I heard the 1146 depart - bang on time too. A minute or two later I saw three ranks of sombre suited men walking down the station drive in silence. I recognised some local worthies in the second rank. In the rear, at a respectful distance was a minor media scrum. I recognised Steve Garnett from the Craven Herald and thought I recognised Nigel Harris - editor of Rail magazine.
I could not resist it and broke off from my painting and addressed the group who so obviously needed cheering up. "I've never seen so many men in ties in Settle." There were nervous chuckles from some and worried looks from others. Is this a local eccentric about to cause trouble?
A jolly looking chap (above) in the middle of the front row broke ranks and shot up the grass banking alongside the drive to the fence. Beaming from ear to ear he thrust out his hand and said "I saw this on the telly. It is absolutely fantastic. Jolly well done. I'm Patrick Mc Loughlin, Sectretary of State for Transport by the way." In fact I knew who he was - the Settle-Carlisle bush telegraph is in fine working order. "I'm Mark, the daft bugger who lives here", I replied. We had a very nice chat about the tower and Restoration Man, of which programme he is a dedicated follower. On my remark about ties he said how much he envied my attire.
We shook hands enthusiastically, said our farewells and he rejoined the group.
I do hope the paint wore off his hands during the course of what was obviously going to be a busy day.