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


Good Friday

Spud the dog thinks it is a very good Friday as he is home from kennels, he’s been simply dizzy with delight. He is now exhausted and crashed out on the sofa, snoring loudly.


We came home from York yesterday evening, too late to collect Spud, but an easy journey home, for the eve of a bank holiday.


It has been glorious here today. After a cold and frosty start

lambs frost

But the sun and blue skies melted it all away. The spring flowers like the birds are just singing.



I’m not sure next door’s cockerel is too chuffed at the return of Spud, I think he’d been making a move on our chickens in his absence. Spud pointed him off in the right direction, again

public footpath 

Have another flower or two, there are plenty to go round.

snakes head


A Second Glance

Amidst all that must be done after a bereavement, I have managed to slip away for a day of good company, delicious food and a little creative play time, it was such a tonic. My destination was near the Derbyshire village of  Sheldon. I hadn’t realised, approaching Sheldon from the direction of the village of Ashford in the Water, just how close I was too Magpie Mine, which seems to be a place I always stumble upon rather than a destination (although I have promised Mr Uphilldowndale I’ll take him there on one of our Friday excursions when we mange to get them back on our radar).



I paused by the farm (to let the moths out of my camera bag,it feels such a while since I took photos for fun!)

The cows were curious

Curious cow

and the farm cat had no option but a cold tin roof.

cat on a cold tin roof


Old time readers may remember my story of the bears in the belfry, well this story in the press today, totally upstages my furry flying friends. All thanks to the deliciously named and refreshingly successful Raspberry Pi  Well done you Pi makers.



On Saturday one of Mr Uphilldowndale’s running buddies (I’ll  not publish his name, I’ll just call him ‘G’) was seriously injured when he was in a road traffic collision whilst out on his bike. We’re all sending  our thought’s, love, good wishes, prayers or what ever we have to give, to G, his family and those who care for him. Worrying times and we feel impotent, we wish we could do more.


I came across G a while back here.

Change in the  weather 4-1 


We were both on our  way to work, he had stopped to admire the view,  whilst I more likely, had stopped to catch my breath. We chatted, he was in reflective mood. I told how  him how Mr Uhdd was frustrated at not being race fit and was niggled by minor injuries. G offered this advice. ‘Tell him to eat more pies, he thinks he need to keep his weight down but he doesn’t, he need to eat more pies; I know I’ve done it myself.’


So I’m sending pies, or at least the metaphorical health giving properties of pies, its all I can do.


Heather x


How Time Flies

I’ve been busy decorating, I’ve set myself a bit of a deadline, I’ve invited the neighbours round for a bit of a do, its in a good cause.   The British Heart Foundation is a charity close to our  own hearts, especially in memory of Daz H.

The invites have gone out.

ramp up the red

But it does mean there is no time for dawdling, but more haste can mean less speed: this is an old house, no wall is true, no plaster smooth, (I did succumb to a little plaster envy the other day) exposed  oak beams may brim with ancient character but they  are a fiddle to decorate around. Here is one on the landing.

oak beam

And this is my favourite beam, in the lounge, I love its rough and ready, vernacular style and wonder why a load bearing beam was placed over a window opening?

forked oak beam_


One day we’ll find out how old they are.


I was so busy at the weekend,I forgot about the The Big Garden Bird Watch.

Take a look at these birdy videos, mesmerising I really want to get to see a murmeration of starlings.


Windy Days and Nights

Glory be, what storms and gales we have.


Valiantly a daisy in the meadow, hangs on to its petals, yes a daisy in December.


windy days 2 

Granted they weren’t sown until late, but still,  it’s an unprecedented display.

windy days 3

These photos were taken yesterday, which was an altogether brighter sort of day

field maple_

With a crisp frost, a wisp of mist, and some storm diverted gulls

frost green and gulls_

Today is altogether bleaker, but keep the faith. The hazel catkins of Spring are waiting in the wings.

hazel catkins



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Rock of Ages


This is a lump of rock my Dad picked up from the side of the road, near Castleton in Derbyshire, circa 1969 (we’ve visited the area before)

blue John rock

It is a very particular local stone, Blue John (for scale the rock is about the size of an orange). Dad gave it to me the day he took me down the Blue John Cavern, he wasn’t much into doing ‘family trips out’ so it is a special memory (and he probably took me down because my Mum would have flatly refused to do so!)

I don’t imagine you can find, or take such things these days*, you can however still see the evidence of Blue John, in some unusual places in and around Castleton.

I’ve come across Blue John several times this year, here in ornate splendour, in the church where my father-in-laws memorial service was held, in London.

blue John font_

It was obviously a big budget font when it was made!

blue John font 2

And in a shoe box of old  bits and pieces, which my Mum thinks came from a great aunts house, in the 1970’s, a cut piece of Blue John, that had probably been a brooch at sometime, but that had long since lost both its mounting and a chunk out of the edge.


I decided to get it recut and made into a necklace. I didn’t think to photograph it until I was about to hand it over in the Jewellers, so a hasty phone shot (that makes it look the size of a dinner plate; it wasn’t!) to show it before.

blue John stone_ 

And here it is all done, with mother of pearl underneath to lift the colour. I’m very pleased.

blue John necklace

Blue John is only found in Castleton, last year a long lost seam was rediscovered . And look even bats like Blue John.



* There are many Edwardian and Victorian houses around here, with garden rockeries made from limestone pavements, another no-no.


















The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog, 21st December 2013

Why would you want an adventure on an afternoon like this?  Especially when there is a sofa to be had.


home sweet home


The picture is by Derbyshire artist, Clare Allen. Clare does wonderful landscapes (and cityscapes, check out her Manchester exhibition review). She also does a fine line in drawing particularly fine pubs, that are to be recommended 


*It is blowing a gale and lashing with rain.


On Edge

Tom has been to Derbyshire this weekend, with his university mountaineering club, he was too close to home, for us not to pop over with Spud the dog to say hello*, first of all we had to find him, it was busy on Stanage Edge (we’ve been here before)




Spud found him




A beautiful crisp day, the visibility could not have been sharper


Stanage 2


Bouldering is the done thing.


Stanage 3


We came across this rather fun gate, I couldn’t move the sun, or the gate, so I’m afraid you’ll have to take the photo as it is; loving the shadows.


cow gate


cow gate 4



* We asked Tom’s permission first, we didn’t gate crash…


Wet Monday

We are adrift in a sea of mud. The captain has a chart and a compass, it will be OK*. It’s would be helpful if it stopped raining though.


Spud the dog loves mud.

Spud mud_

Jammy and Dodger the kitten cats are displaced, their usual home in the utility/porch is no more than a  muddy hole in the ground.

They’ve taken up squatters rights in Spuds bed, it’s  feline Yin and Yang

Feline Yin and Yang_

Occasionally they are willing to share (note Spud’s windfall apple)


*I’ll save the full story of the ground source heat pump for later posts. 


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