I’m just starting to believe that Spring is about to unfold. The excitement is palpable. It’s putting a bit of bounce into everyone’s step.
We spent yesterday morning felling a tree. We’ve had chainsaw adventures before, but this was a different beast to slay. Mainly because of its proximity to the house, the oil tank, two drystone walls, the telephone line and us! Also to be factored in to the equation was the size of the tree, 44 feet.
It was a carefully researched mission, there was only one way it could fall.
There was much measuring of angles, a rope attached with a couple of strapping teenagers hanging on the end.
A ‘cheese’ taken out of the trunk, some strategic cuts and then, with some tugging, down she came.
It is hard to remember that when we first moved into the house, this tree was so small we used to drape the it with lights at Christmas, an exercise that needed no ladders.
It was quite a nerve wracking task. The boys were quite giddy when the mission was accomplished.
By the end of the morning, we’d worked it down to just the ‘spine’.
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).
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
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.
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.
* 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.
The Village starts tonight on BBC1 at 9pm.
I’m sure you will enjoy the scenery, it is going to look more than a little familiar to regular readers of this blog. Enjoy.
The drama sets out in 1914, here is the Uphilldowndale homestead in around 19006-1910
I’d planned a longer post with a few links to ‘The Village’ landscape, but that will have to wait. I’ve not been so well for the last few days, all those antibiotics came at a price, Joe tried to cheer me up, ‘At least it is better than the tooth ache Mum’. I certainly hope the reaction doesn’t last as long as the tooth ache.
Well you can guess who has enjoyed this weather, Spud the warrior dog with his icy breast plate.
The rest of us may be finding it all rather difficult, not Spud the adventure dog
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
(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.
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.
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.
Happy Mothers Day.
I’ve been keeping a low profile this week, it’s week two, of gnawing tooth ache. A couple of trips to the dentist, painkillers a plenty, plus a course of antibiotics and oil of cloves and I’m not sure the end is yet in sight. I’m feeling rather weary of it.
Today we have been sat well and truly on the snow line,
we often are, live in a place long enough and eventually a pattern emerges. It has been bright and clear, but with a very sharp, bitingly cold wind. No way was I taking my ultra sensitive tooth out side for a dash of photography, oh no: I can wince at the mere thought of it, it is bad enough having cold air blasted on each tooth in the name of a diagnosis (it gave new meaning to the expression ‘upwardly mobile’!)
Photos taken from the bedroom window are as good as it gets today.
A few minutes later, a squall of snow flushed through the valley and finished the show for the day.
Spud the dog, retrieved a toy Landrover from the rock pile* today . Goodness know how long it must have been there, it must be years, it’s a long time now since the boys played with such things. It must have been pre Spud, which is just as well, seeing Spuds enthusiasm for trying to chew the tyres off it this morning.
‘Back in the day’ there would have been endless opportunity for Spud to have devoured all sorts of toys. I can’t but wonder what made him dig it out today, for he must have passed it a thousand times before.
Just as the boys specification for toys has changed, its all mountain bikes and computer games these days, so has the families idea of a suitable car. Our trusty family estate car, age 17, and with generous 290,000 miles on the clock will be off to pastures new any day soon.
I know, this post is a day late, I’m afraid toothache got the better of me last night.
* All the stone, we’ve ever dug up, or pulled down, since we moved here over twenty years ago. We have aspirations to make it into something more than a cairn, one day, one day.
Stone the crows? I wouldn’t dream of it personally.
It’s a phrase you don’t hear very often, its origins are unclear
"What I says is crows is devils." Tom pointed at the trees, where the blue-black legions sat squabbling and blinking their wicked white eyes. …
I came across these handsome birds, in a car park in Wales (we got about a bit last week!). Hopelessly back lit and mooching about, in and out of the shadows, they kept me entertained whilst trying to eat my sandwich in the car. I did a lot of that last week too.
Can I encourage you to pop across to dou dou’s site and take a look at the beautiful birds there?
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 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.
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,
dripping on to vegetation they seem to defy gravity at times; the Circ Du Soleil of the icicle world
as the growing weight of ice shifts the centre of gravity.
And the icicles head off in a different direction.
Splashes of water on moss, freeze before they have chance to soak away.
I feel this one has a touch of the Dale Chihuly about it.