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Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Never a Dull Moment

It's a comfortingly routine yet varied life here.  Some pictures from the last couple of days:

I nearly bought a steam engine 'in need of completion'.  The wife and common sense prevailed.  I had to 'agree' that I have quite enough mechanical playthings already - and they all work at this moment in time.  I had a dirty day changing the filters on the Yanmar tractor whose diesel fuel filter certainly needed renewal.   Just look at that crud in the bottom of the filter bowl.   Could well be that the filter had never been changed - ever.

After that excitement here is a glimpse of the glorious image on the bedroom CCTV large monitor this morning.   The real picture is in splendid HD but you get the idea - DSettle station bathed in sunshine and some serious weather moving in from Lancashire:

And this was yesterday  at Settle station- steam in flight.   The spectators on the footbridge may be regretting their grandstand viewing choice:

And here she is a minute of two later at Helwith Bridge, taken by a better photographer than me!

Even Eddie Stobart put on a show for us, delivering a road/rail machine at Settle:

Two more steam trains today to amuse the family, here for half-term.   This may be tedious for half the population but it's the sort of thing that keeps little boys happy.  And big ones too.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Darling Daughter's Garden

Our DD, Lorna, lives in Gerrards Cross in John Betjamen's 'Leafy Bucks'.  For months past she and the boys have been kitchen-less whilst their kitchen and its garden annex were stripped away and rebuilt.   She has spared he aged parents from photographs but dust has been her middle name of late.

Delighted therefore that she has felt able to go public on Facebook with these pictures of her new annex and garden:

This amazing result in the garden (the kitchen is still work in progress) inspires and encourages us as parts of our garden look like the Somme just yet.

But just you wait.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Lifting Washing Machines with an Old Toy

Waiting for a couple of years whilst the planning system ground slowly and while I recovered from my neck event we have hosted half a houseful of family furniture and stuff-in-general, mainly in and around our garage block.   This has meant things have been stacked up in front of the middle garage, very effectively sealing in Gladys Emmanuel, the Ford Model T.

For the past year that has not mattered as I have not felt up to driving it anyway but as summer is now almost here I decided to act and to get Gladys back on the road.   This necessitated moving a tumble dryer (light-ish) and a washing machine (very very heavy) from the garage area to our utility room.

The vintage three-wheeler Geest auto-truck seemed the ideal vehicle.   The tumble dryer was loaded easily but the washing machine was quite a different matter.   It needed lifting bodily from ground level up 20 inches to the loading platform.   Well beyond me and most of my now contemporaries.

Then inspiration struck.  Among my railwayana / playthings there is a magnificent and ancient truck/hoist designed precisely for the job:

here is the machine on the trolley hoist

and safely loaded onto the Geest after a few easy turns of a winding handle, without assistance.

Had it been required the hoist could have lifted the washing machine a good deal higher.

The hoist, besides defying gravity, probably also defies every Health and Safety rule in the book.  But it works.

Me in '73

Bradford City Police (of blessed memory) merged with Leeds City Police and the West Riding Constabulary on 1st April (significantly) 1974.   I use the word merged with tongue in cheek.  As a Bradford colleague put it "How can it be that two city forces merge and they put the coppers who looked after the fields in between in charge?".

Anyway West Yorkshire had a force newspaper, issues of which appear monthly on a WYP Facebook  site.  I am still coming to terms with this picture of Inspector me in the issue of January 1973:

Apparently I am keeping out of harm's way manning the Bradford City underwater search team's stall at a 'look what you'll soon be missing" exhibition - holding a ?cannon ball found by the team somewhere wet.  The onlookers seem impressed.

Friday, 24 May 2019

Gordon the Gondola Again

Blog followers from way back in 2011 might remember the problems we had in preparing and painting the tank.   Thoughts of getting it done by somebody else were dashed by an early quote of £52,000 plus scaffolding!

That gave rise to a top-downwards approach which would at least avoid the need for scaffolding.  We devised and built a sort of cradle or gondola which would be suspended from the top of the tower and would rest partly on the ledge eight feet below.  The unsupported rear of the gondola would just have to hang out over the edge - secured by chains and steel ropes at five separate points so quite safe, if scary at first.   Six months later it felt like a second home.

