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Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Ayers Rock, Clouds and Dandelion Pom-Poms

The April drought continues producing some strange results.  Lack of mowing has produced some spectacular displays of roadside flowers, notably dandelions.   They reckon that flowers and their eventual seeds are a plants efforts to regrow after distress.  The flowers are at  their brightest but soon die back once pollenated to produce seeds.  In the case of dandelions they take the form of pom-poms which soon look scruffy as the wind and rain do their parts in distributing the individual seeds.  Not this year though:

This small verge by Settle telephone exchange is covered with a fine display of perfectly formed and complete seed-heads.  No recent wind and certainly no rain for weeks.

Taking the air yesterday on the tank deck to see the six o'clock trains come and go I was delighted to see a black cloud up there - so much so I took a picture of it.  No rain though:

Further up the valley the setting sun lit up Pen y Ghent, emphasising its likeness to Australia's Ayers Rock:

Sunday, 26 April 2020

The Architecture the Railways Built - Yesterday Channel Next Tuesday 8pm

I posted this at the time but series presenter Tim Dunn was most taken with our 1914 Ford Model T.   Whilst he was filming at the Settle Station signal box we visited Booths to get urgently needed lunch supplies for Tim and film crew.  On our return Tim dashed away from the signal box where he was filming to grab a picture of Gladys Emmanuel:  

He's a better presenter than photographer, having hidden me behind the rear view mirror - an absolutely vital bit of reversing with the hood up.  Never mind - a glorious summers day last year and happy memories of a pre-CV time.

Do watch the series - which turns out to be just about the only brand  new TV series now being shown.

Tim is seen in the trailer playing with the Settle signal box levers.

Avoid the Lambing Pens

There are major upsides to this lock-down - the silence, the clear atmosphere and the near total relief from the day-to-day hustle and bustle.

I do worry though that the normal economy has been paused behind the shield of 'scientific advice'.    Ask a virologist what to do and the only possible response is to lock down and keep your fingers crossed.  Happily though not my problem.  That press conference from the Trump where he talks about the disinfectant that can clear it up in just a minute is worrying on so many levels.  How HAS the World got to this?   Still, no man-made bombs are raining from the sky.

It is Sunday in Settle.  No church bells.  No steam trains and a Sunday paper full of puzzles.  Could be worse.

I took the final scissors to the Astra turf and pretended I knew how to cut  carpet - and got away with it.  It looks the business.

The loudest noises in this part of Settle come from the vets surgery across the road.  Coronavirus or not we see a procession of farmers bringing ewes in difficulties being brought in for relief.

The noises are sometimes alarming, then charming.   Well done  the Dales vets who are perhaps better at lambing emergencies than at signage?   Meanwhile, out there in the glorious Yorkshire Dales:

Saturday, 25 April 2020

Green Deck

  Work in progress but we begin to see the idea.   Emboldened by how the artificial grass on the sundeck on top of the tower has stood up to two years exposure this remarkable stuff now adorns the Wendy House's balcony.  The railings are back in place and the 'grass' will be finished tomorrow.  Thanks again to neighbour Tim for help with the lifting and shifting.

The 'grass' will eventually go round 3 sides of the Wendy House to make a delightfully sunny promenade around what was an unmanageably steep and unkempt area of land.

We look forward to one day standing or sitting on it, wine in hand, watching the Flying Scotsman flash by.

Motor Bike Sighted in Settle Market Place

But on closer inspection it is just a bit of much needed local enterprise:

Mediterranean Weather in April

We must enjoy while we can this Mediterranean weather so early in the year, well illustrated by some super pictures on social media.  First is a view of Settle nestling in its valley, overlooked by Giggleswick school chapel, taken from Josie Perriman's donkey field:

 And here's our old home, The Folly:

This one is of a cherry blossom tree at Langcliffe taken by Paul Jackson who knows a thing or two about what makes a good picture:

Settle from the Castlebergh rock.  Just right of centre is our water tower:

The sheep and the lambs have the good sense to lie in the shade:

Friday, 24 April 2020

Almost There

Almost there with the WH balcony - to the extent that the very last job is in prospect tomorrow - laying the artificial grass 'carpet' onto the deck surface.  The uncut grass carpet is laid on the ground below the slope, grass side down.  I was not looking forward to measuring the deck with all its twists, turns and recesses so decided that the simplest thing would be to remove the railings of the balcony - a very heavy job achieved with the help of good neighbour Tim,  Here is the now impressive looking cladded base.

The embankment is deeply cracked and dust dry after nearly a month without rain.  But the plants are surviving well - especially that aubretia:

The steepness and the dryness is evident in this view:

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

The Deck-work and Yorkshire

The sun has shone gloriously again today.  I do hope this April is not the extent of summer and we DO need some rain.  The WH deck is making progress indeed.  Meanwhile the Yorkshire Dales are empty for the locals only to enjoy.

