Uphilldowndale

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


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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog 16th April 2014

Here he is, sporting is spring hair cut. If you think he looks a little miffed,I don’t think it is the lack of his coat that is disturbing him, its more to do with the fact he’s just discovered he is going to the kennels. Poor Spud.

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Poor Spud. Our holiday arrangements are a little complicated this Easter,but more of that in a day or so.

I mentioned in my last Spud post that he’d been lame. It was most noticeable when he came down steps or stairs, he  moved in bunny hops rather clattering down in his usual style. The vet thought it a soft tissue injury and prescribed anti-inflammatory/pain relief and complete rest, you can imagine we had trouble communicating that concept to Spud…

Although not completely cured, he does seem a lot better.


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Mothering Sunday

The title Mothering Sunday, rather than Mothers’ day is a nod to my late mother in law. She’d no time for the latter as  for as far as she was concerned, it has it roots in commerce not religion.

 

As you might imagine, its been a bit of a melancholy one for me. But is has been a beautiful spring day.

 

Wild plum_

Joe knows what he thinks of Mothering Sunday, he ‘pot washes’ at the village pub at the weekend. Today he and his shift mate washed up for four chefs and 110 covers.


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Taking the Biscuit

I’m here still here; wading, savouring and wallowing in the boxes of family photos, memorabilia and documents that have emerged from my Mums house.

This caught my eye,  from the Buxton Advertiser in 1939. I’ve yet to work out why the page has been carefully stored away since then.

Many of my family were employed by the Co-Operative Society, back in the day. I wonder what they would have made of the current debacle. 

In 1939, the bonus offered, to their customers, at any rate were much more modest.

 

Co-Op buscuits


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Vintage Years

We finished emptying Mum’s house this week,it goes without saying that it was emotional work, but there was laughter as well as tears. Here is a photo I found, that Mum had taken in  July 1997, the garden in full bloom.

Pride and Joy

It all looks a lot sunnier than it did on Tuesday.

There many discoveries, of lost childhood memorabilia, forgotten heirlooms (notably, a spectacularly hideous antique plate that had been waiting for its moment to shine, for over five decades, hidden away in the back of a cupboard, as I lifted it out, the bag it was in disintegrated, the plate fell to the floor, smashed beyond repair. My brother who’d recently seen a similar plate on a TV antiques programme, refuses to tell me just how much it was worth).

In the cupboard under the stairs, I found six crates of my Dad’s home brew, dating back as far as 1989.

 

home brew

Some of it looked very dodgy, and alarmingly it was in screw top bottles.

home brew 4

After a dynamic risk assessment, I decided a little eye protection wouldn’t go amiss before moving it.

home brew


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Forever Flowers

Thank you all for your kind words, following my Mum’s death, I’ve taken time to read messages and cards and even to just sit smell the flowers,

Forever flowers_

I’ve done this in a way I’m not sure I could have managed when my Dad died some 16 years ago. His death caught us all by surprise, Mum had been very seriously ill herself, just a few weeks before, and was just home from hospital to convalesce.

 

I found when I rang family and friends to tell them of Dads death, they did a double take, having assumed the ‘sad news’ I forewarned them of, was the news that Mum had died, not Dad, it wasn’t what anybody expected.

forever flowers 3

 

They were strange, stressful times, Joe was just 12 weeks old, Tom two years, Mum as weak as a kitten. Throw into the mix the fact I had my own business (with the weight of secured business loan attached) plus Mr Uphilldowndale, had his own stressful job too. I had to ‘soldier on’ , to ‘be strong’.  Looking back on those times now, I can see, to my mind, that not actually being able to take time to grieve took its toll on my health and wellbeing even if that didn’t really manifest it’s self until a couple of years later.

 

Flowers have played an important part of the comforting rituals of the last few weeks, I tried to source some mimosa for Mum’s funeral flowers, I couldn’t get hold of any. But it was OK, I know she’d have loved the mixed spring flowers

Forever flowers 3

I did miss her not sitting in the second row of pews though, directing my pedestal arrangement,

forever flowers 4 

Just as she had always done, ever since I tackled, with the confidence of youth, my very first, back in 1974 for my  big brothers wedding. She used to love coming with me to decorate churches, not just this one where she and I were married. Some times were more dramatic than others.

I remembered with a smile, when we arranged the flowers for Dad’s funeral, how Tom toddled up and down the aisle and loved jumping off the steps on the pulpit. 


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Wind Egg

Or maybe, storm egg would be a better title, wind eggs we’ve covered before.

Who knows,  if it was  the 80mph winds we had here last night; but something upset one of the chickens.

 

storm egg 2

Poor girl.

storm egg

I suppose I’m going to have to get used to thinking, ‘I’ll tell Mum about that’ and then feeling the stark realisation that I can’t, tell her anything anymore.

 

In the distracted, absent minded way of the recently bereaved, today I tried to put chocolate sauce on my fried egg, instead of brown sauce. Sigh.

