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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Most exciting

This afternoon I was in the garden when a car drew alongside me on the station drive.   The driver wound down her window and gave me the thumbs up.   Nice enough and I thanked her for the implied vote of appreciation.   "That was the most EXCITING thing I have seen on television for a long time", she said, before driving off.


Her is the lollipop I got from Duncan the barber - see yesterday's post and . . . .

. . . . this is the gate valve - the tap - that was mounted vertically alongside the water crane. The picture shows it sat in my trailer. Two of us tried to lift it off the trailer but it was impossible for us. We decided it would have to wait until a Rugby team happened by. Lo and behold our prayers were answered that instant in the form of four of Settle's finest - members of the Constabulary hurrying to catch a train. Assuring them there was time, I diverted them and the job was done in no time. Thank you lads.
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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A Lollipop!!!

Today Pat and I drove, with our trailer, to Network Rail's yard at Appleby.   There we collected the huge gate valve that goes with the water crane - so heavy that it had to be craned into our trailer.   It took some positioning on the trailer otherwise our Honda Jazz's front wheels might have been clear of the ground.   That might have made steering difficult.  Network Rail have been absolute stars - special thanks on this occasion to Steve Bell, Appleby's doorman and factotum.

Then we had lunch with the truckers at Tebay 'Junction 38 Truck Stop' on the M6.   Do not tell a soul about what must be the best value fine food on the motorways.   All those Eddie Stobart drivers cannot be wrong.   All day breakfast - six items (egg, bacon, sausage, black pudding, beans, mushrooms - £4.99, including toast and coffee)

Finally, I had a haircut in Settle - prompted by the disgraceful length of my hair on Restoration Man.   It seems that everybody in Settle saw the programme - including Duncan the barber.   He thought I had been a very good boy and I got a lollipop!!!

Pictures tomorrow if the internet at the water tower behaves.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Some interior views

Click to enlarge. In case you were not able to open the web album of Alex Reeves' pictures here is a collage taken this morning by me. Alex's camera bristles with bells and whistles whereas mine is a point-it-and-press affair so they are not as good. Just in case you are wondering the bed with straps across it, second from left lower, does not reflect anything kinky. It is a fold away bed located in what for 99% of the time is the office area on the ground floor. It did not appear in the TV programme because presenter George Clarke and I and the film crew had fits of the giggles about the straps. Notice the porcelain finials on the oak stairway, bottom right - former railway telegraph insulators. Another source of the giggles when I asked George if he liked the knobs. Childish.
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Sunday, 19 February 2012

Then THREE come along at once!

The TV programme has provoked a huge amount of reaction - all positive and supportive. Settle Station has been bustling with people just visiting, taking photographs or travelling on the line having seen it on TV.

One big surprise has been an e-mail form Kerry and Chris Hones in Germany who are in the process of restoring and converting as their home not one but THREE railway water towers. We still believe ours is unique in the UK but not worldwide. Their 'before' picture above shows their towers (why three so close together?). The water tanks have been removed but these towers have a feature that ours lacks - shell and bullet holes!!! Click on the picture and look at the brick superstructure on the left.   The shelling dates from the battle of Nennig in 1945 which not only damaged the towers but destroyed local records.   However, the towers are known to date from 1876 - the very year of the Settle tower.

These towers are still work in progress after eight years but the square one in the middle is now occupied.

Kerry Hones has been kind enough to send me several photographs and much detail of their experiences.   I shall not disclose too much here as there is a book's worth of fascination there.    There are incredible similarities with our experience.   Locally they are known as the mad English couple.

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Saturday, 18 February 2012

Stunning pictures of the inside

Not sure if this will work but click on

There you should find over 100 photographs of the water tower taken by interior designer Alex Reeves (below).   She has give permission for me to use them but they are her copyright.
Alex is a wizard at design.   In two days she transformed the place from 'a building site with furniture' to a credible home for TV purposes.   The first half of the pictures are taken after dark on day 2 of her work in preparation for filming the following day.   The second half are daytime pictures.   The place looks very different day versus night.

