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Friday, 28 September 2018

Our Garden Just Got Bigger

Our planning application to build a first floor extension is taking its course with worryingly few objections.   Just one in fact - from our neighbours in the Old Vicarage to the rear of the tower.   It is a  blunderbus of a document listing sixteen points of objection.    They have rather thrown the book at us and included obvious things like privacy through to such things a risk of flooding and damage to tree roots.   Most of the objections are answered in our application, design and access statement, plans etc.   That is slightly annoying as it takes a huge amount of time to put in a valid planning application in which one seeks to address possible problems before they arise.   Anyway, Thank God, we live in the sort of land where the citizen can object.

One serious point of objection relates to the relocation of our existing summer house / hut from the top corner of the rear garden to a wider area to the north, adjoining the vicarage wall:

click to enlarge

The existing location of the hut is the dotted area top right.   It is in the way of the new extension so must move.   The only nearby alternative is shown in pink as 'repositioned hut' at a point by the rear wall where there is an obtuse angle which gives rise to enough space for it.  Just.

It could have stayed in its original location but if it was moved hard up against the southern wooden fence and the eastern rear wall there would be no room to walk round it.   Even then its overhanging eaves would have over hung the extension roof unsatisfactorily.   Architect Stuart Green, who already refers to is as a Wendy House would throw a wobbly and be unable to hold his head high in the architectural world again.

So, the hut proves to be a big problem which could end up scuppering the whole thing.

But - the otherwise beautiful new Stationside apartment block on the other side of our fence is surrounded by wilderness that none of the residents wants to buy.   Unsurprising as it is virtually inaccessible and unseen from within the building.   Maybe I could seek to buy a metre or so on the far side of our fence and shuffle the hut over what is presently our boundary?

Hang on though.   When we erected the fence we had to guess about its Land Registry line.   Les Brewer who built the fence had to negotiate dense trees and hostile undergrowth so he dug the holes and concreted in the posts as best he could.   Precision was then irrelevant and we agreed to err on the side of caution if in doubt.   Better to have the fence on our land than risk later problems if it strayed onto the adjoining owner's land.   Here is the Land Registry's official red boundary:

It is the straight red line at the base of the triangle.   The part of that straight line at right angles to the station drive is in no doubt - it is a very straight sectional concrete wall.   Here it is, looking from the station drive end:

The hut at the top of the banking is obvious.   So too is the the fact that the fence running up the embankment appears to be off line to the left.   Just how much off line is clearer in the view below with the camera actually on top of the concrete wall,   The fence is away to the left by about a metre - just the amount needed to solve our problem:

There is even a distinct kink in the fence for good measure.

No need to buy the land - we bought it already back in 2010!   There should now be no need to drastically reposition the hut as planned.   Just shuffle it sideways on our own land - subject of course to an amendment to our planning application.   Been there before and got the T shirt.   Hey ho.

The exact start and finish points of the realigned fence are a bit tricky to define because the concrete wall has had the odd knock around the area of our Sidings gates but I look forward to agreeing a reasonable line with the neighbours so that the look of the thing is right.   

Thursday, 27 September 2018

A Red Lamp - Life's Good and Safe Now

Ever since our buffers were installed, FoSCL volunteer and ex Carlisle steam driver Ian Graham has been badgering me to prove them with a red lamp for completeness.   Why would a buffer stop neead a red light?   Well, imagine reversing a train to a set of buffers at night in the dark of railway sidings.

Red oil lamps were placed centrally on a central bracket on the buffer beam.   When the engine men lost sight of the red lamp on reversing they knew they were near enough for comfort and should stop. Identical red lights were attached to the last vehicle of trains too, especially for the attention of signal men.   This explanation from Jan Ford's VIC Blog:

