Life at the end of the road

January 27, 2020

Today is the day, perhaps :-)

Filed under: daily doings, hydro, life off grid, listers, weather — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:56 am

4:30 in the morning, wee dug is still in bed having taken a shine to my new quilt cover and bedding.

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Me, I just love Gustav Klimt’s work, Molly, well I think she’s more enamoured with the brushed cotton Smile Anyway, that’s me the best part of a full week into my ‘fortnight off’ without ever having turned my attention to the blog. Truth is I’ve been far too busy avoiding doing my VAT return and counting down the days to the 31st of January and the ‘self assessment’ deadline for HMRC.

I really am thinking that ‘today is the day’ but then I’ve been saying that since Friday. Sure I did make a serious start on Saturday by tidying up my office but got distracted by all the unopened mail and some treasures that had been lying in there for three months since I did my last VAT return. If they awarded Olympic medals for sidestepping paperwork I’s be up there with the best. However, I really must ‘bite the bullet’ today, well tomorrow or the day after at the latest Smile

A busy fortnight

Like I said, I’m well into my first week off, having left a hectic fortnight ‘before the mast’ behind me with storm Brendan dealing out chaos and destruction in his wake. The good ship Hallaig missed more than its fair share of sailings and power was off to a third of the village for two days.

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Brendan passed through having arrived with plenty of warning but the 55knot blast above that came unannounced a day or two later didn’t Sad smile

This one caught everyone unaware and left more than a few people stranded at Sconser and on Raasay until it abated later in the day.

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Brendan had torn through the village bringing disruption but another of his ‘followers’ brought a tree and lamp post down outside the shop around 22:00, by the time I headed to work at 6:30 it had already been cleared. Well someone had been working very late or early at least cos Ross James posted the image below on Facecloth at 22:30!!!

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Me, I arrived at work early having left home early just in case other trees had come down, just as well cos Hallaig was also in a bit of a state Sad smile

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Total blackness greeted me aboard with all UPS systems completely depleted and pages of alarms active once I started to restore power.

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Still, I managed to restore everything, well almost Smile and we did sail on time.

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Molly and I going to check on Peter and Bonzo at lunchtime just to make sure they were OK, having a cup of tea and helping finish his birthday cake in the process Smile

Still on the ‘to do’ list

Just realized whilst wading through the last fortnight’s pictures that one of my hydro turbines packed in last week.

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The 800w ‘Stream Engine’ barely producing any power. A quick look after work revealed plenty of water going down the penstock but a meter ‘across the phases’ before the transformer indicated next to no voltage. With plenty of wind and the other hydro ‘pumping away’ I’ve certainly had plenty of power to heat and light the house but it does give me another good excuse to postpone the paperwork Smile

The first one being an MOT on the Subaru, which I’m reluctant to admit failed Sad smile and that was after me checking it over and managing to miss a defective offside front ball joint and nearside front wheel bearing Sad smile

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Both of which turned into a bit of an epic, the ball joint pinch bolt shearing on the nearside requiring me to drill it out. Must be a Subaru issue cos I had to do the same on the offside a few years ago.

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The offside lower ball joint all came undone easily enough but the old joint steadfastly refused to come out of the carrier. A ‘slide hammer’ would have drawn it out easily enough but I’ve not got one so had to improvise by attaching some Mole grips to the joint and belting them with a lump hammer. Didn’t do my grips much good but the joint did come out and I’ve now ordered a Chinese slide hammer Smile

More boodly generators

Apart from that I’ve been somewhat involved with moving and repairing generators.

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A poorly installed Stephill 6kVA a couple of miles down the road being ‘work in progress’ and a trusty Lister SR2 with broken wiring at Torran.

