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.

February 6, 2016

Fancy a taste of the ‘Good Life’ :-)

Afraid this post is gonna be ‘dull as dishwater’ to most peeps, for I’ve spent most of the day under the Subaru or stood on the back of a quad!

Henry wrecked it Sad smile

It was ‘pure pish’ here at the ‘North End’ early on so I spent most of the morning inside the shed  working on wifey’s egg chariot. Mainly finishing fitting the wheel bearings and removing rusted bolts from the rear bumper mountings. The ‘Old Girl’ is going to have to have a new bulkhead this year and that’s a major job. I had seriously considered putting her away and paying to have the job done, it’s a lot of work and I’m hardly blessed with much in the way of spare time. I’d even considered getting a sensible vehicle like Lachie’s Ranger or any one of the other Japanese ‘crew cabs’. Truth is that, sure enough I’d get a decent heater, good fuel economy, dry cab, air conditioning and a radio I could here over 40MPH but I’d have to spend at least £5K, in three years time it would be worth ‘feck all’ and I’d be needing to change the ‘DMF’ and ‘DPF’, that’ll be the dual mass flywheel and diesel particulate filter. So, better ‘the devil you know’ and I couldn’t see any of those Jap jobbies pulling 9 tons of telehandler out of a bog.

I was removing all the bolts and fittings around the stern of the Subaru and lashing Coppaslip on them so they’d be easy to do when I fitted the tow bar. My logic being that if I’m gonna change the bulkhead myself then I’d better still have something capable of towing a trailer or caravan whilst the ‘Old Girl’ is in hospital so to speak. I’ve not actually  mentioned this to the ‘Post Lady’ just yet but I’m sure she’ll understand.

The main task of the day had to wait until the rain stopped, and that was removing the fried stator from my Proven/Kingspan wind turbine. The staggering output it had been achieving throughout all the storms of late had burnt out the stator, or ‘core’ as Kingspan prefer to call it.

Removing a Kingspan/Proven stator/core

The stator/core is the bit of an ‘axial flux’ generator that sits between the two rotating sets of magnets. On a Proven/Kingspan downwind machine it sits behind the black cover at the opposite side from the blades.

Normally when you lower the turbine that bit points ‘up the way’

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making access difficult but I’d already removed all the blades so it would rest ‘doon the way’.  This is all ‘damn fine splendid’ until you remove the first rotor when the reduced weight wants to make the machine ‘point up the way’ again Sad smile So, here’s what I did, first off I got a puller rigged up, to remove the rotor from the shaft. The Proven/Kingspan has some holes near the spindle that are large enough to get 12mm ‘plate washers’ inside.

 

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I used 2 for each 12mm threaded bar cos I figured it would be ‘effin tight’.

 

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I then secured a hydraulic puller between the studs and started to remove the outer rotor, as predicted it was very stubborn but eventually came off.

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As I was working upside-down so to speak I tied some 6mm rope around the rotor to prevent it falling off. Just as well really as the loss of ‘ballast’ would have caused the head to swivel round. To prevent this I drilled the rock bellow the head and then secured it with a couple of ratchet straps.

 

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Not only did this secure the head and prevent it from swinging around but the two straps also also gripped the sides of the stator/core and acted as a brake. The core weighs about 30kg at a guess and is mechanically secured to the galvanized frame with six M8 studs. However it is magnetically held to the second rotor and extreme care must be exercised in it’s removal or you could end up loosing some fingers. It is possible using sever screw drivers to ease off a little at a time but I used a ‘cunning plan’, sadly I never took a picture, I used my 900mm Snap On ‘strong arm’ bar with a socket on the end. The socket I placed on one of the two metal bars of the frame to act as a fulcrum whilst the bar rested on top of one of the studs. I then carefully eased it downwards and put a wooden wedge underneath between the the frame and core. With a good air gap at that end the rest were simple enough to pry down. I used screwdrivers but great care must be observed so as not to damage the core/stator or your fingers.

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As you can see it’s toasted,

 

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the magnets however are just fine, a few scuff marks and one small chip.

I’ve organised another stator/core from Kingspan Wind who have been extremely helpful with this and other matters in the past. A far cry from the way Proven Energy dealt with their customers latterly. From what I can gather most of the staff are the same, Kingspan obviously have a better ‘customer care ethic’ than the previous management.

Fancy the life ‘off grid’

Well, that’ll be me neighbours in ‘Number 3’ now for over a year.

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They’ve done loads of work on the croft whilst   Donnie Macleod of DDK design and Billy Shanks of Shanks Plumbing and Renewables have done loads of work on the house to make it suitable for letting. So the ‘wee hoose’ that was my home for over a quarter of a century is now available for let https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/8188794?s=3LQkEta2 I could fancy a holiday there myself Smile Nicky, Maya and Mary can be contacted on 01478 660 375 or emailed at niknak66@gmail.com

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