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Thursday, 26 November 2020

Substantial Meal - ways and means and Warrendale Knots

 I was amused by this new beer on sale at The Plough at Wigglesworth, near Settle

and up and down the country I imagine.   I hope this posting will cause some head-scratching in years to come but for now it refers to COVID regulations where drink in pubs must accompany a 'Substantial Meal'.   Full marks to somebody for inventiveness.

On a more sensible note, here is a picture of Warrendale Knots, overlooking Settle and in full view from the top of the tower:

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

TV Aerial Fly-lead Troubles?

 I have made a discovery which I share with my viewer in the hope and indeed expectation that it will be useful one day and maybe an expensive repair visit.

Equipping the extension has necessitated a review and redistribution of TV sets around the place, now almost completed.  This has meant purchasing a number of new TV aerial fly-leads.  You know, those concentric cables that connect the TV's aerial socket with the aerial output thingy on the wall.  These things:

Conventionally the one on the left is called male and the one on the right is female on account of the shape of their central parts.  OK?  I did not know this but these connectors are called Belling-Lee connectors.  Thank you Wikipedia.   You will thank me for that bit of trivia if it ever pops up in a pub quiz.  Simple and obvious in their action.   One is a push-fit into the other.  

Nowadays and in foreign parts these are old hat, having been replaced by screw-type fittings decades ago - much better connectors and far more secure.  Perhaps too secure for the Elf n' Safety people who are paid fortunes to worry about what happens if you trip over a TV fly-lead.  The Belling-Lee type just parts but the screw type stays put, dragging you and the telly to the floor.  The UK and Australia are among the few last bastions of Belling-Lee TV aerial connectors

Where is this heading?  Well, our new tellies worked some of the time but at other times showed - 'No Signal - Check Your Connection'.  This problem was not confined to one or two TV sets either.  I can now report my discovery.

The problem was confined to brand new and expensively 'gold plated' male connectors.  They looked fine and impressively concentric  Shiny too.  But hang on, the phallus in the centre looked a bit on the narrow side to me.  Could that barely visible lack of girth really be the problem?  Well it was.  So perfect was the concentricity of the inner and outer parts that insertion into the female part was also dead centre, every time.  Note that the female part (right) is split longitudinally on both its inner and outer parts.   Over time and with continued insertions and withdrawals the inner part widens - especially if the inserted component is wiggled as part of the 'check your connection' process.  Stop sniggering at the back of the class.

Solution? a pair of very fine nosed pliers and carefully tighten up the female bit. Tweezers and a firm grip might do as well.  Just make sure the hole narrows visibly. Re-insertion of the male part meets with considerably more resistance but a satisfactory connection is made.  This sniggering will stop or I shall consider detentions.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Boys Will be Boys

 Our darling daughter Lorna juggles a high pressure job with high pressure motherhood admirably.   But, as somebody very wise said 'Sometimes shit happens'.  Four days ago Lorna posted this on Facebook - sufficiently good to justify inclusion here:

"This evening’s sequence from approx 6pm:

- work 

- feed Ben and self

- quick FaceTime with much missed friend overseas 

- work 

- reward for 8 meetings earlier: watch I’m a Celebrity in front of fire with the boys 

- fall asleep in front of fire

- wake up - Ben still there so he’s really late to bed on a school night 

- head to kitchen - washing up needs to be done

- Ben goes upstairs - his bed (stripped this morning) needs remaking**

- dog piddles on carpet outside my bedroom

- clear up piddle 

- resume washing up.  Yells from playroom.  Yes, boys still up sorting bags out/generally procrastinating. There’s a mouse running around.  And no we can’t set the dog on it as she has stitches and we’re trying to keep her calm.  Mouse escapes to fuck knows where.  

- retire to bed, muttering.

** credit to James, he could see I was losing my shit and he made Ben’s bed and Ben to his credit for once didn’t moan ‘urghhh James is touching my stuff!!!’  "

Just like the home-life of our own Dear Queen.

Here are a couple of recent photographs of the above mentioned dog, James and Ben - blowing bubbles at the dog and James doing homework, with help of dog:

Friday, 20 November 2020

We've Been Vlogged

 Vlogged?  No I hadn't heard the word either until Monday at Ribblehead where I was Vlogged by a smashing and very talented video producer/ cameraman/ editor, 'Nodrog' whose Vlog has quite a cult following for his weekly Video Blog, or Vlog.   So good is this one-man-band that Network Rail had invited him to cover the Ribblehead viaduct repairs.

