the supply to the tank reduces to a trickle.


Sure it is a fine view from up there but it is a bit of a boggy trek.

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Well, I found my problem, it was pig related Smile


The wee darlings had taken a liking to the overflow Smile

Porpoises everywhere

Come the late afternoon I’d had enough of the Disco and thought it was time to try once more at fishing for my supper. By this time it was calm, wet and not very inspiring but I had some scallops hanging off the Searider and thought they’d do, even if I caught no fish (again). No sooner had I let go of the mooring and drifted into Loch Arnish than the porpoises appeared, hunners of them.

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Sadly it was so grey and wet that I failed to get any decent images, not only that but I was worried I may injure one whilst fishing. Not that there would be any fish about with these chaps so close, well that’s my excuse for not getting a single bite Smile So, after a fruitless, at least on the fishing front, hour, I called it a day and headed back to the mooring.

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On the north side of the tiny inlet where I keep my boat is a tiny ruin overlooking Loch Arnish.


I was told it was built as a hide for shooting cormorants, though I never actually believed it. Having said that it is strange that the door overlooks Loch Arnish and faces ‘the weather’, surely any kind of shelter for storage would have the door at the back?


Around 18:00 it was time to go fix the generator at Brochel again Sad smile There was much to see, moody skies, a pair of sea eagles and stags marshalling hinds

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but the light for long range photography was pretty poor Sad smile

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As was the state of the inside of the fuel tank on the Yanmar TS105 generator Sad smile So, I removed it and brought it home to power wash and hoover it out. Today’s project will be collecting a new filter for it, filling it with clean diesel and hopefully seeing the back of it Smile

September 24, 2019

The year of the hedgehog :-)

Filed under: animals, Avon Searider, daily doings, food, life off grid — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:52 pm

Only 19:30 and some end to the day hey Smile


19:34 now and it’s even better!!!!!!


Well, it’s been a pure peach of a day here, Molly and I were up bright and early, though she did take a bit of persuading to get her off me bed Smile


First job as always being to feed the pigs and let them out,

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Snowy and May are just on ‘day release’ cos I don’t want em getting too friendly with next doors Iron Age girls Smile My two are quite big but the other two are massive it would take a better fence than the hen enclosure to keep em out if they ever became a little herd Smile I don’t actually keep my pigs in the hen field for precisely that reason, even a wee determined piglet could bust through the chicken wire, hence the tin sheets. However I do lead them in and out of the croft through that rather flimsy gate as there is no gate to the common grazing in their field. It has been on the ‘to do’ list for a couple of years now Smile

Did a little work on  the Subaru to ascertain where a knock from the front suspension was coming from, turned out to be the front anti roll bar bushes and links so I ordered them up before heading over to Torran.


Broke off the main track and took the old ‘Net Shed’ path down to the ‘Fairy Grotto’, Raasay’s best kept secret swimming spot. Many is the time I dived off these rocks of a summers evening when the tide was high. In days gone by it’s where nets were brought ashore and taken up to the ‘Net Shed’ some 600m through the woods on my old croft.

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At one time it was almost a road not a path, well it must have been at least a meter wide paved surface anyway, even during my time it was easy enough to drive the quad up and down it in the nineties. Still, the covering of vegetation provided ample pickings of ‘shrooms,

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hedgehog ‘shrooms, some of the best fungi ever. Hedgehogs are very firm and don’t got to mush in the heavy rain like many other varieties. They are also still out as late as December, indeed I once picked some at Balmacara gardens on New Years Day!!! The name comes from the spines underneath so they are impossible to mistake.

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There were also a few puffballs which are also edible but I’ve never managed to cook them right and have been too lazy to Google it Smile The large ones on the right are called lactereius  after their milky discharge and whilst not poisonous they are listed as inedible. My father assured me that me Granny used to cook them and there was a lot of eating in them, hardly surprising considering their size and abundance.


Having said that I think was a case of ‘if you cook something long enough with plenty of cream, butter, garlic and salt’ it’s bound to be tasty’. Could never get my head round the fact that there are more shrooms in Scotland than ever I saw in Italy yet few Scots pick and eat them. In mainland Europe they start wars over shroom picking Smile

We got a few chanterelles too on the way to the schoolhouse,

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where my Son had been busy conveying building materials over to extend the shed at the back.


Filled the batteries up with deionized water and set the charge controller to ‘equalize’ and left em bubbling away nicely at 30V (it’s a 24V bank).

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Then it was up to soak up a fine vista of Dun Caan, Loch Arnish and the Searider on its mooring a couple of miles away. By now it was sweltering and I was feeling hungry.


Back home it was time to pick some raspberries in the hope it would ‘beef up’ me muesli, it was midday and I reckoned if I added enough banana, grapes and yoghurt it might just see me until dinner. Well it would have to cos I was determined to go out and catch it Smile

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Well, it’s a good job cormorant wasn’t on the menu cos there wasn’t a one to be seen!!!!! These cliffs and caves on Fladda’s west side used to be full of cormorants, shags, gulls, fulmar and rock doves, now there’s not even any bird shit!!!!! Mink have wiped the entire population out, probably with a little help from native birds of prey.

Sure, I’m only half way through the day but it’s almost 21:00, Molly was in bed hours ago, think I’ll join her Smile

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