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These Lister generators need bolting solidly to at least a ton of concrete, preferably two. No rubber mounts, no railway sleepers, nothing at all that is flexible. Mount them solid like that and they will give decades of trouble free service. Mount them on anything else and they vibrate, work harden the copper wiring, which then breaks and stops em working, which is exactly what happened to this one. One of the wires to the slip rings had snapped but I managed to repair it OK (until the next time) Smile

Right, that’s it, almost 6:45 now and I’ve got things to do, snow is forecast for the whole day but I somehow doubt it so we’ll see what I manage to achieve today. Will it be the overdue paperwork, broken hydro turbine, generator repositioning, car MOT or what Smile

January 1, 2020

I made it (to 2020) :-)

Filed under: Avon Searider, daily doings, Discovery, food, How I, listers — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:20 am

Well, that’s it, 2019 went out in a blaze of sunshine, a large bag of scallops and leisurely drive home with my wife. That’ll be my Disco YH52WFE and not the one that lives in the village Smile I left her with my son at the Raasay Village Hall partying 2020 in, with most of Raasay I would think Smile. Me, well I’m sat here with my first drink of 2020, a San Pellegrino blood orange laced with vodka at minus 18 degrees Celsius Smile  My first drink since Christmas truth be known and I can thoroughly recommend it, vodka, is at its best when stored in the freezer Smile I should have made the effort and been doing the ‘Auld Langsyne’ thing and ‘first footing’ myself but truth is I’m pretty whacked and it’ll be only the Smirnoff and sugar that’s keeping me awake. Sure, I could have found a sofa to crash on but ‘there’s no place like home’ and ‘drink driving’ isn’t an option, well unless it be a quad on the Torran track and even that has ‘ended in tears’ for myself and others bold enough to try Smile

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The day has been a pure belter, much of it spent pottering about the croft repairing generators, visiting Torran fixing my compressor. A repair that Willie Eyre would have been proud of Smile 

With Ross Camilli still in his bed not long before lunchtime ‘yours truly’ went to fill the diving cylinders only to discover that the ‘double pole 20A’ switch on my Bauer compressor had failed.

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The ‘live’ contacts were burnt, probably as a result of some wood shavings that seem to have found their way inside the Hager switch. Guilty as charged ‘M’Lud’ methinks it was probably due to me not cleaning out the switch properly over a year ago when I fitted it to a piece of 150 x 22mm timber prior to departing for Harris Sad smile Anyway, in true ‘Willie Eyre’ style I pulled the switch apart and cleaned all the fiddly contacts, sucked out the wood shavings and rebuilt it. I was truly amazed when it worked Smile Normally I would have just bought another, or at least found something that would replace it from my extensive pile of switches. The best I could find was a single pole 13A which just wasnae ‘man enough’ for the task so it was ‘Willie Eyre’ to the rescue Smile

Whilst the two 12lt cylinders were being filled I turned my attention to Harry, the HR2 Lister generator. I had observed a crimped fuel pipe on his primary filter.

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I guess this must have happened when something (perhaps that armoured cable in the background) had fallen against it. Whatever, the fuel supply pipe was badly ‘nipped’ and search of my extensive stock failed to find a suitable replacement.

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Careful attention with some Mole Grips seemed to provide a temporary solution with new fittings and pipe being added to the ‘to do’ list Smile

That done and with my boy finally out of bed it was ‘off to sea’ on a day to rival the best in May.

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Off we went to collect our ‘pilot’ from the Torran Schoolhouse then out of Loch Arnish to a spot south of Manish. With having ‘boat cover’ to follow us rather than anchoring and having to find our way back to the Searider it was ‘just like old days’ when my skipper Willie Eyre would follow my marker buoy and be waiting for me at the end of my dive. Consequently, even at my ‘pensioners pace’ we managed to collect a good bag of scallops for the New Year celebrations.

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Unusually though we’d not be having them with our New Years Eve feast,

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that would be this vacuum packed cotechino https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotechino that had been sitting in my fridge since ‘pig fest’ https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2019/12/07/job-done/

Made from the poorer bits of meat, chopped skin, rind and seasonings all wrapped in the pigs stomach it sounds boodly awful hey. Don’t let that put you off, this traditional Italian New Years Even delicacy is pure delicious. Wrapped in tinfoil and simmered for two hours before being served with lentils is the Italian way. Ross and I had it with broccoli and Rooster potatoes, boodly awesome Smile 

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Nothing quite the last daylight of this year, now it’s 11:47 on the first day of 2020 and I’m just gonna retrieve the Searider whilst the tide is high. The forecast for the next day or two is more like what we’re used to in January, pishing rain and gale force winds Sad smile

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