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Monday, 29 December 2014

Rail Chaos over Christmas

This is the time of year when the railways do major engineering work, taking advantage of the seasonal shut down.  Costly but necessary.   This year though it went horribly wrong especially for the East Coast route from Kings Cross and the route to the west from Paddington.

The papers are full of recriminations and calls for heads to roll.    The government has announced an inquiry.  I have not seen the terms of reference or the names of the people doing the enquiries but I do hope they are not restricted to the immediate difficulties.

It seems to me that what is needed is a serious strategic look at this country's railway system, so vulnerable to day-to-day disruptions as well as these seasonal problems.   There should be a strong and urgent emphasis on diversionary routes and contingency planning.

Beeching did his report in the sixties and wielded his axe.   It seemed regrettable but inevitable at the time.   Many of Britain's railways were then an extravagance and the very idea or rail transport seemed to be in decline.   The tree needed a severe pruning and got it.   Trouble was, the prunings were burned in huge bonfires of assets, lost and gone for ever in too many cases.

Trouble is, a tree that is so severely pruned either dies or flourishes.   In Britain's case the tree has flourished well beyond the expectations of even the most optimistic sixties gardener.   It is now so laden with fruit (passengers) that its boughs bend and sometimes break.

The response?   Let's build new capacity.   Let it be High Speed too.   It will cost billions but there is multi party support.   Still not sure where it will go but it will turn out fine, you'll see.

But hang on a mo..   Are we making good use of existing capacity?   No, no, emphatically no.   The Victorians were not totally daft.   They recognised that the UK was a bit like an inverted letter T.   To use today's terminology it is portrait in orientation with a landscape portion across the south.   They built one, two, three then four magnificent and costly railway lines south to north.   The last-but-one to be built was the Midland route from London St Pancras to Glasgow and Edinburgh, splitting at Carlisle.

Even Beeching shied away from recommending its closure.

Well, it was spared, neglected, reprieved and now, 25 years on, flourishes beyond anybody's dreams.

As a daily observer of the to-ings and fro-ings on this route I see that it is underused to an alarming degree.   This despite almost daily stoppages or delays on the other two remaining and overcrowded north-south routes.

A recent document from the government funded well intended but impotent Passenger Focus tells us that the reasons that this route is not used for diversions are that
1) (Virgin) west coast drivers are not trained to use it and
2) it is not electrified

Given the serious economic and social consequences of main line rail disruptions it seems obvious that these two stated reasons need to be tackled and the line brought back into immediate use for diversions.   It was one of the key reasons it was not closed.   Both stated problems can be remedied:

1)  Virgin and Trans Pennine Express drivers must be trained for the S&C and that training must be maintained.   All Preston based Virgin drivers were until recently trained for the S&C but someone, somewhere, decided to put a stop to that.   That decision should be reversed immediately and the necessary training put in place.

2)  The route may be electrified one day but that very electrification seems to be the weakness of the other two remaining lines.   Strong east-west winds routinely bring about speed restrictions on the East and West Coast main lines, bring down overhead wires themselves or blow falling trees onto them.   Lines close and bus-fests ensue.   Meanwhile the S&C route remains open and unused, save for occasional Virgin trains being repositioned from the wrong side of the blackage of the day.

This is a shameful neglect of a fit-for-purpose main line that was built at immense cost in money and human lives and which has been entirely renewed and its capacity doubled since its reprieve from closure.

Why is this diversionary route being ignored?   The answer probably lies in the structural fragmentation of todays railway which operates in organisational silos and which seems incapable of thinking outside them.

Somebody near the centre of things needs to get a grip and impose coordination on a system that is at serious risk.   I am not sure who that somebody is.   There seem to be too many candidates, none of whom will grasp this problem.

I suspect that the railway industry simply cannot or will not address it from within.   Back in 1989 when this route was saved from closure it was the politicians of the day who took a brave and, as it turned out, correct decision.   Twenty five years on their successors may need to step in and act.   Decisively.

click to enlarge

The 25th Anniversay Since Reprieve Train pauses at Settle - overlooked by the water tower.   Now let's see some diverted trains when there is trouble elsewhere.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Another Perspective - and Unit E

Here is an interesting picture of the tower from Settle Station's overbridge:
click to enlarge

It shows how the tank's colours stand out in the landscape and the interesting array of verticals nearby - two flagpoles, a telegraph pole and two mobile telephone masts.   If you half close your eyes the roof room disappears.

