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


Selling Snake Oil

A bit of a rant to start with; really Waitrose (the supermarket subsidiary of John Lewis, they of the heart warming adverts) we expect better of the company that likes to pitch its self, as a cut above the rest, the favoured store for the middle classes .


The label on this jar of sundried tomatoes (I told you we were talking middle class) is sneaky, contains more weasel words than it does extra virgin olive oil


Yes folks, a measly 3% extra virgin olive oil. Read the label on the back

sundried 2

And you can see those sun kissed tomatoes are dunked in 47% sunflower oil, not luxuriating in a bath of extra virgin olive oil, as a quick glance of the label might suggest. (Waitrose artichoke hearts and sliced peppers share the same sunflower fate and  label pretensions). I wonder if the food boffins at Waitrose could convince us that 3% extra virgin olive oil brings anything to this product other that the words to the label?


I found an all together more genuine product, in the form of ancient bottle of  oil of eucalyptus when sorting mums house,  by the age of it, I suspect she and dad had themselves acquired it from a previous house clearance of an elderly aunt.

Pugh Buxton

I thought I’d see if it had retained its qualities, Sadly I broke the cork in the process (see I was right to be cautious of bottle tops)  but I didn’t need to go any further, it does still pack a punch of eucalyptus.

Pugh Buxton 2 

The dispensing chemist, Edgar Pugh of Buxton was mayor of Buxton in 1927 and the beautiful shop (which really needs to be photographed for this blog some day) is still a dispensing chemist, the historic shop and interior are listed, so thankfully haven’t suffered the same fate as Finlay McKinlay.


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.


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



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



There looks to be a glorious crop of elderberries on the way.




As always, seeing these swelling  juicy berries I think of my late father and the  glug, glug of his demi-johns of ‘home brew’ elderberry wine* which during the 1970’s he used to nurture along, snuggled up in the warmest place in the house that he could get away with (against the chimney wall in the bedroom; actually I’m not sure how he got away with that at all!)

It may be the dutiful daughter  in me, or the hunter gatherer, that thinks I should be ‘making something’ of this  bountiful hedgerow crop.  Oh well, I’ll settle for making a blog post, the birds can have the feast.


*Along with elderberry wine there was dandelion, elderflower and most pungent of all (in the brewing at least) comfrey.


And Then There was One



Joe was back at school on Friday, both Mr Uphilldowndale and Tom were at work, I found myself home alone. It was something of a novelty, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I think it must be as far back as May since the house had been this quiet.

I decided to take on the glut of eggs nestling in the kitchen window. We’ve a couple of new chickens (Warrens) and whilst they are not laying yet, the three senior birds, apart from being hen pecking bullies to the new girls, took the huff and went off to lay their eggs any where other than in the hen house, eventually   Mr Uphilldowndale found 18 eggs hidden in the undergrowth.

Whilst my four cakes* baked I nipped out and picked a batch of blackberries to make bramble jelly,

best of the bunch_


I needed 3lb of fruit, the first two pounds came easily, the rest was a struggle, I found myself having to climb in and amongst the brambles and nettles to reach the more elusive berries. I’d perhaps been a little premature in picking them, I should have waited a day or two for more to ripen  that way I’d have more fruit and less stings and scratches…


* three now residing in the freezer; non of them are chocolate cake though.


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