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Thursday, 22 September 2016

A Little Grey Yanmar Now

When I bought the Yanmar YM14 mini tractor for the bargain price of £351 on E-Bay I knew it has two major faults.   Its brakes did not work and the steering wheel would do half a true before anything happened.

Googling and YouTubing both these items produced the solutions.   What a marvel the internet is.

I am getting to the rebuilding stage and very satisfying it is too:

click to enlarge

Here she is in a coat of primer, looking like a tiny version of a Grey Fergie.

For comparison this is how she was:

I have been able to match the lime green / yellow paint colour so she should look very smart indeed next year sometime.   More importantly she will go, stop and steer!

I had a visitor earlier in the week who knew a thing or two about these things.   Wow he said.   A Yanmar YM 14 two cylinder diesel!   He went on to tell me what superb machines these were back in their day.    Mine's day turns out to have been 1979 from various markings here and there.

For inspiration here is a smart looking example from Poland, Russia or somewhere like that

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Lawn Mowing Milestone

Since my chemotherapy I have been struggling with the three lawns around this place.

I have always found lawn mowing quite therapeutic.    There is something about the smell of new mown grass and the neat results that is very satisfying.   It demands attention and any of the worlds worries are set aside.

I have three very different lawns here -
- the verge of the station drive
- the public verge along Station Road that the local council had abandoned
- the steep banking behind the water tower

Each has its challenges and during my chemotherapy they would take three or more days to mow.   I began to wonder if there would ever be a day when I could see off all three in the one day.

Well, today was the day!

Trial and error had found me the two mowers that would do the job:

This tiny Bosch machine is light and agile enough for the steep slope and the station drive

and this Einhell relative monster with its driven rear wheels is perfect for the Station Road verge .

I really do feel that I am on the mend.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

An Unusual Angle - Super Picture

What a lovely late summer afternoon we had today.   By appointment we hosted visitors from The Holiday Fellowship at Settle station.   Whilst they were in the signal box pulling the levers and ringing the bells I wandered out onto the walkway and got this pretty picture of the water tower tank and roof room with the dramatic limestone scenery in the background:

click to enlarge

Not obvious in the picture is our sun-deck - two chairs and a table on a raised portion of deck which catches the sun from mid morning until sunset:

The views from there are amazing.   The raised portion of deck is set back a long way from the tank sides so it is quite safe.   The chairs and table are securely tied down so that they do not blow away.   Depending on wind direction it is actually very sheltered.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Black Clouds and a Rainbow

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It has been a beautiful day today with plenty of sunshine in Settle but not far up the valley the clouds looked very threatening indeed.   We got no rain here but somebody did, judging by the rainbow over Attermire Scar and Victoria Cave.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Amazing What Can be Done with Editing Tools

click to enlarge

This picture was posted on Twitter by Adrian Braddy, editor of The Dalesman.   It is credited to Flashpast Photography.   Clearly it has had the full treatment by somebody who knows how to use editing software.   The tower, the truck, the water crane and the shed have been made to look distinctly grubby as they would indeed have been in their day.

Altogether a very different image from the norm and really quite atmospheric and pleasing.

Wouldn't it make a splendidly do-able jigsaw?

Monday, 22 August 2016

I am Not the Only Barmpot Out There

Among recent visitors to the tower was Steven Scott and his wife.   As is my custom I asked them if they too had a coal truck in their garden.   Nobody as yet has said yes but Steven Scott's reply was astonishing.

"No, but I used to have a cab from Deltic 55021 in my garden".   Furthermore he said that as a 16 year old he had photographed our water tower in 1983.   He said he would try to find the pictures and e-mail them to me.   Good as his word, here they are:

 click to enlarge

Picture quality has come on a bit of course but next time there are grumbles about the coal truck I shall plead relative sanity compared with a locomotive cab.

In passing Steven mentioned a coal truck at the long since (1967) closed Wheathampstead Station in Hertfordshire, on the former line between Hatfield and Dunstable:

OK, this isn't in anybody's garden but the villagers have lovingly preserved what is left of their station and have restored a coal truck, with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

R.I.P. Crane Driver Alan Sowerby

During the course of converting and restoring the water tower we had the privilege to meet many many people without whom we could not have got the results we did.   Some stood out as being absolutely on top of their game.

Alan Sowerby was the crane driver for the mighty lift of our 13 1/2 tonne roof room.   A good deal of planning had gone into this operation just before Christmas 2011.   I first met Alan when his massive 90 tonne crane came down Station Road on the morning of the big lift.   A man in his sixties I guess and a veteran of a working lifetime of lifts this was just another day for him - but one where his skills would be pushed to the limit in the unforgiving gaze of television cameras.

The first problem was that the Station Road entrance to the site was far too small for this monster crane.   It would have to go round the block to The Sidings which meant going under two railway bridges with limited clearance.   I therefore climbed into the cab - a scary flight of steps it was too - to show Alan the way and to see him under the bridges.   I had never travelled in such a big vehicle before or since.   The cab was like a ship's bridge  - bristling with controls and computer screens.   We squeezed under Cammock Lane Bridge with millimetres to spare thanks to CCTV cameras atop the crane.   Here was a man who was taking no risks and knew what he was doing.

There were three great lifts to be done - getting the structure off the lorry that had brought it from Hull, lifting it over our telephone wires and then the big lift to the top of the tower into a prepared landing pad where it would sit for ever by gravity alone.   The lift had to be millimetre perfect in every dimension.

Today, one of our visitors was the very man from Jardines who had done the calculations for our job.   He had seen it on TV but never in the flesh.   Sadly though he had to report that Alan Sowerby had died - very soon after retiring from Jardines.   In the hurly-burly of the day I did not get a proper picture of Alan Sowerby but I do have these dramatic shots of him in action in his office.

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R.I.P. Alan Sowerby.   The crowning glory of our tower sits there precisely where you put it.   Testimony to your skill.