See Alex's website:

Oh, and in case you are wondering, Alex was working for producers Tiger Aspect - not us!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Missed the Programme?

You can see the programme at
but hurry.   It doesn't stay there indefinitely.

The Programme last night

Pat and I watched the programme in the comfort of the water tower and were absolutely delighted with it.   The telephone was red hot and so too the e-mails.  

Later today I plan to post some pictures of the various rooms as they were when televised.   Meantime you can see some pictures at

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Waiting for the programme

Today has been a day of ups and downs.   Steve Coak, MD of Evo Lifts (ups and downs - geddit?) visited and we have done a very thorough measure-up along with steel fabricator Mark Lawson.   We can see our way clear to having a lift by the end of March if it is still affordable.

This afternoon came the unwelcome news from Craven District Council that the form I had returned to them was the wrong one!   They had sent it to me to fill in dammit.   Not only that they want another £175 from us and the correct form in addition to the £85 already sent to them.    We may just give in, j.f.d.i. and go about the business of living our lives in our home.

More positively, Restoration Man assistant producer Tom Cullum rang to say he had seen the finished programme and thinks we shall be pleased with it.

It seems that the entire population of Settle knows about the programme tomorrow.   That won't half boost the viewing figures.    A chap called by this afternoon and said "Is this the place what's on't'telly tomorrow?"
I said it was.   "Are you't man what's t'owner?"  I admitted it.   "Well done lad.   Bloody fantastic!"

Let's see.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

...and now Qatar

Overnight we have picked up interest from Qatar - see posting below.

Now there's a useful word when you are stuck with the Q without a U.    But then it's capitalised and not allowed.   Dammit.

You may gather from these frivolous postings that I am in a period of reverie between filming being finished and the programme being transmitted.   I do hope the editors have done their job well and that our occasional blushes are spared.   We shall see on Thursday.  

Monday, 13 February 2012

Cousin Barry in Canada

An e-mail today from cousin Barry in Canada, a follower of this Blog, set me wondering who else is following the progress of our water tower.   Barry from Canada (we call him Birry from Cinida) calls a spade a spade and tells me "I no longer think you quite as mad as I did originally".   That, from Birry, is high praise.

Birry's e-mail prompted me to check on the stats. where our Blog followers are from.   I last did this many months ago but, just for fun, in descending order of hits here is the latest picture:

United Kingdom (unsurprisingly)
United States (Hi Barb, Miles, Julie, Anna and Margot et al)
Canada (hi Birry and Mary)
Russia (well I never)
Germany (sorry about references to the tower being painted grey in 1939)
Philippines (possibly Nolly from the QM2?)
Argentina (well, that's a surprise but you are very welcome)

It's a small world.  I do know we have a follower, Mike Dean in St Helena (a dot in the south Atlantic) but that seems to be statistically insignificant.   Unless the internet counts St Helena as Argentina.  Surely not!!

I do not belieeeeeve it!!

Today's post brought a letter from Craven District Council's 'Planning Policy Team' asking what we were going to do with the water tower (application ref 62/2010/11195) and inviting us to complete a two page questionnaire in reply.  It is a laudable measure to increase housing stock by making sure that people are not just sitting on planning permissions for dwellings.    As it happens we cannot occupy our new home because of as yet undischarged planning conditions.

Question 5 asks 'If works have paused on site please specify why:'

Having spent most of yesterday  submitting our third planning application form since our saga started (in an umpteenth attempt to satisfy four of the legion of planning conditions imposed on us) I am very very tempted to tell them why:  !!!!!

Are there any planners on the planning policy team?

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Yorkshire Post

There's a splendid piece about the project on page 2 of Property Post - a supplement of today's Yorkshire Post.

Written by Sharon Dale, it includes a list of contact details for the architect, contractors and sub-contractors.   The article refers to 'a crack team of local builders and tradespeople'.  Very true.

