Life at the end of the road

January 10, 2014

Four Tammies and two Spotties :-)

Filed under: daily doings, pigs — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:50 pm

What a day of contrasts it was yesterday, pure breath taking up at the new house site that’s for sure. Me, I spent most of the day working on the caravan whilst Lachie got on with some block work.


For some reason the ‘wee dug’ aint so keen on the caravan unless I’m inside it with her, however, I spent a good deal of the day crawling around underneath it, fixing drains and sealing up holes to keep out the draughts. One thing for certain, I aint half as ‘bendy’ as I used to be, long gone are the days when I’d regularly slide under a vehicle and contort myself into a strange shape to extricate some bell housing bolt or exhaust bracket. Now I struggle getting up and down off the ground and every pebble or lump of gravel seems to stick into bony bits that were once covered in muscle, or at least impervious to pain. Yesterday I felt like I’d been run over by truck whilst lying on pile of freshly tipped bricks.



Of course it didn’t help when I had to keep removing myself to collect the tools I’d forgotten or take a picture of the amazing day. That will be the southern side of Loch Arnish with its many inlets, bays, caves and reefs, none of whom I can pronounce,


though the late Charlie MacLeod, Calum’s brother, drew this for me a couple of years ago. My good friend Bonk Smile translated them but I’ve forgotten that, just like I can no longer remember the ‘valve clearances’ on a Lister without consulting the manual Sad smile 



This will be the view looking north west towards the basalt cliffs of Kilt Rock, Brothers point or the ‘Dutchman’s cap’ is before that the the very aptly named Grian a Sgier, the ‘sunny rock’. Right there in the foreground are the purple birches of Aird Torran, I dunno why they always look that colour at this time of year, they’re even more startling when there’s snow on the ground.

The brilliant and sunny morning had actually led me into a false sense of security that even the odd rainbow couldn’t dislodge.


OK, I’m not dumb, I do know that rainbow must equal rain somewhere but we have a different climate here at the north end than the rest of Raasay and Skye. Many is the day that it’ll be pishing with rain at the south and and on Skye when all we’ll get is the odd light shower.


Anyway one of the many jobs on my ‘caravan list’ was to repair a leak in one of the skylights but that didn’t go quite as planned when I removed it late in the afternoon and the ‘heavens opened’ Sad smile It wasn’t a particularly long or even heavy shower but it dead wreck all my careful preparation and drying.

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So, after abandoning the skylight project and covering it with an old road sign I got on with interior work, like sealing up a draughty and leaky toilet, shower and some vents that had a veritable gale blowing through them. I know ventilation is important but we’re talking the west coast of Scotland here not the Vale of Evesham. Ventilation is only an issue inside hermetically sealed containers, certainly not a problem on a static caravan 70m above sea level facing westwards Smile



It was good to see a little colour too, not only in this lonely daffodil but also in the three goldfinches that turned up at the kitchen window!!!!


Not my photo I hasten to add but lifted from , now I’ve lived here almost 25 years and have probably only ever seen a dozen in all that time. Then just like a bus, three of them turn up at the same time, I was flabbergasted

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especially as we now seem to have acquired FIVE cats!!!!


Well today was what I call a ‘none day’, I spent the whole day doing paperwork and on the phone, or should I say Skype, which, whilst not ideal has been a lifesaver.  My praise of Dido proved a little premature for the phone still isn’t working and her sidekick Mickey says it’s not going to be fixed until the 14th of January, that’ll be five weeks without a usable phone!!! There’s no way I’m getting a landline at the new house, the mobile works up there, we’ve a reliable internet connection, why on earth would you want to give the charlatans at BT or Talk Talk £15 a month??

Many thanks to Patrick for pointing out what to some would be blindingly obvious, Skype has enabled me to pay all my bills from the comfort of the kitchen and with a clarity that I’ve not heard in a quarter of a century. OK, nobody can actually phone me back but it’s better than nothing.

I’m in true awe of people that can spend their whole day sat down at a desk with a phone and some paperwork, in fact, I’m surprised that people can do it for more than a couple of hours if the weather is fine. Me, I find myself dashing outside every half hour or so to ‘check the pigs’ or remove a hen from the garden, I really would ‘crack up’ in jail.

There was of course the feeding that needed doing


and I combined that with weaning Jamie Lea’s spotties in the morning. The easiest way is to lead the sow away from the piglets but our Gloucester old spot is as ‘blind as a bat’ with those floppy ears and it was a bit of a performance. Still, I managed it and got her out onto the hill with Rocky and Ellie.


Then I opened the gate separating the two litters and left them to it.




The ‘spotties’ are a wee bit smaller and a couple of weeks younger but they’ll soon catch up with the slower growing Tamworth’s, but at the moment the Tammie’s are ‘boss’


and initially they took over the ark, along with the hen Smile


However, when I checked on them a couple of hours ago the spotties were back in their rightful place but the hen wasn’t Smile

Anyway, there’s six of the wee darlings still unaccounted for, so if you’re interested in some fine piglets there are still four Tammies and two spotties available for £40 each delivered to Skye or Kyle area.


