Uphilldowndale

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


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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

sundried_

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.


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My Life in Linoleum

As my brothers and I peeled back the layers of the family home of 48 years  swatches of decades gone by, started to reappear.

I remember this linoleum in my parents room in the early 1960’s (Kath Kidston, eat your heart out).

1950's lino_ 

And this fern fronded pattern in the bathroom (it comes with later paint speckles)

 

1950's lino 2-2

Wall paper in the bottom of drawers and the backs of cupboards all arc straight back to my childhood (hands up, who ‘backed’ their school books in the following papers? I don’t think there were many designs to choose from, were there?)

1970's wallpaper_

We found a tin of watches that time forgot

where time stood still

I don’t remember us being much of a ‘game playing’ family, my brothers are older than me by a good measure, I’m sure as a little sister I would have been a bit of a nuisance, impatient for my turn.  But we must have done at some time.

broken beads and games

Another moment captured in time, a lone Christmas peanut, lurking in the box

 peanuts_

Is that a box of pins from my Spirograph? Oh look, what fun, you can play on line!


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The Recession is Over

Look, it must be, I took Mr Uphildowndale to the store in York, where I’d seen signs that the recession was deepening.

And lo, it has to come to pass that all discounts are off,

recession ends

the asking price is back too £9.99

recession ends 2

Ahhh, but wait, it’s not actually sold yet has it? Maybe we shouldn’t count our Easter chicks before they’ve hatched.

 

Barnitts  store is a bit of a gem, I could have left Mr Uphilldowndale in there for many happy hours, it sells what our friends Mr and Mrs Ogg  might refer to as ‘items of faffness’ Mr Uphilldowndale loves such places and enjoys seeing all the very useful faffy things, woodworking  tools, small things in little plastic bags, balls of string and other  very important things*.  See  dodgy photo below. as they say in York, “if Barnitts haven’t got it, you can’t get it anywhere!”20140415_103315

On entering Barnitts I thought I was going into a small shop selling light fittings (I’m always trying to source light fitting I like, I’ve not managed it yet) to my amazement, it was like entering, Narnia I found myself in  a warren of departments, all on different floors and levels I emerged an hour later from a door way two shops down from where I’d gone in!

I discovered many shops are like this in York, the result of trying to squeeze modern shopping fashions into a historic city of jumbled buildings.

If you wanted to buy a new tea pot, Barnitts will have 20 to chose from, a flask to keep the tea warm? dozens.’ Letter boxes? Did you want brass or wrought iron? and a door knocker to match? I can’t imagine what it must be like to stock take, but I do know the total stock value must be massive!

This letter box is in a door at York Minster, not Barnitts, but I’m rather taken by it.

 

letter box york minster

 

 

*String is a very important thing
  Rope is thicker
  But string is quicker

Spike Milligan

Of course for full on faffness, you could make your own string


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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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A Second Glance

Amidst all that must be done after a bereavement, I have managed to slip away for a day of good company, delicious food and a little creative play time, it was such a tonic. My destination was near the Derbyshire village of  Sheldon. I hadn’t realised, approaching Sheldon from the direction of the village of Ashford in the Water, just how close I was too Magpie Mine, which seems to be a place I always stumble upon rather than a destination (although I have promised Mr Uphilldowndale I’ll take him there on one of our Friday excursions when we mange to get them back on our radar).

 

sheldon_

I paused by the farm (to let the moths out of my camera bag,it feels such a while since I took photos for fun!)

The cows were curious

Curious cow

and the farm cat had no option but a cold tin roof.

cat on a cold tin roof

 

Old time readers may remember my story of the bears in the belfry, well this story in the press today, totally upstages my furry flying friends. All thanks to the deliciously named and refreshingly successful Raspberry Pi  Well done you Pi makers.


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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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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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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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Buttercup Syrup

There can’t be a more  soothing linctus than sitting in a field of buttercups on a sunny afternoon.

Buttercups 2-1

This springs bizarre weather seems to have bothered the buttercups little. Our field is swathed with them.

Buttercups 3-1

We do little to our meadow, it gets cut for hay* (or haylage) depending on the weather by a neighbouring farmer, he ‘mucks’ and harrows it as required. And puts sheep on it to graze it for a few weeks each year. We pull out a few docks and clumps of nettles each year; but other than that, nature takes its course.

Buttercups 7-1

If it were a commercially farmed field I’m sure it would have been ploughed and re-sown by now, the luxury of lolling around in the buttercups I suspect is not a financial option. In the photo below you can see another field across the valley that would appear to be managed in a similar way to ours, if the  yellow haze of buttercups are an indicator that is.

Buttercups 6-1

I suppose we have a wild flower meadow, although in my head I think that would mean more diversity and less buttercups, I don’t know. I need to do a little research. 

This year is the 150th anniversary of Manchester to Buxton railway line, look I’ve managed a shot of a train trundling up the valley (I was lolling around for quite awhile, as whilst it is a vital line, that  fortunately escaped Beeching’s axe, its not a busy one)

Buttercups 9-1

I wonder what the fields looked like 150 years ago, Freddy the farmer told me there were corncrakes here. Not now. I suppose now there is no way of knowing just how it was.

* Hay from this field smells sweeter than anything Penhaligon’s could sell you.


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70th Anniversary of the Dambusters

Yesterday was a pretty significant day for the town of Chapel en le Frith in Derbyshire, people gathered in the market place, at the war memorial to witness a remembrance tribute.

Lancaster 70 years 117-1

 

  The local branch of the Royal British Legion had pulled out all the stops

Lancaster 70 years 3-1

The place was packed, not just with local people but those who had travelled from far and wide. You could  just tell some had made a supreme effort to get there.

Lancaster 70 years 6-1

One of the veterans shook me, and many many more, firmly by the hand, ‘Thank you for coming, thank you for coming!’ He kept repeating. I thought we were supposed to be thanking them?

There were civic dignitaries, the young (children from Combs Infants School and Chapel High School)

Lancaster 70 years 8-1

the decorated

Lancaster 70 years 4-1

the media ( a current member of 617 Squadron is interviewed for the BBC)

Lancaster 70 years 9-1

There was even a letter to be read, a letter from the Queen, her representative laid one of many wreaths

Lancaster 70 years 10-1

But there was more to come, at 12:50 hrs,  from the south, over Combs Moss above the nearby village of Combs where Astell lived came the Lancaster Bomber, The City of Lincoln.

Lancaster 70 years 15-1

We watched, as did many more, from the top of nearby Eccles Pike,

Lancaster 70 years 12-1

As the Lancaster made four sweeps above the town (here above the high school).

Lancaster 70 years 18-1

The Dambusters raid has a special place in the hearts and history of this area, not only because of the lost lives of local men,  Flight Lieutenant William Astell DFC and Sergeant Jack Marriott DFM, but because this area was where the men practiced for the mission, using the Derwent Valley, just over the hills,  to perfect the specialist  skills they would need for such an audacious attack.

Lancaster 70 years 16-1

The Lancaster, having paid its respects, banked off over the hills to join the Battle of Britain Flight down the Derwent Valley (spectacular video here)

Lancaster 70 years 19-1

Well done everybody, you did them proud.

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