Posts Tagged ‘Behind the Water Tower’

Happy Birthday BTWT!

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Recipe updated, 22 December 2009!

Behind The Water Tower

Coffee cream version of the Babcia walnut cake.
Photo by Peter via Wikipedia Commons

(Click on picture to see original and details of licensing.)

On March 3 2008, one year ago, Behind The Water Tower was born. Today, at about 16.00 hrs. CET we also passed the milestone of 77,777 cumulative daily hits. We would like to offer our best wishes to all whose birthday falls on this day.

It is true that we had a brief gestation period on another blog engine, but when that crashed we restarted from scratch on Our sojourn here has been a very happy experience.

We have posted 356 articles, we have enjoyed reading your 361 comments. As well as writing about railway matters, we occasionally drift off topic. So today, as a mark of appreciation to all our faithful readers, here is a cake recipe the like of which you have never tasted before.

Babcia’s Walnut Cake

Ingredients (cake)

400 grams peeled walnuts
2/3 tea mug (250 ml) sugar
8 fresh eggs
teaspoon of baking power

Chop 16 walnut halves into two. Retain these to decorate the cake. Grind the remaining walnuts so that a smooth walnut flour results. (Grinding small batches in a coffee grinder works best. If using a hand grinder it may be necessary to remove any larger particles larger than 2 mm with a sieve.) Carefully separate the yolks from the whites and then put the yolks into a mixing bowl, and using a mixer, thoroughly mix in the sugar until the sugar and yolk has formed a smooth paste. (Note, if you have been mixing for less than 5 minutes, and the paste is still yellow rather than pale cream – keep mixing!) Add the baking powder. Mix the walnut flour into the egg paste. (The mixture at this stage becomes quite stiff.) Beat the egg whites till very stiff. Very carefully and slowly mix in the egg whites into the yolk-walnut mixture, by hand, until a homogeneous mixture results. Pour the resultant mix into a cake pan lined and put into a pre-heated oven. Preheat an oven to 150° C, bake the cake for ten minutes at 120° C and then for about twenty to thirty minutes at 100°. After some twenty minutes, a wonderful cake aroma will fill the kitchen. Check progress by inserting a wooden stick or knitting needle to check if the inside of the cake is ready. (If no cake adheres to the stick it is ready!) When the cake is baked, cover with a clean dishcloth and leave in oven to cool slowly.

Ingredients (icing)

400 grams peeled almonds
1½  x 8oz packets unsalted Danish butter (375 grams)
½ tea mug (200 ml) icing sugar

Grind the almonds to a smooth flour. Cut the butter into small squares and thoroughly mix in the icing sugar. Finally mix in almond flour and mix till a smooth paste is obtained.

Cut the cake into 2 or three layers. Apply the icing in between the layers and over the top and sides. Decorate the top with the walnut quarters. Put in a cool place or fridge for about 4 hours to allow the icing to set.


We love this cake, but no warranty actual or implied is given. If you bake this cake and eat it, please don’t blame us if you become violently ill or addicted.  It should not be eaten by people allergic to walnuts or almond nuts.


This cake is great for birthdays and Christmas. If you are a weight watcher, bake this cake just before Lent so that you can then put in a period of serious fasting to eat up the calories!

Our 100th post

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Cumulative daily visits each month in April and May

Today’s article is our 100th post. We have now been publishing Behind The Water Tower for three months in its present form as a campaigning blog. (An earlier test version was started a month earlier on another site.) In May we had 3,183 hits which averages out at 100 visits daily.

Rather than bask in out own glory we would like to dedicate today’s post to all the professional men and women who work on our railways and to all the volunteers who work to rescue closed railways and then keep them going. People like Moira Cross.

Moira Cross at Swanage Station (c) Andrew Wright

Moira took part in the original campaign, launched in 1968, to stop the Swanage Railway closing and helped petition the authorities. From 1972, she provided secretarial assistance to the Swanage Railway Society – the pioneers of the project to reopen the Swanage Railway. She was a committee member of the Swanage and Wareham Railway Group – the local resident’s campaigning group – without whose efforts the Society’s efforts would have come to nothing.

When the trains started to run she helped run the railway shop and helped set up the team that ran the refreshment stall. For over 30 years, Moira has been helping the Swanage Railway as an unpaid volunteer. On 6 September, 2002 Moira’s dedication was recognised by the Swanage Railway and Virgin Trains when she was asked to name a Virgin Voyager trainset – the first mainline train to travel down the Swanage line for over thirty years. To Moira, and the hundreds of thousands of men and women, who work our railways, whether as transport links, heritage lines, or both, our grateful thanks.

Competition – question 2

Thursday, 1 May 2008

The last competition brought in absolutely zero entries. However, four days earlier we had just relaunched the BTWT on, and had about 10 regular readers. (Today, we have just had a hundred hits and the night is still young!) So for all our new readers here is a second chance. Please e-mail your entries to Dyspozytor. There is no prize as such, but the winning entry (and any witty entries) will be posted Behind The Water Tower.

