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


Chasing Shadows

That, how it feels at the moment , one task completed and another sweeps into replace it.


I’d get on faster if I stopped procrastinating about the work that needs to be done, that and writing blog posts.

See ya later.


Fast Forward

Spring has sprung

The weather over the last week has alternated between warm and wet, the result is that you can almost hear things growing, spring is gathering pace, it struck me yesterday evening that the stark, silhouetted landscapes I have been photographing and blogging about for the past few months,  are disappearing fast under a rising tide of ‘greenness’  I am not sure I know how to do ‘verdant’ or if I do, I’ve forgotten.

This morning it’s rained, heavily, but soft rain if you get my drift, ‘growing rain’ my dad would have called it. Earlier on the dandelions were tight shut, but within half an hour of the sun braking through, the field had come out in a rash of yellow spots.


The field next to ours is more intensively managed, it’s had sheep grazing on it, so there is less length of grass and not a dandelion in sight.  But in our field, there is work to be done, but where do you start, one bee so many dandelions..

Bee 2

I must away to to give a little thought, to the Noddy challenge


Little Fluffy Things

Got a bit of a fright yesterday, when taking an empty bottle to the recycling tub in porch, something grey and furry, shot, at speed, round the back of the tub, now we have over the years had all sorts of wild and wonderful things brought in through the cat flap (and into the house for that matter, before mad Moss the dog, became kitchen gate keeper refusing ingress or egress to cat or vermin)  and I was a bit worried it might be a rat,we know they are out there, so very  cautiously  peered around the back of the tub to find this little sweetie

Bunny 1

So whilst I caught it, Tom got the camera; the rabbit was so grateful to be rescued from the jaws of death,

In yer face

that it peed all over my fleece, and it also had (for such a sweet looking little thing) very sharp claws (the rabbit not the cat.)

Tom and I released it back into the field, our dilemma being which field, north, south east, west, we had no idea in which direction it’s burrow lay. We settled on west, although on reflection that might have been a mistake, as that is also the direction, as the crow flies, of our neighbours vegetable patch.

The cats have brought us, wildlife as diverse as bats and stoats, I was sort of glad and sad that the stoat was dead, I imagine they aren’t as easy to catch as a young rabbit and they have very sharp teeth, have a read about such a thing here, an excellent blog, as recommended by the Scottish Officer


Have a sublime Saturday.


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Sullied Reputation.

My reputation at work is taking a bit of a slide

Last week the boss of bosses, caught sight of me in the corridor

‘Ohhhhh, goodness, Heather, I thought for a moment your were….’

Then the security guard (large) was also taken aback,

‘Bloody hell, it’s a bit early for that!’

The cause of this problem is my thermal tea mug. Now regular readers will know I am fond of a nice steaming mug of tea, but what I don’t like is vending machine tea, it is the devils brew; even a bottle tepid aspartame riddled ‘pop’ seems like nectar in comparison to ‘machine tea’.

My work is a bit nomadic, I wander around the site with no desk to call my own, nowhere to hide a kettle, so on the days when I know I am going to be out of range of the cafeteria I take my insulated mug, it’s one of those bits of kit, that does all you could ever ask of it, the right size, not so small as to be like drinking from a thimble, nor so big It’s like hauling a firkin around all day, it keeps my tea nice and hot. I even like the colour, I chose it especially, its green I like green, it’s a little like the green triangles in Quality Street, I like them too.


And this is where it is all going wrong, here is the offending mug


Yesterday was a long day, 12 hours two different roles, so in an effort to stop my tea levels falling so dangerously low as to induce a coma, I legged it from one end of the site to the the other to replenish my tea mug and took my self off outside to a quiet corner of the car park, to sit in the evening sun, to drink my tea, eat my banana and restore a sense of homeostasis, a little oasis in a busy day; that was until I was clocked by security guard (small) he came striding (small) across the car park.

‘Is every thing OK?’ he asked looking a little concerned.

The problem is you see, when grasped firmly in the hand and from a distance, my tea mug looks for all the world, just like a can of Heineken beer, people think I have a bit of a drink problem.

The boss of bosses and security guards, large and small, now know that my real vice is tea and not beer (although I like beer as you know, but not in the same volume as tea) and are somewhat amused by my tea mug; but as for what the rest of my colleagues think, but don’t say, I’m sure I will be the last to know.

Right time for a nice cup of tea and a sit down


Little Weed

Question. When is a weed not a weed?

Answer. When it is feast.

Bee 2

This bee was carrying so much pollen I was starting to wonder if it would mange to get airborne and make it back to the hive.

The dandelion, Taraxacum officinale; as a child I used to spend hours in the fields collecting these flower heads, by the bucket full for my Dad, who used to make dandelion wine from them, just taking that photo has wafted back in time, to the smell of them being boiled up in a steamy kitchen and gluup, gluup noise of the air locks on the demijohns as it brewed.

nezza has a lovely photograph of a dandelion ‘clock’ on her Flickr site


Red Letter Day

Today is a red letter day at the Uphilldowndale house, for several reasons. It is twenty years today since Mr Uhdd and I bought our first home together; 18 years since we got married and 11 year since Joe made his precipitous arrival into the world, our wedding anniversary is now upstaged enhanced by Joe’s birthday celebrations and we would like to point out that when it is his 18th birthday it will be our 25th wedding anniversary, so we can share a party! He might think this is a good idea now, but I doubt he will in the future, only time will tell.

We also expect some important visitors to arrive today, they are very welcome guests who always arrive on the 21st of April, I don’t know how they find there way here or how they know when to come, but the swallows swoop around the barn from the 21st of April, its just how it is.



In bed this morning I proclaimed that the swallows wouldn’t be here today, ‘the weather is too cold, they wont be back from Africa yet.’  Wrong, on my way out to work this morning by what did I see,  swallows. Now as the as the old adage goes ‘two swallows don’t make a summer’, but it’s a welcome sign that summer is on its way (well a bit of spring would be good for starters) and the forecast is good, warmer than of late and dry for the next few days, so they can feed up a bit after their long journey.

Migrating swallows cover 200 miles a day, mainly during daylight, at speeds of 17-22 miles per hour. The maximum flight speed is 35 mph. 


If we are really lucky some might nest in the barn