Uphilldowndale

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


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Family Roots

My blog lurches along, in fits and starts. Many things have been bubbling away, they seems to consume vast swaths of time, but if I were to list them all here, the majority would seem very mundane. But I’ll kick start a few posts by telling you about a special event.

We had a family gathering at Kew Gardens in London, to inter my father in laws ashes, long time readers might remember that he died in 2013, his wish was that his body be donated for medical science and we held a memorial service soon after his death.

  After a period of time (12 months in my father in laws case) the body  is returned to the family and they can make their own arrangements, if that is what the donor requested , or the anatomy  society arranges for a cremation and the scattering of the ashes at the crematorium. 

palm house 3

 

Mr Uphilldowndale’s father visited Kew often, it was a favourite place. One of the reasons for his interest was that a family ancestor, was a keen amateur botanist and a number of plants were named after him by his friend botanist Joseph Hooker, who was a director of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. So you can see what a fitting place it seemed to be for the interment. The staff at Kew looked after us beautifully, and extended their hospitality by inviting us to stay on to enjoy the preview night of their Christmas lights, this seemed a perfect way to round off the day, it was quite magical.

 

So some photos of Kew by night

The palm house, the lights and flames all timed to music, pure theatre

Kew lights 4

Meandering through the glass houses

Kew lights 6

 

Kew lights 7

Surreal candelabra suspended from trees

Kew lights_

The cacti house seemed other worldly.

Cacti at Kew_

Cacti at Kew 2

The Palm House,

Kew palm house_

ever changing.

Kew lights 3


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An afternoon with added value

Yesterday morning, it rained and rained, it was hard to imagine anything much could be salvaged from the day, but I was wrong, about two PM the clouds parted and the sun shone through. I grabbed the camera and shot off to Mam Tor, we’ve been there before. The sun gods turned on the charm.

Top of Winats Pass

and gave me a much needed blast of lumens, to keep the blues away.

The Edale valley.

Edale

came complete with a bedraggled looking film crew, something to do with a man on a bike, but more than that I can’t tell you

Edale film crew

Love how the bonfire smoke is flowing off down the valley.

Rushop Edge

The reason for my visit was that I’d been to a presentation about the geology and scenery of the Northern Peak District,hosted by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust; and I wanted to see if I could identify some of the features I’d heard about. However an added bonus was an encounter with a stoat

Stoat 3

He bounded along by a nearby wall (stoats bound, weasels hunker down to the ground)  at times  airborne

 Stoat 

it looked in good form, weaving in and out of the tussocky grass

Stoat 4

its coat had a conker gloss

stoat 4-2

In the end it was chased off by a rook, and it slunk away under a fence in to a marshy field (you can just see the stoat by the fence post).

stoat and rook 2

Well that was an unexpected treat.

By the time I worked my way back to the car, the sun was low enough to catch the marsh grasses,

marsh grasses_

and some very large puddles,

marsh grass 3

I’d have been wise to take a change of footwear.


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Riverside Walk

After our visit to the Tower, we walked along the Thames embankment

We came across this party of school children, painting pictures of Tower Bridge*

children painting tower bridge 2

Each child had their shoes and water bottles neatly set beside them, and were totally absorbed in their task.

children painting tower bridge

 

They completely ignored the slack jawed British tourists who openly expressed their amazement at the children’s exemplary behaviour,

children painting tower bridge 3

we reckoned there must have been 60 or more children, and as far as we could see, only two adults overseeing them. I don’t think you’d get that ratio past a school trip risk assessment in the UK.

We had tea and cake at the Tate Modern, where we were privileged to watch peregrine falcons, perched on the roof, through telescopes provided by the RSPB

 

Mr Uphilldowndale succumbed to  a little green tractor envy

little green tractor envy 

 

we had fun trying to photograph St Pauls Cathedral and London busses.

St pauls_ 

It is a very long time since I’ve played ‘tourist’ in London, back in my day, you needed an A-Z,  it seems they are things of the past; how do we get home?

No A-Z

 

(have you heard about the new glass walkway at Tower Bridge? Not for the faint hearted).


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Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red; a different view

 

 

After yesterdays post, a little background information, on both the installation and the Tower of London.

