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


Olympic Torch Relay Comes to Town

The Olympic flame made it over the hills to Buxton today

Joe had a pass out from last lesson at school and Tom wearily hobbled straight off his DofE expedition in time for us to make it over the hills to bag the perfect vantage point on the Slopes in  the Crescent and for me to nip up on to the Market Place for ice-creams .

When I spotted the distinctive orange livery of the Billerettes in the distance I was pretty sure we’d picked the right spot to see Bill Weston, one of the three torch bearers for this leg of the relay.

bill's boys -1

Bill, the founder of the the Billerettes, who are sort of a dance troupe with a difference, has raised thousands and thousands of pounds for charity over nearly four decades.

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He’s a guy with endless enthusiasm who lives his life with a sense of fun, whatever the role: here he is in an ‘off duty moment’  dressed as a town crier. Bill has an MBE for his service to the community.

Mr Weston MBE-2 

So it was great to see him today having a thoroughly  good time, as were the crowd,  which I’d hazard a guess is for Bill  a win win situation.

Bill with the Olympic torch. Go Bill.

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Whatever the Weather

It has been a very odd mix this week, lashing rain, sultry heat, high winds that have dumped a fine layer of sand over the car (and even the lily pads in the pond) goodness know from whence it came.

Yesterday evening I was pottering around the hills south of Buxton, it was warm and rather pleasant. I don’t know who this little bird is (answers on a postcard please) but they were rather sweet and willing to pose briefly.

bird on fence -1 

Tom has been in the Lake District completing the expedition  section of the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. I’m much relived  that he is safely off the hill, given the storms and flash flood there have been (he tells me the thunder and lightening they experienced was ‘awesome’ I’m sure we will get the finer detail on his return this afternoon).

I’ve a stack of posts in mind, some of them about quarrying, some about the limestone and gritstone landscape around here.

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For starters, the lay of the land. Quarrying is big,  it’s a big employer, it has a big impact on the landscape, lumps of rock on an industrial scale..

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Half a hill, near Harpur Hill

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(and if you are looking for the so called ‘Blue Lagoon’ don’t) go to Iceland please.


Spud on Sunday Part LXXI

Poor Spud the dog, his creature comforts are all awry, the side board, the sofa and the armchair are all squeezed into the kitchen. 

With a sigh Spud retreated  to the kitchen window sill, rested his chin on the dust cloth covered sideboard and shot me his most doleful look.

Spud, window-1 

‘When did you say the carpet fitters are coming?’ he asked.

Tomorrow Spud, tomorrow; woohoooooooo. Tomorrow evening Spud, we can stick the house back together and put the paint pots away.  Project ‘new  lounge carpet’ will be over. Plastered, painted and paid for.

You’ll have to wipe your paws mind. No grubby or flea ridden dogs will be admitted to the lounge… Do you understand Spud?


Spud on Sunday part LXX

Spud the dog jumping though hoops.

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Well only a hoop, but it is only a matter of time before it’s hoops: I’ll explain.

It was my birthday yesterday, a few weeks ago I’d said to Tom and Joe that I’d quite like a hula hoop for my birthday*, I thought it would be a bit of fun (I feel one should be on guard against life being too serious especially at 52 years of age). I imagined that they get one from Poundland on the way home from school, but being the Internet shoppers they are (that, or they didn’t want to be seen on the  school bus with a hula hoop!) Tom sourced and ordered one online. But due to a little communications glitch Mr Uphilldowndale also ordered a hula hoop. I shall soon be in receipt of a second hula hoop.

Joe has enhanced todays image, with special effects

Through hoops -1 With fire

‘Have you tried looking for hula hoops on the Internet?’ asked Mr Uhdd ‘It is soooo complicated’. Many things are too complicated on the Internet, that is why I haven’t yet managed to decide which camera flash gun I want, I think I may have even started the process last birthday *sigh*. Mr Uhdd shopped here, they were very helpful and efficient.

* I’d like to point out I asked for a hula hoop before Grace Jones got in on the act at the Queens Diamond Jubilee Concert: come on Grace keep up…


Chicken Run

It is not just the chickens that have been running around, I barely been home for the last week, well that’s how it feels. A few more days at the same pace then I’m hoping for a little rest and relaxation.

You might remember we had three new chickens. As predicted the three senior chucks were not impressed. The daisy-belle went ‘broody’ within 24 hrs of the arrival of the newbies and has been sat in an old washing up bowl in the barn ever since. Senior Warren has been terrorising the new arrivals and as of today is looking a bit peeky, maybe the stress of it all has got to her.

The new girls spent a few days in the run, getting to understand where ‘home’ is. Then we left the door open for them to   step out and start exploring their new world.

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It didn’t pan out as we expected. when three, vagrant lambs that have been stalking the lanes of late decided the grass was greenest in the chicken run.

Chicken run 1-1

Poor chickens.

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We had to send teenagers to sort the pantomime out.

Chicken run 4-1


Spud on Sunday part LXIX

Spud the dog would like to hand over this Sundays post to Freckle


Freckle is a fire investigation dog, working with Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service

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Freckle was out and about today at the Emergency Services Open day which was in the  beautiful Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, here are the gardens on a colder day.

Freckle has some dandy little shoes (with Vibram soles to boot) to protect his paws when the going get hot or rough. (Spud would like a set so he doesn’t get friction burns on his pads when playing ball in the yard with Tom)

Freckle 2-1

Though at £75 a set, Spud can just go and play ball in the field, as tennis balls are cheaper to fund.

Freckle was not the only sighting of a Springer spaniel, there were a couple of hungry hounds with the Derbyshire Cave Rescue display,

Working dogs -1

I don’t imagine they are cave rescue dogs, but I’m happy to be corrected, I suspect they were just in it for a free lunch.