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Monday, 12 November 2018

Sixties Power at Settle

This wonderful picture dates from the early 1960s and shows one of the powerful Black 5 locomotives of the time about to depart northbound from Settle station.
click to enlarge

The Black 5 has a full head of steam in anticipation of a tough climb up to Blea Moor and beyond, evidenced by the excess steam blowing from the safety valves.   Black 5s were the standard workhorses for stopping trains over the S&C and can still be seen hauling special charter trains to this day.

This particular locomotive was scrapped in 1967.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Colonoscopy Time

Colonoscopy is one of those things one knows about and which, hopefully, happens to other people.   One of life's medical indignities and if ever needed  buggerations.   I use the word in its most well meant sense.

As colonoscopies go, this morning's was a delight.   This was the final one (I think) to be certain that cancer had not returned and, in full 4K HD I was able to take a trip up where the sun don't shine and see for myself that it had not.   Clean as a whistle, as it were.   Not only that the procedure was done by my friend and saviour Mr Khan - the surgeon who operated on me three years ago.   Bless him, he remembered me and my late sigmoid colon.  A lovely man and a delight to meet him and to thank him again.

Just about everybody who attends the Endoscopy Unit (they look at both ends) is worried about it for all sorts of reasons.   In Airedale's case the tone is set even before you get to the door. 

Finally, not for those of gentle upbringing or a delicate disposition, this is Billy Connolly on the preparation for a colonoscopy: 

Friday, 2 November 2018

Planning Permission Refused

Our application to extend the annex at the rear of the tower has been refused:

To be fair this is not unexpected as both the planning officer and the Conservation / Heritage person had both said they thought the extension was, in two words, 'too big'.

Clearly, we do not want to waste more money on designing something smaller which might still be regarded as too big so we went back to the planner to get some guidance.   The key words are 'in its present form'.   Frustrating though this is, we hope to satisfy the concerns and to achieve what maybe an even better result.

Architect Stuart Green is going to draw up some options that address 'scale, size, location and massing' and then we shall meet with the two planning people to discuss it further.   He is not renowned for letting such things defeat him.   Here are his pods on top of Bradford's Listers Mill:

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Another Furniture Find

Deep within the furniture pile was a set of bedroom furniture in stunningly good condition but slightly out of fashion in that it was brown.   Its quality though is outstanding so we have decided to keep it for the new extension (planning decision day today incidentally).   Two wardrobes (his and hers*) and a dressing table.

Turns out they were made by the London firm of Harris Lebus (1840-1969).   They bear a 1960 British Standard kitemark - remember those?

Here is the smaller wardrobe:

Those shelves bear neat little labels, pyjamas, underwear, shirts etc.

Turns out that Harris Lebus have a fascinating history.   During WW2 their London factory, said to be the biggest furniture factory in the world, was used to make the wooden Horsa D Day gliders and the Mosquito fighter bomber aircraft.   I believe the Mosquito was the fastest thing in the sky for a time because of its light-weigh but incredibly strong wooden construction.   More useful at the time than luxury furniture for sure.

Not just that, they invented and produced Utility furniture, nowadays appreciated and sought after.

* Why are his wardrobes bigger than hers?   That flies in the face of 3/4 of a century's experience of volume of clothes accumulated by the sexes.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Furniture and Effects

For the past year or so we have been host to almost the entire contents of the seven bedroomed Well House, where we lived whilst the water tower was being restored.   Family circumstances have dictated this situation and we await the planning decision on our extension, which will absorb some of the items but by no means all.

The stored items occupied
- one entire bay of the garage / navvy hut, floor to ceiling
- the entire volume of the coal truck
- the summer house
- almost the entire garage loft
- some of the interior of the main tower, especially the utility room and the atrium

Altogether, a big invasion of 'stuff'.   During last week we had a serious onslaught on this stuff, ruthlessly categorising it into keep (for the extension), ship to Pittsburgh (a family outpost), sell, take to charity shop and take to tip.   The ship to Pittsburgh category was in the event nil as shipping costs are absurdly high and the actual number of items in that category was actually low.   The biggest category by volume was 'sell' and it has worked out incredibly well in these social media days.   The Settle Sell and Seek Facebook facility has worked a treat and we have been able to reclaim an enormous amount of space - the garage bay in fact.