 

The poppies were planted by  teams of volunteers,

 Poppies Tower of London Vols 2

It must have been an operation planned with military precision.

Poppies Tower of London setting out

It would have been an overwhelming task without a master plan.

Poppies Tower of London setting out 3

(and surely packing them all up again is going to be harder?

Poppies Tower of London box

Although that warm fuzzy glow, of feeling part of something special, is the thing that keeps volunteers coming back for more

Poppies Tower of London setting out 2

My favourite shot form our day (29th August) is poppies with shadows. War casts very long shadows.

Poppies Tower of London shadow

There was something about the mottling  effect of the shadows that reminded me of the solar eclipse in the UK, in 1998, another event I found more emotional than I anticipated.

It was quite early in the installations development when we visited, whilst I’d read about it in the press, there wasn’t the wall to wall coverage there has been in the media this week. So a gripe for us at the time was that there weren’t enough information boards

Poppies Tower of London mechanics 2

Some might call it a theatrical event rather than artistic installation, the weeping window has caught the public imagination.

Poppies Tower of London weeping window

However I did think a bit of ‘set dressing’ might have been in order, when I sold flowers for a living, including poppies, we never let the viewer see the mechanics of our arrangements. I thought the scaffolding pole, lump of timber and blob of foam holding the cascade in place could have benefited from being hidden by a couple of yards of fabric and some cable ties.

Poppies Tower of London mechanics

But working in a place as ancient, historic and protected as this, must come with scores of problems. You can’t go around damaging or changing the fabric of such a place, well not these days, you could in the past.

Poppies Tower of London walls_

We found it both moving and reverential,  but there were, if you looked very closely, little witticisms to be found. What I thought was a can of Coke on a window ledge, turned out to be (when seen with the aid of a long lens) a Beefeater cookie jar, placed just for fun.

Poppies Tower of London little beefeater

Beefeater or Yeoman Warders as they are more properly known, do have something of a sense of fun, see below (and be careful if you are drinking tea whilst watching, you’ll splutter it all over the keyboard).

 

 


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Round Up of Norfolk

A final  photo selection from our foray into Norfolk

In Blakeney narrow  streets, from an era when boats ruled the world not motorcars,

cottages_

And when catching the tide was more important than catching the bus.

cottages 2

 

A rather fetching wall plaque, with a meandering hollyhock, it has a art deco vibe, do you think?

 

ship plaque art deco-

The admirable 14th century craftsmanship of the ribbed brick vaulting in  Blakeney Guildhall

Blakeney

Some very pretty little costal flowers,can anyone tell me what they are?

costal flowers_

The RNLI station at Wells Wells lifeboat station

Then off down the coast to Cromer

Cromer lifeguard_

Cromer Pier

Cromer pier_

The sort of seaside vista, familiar from my childhood*

Cromer 2

Although it was always the west coast, Lytham St Annes and Fleetwood for my family, but never Blackpool, considered too vulgar… even in the 1960’s

Cromer pier 2

 

Time for home.

 

*Although I always hankered for a seaside holiday with rock pools, so I could complete my I Spy the Seashore book.


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Made in Cley

Mrs Ogg and I visited the pretty village of Cley-next the Sea,

Cley next the Sea

We didn’t see the sea, but we did many beautiful things.

I was very keen to visit the Pink Foot Gallery, I’d admired  from afar the work of wildlife artist Brin Edwards, and was keen to view.  There were so many beautiful things in the gallery, Mrs Ogg challenged me to chose my favourite, money no object*  what would be my take home piece. I was hard pressed to select, but Ithink it would have been one of Anthony Theakston’s ghostly owls (I’ve had the odd run in with owls before).

Over the road was Made in Cley, a wonderful place full of hand made ceramics, and  art. The shop in its self, (the yellow building, left of shot, was a delight, worn, polished floor boards and original fittings.

Cley

Like most of the shops in Cley, it came complete with a large cat perched on the counter (Flighty, there’s yet another delightful book shop too).

Around the side it had its own private railway…

Cley 2n

One more Norfolk post to come. Then I’ll head for home.

 

(*And you would need quiet a bit: it was noted there seems to be quiet a bit of disposable income sloshing about this part of Norfolk, or at least the places to spend it, the two aren’t necessarily the same.)

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