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Sunday, 31 December 2017

Welcome Comrade/s

There seems to be intense interest in water towers today in Russia:

click to enlargeski

The intensity of the green indicates the Old Year's Day traffic sources.

If there's somebody out there in Russia with an old water tower to rescue (and there could well be) we'd be delighted to hear about it.   There are loads of water tower crack pots around the world with common problems and a wealth of experience.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017


Noticed these little fellows peeping through the winter gloom today.   Daffodils on the station approach drive.

Harbingers is one of those strange words with a limited number of add-ons.

Doom and spring are the only ones that immediately spring (sorry) to mind.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Another Old Water Tower Picture

This must be in the running for the most boring picture postcard ever produced:

click to enlarge

Settle station and water tower are about midway up on the left.   Just.

I can only think the main focus of attention was the row of newly built semis on Cammock Lane.

Monday, 25 December 2017


We are having a lovely Christmas Day, just the two of us plus dog Bess and cat Purrcy - plus a cock pheasant at the bird table.   Very, very restful and Christmassy.

Father Christmas has difficulty here, with no real chimney, so he uses the lift shaft, resourceful chap:

His bounty knew no bounds this year and included an iPhone 6S and an Alexa plus lots of super railway books of the dip-into sort.   Just the thing for the middle of the night when I am reading myself back to sleep.   When I have cleared lots of hurdles my Apple Mac computer, the iPhone and the Alexa will all connect seamlessly but I shall have to get used to 'apps' before then.

You may be wondering about the big parcel propped against the lift's control panel.   You need to hark back a week or two when I Blogged about an amazing painting that was for sale in Settle - a Settle-scape which featured both the Folly and the Water Tower.   Well I was able to buy it and here it is:

click to enlarge

There's the water tower now a Settle icon!   It was painted by local artist Georgia Winder and we shall cherish it.   It is 4 feet long by 2 feet tall.

  Buildings depicted include

Top row - the Water Tower, The Shambles, The Folly, The Signal Box
Middle row - The Naked Man Cafe, The Social Club
Bottom row - The Royal Oak, Poppies Tea Room, Nelson's Shoe Shop, the Bike Shop and Lamberts Newsagents.

To complete the festive scene here is our main room, gently dressed up for Christmas

It seems almost no time since this cosy room was a derelict and forbidding space.

The recent very cold weather prompted us to review our heating arrangements as the temperature in our 'cosy' room fell to 15 degrees C.   Did we need a more powerful boiler perhaps?

Local electrical & heating magnate Jonathan Mousey responded to our plea for heating help.   We did not need a new boiler but we did need to make better use of the existing one (he could have sold us a new boiler but didn't, bless him).   Among his recommendations was to double the number of heat propelled fans above the gas stove in the main room.   This we have done and what a difference it has made:

Not only are these things visual fun, they blast hot air to where it is needed.

Another device I am adopting is to fit concealed hinge-side door closers on all the internal doors.   They are fire doors after all so should remain closed on that account alone.   Just two doors have so far been fitted but boy, what a difference it makes.

Happy Christmas Day

Happy Christmas from Settle Station's famous water tower.

This lovely painting of Ribblehead seems to be a fitting finale to my little series of advent pictures.  

A very happy Christmas to visitors to our Blog,
especially those of you in GCHQ, the Kremlin and the
Pentagon, working on Christmas Day.   Regular followers will understand
that little joke.   Casual visitors will think I have finally flipped.

If you are at GCHQ etc, keep up the good work.

Let s all pray for a World when there is no longer the need.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Happy Christmas 24th December

click to enlarge

Blea Moor signal box and up line water tower.   The water tower no longer exists but the signal box very much does - and is manned 24/7.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Happy Christmas December 20th

This is Appleby on 16 February 1979 and the Carlisle snowploughs, powered by 25172 and 25285 are seen getting train crew relief before setting off for Blea Moor.

Nowadays the trolley kitchens at Settle and Appleby are havens of festive cheer for snow plough crews in the know ho ho.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Happy Christmas December 17th

Number two on my little Advent calendar:

click to enlarge

This is a driver's eye view of Ribblehead station, heading south.   And for comparison here is the same scene in summer:

The Ribblehead quarry siding can more clearly seen to the right of the down line in this view.   Good news yesterday  - ten trainloads of aggregate will depart from that siding, starting tomorrow, Monday.

