Life at the end of the road

July 4, 2018

Another ‘off grid’ paradise :-)

Another fine day here in paradise, another fine day everywhere else by the look of it, and already people, myself included are looking back towards the ‘summer of 76’ I remember it well, tarmac melting, reservoirs empty and cruising the Yorkshire Dales in my 1962 MG Midget Smile It’s almost 8:30 though and I’m stuck in the house with a panty liner on my head!!!! I kid you not!!!!

Panty liner

Me scleritis flared up again yesterday and I’m awaiting a lift to the Wednesday surgery on Raasay. It started around seven years ago when I got thwacked in the eye with a hawthorn bush and flared up every 12 months or so for the next couple of years. It’s been fine for the last two or three years so I’m puzzled by this sudden recurrence. Perhaps the intense hay fever I’ve had has brought it on, who knows, but I cannae see out of it now and it’s boodly sore. It is also not the first time I’ve used sanitary products as a temporary repair. Once used a Tampon to fix a cylinder head water leak on said MG Midget in the ‘Summer of 76’ Smile

 MG Midget

Mk1 Midget, notice no side windows or door handles!!! it was pretty basic!!! Was even more basic when the heater didn’t work cos it had a Tampax in the inlet valve right enough. Not that was ever a problem in the ‘Summer of 76’. Anyway, (as usual) I digress, it’s even hard work typing with one eye, I keep hitting the key to the left Sad smile


Sorry, got distracted there, it’s now 21:00 and I ended up in Portree after seeing the Doc, she was quite worried and got me an appointment in Inverness on Friday. Meanwhile I have to stick steroid drops in me left eyeball every hour. Seems to be working OK cos I’ve no longer got a sanitary towel on my head and can almost see through the fog in my left eye Smile


I did fully intend some serious blogging yesterday but the day was long and it ended up a late one. First off it was out with wife and the dugs for a wee romp through the woods, half hoping to collect some chanterelles on the way. It’s been far too dry really and my eyesight isn’t just keen enough with this malady, which the doc informs me now post traumatic uveitis. Well that was a relief the other thing sounded pretty serious and I’ve not taken the time to ‘Google’ this one yet, probably never will truth be known, I’m a great believer in ‘ignorance is bliss’. Sure, if it was the Land Rover, car, boiler, inverter, wind turbine or a gazillion other mechanical objects I’d want a full report or post mortem. As for my body, I just want it to work and then get fixed when it goes into the surgery Smile 

As expected, it was pretty grim on the ‘shroom front but they went into the prawn stir fry anyway.


Having lost my digger driver yesterday I took on the mantle of chief road builder myself.


Burying a power cable before I built a track over it, something I should have done several years ago. This track is going through one (the main) hen run as it’s quite soft here during the winter and would be way too risky bringing a digger or dumper for much of the year. I did start it early on in the year right enough and yes it is possible to just keep ‘tipping and spreading’ to make the track as you. The problem with that is that you really need two diggers, one to load and one to spread.


Doing it when the ground is hard means you can start at the far away end then dump your load going ‘back the way’, then just bring the digger up to spread all the ‘cow pats’ you’ve dumped.


It would have benefitted from a few more loads had I been planning heavy traffic but it’s only really for walking and the quad.

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Having said that, I did widen the gate to just over 5’ so I can track the digger through if I want.


At least now I can get the quad and trailer up to easily change the pigs bedding, move the ark and a whole heap of other stuff.


Most of the day was spent in the Raasay surgery or in Portree on ‘eye business’. Portree was not as mobbed as expected and I managed to get home for 14:30.

MV Stardust II another ‘Wildcat 40’ just returning to Portree from Holoman Island on Raasay.


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I don’t recognize this one moored at Brochel but her passengers were very much enjoying the walk along Calum’s Road.

Once home and with my eyes almost working I got on with creosoting my extended gate.

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Fed the animals and then spent some quality time with the pigs.

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That hen is REALLY pushing her luck Smile

It was whilst I was painting the gate that the pigs came round for a play, I wish I’d have got pictures but it was a bit boisterous for that. Pigs really are great fun, we had a great game of me scratching them and they rolling over onto my legs. Seriously, if folk knew more about pigs they’d no be so keen on cheap bacon, pigs are far too sentient to be farmed industrially, they deserve respect Smile 

If I had to move, it would be here!

