Life at the end of the road

October 22, 2020

Dry!!!

Filed under: animals, daily doings, life off grid — Tags: , , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:17 am

Golly gosh, I wasn’t expecting that, just back in after a wander outside to the ‘bunker’ for my camera. After wrapping up and donning suitable footwear I stepped outdoors in to the gloom and it was dry underfoot!!!! Well, that came as a bit of a surprise I can tell you as it’s been pretty boodly wet of late. Both my hydro turbines more than compensating for the lack of sunshine and wind. Not that there was any lack of wind yesterday, a steady north easterly having finally arrived after a day or so of threatening. Whilst it has been pretty windless for days, a steady swell has been building up out at sea, a sure sign of a cold northerly airstream heading this way.

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This picture of a calm Loch Arnish, autumnal Aird Torran, heaving Grian a Sgeir and fuzzy Brothers point was taken three days ago and shows the swell building around the shallows of the ‘sunny skerry’ Grian a Sgeir, which on Monday was anything but. Building ever since the weekend it was pretty white and fluffy around any shoreline facing north by yesterday.

New Batteries

With the weather so miserable yesterday I donned my one piece ‘Andy Pandy’ waterproofs to start preparing myself for replacing my battery bank.

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Topping up the 24 cells with deionized water before abandoning the task in favour of something less taxing. I’m really not looking forward to this job Sad smile Quite apart from the physical side of it (each bank weighs in at over a ton) there are a multitude of electrical connections to make and reconfigure. Not to mention the hazards associated with acid and short circuits. My mate will be arriving today and I thought he could help, not that I’ve actually told him yet Smile Anyway, leaving that and still ‘suited up’ I headed over to Torran to remove a faulty inverter.

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The Voltacon, Conversol 1500W inverter charger I’d fitted back in March was faulty and had been from the start. The normally reliable and excellent value for money inverter had never been able to recognize and thus accept the incoming AC from the generator. As the property is ‘off grid’ and would be fully occupied for the summer I’d spoken to the supplier https://voltaconsolar.com/ and said that I’d not be returning it until the generator was needed to charge the batteries. As I had fitted some 2kW of solar panels to the property this was more than enough to see the house fully powered until at least the equinox.

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Whilst the loch and it’s shoreline was pretty settled here at the north side, it was a different story at my end. Here is looking towards where I keep and launch my boat.

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And this will be an even ‘fluffier’ Grian a Sgeir and gloomier Brothers Point.

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Speaking of the ‘Sunny Skerry’ here is a sea eagle ‘eagle with the sunlit eye’ Iolaire sùil na grian’ soaring outside my back door yesterday https://www.countryfile.com/wildlife/the-eagle-with-the-sunlit-eye/ much better pictures there Smile

Of course no day would be complete without a visit to ‘the lumb’, which I did and after a few more fruitless attempts told myself, ‘It’s time to call it a day’ Sad smile

Heading back home I settled myself in the nice warm ‘bunker’ and started to fit the ‘changeover’ switch to allow me to seamlessly change from one power source to another so as not to interrupt the electricity supply to the house. Sure it’s no ‘big deal’ being without power for an hour or two but the longest power cut I’ve had in thirty years is about 10 minutes and nowadays nothing works without electricity, not even the gas cooker Sad smile

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Fitting a ‘changeover’ switch between my SMA SI 6kW inverter and the Outback GVFX 3048 3kW system has been on my ‘to do’ list for years so working in the cosy ‘bunker’ seemed like a good option in the pishing rain Smile

September 4, 2020

Making a start :-)

Well, I finally made a start myself, though I guess in reality I did that a week ago by actually recovering my hostage from Tayside Land Rover where she had languished in captivity for two and a half years. In fairness to Tayside Land Rover though, what work they had done was good and we were both happy with the ransom paid. Sadly, the two day trip did further damage to my cracked rib and I’ve been on extremely light duties ever since. The mere act of trying to lean over anything higher than waist height causing severe pain, so basically I’ve just been staring at her longingly through the living room window.

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That is until yesterday when I made a start, initially by making a plan Smile It aint often Camilli makes one of those I can tell you, my life is usually a series of events, often unfortunate Smile Anyway, it went something along the lines of getting it running then I can at least get her in my shed and move her about, easier said than done cos the engine is just dropped in position without anything actually connected. First task then would be to sort out the wiring, which again is just dropped into place.

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So, that’s where I started, the battery, or should I say where the battery used to be which is now a hole with insecure bottom and a jumble of wires not actually connected to anything. Still at least it’s at a comfortable working height and repairing the battery box itself can be done lying down Smile

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Not exactly a great deal achieved but a satisfying couple of hours for me.

The loch is alive

After that Molly and I pottered along to Torran on what was becoming a lovely, if not rather breezy day. I guess as a result of the downturn in the fishing and just about every other economic activity Loch Arnish was seeing it’s first shoals of mackerel in years. Consequently the airspace above it has been full of gannet squadrons diving for days on end. Again, something that was once common at this time of year but now a distant memory. Basking sharks too have been seen in large numbers and at close quarters. Even the sea eagles have turned their attention away from rabbits, small mammals and sickly lambs toward their natural element.

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Sure ‘the eagle with the sunlit eye’ is a common enough sight but rarely seen above the sea here. Portree is a different matter right enough  with local tourist boats feeding them fish regularly, the same goes for the ones in the Sound of Mull, they too have learned the ‘tourist boat routine’ Smile 

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The wee dug and I had a strupag, mine consisting of tea and biscuits, hers being and exploration of the bonfire remains in the garden Smile

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Some fine bridging work had been done on the track too, last time Ross and I were down here with the digger we had some hairy moments crossing this drain.

Who cares who wins

A shopping trip was next on the cards, having given up on picking mushrooms and needing some fresh veg we headed south. The south end now awash with various contractors preparing the Steading and it’s environs for the arrival of the film crew and production crew of Minnow Films http://www.minnowfilms.co.uk/  who produce Channel 4’s ‘SAS Who Dares Wins’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAS:_Who_Dares_Wins Apparently it is very popular and the show went down well on TV last year. Can’t say I’m the least bit interested in the show, not that I’ve ever seen it, but it should at least provide a ‘shot in the arm’ for all the local businesses.

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Scaffolders were busy putting up scaffolding, joiners busy joining gits of wood and the Larch Box car park had become a Portacabin village. Luckily the Larch Box itself was still nestled in a wee corner providing  its excellent fare Smile

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A smoked harissa, humous and chargrilled veg baguette being my choice for the day, yum, yum.

After that and acquiring some lovely looking French beans from the Veg Shack, we went for a walk in the hope of finding some wild shrooms to add to the chestnut ones I’d bought from Raasay stores.

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Molly and I strolled up towards the Free Church which is usually a good spot but all we found were some boletus,

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which whilst large and edible are not actually that good fresh. Sure if you slice them finely and dry them they make a fine addition to a meal or stock in the winter but eaten fresh they are a bit slimy. Had to laugh at the ‘deliveries’ sign.

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The actual site is 8 miles further up a single track road Smile I wonder if they’ll have any spare concrete left over when they finish the EE mast Smile 

Well, it’s almost 9:00am now, the gannets are dive bombing the mackerel on my doorstep and I guess I’ll go and do some more pottering Smile

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