Here is his half-hour production - filmed on Monday in atrocious weather and cleverly edited together by late on Wednesday.

Ribblehead Viaduct - the Vlog

Best viewed full screen from a cosy armchair with a cup or glass of something warming.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

More Fluff and a Lot of Wind at Ribblehead

 Phil Bodmer's piece for BBC Look North got a good airing yesterday.  The BBC iPlayer only keeps local news for a couple of days so I cannot show you it in its entire glory but here are two of the stars featured and a giddying view from the top:

I look a bit happier than NR Regional Director Phil James who has to foot the bill.  The work will last all winter . . . . 

Monday, 16 November 2020

Thawing Out and the Fluffy Pole

 Just had a chilly morning at the Ribblehead Viaduct and am thawing out in front of a nice warm computer.   Fluffy pole? - I found myself at the speaking end of one of those 2m long BBC microphones at one stage.

Works should have started today on several months of repairs, delayed since April, not by CORONAVIRUS but by heritage planning delays to do with the colour and type of mortar to be used.  The Yorkshire Dales National Park planners had insisted on core samples being analysed to ensure that the 'correct' original mortar was used.  Nice thought but the fact is that mortar has come on a bit since the 1870s.  It is now far stronger and is coloured to match todays colour of the stonework, not the as-new colour.   Modern dark grey mortar was used in 1991 to rescue the structure from the jaws of demolition.

Today we were able to climb part way up the scaffolding of the two central piers and to inspect at close quarters how that modern mortar had fared during 30 years.  Answer?  Splendidly.  Not so much as a hairline crack anywhere to be seen.  Yet here we are, about to replace perished Victorian lime mortar pointing with lime mortar again. I also saw display trays full of colour samples from which a light sandy shade had been chosen as some sort of deferential homage to the original demonstrably inadequate mortar.  But it would match the invisible original. Seems to me a lose-lose-lose situation.  Wrong strength, wrong colour and the cause of a year's delay in getting this overdue work done in summer.  Perhaps now more than a year when winter weather is taken into account.  Lime mortar requires at least 5 C to start its lengthy setting process.   A reliable 5 C is a big ask over winter at Ribblehead.

The wind today was forecast to be gusting to 50mph - too strong for safe working on the viaduct in a westerly wind especially.  We were only allowed up two scaffolding stages and the workforce was literally grounded.

Here is an unfamiliar view of the Ribblehead Viaduct taken by Adrian Quine:

Sunday, 15 November 2020

The Ribblehead Viaduct Points North - Proof

 Early start tomorrow, Monday.  Must be at Ribblehead for 0900 to join Network Rail's special day for the media to cover the current £2m maintenance work on the Ribblehead Viaduct,  By chance this astonishing image of the scaffolding being erected was published today by star photographer Pete Collins, taken on the night before the month long COVID lockdown.

That's Pete and his dog in the foreground and The Plough above them.  The two pointer stars on the right on The Plough show the way to the north Pole Star above.  As if proof was needed, this image shows for sure that the Ribblehead Viaduct points north!

There will be a lot more scaffolding there by now and I hope to be allowed to climb up it -with due supervision and regard for COVID rules of course.  It's TV in the morning and other invited media in the afternoon.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

That Chapel Across the Valley

 Everybody who visits Settle sooner or later asks about the mysteriously isolated hilltop domed building across the valley from us.   Here is a picture from this Blog in 2017 of it from our rooftop:

Stunning enough from the outside but the picture below popped up on Facebook today shows the inside of that dome:

One of Settle's less visited sights the chapel of Giggleswick school may be off limits just now with Covid and all that but when it reopens it is a must-see.

Monday, 9 November 2020

Clear-Up Interlude

 Nothing terribly interesting has happened since my timely haircut (below).  We are waiting for the very last batch of external cladding panels to be delivered and there has been a window in the weather, enabling outside work to be done in reasonable comfort as Novembers go.

This has enabled a great deal of tidying-up, including piles of scrap wood which had been destined for the tip, which on arrival was closed!  I took that as an omen.  It was November 5th too!

Note the letter-box air inlets about 60mm above the base of the burn barrel.  Four of them, they work very well indeed as they keep working despite the build-up of ash.  Far better than holes knocked in the base.  Also, you can light the contents from the bottom, through the letter-box holes.