Everybody was happy about that - at its most heavily loaded it held me, George Clarke and a cameraman.

The Gondola's name was symbolic - GORDON.  A reference to a then recent Prime Minister who was a safe(ish) pair of hands but who hung around for too long.   Gordon the Gondola suited the need in name and in longevity.

Here is the then nameless Gordon the Gondola under construction:

and in action

We still have Gordon the Gondola but I am on a three-line-whip not to use it, or else . . . . 

Today's somewhat overdue news prompts me to wonder if, had we been doing the tower now, the gondola might have had to be named THERESA?   May be not.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

The Foundations Dug

Three views of what is happening.   The footprint of the first floor extension is evidenced by the 600mm cubed holes which will be filled with mass concrete to receive the galvanised steel stilts and the steel ring beam and intermediate steels for the extension.

Lamp Lit and Sun Lit

Conscious that this Blog has been quiet for a while.  So much has been happening though - the digging of the foundations is finished - pictures later.

The sun has shone all this week which has been ideal for mudless digging.  The concrete will be poured when the steel supports are made and galvanised.

Meanwhile I'm rather pleased with this photograph of the red oil lamp on our buffer beam.  The sunlight makes it appear to be lit.

And here is a super picture of Settle station basking in evening sunshine on the 14th May

Sunday, 5 May 2019

Super Steam

We have been blessed with some magnificent steam locomotives flying past in recent days click any pic to enlarge:

Union of South Africa, alias Number Nine on what may be one of her last main line runs before her boiler ticket runs out

British India Line alias Bil seen here at Kirkby Stephen on a round Britain tour

Princess Elizabeth alias Lizzie heading last Tuesday's weekly Dalesman sadly caused a lot of delay on the S&C when a points problem at Hellifield meant she could not enter the down loop so she blocked the down main line whilst taking on water, meaning the service train could not pass.  This situation got worse approaching Appleby when that water supply ran dangerously low.  If this cannot be remedied quickly the only answer is to drop the fire onto the track if a boiler explosion is to be avoided.  In the end she was allowed to run onto the up main line to take on water from the up-line-only water supply at Appleby, causing further delay.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

What a Day the First of May

The re-landscaping of the south end embankment and the dire and dangerous state of the small wooden terrace by the summer house meant a re-think of that little area.   Ideally the platform needed replacing and some properly made railings put in place.

The rotten wooden platform deck was soon swept away leaving us with a need for some stylish and functional railings if it was to be reinstated.  I turned to the place where anybody who has a rather specific needs turn these days - EBay.

Lo and behold these turned up in Blackpool:

They were described as brand new, galvanised and powder coated and were precisely the length I needed - 3.4m.  Bids were invited from £50 so I put in a bid of £50, fully expecting it to be soundly beaten but no. I won them.

That unexpected result meant we would have to go to Blackpool (an hour or so's drive) and collect them from an industrial estate near to the airport.

Our newly acquired Mitsubishi Shogun and the huge trailer I made from a caravan chassis would be called upon for their first major test - and mine for driving an automatic. I used the Yanmar diesel tractor to manoeuvre the trailer into the station car park, the hard way via the station drive zig-zag entrance. Both vehicles had stood largely unused throughout the past year.

Everything worked perfectly and what a bargain those railings turned out to be. Seems they had been made to order but the client had had a change of mind, preferring twisted uprights to straight ones - that's Blackpool for you I guess. Anyway we got £1,200's worth of brand new railings for just £50!  The makers were lovely people and were glad to see them go to a good home despite their loss.

All told a delightful May Day thanks to two astonishing EBay bargains (the tractor and the railings), the powerful and luxurious Shogun and the home-made trailer I knew would come in handy one day. Oh yes, and a take-away lunch from Greggs at Salmesbury (don't knock it until you have tried it).

The grand finale was a text-book 'push-reverse' operation with the little tractor to get the enormous trailer and load back into the water tower yard - in the critical gaze of a a coach load of passengers waiting at the station for their coach from Carlisle. Two of them gave us a welcome shove when the tractor's back wheels lost grip in the yard's gravel. Think of those tugs that turn huge aircraft in tight spaces at airports - same sort of process.

Today has been a major milestone of post-broken-neck achievement.