Life at the end of the road

April 10, 2019

A lot has happened

The last ten days have been a bit of a whirlwind really, after my last effort 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


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.


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 . 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


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 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 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 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


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.

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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.

March 5, 2019

Following the sun :-)

Filed under: Avon Searider, boats, daily doings, pigs, shed/house, Trucks and plant — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:51 pm

Well, that’s it, half past seven of a Tuesday evening and I’ve finally landed at LA Smile That’ll be Lochaline and not Los Angeles but I could have easily crossed the Atlantic in the time it’s taken me to get here!!! I kid you not, I left the house this morning at 7:00am and didn’t pull up here until 5:00pm.

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Sure, it was a pure peach of a day as Molly, Leah and I bumped down the road from Arnish to catch the ‘Growler’, that’ll be what I call the MV Loch Bhrusda, her Cummins V12’s can be heard miles away on days like this Smile It was a beautiful day for a drive with next to no traffic on the roads and nowhere to be in a hurry, at least it was until Balmacara when an illuminated sign told me the road was closed at Sheil Bridge Sad smile Of course there’s no phone signal there so I had to drive up the hill at Auchtertyre to try and find out what was happening.

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What the Internet, telephone and Radio 2 told me was not good, road blocked by overturned fuel tanker and ‘seek alternative route’ aye right

So, I can either go via Inverness and Fort Augustus which is only 80 miles out of my way or go back via Skye and the Armadale to Mallaig ferry but that doesn’t leave Skye until 16:45 Sad smile So I decides to go via Inverness, at least that way I can get some shopping at Lidl or Aldi. Two minutes after setting off though it occurs to me I have not got enough petrol to get as far as the next fuel stop at Dingwall some 60 miles away. There’s none at Broadford due to the CoOp refurbishment and I’d planned to fill up at Inverinate cos it’s a right PITA to get fuel at Kyle when towing. No worries methinks so I turns around at Braeintra, loads up with expensive shopping at Kyle and fills up with fuel at Armadale. Sure I gotta wait 5 hours for a ferry but it’s a lovely day for walking the dugs and me caravan is now full of food Smile

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No such luck, they don’t like taking caravans on the MV Loch Nevis cos you gotta reverse on Sad smile So I tells em, no problem to me, I’m an expert Smile Then we go to the office, check the ‘puter and it says already 7 cars booked on so may not fit Sad smile No worries, says I, I’ll go via the A87 and wait.

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And to be perfectly honest, had I just ignored the sign, Traffic Scotland website and media hype I’d have been here hours ago. As it was I drove nearly 200 miles, spent 10 hours on the road and paid through the nose for me shopping at the Co Op Sad smile Asparagus £2.16 at Coey, 96p at Lidl, Pasta 56p at Coey and 26p at Lidl, Pot Noodle £1.00 and 36p!!! OK, I know they are our ‘e numbers’ in a tub but the ones in the caravan are from last year’s Eden Festival Smile

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After our brief stop in Fort Bill it was onto Corran and the ferry. Once on the other side it’s less than an hour to Lochaline but we stopped for a couple of walks and a feed.


Methinks I’m gonna regret bringing ‘big black dug’, it would have been me Mam’s birthday today and I’m sure she knows.

Pigs back on the croft Smile

Sure there’s been hunners going on back home, I just been too tired to write it down, first off, after the best part of two weeks we finally got the two Iron Age girls onto my old croft, which hasn’t seen a pig since we left there four years ago.

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Judy and Tilly finally made it into Donnie Oliphant’s trailer on Sunday for relocation from Suisnish to Arnish.

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I towed them up to ‘Number 3’ with ‘The Tank’ then used ‘Calum the Kubota’ to push the trailer round to Ginger and Rocky’s old spot at the eastern end of the croft.

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The girls certainly went out much easier than they went in Smile They have not looked so happy in a long while,

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They have a new dry house and lots of trees to scratch against, they are two very happy pigs Smile

It’s in the shed Smile

I had much to do on Monday checking both car and caravan over for the trip down here. The caravan has not been used since last June and need the brakes, bearings, lights repairing and a puncture. To be honest though, the real priority was putting the Searider in its new shed Smile

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Again, using the tow ball on ‘Calum’s’ blade and with a little surgery to the flagpole Smile

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I was well impressed Smile

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Anyway, I made it in time for the last sailing and now I’m off to bed with a good book and Molly as ‘hot water bottle’, Leah is out in the car sulking Sad smile

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