Of current intest though is the industrial building in front of the tower, with the prominent letter E on its right end.   This is Unit E - quite elegantly shaped as these things go.   It has had mentions earlier in this Blog.

The Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line (FoSCL) are in process of taking on the lease of this large building right by Settle station.   It will provide much needed office space, storage and workshop facilities - all in just the right place.

(Photo credit Rosser1954)

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Shutters in Place

After three days of work the shutters are installed.   The finishing details are to do after Christmas but we are now effectively double glazed throughout.

This is one of our full length windows in the atrium of the tower.   Ten feet tall by 4 feet wide.   Two internal wooden double glazed shutters cover the iron and glass original windows but are hardly visible as the wood is painted matt black:

And below is one of the windows in the living room:


Still to receive its lockable handles and finishing matt black details down the sides and across the top, scribed to the white walls and top stone.   The wooden floorboards will extend right up to the shutters deep inside the window recess, across the metal grille which will support them.   That extra bit of floor will be thickly insulated as the space below is cold, the existing internal double glazing on the ground floor being flush with the internal walls.

Note the winter weather on the outside glass panes.   Already the temperature in the living room is climbing.

In summer the shutters can be opened into the building making them quite invisible and allowing access for window cleaning.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Shutters

Our downstairs rooms, notably the bedroom, have the benefit of internal double glazing to supplement the tower's windows.   So effective are these, we actually have no need to use the underfloor heating in that room.

The main big room on the floor above is quite another matter.   The tower's windows there are effectively radiators in reverse.   They are cast iron frames with 4mm glass.   Even with the underfloor heating now working properly the room does not heat up to a comfortable temperature and needs a boost from the flueless gas fire before it becomes usable on cold winter days.

We did our homework and decided the answer was internal shutters.   To be effective these would need to be air-tight and of high insulation value.   If set back slightly from the tower's original windows and with the intervening space trickle vented from the outside this should, in theory solve the winter condensation problem too.

Wonder of Wood today started fitting these into five windows and will resume tomorrow.   Pictures then.

Just in time for Christmas.


Saturday, 13 December 2014

Carols and Ales on Rails

To round off an already enjoyable day there was a Carols and Ale train from Skipton to Ribblehead and back this evening.   We got on at Settle by which time drink had been taken and it showed.   Beer had come courtesy of Settle Brewery.   Port and hot mulled cider (very pleasant) had come from Aldi.

Pat and I went through the train serving mince pies.   Two carol services were taking place at either end of the train, being cheer-led by FoSCL signbal box volunteers and members of the clergy.   Canon Graham Bettridge was at one end and the Rev Dr Neil Kendra was at the other.   Both are characters and good sports.   Here is the Rev Dr Neil Kendra (who has featured on this Blog before):
clicking to enlarge is not recommended
And here is our train at Ribblehead Station, having gone over the viaduct and reversed.

Pickets at Settle Station but No Arrests

Today has been Settle Station's Christmas Open Day.   This year it coincided with two days of strike action by members of the RMT union who work for the trolley service operated by the Settle-Carlisle Railway Development Company.   They set up a picket line at the station entrance.  Not the sort of thing that happens often if ever in Settle.

To emphasise that they were not in dispute with the travelling public these pickets were giving away Christmas cake, mince pies, coffee and sherry.   Certainly not the sort of picketing I was used to in my police service!
 click to enlarge

These were the friendliest pickets ever - and they were effective too.   A surprising number of station users knew of the dispute and sympathised with the pickets.
 Entering in on the spirit of things I flew the RMT flag from the water tower - positioning it carefully to the left, of course.
 In a moment of bonhomie the Union's Area Organiser Craig Johnston signed up as a FoSCL member.   Not just that, he signed up the RMT as Corporate members!
 The choir sang and the band played.
The snow glistened and the sun shone.

