Search This Blog

Saturday, 27 October 2012

What a Location This Is

Sitting in the roof room this evening at 7.05pm, reading the paper I heard the distinctive wail of an A4 Pacific's chime whistle -a distinctive sound from my childhood, unique to the 'streaks'.  The A4s were surely the most beautiful and unquestionably the fastest steam locomotives in the World.

There in the darkness was 'Union of South Africa' (below) racing southbound through Settle on its way home after a day hauling The Hadrian' from York via Newcastle and Carlisle.
LNER  A4 Pacific, No 60009, Union of South Africa
What a privilege to have a grandstand view of such things.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

E-Mail Notifications of new postings

I was under the mistaken impression that 'followers' of this Blog received e-mail notifications of new postings.   Not so.   Looking at my Blog settings I can select up to ten people, 'followers' or not who will get e-mails whenever a new post goes on.

If you have just had an e-mail notification then you are one of the chosen ones, you lucky people.

If you would rather not receive e-mail notifications I shall not be offended and shall re-allocate to another poor sod whose life needs filling.   Please acknowledge receipt of the e-mail then I shall know if you have received it.

Let's see if this works.   Isn't life exciting?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Australian TV Showing

I got a whiff that our programme was going to be shown on TV in Australia.   Looking at the Blog statistics I noticed a huge spike yesterday, referred from

Good to know that there is interest down under!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Glad It's Clad

click collage to enlarge

During a day of October sunshine I was able to treat the cedar cladding of the summer house.   There are still some bits of cladding to finish off but it was too good an opportunity to miss.   The summer house, with its spectacular view of Pen y Ghent looks better by the day and when finished will be a super hide-away.

The varnish looks a bit patchy as it is only part dry.   When dry it will be a matt finish and will look fine.

That Doggie in the Window

Our dog Bess is becoming something of a local celebrity.  She stands in the tower windows which go right down to floor level - ideal for dogs to keep watch.   She seems to be asleep on the job just now though.

We got Bess from the RSPCA about four years ago.   She is a failed sheep dog who worries for Yorkshire, if not England.   Poor thing she is frightened of men in general and men with sticks in particular.   Land Rovers too.   Sad.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Settle-Carlisle Railway Boys

Embedded image permalink
This photo-shopped 'old' picture shows Matt the Camera, David the Sound, Michael the Portillo, George the Clarke and me the me on the platform at Settle Station watching a northbound arrival.

Moments later the southbound train pulled in by which time Michael, me and George were standing in a line watching it slow to a standstill.   We all three observed an elderly couple sitting in window seats opposite one another.   Recognition dawned on the face of the elderly gentleman who pointed at us and shouted to his wife "Look Ethel (or whatever), that's ......... on the platform".

George spoke first.   "Michael, you've been sussed"

"No I haven't, it's you he saw, not me" said Michael

The pair of them debated the issue and got nowhere.   As a compromise they agreed that it must have been me who had been recognised.   Unlikely in the extreme.   One of those odd little moments in life.

Summer House progressing well

Throughout yesterday's filming Wonder of Wood were working on the summer house, fitting the cedar cladding boards.   The building is looking very good indeed.   Several people have commented on how right it looks.   Perfect for the site and its location.   The black painted windows seem to go well with the cedar.
Posted by Picasa

Portillo Gets Annisoned

Ruth (Never Miss a Trick) Annison button-holes Michael Portillo on a Wensleydale matter during his surprise visit to the water tower yesterday.   (Picture - Bob Swallow)Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


We have had a busy day filming our 'completed' project for the Restoration Man Revisited programme.   Picture shows l to r sound man David, camera man Matt, Pat and presenter George who is playing silly buggers in the lift.

Posted by PicasaWe had a most enjoyable day covering in detail the latest developments with the shed, the summer house, the lift and the thing in general.   We had a suspiciously long and relaxed lunch at The Lion and ambled back to the water tower.   Pat and I were ushered into the kitchen whilst the film crew took general shots.

Then the front door bell rang.   I went to see who was it was and there stood Michael Portillo.   You will have to see the programme to see what I said!   They will have to cut out the expletives.   It is slightly unnerving to answer your front door to find a sombre suited celebrity standing there.   Anyway it was very good of Michael to make time to be here.

The afternoon ended with champagne and kind words of congratulations.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Last Minute Scramble before the telly return

There has been frantic activity today to get the place ready for tomorrow's television.   Top picture shows CSi's finest, Allen and Reinhold, assisted by FoSCL's fittest, Les and Bob,  positioning a huge and heavy piece of toughened glass into the office wall to replace a broken pane.
Meanwhile, below, Wonder of Wood are putting the cedar cladding onto the summer house - eight years late but by heck it looks good.   L to R William, Alec and Neil.

