Life at the end of the road

January 18, 2015

It feels like home :-)

Filed under: daily doings, life off grid — Tags: , , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 9:05 pm

Well our deluxe residence at Torran on Raasay is really starting to feel like home now, indeed I’ve caught myself on more than one occasion calling it so. I guess we’ve been in here a couple of weeks and more altogether but this will be our tenth night in a row in the ‘Old Schoolhouse’ at Torran and we’re all getting quite settled now into the routine. It’s been hard with the weather and lack of phone but we’re getting used to the ‘wee quirks’ of living in a ‘bit of a mansion’ half a mile down a rough track. In fact I’d go quite as far as to say that we’re actually enjoying it, for we can’t get away from each other in the ‘great hall’ that serves as kitchen, living and dining room Smile Also the shower room upstairs is warm, the water pressure brilliant and the view awesome. Not that I’ve had that many showers here, I tend to take mine on Hallaig after work and get changed there.

One thing for sure the place will never have seen so much ‘STUFF’ since it was built some 150 or so years ago. Not only have we introduced a TV here for the first time. I arrived home from work today to discover MiL ironing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Having the TV forced upon me was bad enough but an iron and ironing board too, what next, a sun bed?

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I never said anything but just watched the Studer inverter panel in horror as the load increased into the yellow every time the thermostat kicked in. It says something about this Swiss made inverter and the Rolls batteries, in that it never complained once, and as you can see the voltage quickly recovered. I have only two gripes with this ‘Studer Compact C2324’ inverter, one is that it is a nightmare to program as the instruction manual is written in gibberish, the other is that you actually need to buy the above bit to actually change any of the settings Sad smile That said, and considering this house is a holiday let used by numpties, it is brilliant. It’s only rated at 2.3kW but quite happily runs the whole of this huge house, and despite MiL’s best efforts with the washing machine drier and iron, the generator has never been on yet.

I’m kind of just assuming you all know what I’m talking about there but just in case, let me explain. Like our old house and our new one, all the properties at the north end of Raasay are ‘off grid’. Torran, Arnish and even Fladda had the opportunity of an electrical supply in the 70’s via 95% EEC grants but ‘fluffed it’. Personally that suits me just fine for the lack of electricity made this part of the world more desirable to me as I’d lived without it for years prior to moving here. A grid connection makes you a slave to the ‘big six’ who charge you a fortune for something you can pluck out of the air, shines from the sun or pours on your head. I am of course talking wind, solar and hydro.

Now the Daily Fail and Torygraph may tell you that these technologies are expensive, intermittent and unreliable but when was the last time you had a power cut and how much do you pay PA for gas and electric Smile Me, well I’ve had half a dozen in 25 years and all of those have been for minutes not days. All the mains electricity for this part of Scotland comes from dams built by government schemes after the war. They paid for themselves ten times over in the last 50 years yet the inhabitants of the west coast pay more for their grid supplied electricity than the coal fired south, you really could not make it up.

Of course the reason your electricity is so expensive is because of all the wind turnips, the huge grants they get for being installed and the money they receive for NOT generating anything when its windy. Aye right, what the Fail, Torygraph, Fox News and Sun neglect to tell you is that ALL generators, be they wind, solar, coal, gas or nuclear get paid for not producing in times of low demand.

Sorry, ‘went off on one’ there and got distracted, where was I Smile


Saturday was a long enough day with a late sailing for just one foot passenger but I arrived home safely at 22:00 and after one good coffee topped up with Bailey’s went to bed. Sunday arrived around 7:30 and I left Torran an hour later in daylight for the first time.


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After a brief sojourn down to Brochel I continued onto work and our day of ‘silent running’ on the Hallaig. Sunday being the day that we sail in ‘Battery Only’ all day.

After the first sailing, the ‘Big Breakfast’ and the usual fire drill and maintenance I settled down to trying to get some sense out of Vodafone . Of course it took me the best part of two hours to actually ‘log on’ but I got there in the end and managed to post this


Well, I’m sorry if I sound a little abrupt but that’s me a full five weeks without a signal at home IV40 8PF at the north east corner of Loch Arnish. We have no landline, there are 4 Vodafone users at the house with different phones and there is not even the tiniest infinitesimal signal in, around or near the house. There has been a good signal here for ten or fifteen years and we NEED the phone. Our only way of contacting the outside world is via a poor satellite broadband link which will NOT support my Suresignal. We are half a mile down a track with no vehicular access and getting severely annoyed.

Trying to get hold of you chaps at Vodafone is a joke, the website won’t load properly on my satellite link and when it does the ‘Live Chat’ will not work. Obviously I cannot phone and you don’t give an email address, or if you do you hide it well. Eventually I managed to spend the best part of a Sunday morning in a nearby caravan with a better internet conection having a ‘Live Chat’ with ‘Mack’ who was absolutely no help despite doing his best.

"What is your postcode"

"I’ve just given it to you"

"Can I phone you back on another phone"

"There are no other phones, I’ve just told you I have no way of contacting anyone other than email"

"Do you have a landline"

"NO" (fortunately you cannot shout in a ‘Live Chat’)

"I see you have a ‘Suresignal’ can I use that"

"NO the internet protocol is only good for texts"

"OK, I’ll get an engineer to phone", whereupon Mack ended the chat.

Feeling a little dejected I had to wait until Tuesday when I was 40 miles away and had finally got a phone signal. The usual half and an hour going around in circles with exactly the same questions and answers followed. Only this time there was a promise of an engineer to phone back within 30minutes. I waited for an hour and the best I got was a text from the customer care department asking me to rate their response to my complaint. Despite being in a blizzard at the time I stopped in the middle of the road and spent the next twenty minutes replying. That would have been Thursday night I guess and I’ve still not heard a cheep, despite now having full service at work ten miles away and a weak one at IV40 8PF half a mile from my house.

I am not complaing because it’s inconvenient, it’s more than that, we are COMPLETLY reliant on a phone signal and if you look at my records you’ll see I’ve used about 9 minutes this month a probably less last month.

Could someone please LISTEN or at least READ and not just keep following ‘the script’

Thanks to Patrick I also managed to email Jeroen the CEO, doubt it will have done any good but you never know. My good mate Andrew from Finisterre managed to give me Dido Harding’s email and that worked wonders Smile

16:00 came around soon enough and once more we silently headed to Sconser

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this time into the setting sun.

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