Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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First warning

Red in a morning shepherds warning, so the saying goes, more photographs of photogenic clouds, these were taken at 07:00 today

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Less photogenic would have been the sight of me dressed in a cyclamen pink fluffy dressing gown and flora print Wellington boots, stood in the middle of the field taking the pictures, I hope the neighbours weren’t looking

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(you’ve seen so many photos of theses silhouetted trees, that you will be on first name terms with them soon.)

The departure of the boys (all three of them) this morning was somewhat fraught, so much kit, gear, equipment and general stuff to go with them, the kitchen looked like a baggage handlers strike at Heathrow airport, even the dog who is usually baying to leave with her pack, heaved a sigh of relief as the door shut behind them. I am just as bad, we just don’t seem to manage ‘traveling light’ any more (did we ever, probably not.)

 

Oh and an early warning that it is Mothering Sunday this Sunday, don’t say I didn’t warn you, this years early Easter is bound to catch a few out ( for overseas visitors, Mothering Sunday in the UK is the 4th Sunday in lent and is therefore a movable feast!) More flowery tales later.


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A green and pleasant land

I followed this link on Gadget’s site this morning and it left me reflecting on how I would fair if I lived in a city; not very well I suspect.

The weather has been dramatic today, big roller coaster clouds mixed with bright sunshine strobe lighting the hills,

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I took the dog for a walk this afternoon, past a house that we considered buying when we moved back here from Scotland. Woffle’s  post got me thinking about the choices we have, or don’t have, about where we live.

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I feel I have been ‘National Lottery lucky’ about where I’ve lived my life, the very early years were on a farm, then a small and pleasant council estate, (complete with a couple of ‘police houses’ and a  resident police dog) it had lots of ‘greens’ where we kids messed about for hours and if we got bored with that there were plenty of hay fields, sledging hills and wooded areas to build dens in, a park, a playing field and a youth club.

When we lived in Scotland you could open the back door and walk off into the Ochil’s; I never went away to university, so I never did the grotty flat in the less than pleasant part of town, I am indeed very lucky. Not that I would wish you to think that that this area is crime free, ask our neighbouring farmer what he’s had stolen and his face will darken like today’s clouds,

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before he gave you a long list of stolen machinery and equipment and the detritus of drugs misuse can often be seen scattered around beauty spots.  I am sure my parents fretted as much as we do, about our kids safety; as we grew up in a post ‘Moors Murders’ era our safety must have been constantly on their minds. Some times the cities dross makes it out this far to do its dirty work, its often burnt out stolen  cars in isolated lay-by’s, but its been far, far worse.

But I have never lived in a home where I haven’t been happy to stride out the door, in to a garden or the country side, where I am simply in my element, in a city I would be like a fish out of water.  It may be a tad over dramatic to say I would wither and die, but I am sure a part of me would.


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Celebration

It was party time at the weekend, an 80th birthday

we gathered at the Severn Valley Railway

Train and churns

It was an ideal location as we are a scattered clan; as well as the most senior member of the family the very smallest were in attendance

Tiny fingers

But it wasn’t all sepia tones, we had Champagne

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and the birthday girl had, colourful gifts, flowers

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and a magnificent cake, (the map is of a favorite family holiday location)

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We had a lovely meal on the train and the staff were all excellent and equally as colourful as the party.

At your service 

 

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As well as chuffing up and down the line I had chance to play arty with the camera.

Steel and steam

 

Polish

Coal

I even got to have a look around on the footplate

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After a very pleasant day out, the journey home was enhanced by the fact we had been able to hand over the sails to BiL, that we collected for him the other week,therefore we didn’t have to share the car with them on the way home, or listen to the boys complaints that they smelt like wet dog.

 

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Mission Statement

”We would like to be able to replace the state in the areas it is incompetent,”

 

So said the ‘cultural guerrilla’ movement Untergunther, I read about this on Sir Norman Blogsters site, PartIV 

This is what they did to a derelict clock in the Pantheon in Paris, sort of the flip side of vandalism, they fixed it ,they set up a secret workshop and made it happen

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(I so wish I had taken that photograph)

‘It is one of Paris’s most celebrated monuments, a neoclassical masterpiece that has cast its shadow across the city for more than two centuries.

