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


Visiting Time

We are off to Wales to see Tom tomorrow. It is rare for us to venture out on the roads on a bank holiday weekend, but Tom hasn’t been home over the Easter holidays as he’s been to Greece climbing, and we are keen to see him (Spud the dog is coming too).

I’ve a heap of photos I’ve not published from our last visit (I hasten to add Tom is living in student accommodation at Bangor, not as this photo might suggest a cave).

Tom Wales_

He took us to Dinorwic slate quarries,  the second largest slate quarry in the world, where part of Clash of the Titans  was filmed, it is certainly has an other worldly feel about it.

Tom Wales 2

The scale of the place is mind blowing.

Tom taught me, his techiphobe mother to take a panorama shot on my phone.

Look, see.


Of course we had to make a visit to Pete’s Eats’ as students are always hungry and keen for parents to buy them food.


I’m sad and shocked to report another of Mr Uphilldowndale’s running/cycling  friends has landed in hospital, following an incident with a heard of cows; very nasty indeed. (And  I’m afraid to report ‘G’ remains  still very poorly in hospital).


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.


Christmas Left Overs

Like the rest of the country we are eating up the contents of the fridge, I relish the left overs more than the original Christmas dinner, as it provides a series of ‘easy teas’ with minimum input from me, and that sounds very tasty; but somehow there never seems enough of the right food to hit the spot for teenagers. Despite tins of chocolates, boxes of biscuits littering the house and the remains of a  large dead bird in the fridge, ‘I’m hungry; what’s to eat’ is still the cry reverberating through the house.

All day breakfast-1

The image above is a ‘left over’ photo from our holiday in Wales. It’s of  the  strapping ‘all day breakfast’ at the world famous ‘Pete’s Eats’ in Llanberis. I had a slightly more modest toasted cheese and tuna sandwich and very tasty it was too.

I read the section entitled ‘Pete’s Bistro’ on the  Pete’s Eats website, as a one time self-employed person, it chilled my spine. Brrrrrr


Saying Thank You

Mr Uphilldowndale has been sending thank you notes out to those who came to his aid and helped him both at the time of the accident and during his hospital stay at Ysbyty Gwnedd, it is quite a list.

Kicking off with a driving examiner on his way to work who seeing Mr Uphdd’s predicament turned his car around and came back to help, armed with first aid kit and sat him in his car whilst the ambulance came.

Here is the view from Mr Uphdd’s hospital bed, there were reports of him sat in bed with his OS map working out the peaks!

Ward with a view-1

What I don’t have a shot of is the helicopters* that seemed ta arrive as regular as 99 busses when we were there, bringing in others who had an urgent need. Given how much time Mr Uhdd spend in the hills, miles from anywhere with no phone reception, I’m grateful he could be easily retrieved by ambulance (one of the  ambulance crew had his own bone breaking accident on exactly the same bridge, some years ago).

To update on his progress, the splints are off, the stiches are out and whilst he is getting more mobile he’s not driving yet. His blood tests and physiotherapy are now at either the Dr’s surgery or the local hospital which is very good news. 

* Which may or may not, have been piloted by Prince William (other helicopter pilots are available).



There was really only one day  whilst we were away that was a sensible option, weather wise, for climbing Snowdon, so we geared up appropriately and  set out. Joe, Mr Uphilldowndale and Spud the dog climbed to the summit, I however wussed out; Tom kindly escorted me from the hill (perhaps he was  thinking  of my redisposition for wandering off the beaten track in search of a photo opportunity, the nearby  Crib Goch isn’t somewhere you’d want to find yourself by accident ).

Snowdon -1

The Miners track Snowdon, taken from the Pyg track

Tom and I found it no hardship to sit in the cafe back  at the  summit of Pen-y-Pass and drink hot chocolate, whilst we waited for their return*. There is of course a less arduous way to get to the summit of Snowdon.

Spud brought a collection of ticks back with his as a souvenir ughhhhh.


Red for Danger

Fungi -1

Continuing with the fungi theme, I found this  fairy-tale  specimen in a forest in Wales.

We’ve been away for a weeks holiday and very nice it was too (that’s is the holiday was nice, the weather could have been kinder). I’d like to tell you I toiled for hours through the forest to find such a handsome specimen, but I’d be lying, I found it in the car-park whilst Joe and I were waiting,

Fungi 2-1

for Mr Uphilldowndale and Tom to return from a mountain bike excursion on the Marin Trail in the Gwydyr Forest.  It was growing from the trunk of a birch tree. I used to know someone who made birch sap wine, and  from what I can remember (the memory is a little hazy) the brew was as potent as I suspect this toadstool is (I’ll not try to name the species, I’ll hope a fungi expert passes by the blog with the appropriate knowledge.)

Would you like to see how muddy Tom was on his return?

Mountain Bike Mud-1

You can visualise the dirty washing that has returned home with us can’t you?


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