As well as the blokes, designer Lucie Marshall worked magic on the interior of the tower for producers Tiger Aspect.   Besides being a very able designer, Lucie runs The Rosemary Branch a fascinating theatre  pub in Islington, London.   See
Posted by Picasa

The Garages are Occupied At Last

Gladys Emmanuel the 1914 Ford Model T has settled in nicely to her new home and today, Pat's MX5 took up residence in the car port.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Paper Conservation

Meet Stephen Allen - seen here working on the fragile fragments of paper pasted to one of the cladding boards of the navvy hut.
Technology in action.   The camera zooms in on the word Penny.   We are incredibly lucky to have found Stephen whose painstaking skills have been able to identify the title of the publication - and the all important date.

A Delightful Afternoon's Work

click collage to enlarge
Nephew David plus Barbara and young Tommy visited today, armed with tools and enthusiasm.   In three hours they worked miracles on what should be the very last jobs in the garden.   This team has been an enormous help with the really heavy work of  creating a garden from a wilderness.   Today they created a path (bottom left) and set a railway sleeper in concrete to provide a stable platform for the summer house where it overlaps the edge of the embankment.   Peter Bennett had done a lot of work on this earlier in the week but the rain had turned the area into a mudbath.   Happily today we had glorious autumn sunshine.Posted by Picasa

Friday, 12 October 2012

An Invitation

Channel 4 are coming to the water tower on Wednesday next (17th) to film a re-visit of the project, to be shown in 2013.   This is the final big filming session. 

The producers would like to have a final scene of happy people toasting the saving and success of the S&C and have asked us to muster some relevant and interested people for this at 1545 on Wednesday (when trains from both ends arrive at Settle).   

This is an opportunity for us all to celebrate the S&C's saving very publicly (2 million plus viewers).  

Followers of this Blog are especially welcome.   Just let us know if you plan to be here.   It is an opportunity to see the filming being done, to see the latest developments and to meet Gorgeous George and the team.

I guess our followers in the USA, Russia, Chile and so forth will find this rather short notice and, though most welcome, are excused.

The Big Shed's Final Side is Built

For the past two days I have had much appreciated help from Peter Bennett - seen here being a bit thespian about it.   This is the east gable part way through day 1 of 2.

And here it is at the end of day 2!   Windows still to finish but almost there.   Because this gable had doors and a window originally we did not have full length cladding boards to go right up to the ridge - hence the horizontal boards at the top.

Below is the other gable end with full height cladding.

The site is still to tidy up and some details remain but wow, what a fantastic building has emerged from the components of the old shed below:

Posted by Picasa

Monday, 8 October 2012

It's BIG Isn't It?

Overheard in conversation on the station drive today:

"It's BIG isn't it?   MUCH bigger than on the telly.   Wow."

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Gladys Emmanuel Has Moved In

The centre bay of the shed is now home to Gladys, who fits in rather nicely don't you think?
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 4 October 2012

We Have a Date

click image to enlarge

Who would have believed it?   Thanks to the dedicated work of paper conservator Stephen Allen the fragments of printed material found below layers of limewash on the inside of one of the cladding boards has yielded a date.


The image is difficult to read but the date of the newspaper is very clear.   Not only was there lime-wash on top of the printed paper, there is lime-wash below it.   This presumably means that the paper was stuck onto the wall that had already been lime-washed at least once - meaning that the shed dates from earlier than the date on the newspaper.   The navvy huts would have been built at any time from 1869 onwards.   Although the line opened to passenger trains in 1876 there was still much work to do so the huts, or at least some of them,  would still have been in use in 1878.   The branch line to Hawes from Hawes Junction was not opened until 1878 and at least two of the stations were not built until after 1878.

This dating evidence is an amazing find.   Stephen Allen is still working on the conservation of the paper but thanks to his painstaking work we have the most compelling clue to support the case that the Appleby shed was originally a navvy hut.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Ladies who dine

Earlier this week Pat and I had the honour of speaking to a gathering of 40 or so 'ladies who dine' once a month at the Craven Arms in Settle.   Besides it being a delightful evening, a splendid meal and a £50 donation to the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line there was a very touching vote of thanks from one of just three of the 40 ladies who was born and bred in Settle.

She was kind enough to tell us that she had not heard a single soul say anything negative about the water tower's restoration.   Everybody was full of praise for it and what a welcome difference it had made to Settle.   That was very, very much appreciated.

Oh yes, and I had the Gents all to myself at the comfort break.

The Rain Chains Work

click to enlarge

It has rained cats and dogs for most of today.   The weather forecast said showers.   Well, today's showers have been joined on to one another into what I call rain!

Anyway, the new rain chains got a thoroughly good test and here they are - water cascading down them, all under control and all destined for the rainwater harvesting tank.   Do click on the collage to enlarge it.   The real thing is quite mesmerising to watch, and to hear.
Posted by Picasa