Life at the end of the road

October 27, 2019

An extra hour in bed :-(

British Summertime is over, CalMac have finished the ‘Summer Timetable’ and the first snow has fallen on the Storr, winter really is here. Sure there are still plenty of trees clinging onto their leaves but each icy blast of wind deposits yet more of them onto the ground to block drains and make natures compost. After a couple of reasonable night’s sleep I’m once more up at ‘stupid o clock’ only this morning it’s an hour more stupid Smile I say it every year but I hate all this fecking around with clocks, am I the only human who’s life is turned upside down by it? Do other folk actually manage an ‘extra hour in bed’ ?

I mean what is the point, if it’s cos school children have to go to school in the dark then leave the feckin clocks on GMT all year. After all that is the ‘proper time’ and more or less UTC https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coordinated_Universal_Time . Personally I prefer the lighter evenings of BST but I’d happily forgo the great pleasure I get in March from ‘springing forward’ just to be done with this whole clock moving carp.

I wonder how many people will miss a ferry or bus today or how many seasoned sailors will make a complete f**k up of the tide tables Smile I know I did, every year for eighteen or so I forgot to add or subtract an hour at least once, leaving me ‘high and dry’ in the boat or missing ‘slack water’ under it Smile The pigs, dug and hens don’t move their clocks so why the feck do we???? 4:53 GMT now, tis ‘black as the fire back’ outside and so far the only advantage I can think of is that the BBC World Service is now informing me of the ‘correct time’ along with chaos in Chile, basket ball in China, ‘special school’ abuse in Nigeria and that buffoon in the White House’s latest incomprehensible Tweet.

What will I do now?

Well, that’s it, it’s 5:00am which is really 6:00am and I don’t actually have a clear plan for the day,

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it’s looking like a good one ahead so I reckon the first task will be finishing off the generator exhaust at Torran.

Boodly clocks

Half past boodly six in the evening now and I’m ready for me bed!!!! Well, I’m not gonna do it, I’m gonna grit my teeth, grip my pint of water, have a big swig (not through gritted teeth obviously) and ‘man up’. The day never turned into the ‘wall to wall’ sunshine that XC promised but it wasn’t a bad day with just the faintest of showers and none of them needing a jacket or wet enough to produce a meaningful rainbow.

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First thing I did until it was daylight was tinker about with my ‘Mickey Mouse’ MIG welder that was having trouble with its wire feed. I got it from Screwfix when my Land Rover needed its first dose of welding, which wouldn’t have been that long after I bought it 18 or 19 years ago. To be fair the Ferm 150/1 is hardly a serious welder and it has done all I’ve asked of it but I got sick of buying those disposable CO2 and Argo shield bottles at around a tenner each so got a proper cylinder some time ago. Trouble is I only seem to use it at MOT times so it gets a little neglected. Methinks rusty wire and a dicky trigger switch were at the root of my problem, running a few meters of wire out and some WD40 in the trigger seemed to sort it.

Back to ‘Mr Lister’

With that going well, the sun risen, pigs fed and muesli demolished I headed for Torran, having first loaded the quad with tools and a wee dug.

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I finished off the exhaust with some plywood and a piece of steel fitted snugly round the pipe so as it wouldn’t heat up the wood. Then I set about doing the valve clearances (tappets), fuel and air filter whilst cold before getting it good and hot to test out my exhaust and then change the oil. A trip home for ‘second breakfast’ of fried PEK, eggs and tomatoes and some Hylomar http://hylomar.com/ for the Lister rocker covers in-between. By gum, I did enjoy that fried PEK Smile https://groceries.morrisons.com/search?entry=pek Cheers for that San and I still have another tin Smile 

Where was I ???

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The settings are around 6 thou cold, Lister’s spec is .006 feeler blade will pass through but .008 will not so I spose you could call it .007 Smile Either way it’s not crucial and when I was at college a teacher once told me ‘a noisy tappet is a happy tappet’ Smile

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Unbelievably that took me most of the day, after which I went to do a little remedial work on my neighbours drive.

