Life at the end of the road

September 4, 2017

Off to uni :-)

Filed under: daily doings, shed/house, Trucks and plant — Tags: , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:36 am

Well, that’s the end of a manic weekend and back to the calm of the kitchen table, the grey mist shrouding the Storr and more pishing rain. Our son deposited at Heriot Watt university and just the wife, dug and myself for company. Sure it’ll be nice not tripping over his size 10 riggers boots at the door, the food bills will plummet and the thermal store temperature remain more stable Smile When I go for a shower the temperature at the top of the 1500lt TS drops by a mere 2 degrees Celsius, my son can drop it by 10 degrees during his endless watering in the bathroom Smile Gonna really miss him around the croft right enough and most of my serious diving projects will now be on hold until he or A N Other returns. But that is it, another chapter in ‘the book of life’ begins, on Saturday we drove him down to Edinburgh for the start of ‘fresher’s week’.


He checked in at reception,


let us help him carry his stuff into the hall and that was about it really, he couldn’t wait to see the back of us Smile


We did stay overnight right enough, in a lovely room on campus, which with a double king size bed and all the ‘mod cons’ was better than most hotels I’ve stayed in. After a good  night’s sleep we killed time until the 9:00am breakfast by walking around the immense and well kept grounds.

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The university in on the site of what was once a large stately home and it’s estate.

Riccarton Estate

The earliest recorded reference to Riccarton or Richardstoun is from 1315 when King Robert the Bruce bestowed the land as a dowry on his daughter Marjory. In 1480 the Wardlaw family held the lands and by 1508 they had been leased to the Hepburn family. Lawyer Sir Thomas Craig bought the estate in 1605 and throughout the 17th century added much of the surrounding lands including Hermiston.

The beautiful landscaped parkland was first developed in the late 18th century by Thomas Craig  who enclosed much of the land, and then by Sir James and Sir William Gibson-Craig. Both were avid collectors of plants and introduced the "sunken" part of the lawn which was a curling pond. The house was extended in the 1820s to create an elegant mansion. Sadly, two sons then died in the Boer and First World Wars and the title and lands were split, the estate passing through the female line to the Sudlow family. The house was commandeered by the Army in 1939, becoming the headquarters for the liberation of Norway and after the war a resettlement camp for ex-Prisoners of War and from 1947 to 1954 the headquarters for the Royal Artillery’s 3rd Anti Aircraft Group. The house by this point was in quite state of disrepair and was demolished in 1956.

Midlothian County Council acquired and gifted the estate to the University in 1969. Although the house has now gone, many original buildings remain such as the lodges, Gardner’s Cottage and Hermiston House.

The grounds are full of wildlife

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with just a few clues as to its past life like the old ice house above.

After breakfast we headed home and caught a busy 17:00 ferry back to Raasay, your truly did try to post last night but was in his bed just after 20:00. I just can’t cope with all the stress of modern life these days Smile

Where would you be without a digger

The day before heading sowf was spent spreading 20mm ‘chuckies’ at the front of the house, though first we called in to see me Mam. It would be the last chance in a while that my son would be seeing her and we’d not have time on Saturday.

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I just love quarries and always have Smile spent much of my yoof exploring them in the Lake District and Wales, latterly diving in many flooded ones. So I’m always happy visiting the one at Sconser, sad or what Smile

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Now the last time I spread these 20mm chips around the house I dumped them round the back and barrowed them round the front. It’s no wonder I’ve a bad back, well those days are long gone, this time I used Calum the Kubota Smile


Much easier Smile


March 23, 2015

The usual rush

Monday ‘number 2’ already and yours truly will be back aboard Hallaig tomorrow, so as per usual I’ve been rushing round demented. Starting at 5:30 when I started catching up on some paperwork then dragging my son out of his bed to get him off to the school. That would be via the hens of course, who ‘true to form’ are getting more and more active as the daylight lengthens, 60 eggs being a regular tally for the day.

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Down to the 7:55 ferry and an exceptional tide

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and a crossing that was ‘par for the day’, lots of sun interspersed with ‘short sharp’ showers. Great March weather with sun, water and wind to keep the batteries topped up.

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No great trip to Skye for shopping,  just a quick visit to the quarry for more ‘chuckies’ whilst I had the use of Lachie’s tipping trailer.

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The Sconser quarry was considerably quieter than the last time I visited, the ‘big blast’ done and with everything crushed the machinery was leaving.

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Well, the big stuff at any rate Smile

Though they don’t start quite so young at Sconser.

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Grant’s lovely old Foden just beat me to the weigh bridge Smile

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And, as I only had 1.6T of ‘chuckies’ on board I took half a ton of coal up to Arnish too.

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Lachie was busy preparing the ‘lean too’ base for the concrete tomorrow so I gave him a hand with some ducting for the power and water.


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The water duct, a 110mm salmon cage pipe was a little reluctant to go through the wall so Lachie gave it a wee push with the digger.

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Then a little ‘sub base’

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To make a good earth I laid several meters of copper braid under the base then out through the wall to bury in the water pipe trench.

There was more, much more but it’s 19:30 and I’m ready for bed!!! Well perhaps I’ll just have a shower first and see if that wakes me up Smile

Excess on Excel

Amazing what a cold shower and even colder bottle of Magners can do, OK, the shower wasn’t actually cold, but the room was. Someone in the family had obviously got carried away with the afternoon sun and left a window open Sad smile Anyway the ‘quest for power’ has taken a turn for the better with my 54kWh per day beaten (just), for the first time in 10 days.



So far my daily average production has been 51.5kWh, 3.5kWh short of my ‘Daily av req’ but that figure included the chalet and assumes insulation to current building regs and three adults at home. Our insulation is well above even the latest regs and there are only two of us for most of the week so I think we are well ‘on course’ and we still have another wind turbine ‘on the cards’. Having said that, the days we are short there was little in the way of wind or sun on some occasions.

Of course as soon as we deplete the battery bank to 50% then Harry the Lister HR2 12kW generator will start up but my ‘mission’ is to have a totally renewable house and retire my 1978 Lister for all but emergency use. Having said that I should really run him up every month for a few hours just to exercise his legs and keep the diesel fresh Smile 

And don’t for one minute think I had anything to do with that ‘spread sheet’ my seasoned Excel guru and ‘back to back’ is coaching me Smile

Nissan Almera for sale

Now if you want a totally reliable car that is never going to get stolen then look no further than a Nissan Almera 1.5 SVE petrol. A completely ordinary car that will not get noticed by anyone, probably the ideal car for a bank robbery Smile Anyway, when I finally get around to it I’m going to put it in the WHFP or Gumtree, only 82k and with 12 months MOT and I guess it must be a 2004, well it’s yours for £800.

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It’s got ‘all the toys’, air con, electric sunroof, 15”alloys, climate control, dog guard, sat nav, electric windows, super locking (whatever that is!), power steering and it’s still ‘dull as dishwater’ Smile

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