Uphilldowndale

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


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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 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.

Snow warrior -1

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

MJB 3-1

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

Snow girl 2

(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.

SPB 6-1

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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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.

a little snow -1

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.

Clough -1

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,

Icicle 3-1

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

Clough 5-1

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

Clough 7-1

And the icicles head off in a different direction.

Clough 2-1

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

Icicle 13-1

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

dale -1


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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog 17th February 2013

This week we’ve had snow and gales, sunshine, fog and everything in between.

Spring however is just starting to peek out from behind its lace curtain. Look here is a kitten-cat, some snowdrops and dappled sunshine.

kitten cat snowdrops -1

This week is half term, and I’m very much hoping to extract this blog from its winter stupor. A visit to The Yorkshire sculpture park is on my radar. But it looks like we’ve missed the Mark Hearld exhibition, which is annoying.

But, where is Spud the dog? That is all you want to know.

Domestic bliss-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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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog, 20th Jan 2013

Spud likes the snow, he even manages to look tidy in it.

Spud pristine -1

Snow is more user friendly to a dog than mud. (Did I ever tell you about the time an neighbours Chow Chow dog, wallowed in the outfall from our septic tank, one hot summers afternoon? There is mud and there is mud, there are muddy dogs and there are muddy muddy smelly dogs.)

Snow is a new adventure for Jammy and Dodger the kitten- cats

Dodger-1

But, at the end of the day, keeping snug and securing the lions share of the sofa is the priority.

jammy-1

 

‘Mum! The cats have got a mouse in the porch!’ Said the boys.

‘Well go and get it off them then’. said I.

No one volunteered.

Ever helpful, Spud the dog stuck his head out through the cat flap, from the kitchen into the porch, and stretched as far as he could, and a bit more besides. He plucked the now deceased rodent from off the door mat in the porch and brought it back through the cat flap into the kitchen and presented it to me.

‘Well thank you Spud, what a helpful doggy you are!’ Now what do I do with it?


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Cold Paws

We are still here, waiting for the snow to come. It’s forecast.

Today the temperature has hovered around freezing. it has been nippy to the paws. Jammy the kitten-cat was not impressed (Spud the dog just loves everything the weather can throw at him, Spud the all weather dog).

Frosty cat paw-1 

Tom is not impressed, he has an exam tomorrow and he is fretting about getting over the hills to school. This I explained is what being a grown up is about, as a boy, snow was about sledging, snowballs and wet wellington boots. Now ‘snow days’ have a bit more riding on them.

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