Uphilldowndale

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


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Iced Plum Jam

The deep freeze continues. But there are buds of hope. Jammy the kitten-cat would like to show you, look he’s pointing.

Jammy and buds-1

Tiny blossoms are lying in wait.

wild plum -1

Here is the same tree on the 28th March 2011  it looks a little different, frosted granted, but not marooned in snow and ice. I think it’s wild plum, look I’ve even found a recipe for a recipe for wild plum blossom ice cream, written by Blanche Vaughn (I really couldn’t line up any more snowy, white  icy themes if I tried).

The snow isn’t going anywhere fast, here is the lane to our house.

snow filled lane 2-1

Here is Jammy tip-toeing through the snow.

Snow kit-1


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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog 10th February 2013

Poor spud the dog has been upstaged by his feline friends this week. Spud can’t really see what all the fuss is about  with snow,

snow Spud -1

It’s tricky these days to take a turn around the field  without the company of the cats, whether Spud and I like it or not.

The kitten-cats however are less keen to get their paws to deep in the stuff. They prefer to tiptoe along the wall wherever possible.

pole cats 4-1

They only came down to play when I pulled the mono-pod out of the bag, then quite frankly they were a pain, the idea is it helps steady the camera, not when it has two cats trying to run up and down it, doesn’t.

pole cats -1

It is quite frankly enough to drive you up the pole.

pole cats 2-1


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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.

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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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Not So Blue Monday

It was more white than blue around here; well, white with a dollop of grey. I walked to work.

Walking to work-1

This view is never blue, the myth of today being blue Monday can be explored here.

Walking was easier and safer than driving, I was passed en-route by one of the local farmers who is contracted to go out and plough the lanes. (He is straight talking about those who drive the lanes when they should know better)  I thought he might offer me a lift but he ploughed by with a cheery wave, but then he’d probably assumed I was just out with the camera having a photo jolly rather than commuting, it’s an easy mistake to make.

But I was grateful for his work, it made the walk easier, that and my Yaktrax

Walking to work 2-1 

I passed by a flock of sheep, who seemed reluctant to rise from their slumbers, maybe they think it is blue Monday?

Some had hunkered down in the lea of a bank.

sleepy sheep-1

All were snowy

sleepy sheep 2-1


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Woolly Winter Tales

What I can I tell you, we have snow. Is there any part of the UK that doesn’t have snow? I wonder.

The sheep in the next field seem quite unperturbed

snow covered sheep -1

They are fed daily, which seems to make them happy.

contented sheep -1 

It took a wee while to find a sheep that would look me in the eye, as most had their backs to the wind (and wind chill).

Wind from the east-1

I can vaguely remember a farmer telling me this is how sheep end up stuck in snow drifts, they keep working their way along, keeping the wind behind them, scratting for grass until they run out of field and the snow piles in behind them.

heading out of the wind-1

He also told me in the winter of 1963 that whilst many of his flock perished in snow drifts, some were able to survive by eating their own fleece.

But there are people better qualified to comment of sheep and snow, have a look at herdy’s blog, up in Cumbria.

cold nose sheep-1

We’ve just watched a cracking little programme on BBC2 about the winter of ‘63 (flighty, it is worth watching on iplayer (Winterwatch)


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Knock Back

Who said Spring had sprung?

Arty photos by Tom, when I took him out first thing to catch a lift;  he’s on a first aid course today, for his Duke of Edinburgh award, just as well the award  is all about self resilience. He’s got to find his own way home.

snow 4th april-1

And the ‘lightening tree’, stands in the face  of another storm in its long life

snow 4th april 2-1


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Messed Up

Blackthorn, part of our hedgerow, we planted it about nine years ago and it is looking rather splendid and well established, we never intended it as ‘stock proof’ sort of barrier, just an enhancement of the ‘green corridor’ that flanks the boundary between our field and the lane.

Blackthorn-1

It also has the look of my hair (and head!) My hair could be described as luggy at the moment. I’ve decided my ‘soft curls’ phase is over, I’m going back to trimmed efficiency at least that way I know where I’m at.

The weather is also messed up, blossom and sunlight is on the wane, snow and wind are forecast. Watch this space. 


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The Bare Bones of Winter

The snow has gone, for now, these images were taken as it took its leave.

Winter fields 2-1

The houses at the foot of the shot  above must get no sun all winter… we have often thought how lucky we were to end up with a house on sunny side of a hill,  mind it was more through good luck than good management; buying as we did, at the height of summer it was something that never entered our busy little heads.

At this time of year its a landscape that is lean and emaciated or textural and fine boned, depending on your point of view.

Winter fields -1

Note the ugly white industrial building, bottom left of shot. When the snow is on the ground  it is at least it camouflaged, the other 50 weeks of the year it stick out like a sore thumb. Planners please note.


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Spud on Sunday Part LVIII

We thought we’d go back to the top of the hill, to illustrate  that the terrain  wasn’t quite as wild as the mist might have you believe.

IMG_8433 

The snow was patchy, the fun consistent.

Spud Hill top-1

I’d have said there wasn’t a breath of wind,

Spud hill top 4-1

but I must have been wrong on that count, as when we headed for the top of the hill we found a gentleman flying a kite.

Spud hill top 5-1

He seemed rather serious about his hobby, in a ‘train spotter’ sort of way and he  certainly must have been good at, did I mention there was no wind? Maybe he had a fan heater? However  my problem was that Spud seemed worryingly excited about the dancing tail of the kite. Fearing a repeat of the three little girls on the beach incident we took a detour, to save face and/or cost. We will return another day.

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