When is a train not a train?
When it hasn't got a tail lamp.
On the running line, the red tail lamp is important to signify that a train is complete. Even in day time, it indicates clearly the last vehicle.
Some overseas railways hang a distinctive marker board on the last vehicle - often red marked 'LV'. In India I've seen red flags pressed into use but the nicest Last Vehicle marker I spotted was a spray of purple/red flowers! In Myanmar, they paint the 'LV' marker on the guard's van, making it important that the train is correctly marshalled!
At night or in conditions of poor visibility, the tail lamp must be lit. The traditional tail lamp uses a burner comprising a woven wick fed with paraffin from a vessel. The burner and vessel can be removed from the lamp housing for filling and maintenance. The complete lamp is designed to stay alight even in severe, windy conditions, provided it's correctly cleaned and 'trimmed'. Although the burner produces only a small, yellow flame, the red 'bulls-eye' lens produces a remarkably visible indication when viewed from the rear. At night, when the train itself cannot be seen, the tail lamp is the last line of defence against being run into from the rear. Loose-coupled, slow-moving freights improved their chances of being seen by carrying two additional red lights - one on each side the brake van - as well. When turned into a loop or additional running line, the side light nearest the main line was changed to white, so that a following train on the main line would not be panicked into thinking an accident was imminent. Side lights always project a white light forwards, so that the footplate crew could confirm that the whole train was following.
The person most interested in observing the tail lamp was the signalman, who had to satisfy himself that the whole train had passed clear of his section before allowing a second train to approach. Special bell signals were provided for 'train passed without tail lamp' and 'tail lamp out when should be lit'. As important as making sure that a train has a tail lamp is making sure that it has only one. If vehicles are attached at the rear, the original tail lamp must be removed and moved to its new position. If the locomotive was carrying a tail lamp when on its way to work the train, then this must be removed when the loco is attached to the train.

Today I was brought not one but two of these lamps by Kirkby Malham resident Andrea West, wife of former police colleague Ch Supt Owen West, who was helping a neighbour have a garge clear-out.

Nowadays they are highly prized.   They were scrapped by the thousands when electric lighting became the norm.   Furthermore, they were made from steel for cheapness so tended to rust away.   They led a hard life exposed to the elements and were vulnerable to destruction or being 'repurposed'.

Here they are, waiting for gentle restoration.   One will be weather proofed and located on our duffer beam - which will make driver Ian Graham happy again.

and a real surprise bonus - both lamps are marked BR but one is BR(M) - the Midland region so it could have been up and down this very line:

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Busy in Ribblesdale Today

The amount of emergency services and helicopter activity this afternoon does not sound good.   Serous incident up on the Ribblehead-Hawes road at Newby Head Pass near Ribblehead apparently.   Four helicopters in attendance.   Let us hope that just reflects the remoteness of the site rather than the number of casualties.

Summer weekend days are seldom peaceful in and around Settle.   For all the wrong reasons, sadly.   As a community we are very well served in emergencies.   Not just the full time emergency services of police and ambulance but part time fire brigade and volunteer cave and moorland rescue and first responders.

Site Office / Summer House Fits in Well

After quite a struggle, involving ladders and roof work (another breakthrough), the site hut is in place on the knoll and frankly looks as though it has always been there.

The Yorkshire Dales


for some stunning pictures and erudite words from former Dalesman editor Paul Jackson.

As a taster how's this for a wow of a picture of England's green and pleasant land?

click to enlarge

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Flying Settle Salmon

It is incredibly difficult to get a picture of the salmon leaping up the river so this picture of one on this year's migration will take some beating:


Monday, 17 September 2018

Family Cuddles

Lorna and the boys came here for the weekend and we had a lovely, quiet, undemanding weekend.   For the first time since April I felt confident enough to eat out without disgracing myself.   Aiming a forkful of food with a broken wrist at a mouth that won't totally oblige size or position-wise has taken some working out.   Grandson James was the advance party to find a dark corner table at The Talbot for grandpa to hide and eat without becoming a spectacle.   Whitby scampi and chips.   Another achievement.

Lorna did another heroic job on the garden and the house, reaching those corners that are rarely reached.

There was a combined effort on the summer house / site office, with which I was able to take a fairly active part:

 We watched the Saturday qualifying sessions for the Singapore Grand Prix and Ben decided to plonk himself alongside grandpa for a cuddle.   Aaaah.
At The Talbot the boys were discouraged from playing real darts.   Their mother Lorna, resourceful as always, took herself off to Car and Kitchen* and found a magnetic dartboard which actually works, thanks to todays powerful magnets:

*Car and Kitchen is a Settle market place institution.   A one time garage, long since turned toyshop,  gift shop, cafeteria and kitchenware shop, hence the name, you can be sure of finding what you, or someone near to you, want/s.   Lorna has been going there since she was old enough to have money of her own to spend.

The top lawn and containers had some t.l.c. too:

 Stripes above and winter bedding below - thank you Lorna.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

A Temporary Site Hut

Having submitted our planning application we enter a hiatus awaiting a decision during which it is senseless spending any money directly related to the application.   Even so, we want to make rapid progress once we get approval - if we get approval.   There are some almost cost free things that can be done, high on the list of which was the removal of the black summer house / shed which would have obstructed access to the site and relocating it as a potential site hut.

