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


Summers Past

And the making of memories.

Forgiving me for returning to the beach and family holidays. But a couple of   posts I’ve read this week have catapulted me back to Devon.  First there was Nancy’s post reflecting on just how many summers her family had enjoyed their favourite beach  just like the Uphilldowndale family’s love of a certain Devon beach,

Summers Past -1

then there was Sarah’s post that made me smile and recall our coastal meeting with a grasshopper.  So I nipped back to the post I’d written at the time, back in 2009, about our encounter with the artist David Measures, about his glorious art and his generosity with both his time and knowledge: sadly, when I followed the links, I discovered that David died last year.  Looking at the website of Southwell Artists I saw that Christine Measures, David’s wife, is also an artist.

When I met David he told me he was working on a book that would capture, not just the markings of a butterfly, for identification but how it moved, its mannerisms, what a bird watcher might call it’s jizz.  The slide show of Christine’s art captures both David and Devon summer holidays perfectly. Beautiful.



Seaside Rock

How quickly our seaside holiday is becoming a distant memory. How quickly the real world piles in to the vacated mind.

How heavy it has rained today! Just as well I have some holiday snaps to look back at.

On the coast path there were some fine lumps of rock (you know I’m fond of them) ancient gate posts, long since disused girded with hand forged iron.

seaside rock -1

The remnants of old walls

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The bizarre weather we’ve had in UK this summer seems at least to have pleased the costal flowers, or just made them flower later than usual. I can’t ever recall  ever seeing quite so many as this year.

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The insect world seemed appreciative

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Just delightful really, *sigh*

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Here, There and Not Quite Everywhere; Yet

We’ve been bouncing around the country like a pinball this week, the trusty family estate car (station wagon) clawing through the miles*, since the wedding in Oxford last weekend, destinations have included, Aberystwyth which is as difficult to get to as it is to spell, London, Manchester, Bakewell, Matlock and Bangor. And it’s not over yet, Stirling and two trips to Manchester have still to be chalked up this week.  Whilst we’ve had some rainy trips, we’ve managed to avoid the worst of the flooding that has blighted great swathes of the country, it is all to do with the Jet Stream apparently

At dusk tonight Spud  the dog and I went out for a spot of bat watching, no hope of capturing them on camera I’m afraid  they are too swift and agile for me to manage anything other than admiring them.

Another summer evening pleasure to my mind is the scent of the garden, however this year, to my nose the honeysuckle’s perfume seems rather diluted by the lack of good weather,


but closer inspection of an image taken with flash shows that as far as insects are concerned the honeysuckle is as attractive as ever.

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*We tried to travel by train, but the cost of fares and scheduling of trains put the mockers on that plan.


Making a Bee Line

Mr Uphilldowndale went out on his bike on Sunday morning to buy a newspaper, its a bit of an expedition from where are staying, which ever way you go, this part of Devon is quite isolated, by road at any rate.

Devon countryside-1

He arrived back with the paper and a thick lower lip, having had a head on collision on what he thinks was a bee, what ever it was, it stung him.

Oooohhhh I thought don’t like the look of that and dosed him with antihistamine, he went off for a shower, when he re-emerged I liked the look of him even less, it was much more swollen . Fortuitously, just then, our friend Mrs Doctor  stuck her head around the door, in search of her boy. She liked the look of Mr Uhdd less than I did, and said she thought it would be wise if we were to drive him in the direction of a hospital; advising me, out of Mr Uhdd’s earshot, if the swelling starts to affect his voice pull over and call an ambulance.

So off we went squeezing through the Devon lanes against the tidal flow of traffic heading for the beach. ‘You’re driving faster than you normally do’ observed Mr Uhdd. Correct. 

Devon lane -1

When, after 40 minutes (and only a modest eight miles) we arrived a the local cottage hospital, with a minor injury unit: the nurse liked the look of Mr Uhdd even less (the swelling had now spread into his jaw) she advised me, out of Mr Uhdd’s earshot, ‘I don’t want to concern your husband, but I’m going to give him an injection of adrenaline and I’ve called an ambulance in case we need to get him to a main hospital.’  Fortuitously the ambulance was parked up right next door, so the paramedics arrived in the blink of an eye. There was then a intense few moments of injection and medical stuff, checking of pulse rate (Mr Uhdd being a fell runner has a tick over heart rate of 40 beats per min) blood pressure etc etc, then the nurse, two paramedics and I stood back to see what happened next. I don’t have a photo of Mr Uhdd at his most swollen, two reasons for this, one given the evident urgency of things, I didn’t even think about it and secondly, it would have been a rubbish photo because my hands were trembling.

I’m pleased to say the swelling stopped and soon started to go down (although he went through a shaky, not looking very well at all phase.) After an hour it was decreed that everyone liked the look of him now, and he didn’t need to be transferred So we waved a cheery and grateful goodbye to the paramedics. We stayed another hour at the cottage hospital for observation, just be on the safe side, where we read the Sunday papers…

It is usually Joe and I that have a rough time with insect bites and stings, this has never happened to Mr Uhdd before. Not  pleasant at all, and all a bit close on the heels on the Mr Muscle incident back to a relaxing holiday.


The Sting in the Tale

Down by the compost heap something caught my eye, a patch of nettles that from a distance  looked as though it was covered in black pea pod sort of things; further investigations revealed these beauties, as black as Whitby jet

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I think they are the caterpillars of peacock butterflies,  but of course what we really need is a butterfly man, remember him and his beautiful illustrations?

There are hundreds of caterpillars out there, Joe says there are so many, they may eat the house during the night (he has inherited his mothers over active imagination, poor lad, either that or he has been on strange PC games again).

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They seemed to be emerging from places like this

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Dressed in cropped trousers and sandals, I wasn’t for getting any further into the nettle patch, this is as close as it gets.

Peacock 4-1


Spring Blues

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Birds are nesting in the barn, a family of robins and great tits are already in residence  and the swallows are casing the joint. I am happy about this, Darcey the cat is ecstatic about this, she might be sixteen years of age, but there is life in the old girl yet.

This week she has killed a swallow,  I found it on the porch floor, on close inspection its feathers were a beautiful iridescent blue I was going to photograph them for you; but it had rained by the time I could get to the taskand it all looked very soggy and sad by then.

Then last night it was the was the robins that fell foul of the cat, equally sad

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This morning I went into the barn and heard cheeping and so had Darcey,  so I scooped Darcey up and took her inside, as far as she is concerned   the opportunity of a day dossing on Tom’s bed, the other side of a stair-gate from Spud is a fair pay off for leaving the chicks be . I retuned to the cheeping, eventually I found it was coming from a black plastic dustbin, under some rubbish, there in the very bottom I found another robin chick

Robin chick-1

Once rescued it was reluctant to leave my finger, I had what I thought was a brain wave, I’ll put it in Spuds travel crate, with a nice shady shoe box to hide in  for an hour or so  then its parents can pop in and feed it safe from predatory cats to let it recover from it’s ordeal… This worked for just as long as it took the chick to realise it could hop out of the crate. So in the end we left it for nature to take it’s course. Fingers crossed that it managed to somewhere safe.

Robin chick 2-1


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