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


The Recession is Over

Look, it must be, I took Mr Uphildowndale to the store in York, where I’d seen signs that the recession was deepening.

And lo, it has to come to pass that all discounts are off,

recession ends

the asking price is back too £9.99

recession ends 2

Ahhh, but wait, it’s not actually sold yet has it? Maybe we shouldn’t count our Easter chicks before they’ve hatched.


Barnitts  store is a bit of a gem, I could have left Mr Uphilldowndale in there for many happy hours, it sells what our friends Mr and Mrs Ogg  might refer to as ‘items of faffness’ Mr Uphilldowndale loves such places and enjoys seeing all the very useful faffy things, woodworking  tools, small things in little plastic bags, balls of string and other  very important things*.  See  dodgy photo below. as they say in York, “if Barnitts haven’t got it, you can’t get it anywhere!”20140415_103315

On entering Barnitts I thought I was going into a small shop selling light fittings (I’m always trying to source light fitting I like, I’ve not managed it yet) to my amazement, it was like entering, Narnia I found myself in  a warren of departments, all on different floors and levels I emerged an hour later from a door way two shops down from where I’d gone in!

I discovered many shops are like this in York, the result of trying to squeeze modern shopping fashions into a historic city of jumbled buildings.

If you wanted to buy a new tea pot, Barnitts will have 20 to chose from, a flask to keep the tea warm? dozens.’ Letter boxes? Did you want brass or wrought iron? and a door knocker to match? I can’t imagine what it must be like to stock take, but I do know the total stock value must be massive!

This letter box is in a door at York Minster, not Barnitts, but I’m rather taken by it.


letter box york minster



*String is a very important thing
  Rope is thicker
  But string is quicker

Spike Milligan

Of course for full on faffness, you could make your own string


A Walk in the Park

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park to be precise. I walked further than I expected, but it wasn’t a problem, the day was bright and crisp.

I was bewitched by an ‘intervention’ by David Nash.

Seventy One Steps

Sevety one Steps -1

Made from oak that is charred and oiled they follow the lie of the land. The steps are set into 30 tons of coal, they will weather and erode into the landscape.  Climbing them, they felt were quite magical. They are no ordinary steps.

I thought the woods at the top of the steps were rather magical too.

YSP woods-1

I loved the gnarled roots. I’m sure I heard somewhere that 90% of a trees roots are in the top two feet of the soil?

Narled roots -1

Duncan obviously like it here, once upon a time.



Spud on Sunday Part XXXIV

Take me with you, Please!

Don't leave me-1

Spud  the dog tries to hitch a ride with Tom, who has set off on his Silver Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) award expedition.

I shall protest if you leave me behind

I shall protest if you leave me-1

This part of Derbyshire is freckled with parties of teenagers yomping across the hills on their DofE expeditions. To date all Toms training trips have been on home turf, of which he has a pretty good knowledge, because of the ground he covers on his mountain bike outings; but this time he is off to the Yorkshire Dales, he will have to pay attention to the map.


Bursting Buds and New Fangled Things

Spring is bursting out all over

Spring day-1

darling buds

We’ve had a couple of lovely warm days this week, but today hasn’t been one of them, it’s been cold; Tom has gone off on a camping trip, preparation  for his Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition. As his mother it is my duty to worry that he won’t be warm enough; but he should be, he’s taken enough fleece, down and Gore-tex with him.

loving the larch-1

my lovely larch

Tom was bemused last night, when I explained that when I went on a school field study trip to Malham Cove circa 1974, the teacher instructed to take a bin liner each, with holes cut for head and arms, to use as waterproofing over our anoraks, as it would rain in Yorkshire, and it did. Tom couldn’t quite imagine that  the cagoule hadn’t been invented (if it had it hadn’t reached us yet). Mr Uhdd was consulted,  my sepia tale was verified and no, he didn’t own a cagoule until he was in his twenties. It only occurred to me later as I was putting rubbish into the bin, that in 1974, bin liners had only just been invented.


Return of the White Stuff

The white stuff is back.

quince in snow-1

The novelty has worn off already.

Mum is home from hospital, but not fully well by any means, it’s just how it is. We used to be able to coral all her medications into an ice cream tub, but  since her stay in hospital we’ve had to up grade to a biscuit tin, affectionately known as the selection box..

I’m ready for my bed. Mr Uhdd is about to set off into the night to walk from Edale to Marsden and then back again, the aim being to finish tomorrow afternoon. Mad as hatters the lot of them.


Going Down

Finger post-1

Going down the Bingley Five Rise, if that isn’t a contradiction

Bingley five rise 2-1

The Bingley Five Rise, is a set of locks, five of them, no surprises there then; they are in ‘staircase’ formation, with each lock opening into the next rather than being separated by ponds of ‘neutral’ water.

Here are the  names and the figures

Bingley Five Rise 6-1

For me, apart from marvelling at this amazing feat of engineering, 1774, for goodness sake, to put that into context, that’s two years before the American Declaration of Independence.  The locks contained all that I do not like about boaty things,  that is deep sheer sided drops

Bingley Five Rise 5-1

in to broiling black waters ( the things I do for this blog)

Bingley five rise 1-1

Mr Uhdd sensed my unease ‘You really don’t like this do you?’ It’s OK there is nothing to worry about’  he said, I pointed out that this was about as helpful as me standing with him at the top of a cliff and saying ‘don’t worry you won’t fall off’. (Mr Uhdd doesn’t like heights, which can, on occasion, be inconvenient for a fellrunner.)

Bingley Five Rise 7-1

Wisely British Waterways lock keepers are on hand to guide novices through the locks. I went and stood at the bottom, and waited for our narrow boat and a photo to emerge

Bingley Five Rise 4-1

British Waterways, will be handed over as part of government reform, from government control, to a ‘civil society’ next year. I’m not sure if that is good or bad, idea, the locals are thinking about.



Graffiti Gaffe

In total contrast to my previous post, to bemuse, if not entertain you; whilst I scramble together a couple of more photogenic posts, about our canal holiday. Here is some graffiti we came across,

what type of--1

it is spray painted on the wall of the Damart mill, that flanks the Leeds Liverpool Canal, just below the ‘Bingley five rise’ locks.

Tom and I discussed the question posed: it’s a democracy that people gave their lives for.

what type of what--1

I took this shot on the 21st of October as we cruised eastwards towards Saltaire. When we returned along the same route the following day, some additions had been made

what type of what- day two-1

He/she goes on

what type of what- day two 1-1

‘What kind of democracy is this? Labour giveth The Tory/Wigg taketh away.’

At the time we  pondered what sort of person might have done this act of vandalism, we daubed it ‘graduate graffiti’ as the words ‘Wigg’ and ‘taketh’ aren’t your usual graffiti phrases (although we should point out that it is Whigg, not Wigg, so he/she, the vandal, is evidently  not an ‘A grade’ student).

At the time we were joking, about the graduate bit, but given the events of this week, its not so funny now.


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