Uphilldowndale

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


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Teaser

Today, I could almost imagine what a Summers day might be like. 

Promise -1

Whilst things are starting to ‘colour up’ around here, it is happening very slowly, everywhere is incredibly dry. We’ve not had any ‘April showers’ of note, as the farmer put it the other day, ‘Its not rained properly since it snowed, and all the snow ended up in the lanes not the fields.’ He chain harrowed the field the other day, it was biscuit dry and the tractor was trailed by clouds of dust.

I don’t think it would take much to start a moorland fire.

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We’ve taken delivery of an SLR camera at work this week, a NikonD3100, I’ve brought it home for ‘field trials’ the photos here are taken with it.


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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).

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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

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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.

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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.

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* 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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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.

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Tiny blossoms are lying in wait.

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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.

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Here is Jammy tip-toeing through the snow.

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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog, March 24th 2013

Well you can guess who has enjoyed this weather, Spud the warrior dog with his icy  breast plate.

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The rest of us may be finding it all rather difficult, not Spud the adventure dog

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I know that in many parts of the world, this amount of snow is not a big deal. But it is here, and so late in the year,  I’ve not seen this much snow in the lanes since my childhood

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(which wasn’t 1947 since you ask).  It is the winds that have caused the drama, Tom  and Mr Uphilldowndale spent hours digging out the lane yesterday, it was all back again in a few hours. As Tom wryly noted, it won’t stop filling in until every field east of here is empty of snow or the wind drops.

We went to visit Mrs Bee and her boys, they are not  very happy. Mrs Bees road is worse than our lane, it is not going to plough out, it will be a snow blower, digger or a long wait for it to thaw.

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We took emergency supplies of cheese and wine (essential do you not think?) and Tom helped carry a bail of hay for the farmer whose sheep are in the next field. Brownie points all round.

The space between these two drystone walls is the road, the walls are about five-six foot high at this point, full to the brim.

Snow filled lane -1


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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

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

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Spud and Ice

Not really the further adventures of Spud the dog, but we thought you might be pining for him, so here he is surveying the state of play of any remaining snow.

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A little left under the walls. But the temperature remains chilly.

Mr Uphilldowndale tipped me off that there were some very blog worthy icicles over the hill.  In fact he insisted we go take a look this morning before breakfast.

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Tucked away in a deep clough, that sees not much in the way of sunshine at any time of the year. The icicles have formed from water that oozed from between the rock and roots,

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dripping on to vegetation they seem to defy gravity at times; the Circ Du Soleil of the icicle world

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as the growing weight of ice shifts the centre of gravity.

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And the icicles head off in a different direction.

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Splashes of water on moss, freeze before they have chance to soak away.

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I feel this one has a touch of the Dale Chihuly about it.

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