Meanwhile on with the show. Competion No.2 is decidedly easier. What is this railway vehicle, and where is it today?

Our road map

Thursday, 3 April 2008


Ania, one of the school children who
regularly used the KrKD, decorates
the last train. 31.03.2008

(Clicking the picture leads to more.)

Behind the Water Tower started as a ‘niche’ blog some 10 weeks ago. Our intention was to celebrate the variety of Poland’s railway heritage and to encourage railway enthusiasts from Western Europe to visit Poland. If we had a ‘hidden agenda’ – it was a hope that some of these western visitors would befriend their Polish counterparts and help the Polish societies with their work. The bigger societies, such as FPKW, PSMK and SKPL, already have links with the outside world, but there are a score of lesser-known railway societies, struggling against enormous odds to develop their railways and railway museums, who desperately need assistance.

After a month or so of experimental blogging (it’s no easy task to find something new and exciting to say every day) external events suddenly took a hand. A massive and irrecoverable crash on our original host, forced our move to, but how to inform our ten or so readers? We prepared an e-mail to everybody we knew who was interested in Polish rail. Some of these were members of an informal group of anglo-poles who meet to dine in Warsaw once or twice a year. We added all their names for good measure! The e-mail pointed out that it was easy to get crossed off the mailing list. Neo, a friend of ours, also posted a couple of links on the kolejelist discussion group.

Dyspozytor waited for the floodgates to open (Please take me off your mailing list at once!) but no angry e-mails came. The regular readership climbed to about thirty, peaking to twice or three times that figure when we carried an article of interest to a particular group. Then came the closure of Krosniewice, with the main Polish narrow gauge discussion group indulging in an orgy of mutual recriminations as to whose fault it was. (It’s not the fault of any Polish railway enthusiast, but it’s entirely the fault of Madame Mayor!)

Decision time – do we join the MOANERS, sitting on the fence helplessly, wringing their hands and blaming each other – or do we emulate John Wayne? We decided to wade into the battle to save the Krosniewice Railway, guns blazing! One of the administrators of Swiat Kolejek Waskotorowych (Polish narrow gauge discussion group) published a link to our campaign and yesterday’s readership broke through the roof! It will take a few days for things to settle down, but if we end up with a base of, say 30 to 50 readers prepared from time to time to type out the odd letter, we will be very content!

We hit a ton!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008


One hundred hits – 16.15 today!

At 16:15 local time BTWT registered 100 hits for the first time. Of course, some of these hits will be web spiders, bots and other creepy crawlies, but even so reaching a ton is a nice achievement, bearing in mind that just over a month ago we moved the blog from where BTWT was originally hosted. Our previous best ever was 83 hits where we peaked on 8 March this year when we ran the story Skierniewice Success. I guess quite a few members of the Polish Association of Railway Enthusiasts popped in that day to see what we had written about them! On 11 March we had a mini publishing boom carrying three articles, Tribute to Howard Jones, Last Krzeszowice Engines Saved and The Papal train. Our efforts gained us 58 views.

On 18 March when our feature Oxenholme then and now brought us 55 views. Many of our visitors were Arthur Ransome fans for whom Oxenholme is the model for Strickland Junction in the Swallows and Amazons novel Pigeon Post.

So when we hit 100 visitors earlier today we were very pleased. It showed that our campaign to save the Krosniewice line was bringing in interest from outside our usual readership. But then the viewing statistics kept on rising! By 18.50 we had hit 150 visitors with no sign of a slowdown!

At this point we did a little investigation and discovered that someone had posted a link to our letter writing campaign on the Swiat Kolejek Waskotorowych (The World of Narrow Gauge Railways) discussion group. (WARNING – Polish only site) We read through the thread and were disappointed to see a succession of mostly negative posts from MISERABLE MOANERS! (Yes, that’s you if you haven’t yet written to the Mayor of Krosniewice yet!) So we contacted Andrew Goltz, Anglo-Pole and Swanage Railway founder and asked him to give SKW a good kick up the backside. His efforts brought in even more visitors. By 21.30hrs we had passed the 200 mark.

But the graph was still rising! A further check indicated that we were now getting traffic from a German railway discussion forum. Following the links back we found some beautiful photographs taken on the last day by the German visitors that we had written about on Monday. Just click on the picture below to see the rest of these sad and evocative pictures.


For some hauntingly beautiful pictures of the last
rites on the Krosniewice Railway click on the picture

Meanwhile the graph kept rising. By the time it reached 253 views it was time for bed. Now if everybody who visited BTWT just gave up 15 minutes and wrote a letter to Mrs Herman, the Mayor of Krosniewice – and then spend a quick 5 minutes forwarding details of this blog to their friends – Dyspozytor and Co. would be very happy bunnies indeed!


253 hits 01.59 (23.59 GMT) Time for bed, vertical
scale has been adjusted to match the top graph.