Friday, 12 December 2014

The Loo With a View

Well, here it is at last - the Loo With a View. 
 click to enlarge
This is the throne in all its glory.   It is supplied with harvested rainwater, pumped up from the underground tank at very high pressure indeed, despite doubts on that score.   There is rainwater supply for pressure-washer cleaning of the decking and windows. 
 The waste from the sink, the shower and the WC all go to a macerator below the WC then away via a 32mm drain pipe.
 The shower is slightly exposed to view so frosting will be applied to the windows.
I am really rather proud of this do-it-yourself effort.   The cloakroom occupies the otherwise wasted space behind the lift.   Tight but every bit as generous as some hotel en-suites.   As pictured, the cloakroom is open to view as part of the roof room landing.   A room divider screen is provided to fill this gap but has been put aside for the picture.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A Cloakroom in the tank

Forgive me for the radio silence recently but I have been much occupied in building what the Americans call a cloakroom on the top floor.   This genteel word for a toilet is actually right.

Latin Cloaca

cloaca
kləʊˈeɪkə/
noun
  1. 1.
    ZOOLOGY
    a common cavity at the end of the digestive tract for the release of both excretory and genital products in vertebrates (except most mammals) and certain invertebrates.
  2. 2.
    archaic
    a sewer.

So, it isn't just a place to hang cloaks.   It is more fundamental than that.   It's a bog.

When we planned the roof room we decided that space was precious.   Furthermore, the plumbing advice was that water pressure would be insufficient for lavatorial purposes at the top of the tower.

I remember standing in the skeleton of the roof room at CSi in Hull and thinking to myself that the space behind the lift shaft was wasted and it would be enough for a shower room, toilet etc.

Actual usage of the roof room revealed an irksome deficiency - the lack of a toilet, which necessitated a trip downstairs - or for gentlemen an opportunistic, and exhibitionistic pee over the side.

Well, I have spent some weeks constructing a 'cloakroom' behind the lift and it is is at last finished.   Water pressure concerns have proved unfounded.   It works and I am proud of it.   Pictures tomorrow, if  I can lay hands on the camera.

Prepare to be amazed.

Monday, 24 November 2014

An Unusual View of Settle Station

This view of Settle station would be impossible nowadays as industrial units occupy the area where the locomotive and railway lines were.
click to enlarge

The occasion was the naming of the locomotive Giggleswick on November 4th 1938.

The water tower is out of shot to the right of the picture.   Of interest are the weighbridge stone building behind the locomotive's tender and a couple of coal merchants' wooden huts to the right.   Settle's telephone exchange nestles among the trees behind the huts.

The locomotive Giggleswick, when based at Leeds Holbeck shed hauled express passenger trains over the Settle-Carlisle line.   It was withdrawn from service in 1962 and was cut up for scrap.

Friday, 7 November 2014

On Telly in America this month. Honest.

Many moons ago we were filmed by a TV crew from Dallas.   See our posting on this Blog way-back:
Filming for American TV
Since then there have been umpteen false alarms about when it would be aired.

Ours is episode 309 and should be on GAC (Great American Country) Channel on 20th and again on 21st November.  See

for exact times.

Never thought we would appear on a TV channel in the US, least of all a channel called Great American Country!

We have no idea if the programme will be a total embarrassment  or an inspiration to the world.   Tell your friends if you are willing to take that risk in admitting you know these crazy people in the water tower.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Settle International

Many visitors admire the two storey extension at the back of the tower and some comment on the style of architecture, reminiscent of the sort of thing seen at airport terminals.

No coincidence that.   Our architect, Stuart Green's firm Commercial Systems International of Hull are very much involved with airport buildings.   Just for fun, a sign in our kitchen window takes up the theme:

This lightens the rather bland look of that aspect of the annex.   It might have been much more exciting had not our overlooked neighbours been so insistent on keeping it bland on that side.   Their loss.

Just how big a loss is emphasised by CSi's recent project for the huge sculpture in London Heathrow's Terminal 2 which emphasises CSi's incredible range and skills.

See:

When you open the link, click on the video especially.  Our main link person at CSi was Maarten Kleinhout who appears on the video - and fleetingly on our episode of Restoration Man.

Weren't we lucky  that Stuart Green was our architect and that CSi designed and made the modern components of our tower?

I think it fair to say that neither we, nor the local planners fully appreciated the skills and abilities that were being applied to our project.


click to enlarge



SLIPSTREAM, HEATHROW, TERMINAL 2

Summer in Autumn in Yorkshire

Well, it's November but the last day of October this year saw record high temperatures.

