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 16th April 2014

Here he is, sporting is spring hair cut. If you think he looks a little miffed,I don’t think it is the lack of his coat that is disturbing him, its more to do with the fact he’s just discovered he is going to the kennels. Poor Spud.

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Poor Spud. Our holiday arrangements are a little complicated this Easter,but more of that in a day or so.

I mentioned in my last Spud post that he’d been lame. It was most noticeable when he came down steps or stairs, he  moved in bunny hops rather clattering down in his usual style. The vet thought it a soft tissue injury and prescribed anti-inflammatory/pain relief and complete rest, you can imagine we had trouble communicating that concept to Spud…

Although not completely cured, he does seem a lot better.


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Good the Bad and the Ugly

My feet barely touched the ground last week ( andI certainly spent a lot of time on the road, some of it more literally than is healthy).  I’ve been to Bangor, Newark and Worcester.

By  breakfast on Wednesday, I’d seen the good, the bad, and overheard the downright ugly.

 

But for the sake of this blog we’ll stick with the good, the good was going to see Tom, at Bangor Uni, we stayed overnight leaving Joe and Spud the dog home alone, they seemed to have enjoyed the independence.

 

Mr Uphilldowndale and I took a morning turn along Bangor Pier after our cooked breakfast*.

 

Bangor Pier_

Mr Uphilldowndale commented that it looked a little run down,

Bagor Pier_

 

I said I thought all piers had looked like that since the 1960’s (but not being a northern working class lad, he didn’t ‘do piers’  in the 1960’s).

Bangor Pier 3

My friend Mrs Ogg said she thinks it looks lacking in ‘pierphernalia’

Bangor Pier 4

*After a bracing stroll (gloves would have been handy) we went for a second breakfast, with Tom, at the very tasty Blue Sky Cafe in Bangor


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Walk and Talk

It’s been quite a break since I last posted. It’s been pretty tricky keeping up with things whilst the ground source heat pump work has been on going. The upheaval has been nothing that we didn’t expect and we knew that the 300 hundred year old dust that was likely to be liberated by  digging, drilling and hammering has a particular way of getting everywhere… that you can’t rip out an existing central heating system and replace it with new pipe work and radiators without any house sinking into disarray.

In many ways I’ve welcomed the distraction after Tom set out for university (and his bedroom has come in very useful) I’ve not had too much time to be melancholy, but I have missed him.

 

He’s studying at Bangor University, it’s not too far away,  a couple of hours drive, we went to see him on Friday. Of course Spud  the dog came too.

Having dropped off a food parcel and a few things he wanted at his halls,  we  all went for a picnic, calling in at Waitrose supermarket at Menai Bridge, To buy a some tasty morsels, its where Kate and Wills used to shop you know

Kate and Will smoothie_

 

Tom then drove us to Newborough Forest, on  the island of Anglesey. We had a lovely afternoon, walking on the beach

Newbrough Forest 4 

and in the forest.

 

Newbrough Forest_

It’s a stunning spot, excellent car parking and facilities.

The beach is peppered with beautiful shells,  soft coloured rocks with batik patterns

 

rock formations Newborough_

and flowers

 

Sea Holly Newborough_

 

Spud the dog will be along tomorrow with his side of the story.


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Lost In Art

First of all, thank you all for your kind words following my previous post, we are touched by your thoughtfulness. There are so many kind people in the blogosphere.

Yesterday, I felt the need to go and look, to ‘just be’ for a while. I’d not been to see as many of the Derbyshire Open Arts event’s as I’d originally planned, so maybe that’s what drew me into Manchester, lets face it I’m not often drawn to cities.

I snook in, first thing, taking an early train, I visited a few shops (which were pretty empty, just as I like them, considering I worked in retail for decades, I’ve such a low tolerance busy shops).

Then I went to Manchester Art Gallery, they couldn’t have offered a warmer welcome to an  ex florist than the installation festooning the  perimeter railings

Living railing 2-1

Moss, willow, seed pods, ferns, right up my street.

Living railing -1

I had a coffee and a delicious piece of Victoria sponge in in cafe (the cake had just the right play off, between sweet butter cream and tart raspberry).

I left my shopping bounty in a locker and then spent a contented couple of hours mooching around, too many things to mention, but the Grayson Perry vase and the work by Eric Ravilious were favourites. But undoubtedly I’m most ‘in my element’   in the the gallery of craft and design.  How do I explain? I’m sure there must be  gallery curator jargon for it, but who knows; I just like the way the clusters of objects, link and flow into one another around the room, it manages to both feed and satiate my curiosity at the same time. Magic ehh?

Those of a curios disposition,  I’m sure would be drawn to the object displayed  in the gallery from Mary Greg collection. Off you go and have a rummage. Enjoy.

When I lurched back out into the Manchester streets, I found them full of hustle and bustle, time I thought to head back home to the hills.


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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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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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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.

late afternoon walk-1

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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