Pictures credit

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Happy Christmas December 16th

Thought it might be a nice idea to use the next ten days until you-know-when by posting some Christmassy Settle-Carlisle images, starting with this year's FoSCL Christmas card by Andrew Griffiths:

click to enlarge

It shows a stranger on the line - a South West Trains class 158 unit on loan to Northern in a snow covered Mallerstang.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Sunset and Christmas Lights

We try our best with Christmas on the tower - not overdoing it but doing something.   Today I strung up our string of cherry LEDs and the winter sunset obliged.

at the northern end the sky was dark but the unseasonably early snow made for a pretty-ish picture

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Christmas has Started in Settle

They really do Christmas well here.

click to enlarge

Picture above shows The Shambles in the Market Place with Settle Town Hall and fireworks from Castlebergh rock.

And below is the Naked Man Cafe later in the week.


Saturday, 2 December 2017

One of the World's Awesome Water Tower Homes it Seems

Just received a Google Alert about this rather upmarket website on which we feature among the World's 'awesome water tower homes':


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

We Have a Loft

Well, the large / navvy hut loft is finished, complete with staircase access.   This has produced immense storage capacity.   I have sorted all my 'cannot throw away/ come in useful sometime' goodies into those red lidded buckets and there is still an enormous amount of storage space left.

Note the two chandeliers.   Very effective workshop lighting and definite talking points.   All done in the best possible taste of course.

And, we even have a mighty great block and tackle hoist to lift things up and down.  

Friday, 24 November 2017

A Settlescape

This is part of a Settlescape that has appeared for sale on the local website.    For very obvious reasons I think it is lovely!

What an honour to see that we have been counted among this artist's iconic images of our town.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Welcome to a Special New Follower

One of the fascinating aspects of having a Blog is that you can get a picture of who is looking at it and where in the world they are.   Not who by name though, unless they register as a 'follower'.   Delighted to see that the most recent follower is my 12 year old grandson James Mark (I really appreciated that) Gavin.    Welcome James.   I shall take even greater care what I say from now on.

The worldwide audience remains interesting.   Russia has piped down a lot with all that Trump hoo-ha but a surprise outsider is Brazil.   I wonder if it has been shown on TV there?

Meanwhile, here is James Mark Gavin getting the feel of Gladys Emmanuel.   The car that is, not the nurse.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

POTUS is a F.A.C.

Our darling daughter Lorna

has just put the following on Facebook for the World to see.   The Ben referred to is our sweet little grandson - a student at Gerrards Cross Church of England Primary School:

Me to Ben: 'Describe Donald Trump in three words'.
Pause from Ben.
Ben: Farty. Arsehole. Carrot. 
Now, normally I don't approve of my boys swearing, of course. But this time, all I could do was nod with approval and shake my son's hand.

I do hope that provides a chuckle to our Blog followers at GCHQ, the Kremlin and the Pentagon.   There are enough trigger words in this post to register on their systems, surely?

Sunday, 12 November 2017

The View That Keeps On Giving

Twilight today from the top of the water tower.

click to enlarge

Happy Boys

I somehow missed posting this lovely picture back in May on James' (left) birthday.   Brother Ben seems to approve too.

click to enlarge

Our two grandchildren are a source of constant delight.   Almost.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

We Are An Example

This article has appeared in the Bournemouth Echo

A very handsome, but endangered Listed water tower in Poole may be made into apartments and we are quoted in the proposal as one of two examples of how good such conversions can be.

click to enlarge

Looks as though they plan to use the actual tank for living space, necessarily removing tank panels to fit windows.   That I think would be a shame.

Still, I wish them luck and would be happy to share experience.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Massive New Storage Space and SUPAlyx

Trouble with flat roofed houses like ours is you miss the storage space that most conventional houses have in their lofts.

We have coped with this to a limited extent by using the space in the coal truck and the void below the roof room floor.   Mainly though the spaces inside the three bays of the navvy hut have become cluttered (a serious understatement).

I do not know why I have not thought of it before but I am fitting a floor below the pitched roof of the navvy hut which is creating an enormous loft.   There is a good six feet of headroom under the apex.

Here is the hut before it was taken to pieces by Network Rail at Appleby.   If you draw an imaginary line between the gutters you get an idea of the size of the resulting loft.   Of course, not all of the space is usable because of the sloping roof but well over half of it is.

