Life at the end of the road

October 17, 2019

Back under the Arnish sky :-) :-)

Home at last, how many times have you heard that hey Smile It matters not where I go or what I see, ‘there’s no place like home’ and here I am at last with my ‘wee dug’.

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Molly has not let me out of her sight the whole day, insisting on ‘helping’ me drive whatever bit of machinery I’ve been on or in and sticking to me like glue with a mistrustful look in her eye. Well, I did arrive home late last night after a rather slow but uneventful journey north. The good weather seeming to bring out a swarm of poorly driven hire cars and campervans, still, I got home in one piece to a spotless house and fine supper. My MiL not only made a fine job of looking after Molly but she (as always) gave Sonas a full spring clean and made me a fine pasta bake.

Back to ‘normal’

Thursday morning now, 5:00am and things are ‘back to normal’. I gave up trying to blog around eight o clock last night and went to bed with a good book. Phil Durham’s https://www.amazon.co.uk/Fuhrer-Led-But-Overtook-Him/dp/1858213657 ‘The Fuhrer led but we overtook him’ caught my eye cos the author had spent time aboard HMS Graph, the captured U-570 that was used by the Royal Navy. Phil Durham was just 18 years old and serving aboard the battleship HMS Barham in the Mediterranean when war was declared in 1939. I left him last night in 1940 on the cruiser HMS Norfolk in Narvik, what an exciting life I lead hey Smile 

After several patrols HMS Graph ended up wrecked off the island of Islay where I first dived on her almost 40 years ago after reading the (even then) long out of print ‘HM U boat’ by John D Drummond.

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So, that’s it, I’m back home with a wee dug sneaking under the covers once I fall asleep, getting up at ‘stupid o clock’ and listening to the BBC World Service despairing at what that clown in the White House has been up to Smile I rarely watch TV and only listen to the radio if in my workshop or travelling to and from work. Consequently my news is generally like my work ‘two weeks on, two weeks off’ Smile Having been chauffeured to and from the dry dock in Richard’s comfortable Jeep the last fortnight and not having fresh ‘titty papers’ delivered to Hallaig everyday I’ve been somewhat incommunicado with global events. Not that I read the newspapers either but it is difficult not to notice life changing news on the front page of the ‘red tops’ when they sit on the mess room table. You know the kind of thing, some third rate celebrity has been ‘romping’ in the jungle, or Beckingham palace has been burgled and David’s favourite pair of boxers stolen Smile

Anyway (as usual) I digress, the last week I was down at Dale’s dry dock in Troon, the former site of Ailsa Troon shipbuilders  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ailsa_Shipbuilding_Company with our very own Hallaig.

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After a spell of anchor painting and ‘touching up’ with my shipmate Richard I managed to sneak away early on Sunday to go and see my Boy at University Smile

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Sure, it was work related, we went to the National Museum https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Museum_of_Scotland to study the 500ton anchor chain and a model of Hallaig Smile

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An interactive Morse code display making me more homesick than usual when it spelt out my wee dugs name Sad smile

Yesterday

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Well, it was a peach of a day but with a far more autumnal hue than when I left a fortnight ago.

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My first serious task of the day being a puncture repair for Adam the Polish builder working next door. Unbelievably, it took me the best part of two hours to remove the tyre and repair the two holes in the tube.

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The ‘wee dug’ and I delivered the repaired wheel to Torran and I was pure flabbergasted by the work Adam and his two builders had done in just seven days. A beautiful block extension with a slate roof

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sat in the place where my Mate and I had laid a concrete pad in July.

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By now, even though it was only early afternoon with the Torran aspen turning golden yellow, a stag had started bellowing from his high vantage point miles away at Arnish. Once home, ‘I put the glass on him’ and he had the look of one of Bill’s stags from Rona, with antlers as thick as a babies arm.

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Noisy beggar Smile

Discovery II clutch master cylinder

The clutch master cylinder having arrived just before I headed off with Hallaig was the next job ‘on the list’. The ‘Wife’ my Disco WFE had developed an annoying clutch problem whereby if the clutch was held down for any length of time whilst manoeuvring it would gradually start to engage. Although a classic symptom of failing master or slave cylinder this is usually accompanied by a leak on the offending cylinder. On this occasion there was no ‘tell tale’ weep of fluid so I changed the slave first last month as it as only £20 for a genuine one and an easy job. Unfortunately it didn’t cure the problem, in fact it made it worse on account of these Discoveries can be a ‘pig to bleed’. Well, I sussed that out shortly afterwards when I realized (in typical ‘Green Oval’ fashion) that the slave cylinder bleed nipple actually points slightly downwards!!!!!! So, lesson learned there, whenever you want to bleed a Disco clutch, jack up the front end Smile