This glimpse of summer reminded me of those magical days in July when the Tour de France cycle race started here in Yorkshire.   I didn't post much about it at the time but the sun shone and the event itself exceeded all expectations.

DO have a look at this:

The Tour de Yorkshire

and marvel at the event itself centainly - but most of all the scenery and the people.

Ten hours of live Worldwide television coverage has done wonders for tourism in this part of he UK.   How lucky we are to live here.

Sound on.   Full screen.   Enjoy.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Family Fly Over - Literally

Daughter Lorna and grandsons James and Ben are, as I write, on a plane between Heathrow and Chicago, en route to Pittsburgh to meet up with Alan.

Being a fan of Planefinder.net I decided to follow their American Airlines flight from Heathrow.  I saw it take off and gain height over the Midlands.   By the time it was over the Peak District it looked to be heading straight for Settle.   Sure enough:

click to enlarge

This remarkable 'screen grab' shows the route of AA99 flying up the Settle by-pass at 32,000 feet!   The red line is the actual flight path.

We did wave from the top of the water tower but there was some cloud cover and we did not see the plane.  But we heard it.

Transatlantic flight paths from Heathrow often come our way but this morning's AA99 scored just about a direct hit.   Lorna knew I would be following it.   Probably a coincidence but I wouldn't have put it past her to mention it.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Service

Two of our systems have had problems recently - the lift (Evo Lifts) and the rainwater harvesting (Kingspan Envireau).   Both had failed entirely.   Neither was a big problem as both had alternatives - the stairs and the mains water supplies of course.

Nonetheless here we were with expensive systems that did not work and they concentrate the mind on the whole question of servicing - very expensive if you go for maximum packages and not guaranteed in every case to avoid expensive repairs.   The dilemma is that of buying some peace of mind through service contracts or dealing with faults ad hoc as and when they occur.

The Lift
This has given problems from the outset.   The make is Aritco, made in Sweden and supplied by Southampton firm Evo Lifts.   The people who fitted it and who would be needed for service and repairs are in Sheffield, which is a long way from Settle.   

Lifts are complicated things with many electronic safety devices designed to fail quickly and safely when they detect the slightest error.   The risk of failure is high therefore and the opportunities for self help are limited.   Evo Lifts charge £202 + VAT for a service + £75 an hour + VAT for anything over an hour.   Steeper than our stairs.   Having talked me through various unsuccessful self-help options to get the lift going they withdrew telephone support saying they

"will not be able to give any technical support (to a local engineer) unless they are an approved distributor which I don’t believe they are.... so I won’t be able to assist him any further over the phone."

That, following a great deal of very helpful and much needed telephone support in the past didn't seem to me to be exemplary.   A pretty poor do in fact.

The lift has been most efficiently repaired by local firm Foulds Lifts (est 1907!).   Their annual service charge would be £60 + VAT   Happily therefore we have found a local firm with many Aritco lifts already on service contracts.

The Rainwater Harvesting System
Kingspan Envireau are based in Northern Ireland and their telephone help line is beyond reproach.   Concerned, friendly and effective.   What turned out to be a serious and fundamental problem with the system was diagnosed after a very detailed set of tests that I was able to carry out involving numerous telephone calls all handled with great patience and concern for the customer.   A service call charge of £280 + VAT would have applied had Kingspan Envireau insisted on that course.   That represents a lot of mains water before it is cost effective.

Well done Kinspan Envireau.


Saturday, 18 October 2014

Pannal Water Tower Planning Decision

Remember Maj and Carol Nadry and their amazing water tower project at Pannal?   They bought their tower at auction just days after seeing ours on Restoration Man.

Our neighbourly planning hurdles were as nothing compared with theirs.   Pannal is a seriously posh and wealthy part of Harrogate which over time has spread into what was farm land.   The sprawl was getting ever nearer the water tower and the locals were troubled that people were about to live in what was an industrial eyesore within their precious view.   Specifically, an earlier planning decision called for the then rusty and rotting tank to be removed.

Work on their tower had been at a standstill until this issue was resolved.   Well, this week it was resolved when the entire planning committee heard both sides then, crucially, paid a site visit.

