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Monday, 30 April 2012

Bridge deck in place

 Here are some pictures (click to enlarge) of progress on the bridge that will connect the first floor rear door to the embankment.   Today, thanks to help from FoSCL members - and blog followers - Chris and Lisa Watkins, we were able to get the bridge deck into position.

Chris and Lisa, from Sussex, are holidaying at Ribblehead - for the thirtieth time!   They knew of the water tower from the FoSCL Journal and from this Blog.   Passing by this afternoon they had a tour of the place then very kindly helped me with the bridge deck.   The four foot square fibre-glass panels exactly replicate the cast iron water tank base plates.   They were here on site when we bought it so one wonders if they were intended for emergency repairs in the event of any base plate failures.   Whatever their history, they make ideal bridge decking.   They will eventually be covered with anti-slip paint.   Meanwhile we have easy access to the top of the embankment.   Railings will of course be fitted very soon.

The bottom right picture shows a near perfect telegraph insulator, dug up whilst making the holes for the girders to rest in on the embankment.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Big Welsh Richard to the rescue

We have had several visitors today - and have been delighted to show them round.  Typically these visitors have seen Restoration Man and are taking a holiday in Settle on the strength of it.   I have been struggling single handed to winch the two enormous girders for the bridge, having prepared the ground.  One delightful visitor this afternoon was the Rev Bill (name withheld to protect his reputation) from a long way away.   He was glowing in his praise for the project and was particularly pleased at how he said I had dealt with the 'pompous architect' over the staircase.   Sorry George!   Bless him, the Rev Bill offered to give me a lift with the girders but I politely declined out of concern for his age and possible frailty (combined with mine).

Maybe the Rev Bill said a quick one for no sooner had he left than Richard, a man-mountain from Wales, came by.   Richard, it turned out is a builder and leader of a 26 strong group of walkers about to walk the Dales.  Richard inspected the project and pronounced himself satisfied.   He then insisted on helping me with the two girders and a concrete lintel - now safely on top of the embankment.   He is here for the rest of the week and says that if I get some concrete he will finish the job!!

The magical appeal of the water tower still works.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

On the tourist map

Settle Chamber of Trade have just published a new leaflet for visitors to the town.   The image shows the inside of the leaflet, including a map of Settle showing places of interest.   Imagine then our delight when we saw that the legend for item 3 on the map read "Settle Station and Water Tower".

I reckon we must have done something right to be considered to be a tourist attraction.   All very encouraging.

Love nest vacated

My pleas to weather station experts for advice on protocol on how to deal with birds making love nests in weather station rainwater collectors have borne fruit.   Two suggestions were put forward:

1.   chicken netting
2.   a shot gun

I have opted for number 1.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Weather station love nest

Just when you think everything is running smoothly, nature intervenes.   A few days ago I saw a pair of collared doves 'performing' as it were on the topmost railings of the water tank.   Today, I see that Mrs CD has taken up residence in the rainwater collector of the weather station.

Mr CD meanwhile woos her with twigs.

Then he sees me being voyeuristic and gives me one of those looks before flying off for his next consignment . .

Leaving Mrs CD keeping house.

I have e-mailed weather station guru John Livesley at MyLocalWeather, also Stuart Thompson at the Met. Office, asking for advice on protocol.

Meanwhile the weather station has recorded 10.9 mm of rain, or dove pee, since 0235 this morning. 
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Monday, 16 April 2012

HP sauce

This is what happens when you immerse a corroded brass item in HP sauce for an hour or two.   Still not perfect (nor would you be after maybe a century underground).

Remarkable transformation.
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Sunday, 15 April 2012

Buried treasure

Spring having sprung, I am getting the ground around the water tower ready for seeding and planting.   This means digging and, in the process, unearthing bits and pieces like the one below:

It is brass and was most probably a Midland Railway (MR) uniform badge.   These crop up on E-Bay from time to time but this one is special because of its location here by the tower in Settle.   It was found behind the water tower.   It is anybody's guess how it got there - perhaps the wearer was up to no good in the privacy of the location?

This is only the latest in a string of finds - telegraph equipment galore, a couple of signals, glass bottles and pottery.   Much of it was unearthered when JCBs were digging of course.   The area presently being dug is at the top of the banking where the topsoil remained largely undisturbed so there may be more like this.
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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Trespass ye not

 E Bay is a wonderful way of finding things.   This sign is a definite two-man lift.   Click the picture to enlarge it.   I bet that put the fear of God into would-be trespassers who risked parting with £10 - a tidy sum in 1906.

 We have located the sign in a credible position on the south west corner of the tower.

