Life at the end of the road

September 2, 2019

Bled at last :-)

Filed under: daily doings, food, life off grid, listers — Tags: — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:50 pm

Pretty miserable here at Sonas today with frequent showers and little sign of Skye, well it is The ‘Misty Isle’ after all hey Smile


It is there somewhere, honest, I did see it once or twice Smile

Probably as a result of even more coffee than usual yesterday I was up at ‘stupid o clock’ but with little in the way of an agenda for the day. It’s my last full day off and I’ll be joining Hallaig once more tomorrow. Unusually this ‘fortnight off’ I seem to have done all I wanted too and more, sure a little sunshine would no doubt have had me starting some project but all I really HAD to do today was finish servicing Harry. The HR2 12kW Lister had been a real PITA to bleed, in the 18 years and many filter changes it has never been such a pain. Modern diesel engines are sooooooooooo much easier to bleed than these older designs but years of experience has taught me a few tricks and I’ve never had one so contrary for years.

First off, whenever servicing an old diesel I make sure it’s warm before I change the filter. Some engines are bad enough to start without air in the fuel system, next make sure it has a full tank of fuel, the less the fuel pump has to work the better and always prime the fuel filter with fresh clean fuel if possible. I had done all of these and Harry did start straight away initially but then must have sucked up a big gob full of air and died.

Yesterday I’d removed the rocker boxes and injector pump covers and bled all the air out but not actually started it. Today I was gonna set the tappets and change the oil. The valve clearances need done when cold and oil when hot.


That done and still before 9:00am I got a message from the builders at Brochel, their generator wouldn’t start Sad smile That would be the one I fixed on Saturday that had run out of fuel and needed bleeding. Suspecting similar again I trundled down ‘Calum’s Road’ to the old castle.


Turned out to be just down to ‘technique’, the fuel lever needed pushed towards ‘RUN’ rather than ‘START’.


Of course I bled it, cleaned the fuel filter and nearly gave myself a coronary trying to start it with the handle before discovering this. I turned it off, told the boys to let it cool down before trying to start it and to phone if if they couldn’t, fingers crossed, all has been quiet on the communication front Smile

Truth is, I really didn’t do much else,


managed to squeeze the dumper and most of the Disco and digger in ‘Callum’s shed’. More eloquent parking of the Searider next time I use it should see them all fully housed.

Had to remove the roll bar off the dumper yesterday right enough. So today I stuck some conveyor belting over the holes to stop water spraying through the mudguards.

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Gosh, was it really that sunny yesterday?

Late afternoon had me wandering the hills and birch wood in search of something for the freezer but all Molly and I found was ‘shrooms, still they were a very welcome addition to the pork belly, chorizo and chick pea casserole I made for dinner . They made up for they lack of carrots and parsley but it was boodly delicious.

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The heather is amazing this year but the grey mist does it poor justice.

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The colours in the enchanted birch wood took some beating too but you’d not think that from the pictures Sad smile


August 30, 2019

Better flash up Harry :-)

Filed under: Avon Searider, daily doings, life off grid — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:45 pm

What, with me banging on about how little I use my diesel generator this morning I thought I’d better check. Turns out, the last time the HR2 Lister ran was for 5 hours on 30th of May, a full three months ago!!!

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Since then I’ve generated 3250 kWh by wind/hydro and PV, or around 36kWh per day average, though that table is a little misleading as it has ‘Proven 6kW’ in the header but those figures in that column relate to something else completely and are not included in  the totals. The large Proven isn’t actually producing electricity as such, at the moment it is just heating up the ‘Bunker’ which is my plant, freezer and drying room.


And just now it’s drying out my Northern Diver dry suit which has acquired a hole in the bum. Dunno how that happened right enough, ‘twas fine when I last had it on two days ago. Anyway it’s hanging in the warm bunker with a dehumidifier running so I can plug the leak later tonight.

Water water everywhere

Much to my surprise, Ross was up pretty early and keen to go diving despite the weather and having to go and work later. Oh the joy of youthful enthusiasm, I used to be like that once Smile I mean, it was truly wet, grey and miserable, consequently we headed through the Fladda Narrows as the tide was still high enough to go over the causeway and I figured that Loch a Sgurr would have less fresh water ‘run off’ in it.

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Well, at least it wasn’t as windy as they were saying, in fact it was glassy calm but boy was it wet, the water was just poring off Raasay. The burns where swollen and peaty coloured ribbons of water cascaded off the rock and heather. That’s us departing our slip, heading into the South Fladda anchorage then passing by the shepherds hut by the Fladda causeway.

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Loch a Sgurr though was blissfully calm and without the brown layer of freshwater lying on the surface, pretty clear. Ross and I did around 23 minutes at 30m for a couple of dozen decent clams.

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Before he went down to work he made a chili dip and we’ll be having scallops and black pudding for a snack later. They were gonna be tonight’s dinner but one of our neighbours gave us a fine venison stew just as Ross arrived home. As it was still warm, we just ate that Smile

That took us nicely up until midday when the weather improved a little, Ross went to work and I pottered about the croft filling diving cylinders, weeding the drive,

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painting some steelwork, extending my remote winch lead and chasing pigs. OK, getting chased by pigs Smile


I just could not believe how much water had collected in their dishes since I fed them 8 hours earlier, a good 100mm!!!! OK the dishes are slightly tapered but even so, that is a lot of water.

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Interesting, that’ll be the two cylinders going on at 15:01 when the sky was really overcast. There is a 2.4kW discharge on the inverter and the batteries are at 99% ‘state of charge’. After running for almost an hour and a half with the sky brighter but still 99% cloud cover the batteries are receiving 900W and are at 100% SOC.


And true to form on the West Coast, the evenings are always the best part of a miserable July or August day Smile

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well, apart from the friggin’ midge that is Smile



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