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



My mum tells me the 16th of June 1960 was in the midst of a heat wave. She should know it was a long labour. I weighed in at a bonny 9lb 2oz, I was very long, with a mop of dark hair and unusually for a newborn, hazel coloured eyes. I was also very blue. 50 years on, I’m not blue or as dark as I was, but the hazel eyes remain. I was born at home, which was a farmhouse, just over the hill from here.

Mum wanted me to have a piece of jewellery to mark significant birthday: I’m a bit of a sucker for brooches,  be they vintage, granny bling or contemporary.

So I plumped for contemporary brooch,  I’ve been following Denna Gracie’s blog for sometime and coveting her work for all of that time. I asked her to make me a brooch, here is a quick snapshot of my special gift (I’ll be late for work if I don’t stop messing about!)


I’m thrilled with it; it winged its way from New Zealand to Derbyshire without a hitch, ducking in under the cloud of Icelandic volcanic ash, but not under the radar of customs and excise. The brooch bears the word Aroha, a Maori word meaning love, compassion, or affectionate regard. I like that.


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

21 thoughts on “16.06.60

  1. Happy Birthday! 😀
    That is a gorgeous brooch 🙂

  2. Love the brooch, especially the NZ connection!!!
    Have a fantastic day – hope your menfolk are going to spoil you???

  3. It’s a lovely broach. Wishing you a very happy birthday 🙂

  4. Happy Birthday

  5. Happy birthday, and many happy returns.

  6. Happy Birthday, UHDD.

    We have something in common – I didn’t have blue eyes at birth either. Mine were light brown, which darkened to their present mud colour over the first weeks of my life. Hazel sounds much nicer.

    Enjoy your day.


  7. Happy Birthday, UHDD!

    That’s a beautiful brooch.

  8. Happy Birthday, Mrs. Uhdd!

    Love, compassion and affectionate regard from all of us at the Writing Studio & Bait Shop

  9. Many happy heart-filled birthday wishes on your special birthday sent to you all the way from Vancouver Island! Congratulations to your mum, too, for her part in it all ~ a heat wave coupled with giving birth to a 9 + lb. baby would be very memorable indeed. Your choice of brooch is lovely 🙂

  10. Many happy returns of the day from Aotearoa – I hope it’s wonderful and filled with aroha
    : – )
    snap hazel eyes!

  11. Birthday greetings from me too.

    I may be a bloke but I like jewellery too. When we’re out and about I haunt jewellery shops, especially where they sell good silver (naturally). I never wear gold: it’s too showy. Chavs like gold – so draw your own conclusions.

    I’m not keen on modern art but I must say the brooch is not bad. I like jewellery with stones, and this one makes the design.

    Now you need a ring to match 🙂

  12. Happy birthday! Nice brooch.

  13. Happy birthday to you! Sara.

  14. Happy birthday! I hope the boys are all spoiling you too!

  15. Belated happy birthday, I hope that you had a lovely day! xx

  16. Come to think of it, you haven’t changed much! LOL Happy Birthday from the Gadgets in Ruralshire!

  17. Thank you for all for your birthday greetings, I had a lovely day.

  18. A little late!! But Happy Birthday! Hope you had a good day yesterday!

    Sam x

  19. Happy birthday! Your brooche is a lovely mark of both you and your mothers special day. I wish you many happy blogging years to come.

  20. Pingback: Thinking of you, New Zealand | Uphilldowndale

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