Uphilldowndale

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


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Bless This House

One of the reasons I’ve been absent from blogging  of late, is that we’ve had quite a big building project going on. I’ve no complaints about the guys working here, they’ve been great, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs and you certainly can’t knock an old house about without some disruption, noise and dust. It’s a scheme of works we’ve been planning for a long time

Construction gets in your head space, making decisions and sourcing everything from light switches to windows, gobbles up a vast amount of time  energy and money.

We’ve tried to chose our building materials carefully, recycling where ever possible,

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trying to do justice to the existing building. In addition we’ve been bringing insulation up to a higher standard.  Here is Rocky the cockerel checking out the acoustics and the under floor heating ( which is heated by  ground source heat pump).

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I was pleased when I found that we got to the ‘soft stuff,’  curtains, furniture, pot plants even. I went shopping at Ikea, at the checkout, I helped the Chinese couple in front of me in the queue to find the ubiquitous and ever useful Ikea ‘big blue bags’ I must have earned myself some good karma, for in return they explained that the house plant I had in my trolley was good feng shui for our home, and that it would bring us good fortune.

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All I can say is it certainly seems to be flourishing

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and I am indeed fortunate to have such a beautiful space, Spud and Jammy agree.

Ben Squeak_


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The Up’Ards and the Down’Ards

I don’t think I’ve ever brought you post about Ashbourne, I  really should, it has some very interesting buildings and history, that deserve a closer look than a cursory glance as I drive through (The A515 is not my favourite road, we have history, that road and I).

The nearest neighbour I’ve blogged about, is probably the lovely snowdrops at Hopton Hall which will be looking splendid, right now I guess.

 

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or  the rather eerie Magpie Mine.

Ashbourne has a very famous shrovetide football event, played by the Up’Ards and Down’Ards; it is not for the faint hearted. It laughs in the face of health and safety assessments.  Here is the history, and here is a contemporary account, from BBC RadioDerby.  I’ll stick to snowdrops.


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Domestic Upheaval

One of these days I’ll give you the full story, which must run to  a couple of dozen posts, but for this evening I’ll just say there has been a lot going on around here, especially for the last week; so much so that Dodger the kitten cat left home for three days, in disgust. His belly led him back, just as I’d drafted the ‘lost cat’ email to the neighbours. We are relieved to see him.

There have been moments of great beauty,  rolling mist framed by alpine blues, ebbing in and out of the valley

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Branches, twigs, encased in ice

oak apples

Oak apples

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An ash tree, where the ash keys once were.

But for the most part, it has been grey, muddy; and oh yes, very dusty. There is nothing quite like ancient dust, it has a  penetrating power of its own. The haze in this photo, is not poor image quality, oh no, it is dust.

This is the kitchen.

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can you see why my blog lies unattended?


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Sick of Snow?

Most people seem to be so, there’s still plenty of it about; there have been beautiful bright days; the sort of thing that would normally send me scurrying for my camera. snow landscape 3

But there have been a bit of a problem. Joe and I have had a nasty bout, of what we think was Norovirus,  not nice at all, I can tell you.

Joe was first down, in the small hours of Sunday morning. I followed on Monday night, I certainly don’t feel up to par yet. What can I tell you about Norovirus? Stay close to the bathroom, really work and get fluids down and I mean work, a pack of rehydration treatment in the medicine cupboard would be a good idea.

I went into quarantine in Tom’s room, rough as I felt, I did still love watching the light move across the snowy hills and the beautiful moonlit nights (I didn’t draw the curtains).

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and I did have some company.

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Spud and squeak were as interested in  warmth, sleep and comfort as I was.


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Keeping the Roads Open

Thank you to those who keep our roads open. We’ve some challenging roads around here;  they are the  primary roads you hear mentioned on the travel reports, the Snake Pass, Wood Head Pass and The Cat and Fiddle, beautiful but tricky, and the first to get hit by bad weather, but of course there’s many many miles more of roads to be cleared: take a  ride in the cab of a Derbyshire County Council gritter and get a different perspective.

 

The continuing snowy theme gives me an excuse to post this photo, from 1901, I’ve done so before

Snow 1901

I bet these folk would have loved  to see a snow plough looming over  the horizon. They’d  probably have liked central heating, electric light, tumble dryers and  4×4 vehicles.

 

Here’s a later image, the big  freeze of 1947, that lasted from 21st January to 4th of March;  both photos are taken at Sparrowpit.

Snow 1947


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Snow Surprise

Well it wasn’t a surprise, because it was forecast.  The amount that landed is generous by UK standards, but honestly, I feel the need to get on my snowy soap box here, why we do get our knickers in a twist over bad weather in this country. Severe weather is inconvenient to all, but why do we think the we have some divine right for all roads and paths to be magically cleared, so we can keep on with our day without so much as snowflake impeding our progress.  The weather, mother nature or the snow god,  call it what you wish;  doesn’t give a toss about our hectic schedules get over it.

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Social media was full of ranting this afternoon, about the poor job the council were doing clearing the roads. I imagine if we want the sort of set up for snow clearance that countries who routinely get great dollops of snow, then we’d better start paying more for our services (how much do snow ploughs cost?) Sigh.

 

Look the trains were running on the Buxton to Manchester line.

 

buxton Manchester train,_

 

I could write about some of the shenanigans that have gone on in the lane today, it’s steep, andwhen it’s icy, it catches people out, it’s happened before. But lets just say if you pay an awful lot of money for a car, it doesn’t mean to say you know how, or more importantly  when to drive it.

As Tom would say ‘all the gear and no idea’.

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Spud has had a great day

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Mr Uphilldowndale enjoyed himself too

this much

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