Uphilldowndale

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


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Storm and tempest.

The weather over the last 24 hours, can leave us in no doubt the Summer is over. High winds and torrential rain have roughed thing up a bit.

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If the leaves can hang to the trees for a little longer I think we might be in for a particularly good display of Autumn colours, thanks to our long hot summer.

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Away with the fairies

Onwards into south Wales, Joe is living and working in Cardiff , on his placement year, part of his university course. We brought a van load of ‘essentials’ and helped settle him into his new abode.  We took the opportunity to head on to our favourite spot on the Gower peninsular, Nicholaston camp site, as well as  the joys of underfloor heating in the shower block, it has easy access down on to the beach. The path takes you through ancient woodland, with many autumn delights

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Once through the woods, the path laces through the dunes,

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that have abundant flowers

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so much for snails not liking sand and prickly things

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I felt a little guilty that I hadn’t brought Spud the dog down to the beach with me, but the plan had been for a medative kind of meander, that was led by the eye, not the tennis ball; walking three Springer Spaniels must be a whole different ball game

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There was much  beauty hiding in plain sight

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A reminder of the lunacy of British politics flashed up every now and then.

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The tide sorts the shells by size, the waters draining from Oxwich marsh,

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sweep them out to sea again.

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Growing on Trees

 

There are some beautiful trees at Westbury Court Gardens,  this is star of the show

Westbury Court M'toe 3 uhdd-1A 300 year old oakWestbury Court  oak uhdd-1.jpgIt has some cohabitees, I don’t know what species of fungus is, the bees seemed quite interested in it, the beads of liquorice black, looks like the patina of Jacobean furniture, you normally see inside National Trust properties; whilst the tree is old, I don’t think the fungus is  Westbury Court  Fungi  3 uhdd-1.jpgThere were fungi that had a much fresher look,  this fabulous,  mustard yellow specimen for example, it looks smooth, not unlike like deer antler velvet (oh here I go off on a blogging tangent, who ever knew deer antler velvet was harvested for medicinal use! Not me until I just googled deer velvet to make sure I was using the correct term…)

Westbury Court  Fungi uhdd-1.jpgI think this was a species of ash tree,  I was more concerned in avoiding the bees nest we were warned that was lurking under the bark, or at least making sure Mr Uhdd, kept out of their way,  (they don’t get on very well) Westbury Court  Fungi  2 uhdd-1.jpgThere was a lovely cluster of the  semi parasitic plant mistletoe it doesn’t grow in ‘up north’ so I was interested to get a close look,  I don’t usaly get a look any closer that spotting its globe like form in the bare winter trees as we whizz down the M50Westbury Court M'toe 2 uhdd-1I think the host tree was a species of hawthorn,  I being botanically lax in this post aren’t I?Westbury Court  M'toe  4uhdd-1.jpgWhat I do know is what grows on trees, falls off, naturally. Falling conker


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Flower of the Hour

Hibiscus

Hibiscus trionum, AKA the Flower-of-an Hour,

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I can live with the ephemeral life of the flower, if it delivers such delightful seed heads ( @ £1.95 for a packet of seeds, I might have to have a crack at growing these).

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Spotted during a brief* visit to Westbury Court Garden which was a little gem of a place.

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Laid out in 1696-1715 its a Dutch style water garden,

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its first lucky break was to fall off the fashion radar at the time of Capability Brown’s Landscape School, when many such gardens were destroyed,

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secondly was to be rescued by the National Trust in 1967, in a state of neglect and disrepair, and thirdly was the archive materials, that showed which plants were planted where, how many of each and how much they cost (more or less than £1.95 I wonder?)

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A rather romantic vibe

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Although I imagine the A48 was quieter then!

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*Flat tyre on the M5, delayed our journey, it’s not a nice place to be, on the hard shoulder, with traffic thundering past; glad when we were safely on our way again after the support of the RAC. When it comes to changing tyres on the motorway, leave it to the experts, it delayed us by an hour, which is nothing in the scheme of things. .

 

 


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Best of Both Worlds

Here we are tipping into Autumn, and I’m not through with photos and adventure from May yet.

I’m going to wrap up our tour of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, with my favourite photos of my favourite moments. That I was there, and saw such beauty, and had such a privileged glimpse into another world is almost dream like.

I’ll let the photos do most of the talking.

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A whale watching trip, with Whale Watch West Cork

If I’d seen little more than a few fins I think I’d have been happy,

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But we got so much more than that, we got

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these views and the knowledge and experience of Nic Solcum  

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The pod of dolphins short-beaked common dolphins  turned and tumbled in the wave from the bow, after a little while* Nic cut the engines and let them swim off, about their business. There was a little German girl on the boat, aged about five, she stood at the bow, and waved them goodbye. I’m pretty sure she will always remember the experience, I know I will.

*No idea how long, it was one of those experiences where time takes on a pace of its own.

 


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Spud on tour

Did Spud the dog enjoy touring Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way? (Well, the small part we managed, so much to see, do, and enjoy, we’ll be returning). Yes he did.

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It’s twelve months now, since he broke his elbow in three places.  You can see his stance in this photo, it’s not perfect

 

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but he can steam around with all the enthusiasm you’d expect from a Springer, his mobility is far better than we could have ever imagined at the time of his accident. Surprisingly (to us, at least) his biggest issue from his accident has been his hip, which causes him some discomfort, we’d noticed just before his accident that he’s been running with a bunny hop and seemed to find stairs difficult, we discussed only days before that we perhaps ought to be taking him to the vets.  As it happen we’ve been to the vets a lot since then!

Spud has hip dysplasia, as do so many dogs. After his accident and surgery he had to have ‘crate rest’ for six weeks, and many months of little or no exercise, during this time he lost quite a bit muscle tone, and he’s struggles to use his leg as he should and keep its mobility. ‘Use it or lose it’ doesn’t really work for a dog, so he has physiotherapy and hydro-therapy, he’s less keen on the latter, He occasionally falls asleep during his physio sessions though, once the ‘uncomfortable’ bits are done. He’s a model patient.