Uphilldowndale

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


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Sending…

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


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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.


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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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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog, 12th May 2013

Poor Spud, he has sensitive skin

sensitive skin dog -1

After the first day that resembled spring, one which Spud spent charging around the field  overnight he developed a sore looking patch on his neck, about the size of a 50p piece, it was troubling him, it was obviously very itchy. So Mr Uphilldowndale took him off to the vets. Where they shaved the fur off around the patch, Mr Uhdd said Spuds skin coloured up and started to swell in a flash. Poor Spud.

Spud came home with steroid cream, antibiotics, a fish oil supplement for his food and an £80 bill.

Dodger the kitten-cat decided after that upset, what everyone needed was a nice cup of tea, so he put the kettle on.

watched pot-1

The kitten-cats have, by their measure a very productive week, amongst others, we’ve got up in the morning to find a dead jackdaw (I’d have liked to see how they got it through the cat flap!)

kitten cat carnage -1

and a poor shrew that ended up with its head stuck in the mop bucket, not a nice way to go.

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I can report Spud is looking much better and adores the fish oil on his food. We just hope that unlike me, Spud is not allergic t the antibiotics.

antibiotics reaction -1


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My What Big Teeth You’ve Got

Jammy the kitten-cat in the oak tree.

My What Big Teeth-1

I returned to the dentists this week, to tidy up some of the emergency work done during my weeks of toothache angst. I was a little concerned by my dentists obvious excitement about the ‘unusually long’ root to my tooth, the very tooth he was about to start root canal treatment on. He’d had to order up a new longer file especially for me*. Gulp, I was starting to wonder if I was in for some alternative  trepaning. But I needn’t have stressed, the whole procedure was much better than my previous experience, helped by a ‘raincoat for my teeth’.

As Spring unfurls, Jammy and Dodger have been enthralled by the upsurge of bird activity in the garden. The bird table is groaning under the strain

The Bird Watchers -1

Sadly I found the remains of a swallow in the porch this morning, the price we pay for employing these rodent killers…

*Yay for the NHS…


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Hide and Seek

It’s been a strange sort of week.

The tooth drama rolls on sapping my energy as the weeks pass, today I’ve taken up the  offer of a second round of antibiotics prescribed by my dentist, ‘just in case’. Getting to the root cause of the pain has turned  into a  tedious game of hide and seek. I can tell you it hurts most when I drive up hill (don’t laugh it isn’t funny, remember? I live at the top of a hill. Maybe there is a reason for this?) Mr Uphilldowndale and the boys can vouch for the fact my sense of humour is AWOL too.

Something else disappeared this week, Police Inspector Gadget blog. This leaves a gapping hole in the blogosphere, as long as I’ve been  blogging Gadget has been popping by here, he was especially fond of Spud the dog.  One of his clear crisp text messages told me he’d written his last post and was pulling the blog. No fuss no drama. 24 hours later it was gone.

Gadget is always a man of his word, I know that. The news didn’t surprise me and yet it did, after all, seven years of blogging, 12 million hits and up to five hundred comments or more per post, not to mention the book,  has to be a huge part of someone’s life.

My camera has not seen the light of day this week, so I’ll leave you with a suitably occluded  image from my visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park a few weeks ago.

Basket #7-1

It’s taken from the inside of Basket #7 by Winter/Horbelt


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Mum’s the Word

mums the word-1

Happy Mothers Day.

I’ve been keeping a low profile this week,  it’s week two, of gnawing tooth ache. A couple of trips to the dentist, painkillers a plenty, plus a course of antibiotics  and oil of cloves and I’m not sure the end is yet in sight. I’m feeling rather weary of it.

Today we have been sat well and truly on the snow line,

Snow line 2-1 

we often are, live in a place long enough and eventually a pattern emerges. It has been bright and clear, but with a very sharp, bitingly cold wind. No way was I taking my ultra sensitive tooth out side for a dash of photography, oh no: I can wince at the mere thought of it, it is bad enough having cold air blasted on each tooth in the name of a diagnosis (it gave new meaning to the expression ‘upwardly mobile’!)

Photos taken from the bedroom window are as good as it gets today.

Snow line 5-1

A few minutes later, a squall of snow flushed through the valley and finished the show for the day.

Snow line 4-1


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Winter Walk

Nothing finer than a  winter walk for  the restoration of equilibrium, Mr Uphilldowndale and I were both in need the other afternoon. We went down by the river, always a good move.

Riverside walk-1

Up through the woods and across the fields.

late afternoon walk-1

Spud had a high old time, you can just see him here, heading off  towards a rather handsome wall, that’s topped with snow.

late afternoon walk 1-1

At the moment freezing rain is hammering against the windows and the rising wind has been piling snow back into the lanes this afternoon. The forecast is for the weather to get warmer over the weekend and for the snow to melt; we’ll be glad to see the back of it for a while I think. The weather conditions have led to tragedy.

We walked back past the church, not a bat or a bear in sight.

late afternoon walk church -1

I saw some photos of ‘ zombie snowmen’ in the press this week, I had to admire the skill in their making, their location was described as a disused graveyard in Bristol,  it led me to wonder, how can  graveyard be disused? Its not like a factory is it? Isn’t always going to be ‘in use’ by its residents?


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Nimble Fingers

Detail from a statue of  Enriqueta Rylands at the John Rylands Library in Manchester city centre. John Rylands 2-1

Even given the graininess of this image I find the detail amazing, the knuckles, the sinews, the muscles all carved from stone. I wonder what the sculptor would make of the amazing hand transplant that has made the news here in the UK.

Enriqueta presides over the reading room of the library, that she founded in memory of her husband,

John Rylands 8-1 

many things in society may have changed with the passing of time but the fabric of the library is as it was in 1900 when the library opened to readers.

reading room john Rylands -1

I can’t help but muse on the fact that the current exhibition housed in the glass cabinets at her feet  is entitled Fifty Years of Clockwork Orange would surely be enough to to bring a blush to those blanched  Victorian cheeks. Goodness from her vantage point she can even see The Rocking Machine 

The John Rylands Library allows and encourages photography (no tripods, no flash) and invites its visitors to share their images on Flickr. They also make a very decent brew of tea in the cafe, at £2.50 for a pot for two we thought it a city centre bargain. Mr Uphilldowndale and I didn’t have long to linger, I’d like to pop back one day to take some photos that are a little more considered, I’ll add it to the list.


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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog 9th Dec 2012

Snip, snip, snip. Spud the dog has had a trim this week, the hope is we’ve reduced his mud carrying capacity, but left him enough to keep warm. He’s been quite explicit about how close a shave he’s had

Spud -1

Jammy and Dodger the kitten-cats have had a more radical snip, they too have been quite explicit about their treatment.

Jammy -1 

The veterinary  nurse was quite specific about their post operative treatment. Jammy and Dodger should remain indoors for48hours, they should only have a little too eat for the next few hours, they should be kept warm.  We’d not a cat in hells chance of delivering any of that.  I locked the cat flap, to keep them in the utility room, when I went to check on them an hour later, I couldn’t find Dodger anywhere. That is until I looked out side, he was sat on the doorstep, wet and bedraggled, the temperature was .09c and sleeting: I’d set the flap to let him out not in. Nor were they happy about restricted rations, they took to launching themselves at the kitchen door in protest.

Spud was sympathetic to their plight, he’d been there before*.

Spud and Jammy -1

*both at the vets and being locked out in bad weather.

Sorry about the phone photo quality

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