When they saw, as we have seen, what a magnificent job was being done at the Pannal Tower they approved the retention of the tank UNANIMOUSLY.

Building work has re-commenced.

A triumph for these lovely people who have been putting their hearts, souls and hard earned money into this stunning piece of built heritage.

We had just one neighbouring property owner to contend with.   Maj and Carol had to defend against an orchestrated campaign within an entire neighbourhood.   It would be good if their neighbours accept things with good grace and give support for this project, get round there and have a look for themselves.   Everybody will feel better.

You need to tune in to Restoration Man when the Pannal Tower episode is shown eventually.   Watch this space.






Sunday, 5 October 2014

Mike Harding on Trains

You really must have a listen to this week's episode of the Mike Harding Folk Show, only a click away:

An Hour of Mike Harding on Trains

Solid nostalgia on the trains theme.

Mike (the Rochdale Cowboy) Harding had a weekly show on Radio 2 until recently.   Now, he has a huge audience on the web.   He is a great supporter of the S&C and lives in Langcliffe, just up the valley from Settle.   At the time the line was under threat he was at the peak of his fame and did a super TV programme about the line and its seemingly inevitable closure.   He popped round to the water tower recently and gave me his own VHS copy - now safely housed in the S&C archive.   We now know that the public outcry and the publicity was a big factor in the decision to reprieve the line.



Sunday, 21 September 2014

Tunstill's Men

There was a very moving ceremony at Settle Station today, recreating the scenes of 100 years ago when the young men of the district left by train to join up for the Great War.   Tunstill was the recruiting officer.

 Have Settle's platforms ever been busier?
 Here are Tunstill's men receiving their gift for signing up.
 Wish me luck.
They'll be back by Christmas.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Pannal Tower Visit

This afternoon we visited Maj and Carol Nadry at their stunning Pannal water tower restoration, near Harrogate:
click to enlarge

We were again able to listen, learn and share experiences.   Their project is very well advanced but is on hold right now bcause of planning problems - hopefully soon to be resolved.

Their tower is weather proof with stunning new windows and a room in the tank:
The insides of the cast iron tank plates were foam sprayed by the same foam spray wizard who did ours.   The entire tank is roofed and cosy.   The view from their hilltop location is incredible.   On the floor below the tank there was an unwelcome surprise - the steel girders supporting the tank had corroded badly  at the ends and the costly solution was masses of new steel supports below the original girders:

On the ground floor there are three deep wells which supplied the water.   Well, well, well.
Two have been capped but the third will become a novel feature, 130 feet deep, lit and topped with walk-on glass:

The intrepid George Clarke has been down there and brought up a sample of the water from the very bottom.   If it is OK on analysis the Nadrys may well (sorry) have the best water supply in Harrogate.   At the least it could become a secondary water suppy - much as our harvested rainwater.

Although on a hilltop location the Pannal tower is surrounded by tall trees and is exceptionally well (sorry again) camouflaged.  



Thursday, 11 September 2014

Meet the Gibbonses and High Legh Water Tower

  This amazing structure is #HighLeghWaterTower in Cheshire whose proud owners Michele and Andrew Gibbons visited us today to pick our brains and to share problems - and solutions.

 click to enlarge
This is their tower as-is and below is how it will be:

Another wow of a building eh?   It too will feature on Restoration Man eventually.


Here is Pat and the Gibbonses who are facing a huge challenge.   But WHAT a magnificent one.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Pannal Water Tower

Many moons ago we had a visit from Maj and Carol Nadry.   They had just bought a water tower near Harrogate at auction soon after our tower first appeared on TV.   We have been sharing problems and solutions ever since.   Restoration Man have been covering their project too.  See
http://settlestationwatertower.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/another-magnificent-tower.html
for a Blog entry in October 2013.

They are just about there!   This is how it looked before:

And after:


WOW!!!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Stones in the Works

   Had the gas central heating serviced and a water leak was discovered which necessitated a new boiler pump.  Just LOOK what we found inside it:

click to enlarge

This was the debris in the pump itself.   Heaven knows what is elsewhere in the lengthy and complicated system of valves, taps, pipes and two other pumps.