This we (me and Steve) have almost done and it sits well in its new location on the knoll:

Neighbouring trees and our shrubs make it less prominent a feature than it was and it is now at building site level.   It is very much a temporary building - indeed this is its fifth location, having been with us at The Folly, Well House and here.

It will house the building plans.   Eventually it may resume its role as a visitors refuge / display room if we decide to resume that facility.

Still work in progress.   If we want it to stay where it is we shall need Listed Building consent at least.   Yet our much more prominent coal truck and the enormous water crane have 'the planning status of garden gnomes' apparently.   I suppose gnomes need somewhere to live don't they?

Monday, 10 September 2018

A Memorable Trip Downstairs

Ever since my epic fall on 11 April I have not attempted to walk down that flight of stairs.   In part there was a psychological barrier but mainly it was for fear of retribution from a concerned wife.   Having the lift and an alternative shallower flight of stairs made those stairs avoidable anyway.

The thank-you visit of my ambulance crew, Wendy and Luke gave an opportunity to cross that Rubicon.   Safeguarded fore and aft therefore I made it down the stairs, pausing at the bend in the staircase to admire the  dent in the wall left by my head.   Photos Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

And here is a last word from grandson James.   Bless him, he had composed a script but come the moment he could not bring himself to read it out.   Sound on, Kleenex at the ready:

The link doesn't work for me so probably not for you either but he says
"My name is James Gavin.   Thank you for saving my grandpa's life".

Friday, 7 September 2018

"Thank You For Saving My Grandpa's Life"

Today has been a day I have been looking forward to for a long time, and felt privileged to attend.

Thanks to the Yorkshire Ambulance Service I was able at long last to say thank-you in person to some people who had helped us immensely when I had my fall and broke my neck.

We had an informal and enjoyable lunchtime get together with YAS Ms Fixit Brogan, ambulance crew paramedic Wendy, ambulance driver Luke, neighbours Les and Val and mercy mission fast driver Bob.

 Pat, Mark, Wendy, Luke, Val and Les.   Bob is behind the camera.

Sitting in the 'cinema' to watch Restoration Man 'Best Towers'

The big green and yellow taxi returns.   Bob Swallow's the man in black, for completeness.

We had a fine finger feast courtesy of Pat and Edwin Booth then sat down in the lounge to watch the 11 minutes of the water tower part of Restoration Man's 'Best Towers' episode.

We went through the events of the night back in April and I think we were all able to fill some nagging gaps and to get a much fuller picture of just what had happened.   I found it particularly interesting as I had been unconscious for most of the time.   My most spectacular contribution being to bleed a lot - as Les and Val know all too well as they cleared it up the following day - as well as seeing to dog Bess and cat Purrcy in our absence.   Bob had driven Pat at speed to Preston when they reported 'we think we're losing him' five days in to my stay.

I regret to report that I made a seriously spectacular mess of the inside of the ambulance.   Besides the copious bleeding I performed a man sized projectile vomit which hit the ambulance roof and went 'everywhere'.   The rubber mattress on which I was strapped was deemed beyond salvation and had to be replaced.   It took five clinical waste bags to deal with the cleaning.   Not just that, Wendy had slipped on the literally bloody floor when attending to me as we raced towards Preston thanks to Luke's skills.

Arriving just too late today were two video clips from grandsons Ben (9) and James (13) both of whom had sent a message for Luke and Wendy in particular "Thank you for saving my grandpa's life" they both said.   The videos will of course be forwarded.

It was at times an emotional lunchtime as well as a very happy one.   I lost my composure a couple of times as I thanked Wendy.   Those videos would have had everybody in tears!

And a cheery final wave from Luke as 'my' ambulance resumes work:

Footnote;   by sheer coincidence this was the very ambulance that took me to Preston.   It was not the one that was stolen and involved in a police chase across the Dales back in July (see Blog posting of 14th July 2018).

Rainbow Over Yorkshire

I do not know who is the photographer but suppose the most credit must go to The Lord Almighty for this:

click to enlarge

It was posted on FaceTwitterBook by the Yorkshire Shepherdess.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Planning Application Now Online

Recent posts have shown plans for a single storey first floor extension to the rear of the tower.  Our planning applications have been validated and are on Craven District Coucil's planning portal, numbers 2018/19637/HH  and  2018/19638/LBC.

You have to go to the far right of the screen to open a particular document.

We now have to wait until 25th October for a result.

The entire World was built in seven days - but perhaps planning took a bit longer.