This was neighbouring village Long Preston this morning.

I do urge you to view this link - a magical walk around the Settle Loop under coronavirus lock-down.  Roll on the time when everybody can enjoy God's country


Monday, 20 April 2020

The Platform Grows

I am promising myself that I shall tackle a lengthening list of indoor jobs once it starts raining but this wretched sunshine just keeps going, diverting me to outside jobs that were scheduled for summertime.

Today has been a day of much more progress on the balcony surrounding the Wendy House.  The final 4ft square fibreglass floor panel is now installed to the left of the WH.  Not only that it, like the right hand end is now protected by railings.  They will eventually look rather less scaffolding-like when painted and the uprights may be topped off with Midland Railway telegraph pole insulators.  Maybe.

And a few of the latest Dales pictures to lift the spirits:

We did a big shop at Booths today and (at 0915) we did not have to queue as we got in ahead of the olde folkes rushe.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Ghost Town

3pm Sunday afternoon and the weather is as good as it gets.  Off to the Co-op to get a pint of milk.  This is the eerie scene at the normally bustling Market Place:

Not a soul to be seen nor a sound to be heard.

Meanwhile at the town's Asfield car park:


Saturday, 18 April 2020

Haircut Needed

Daughter Lorna's cousin David is an NHS manager 'somewhere in England'.  He is also a bit of a comedian whose weekly Facebook tuba recitals have made it as far as BBC Radio Lancashire.  He may have excelled himself though with this nationwide plea:

Yorkshire Dales pictures continue to delight online:

But back down to earth:

That Furniture by Ladder - Further

Yesterday I reported that we were furnishing the extension with long-stored items - by ladder.  I promised a picture.  Some loads are more compliant than others though.

Friday, 17 April 2020

Furniture Removals by Ladder

Throughout and before the building process our home has been host to a great deal of great but excessive furniture in some of its rooms, awaiting location in the new extension.  Not least has this been the case in the Wendy House in  the top garden which has been packed to the roof with three double beds, bedside cabinets, a dressing table and much more.  The dry weather has provided a good opportunity to shift it to its new locations.

Social distancing has meant that we must literally do it ourselves.  I shall always remember our late joiner Dave Richardson telling me "There's nowt you can't do thy sen if that puts tha mind to it fust".

The furniture in the Wendy House, all of it awkward and some of it heavy has been an absolute headache.   The absence of stair access to its lofty position has not helped one bit.  However, that very lofty location is providing the solution.  An extending ladder secured on the access slope has enabled the job to be done.   Picture later.

There continue to be lovely pictures of this area online to lift the spirits:

I think the one above should be captioned "Let's Play Statues"

Meanwhile a pair of Mandarin ducks have decided to nest on the river Ribble:

We joined in the mass clap for the NHS at 8pm last evening.  This time the noise was joined by Settle's fire engine.   Whoop, whoop, whoop, waah, waah, waah.

Finally, you've seen this before but well worth a cheery look again - a Year in the Yorkshire Dales:

Thursday, 16 April 2020

Nice and Flat on Top

For now at least I can declare that the cladding skirt of the Wendy House is finished with the added touch of a new flat top-rail:

Thanks to a massive effort by architect Stuart Green yesterday in finishing off the specifications for the cladding for the main extension and a site visit by the manufacturers they have been able to commence making them - all 55 of them and most of them different!

Above is The Yorkshire Dales National Park's picture for today - Ingleborough.  It's got a flat top too, inspired no doubt by my excellent cladding.

In other news, the river Ribble has been re-named the river Dribble after no rain to speak of for about a month now.  This is the weir at Settle bridge:

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Busy Doing Nothing and Yorkshire Tourism Posters

Well, not exactly nothing!  The World may be on lockdown and its population confined to home but hey, the sun is shining and there are loads of jobs to do in order to change an almost-finished extension into part of our home.  We have been incredibly lucky on several counts with this project.

We liquidated share capital to pay for it at what turned out to be somewhere near the peak of the stock market.

Our main builder went into administration on the day after our building work was completed.  They did a good job and although beyond reach for any snagging work at this stage everything works and looks exceptionally good.

Our electrician was able to finish off the electrics just before the CV happened.

We were able to find a decorator to do the painting at zero notice via local media.

We have been able to find a firm locally that is able to manufacture the rather tricky 55 cladding panels in a whole range of shapes and sizes.

We could have been saddled with a useless, deteriorating and unsightly part-completed project.

Pat's foot operation was done in time for her ongoing but rapid recovery.  Between us we are inundated with our very own Occupational Therapy opportunities right here at home.

Last but not least we live in the middle of one of England's most beautiful small towns with every facility imaginable and a well developed local self-help spirit.  Surrounding us are the Yorkshire Dales and we have them all to ourselves!

These four lovely posters in railway-poster style have appeared online today.

Those first four were on Facebook.  Some for Yorkshire folk only extras have since appeared: