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Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Roof Room Gets a New Roof

You may remember that our magnificent roof room arrived spectacularly under Police escort one December evening and was even more spectacularly craned into position the following day.

This was by far the trickiest bit of logistics in our entire build.   We had to coordinate dates between CSi at Hull, the crane contract firm, our own builders, the wide load hauliers and, most crucially the film production company, Tiger Aspect.   The agreed date, just before Christmas 2011, meant that CSi especially had to work fast to finish the roof room on time.   This had consequences for its fibreglass roof, put on in Hull in less than ideal early winter weather.   Had it not been for the filming we would probably have delayed its arrival until late spring of 2012.   Anyway, the die was cast and the deed was done.

Quite soon it became clear that the fibreglass roof was leaking in parts where the liquid coatings had not properly hardened - resulting in pinhole defects in some parts and exposing the glass fibre matting in others.   This had let in water which had expanded the boards below.   At the very edges of the roof where fibreglass had been bonded to the galvanised roof edge girders gaps had developed.   Nobody's fault though and we faced the prospect of an expensive new roof for the roof room.

 These show the sort of problems that were developing.

To the rescue came Polyroof - the national firm that had done the annex roof so very well.  They remembered the annex roof, prompted of course by repeats of our TV programmes.   We explained our predicament.   Bless them, they agreed to do the job and to supply the materials free of charge.   Not only that, it would get a Ten Year guarantee.

Good as their word, the job was done last week by local contractor and roofer to the stars Paul Thornton, in what turned out to be a week of sunshine after this very wet summer.

 click to enlarge

On a dull day so that the magnificence of the Yorkshire Dales does not detract from the finished roof, here it is

 The edges of the roof have been capped with powder coated purpose made aluminium sections made by CSi in Hull so that the joint between the GRP and the steels is full protected all round the roof.
 Both Polyroof and CSi have been  exceptionally helpful to us and we feel very cosy underneath our new roof.

Have a look at the sort of work these firms normally do:

CSi get involved in mega projects - airports and the like!

click here to see some of Polyroof's major roof works. Maybe ours might find a place in their gallery?

New Siding Really Happening

For many, many months now I have been quietly working with the owners of the stone quarries at Helwith Bridge and with Network Rail and others on the idea of re-connecting them to the railway.

It is great to see things coming to fruition.   Here are the latest pictures:

click to enlarge
 The line of the track can now be seen clearly as dumper trucks reverse down a hill to dump stone in front of a bulldozer which is leveling off the track bed

 Arcow Quarry manager Mick Lambert surveys what will soon become his new train set.

Part of Arcow Quarry seen from what will soon be a public viewing platform.   The blue lagoon is water accumulating in the quarry whilst the rail-head is being constructed.   Normally this water would be pumped out but that has been halted to keep the railway work-site dry.

The quarry's output crusher is temporarily deployed producing aggregate of a suitable size for the work in hand.   Here it is producing large lumps of stone for drainage works.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Visitors from Round the Globe

We have always welcomed visitors to the Water Tower and have allowed them to wander round the outside of the tower at least.   In so doing we have met some amazing people and it has been a delight to share with them a glimpse of this wonderful building.

Obvious interest in the tower started from the moment it first appeared on TV.   We rather expected this to ease off with the passage of time but far from it.   The TV programmes have been repeated often in the UK but also and increasingly, worldwide.

With no encouragement on our part we find ourselves a tourist destination.  We are even on Trip Advisor (Five Stars too)!

We are lucky enough to live here and it is comforting to know that other people share our enjoyment but should we draw a line somewhere and pull up the drawbridge?   Difficult when people have traveled from far and wide to see the place.

During August we thought we would try a bit more of an open gate policy (with the agreement of our insurers, NFU Mutual).   We put up a couple of low key notices and marked a route with arrows:
click to enlarge

We only display them when we are round and about the tower so retain some control and answer questions.

The results have been astounding.   It's hardly a stately home but I guess that some stately homes would be glad of so many visitors.   By no means everybody signs the visitors book so we do not know just how many people have wandered round but it will be in the hundreds.

Here, simply in order of appearance in the visitors book are some of the foreign addresses in August 2015 alone:

Saudi Arabia
South Africa
Jacksonville, Florida
New Zealand (too many to list)
Lusaka, Zambia
Perth, W Australia

Not sure what to make of all this but such worldwide interest must at least be good news for the local economy?

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Worra Lorra Logs

Each afternoon our rural idyll is shattered by the log train, seen here crossing the Ribblehead Viaduct yesterday.  The viaduct is a quarter of a mile long.   So too is the train.

click to make the train even longer

Picture by Julie Johnson was Steele

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Portrait of a Coal Truck

Had a visit last Sunday from a jolly group of photographers among which was Sally Mastronardi who took this splendid portrait of our coal truck which, having had some magic worked on it, looks suitably grubby, black-and-white and ready for action.

click to enlarge

I keep asking visitors if they have a coal truck in their garden and so far nobody has admitted to having one.   9 out of ten though wish they had!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

What a Ringside Seat This Is

Here, courtesy of Julie Johnson was Steele, is a lovely shot of last evening's Cathedrals Express racing home through Settle en route to Colchester hauled by locomotive Galatea:

click to enlarge

The house is the Stationmaster's House, now the home of neighbours Les and Val Barlow.

The camera freezes the action but the trains will be doing around 60mph on this downhill stretch.   Not everybody likes trains  but we do.   How fortunate are we to have sights like this on our doorstep?

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Parasol Problem

Glorious day today with high pressure over the UK.   The sun-deck (see earlier posts) has been a real success - mainly in the evenings.   Today though I gave it a try in the morning to read the Sunday paper in the sunshine.   Though September the sun was simply too hot so I put up a parasol.   All was well for a while, then the wind got up a bit.

click to enlarge

Here is the parasol looking really rather swish, but look at that flag.   What had been a flat calm was a gentle breeze and I had failed to take account of the air flow over the tower.   Even a gentle breeze goes upwards when it hits the tower . . . . and the parasol took off, landing gently and without damage at the back of the tower.   Station supervisor Paul Brown witnessed the spectacle and shouted across, "Eh up Mark, tha's lost thi brolly"