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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Filming again

This has been a day of major progress, thanks to a plea from Restoration Man producer Melissa Mayne for us to assemble some willing hands to get stuck in to outside jobs and to be filmed.   Nephew David and Barbara transformed this embankment from a nettle overgrown nightmare into a seeded grass bank in a morning and a bit.
Below is said David creating a flower bed near to the station drive.   This is the only known photograph of David wearing shorts.   The puzzled look on his face is because I had just asked him to say 'lesbians' for the camera.   I was just a bit trigger happy.   Poor David is clearly thinking 'Did Uncle Mark really say lesbians?'
The Jubilee Union flags fly proudly over the tower - a Photo-Shop image for the TV.
Finally, Here is cameraman Duncan Stingemore risking life, limb and tripod in the station drive.
Lesbians have registered.Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Tha garage bits are now ALL here

The remaining garage components arrived this morning and have been cleverly stacked on and around the buffers and railway line.

Here is Brian Thornton again with Settle Coal's big lorry filling our yard.   It took all his reversing skills to turn around in the supposed turn-round area at the end of the Sidings.   The white vehicles to the left are parked on double yellow lines - obscured by building work (not ours!) alongside.
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Monday, 28 May 2012

The Appleby workshop hits the road

Today was a day of serious logistics - collecting the components of the demolished Network Rail workshop from Appleby and transporting it all to Settle.   This was a carefully choreographed operation between some seriously big lorries of Network Rail and Settle Coal.
Click the collage to view.   Clockwise from top left we see Network Rail's Tony Taylor and his lorry, loaded with the roof A frames.   The large picture shows Settle Coal's Brian Thornton with the rest of the timber components on a seriously big lorry.   The lashings were checked on the A66 before we hit the M6.

The small picture bottom middle shows Tony Taylor holding one of the iron door hinges from the hut.   He is a big bloke but the hinge is taller than he is.

Now the head scratching begins at Settle as we assess what we can do with what we have now got.   Hopefully we can transform an Appleby eyesore into something that is easy on the eye and functional here at Settle.

Special thanks to Network Rail for donating the building to our project, thus saving another large piece of Settle-Carlisle heritage.Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Let there be light

The big main room with its incredibly high beamed ceiling has always been a bit lacking in light at night.   These huge wrought iron chandeliers came from The Golden Lion in Settle during its recent refurbishment.   They were destined for the skip so we were lucky enough to get them as a donation to our project.   They had never looked quite right at The Lion - a bit too big in fact.   Here at the water tower they now hang in a room that  suits their size.
Just for now they have exposed low energy bulbs which are not elegant but even in daylight is is clear that they will provide more than enough light for the room.   Can't wait for it to get dark.

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Saturday, 26 May 2012

Friday, 25 May 2012

Getting into the Jubilee spirit

Union flags seem to be sprouting all over the place in anticipation of the Queen's Jubilee.   Normally one would not dream of adding frills like flags to this already stunning building but sixty years on the throne by HMQ deserves celebration.   Planning permission is required for flagpoles in Conservation Areas - yes, it really is *.   So, these pictures are, ahem,  Photo-Shop simulations of what flagpoles and flags would look like on the water tower - if they were ever to be put there.   As prosecution would have to be initiated on behalf of said HMQ we may be safe flying the flags on Jubilee Day.

The flagpoles, if they existed, would be removable and would be stored out of sight inside the tank - see the top middle simulated picture (click to enlarge).

It has been suggested that we put an illuminated inflatable snowman or a father Christmas on top of the roof room in season.   Nothing tasteless of course.   Oddly, there's no local planning guidance on those.

* Actually, that scourge of local government red tape Eric Pickles, wants to brighten the place up by easing the planning restrictions on flags as the government's Planning Portal says:
but flag POLES - now that's another matter.   Eric Pickles for King I say.   Did I really say that?

We have a bridge - and some seedlings

Posted by PicasaThe collage (click to enlarge) shows the almost finished bridge from the annex rear door to the top of the embankment.   It was going to have metal railings but we used the tank rod ends as fixing pins for the garden soil boards (bottom right).   They look fine there - functional yet characterful.

