Uphilldowndale

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


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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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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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Family Tree

We spent yesterday morning felling a tree. We’ve had chainsaw adventures before, but this was a different beast to slay. Mainly because of its proximity to the house, the oil tank, two drystone walls, the telephone line and us! Also to be factored in to the equation was the size of the tree, 44 feet.

Christmas tree 2-1

It was a carefully researched mission, there was only one way it could fall.

There was much measuring of angles, a rope attached with a couple of strapping teenagers hanging on the end.

Christmas tree 3-1

A ‘cheese’ taken out of the trunk, some strategic cuts and then, with some tugging, down she came.

Christmas tree 4-1

It is hard to remember that when we first moved into the house,  this tree was so small we used to drape the it with lights at Christmas, an exercise that needed no ladders.

Christmas tree 5-1

 

Christmas tree 7-1

It was quite a nerve wracking task. The boys were quite giddy when the mission was accomplished.

giddy-1 

By the end of the morning, we’d worked it down to just the ‘spine’.

Christmas tree 11-1


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Land of Snow and Ice

A selvedge of snow still remains, banked up against the drystone walls, it lies in dips and gullies (or ‘gips’ as I used to call them as a child, no point wasting words when you can blend).

April snow -1

There are lanes  that are still full to the brim, some with cars still entombed! Our lane was cleared  of snow this afternoon, by man in a JCB digger.

Tom has returned home from a geography study trip to Iceland*, it has been warmer there all the time he’s been away than it has here. How silly is that.  On his return he said how ‘green’ everything looks at home, but this is only in comparison to Iceland, not ‘as it should be’, at this time of year, in this part of of the world. It is dire for livestock.

Here are Joe and Spud on our walk on Sunday

Spud Joe and Trees-1

Mr Uphilldowndale wanted to show me some mine workings that have ‘opened up’ recently: as a child I used to play no more than a stones throw from here.

mine shaft -1

My Mum has said for over fifty years that she is convinced the loud crash she and a friend heard one summers evening could only have been to do with the old  mine workings, of which there are many around and about, both coal and lead.  It’s not really what you want at the bottom of the garden.

Making them safe is the remit of The Coal Authority.

mine shaft 2-1

* I’ve been envious of Tom, I went to Iceland in the early 1980’s with my friend Bob’s-mum; it seemed a bit off beat for a holiday destination back then. I loved it, however unlike Tom, I didn’t get to swim in The Blue Lagoon, or see the Aurora Borealis… sigh.


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The Village

The Village starts tonight on BBC1 at 9pm.

Image for The Village

I’m sure you will enjoy the scenery, it is going to look more than a little familiar to regular readers of this blog. Enjoy.

The drama sets out in 1914, here is the Uphilldowndale homestead in around 19006-1910

Home sweet home-2

I’d planned a longer post with a few links to ‘The Village’ landscape, but  that will have to wait. I’ve not been so well for the last few days, all those antibiotics came at a price, Joe tried to cheer me up, ‘At least it is better than the tooth ache Mum’. I certainly hope the reaction doesn’t last as long as the tooth ache.


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Snow Spectrum

It’s March for goodness sake, not even early March come to that, frosts and snow showers are acceptable but not blizzards.

I’ve been feeling a bit better today,  I felt inspired enough (from the warmth of my desk) to get the camera out of the bag  and capture  the snow, as seen through a bowl of iridescent glass baubles

snow bubble 3-1

 

snow bubble -1

 

snow bubble 6-1

I was less keen about Jammy the kitten-cat and a bowl of baubles though.

snow bubble 5-1


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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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Hare Today

The snow keeps coming and going, this morning we woke to delicate confection,  a butter cream topping of snow upon a squelchy sponge of a soggy muddy field (I despair of keeping the mud out of the house) the light was  diffused and sort of floury for want of a better word, I rather liked it.

Floury light 3-1

Spud the dog, Jammy and Dodger the kitten-cats  all came with me for my turn around the field, but I’ll save the resulting mayhem for tomorrow.

Floury light 2-1

We’ve more snow forecast for tomorrow, how much remains to be seen.  Here earlier drifts lie under today’s ‘top dressing’.

Floury light -1

I was just about to go back indoors to toast my cold toes when I spotted a brown hare in the next field.

Hare 2-1

I do like hares, but I never get very close. Maybe I need a longer lens…

Hare 3-1

He lolloped over by the sheep, before exiting over the ridge.

Hare -1

Derbyshire Harrier has some lovely shots of mountain hares, over on his Flickr page

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