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Getting so carried away that I forgot to take any pictures afterwards Sad smile

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so here’s one before I started Smile

There wasn’t much more to it really, well apart from fitting yet another starter button to the dumper. This time a dedicated 50A one and not a Chinese horn button Smile 

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The north wind creating a swell that was breaking over a reef south of Grian a Sgeir, it’s not often you actually see that Smile

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This windswept birch finally shed it’s last leaves today, who could blame it, perched high above Sonas with nothing betwixt it and Lewis. The bitter and dense northerly responsible also saw my wind turbines producing around 100kWh.

Golly gosh, it’s almost 19:30 and I’m still awake!!!!

October 21, 2019

An ‘off grid’ Sunday

Filed under: animals, daily doings, life off grid, listers, pigs — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:35 am

Well, it’s a grey, dry but lovely mild autumnal morning here at the ‘North End’, Ronnie’s hinds are grazing all about the perimeter in the half light but there’s no sign of his magnificent self.

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My Panasonic DMC-FZ72 seems to be showing its age of late, having a jammed lens on more than one occasion, hardly surprising considering the abuse it gets. Anyway, that’s me just back in for breakfast after feeding everyone, I didn’t let the pigs out this morning cos I never brought them in last night. Was down in the village for dinner with a friend and didn’t get back in until after dark so May and Snowy got fed late. As they’d managed to find and bed down in a cosy wee spot I left em out.

I’ve always kept the pigs we fatten on the hill in years gone by but I don’t want em getting too friendly with these two beauties that roam the ‘North End’.

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At a couple of hundred kilo’s each my neighbours ‘iron age’ pigs make short work of any fences they encounter if they’re wanting to get to the other side Smile Last thing I need is them trying to join May and Snowy for dinner or a spot of girlie fun whilst I’m away Smile

Batteries galore

Sunday was a lovely leisurely day spent pottering about doing a little ‘planned maintenance’ an my and my neighbours batteries etc. Starting with the main 800Ah 48V bank that supplies Sonas.

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Eight Rolls S540 6V batteries making up the bank and requiring regular topping up with de-ionized water. Rolls https://www.rollsbattery.com/ actually spec distilled rather than de-ionized but apart from what comes out of my freezers and dehumidifier it’s impossible to get here. Sure I can order it from Dingbro or Macgregor Industrial supplies but it always arrives as de-ionized Smile  Don’t actually think it makes a great deal of difference to be honest. Anyway, after logging the SG, voltages, temperatures and the 15lts of water used I turned my attention to Harry’s bank.

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My 1974 15kVA Lister HR2 has his own 450Ah 24V bank of fork lift truck cells, which is a little OTT to say the least but they came from a house installation with a couple of dodgy cells. Whilst not up to running an entire property they are ‘damn fine splendid’ for sitting there without use for months on end and firing up Harry when required. Since fitting the extra solar PV on Callum’s shed he’s been made all but redundant. Prior to that I did run him whilst the diving compressor was running but I don’t even do that now. So long as I fill my diving cylinders in daylight there’s little load on the inverter. Indeed, in days gone by I used to run him when welding but I’ve not done that for years now and as anyone who owns old Land Rovers will verify, they need lots of welding Smile

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Anyway, just to ‘keep him sweet’ I flashed Harry up for an hour to give him some exercise, leaving him ‘on load’ with the 6kW immersion in the bottom of the 1500lt thermal store and a 2kW load charging battery bank number 3.

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I have a complete spare ‘off grid’ system in the ‘Bunker’ behind the house which really is OTT, comprising of 900Ah 48V bank, Outback GVFX 3048 inverter and 600W solar panels it gives me complete redundancy should anything fail on the main system. Whilst not really practical or necessary it has been built up over the years from bargains found on eBay or just acquired opportunistically. The solar panels on the roof keep it all ‘ticking over’ very nicely and in times of excess energy production from the main system it gives me somewhere to put the electricity Smile I really do need an electric vehicle Smile

More of the same

That done it was over to Torran for ‘more of the same’,

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Adam and had made a fine job but himself and his two compatriots would have been working the ‘off grid’ system hard running the cement mixer etc. so Molly and I gave the battery bank there the ‘once over’ too.

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All was in order so we went back home and got on with some ‘civil engineering’.

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Tracking to Tarbert we managed to get overtaken by a walker Smile getting one dumper load for the latest project before heading south for dinner.

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