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


For the Love of Larch

I’m rather fond of larch trees, I like the soft zesty lime green tufts of new needles in the spring, as much as I like the gold haze they proffer in the autumn and a jug of branches laden with cones never goes amiss in the winter either.


If I remember rightly this is a Japanese larch Larix kaempferi,L. leptolepis but don’t quote me on that, as Spud the dog ate the label, so I can’t be quite sure.

This is the top of the trunk

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a little lower down it starts to darken

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And the oldest wood, is a gunmetal grey.

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We’ve got one tree in the garden, but across the valley in the Forestry Commission woodland there are great swathes of larch. Mighty fine they look too, in the setting sun at this time of year.

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I may have to go in search of a photo or two, time and weather permitting.


Spud on Sunday II

It has been a wild, wild week, storms have raged, rain has beaten a tattoo on the roof,  the lane is braided with mounds of sodden leaves and the yard is a muddy mess. Indoors there have been stormy debates about whose turn it is to bring some some more logs in and why no one has sent Dandy the cat out for a pee. Dandy you see,  is a fair-weather cat when it comes to his toilet habits and I’m afraid, seeing as he’s 14 years old we don’t expect him to improve with age. So  boys it is wise not to dump your games kit on the porch floor, because it can smell worse than it does already, just.

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Spud however has not missed a beat when it comes to taking his  dip in the pond (so the kitchen smells of pond weed, am I painting an attractive picture?)

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Maybe Spud thinks he’s an otter, I can see a resemblance. If you missed Spud on a Sunday part I, it’s here


Going Down

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

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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

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

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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.)

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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

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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,

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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.

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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

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He/she goes on

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‘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.


Lest We Forget

I’m rather late in the day posting, but at 11am, I was thinking about this memorial, we came across it on our canal holiday on the Leeds Liverpool Canal; it was erected in memory of seven Polish airmen who lost their lives when their plane crashed.

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The full story is here

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The photos were faded, but clear enough to tell their story,

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This bride became a widow, after only three weeks of marriage.

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In 2007 she unveiled the memorial.

I can’t believe all of this,” said Mrs Stebbing. “I am so very emotional. I had a job to control myself during the service and my legs were shaking. I am so proud of those boys they were very brave and this memorial is a wonderful tribute to them. When Peter came to see me I didn’t imagine a service on such a grand scale.”

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Flocking to Skipton

Now then, where were we, I seem to remember leaving off somewhere near the North Yorkshire market town of Skipton

A town that owes a lot to sheep ( this is the tiled doorstep of a shop in Sheep Street).

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Sheep  are everywhere at the moment; this one is part of a community art event, ‘Flock to Skipton’ it’s entitled ‘flowers for ewe’ and there are another 24 dotted around the town (but is you want to run with the flock, you’ll have to be quick, I think they are off to market on the 14th on November (oh look, it says here it has been extended ‘until 19th of December’

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Skipton  has a thriving market (and there aren’t many of those left around the country these days) You can buy proper, traditional stuff,

Hats, my dad would have stopped  at this stall ( or more likely, sent my mum).

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And for the ladies, a nightie for every night of the week.

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Tom on the other hand headed for here, he liked the bikes, I liked the building.

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We mustn’t leave the canal out of the scene setting


(I mustn’t forget to tell you that I saw a Kingfisher, by the river in the centre of Skipton, it was flashed past far too fast for a photo opportunity though.)

Skipton is a town that still manages to retain some character, the only teenagers I found lurking in dark alleyways were my own

Teenagers lurking in dark alley!-1

Here are some more sheep.

This is my favourite, Baa bones

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(although, I thought its horns should also have been painted in white.)

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Joe liked this one, because it looked like something he grew in a petri dish at school.

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and this was always going to be a hit with overseas visitors

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In case you get lost, this is for you.

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