Life at the end of the road

December 5, 2019

Getting ready

Well that’s more like it, 4:30am and that’s me up around the same time I arrived in from work yesterday morning!!! I really, really could not handle shift work and how people working for the ‘emergency services’ and other institutions that function 24/7 is beyond me. Sure I’ve still not recovered from the ‘clock changing nonsense in October. Anyway, despite not getting up until mid morning yesterday I did achieve most of my objectives, though they did keep getting added too, much like the straws ‘on the camels back’, in short, I was left feeling a little overwhelmed by what lay ahead.

Patches of sunshine on Tuesday

Prior to the ‘over nighter’ aboard Hallaig with Renee from RH Marine I’d done the usual two or three 3ton loads of rock for the Torran track and latest home civil engineering project. The forecast being for thick cloud but dry.

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Well, they got that wrong, for the ‘North End’ at least, I was blessed with more than enough blue sky ‘to make a sailors trousers’ A phrase that I picked up from my wife, who in turn acquired it from ‘Granny Annie’ though I must confess at never having heard it until 20 years ago in my forties. Sure it didn’t look great over on Skye but it was a fine day at Arnish Smile


More than can be said for today if the forecast is to be believed and judging by the wind I hear outdoors it could be right.

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My first job, before it was fully light was to record the voltages on 35 Yuasa 40Ah gel batteries I’d saved from the commercial recycler they would have been destined for. Thought I’d repurpose them myself, though at the moment I’m not actually sure what for. Coming from a 15kVA 400V UPS system only a few of them would be ‘dodgy’ and by recording the voltages over the next few weeks I could ascertain which ones then pass those onto the recycler Smile What were left would go into some project of mine, electric vehicle, power for caravan, UPS for solar hot water system or something. Worst case scenario, I could use them as ballast to stop stuff blowing away in gales Smile

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Gave my butcher’s table a good clean too and gave the girls some extra rations, I’d not be feeding them much longer Sad smile After that and probably a lot more that I’ve forgotten, I headed to work and joined Hallaig at 18:00.


As soon as I’d got out of bed, done my ablutions and composed myself I headed off for Brochel. Kevin had telephoned me to say the parts were here for the Yanmar engine on the new generator there.

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The ‘clowns’ who ‘shall remain nameless’ who fitted this ‘off grid’ system may have been great electricians but they want severely reprimanding for the idiot mounting of the generator. Not only was there ample room where the old generator was mounted, had it been fitted there the exhaust would have pointed away from the house. In its current idiot location the thing is not only impossible to work on but the exhaust points directly at the kitchen door and an oil tank!!!!!


Testing the new injector and being satisfied with it I fitted it and tried to start it, she almost went before flattening the difficult to access battery. At this point both myself and Kevin decided to get the halfwits back who installed it, to move it to sensible position where it wouldn’t gas the occupants of the kitchen or melt the oil tank Smile 

After that it was home for the muesli then a little more rock moving, with help Smile

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I’d be needing ‘Calum the Kubota’ to lift the girls into the bath so got another load into the dumper before ‘tracking’ him home.

Then it was more preparation for the impending arrival of the ‘Three Amigo’s’ and their entourage. For it’s the annual ‘pig fest’, that time of year when the two pigs I’ve been fattening for the English Producer, Russian Art Dealer and Swiss Surgeon get ‘dealt with’. Me, I just feed em then ‘pull the trigger’, tis their good selves that turn them into sausages for their own consumption. Though dismissing the weekends charcuterie as ‘sausages’ is somewhat demeaning. The salamis, brawn, links, black pudding, cotechino, nduja, pate and prime cuts wouldn’t be out of place in the dearest butchers or finest delicatessen.

Bed with a good book came around later than usual at well after 21:30 but it’s good to be back in my routine of getting up at ‘stupid o clock’ Smile So, 6:30 is here and methinks I’ll get out whilst it’s still dry and start installing the chimney for the 100lt boiler, you need a lot of hot water for de-hairing a pig Smile

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This 100lt cast iron boiler is a ‘God send’ in the operation, prior to it’s arrival from Germany a few years ago we had to boil water in pans on the cooker and using an electric ‘Burco boiler’. It was a nightmare and we never had enough  hot water, one year resorting to lighting some gas rings under the cast iron bath. Well, that was interesting Smile elfin safety would have had a fit Smile The cast iron boiler may be heavy and a PITA to move and set up but it does make life much easier. All you need to do is keep it fed with coal and water, though judging by current wind turbine output an electric immersion would do Smile

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According to a mate in Loch Carron the Met Office weather station nearby only recorded 22mm of rain in November, the least in forty years. The next lowest reading was 97mm!!!!!!!!