Sunday, 31 August 2014

Really Naff

Had a visit today from a Cor Blimey Cockney sounding chap.   He had come a bit early to see today's steam train and had time on his hands.   He was showing obvious interest in the water tower so I invited him to have a wander round and take what pictures he liked.

After he had done his circuit and signed the visitors book he delivered his verdict:

"When I saw this on the telly I thought it was REALLY naff * "

I hung my head in shame and awaited amplification.   It came:

"Now that I've seen it in real life I must say it's not THAT naff"


That's OK then eh?


Naff

adjective

unstylish; lacking taste; inferior.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

A Right Lovely Day Out


Displaying photo.JPG

Today we (daughter Lorna and grandsons James and Ben) fired up Gladys Emmanuel and went for a drive through the countryside of the Forest of Bowland area of outstanding natural beauty.   We went to Clitheroe Castle and had a picnic - thank you Lorna.
Then back via Chatburn, Sawley and Bolton by Bowland where we posed by the village green.

100 year old Gladys didn't miss a beat and took most of the hills in top - where we could get a run at them.

Before we set off we saw the Duchess of Sutherland race through Settle station
https://www.facebook.com/VisitSettle/photos/a.584376751582778.1073741829.580261218660998/818385808181870/?type=1

Thursday, 14 August 2014

David Maidment OBE Visits

One of the fascinating bonuses of living at the water tower is the constant stream of visitors, among whom are the occasional celebrities and the great and the good.

Today we had a surprise visit from David Maidment O.B.E., founder of the Railway Children charity
The Railway Children

In Settle to receive a cheque, David - a railwayman to the core - could not resist seeing the place and pronounced himself delighted.
Picture shows David Maidment with his granddaughter Emma

Not only is David a thoroughly good egg, he actually has a Class 66 locomotive named after him:

click to enlarge
He speaks fondly of being invited to a locomotive naming ceremony in his then capacity as Chairman of the Railway Children.  He was astonished to be invited out from the crowd to pull the cord, only to find that his was the name on the side.   He says he was lost for words.   I bet.


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Stars of You-Tube

Here is a rather nice item on You-Tube:

Settle Station and water tower
Click link to view - sound on

showing a train arriving from Carlisle on 11th June 2014.   Several clues, not least the shadows, point to it being the 1332 en route to Leeds.

The camera zooms in to the water tower's tank and roof room.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Atmosphere Aplenty

Just seen from the roof room The Waverley heading south through Settle station, steam hauled, with diesel assistance.   Very gloomy and raining heavily yet no wind at all - we are right at the centre of former hurricane Bertha.  The weather station, normally an objectively boring screen of data is showing  "It's raining cats and dogs" along the bottom of its display.

The table lamps in The Waverley's dining carriages pierced this gloom - as did the locomotive's wailing whistle on approach to Settle.   What atmosphere.

Wet day at Settle Station N.Fletcher

Window Shatters Overnight

We had a surprise this morning.   The inner pane of a large window in the utility room had shattered overnight:

What appears to be frosted glass in the right hand pane is in fact tiny pieces of broken glass, still held together in the frame.   Nobody had been in the room overnight and it was the inner pane.

On examination the breakage was seen to radiate from a point somewhere behind the grey top on a coat hanger on the clothes airer.

The fact that the glass had held in place and therefore enabled closer scrutiny showed this distinctive pattern at the centre of things:
click to enlarge

This, I now know (thank you Google) shows evidence of a spontaneous break caused by an impurity in the glass at manufacture.   The distinctive feature is the two larger pieces in the middle, known in the trade as a butterfly pattern - rather like a pair of butterfly wings with adjacent parallels between the two.   Though rare, they are most usually caused by a minute piece of nickle sulphide which can be seen on close inspection.   The broken pane is creaking and will almost certainly fall apart without warning soon.   Be assured I am going nowhere near it in search of a speck of nickel sulphide!   The picture was taken from the outside, through the intact outer pane therefore.

Had the window been a heap of glass fragments on the floor it would be very hard to discover these two tell-tale shapes among millions of pieces of glass. 

Mystery solved.