I only finally got out of the house at 16:00 but was much pleased to see that it was still very much daylight


perhaps not for long but enough for me to finish sealing the skylight on the caravan and wander over to Torran with the ‘wee dug’ in sunshine but at least light enough for me to do it without a torch.

June 30, 2013

That time of year again

Filed under: Croft house for sale, Land Rover, pigs — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:33 am

Yes the ‘clock is ticking’ to MOT time on the ‘Old Girl’ once more, and once more I’m in a tiz, a word, which according to my ‘spellcheck’ doesn’t exist, anyway I’m sure you know what I mean. It’s also that time of year when I can’t stay in bed and sure enough I was up at 4:30 and away out to the ‘power station’ to watch my meters, how sad is that. The good hash of wind that is blowing from the south usually means rain but as yet it’s not reared it’s head and even the solar PV was producing 50w at 5:00am. In fact the weekend so far has actually been very nice, hardly sunny but dry with a nice warm breeze to keep the midge away.

Smidge on Raasay Smile

 Not that that’s a problem these days with the ‘Smidge’, which is now available from .

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So now not only can you buy first class hand made jewellery almost as soon as you set foot on Raasay but you can keep the midge at bay too. I really cannot praise this product highly enough, twenty eight years I’ve lived on the west coast and it really is the only thing that works, without stripping paint or stinging your eyes.


The first thing that I did yesterday at 5:00am prior to going outside to mow the lawn was dowse myself in the stuff, only a couple of years ago that would have been impossible in anything other than full sun or a gale.


Next it was up on the roof, again an impossible task on a calm grey dawn,



this time to secure the solar panel junction and fuse box. I had to leave it unfinished last week due to the pishing rain that was filling it with water as I made the connections so yesterday I went up there with rags and WD40 to finish it off.

All this with only one midge bite and that was on my back where my Tee shirt had lifted and exposed some skin, and not only that the wife didn’t beat me for cutting the grass and banging on the roof before 7:00am, result or what Smile

After breakfast, pig feeding and pigeon shooting it was back under the twenty seven year old Land Rover to continue with the servicing and pre MOT work. The majority of my time being taken up by bodging, sorry repairing the stainless steel exhaust and its brackets. The pipework may not corrode but everything else does and the half hour job turned into an epic of cutting up bits of scaffolding to join two sections that had suffered a rusted clamp. A mild steel affair that is fitted during manufacture prior to swaging the pipe end. Consequently the pipe must be cut to fit a new one and I have no stainless welding wire.


Eventually however I got it sorted before managing to turn changing the fuel filter into an epic, (the red thing on the bulkhead) a job which, over the last twelve years has seriously messed me up.

I dunno why as I must have changed thousands of these over the years, the old ‘Crossland 522’ was the diesel filter of choice for all UK manufacturers for around 30 years. I have them on my generators, they were fitted to my fishing boat and just about every diesel engine I’ve ever worked on up to the mid eighties. It’s a simple affair sandwiched between two O rings, which for reasons I’ve never been able to fathom are slightly different sizes and in most applications is a ‘piece of cake’ to fit so long as you get the O rings the right way around and fit the top one correctly. 

I dunno if it’s the height of this, it’s awkwardness to get to or just my incompetence but I rarely manage to change this filter without some disaster and today was no exception. As is usual when I change a 522 I do it with a warm engine, old diesels can be a pig to start at the best of times so it’s foolish to do so prior to running the engine up first. This time I (once more) failed to locate the top O ring correctly and it was ‘drawing in air’, not a problem as I was half expecting it anyway. However in leaning over to see and then rectify the problem I broke the spigot (once more) off the radiator header tank!!!!



This will be the third time in twelve years that I’ve done this and I mustn’t be the only one, the design is stupid, it sticks out upwards just where you lean over the wing to access the injectors, fuel pumps and filter. In the past I’ve re soldered it which involves removal but this time I did it in situ with some JB weld epoxy resin.


One good thing about all this training, which I hadn’t actually realized until I came to enter the work on page number four of twelve years worth of ‘service history’ was that I’ve done half my normal mileage, only 6000 miles in just under a year!!!

Five spare piglets

All of which took me up to 17:00 when we had a visit from some friends down Sleat way with an interest in permaculture and a lovely two week old son Smile After that it was a case of sorting out misplaced Tamworth piglets, eight of which had managed to find their way into Jamie Lea’s field and were unable to get back to mum. Not that Ellie was caring, they were just six weeks old, ready for weaning and she still had two in with her for company. Had all ten been in the field I guess we’d have just weaned them and had done with it, they’ll be going away next week anyway, or at least some of them will. A cancelled order means that we have five of the ‘wee darlings’ spare, not that we’ll have them spare for long at this time of year as they’ll just be ready for Christmas and this is usually our busiest time on the ‘sales front’. So if you want some fine free range Tamworth pork on the Christmas table we’ve five lovely piglets for sale. They’re £40 each and we can deliver to a few places on Skye and the nearby mainland FOC.

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Piglets are great fun Smile

Anyway, that’s it now, it’s after 7:30, time to load up with Smidge and brave the elements, actually it’s blowing a gale so I’ll give the midge repellent a miss just now. Wifey didn’t put any on yesterday and looked like she’d got the measles,  me, I was out until 19:00 without a bite from that one application at 5:00am!!!!!

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