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

April 14, 2013

Wood and old iron :-)

Filed under: daily doings, How I, life off grid, listers — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 11:54 am

A few moments to myself whilst the sausages cook so I’ll finish off last nights effort which had me ‘home at last’.


The Dude, Molly and I wandered the hills in the sunshine, sitting down for five minutes above Tarbert to admire ‘Calum’s road’ and ‘Rainey’s wall’ or is that Rainy’s wall, I’m never sure.

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The daft wee dog taking a barking fit at a sole cyclist almost a quarter of a mile away, she may have a ‘screw loose’ but there’s nothing wrong with her eyesight.

It was in fact the busiest day I’ve seen at the north end since the foot and mouth epidemic of some twelve years ago, with a full car park and a large group of walkers. Well they couldn’t have picked a better day for it that’s for sure, even the path to Torran and Fladda had the air of Sauchiehall street on Saturday about it.

Servicing a Lister ST2

As is customary for the weekend the Dude and I went over to the ‘Old Schoolhouse’ to check over the batteries, turbine and solar panels that power this idyllic let. Well we did in between passing the ‘time of day’ with the many walkers, something that always amuses me Smile 

As well as the topping up of batteries and checking the ‘Harris hydro’ turbine we decided to give the 70’s vintage Lister ST2 a service. The renewable energy system of 1260w of solar panels and a constant couple of hundred watts from the hydro turbine means that this generator does little work. In all honesty it’s probably only done 150 hours since I last serviced it a couple of years ago. There’s no hour meter on it but I can tell by the amount of fuel it has used, which is around 300lts. Even under full load this 1500RPM 7kW generator only burns 2lts/hour, so 150 would be the max.


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After running the lump of ‘old iron’ for a good half hour, the first thing that I did was ‘make life easy for myself’ by replacing the 1/2” BSP taper sump plug with a length of hydraulic hose with a tap on. Something that I’ve done on all my own as it saves an awful lot of mess, the oil can then be drained straight into a container. However I also fitted a brass blanking plug on the end of the tap just to prevent accidental opening and leaks.

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As well as renewing the 8pts of oil in the sump I also cleaned out and changed the oil in the air filter, replaced the fuel and oil filters, checked the torque of the base mounting bolts. The batteries were checked for electrolyte and all wiring checked for abrasion and security as well as the front and rear alternator bearings being greased. A look through the cooling grills on the Brush generator revealed plenty of life in both the DC brushes and AC slip rings and that was about it. Mr Lister would be good for another couple of years at least with nothing other than a few hundred litres of diesel Smile

Anyway, its time to go back outside now.

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