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Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Hurricane Ophelia Devastates Water Tower

One of the consequences of living in a triple glazed virtual castle is that you are insulated from the sounds of the world outside.    Last night the UK suffered the wrath of Hurricane Ophelia - an unwelcome export from the USA.   Here you can well see the extent of the devastation that greeted me as I went dog walking this morning:

and that was the extent of it.

Below is my new lean-to car port, since yesterday equipped with a translucent side wall - with air gaps top and bottom.   It proves to be hurricane proof.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Our Water Crane in 1955

click to enlarge

This lovely old picture popped up on Facebook today.   The text tells the tale.   What took my eye though was the water crane at the end of the platform.   The location is Skipton and that is where what are now Settle's two water cranes came from - see several earlier posts.

We have few pictures of the water cranes in situ at Skipton but this is unlikely to be bettered.   

There it stands forlornly, a soon to be obsolete relic of the steam age, alongside the shape of things to come.   The S&C's trains look much the same today - charmless boxes on wheels.

On the right of the picture are catch points to deflect any runaway train away from the down main line.

Well, the water cranes have survived but I bet the train hasn't.

Monday, 9 October 2017


click to enlarge

Stackhouse is a small place on the outskirts of Settle - walking distance from us.   It is the first place worthy of a name on one of our many routes around here with the Model T.   This lovely picture was taken a couple of days ago by former Dalesman editor Paul Jackson.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

An Outing to the Goat Gap Cafe

On the one fine day of this week we decided to have a lunchtime run out in the Model T to the Goat Gap cafe on the A65 between Clapham and Ingleton.   The A65 would get us there directly but it is no fun and there is a gentler route by country lanes via Giggleswick, Lawkland, Austwick and Clapham along which you can just chug-chug, potter and take in the countryside.

The Goat Gap cafe used to be a Little Chef.  It closed some years ago and has lain forlorn until March of this year when it re-opened, following a stunning refurbishment, doing fine food and wine cafe style.

Goat Gap Cafe

It is highly recommended, but that's another story.

In the middle of nowhere en route my 'phone rang.   I pull over and answered it.   As coincidence would have it we were at a spot near the village of Eldroth, overlooking the little used but important railway line that connects Settle junction with the West Coast Main Line at Carnforth, near Lancaster.

I switched off and continued the call, which proved lengthy.   The scene in front of us was idyllic and the sun was on our backs.   Nothing was moving on our country lane nor on the railway.    There was silence.   My interlocutor was at work in his solicitors office in the City of London.   Conversation was businesslike.

After some minutes Pat interrupted.   "Look!" she shouted, pointing to our left.   Curling lazily upwards was the unmistakable shape of a cloud of steam.    I interrupted my call with a description of the unfolding scene, to the delight of a London lawyer.   It was indeed a steam engine, towing only its support coach, en route from Carnforth to Hellifield and onwards to who-knows-where.   Our old car on the skyline would have been as unexpected a sight in the bucolic scene as the train was to us.   We waved, I commentated and there was a wave and a whistle of mutual admiration and respect.   "What was it?   Did it have a name?", London asked.    "Just an 8F or a Black Five" I lied, pretending to know the difference.   That satisfied London and conversation moved on, with only thinly disguised envy seeping northwards.

In hindsight the scene would have been worthy of one of those jigsaws;  you know the ones - happy people in old car, picnicking by a railway line with a steam train passing, everybody at peace with their worlds.

At the other end of my call was Edward Album - heavyweight London lawyer who tied British Railways in legal knots in the 1980s when they were trying to close the Settle-Carlisle railway line.   Unknowingly, the crew of that little train had made his day.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Our Lounge Just Got Twice as Long

Our lounge, if that is the right word, is the entire middle floor of the water tower, less the space taken up by stairs and the lift shaft.   It is enormous as lounges go - 52 feet long by 20 feet wide.

Clever arrangement of furnishings visually divides it into a dining area at the southern end and a bigger sitting, reading and TV viewing area to the north.

Daylight is inevitably limited to that which comes through the original tower windows, plus what amounts to a large glass wall in the south end.

Settle, along with most places nowadays I imagine, has a buying and selling website where you can have a clear out or drop on a bargain on your doorstep.   Many a time the items are simply free to a good home.   So it was that I happened upon a very large bevelled glass mirror in a heavy black frame.

It would be far too large for most living rooms but it suits our monster lounge admirably:

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There it is on the far wall.   Depending where you stand the lounge now appears 104 feet long!

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Clouds in a Blue Sky

Today has been one of those days when it is good to be retired, not to have to go to work nor school.

God has been in His Heaven and All has been Right with the World here in Settle at least.

Off to Booths, get a picnic and off we go in Gladys Emmanuel.   Not far - just to the road to Lawkland, park up and picnic.

The Dales scenery is wonderful but today it was the clouds that stole the show:

This one first took my eye.   Can you too see the fluffy dog jumping from left to right?

And here is the view to the north with Ingleborough and Whernside on the horizon.   But it is the clouds that complete the picture.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

The 4x4 Ferrari is Finished

Well, it has been quite a job, or series of jobs, but the station truck is finished.   She may get a final coat or two of paint next year but meantime she, and the Yanmar tractor have a new shelter:

click to enlarge
 It is at the back of the navvy hut and therefore out of sight.   It also means I can hide away other things like wheel barrows too.

The finishing touches for the truck were LMS signs:

and here is the Villiers Mk 10 engine, which starts first pull and now has the correct Villiers identification plate - a gift from Meetens Ltd who overhauled the engine.

Been doing a bit of digging into the history of these Geest trucks.   Turns out they were made by the Geest banana people at a factory in Spalding, Lincolnshire initially for use by Geest in such places as wholesale fruit and veg markets.   They proved so successful that other people, railways for instance, wanted to buy them from Geest so production was increased to satisfy that demand.

They were simple, rugged, reliable and above all  extremely manoeuvrable.   The single front wheel can turn full circle.   Great fun.