The bridge has wooden railings, in keeping with the railings elsewhere in the garden.

Notice that the lawn at the top of the embankment is greening up.   Seedlings are also germinating on the very poor clay soil on the north western aspect of the knoll - see centre lower picture.   These were a gift from Booth supermarket for Settle in Bloom 2012.   They were scattered on a 'hope for the best' basis about a month ago.   Watch this space.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

A Building Site Again

Well, not really a building site.   A lot if electrical bits and pieces were finished off today and joiner Dave Richardson came to hang a door to what will be a walk-in cupboard behind the lift on the ground floor.   Meanwhile I was working on the bridge between the first floor and the embankment - nearly finished now.

The weather has been glorious today - which lifts the spirits no end.

Monday, 21 May 2012

The Garden grows

Tank bracing irons used to retain the new topsoil on the knoll, now planted.  We have shifted tons of topsoil from what will, subject to planning approval, become the base for the summer house - below.
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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Patrick McGowan

I heard today the sad but not unexpected news that a long time friend, Patrick McGowan, had died.   Patrick had been suffering from an inoperable brain tumour.   It must have been around 1970 when I met Patrick.  He was the crime reporter on the Bradford Telegraph and Argus and I, as an Inspector, was Bradford City Police's press officer.   Patrick was a man of the utmost integrity and I trusted and respected him.   If we really wanted some serious publicity for a case Patrick could write it up in such a way that it was the top story, come what may.   He reported on all of the serious crime of the time - and there was a lot - the Yorkshire Ripper, the Black Panther, race riots and tragedies with scrupulous fairness and accuracy.

Patrick McGowan
Such a talent was unlikely to remain for ever in Bradford and sure enough Patrick became Chief Crime Reporter with the London Evening Standard.  He and his wife Margaret never lost touch with this part of the world - as members of the Friends of the S&C and as owners of a holiday home alongside the line.

On the day after some major bomb outrage in London I met Patrick on Settle Station.   I expressed surprise that he was in Settle.   He grinned from ear to ear and told me that he had given up journalism and, for a complete change, had become a South West Trains driver, in and out of Waterloo.

Very soon after we bought the water tower Patrick climbed the hairy scary ladder to inspect the project.   He turned to me and said "This should add years to your life expectancy, you know."   How poignant.

A modest man, he never told me his claim to fame.   Only when I read his Guardian obituary did I discover that he was the journalist who asked the hapless railway manager what had gone wrong with the trains that day.   It was Patrick who had the privilege of reporting to the World that it was "The wrong sort of snow"!

Saturday, 12 May 2012


This is Michelle from Briar Plants setting out the planting scheme on the banking below the knoll.   The photograph does not do justice to the subjects.   When the plants mature this end of the site will look spectacular.

Now, here is a better picture, looking the other way, taken by Michelle's dad, Derek.   The aspect ratio of the picture is a bit cinemascope-ish so things look squatter than they really are.   Besides the plants, take a look at the tank on top of the tower.   You cannot see the roof room.   This is all part of the cunning scheme of things.   From this end the roof room is invisible.   This picture also shows that the modern annex does not  compete with the tower visually.Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 10 May 2012

We Have a Mail Box

We actually have a mailbox.   This would normally rank as just about the most boring piece of news known to Man but I am rather proud of ours.

Our excellent postal team at Settle have, unasked, been delivering mail addressed to the Water Tower to Well House in Giggleswick, where they know we have been living.   Settle is that sort of place.   Today they delivered our letter box flap to Well House.

They had already given me some good advice about mail boxes - get a big one.   That way they can deliver sizeable packages and when we go on holiday it does not fill up with junk mail.   Problem is, big mail boxes do not seem to exist, except at astronomical prices.   Soooo, I solved the problem by adapting a Craven District Council metal recycling container.   This was a left over from an abandoned recycling scheme.   That appeals to me immensely - recycling a recycling bin!!!!   I think it looks pretty smart and nobody apart from you and me would know would they?   Would they??

