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Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Wanna Know What It's Like Round Here? Watch THIS

People who live south of Potters Bar (a very English euphemism for Southerners) often ask, not unreasonably, what it's like round here in Yorkshire.   This two minute 15 second film just about covers it:

Best viewed in HD and full screen.

My childhood was in Surrey (well south of Potters Bar) and to the best of my recollection the furthest north I had` travelled until the age of 8 or so was Ruislip, north west London.    As far as I was concerned 'The North' was a foreign land of industry, grime and deprivation.   The 'Here be Dragons' on the map.   How wrong I was.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

The Railway Line is Open Again

Well the line was closed when the Beast from the East struck.   Not that it was physically blocked with snow, mind.   Network Rail took the view that the risk of a passenger train getting stuck was too great.   Not just that, the signallers (there are nine signal boxes along the line manned 24/7) could not get to and from work because of blocked roads.   The same blocked roads would impede rescue in the event of a train becoming snowbound.

Anyway, the line was well and truly re-opened on Sunday 4th March when two of the mightiest snowploughs and two of the mightiest freight engines blasted their way through from Carlisle to Skipton and back.   They left Carlisle at 0900 on Sunday and did not get back until 0345 on Monday. A very long day at the office, not just clearing snowdrifts but huge icicles in some of the tunnels.   Well done snow plough driver Willy Ward, seen here at England's highest station, Dent:

Snow Plough Willy in action at Dent

click link above; sound ON and full screen ON

The above was posted on Twitter and is being re-Tweeted widely.   In the spirit of the day, Willy give a wave to photographer Tom Beresford and a friendly toot-toot.   The S&C is like that.

A bit further on from Dent is Blea Moor tunnel where Willy stopped to take this picture:

The real danger to trains with icicles at air shafts is the build-up of ice on the rails below.

Just for fun, this is Willy's train at Horton in Ribblesdale, looking a bit like an angry budgerigar, don't you think?

click to make an angry budgie into an angry eagle.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Settle Cut Off and Fffffffffreeeeeeezing

Well, the Beast from the East has well and truly struck hard.   The Ribblehead weather station recorded a gust of 61mph at 2205 last evening, 1st March from a direction of 90 degrees - due east!   Windchill yesterday was -17 C.       Brrrrrrrrrrrr.

Settle is cut off by road and rail so nobody is going far.    Here are some pictures at Settle railway station:

The snow is very powdery and soon blows away - inevitably causing drifts.   Railway cuttings are very vulnerable.

At the best of times we are a long way from hospitals, being about half way between Airedale and Lancaster.   Above is the air ambulance taken from the top of the tower on Wednesday.   It flew in bravely to the rugby field in a near white-out blizzard but took off into a clear blue sky.

Meanwhile, in Carlisle:

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Snow and Boxes

Well, it has snowed overnight, but not much.   Here is camera-shy Gerald partridge tucking in to breakfast:

Click to make Gerald partridge into a turkey

And below, a challenge.   Clue, it is a 1/3rd sized model.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Serious Winter is Coming, They Say

Arctic or Siberian weather is coming the UK's way during the coming week.   We shall see.   Meantime we have had a gloriously sunny winter's day today so I thought I would take these pictures for the record:

click to enlarge

We have inherited a splendid sofa / day bed (above) which suits the roof room admirably in every respect.   Ignore the clutter on the window ledges.   I have spent much of today (Sunday) up in the roof room with the log stove and the Sunday Telegraph for company.   That room in the sky is at its cosy best when the weather outside is awful so I await the coming week with cautious glee.

If the shock-horror weather reports are correct these may be the last pictures of life as we have known it before we succumb to the next ice age.

For the benefit of smug former colleagues living in Australia I shall report further.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

1979 Snow

Just came across this picture on Facebook.   I don't think I have seen it before.   It was taken on 17th February 17th 1979 at Ais Gill, near the summit of the line where a train from Carlisle to Willesden was well and truly stuck for a couple of days.

click to enlarge

The locomotive looks very, very cross about it all.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

What a Wonderful World

Just five days after my midnight operation and here I am strolling across Settle's visitors' coach park towards Towhead Surgery to have my wound dressing changed and this is the view in front of me:

click to enlarge

Just one motor caravan betrays Settle as a tourist place at all.   The surgery is behind the big tree in the centre and behind that is the magnificent limestone contryside which stretches on for miles.   The best in the World it is said.   What a place.

The wound is clean, dry and to all appearances almost healed.    What a contrast from my childhood (perhaps ten-ish) experience of having my appendix removed at St James's in Leeds.   Two WEEKS in bed in hospital and then back home by ambulance.   

Leeds in those days had a fleet of huge great Daimler ambulances which floated along almost silently, or so it seemed to me.   I wonder if any of them survived?

And here's the answer - yes - quite a few in fact:

Wikipedia (what else) tells the tale.   Nobody in post war Britain could supply the country's ambulance needs - except the German Daimler company!   Mechanical parts were assembled in Coventry and luxury car body builders more used to Rolls Royces did the bodies.   They had 4.1 litre engines and did 8.5 miles to the gallon, which makes our model T seem frugal.   This example was a Surrey ambulance.