 

Here, is how a shell is formed, and here, how the egg develops


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Mum

My lovely, lovey mum died in hospital on Sunday night, aged 87.

 

Mum

We are comforted that she managed, until last Thursday to live  independently in her home of 48 years. She wouldn’t have wished for anything else.

On Saturday I received direction from my brother that she wanted a trifle taking when I visited the hospital that evening, it was late in the day and I feared she’d be disappointed with my earlier choice of fresh fruit salad. But when I got there she was not looking well at all, she didn’t want anything, except she told me, ‘If you see any pork pies, the ones with jelly in, will you bring one?’ Really, given my last post, I couldn’t have made it up.  It was not to be.

Here is Mum in 1928, a couple of years ahead of the game on cuteness, curls and Shirley Temple. Dressed appropriately for the hideous storms that are raging across the UK tonight.

Mum 1928 Edit

 

 

G’ remains in a critical condition, we send more pies.


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Headspanner

Well I made it, I ducked in under the wire on the very last day of the exhibition Brains. The Mind as Matter. So glad I did.

As I set out Mr Uphilldowndale asked ‘Where is it you’re going?’ (in that husband and wife way that says we’ve may have been talking to one another all week but were we listening?)  ‘I’m going to see an exhibition about the brain, a mixture of science and art’ I replied. ‘Can you mix the two?’ he asked (I hoped he was jesting, as Leonardo Da Vinci seemed to manage it OK). ‘It’s at the Museum of Science and Industry’ I told him. ‘Ahh that’s OK then’ he replied. Ever the engineer. 

 

My favourite  art exhibit was by Katherine Dowson*  My Soul 2005 no photograph I can find does really does it justice.  Laser etched in  two blocks of glass,  it shimmered like a mirage, now you see it now you don’t . Now you understand it now you don’t,

 

 

 

Wellcome Trust employee Zoe Middleton poses for the media by a work entitled 'My Soul' by artist Katherine Dawson, that is a laser etched in lead crystal glass of the artist's own MRI scan, at an exhibition call 'Brains -The Mind as Matter' at the Wellcome Collection in London, Tuesday, March, 27, 2012. The free exhibition is open to the public from March 29- June 17. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

 

Many of the exhibits were human remains and the advisory age was 14years + given the sensitive nature of some items. However, there were plenty of younger children in the gallery, which wasn’t a problem, although I noted some of kids looked like they were being primed very early for a career in medicine, and  hat they may have been happier,doing a post-mortem on a bit of road kill in the garden shed, with a junior hacksaw set, rather than having every detailed label read to them.

 

Whilst I was at ease with the human exhibits,  and fascinated by the craftsmanship, and beauty of centuries old moulage,  what I found deeply moving  were the sections of the exhibition given to over to both ‘giving and taking’.

Taking, the horror of the children  and adults murdered by the Nazis under a policy of euthanasia, some 120 000 people killed, those with apparent hereditary disease or deemed to be feeble in mind and body. The doctors who perpetrated such acts and then who then went on to have successful medical careers after the war, could only give rise to disgust.

Giving, the compassionate and telling photographic portraits  by Ania Dabrowska of those who had decided to donate their brain to medical science.  This brought very personal emotions, as my father in law who died earlier  this year left his body to medical science.

 

 

Albert Webb wearing a jumper he knitted himself, depicting his late dog Lucy.  Photo Ania Dabrowska

 

The exhibition is now closed, the book however isn’t and of course the mind, our magnificent, wondrous minds, should always be open. What could be more precious.

A thought provoking day.

 

*What I didn’t at first realise was that Katherine Dowson’s work was based on her own brain scan, part of a research project into dyslexia, her work on this subject, well, lets just say it speaks to me…


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Tidying up the Scraps

Storms and gales persist. Mr Uphilldowndale is feeling a little restless, it maybe the six hours we spent traveling yesterday, the lack of running of late, or the cumulative affect of so much foul weather but he is very twitchy. Today, in spite of the weather, he was determined to carry on with his master plan to  clear out  the barn, and visit the scrap yard to weigh in the last of the spoil from the installation of our new heating system.

I was tasked with going along too, as my ID is already on their books;  going to scrap yard is altogether a more formal affair that it used to be, as of October 2013, our payment will be arriving by BACS, no cash in hand, in an attempt to reduce the theft of metal.

 

        • all scrap metal dealers must verify the name and address of the seller at the point of .sale, which is recorded and retained by the dealer
        • the cashless offence will apply to all scrap metal dealers including ‘mobile collectors’ who collect door to door
        • there will be a single national publicly available register of all scrap metal dealers

 

( and OK, so I’m also willing to admit I’ve a  certain curiosity about the total randomness of what is lying around there). 

scrap yard 

Oh look, that’s a dolly tub, right of shot; I’ve a blog post  I can write about that, if only I can find the dolly blue.  Time for more clearing out.


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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.bluejohnstone.com/treakcliffe-bats-c63.html

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