A nice touch

The film people from Tiger Aspect have now stayed in Settle many times - more often than not at The Craven Arms, where they have been made most welcome and comfortable.   Deb Simpson from The Craven Arms called by yesterday and besides marveling at the finished project told me how delighted she has been to host such lovely people.   Bless them, they gave Deb a bouquet of flowers as a thank-you.   A nice touch.

The Craven Arms claim to offer 'the warmest welcome in North Yorkshire'.   They could just be right.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


A passer-by yesterday expressed delight about the look of the tower and asked me what I had used to clean the stonework. Last summer I experimented with a pressure washer on parts of this, the west face of the tower. More urgent jobs intervened and the pressure washing ceased. You can hardly tell which bits were washed and which were not. Yet the stonework as a whole looks as though it has been cleaned as this picture taken in today's afternoon sunshine shows. It could be newly built, not built in 1876!

A tribute to the original builders - and to the low levels of atmospheric pollution in the Yorkshire Dales.
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Sunday, 5 February 2012

The water tower in the snow

Overnight snow and mist provided a backdrop for the tower as these pictures show. The water crane in particular is shown to good effect as is the serpentine fence - see bottom left picture. Click to enlarge.
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Saturday, 4 February 2012

The Restoration Man black book

If you watch Restoration Man you will have seen people being presented with a black book - a souvenir of their project. Frustratingly, the viewers never get to see what is in it. Our black book was presented to us by George Clarke on top of the tower, with the camera in the skylift outside the tank. We popped a cork and toasted the finish of the work.

A group of passengers on the station realised what was happening and gave us a cheer and a wave.

Here is our black book and three sample double pages so you get the idea. It is the work of assistant producer Tom Cullum and is no mere token prop for the television programme. It really is a thoughtful and beautifully presented scrapbook of the build plus the results of the historical research the Restoration Man team have undertaken. Altogether a delightful touch - a souvenir to treasure for ever.

Click the image to enlarge it.
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The oak staircase

Joiner Dave Richardson has finished a masterpiece - the annex staircase, beautifully made from solid oak. It looks magnificent as these pictures fail to properly show. In the corner of the winder towards the bottom is a built-in naughty stair. Who will be its first occupant? Me probably. Note the newell post tops using Midland Railway telegraph insulators dating from the opening of the line.

The naughty stair in the corner

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Absolutely on cue it started to snow at lunchtime today. It was our first experience of being in the roof room in the snow. Spectacular and cosy it is too. At 1pm we were treated to a steam train. This is going to be a train spotter's paradise.
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Friday, 3 February 2012

Media frenzy

Yesterday we got a picture and a story in The Craven Herald.   Today we had a visit from The Yorkshire Post and then we hit the media big time with a major article in - wait for it - Water Regulations Newsletter, a Yorkshire Water in-house publication, full of fascinating stuff.   Did you know that March 11 was World Plumbing Day?   Nor did I but we do now!   Seriously, it is a very good cause - getting drinking water to the worlds population - see

Thank you Carol (a follower of this Blog) and your colleagues from Yorkshire Water who came to inspect our rainwater harvesting system - bravely climbing the hairy scary ladder in the process.

Dressing the set

The final filming was a revelation in more ways than one.   For two days before the film crew came, Producer Melissa Mayne and Assistant Producer Tom Cullum were here to check that everything was absolutely ready for the cameras.   They didn't just look - they rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in.   Their painting and decorating skills are considerable.   But they should stick to TV Producing primarily.

The other surprising thing was the arrival of Alexandra Reeves.   Alex's job was to dress the set for television - to make the place look its best.    With the placement of flowers, pot plants and the thoughtful arrangement of furniture and other bits and pieces she worked a minor miracle on the place that was so recently a building site.   We are deeply grateful to her and to Tiger Aspect for this makeover.    If ever we move house (most unlikely!) we shall call on Alex.

As soon as the TV programme is aired on 16th February, but not before, we shall publish on the blog some of her stunning room-by-room photographs of her work.

Alexandra Reeves
Interior Styling and Design
Mob. 07949 080 155