Such decisions can have unexpected results.   The dining table below was in the 'take to tip' category as it was so scruffy.   It fell into the 'sell' category when a £10 offer was made online, later upped to £20, unseen.  Then I sought advice from Simon Byrne, who has a flourishing restoration business.   He pleaded that we did not scrap it so I spent a couple of hours wax polishing with Fiddes 'stripped pine' blend of waxes - just right for use on almost any colour.   The first picture below does not do justice to its scruffiness but it does show potential:

click to make that enormous table leg even bigger

and here is the result of waxing the frame and legs only:

The top (which extends) remains to be done but already the results are remarkable.   A quick Google search reveals these things at £600 upwards.   Seller beware eh?

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

George is Back

Lovely meal at The Talbot last evening with Restoration Man George Clarke:

George's busy schedule enabled him and two of his children to revisit one of his favourite episodes after six years.   Off for a trip on the S&C today and to see some of the local sights.   By happy coincidence George's children and our grandchildren are the same ages and the grandchildren are here for half term.   They did not know George was going to drop in, which was a nice surprise for them.

RM relaxes on the sundeck, pretending the sun is shining, after a very hard morning riding on the S&C.   A far cry from paddling about in our wellies inside a rusty old water tank eh?

Bless him, on the way back from Appleby to Settle George put this on Instagram, Twitter etc:


I can’t even put into words how beautiful the Settle to Carlisle Railway Line is. The community volunteers are nothing short of amazing! Add the journey to your bucket list because it’s simply breathtaking. And say “hello” to Mark and Pat at Settle Water Tower if you get a chance #settle

To Appleby and back on the train I was amazed how many people not only recognised him but asked  variously for a photograph / a selfie / a kiss / just to say hello.   I have met people in the public eye who are dismissive of such requests - sometimes quite hurtfully.   Not so George.   He is unfailingly polite, friendly, obliging and modest.   Here is a smashing picture from Twitter during our journey:

Requested by a total stranger but resulting in a picture to treasure.   With selfies George takes charge of the camera '"My arms are longer than yours" he says.


Sunday, 21 October 2018

Now It's a New Boiler

Our Worcester Bosch gas central heating boiler decided it had had enough - just months out of its warranty period of course.   We now have a new one, quite a bit larger, hopefully to cope with the worst of winters in reasonable comfort.   This despite annual servicing.   Its heat exchanger was leaking and possibly had been leaking from the start - we were always having to top up with water as the system pressure dropped.   One wonders why the annual servicers did not pick this up.

The new one has a ten year guarantee, which should see us out, conditional though on having an expensive power flush:

Just about every single electro mechanical device in our 'future proofed' home has needed replacement:

Kingspan Envireau rainwater harvesting - main pump early on and controls not long after

Solar Panels Inverter

Worcester Bosch central heating boiler

Windows - a number of spontaneous breaks

Ethernet wiring - simply not used as wi-fi and Bluetooth have taken over

HDMI TV wiring - not used and by-passed.

TV aerial wiring and sockets constant problems.   Thank heaven for the BBC iPlayer and other channel equivalents

LED bulbs galore.   Fine for energy saving but nowhere near as long lived as the hype would have it.

Aritco Lift - a Godsend when it works but it has let us down (get it?) too often, despite annual servicing.

Vent Axia heat recovery ventilation - still grinding on but expensively troublesome.

The details are in contemporary Blog postings.

A common factor with a number of these items is the lack of an adequate user manual.   Yes, I know you can download them.   If one exists at all it tends to fall short of fault correction user instructions.   Clearly it is better for manufacturers and 'service' industries to insist on call-outs.   Instructions often tell you how to clean something but not how to clear faults.   YouTube can sometimes come to the rescue though.   A good example is the heat recovery ventilation whose air filters need changing quarterly.   A 'change air filters' message appears on a screen.   You change the air filters, a simple matter.   The screen still insists 'change air filters' but nowhere in the manual does it tell you how to cancel the message.   A mere irritation but symptomatic of a common problem.   It is exceedingly irritating for a gadget to stop working, for a screen to read 'Fault Code xxx', for an 'engineer' to travel from Sheffield or somewhere, to press a couple of buttons beep-beep-beep and everything works again.   You pay up and feel stupid.  The lift is a particularly good or bad example of this.   When it gets too many confusing commands it gives up and becomes in need of a re-set.   You can look until your eye balls ache to find an unambiguous statement of how to do that.

As we embark on a substantial extension (still in the planning balance) we are determined to keep things simple, not to fall for sales talk about future proofing and life changing new gadgets.