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I do love this dry weather but it was good to see the recent rain put to good use in my hydro turbine Smile That’ll be the Stream Engine doing the best part of 800W this morning Smile

March 12, 2019

Blown off :-(

Filed under: boats, daily doings, food, weather — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 7:36 pm

It’s a scabby old day here in the Sound of Mull for sure, we are getting a right pelting from Gareth at the moment and it’s been pretty boodly fresh all day. Having said that methinks it was worse through the night, at least in me caravan with the ‘wee dug’. I’d be lying if I said ‘I didn’t sleep a wink all night’ but I’ve certainly had more peaceful kips. We’d put out extra ropes but Hallaig, just a few yards from my bed was heaving and groaning under the strain and I could here it clearly from my berth. There had also been a few flickering lights prior to me ‘turning in’ and that is often a precursor to a power cut or glitch, both of which can cause havoc with the ships systems. Any modern electronics come to that, the people that design these fancy ‘touchscreen’ systems for controlling valves, machinery and other processes obviously live in cities than don’t suffer from an unstable grid.

Anyway, I need not have worried, all nine of Hallaig’s massive mooring ropes were just peachy and the power surges hadn’t done any harm. Even if they had we’re well able to ‘recover’ and sail on time these days, we’ve had plenty of practice Smile The first such incident in 2014 took me six hours to recover all systems Sad smile the second one two hours and now somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes Smile

  In fact, to be quite honest, it was actually a bonny morning, fresh right enough and with a hellish hail shower or two but nice.

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The west wind was so strong it was pushing the waterfalls at Innin Mhor Bay back up the hill and there were hail drifts in the mess room,

No photo description available.

but it was no a bad day, yet!!!!

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What did not ‘bode well’ aside from the BBC, XC Weather, the Met Office, HM Coastguard, the Shipping Forecast, Met Eireann, Magic Seaweed and just about every professional body in Britain and Ireland was the tide. The tide was waaay too high, now I’m no expert by a long chalk but when the tide is this high at neaps there’s some very low pressure and serious carp out in the Atlantic.

We ‘soldiered on’ until 13:45 but many routes had cancelled  earlier, some for the whole day.

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Buffalo burger for lunch

It’s a long story but the bones of it is that I didn’t actually realize that mozzarella cheese was made with buffalo milk. In fact I didn’t even realize they had buffalo in Italy . Sure, I guess many folk don’t, but me, well I’m half Italian, have been eating Mozzarella since I was weaned and lived on a small holding there as a child. OK, it grew olives, grapes and made wine but that’s not the point. This nugget of information came to me via Admiral Sandy Woods, our skipper down here. The upshot being, I got straight onto the Internet


last week and bought some buffalo burgers


which arrived today Smile So we all set about making em for lunch, Admiral Woods being in charge of roasting the sweet potato with me making the ‘brush on’ oil, chili and garlic baste, Finlay grilled the burgers and I made a tomato and olive salad.


Sure, some feta cheese would have been nice in the salad along with some fresh basil but ‘hey ho’ it was friggin delicious and I will defo be buying more Scottish buffalo Smile

Soon be bedtime

So, that’s it now, almost 19:10, the caravan is rocking big style, Molly has taken refuge beside me (a rare thing indeed)


and the lightning is pretty regular but the thunder a long way behind. Molly is not an affectionate dug (unlike Leah) and rarely sits beside or on anyone’s lap but I guess the storm has got her feeling insecure. Leah, well she’s always insecure and is just trembling in the car refusing to come out Sad smile

Earlier on I took them for a walk around Innin Beag bay just south of Ardtornish Point, it’s only a mile or two away ‘as the crow flies’ but a ten mile round trip by land. Needless to say we took the Egg Chariot on account of the carpy weather.

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Sadly I didn’t take a decent camera Sad smile

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Only the Victorians could build a magnificent boathouse like this on a beach in the middle of nowhere Smile

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The CEG Cosmos ‘hard pressed’ against the West Pier and some pish pictures of Hallaig from the other side of the loch, it really was carpy Sad smile Whilst heading round there I saw this coaster beating up and down the sound.

Nordica Hav

Looks like it’s now anchored off Mull, probably gonna call into Lochaline for sand when the weather improves I guess.

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