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Keeping Up Appearances

This place is lovely but it, like anywhere else, begins to lose that new look after a while.   In particular the very large windows, the metal cladding of the annex and the stone pathways were letting the place down.
click  image to inflate

A friend had just bought a Karcher K4 Eco pressure washer and was having trouble assembling it.   She brought it along.   I applied the time-honoured RTFM * management technique and it worked a treat.

I have had pressure washers before and they have had their drawbacks - on very high pressure with a narrow jet of water they tended to create stripes of ultra-clean areas which spoilt things rather.   If mains water pressure was insufficient the motor would cut out.

This machine seems to be a whole leap forwards on both fronts (unlike Pot Noodles!).   One of the three lances spins the jet of water and a high speed rotating vortex of water missiles does an amazing job.   Our outside taps are supplied from the rainwater harvesting tank at quite low pressure but the Karcher copes - indeed it would simply suck up water from the underground tank if needed.

It uses little water (hence the Eco bit) and as ours is untreated pure rainwater it cleans the windows with water only leaving them window-cleaner-clean.

* RTFM  =  Read The F---ing Manual

Friday, 1 August 2014

Pot Noodles, the Lift and Level Access

Pat has been very poorly for a couple of weeks following an emergency operation in Airedale Hospital.   Happily she is now home  but her tummy looks like a zip fastener and she is still in quite some pain - but on the mend we hope.

There are some direct consequences:
1.  I have been learning how to work the washing machine, dishwasher and induction hob.   All, I can report are easy peasy.
2.  The water tower's facilities which were intended to make things easy have been tested thoroughly and have not been found wanting.   The lift especially is a God-send.
3.  I have been making fresh acquaintance with man-food:

Add boiling water

Does anybody out there have advice to offer?   Pot Noodles used to be fairly disgusting but I have bought three (they were on offer as a multi-buy and men do these things).   I reasoned that they might have improved over the years - just like TVs, telephones and Cuppa Soups.

I shall report further.*

* Happy to report that Pat is getting better by the day.

*Unsurprised to report that Pot Noodles have not got any better by the decade.   Just dearer.  Avoid.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A Musical Wagon from Yorkshire

Followers of this Blog will know that our coal wagon Albert was made in Wakefield, Yorkshire by Chas Roberts and Co.  As evidence, you can play a slightly off key version of Ilkley Moor Bah't 'at on her buffers.

Here's proof (sound on):
Ilkley Moor Ba'ht 'at. Solo coal truck.

Video courtesy of Albert Wright's son Bill.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Oh Look Philip - There's Mark

Nothing happens on the Settle-Carlisle railway without the bush telegraph being activated.   Today at 1630 the Royal Train went through Settle - en route northwards, in the direction of the Commonwealth Games presumably - buffers whitened and Royal headcode aglow.
click respectfully to enlarge

I'm sure they will all have been looking out for the water tower.

"Do you think the Queen knows all about me?"
"Sure to dear but it's time for tea"


Monday, 21 July 2014

Meet the Reeses

Two most welcome and delightful visitors were Anja and Martyn Rees from Adelaide, South Australia
They had seen us on TV in Australia and have been following this Blog.   They wrote in the visitors book "This building is why we came to Settle and it has been well worth it".

They were en route to Hawes and their journey coincided with yesterday's Waverley steam train going north over the Ribblehead Viaduct.   I do hope they saw it.



Tuesday, 15 July 2014

On in the US of A

 Ages ago we were filmed by a TV crew from Dallas, Texas for a TV show called 'You Live in What?'  Herinafter YLIW?
click to enlarge, but it's quite big enough already I reckon

It was to have been shown on Homes and Gardens TV Channel in the US.   Hereinafter HGTV.

Yesterday, we heard from the film producers AMS Pictures (hereinafter AMS) that YLIW would be shown on Great American Country TV channel.   Hereinafter GACTV.

Got it?

GACTV is part of HGTV I believe.  See 
http://www.gactv.com/
 if you can stand the pace.

Not only that we now have a PROVISIONAL transmission date of 19th September.   Looking at the blurb for earlier programmes with definite dates it seems likely that there will be repeats in the days after first transmission.   See
for the link to the first programme in the series.   Maybe our American viewers * can watch it and let us know if we should run for cover on 19th September.

*  Looking at this Blog's audience statistics I see we had more page-views in the USA last week than from the UK.   Curious that.

Monday, 14 July 2014