Uphilldowndale

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


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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog 6th April 2014

 

Have you missed Spud? Here he is, his leg is much better, but not quite right yet.

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He got a bit excited today, Jimmy the farmer turned up in his big red tractor, with blade harrow in tow, to do a bit of remedial work on the field, where the pipes for the ground source heat pump were laid*.

big red tractor

 

Jimmy  jumped out of the cab for a natter, leaving the engine running. Time passed we carried on, nattering , putting the world, and the meadow to rights. When somewhat startlingly, the big red tractors engine went ‘Vrooooom, vrooom as only the engines of big red (and possibly green) tractors can.

‘Ahhh’, said Jimmy, knowingly,without missing a beat, ‘the dog will be ready for off then’.

big red tractor dog

Just as well, that as bright as they are, border collies can’t quite mange the clutch and the handbrake as well as the accelerator. A working dog has no time for idle chat and needs to put his paw down firmly from time to time.

 

* I will eventually get around to telling the full story of our magical heating system


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April 1st 2014

This advert was always going to capture Spud the dogs heart, dogs just want to have fun.

 

 

BMW announced a new system that puts the thrill back in to driving for April Fools Day 2014. It claimed that the Force Injection Booster works by “extracting kinetic energy from the car’s engine and converting it into positive g-forces”. The effect being that drivers can experience the thrill of high speed driving even at modest speeds of just 20mph.

Additional BMW ‘AirNet’ technology works to keep occupants hairdos in tiptop condition while all this is going on. In the press release Professor Mika Notbetrü, Head of BMW Innovation, described FIB technology as “Mind-blowingly unbelievable”

 

Read more: http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-news/86388/best-april-fools-day-jokes-car-companies#ixzz2xeUUz7UG


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Wet Monday

We are adrift in a sea of mud. The captain has a chart and a compass, it will be OK*. It’s would be helpful if it stopped raining though.

 

Spud the dog loves mud.

Spud mud_

Jammy and Dodger the kitten cats are displaced, their usual home in the utility/porch is no more than a  muddy hole in the ground.

They’ve taken up squatters rights in Spuds bed, it’s  feline Yin and Yang

Feline Yin and Yang_

Occasionally they are willing to share (note Spud’s windfall apple)

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*I’ll save the full story of the ground source heat pump for later posts. 


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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.

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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.

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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Hide and Seek

It’s been a strange sort of week.

The tooth drama rolls on sapping my energy as the weeks pass, today I’ve taken up the  offer of a second round of antibiotics prescribed by my dentist, ‘just in case’. Getting to the root cause of the pain has turned  into a  tedious game of hide and seek. I can tell you it hurts most when I drive up hill (don’t laugh it isn’t funny, remember? I live at the top of a hill. Maybe there is a reason for this?) Mr Uphilldowndale and the boys can vouch for the fact my sense of humour is AWOL too.

Something else disappeared this week, Police Inspector Gadget blog. This leaves a gapping hole in the blogosphere, as long as I’ve been  blogging Gadget has been popping by here, he was especially fond of Spud the dog.  One of his clear crisp text messages told me he’d written his last post and was pulling the blog. No fuss no drama. 24 hours later it was gone.

Gadget is always a man of his word, I know that. The news didn’t surprise me and yet it did, after all, seven years of blogging, 12 million hits and up to five hundred comments or more per post, not to mention the book,  has to be a huge part of someone’s life.

My camera has not seen the light of day this week, so I’ll leave you with a suitably occluded  image from my visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park a few weeks ago.

Basket #7-1

It’s taken from the inside of Basket #7 by Winter/Horbelt


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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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