I had a surprise email from my good friend Jamie Robinson of Alternative Engineering   the other day saying he was ‘selling up’ having been offered the ‘job to die for’ in Gloucester heading a team that repair old wooden boats. Not just yer regular 13’ clinker but the likes of HMS Victory and the RS Discovery. Jamie lives in what can only be described as one of the few locations that I’m envious of, the Knoydart Peninsula

For the price of a broom cupboard in Knightsbridge or a semi Slough you could have all this!!!!!!

Amongst Jamie’s many hats he’s an expert in renewables and I know from corresponding with himself and Hugh Piggott that this place is ‘fully sorted’. I could just see my own Avon Searider on that mooring were I not a slave to CalMac Smile


April 30, 2018

Accelerator, brake, clutch :-(

Terrible of me I know, severe lack lack of effort on my behalf on the posting front, just been waaay too much to do I’m afraid. Anyway’s ‘home at last’ after my spell down at Lochaline and almost halfway through a month’s holiday, where did it go?

To be honest, I feel like I’ve been on holiday for months cos my spell down in Lochaline was a bit of a holiday too Smile


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OK, the weather wasn’t always great but I was tucked up in my caravan with the ‘wee dug’ just a ‘stone’s throw’ from ‘work’ and getting well paid for the privilege.

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Had great views of the Lochaline fire brigade practicing


and the MV Sea Harmony loading quality sand from the LQS mine just on my doorstep so to speak. Bit of a ‘ship anorak’s’ paradise down there for sure.

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Sea Cargo’s MV Trans Dania

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The MV Harmen Oldendorff probably heading for Glensanda.

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Plenty of exciting trucks too Smile a couple of nice Volvo’s from Cameron’s of Lochcarron  and D&J Campbell of Oban being just two of the many.


CalMac’s Lord of the Isles and Serco’s SD Moorfowl, is it any coincidence that Serco painted their vessels in CalMac colours just prior to the last round of tendering for the CHFS II contract. Luckily for me CalMac won it and by the next time it’s up for renewal I’ll be retired Smile

So Green

Later than expected and not too soon for me, I finally got home on Thursday night, two days later than expected. The annoyance of my unscheduled extra couple of days at work being tempered by the fine weather and lush green foliage. It was as if summer had arrived in my brief absence Smile


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The hedge we’d planted last year was really ‘coming on’ with the best efforts of Bambi failing to kill the hawthorn, maple, buckthorn and rose.


Darling wife had made a start on the new garden, the cuckoo arrived on the 25th and I got stuck into ‘wind proofing’, the ‘deer proofing’ having been a great success Smile

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The deer being mightily ‘peed off’ at not having Wifey’s plants to feast on anymore.

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Then there was the Land Rover

Apart from all that the ‘Old Girl’ has been testing my patience, It’ll be her 32nd birthday this week and at around a quarter of a million miles ‘on the clock’ she’s been complaining. First off the brakes failed in Lochaline, which I managed to sort whilst there. Then on the way back, whilst driving through Broadford the clutch failed due to a leaky slave cylinder! Having used up all the brake fluid fixing the brakes a few days earlier I resorted to filling the clutch system with ATF which not only worked but slowed down the leak. That was until the throttle cable snapped whilst driving home on Raasay!!!! I couldn’t believe it, within the space of three days I’d managed to loose all three pedals Sad smile Not that I let that stop me, I clamped the broken cable with a pair of Mole grips and drove the last ten miles with no clutch or throttle cable, I kid you not Smile

The first few days at home were spent fixing the Land Rover,

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a new clutch slave cylinder, throttle cable and steering damper too.

Pigs on the hill

Then there was the pigs to put out ‘on the hill’.

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Some work to be done on their new home and train them to their new feeding trough. The ‘wee darlings’ managed to get lost the first day but are now into a regular routine.

The slip

Of course there was the major civil engineering project of repairing the old fish farm slipway.


Several trips to Sconser quarry for aggregate giving me a good stockpile of 20mm ‘all in’. The tides and weather being perfect enabling me to drill into the rock to insert ‘re bar’ as the tide was ebbing and then mix & pour for a good six hours, adding some ‘accelerator’ to speed up the curing.

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These 16mm U shaped contraptions being perfect for tying into the ancient Lewisian Gneiss.

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And, I still managed a little gardening Smile


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