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Repeats already

Just when you thought it was safe to turn on the TV again I have news of not just one but THREE repeats of 'our' episode of Restoration Man.   To the best of my knowledge the repeats are:

Next Episode: Tue 29 May, 9pm on More4

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Shoot the Cooking Fat

Our lovely new home lacks two important things:

1.  A letter box.   We have ordered a letter box flap from Amazon.   It is being delivered by the Post Office to, er, the Water Tower.   But we have no letter box yet . . .    We shall report the outcome.   The situation is a bit like that old song about Edmund, Lisa and the hole in the bucket.

2.  A cat flap.   I did raise this with architect Stuart Green, whose professional advice was that we shoot the cooking fat, or at least that's what I thought he said.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Moving mountains

Posted by PicasaNephew David and fiancee Barbara visited today and set about moving a mountain of topsoil from the top of the embankment.   The topsoil is absolutely first rate stuff, carefully set aside when other earthworks were done.   It should ensure success with the plants soon to grace the knoll.   Eat your heart out Charlie Dimmock.

Martians invade

Late morning and I am at the top of the embankment hard at work when Tim the Settle Station maestro shouts up to me,
"Come here".
My reply is unpublishable.  Two words.  Starts and finishes with an f.
Undeterred, Tim tells me that these lovely people, dressed up as Martians, want to see the water tower.   Pat obliges with a tour, after which the Martians pose in front of the buffers.   You simply would not belieeeeeve what I said to get them to smile.   Martians take some stimulating (a clue).

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Saturday, 5 May 2012

Shouted comment

Late afternoon today, mug of coffee in hand, I was leaning over the tank edge in a state of reverie (is that the word? - not sure).   Anyway I was at peace with the world and gently taking in the view when a bellowing voice came from below:

"You lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky - (pause) -  devil."

It was a complete stranger.   I was too taken aback to reply meaningfully.   What might have been the correct response?   I'm still not sure.   What should I feel about such an outburst?   Lucky, I guess.   In a devilish sort of way.

Plates and plants

Ever since the roof room went in there has been a pile of five tank base plates near the back door.   They were not a pretty sight but we were determined to find a use for them somewhere.   With the help of Martyn Soames and his fork lift truck we moved them one by one into position alongside where the garages will be - to act as hardstanding to the garage entrances.

Here they are in place but awaiting final levelling and alignment.   They are very, very heavy.
No, we have not taken up market gardening but we are about to Blitz the garden with plants.   These arrived today via Michelle at Briar Plants - whose plant stall at the Saturday Market behind the Social Club is renowned.   Michelle will set them in place for us next Saturday.   Meanwhile we shall prepare the soil.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Getting to grips with the garden

We have almost finished digging over the area which will be lawned - on top of the embankment.   Tomorrow we shall take delivery of a large number of plants, mainly for the northern end of the site.   Sunday and Monday should see a large scale redistribution of top soil, with the help of family and friends.   The bridge from the first floor to the embankment is proving very useful.  

A stranger stopped me today and said how good the grounds were looking.   Very much appreciated!   The planning time-scale for the outbuildings means that work on them cannot happen before 20th June, if approved.   This enables a great deal of ground work to get done that might otherwise have had to wait until next year.   It's an ill wind etc.......

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Wheel chair friendly - ten out of ten

Today was a first - the first time the water tower's disabled access measures were put to the test.   FoSCL member Althea Shevill is dependent on a wheelchair yet was very keen to see the tower. 
Here she is, right on top of the tower with, left to right, carers Dawn Akrigg and Gill Harper and Pat.   The lift proved to be more than adequate for the wheelchair, Althea and me.   Not only that, we were able to negotiate the various narrow twists and turns within the building.   Pat's hair and Althea's stylish ear muffs betray the weather slightly but the sun shone on a delightful tour.

Wild horses will not drag from me what I said to the ladies to get them to smile.