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Monday, 30 September 2019

Settle has a Hospital Once Again

One of the very few disadvantages of life in Settle is that it does not have a hospital.  It used to have two although one, Harden Bridge, was what used to be called an isolation hospital - now long since closed.   The other, Castleberg was a convalescent hospital - cum hospice.   It closed some years ago when its roof was deemed to be in need of renewal and it did not fit in with the scheme of things in the modern NHS.   This sparked a series of 'consultations' and a growing realisation that Settle's size and location made it somewhat different.   The case for what was once called a cottage hospital was strong and passions were running high.

Today we went to the pre-opening public showing of a fully refurbished ten-bed Castleberg Hospital.  A mighty fine job has been done on it too.   Had it been open and available my stay in a high dependency bed at the Preston Royal Hospital could have been shorter.  I could have transferred to Settle's Castleberg and have received the on-site physiotherapy and rehabilitation I needed whilst releasing an emergency bed at Preston.

Here's the main entrance.   The outside respects the history of the building - it was once Settle's workhouse.   Inside though it is of the very latest fit-out and facilities.  This is the Physiotherapy room:

Complete with skeleton, of course.  I enquired if the skeleton yet had a name.  Surprisingly it did not.   I suggested Boris and this received unanimous approval

The building is much bigger than the first photograph suggests so it has 'zones' just like big hospitals.  Here's one of the corridors:

Like the saving of Settle's railway from closure this is a massive result for people-power, expressed with conviction, common sense and politeness.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Tornado and Mud Slide in Settle

As little diversions form building works we had a whoooosh visit from the A1 Pacific locomotive Tornado this weekend, seen here at Settle station and passing Pen y Ghent

Still on the weather front, the nearby Bentham line is closed because of a mud slide:

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Another Monster Crane

After a week of weather-delays we are on course to take delivery of, and erect the remaining floor and wall panels starting 0800 next Tuesday.   It has not proved possible to clear the entire Sidings driveway so it was touch-and-go whether Settle Coal's big Hiab crane had room to access the site.  This morning we had a dry-run and lo-and-behold not only does it fit (just!) but its sky hook can reach all parts of the floor area:

click to enlarge

A very big relief all round.

And here's a better picture from the other side by proud crane owner/driver Brian Thornton:

Brian it was who
1. brought our summer house onto its now hilltop site, over the then tops of trees
2. brought our navvy hut/garages from Network Rail Appleby to here
3. collected the coal truck all the way from Aviemore and craned it onto our railway lines
4. craned and carried the Hawes Junction locomotive chimney from here to Ribblehead visitor centre
5. erected the immensely heavy water crane

Maybe the lifts on Tuesday will be the last.   Maybe.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

A Last Peep Below the Floor

On  Tuesday next the final floor panels are due to be craned* in.  *They are each about 180kg - not too heavy to manhandle but they are designed to such close tolerances that they must be dropped in absolutely vertically from above.

The drains are in their locations, though still need to be buried in places.  The four massive green timbers are extra supports for large floor areas and for internal structural walls.  Each is a sandwich of two enormously heavy timbers of a non-standard size.  Engineers love non-standard sizes apparently.  Why??

Pat and I drove with our big trailer to Garstang, Lancashire to the only timber yard in Christendom which could supply them.   They were treated overnight, fitted today and will be bolted to each other on Monday with huge countersunk coach bolts at 300mm centres seemingly.  Just to add to the fun on Monday the Building Inspector calleth.

Hoping to place an order fo windows on Monday too subject to Building Inspector advice.  Then we should be weatherproof in three weeks.

The walls should fly up, the immensely strong and level floors providing a superb work platform for them and the roof if all goes to plan.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Well and Truly Buddleia'd

Caught these little charmers basking in the sunshine on the end of my big trailer and couldn't resist the caption:

click to enlaarge

"Dunno about you Gladys but I don't care if I never see another Buddleia ever again"

Sunday, 15 September 2019

An Old Saucer

One of the (few) joys of digging in the water tower garden is that old railway relics keep being unearthed - telegraph insulators mainly.

Yesterday however this curiosity came to the surface.  The remains of a saucer - not a thing of beauty or of any value but intriguing:

Interpolating the wording and checking the crest it was from the Great Northern Railway Company.  It is heavy and has an oversized central base as might be expected in a train's restaurant car, subject to oscillations and spillage.

