Life at the end of the road

April 10, 2019

A lot has happened

https://www.facebook.com/RaasayDistillery/videos/377852142944061/?t=199

The last ten days have been a bit of a whirlwind really, after my last effort https://lifeattheendoftheroad.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/the-eleven-hour-pour/ 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

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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.

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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 https://www.heco-schrauben.com/screws-accessories/screws/multi-monti/ . 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

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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 https://daochef.com/korean-bbq/ 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 https://www.nms.ac.uk/exhibitions-events/exhibitions/national-museum-of-scotland/robots/ 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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolis_(1927_film) 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

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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.

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/news/highlands/1713068/rescue-teams-search-for-missing-person-on-isle-of-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 31, 2019

The eleven hour pour :-)

Filed under: daily doings, food, How I, shed/house — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:56 pm

A cracking few days behind me, in which I have achieved much, mainly on account of having no Internet Smile We lost it the day after I last posted, which I guess must have been Thursday, sorry I cannae be more specific but it has been a bit of a blur. Sure I missed it but to be quite honest I doubt I would have got the 20M square slab for the 5m extension to ‘Callum’s shed’ poured on Friday had I been able to get ‘online’. At least I wouldn’t have been able to mix the 2.5 cubic metres AND go and see Willie Campbell playing at the Isle of Raasay Distillery https://raasaydistillery.com/

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As it was I managed to start mixing concrete at 6:30 and had it finished by 17:30, leaving me just enough time to get cleaned up and get to the gig for around 8:00pm. This just gave us enough time to order a couple of lemon juices and sit back in a cosy corner of the lounge and listen to Willie’s first hour long set. I was driving and Darling Wife would be doing an early shift so it wasn’t going to be a ‘full on sesh’. No, it was just a great night of Willie’s eclectic mix, a few of his own tunes and songs, some country and western, a little traditional, a dash of Gaelic and the odd ‘sing along’. A ‘perfect end to a perfect day’, tis a sad person indeed that considers mixing concrete for eleven hours ‘perfect’ Smile

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Sure, a 20m square slab 125mm thick is a little ambitious for one man approaching retirement with a Belle mixer but conditions were ideal. It was mild and damp to stop the concrete cracking, a gale of south west wind kept the mixer happily churning away for the whole day on wind energy Smile The mixer was parked in the shed out of the wind so no eyes full of cement and I kept the trailer fed with aggregate from my stockpile with ‘Calum the Kubota’.

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Barring the tuna salad I had for lunch I never stopped and was well pleased with my effort Smile Sure I was mightily miffed I couldn’t tell anyone about it on Facecloth or check for the likelihood of a downpour ruining my handiwork on XC Weather, but had I done that then I’d have probably missed Willie.

Draught proofing

Despite the visit to the distillery I did manage to get in bed at a sensible time and arise early without a headache thanks to the St Hellier lemonade   http://www.sthelierfruitbeverages.com/product-2#about-st-helier I’d been drinking all night. Saturday was a cracking day and I set about making a windbreak for the wee garden. I had knocked one up last year using netting and steel poles but the winter’s gales had bent all the poles and the netting was full of holes from rubbing on the poles. Still, it had served it’s purpose and allowed Darling Wife to establish the makings of a lovely wee garden.

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I’d drilled the rocks to support the original 6mm steel posts and most of them were now actually stuck into the rocks so I just cut the poles leaving around 75mm sticking up. I then drilled the bottom of some 75mm square posts and hammered them in. Sounds far simpler than it actually was cos none of them lined up and there was a great deal of messing about. However by making up custom brackets, drilling more holes in the rocks etc. etc. I got on just fine.

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That cheap Evolution mitre saw from Screwfix cuts steel just as well as plastic conduit and wood https://www.screwfix.com/p/evolution-r255sms-255mm-single-bevel-sliding-mitre-saw-220-240v/1062x Methinks that’s a newer model than mine as mine was under £100 but worth every penny of £125 they’re asking for it now.

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It took me just about the whole day to do that

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and I managed to finish it before starting to at last paint Sonas Smile

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Sure, I didn’t get very far before having to pack up, get cleaned up and head of to Raasay House https://www.raasay-house.co.uk/dining-raasay-restaurant-skye for our 16:30 ‘table for two’. This week I had roast pork belly and Darling Wife roast beef, both of us choosing a starter rather than dessert, me going for a hot smoked salmon salad whilst herself had haggis fritters. It was all totally delicious as usual and well presented by courteous staff but I gotta say the haggis fritters were pure amazing.

That ‘time of year again’

How I hate this feckin around with the clocks business, I don’t really care who’s time we are on, BST, GMT, UTC or CET but can we just stop changing the feckin things. I’m gonna spend the next six weeks or so feeling hungry at ‘stupid O clock’, the dugs will be following me about wanting fed at the wrong time, the hens won’t know what is going on and I’m bound to forget to alter at least one clock!

Anyway, that’s it, it’s 8:00 PM which is really 7:00 PM so I’d better go and shut the hens in an hour later Sad smile Whatever, I’m going to bed, but it’s only 19:00, guess I’ll be up at 4:00 tomorrow Smile

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Still, at least the clocks moved the right way Smile

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