   

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I also learned something else, the new master cylinder came with a plug in it which needed to be removed fit the ‘Traction Control’ sensor. This plug is an Allen type grub screw and is a bizarre size, it seems to be 4.5mm. Now, I have a gazillion Allen keys, Allen sockets and wrenches of every shape or form but no 4.5mm one and I doubt anyone else has either Sad smile Luckily a 30 Torx key is ever so slightly bigger and can be tapped gently into the offending grub screw allowing it to be eased out. Apart from that the job was a ‘piece of cake’ just remove some trim inside, take off the clip and remove the clevis pin from the pushrod. One 13mm nut, one 10mm bolt and the hydraulic pipe and ‘Bob’s your uncle’. Make sure the front end is high enough and bleed as normal.

April 8, 2018

The Lochaline Triffids

A fine Sunday evening here at our berth in Lochaline, with ‘wee dug’ and meself just back from a good walk along the shore of the loch towards Ard Tornish House https://ardtornish.co.uk/ .

Wikipedia’s https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardtornish picture and not mine Smile Me, I left the good camera back in the caravan Sad smile

We do like it here the ‘wee dug’ and I,

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she gets lots of attention from the public and crew, and we can go for leisurely walks in the evening and at lunch. Not only that but I can roll out of bed and onto the ferry in a matter of minutes Smile

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Even though the working day is much longer here with a 7:00am sailing, I don’t actually need to get up any earlier and am ‘home’ much sooner. There’s a great village shop just a two minute walk up the hill and loads of great local services http://www.morvern.org/community/services/ even a self service fuel pump. At this time of year there’s much going on and if I was ‘so inclined’ the Lochaline Social Club https://www.facebook.com/lochalinesocialclub?rf=212323538786470 is ‘just outside my door’ so to speak Smile Perhaps that’s not a good thing come ‘chucking out time’ right enough but I’ve certainly no complaints.

Lochaline Boat Charters http://www.lochaline-boats.co.uk/ operates out of here

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with their two Aquastar boats, Brendan and Peregrine both of which will drop divers on awesome wrecks, reefs, cliff and drift dives in the local area and beyond. As a destination for diving holidays Lochaline could not be better equipped and that’s coming from an ‘anorak’ who spent much of his early adult life and beyond doing the ‘trainspotting’ equivalent of scuba diving Smile Sad I know but I’ve always had a ‘soft spot’ for this little corner of Scotland. Never in a million years did I ever think I’d actually get paid for staying here Smile

Sunday

So, despite the normal Sunday service here at Lochaline not starting till 8:45, the skipper and I were aboard the good ship Hallaig at 6:30.

One of the very expensive ABB  http://new.abb.com/low-voltage/products/switches/motor-operated-change-over-switches motorized battery switches had failed and we were going to change it prior to sailing.

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There are four of these on the ‘hybrids’ and at almost £900 apiece it’s a fecking disgrace that they fail with such regularity. Allegedly ABB say they are good for 5000 cycles but ours fail regularly at half that. Luckily we carry spares aboard and had it all sorted prior to sailing.

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Failure of one or more of these switches does not stop the ‘hybrids’ from sailing but it does mean you cannot utilize the 600kWh LiFePO4 battery banks Sad smile Anyway, that’s all sorted now, and a sternly worded email is winging its way to ABB Smile It’s not like they have these things in stock, there’s a six to eight week ‘lead time’ which I think is ‘ABB speak’ for camel ride from ChIndia or wherever they churn these things out from! No kidding, I pulled the old one apart and it’s made out of the same ‘Micky Mouse’ metal

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that my Dinky toy Morris Minor was made of.

I kid you not, here we have an £11,000,000 ferry with a £1000 switch broken cos of a 3pence part which the manufacturer refuses to supply separately. The world has gone mad!!!

The Triffid

Anyway’s, we got that sorted, sailed on time and had pleasant enough day here at Lochaline, after which the ‘wee dug’ and I went for that walk I mentioned earlier.

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Along the shore, past the sand mine towards Ard Tornish House.

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It was here that we spotted the Triffids!!! never seen anything like em before but they were growing on the shore and pretty much what I’d imagined John  Wyndham’s https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triffid plants to look like Smile OK, perhaps not exactly but they were odd and that’s for sure.

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The damage I could do with one of these Smile A proper ‘dumper’ from the sand mine.

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This really is the ‘Rolls Royce’ of sand Smile

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The ‘office’ Smile

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