Googling, as you do these days, the manufacturer P.P. & Co Ltd was Pearl Pottery of Hanley, Stoke on Trent who are on record as having supplied the GN Rly Co with crockery.

So far so good but why did it end up at Settle station?  The GNR and the Midland did join forces but only in East Anglia and Lincolnshire and did not use this Midland Railway line.

One wonders what the story is?   Was it 'borrowed' as a souvenir, used, broke and slung?   If it was railway workers involved it is unlikely that their tea drinking involved saucers.   Any thoughts anyone?

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Steelwork Completed

Here is the very last piece of steel being bolted to the corner of the tower.  The depth of the excavation needed for the supporting columns is clear.   The steels are absolutely square and parallel, plus or minus 1mm.

A week on Monday Settle Coal's big Hi-ab crane, seen below on a similar job, will offload and lower into place the remaining floor panels.   Soon afterwards the walls, roof and windows.

The layout of the southern end of the extension becomes clear in the evening sunshine.

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Just One More Steel to Go

Amazing and visible progress today with nearly all of the steelwork in place, in fact just one more to go.

There has been some mightily impressive setting-out, measuring, checking and re-checking of dimensions.  The digger has earned its keep by taking the weight of the steels whilst joiners / steel-men Trevor and Chris position them, double check them and tighten things up.

The vertical supports have been quite tricky and the size of the excavation needed is only partly evident in the pictures.  Also evident are the two long wooden spacers which slide along the parallel beams to ensure accuracy.  Each of the vertical columns is set on very accurately laid concrete, some delivered by lorry yesterday and the rest mixed on site today.

Tomorrow, the big hole will be filled and graded to level, the final steel will be fitted and excess soil removed from the site by lorry.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Dying and Ditches

Work pushing on at great speed today with the final steelwork.

The last few steels are difficult because of their weights and the fact that two support columns must  be secured accurately to concrete foundations deep underground.   Here, the steel support for our one-time bridge. right, has been temporarily re-purposed to hold half of beam #4 at the correct height.  The two old-hands in yellow, Trevor (l) and Chris, are both joiners by trade but joinery skills are just what is needed here.

Meanwhile, I could not resist sharing today's Daily Telegraph Matt cartoon which seemed relevant on a couple of counts:


Monday, 9 September 2019

Mummers, Murder and Nonchalance

The weekend saw a lot of sunshine and the fifth annual Settle Folk Gathering - thanks immensely to the initiative of Mike Harding.  The Gathering has grown immensely over the years and attracts stage acts, mummers, cloggers and Morris dancers from all over.

Here are the Prize Old Mummers from Portsmouth rehearsing at the station before strutting their stuff in the Market Place before judges and huge crowds:

I love this picture.   The Kaiser lies dead on the ground, perhaps at the hand of St George while Boris? looks on.   What fascinates me is the body language of the people at the station ticket machine which obviously demands their full concentration despite apparent murder alongside!

T' Floor's Here

A miserable Monday morning but brightened by the arrival of the first few floor panels - and very good they look too.

Here's the first one in place and its thickness is apparent.  Essentially it is a box filled with insulation.

Each one weighs 180kg so the digger was earning its keep as a crane today.  At this stage things are working well - the big pile of floor pieces should be in place and out of the way when the final steels arrive.   The lorry is presently stuck in traffic on the M62* but that actually works well for us.

* There will be no more traffic jams in the Brave New Boris-land.  Trust me.

And here is the first section of floor laid in less than a morning:

This, the smallest section of the total floor, extends forwards below the blue temporary tarpaulin.   The floor is now fully covered is thick black Visqueen sheeting, awaiting the walls and roof in about two weeks time.  The final section of the floor fitted into place perfectly with just 0.05mm clearance

Next priority is to finish the remaining steel-work, hopefully during this week, then the entire floor can be installed.  This will create a secure platform for the two wheel-able scaffolding towers to give access to the upper parts of the walls and the roof.

Friday, 6 September 2019

Serious Progress

Big digger here today and clear plan in hand to finish the serious earth moving.  There is some deep digging to do before two final foundations are poured today for the steel columns at the far end in this picture.   The galvanised columns themselves are here on Monday so then the building should fly up.

Hard to imagine it at this stage but we are excited about how the whole finished building, and surroundings, will look.

Yesterday the massive steel perimeter beams had their tops covered in 47mm thick timber on which the outside walls will soon sit.   Roofing men coming today to do their sums.