Uphilldowndale

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


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Delivery Failure

I glibly promised more posts then disappeared off the the blogosphere.

All is well with us, but our Internet access has been rather dire.

Spud the dog is concerned his fan base might be diminishing. So I’ll post a laid back photo of his Devon Holiday.

IMG_9918

Return to normal connectivity is anticipated next week. Watch this space.


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I’ve Never Seen

A seahorse, I used to think they only lived in  warm, tropical seas, but apparently they live here, amongst the seagrass  beds in Salcombe harbour (when the tide is in, obviously, when the seagrass would be all floaty and a nice place to hang out if you were a seahorse.)

Seagrass beds 3

The other thing I couldn’t manage to capture on camera, were water spurts, from razor fish, shooting up in front of me, from the sand, some twelve inches or so high. They  hide in the sand at low tide, all that was to be seen was the hole in the sand. Not very exciting is it…

Seagrass beds_

I tried to find a video of such a thing, but I couldn’t see that either. I did manage to find a little more about them though.

However some folk have for more success at capturing natures more elusive moments. Watch and enjoy.

 

Oh and here is another animal that has been elusive, Spud the dog, enjoying the sea, wearing his smart harness, purchased to replace the one trashed in the sledging foray.  It’s an all together beefier little number than the previous one; Spud thinks it makes him look like a proper working dog, even on holiday

Sea Spud


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Have Crab Will Travel

Mr Uphilldowndale and I found ourselves down at the fish quay in Salcombe one morning. It was a bit of an eye opener.

Salcombe crab live export 2

 

There aren’t the vast numbers of fishing boats I imagine there were in years gone by. But none the less there  was frenetic industry.

One boat was tied up at the quay, The Emma Jane, her crew of six were busy unloading some  their catch of crab in to floating ‘fish boxes’ and getting ready to sail.

 

Unloading Crabs

She goes out for up to six days at a time, and her catch of crab and lobsters are kept alive and in good condition in vivier tanks on board (more about that in a moment).

 

In addition a larger floating fish box was being unloaded of its live cargo.

Some crabs seemed not best pleased and were making a break for freedom.

 

I'm out of here!

 

We were a little stunned at the quantity of crabs ( this isn’t just one layer of crabs, there are  many many more below). The box had been hauled up the slipway (or maybe the tide had fallen as they worked, who am I to know about such things, I live about as far from the sea as you can get in the UK. I just imagine it’s best to work with the tide not against it).

 

Salcombe crab Live export-2

 

We were also surprised to see that the crabs, once out of the fish box and weighed were put into a articulated lorry, with vivier tanks  of well oxygenated sea water (vivier means ‘fish tank’) 

 

Salcombe crab live export

to keep them alive and in tip top condition for their onward journey to Portugal, yes Portugal, mind they could have also have gone to France Spain, Hong Kong and mainland China. You can see the size of the floating fish box in the shot above.

 

Salcombe crabs are obviously a very valuable catch, they are also very labour intensive one.  We were told by harbour staff they are caught in crab pots, the muscle in their main claw is cut to stop them attacking each other in the fish box. The smaller fishing boats return each day with their catch and add them to the fish box.

 

Salcombe crab Live export3

 

The aim is to keep them in the fish box the minimum amount of time possible as they are not feeding whilst in the box.

 

Unloading Crabs into floating box

 

And if you are wondering what happens to all those crab shells, in a moment of serendipity, I stumbled across the answer today, when looking for felting wool, who would have thought it; apparently you can make fibre from the chitosan in the shells. not to mention anti-fungal treatments for seeds and in medical dressings to reduce bleeding.  My, blogging is so educational.


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Drifting

Drifting_

How long have we been home from the seaside? It seems like an age, the blog has been drifting, we’ve been rather busy.

I’ve just about managed to stuff everything back in the cupboards from whence it came. The airing cupboard* was a particular challenge. Mr Uphilldowndale (Mr Uhdd) if far more competent at such things than I am, its all that folding of sails he’s done over the years. He can make it look like an up market shop, I  can only ever achieve something at the jumble sale end of the retail spectrum

 

On holiday Mr Uhdd had an exciting time sailing his new boat, watching him from the beach it looked more like he was playing Buckaroo than sailing.