But it is unlikely that the Panthéon, or any other building in France’s capital, will have played host to a more bizarre sequence of events than those revealed in a court last week.

Four members of an underground “cultural guerrilla” movement known as the Untergunther, whose purpose is to restore France’s cultural heritage, were cleared on Friday of breaking into the 18th-century monument in a plot worthy of Dan Brown or Umberto Eco.’ you can read an article about it here

Would it happen in the UK, I doubt it; although I must confess to having a secret wish to go around cleaning up road signs that are covered with grime, oh dear, I’d best keep my head down.


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Buying Time

A very special offer from our local branch of Tesco

We have heard it all before,

  • ‘New improved Value’

  • ‘Buy one get one free’

  • ‘Super Saver’

The supermarkets are always coming up with new ways to lure us in and get us to part with our money, but this is exceptional value, not only can we have 35 month in the year we can go back in time, I am starting to feel younger already, this is with out doubt a unique selling point and I get 5p a litre off my fuel .

Tesco Voucher


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Serendipity

On our journey home from Blackpool took an unexpected and fortuitous turn, we had just driven past this wonderful sculpture,

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I was lamenting how I would have loved to stop and take some photographs, but it was a busy road, with no obvious stopping places, when we stumbled upon the entrance to the studio of the maker of this magnificent installation (I’ve since discovered it is lit at night and changes colour)

I love art glass, I love stained glass, ( give me colour, give me colour, jewel like colours, I’ve never been a pastel sort of girl, and as for beige, well.) I was chuffed to bits to find that the studio was open and that John Ditchfield  was working at his art.

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I’ve posted about glass before, and this link was very popular on the ‘clickometer’ so go have a play and blow your own vase.

If you have ever seen and enjoyed the work of Dale Chihuly its a pretty safe bet to say you will like Johns art, John uses quite a bit of iridescent luster in his work and the boys encouraged me to buy a piece, a green pod like garden ornament, will it get to the garde? well I am currently trying to work out which bit of garden would be a safe bet for it not to end up like this

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in the mean time it sits happily in a cobalt blue dish, this makes me very happy because it is a ‘peacock’ colour combination which I love, John also works on a lot of architectural installations, this is a template for a pair of gates, nice eh? 2.6m high, made in wrought Iron, with infill of blue and green luster glass

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There are large sculptures in the fields around the studio, they are great fun, very witty and as this is a visual art,  I’ll shut up and let you look;I hope you enjoy this looking at this  photofest as much as I did taking them.

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Glasform 6

Glasform 5

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Glasform 7

Glasform 2

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Walk on water

In a change from the scheduled post,

a few snaps of the plight of the Canada geese on a local stretch of water, that’s been frozen for the last few days

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The sound coming from the ice as the geese moved around was amazing, the nearest thing I can think of to describe it is that it’s like when you are stood on a railway platform, the high pitched sort of hum, that you get from the overhead wires as a train approaches, you could hear the ice under tension.

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I’d never be much good as a twitcher, I think I scared them off.

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A couple of domestic geese weren’t fazed by my presence, they were swimming around in the slushy margins of the ice

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I walked on around the corner and to my surprise in the only ice free bit of water I found theses guys, outdoor pursuits students, preparing, so one of their tutors told me,to do their first capsize drill, you could feel the tension, bet the wished they could walk on water; mad as hatters the lot of them;

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sadly I couldn’t spare the time to stay and watch, a photo opportunity missed.


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Fire and Ice

Blowing hot and cold, we’ve had a lot of fun today,

a little scientific experiment the boys wanted to make a flame thrower,

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it worked, as you can see.

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For your information, after extensive field trials, cornflower was found towork best, blown through a length of copper pipe

I got chance to take some photographs, whist we were out at the fell races this morning, icicles at a weir

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Red leaves in the river

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When we got home, Tom found some ice in a bucket

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Which we played around with in the setting sun

Leaves. in ice

Sun, ice

Then Joe smashed it to bits, which he toughly enjoyed, all in all a very nice day.

Sunset

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