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

Rock of Ages



This is a lump of rock my Dad picked up from the side of the road, near Castleton in Derbyshire, circa 1969 (we’ve visited the area before)

blue John rock

It is a very particular local stone, Blue John (for scale the rock is about the size of an orange). Dad gave it to me the day he took me down the Blue John Cavern, he wasn’t much into doing ‘family trips out’ so it is a special memory (and he probably took me down because my Mum would have flatly refused to do so!)

I don’t imagine you can find, or take such things these days*, you can however still see the evidence of Blue John, in some unusual places in and around Castleton.

I’ve come across Blue John several times this year, here in ornate splendour, in the church where my father-in-laws memorial service was held, in London.

blue John font_

It was obviously a big budget font when it was made!

blue John font 2

And in a shoe box of old  bits and pieces, which my Mum thinks came from a great aunts house, in the 1970’s, a cut piece of Blue John, that had probably been a brooch at sometime, but that had long since lost both its mounting and a chunk out of the edge.


I decided to get it recut and made into a necklace. I didn’t think to photograph it until I was about to hand it over in the Jewellers, so a hasty phone shot (that makes it look the size of a dinner plate; it wasn’t!) to show it before.

blue John stone_ 

And here it is all done, with mother of pearl underneath to lift the colour. I’m very pleased.

blue John necklace

Blue John is only found in Castleton, last year a long lost seam was rediscovered . And look even bats like Blue John.



* There are many Edwardian and Victorian houses around here, with garden rockeries made from limestone pavements, another no-no.


















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.

6 thoughts on “Rock of Ages

  1. Thanks for such an interesting post, and informative links. xx

  2. Beautiful.
    And I loved the new header on home page. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Family Roots | Uphilldowndale

  4. Pingback: Momento Mori | Uphilldowndale

  5. Pingback: The sum of the parts. | Uphilldowndale

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