Life at the end of the road

October 18, 2021

I thought it was Tuesday :-)

Filed under: boats, daily doings, Land Rover, life off grid — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 8:14 pm

Well, that was a pleasant surprise, I awoke this morning at ‘stupid o clock’ thinking it was Tuesday and spent the entire day under the same illusion. Not until steaming my beans and broccoli for dinner was I relieved of this misconception. To say it came as a relief would be an understatement cos I’d been rushing round like an eejit all afternoon trying to get stuff finished for Wednesday Sad smile

Despite my best efforts I couldn’t stay in bed but tried pretty hard until finally giving up round 6:30. Going out about an hour later, feeding Marmalade, Spotty and Jiffy before going walkabout with Bonzo when the sun rose. Not that you’d know it cos the cloud was so thick as to give no clue as to its whereabouts.


With mushroom’s becoming thin on the ground we chose the road rather than the birch wood for this mornings perambulation and wandered by my old croft towards the head of the valley and back.


One of Raasay’s fishing boats the Mary M was looking for a late lobster or some velvet crab over at Ard Torran. Bonzo and I returned home for our muesli, having made the mistake some time ago of giving the pair of them a little yoghurt and the remains of my breakfast between them. Now they won’t leave me, alone as soon as my spoon starts rattling on the last dregs in my bowl Bonzo starts bouncing to the accompaniment of Molly’s whining. Not until they each have a spoon of yoghurt, milk and raisins in their dishes will they give me peace.

Unlike yesterday where the day was too nice to be in the shed all day, today was perfect, grey and damp with no sunshine and blue sky to tempt me outdoors. So, after giving my Stream Engine rotor another coat of paint I dived under my Land Rover.


Removed the centre section of the exhaust and most of the nuts and bolts securing the LT230 transfer box to the LT77 gearbox ready for lifting it out. Now with the handbrake drum and back plate removed it’s not that heavy and if you are doing it on the floor it’s not hard to lift it onto your chest, which is what I’ve always done in the past. However those days are gone Smile

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I bought me a transmission jack with a built in scissor lift and strap to hold the box securely and just wheeled it out after making a wooden support to steady it better.

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With the two boxes side by side I swapped the speedo drive and diff lock linkages, tested the indicator lamp switch and then put the new box onto the jack.


Before putting it in I made up a new wiring loom for the diff lock and reversing lamp switches and did a couple of jobs that were far easier to do with the transfer box out of the way. Tidied up some sound proofing and re routed some breather pipes. Putting the box insitu and securing it to the main gearbox before abandoning it in favour of the Stream Engine which I wanted to get fitted before the day was out.

The hydro turbine seemed to back together without any major drama and once built up I ferried it down through the birch wood to my secret cove.


It really is quite magical down there especially when the tide is high.


I’d like to say that that was it sorted but I’m not convinced. Methinks the stator is damaged as it’s vibrating and the voltages are uneven across the phases Sad smile However it’s not all bad cos at least it’s Tuesday tomorrow and not the Wednesday I was expecting Smile

So, now I don’t have to go to Portree tomorrow I can investigate the turbine and finish off my transfer box Smile

October 17, 2021

I’m overwhelmed :-)

Filed under: animals, daily doings, food, hydro, life off grid, pigs — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:24 pm

I awoke this morning to what turned out to be a fine autumn day, not that I knew it at the time cos it was still dark. All I could see outside was the lights of a couple of fishing boats heading north. Plus of course the two eyes of a new toilet block below the Storr staring at me malevolently across the sea Sad smile Sure the Storr badly needed a car park and toilets, I just wish the Council would have put the lights somewhere else Smile I know, I know, it’s no big deal in the grand scale of things but since I moved here in 1989 I’ve never been able to see a single light barring the odd boat at sea or car traveling along the Staffin road. I feel like I’m being spied on Smile Don’t suppose it would be so bad if there was just one light or even three but this pair of eyes can see right in my bedroom Smile


To be honest it’s a long while since I’ve risen in darkness, my new semi retirement regime necessitating longer hours in bed, though I suppose it’ll be inevitable next week when the clocks go back. Next time I go to work on the ferry I’ll not be seeing daylight at home until March 2022. Once I did arise though I was overwhelmed by all the messages on the blog. Camilli the hermit is most appreciative of all your comments thanks.

The last chanterelles?

Having massaged my ego with all the comments on the blog we went out to feed the wiglets. Don’t think Bonzo has ever seen one before Smile Given his desperation to chase anything with legs or even wings I was most anxious to be there for the introductions Smile

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Well, that went quite well both he and Spotty seemed to behave though I’m sure it would have been a different story had I not been there shouting at him Smile

Next  I headed off out with the dogs though the old girl Molly never made it past the Disco parked on the drive. She’s getting pretty old, stiff and cranky like me these days and a few yards is about all she can manage these days. Sure,if it’s somewhere new and on the pavement she’ll go a little further, methinks she’s taking a leaf out of my book too Smile Not Bonzo that’s for sure, Bonzo, he’s an action dog so the pair of us headed into the woods looking for ‘shrooms. The mushroom season seemed to get off to a late start on account of it being so dry but once they did finally come out there’s been a good steady picking to be had. Having said that they were pretty thin on the ground today but it is mid October.


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Barely enough chanterelles for lunch was all I could find but that’s all I’d pick anyway, just took me longer to find them.

Loch Arnish was like glass so it’s resident (well they’ve certainly been resident this year) porpoises were playing just offshore.

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A bit too far to get a decent shot with me old trusty Panasonic. That big grey mooring buoy drifting in the loch gives you some idea of their size, they’re about 1.2m x 1m.

The Stream Engine

Once back home I revisited my hydro turbine removing the clamp from the magnet I’d bonded to the rotor. It seemed to have got a got grip though when offered up for assembly it was a few mm proud of the others and an even ‘air gap’, the distance between rotor and stator is desirable.


Luckily I had a plastic Vernier gauge with which to measure it, it being virtually impossible with a steel one Smile Carefully I ground the magnet down and managed to achieve an acceptable even gap all round. Not much else was done on the Stream Engine other than giving it lots of coats of aerosol primer in the hope of delaying the onset of more corrosion. I would spray a coat of paint on and then crawl under the Old Girl for an hour whilst it dried before adding more paint. I’m pretty determined to get the hydro turbine fitted tomorrow as it’s supposed to pish down on Tuesday.

Rural broadband

Being a perfectly calm and dry day my next task was replacing the broadband dish thingy on the house.


That wee square thing communicates with a mast on a hill about half a mile away which in turn communicates with a dish on the Aros Centre in Portree. The signal from Portree is then relayed to other masts on the Applecross Peninsula and Rona. The new dish I fitted is supposed to be an upgrade though to be honest it’s been perfectly OK as it is or should I say was.

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I do hope the wind doesn’t catch the new one, the upload speed certainly seems much better with the new one. The old one was around 10meg download and .5 to 1meg upload. After fitting the new dish it was 11.6 download and 3.83 upload which is plenty for my needs.


He’s a long way away but making lots of noise Smile It’s that time of year when the stags are rutting, strutting their stuff, wallowing in mud, fighting and bellowing like fog horns. Not heard any close by yet but that’s probably cos the house is so well insulated and I’m pretty deaf but they’re pretty vocal above North Arnish.

That’s not all that happened today but it’s after my bed time so I’ll leave for now and thanks once more for the nice ‘welcome back’

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