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


Here be Dragons

I found this wonderful beast clinging to an iris leaf, up at the pond on Sunday afternoon, I took it be a dragonfly emerging from its status as a nymph into a fully fledged flying machine.

Here be dragons


I had absolutely no idea how long the process would take, minutes, hours, days? So I pitched camp up by the pond for a couple of hours to watch (this was no hardship whatsoever, after so many weeks of busyness.) I was brought a succession of  cold drinks and I had books to read, it was all a bit of a luxury actually.  My concern was that a bit like a mammal in labour, an important bit would be ‘delivered’ and woosh, suddenly its all over, probably when I was looking the other way  and  I thought it might be the wings in dragonflies’ as they emerged from their casing that was the tipping point. Well I can report that nothing happened.

There were other mini beast to watch though.

Mini beasts



Mini beasts 2

It was still there the next morning, nothing seemed to have changed, not to the naked eye at any rate, I checked a couple of times more during the morning, and there it was gone, disappeared, I never did get to see it take to the air, I missed it. (I’ve since read that they don’t develop their magnificent colours for a few days, so maybe the moment wouldn’t have been quite as dramatic as I hoped.)

The legacy of time lounging by the pond is I have a number of nasty insect bites, that kept me a wake last night ( I’ve got a swollen finger that looks like a pork sausage!) and the  resulting antihistamines have kept my brain asleep for most of the day! I suffer for this blog you know, but not too much, as I write its late evening and the smell of honeysuckle is wafting through the open window, delightful.


In the cool of the day

After a hot sticky night and with a very warm day (and week) forecast I took to the footpaths at 7:30 this morning, the visibility was very poor, I’m not sure if you could describe it as a heat haze, but I do know it was hot and humid, I pitied the poor commuters who would taking the train into town.

Heat Haze

If you would like to see some much clearer views of the Peak District,  learn how to build drystone walls,

Drystone wall and summer flowers

or see the WW11 aviation wrecks on the Kinder Plateau, take a look at  last nights ‘Country File’, BBC1 on iplayer  ( sorry guys, this episode does not feature the pin up for men of a certain age, Ms Julia Bradbury)

Bovines have been getting a bad press lately, it’s not a load of old bull


But something to be aware of (especially if you have a dog with you)  rather than terrified of.  This bull was as happy as  a cow in clover, as he had his ladies for company.

No bull over ten months old, should be kept in a field that has a public footpath crossing it, without being accompanied by cows or heifers, because he will be a tad frustrated and get grumpy and no bull from recognised dairy breed (Ayrshire, British Friesian, British Holstein, Dairy Shorthorn, Guernsey, Jersey and Kerry) is allowed in such a field because dairy bulls  ARE nasty and grumpy, period.

Mr Uhdd is home from his Three Peaks Yacht Race, having had a whale of a time and is planning the next adventure, this comes as no surprise to me.



In the stillness of a sultry summer afternoon, yet more photos of damselflies, they are hypnotic.

Still 3

Still 2

Damsel fly

Not as many as earlier in the week, you might remember this dinghy, it featured last autumn (without the damselflies) it still drifts around the pond

Ghost boat

If I could have got this pair of damselflies to face the other way (and got them in focus) they might have passed as a tableau of Kate Winslet and Tony De Thingymebob  on the bow of the Titanic

Kate and thingmebob


The Wit and Wisdom of White Van Man Continues

You may remember a few weeks ago a courier was so inspired by the view from our doorstep that he took to quoting Churchill? Well today I took deliver of a new mattress for Tom’s bed, after the two guys had hauled the thing upstairs for me (and lugged the old one back downstairs, so they could take it way with them, how useful a service is that?!) They too paused to take in the view.


‘You could never tire of looking at that view’ said one.

‘The last guy that made a delivery here’ I told him ‘said that this view was was what Churchill was talking about when he said ‘we will fight them on the beaches.’

‘Humm’, said the other one thoughtfully, ‘if Churchill said that, who said ‘Defeat is bad?’

‘I don’t know, who did?’ I asked.

‘Nelson Mandela’s chiropodist.’ he replied.


Getting Warmer

It’s been a warm and muggy day today, with a few heavy showers, in fact it got so warm  outside that we considered opening some windows to let some heat in. With small windows and thick stone walls the house is tardy to warm with the heat  of the sun and whilst the outside world has been trotting around in T-shirts, indoors, sat at the PC, I’ve donned a fleece.

Some photos from the pond, the blue damsel flies are prolific, I’ve never seen so many and at the rate at which they were mating  it would suggest even more for next year.

Damsels en mass 

And a couple of odd shots; the ‘oil on water’ colours come from the reflections on the water of the purple and yellow Iris and the blurry look from the frantic wing flapping.