I was helped to lift the sign into position by two visitors from Otley who really earned their trip to the top of the tower.
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Saturday, 7 April 2012

Visit from Mark Holdstock

Had a visit today from Mark Holdstock.   The name may ring a bell - as a BBC Radio 4 presenter and journalist - Farming Today, You and Yours and so on.   Mark is a terrific supporter of the Settle-Carlisle Line and his is the well known voice that narrates the Settle-Carlisle journey as a download for MP3 players and, more recently as the iPhone app.   He also did a splendid piece about the water tower in its early stages for the Yorkshire Post.   I first met Mark when he interviewed me on Lazonby station on the subject of 'Intermediate Block Signals' for You and Yours.   Anybody who can fascinate the nation with such a topic must be quite a journalist!

Fate dealt Mark a dreadful hand last November with the unwelcome diagnosis of MS - of the more aggressive type, primary progressive.     It has affected his legs and, disastrously for him and his radio career, his voice.   Very bravely, Mark has started a Blog of his day to day experience of MS entitled The Trainee Cripple.   You can see it at

Now that we have a working lift I felt comfortable in asking Mark to drop in.   He had seen it on Restoration Man and having now seen it for himself thinks it is 'brilliant'.

The Lift is Revealed

   Now that grandsons James and Ben have seen the lift and tested it thoughly I can publish these pictures.   The first two show the lift shaft as it passes from the first floor to the roof.   We had worried that it would be such a visual intrusion that it would spoil everything we had sriven for, especially the 'floating' staircase.   We need not have worried.   Sure, it is big but it is what it is.   It stands clear of the staircase and does not detract from it.
 Here it is at roof room level.   The area around the lift shaft at this level can now be finished.
 This is the upper part of the cage showing the floor buttons, an emergency stop, an alarm and an overload indicator.
 Below the control panel is a BT telephone for emergencies.

The lift (and the staircase) were intended to go into the new annex but the planners would not allow a three floor annex so we had to re-think the lift.   Anyway, it is in, it works and so far as we can tell at this stage it will be a huge asset - in every sense!
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Thursday, 5 April 2012

A big bunch of flowers

Working in the station drive this morning when along came our local florist almost dwarfed by the biggest bunch of flowers you ever did see.   They were to Pat and me from Evo Lifts.   What a delightful gesture.

I have never before faced the challenge of taking a picture of a bunch of flowers and a lift.   The two things are fairly far apart on the emotional spectrum.   I hope this does justice to both.  

The daffodil by the way is from the station drive, a victim presumably of yesterdays high winds.
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Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Lift is in and working!

The lift, supplied by Evo Lifts of Southampton*, was finally commissioned today and it is magnificent.   I promised to post a picture of the lift shaft as soon as the lift was completed - and here it is.   Granted, it is only the inside of the lift shaft, which is a bit frustrating at this stage.   There is a reason for my reluctance to post pictures of the lift platform and the outsides of the lift shaft.   Grandson James (he who has enquired about the lift at every stage in the building process), is visiting us in a couple of days and I do not want to spoil the surprise for him.   Pictures of the lift in a couple of days therefore.   Meantime, the inside of the lift shaft is pretty good isn't it?

* We really did try to find a local supplier but failed.   You really would have thought that somebody in nearby Keighley, a town whose main industry is lifts and escalators, could have done us a lift.   But no.
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Sunday, 1 April 2012

False alarm

This morning I was hoisting some plywood panels into the tank for storage, using the crane.   It was quite tricky because of a breeze which kept changing direction.   I became aware of somebody shouting at me from the station drive.   I could not make out what the caller was saying, above the noise of the crane's motor and an aircraft flying overhead.   Concerned that I was being made aware of some unseen danger only observable from the ground I stopped the crane, leaving the plywood panels to take their chances in the wind.   I asked the man to repeat what he was saying but still I could not hear him.   The plane was circling over Settle so the noise from above continued.   Perhaps the pilot had also seen whatever was causing such concern?   I struggled to the far end of the tank, navigating floor joists still awaiting their decking boards, to be nearer to the man on the station drive.  I shouted to him to try again.   Cupping my hands behind my ears I clearly heard, in the broadest of Lancashire accents,
"This were on't telly weren't it?"
"Yes it was", I replied.

End of conversation.

There is something about broad Lancashire accents that can sound gormless.  This little episode reinforced that perception.   As I struggled back to the crane and its airborne load which may by now have been in Giggleswick or half way to Morecambe I could not help thinking about Lancashire County Council's boundary road signs.   Some bright spark, or firm of consultants, had come up with a wording for these signs.   Beneath the Red Rose were the words:   "Welcome to Lancashire - a Place where Everyone Matters"

I do not approve of graffiti or the defacement of road signs but I make an exception for the jokers with broad black marker pens who routinely change these ridiculous signs to read:  "Welcome to Lancashire - a Place where Everyone Mutters."

Hello James

A little bird tells me that grandson James reads this Blog avidly, and very well.   That delights me in several ways.   Ever since we started building work James has asked me "Grandpa - is the lift there yet?"   Well James, it now IS!   It just needs a couple more things doing to it and hopefully we shall be using it in a day or two.   I shall post pictures of it then.