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


Grab it while you can

An hour of sunshine this afternoon.


It showed off the hazel catkins to great effect

Hazel catkins_

and left me wondering why the are called catkins.

Hazel catkins 5


Jammy the kitten-cat chewed over the same question

Hazel catkins and cat

and wondered if it was because they match his eyes

Hazel catkins and cat 2

Cat eyes are amazing, Dodgers in this case.

Hazel catkins and cat 3

A little sun seemed to send the cats a bit giddy, they were all over the place.

cat oak

Spud  the dog will be along shortly.


Fish Supper

Given that the tea order maxed out at seven during the installation of the ground source heat pump, you’ll appreciate there has been more folk  milling around the place than usual. Which is probably how Dodger the kitten cat was spotted by one of the guys, nonchalantly strolling along by the pond, with a fish tail dangling out of his mouth, the tail was still flapping! Something we’d never seen before.

It seems, unbeknownst to us he is a bit of a fisherman, and that the biggest ones don’t always get away. 

fishing cat_

When I found a dead fish by the pond a few weeks ago, I’d blamed the heron (sorry heron) This is the closest I’ve got to catching Dodger in action.


fishing cat 2

There are a lot of fish in this pond, I’m not sure I could stop Dodger from his antics, and I suppose  he’s never going to manage as much carnage as mother nature did a few years ago.


The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog, April 22nd 2013

I’m still here, I had a little bit of business to attend to down in Nottingham last week, then we had, wait for it, something that passed for a pleasant weather for being in the garden. I was so excited. There is much to be done, with everything that happened last autumn, the garden certainly didn’t get to put to bed for what turned out to be a long and harsh winter.

There are cheery little survivors though

tangled up 5-1  

I was more hindered than helped in my endeavours by Spud the dog and the kitten cats. Spud was impatient  to play ball,

tangled up 4-1

The kitten cats just wanted to be in on the action.

tangled up 2-1

Trashing a neat pile of clippings for the bonfire and spreading them all over the lawn

tangled up 3-1

Spud took the line,

tangled up-1

if you can’t beat them join them.

tangled up 6-1



As a child I could never quite master the word dahlia, I always called them bdahlias, b’s and d’s were never a friend of mine.

Bdahlia -1

My Dad grew lots of dahlias his favourites were  spiky deep crimson varieties, they always remind me of him (and earwigs!). He used to insist each autumn on drying the tubers that he’d lifted from the flower bed (to protect them from frost)  in the airing cupboard. My Mum was never impressed by this intrusion to her line dried laundry!  I snapped these  dahlias in the garden at Chatsworth House on Saturday, I nipped over just in time to capture the penultimate day of the Barry Flanagan sculpture exhibition. More photos to follow.


Tell It To The Trees

We’re still here, the boys and I have been on holiday this week, Mr Uphilldowndale has been dipping in and out of the day job.

It’s been not so much a week of rest and relaxation, more a case of downtime, which was much needed.  Sadly news keeps reaching us of family, friends and colleagues who are, for a host of reasons, not having the best of times at the moment. I’m tempted to think that if I’d been on holiday on a desert island, with nought but a couple of palm trees a hammock and cold drink, a message in a bottle would have washed up on the shore.

It was suggested earlier in the week I should go out and hug a tree, and its true to say some of the most restorative time this week has been spent in the garden.


A good place to count our blessings and breathe…


Spud on Sunday Part LXIXIII

As you can imagine things have been a bit hectic around here of late. It seems, and I’m sure Spud will vouch for this, like an age since he got to have his very own adventure. But he makes the most of it, in that Springer spaniel sort of way, along with a little help from his friends (thanks to Glo  who after last weeks post,  used her creative talents to visualise Spuds  canine dream for us mere humans).


(remember my  fever dream, at the creative hands of Glo?)

Spud likes to muck in with who ever is about and as ‘men and machine’ have been digging for victory in very wet conditions over the last few days, muck is indeed everywhere. Here Spud and Tom check todays progress

Spud tom-1

(Tom is also able to add to his geology homework by studying what our house is built upon (looking at that clay, it is no wonder the bed shakes like a jelly when anyone slams the back door!)

Spud will always seek a hug, muddy paws and all.

Spud tom 1-1

And look, I nearly forgot, Spud took delivery of nine tons of best Derbyshire limestone yesterday. What fun.

limestone -1

would you like to see some more mud?



Spud on Sunday Part LXIXII

Spud the dog has been in high glee today, its a dream come true*

Man and digger has arrived to sort our drains… Oh joy!

digger digger-1

For Spud the dog this means the biggest mole hill to dig in that a dog could wish for.

Spud and the giant mole hills -1

It is going to mean mud everywhere, of that I’m sure.

Spud and the giant mole hills 2-1

Mind you, you may notice sheep in the field at moment, if the pile of top soil distracts Spud from rolling in sheep poo, it’s no bad thing, top soil smell sweeter.

*It’s a dream come true for us too, we’ve been expecting arrival of  man and digger since spring!



A brief respite today, I had an hour or so to realise just how wayward the garden is and just how sodden it is too. I rather like the spiral in the centre of this flower, I’m remembering an enjoyable day at the Eden Project 

wet flower 3-1

An hour was sufficient time to realise that I’ve surrendered  any control of the garden, nature will take its course, I’ve not the time, the stamina or the weather to make a silk purse from a sows ear.  I can only dream of a tamed garden.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 300 other followers