RS 

The general consensus of the deck chair critics was that Mr Uphilldowndale needs to eat more pies (or Devon pasties) as a little weight for him, unlike the rest of us** would be a good idea as it would help him keep the boat, an RS100, upright, she’s a feisty little number. (There  did seem something inherently wrong in the suggestion of a weighted lifejacket)

I would add, that we, the deck chair critics know very little about sailing, and that our extensive knowledge of the state of the tide is only founded in the need to know if it is low enough to make it possible to walk along the beach to the Venus cafe to buy ice cream, or if it is so high its necessary to take the less picturesque route along the road.

 

*Not sure why I’ve bothered, the whole lot will have to come back out again in a few weeks time during the installation of our new  central heating system, a ground source heat pump, watch this space.

** How annoying is it that Mr Uhdd lost weight on holiday, however he did gain a lot of bruises.


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Out Of Touch

You may have noticed communications have been a little slow of late, my

access to the World Wide Web has been particularly tardy.

webby phone_ 

We’ve been in the depths of Devon for our  annual holiday, to our favourite place, and whilst it seems mobile phones have replaced the need for the public phone box in the area

webby phone 1

 

leaving the local phone box a little overgrown (even the spiders have moved out)

 

webby phone 2

 

We thought the mobile ‘dongle’ we took with us would keep us in touch with the rest of the world, but things were moving at a snails pace.

webby phone 3

 

That was until  Mr Mac kindly lent his mobile wi-fi broadband router for a few days, which was a splendid thing, letting all of us to get Internet access  at once with out tearing our hair out.  But  actually, what we discovered, was that good company, sunny weather and real surf were no substitute for surfing the ‘net and actually it is just fine and dandy to out of touch with the rest of the world for a wee while.

 

We are back home now, after a tedious, nine hour slog up the motorway from Devon to Derbyshire, the fridge is empty and the pile of dirty laundry is mountainous. But none of that matters.

 

Normal service will be resumed shortly.


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Spud on Sunday Part LXIX

Tom is home from the Alps, where he’s been mountain biking.

Spud the dog and the rest of the menagerie are very glad to have him home, we all are.

Tom is back -1

We’ve had a family bereavement whilst he’s been away.  Its the sort thing that makes you want to gather everyone in, safe and well, to be together. We are sad.

Yes, we are very glad Tom is home. I’m glad I didn’t know just how precipitous the routes they have been riding were.  I’m glad I didn’t know anything about his close encounter with the 200ft drop that left the guy who hauled him back  to safety ashen faced*.  I’m glad I didn’t know about being in the fresh snow and the ice. Yes very glad indeed. I do know that the the pile of dirty laundry he’s brought back with him, is as high as Mont Blanc,  but you don’t need to know how smelly it is.

Dodger and Spud check out Toms kit bag… with the thankfully, unused first aid kit.

Doddger and Spud -1

* this is independent eyewitness testimony, not teenage bravado!


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Summers Past

And the making of memories.

Forgiving me for returning to the beach and family holidays. But a couple of   posts I’ve read this week have catapulted me back to Devon.  First there was Nancy’s post reflecting on just how many summers her family had enjoyed their favourite beach  just like the Uphilldowndale family’s love of a certain Devon beach,

Summers Past -1

then there was Sarah’s post that made me smile and recall our coastal meeting with a grasshopper.  So I nipped back to the post I’d written at the time, back in 2009, about our encounter with the artist David Measures, about his glorious art and his generosity with both his time and knowledge: sadly, when I followed the links, I discovered that David died last year.  Looking at the website of Southwell Artists I saw that Christine Measures, David’s wife, is also an artist.

When I met David he told me he was working on a book that would capture, not just the markings of a butterfly, for identification but how it moved, its mannerisms, what a bird watcher might call it’s jizz.  The slide show of Christine’s art captures both David and Devon summer holidays perfectly. Beautiful.

 

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