Not only that, I have dropped upon nearly 40 sturdy lidded rectangular buckets from a local farm.   Into these will go the odds and ends in their various categories for ease of retrieval when needed.   That at any rate is the theory.   I am mindful of a comment made by darling daughter Lorna last weekend.   "Don't put all your rubbish up there Dad, please.   When you kick the bucket it will be me who has to get rid of it all."

True, but it will at least all be in red buckets for ease of disposal.

A proper staircase will give access to the loft, which is already lit with LED lights.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Settle's Going Up in the World

click to enlarge

If you enlarge the picture and look carefully you will see a couple of chaps earning their money.

Here is the crane from Booths supermarket car  park:

Fear not, the resulting building is nowhere near the height of the crane.   Retirement homes are being built on the site and the long reach of the crane will enable fast construction.

And a dramatic one from former Dalesman editor Paul Jackson:

Oh yes, and it has three bright red lights on the top!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Settle Station Back in The Day

This 'atmospheric' picture of Settle station popped up on social media the other day:

click to enlarge

It rather captures the bleakness of many wayside stations at the time.   Just when the time is I do not know.   Anywhere from the 1950s onwards.   The station is neglected and its platforms are lit by gas lamps.   It is winter and the few people on the platforms are dressed for it.

Health and Safety has not yet kicked in judging by the state of the platform with trip and slip hazards aplenty.   The tracks though look ready for serious purpose.   The Thames-Clyde Express would have been a daily blur of steam and speed through Settle then.   Even so the track is of jointed rail - the things that gave trains that comforting di-der-di-der, di-der-di-der noise.   Today's continuous rail has got rid of that.   The ride is smoother but the experience has lost that accompaniment.

Recognising the depressing appearance, somebody is making the very best of it with flower beds.   This suggests the work of Stationmaster Taylor - perhaps that is him with raincoat aflap on the down platform at the far end of which is the down water crane.

And on the far right is the water tower of course.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

A Viaduct Transformed

Settle's Church Viaduct is an iconic feature of the town but its six arches were fast becoming obscured by trees:

Earlier this month I mentioned this to Network Rail's Track Maintenance Engineer Gordon Allen who  took up the case instantly.

During this week a small detachment of the Orange Army from Carlisle struck:

And within two days Settle had its viaduct back again:

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Grandson Ben is in Residence

Click to enlarge.   Note rotation - the house is a tip

But we love him really.

I am sparing you the bathroom fall-out.   Little boys cannot aim well.   Perhaps it's a bit like firearms - the shorter the barrel the less the accuracy?

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Our Rain Problem in Pictures

When we first bought the water tower there was a serious problem with rain getting in, to the extent of it streaming down the insides of the outer walls.   The obvious and visible fault was that there was a gap between the base of the iron tank and the decorative stone plinth below.   Attempts by our builders and then by ourselves had failed to fill the variable gap effectively.   Then we took advice from sealant specialists Adshead Ratcliffe & Co Ltd who supplied their high modulus Arbomeric M20 which solved that problem absolutely, if inelegantly*:

* our fault, not theirs!!

click to enlarge

Rainwater then flows down a sloping (red painted) stone and onto a less steep ledge which provided a walkway round the tank for the bold / brave or barmy:

at the edge of that ledge most, but by no means all of the water drips off and falls to the ground, well clear of the tower walls below.   Remaining water has further opportunities to drip away as more overhangs are encountered:

These pictures were taken during heavy rain this afternoon and it can be see that the combined system is very effective indeed in shedding the water - to the extent that the tower walls are perfectly dry:

The problems only arise in driving rain when some of the rain makes it to the lowest of the ledges, immediately above the square support or dentition stones.   Any water that does not fall off then gets blown against the top of the wall itself.   The increased wind pressure outside finds any crack in the mortar and water gets sucked towards the reduced air pressure within.   

Nowadays a drip groove cut into any or all of the overhangs would deal with the problem most effectively.   There appear to have been attempts to deal with the situation by applying tar or bitumen to the stonework between the dentition stones but this, besides being unsightly, has failed:

In short, what appears to be a decorative plinth of the tower is in fact a cleverly devised and most effective way of shedding the water away from its upper walls, most of the time.

The remedy seems to be to remove the old tar (much of it scabbing off anyway), to rake out the mortar between the dentition stones  and to replace it with the sort of filler that was used with success between the iron tank and the tops of the plinth stones, in a matching colour.

Unless you have any other ideas????   

Do please comment below.