Odd shot 2



Odd shot


Let’s Dance

Morris Men strut their stuff

Best foot forward

As it’s the Summer Solstice today, a post that shrieks summer (and the  drinking of draught bitter)  you can read more about Morris dancing here or watch some dancing over there,


For some very different looking Morris men, try

Andyholmfirths photos on FlickrHat

I’ve read that Morris dancing is in danger of extinction, however this little girl was showing future potential, dancing just like  her grandpa

Dancing like Grandpa

I quite fancy owning a pair of clogs, its the sound of the clog irons I like, I think it goes way back, to the child in me, and I must have been less than five, I used to  love shuffling round the kitchen in my mums shoes because I like the clicky klacky sound they made on the quarry tile floor, not sure about the bells though.


As well as fathers day (Mr Uhdd is not around for that, he’s got other things on his mind, The Three Peaks Yacht Race is under way) apparently it is Naked Hiking day, I’d seriously suggest you don’t try that around here, as the nettles are thigh high at the moment, the farms dogs are nippy and the locals would not be friendly, but if you want to see what it is all about. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.


First Floor Office


I’m not very good at settling down and cracking on with some work when there are distractions around, I just can’t shut out background noise very easily and other peoples phone conversations derail my train of thought. So a couple of weeks ago Joe and I hauled some furniture around and made me a little private space, the box room is now my office, my very own padded cell: I’ve got a pen tidy, a pot plant and an angel-poise lamp, my books on the book case and of a pair of binoculars and the camera, you see my new ‘office’ has  a view over the pond, it’s a bit of a distraction. I can watch the heron basking (and panting) in the sun.

Panting Heron

as I looked on, it stalked the edge of the pond and then made  a dramatic ‘belly flop’ dive into the centre of the pond, I missed the shot,

Half a heron

but I’ll be ready next time.


And Ships are Tossed at Sea*


It was very wet and windy yesterday, Mr Uhdd tells me it was blowing up to 43 knots off the coast of Wales, which sounds very unpleasant to me but then I can feel queasy when stood on a pontoon, let alone on board a yacht in rough seas; the latest info on seeing the killer whales swimming alongside was that they were so close they could feel the spray from their blow holes, now part of me think WOW that is amazing and part of me thinks ughhhh whale snot!

Here the heavy rain felled the meadow grass, more crop splats than crop circles


The field has something of a ‘bed head’ hair look about it, but very cleverly the grass  will right itself as the weight of water lifts, time lapse photography would be interesting.


I was accompanied on my circuit of the field by the cats, who walked with that prissy ‘I’m getting my paws wet’ gait


Usually they will use the top of the wall as a dry walkway, but they seemed a bit edgy, neighbourhood cat wars are ongoing and they were taking no chances, you never know who is hiding in the long grass..

*And ships are tossed at sea, from a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson




Standing alone

I chose to blog as Uphilldowndale, I prefer to remain anonymous,  I’ve family and friends who visit here and know an awful lot more about me and my world than I would wish to put into cyberspace and there are those who can make a stab at where I live and who I am from my posts and photographs, for me its not a big deal, but I prefer it the way it is.  But for many blogger’s to remain anonymous is crucial.

So Yesterdays court ruling is a bit of a blow

Thousands of blogger’s who operate behind the cloak of anonymity have no right to keep their identities secret, the High Court ruled yesterday.

In a landmark decision, Mr Justice Eady refused to grant an order to protect the anonymity of a police officer who is the author of the NightJack blog.

For the bigger picture, go and read Tom Reynolds, Random Acts of Reality blog. I can’t help but think the press have shot themselves in the foot by pushing this, so that it ended up the courts, just where have the press been looking for the inside story on so many topics? The blogs, not  blogs like this, that’s no more than  a walk in the country, but the ones that tell it like it is, that give snap shots of society, and all  for the sake of a one day scoop, the Times have closed the door to so much more.


Cracking Storm


We had a cracker of a thunder storm last night, I also had a cracking head ache, a meat cleaver to the skull sort of headache,  I’m not sure if it was the pain killers or the passing of the storm that cleared it, but  like the clouds it lifted I felt up to zipping up the hill to try and catch the last of the light.


It was fading fast, so I’ll just have to tell you it was quite stunning as I don’t think the photos come anywhere near capturing it,  across the valley, a thin foam of cloud spilled over the plateau, like boiling milk over the edge of a saucepan, they flowed away in a matter of minuets.

Milky clouds 1

To the west clearing skies and a sunset that has since delivered it’s promise of a fine day to day.


The trees and vegetation were dripping with storm water and this hawthorne tree had a wonderful honeyed scent. There’s a word for the smell of earth after a storm, Joker the lurcher knows what it is, I should have made a note of it when he posted about it, ha ha,  I’ve found it, it’s petrichor)


The local TV transmitter must have taken a lightening hit as ITV disappeared off our screens during the storm and hasn’t been seen since, but why is the  BBC still there? it’s a mystery to me, can  someone explain please?

Fading light


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