Uphilldowndale

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


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Voyage of Discovery

Orchid Stromness_

Thirty Days Wild,  thirty posts that started in June and are still limping along! I’ll get there in the end…  something that is grounded in our wild world. This year posts are from our travels around the  north coast of Scotland  on the North Coast 500 route and a visit to Orkney. Stand by, for lots of sky, sea, wildlife, history, Spud the dog and random musings.

 

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_22

You may have noticed it has been taking me a while to get these posts out, there are many reasons,  good and bad,  but one of them is how long it takes me to read around the links I want to add to my post. With every click of a search engine, I’m finding more and more that grabs my attention and imagination. There is the occasional disappointment of course, something I wish I’d know about before we set off on this journey, something we’ve missed as a result. I suppose it is the eternal dilemma of travelling, how much do you prepare, or  how much of the fun of travel is the  unexpected discovery.

The town of Stromness, Orkney for example, it  was full of surprises,  from the orchids (photo above) growing on a little waste ground near the campsite,  to the town itself, it appears perfectly preserved, look at the main street.

Stromness 3

(We missed a sign taking us an easier route to the campsite, I did wonder what rabbit hole I was disappearing down as I drove the camper van through the ever narrowing street).

So little street furniture, signs, road markings, sale boards  and general stuff. I wondered how it had managed to remain so intact, has it been restored to this, or has it just sidestepped change? Then (wandering around the Internet again) I found photos of this street from the 70’s and 80’s it looked  pretty much just the same (a gorgeous little collection of photo journalism).  I also discovered that the Townscape Heritage Initiative is the mover and shaker of this exemplary street, and for support the beautiful shops and galleries 

Stromness 8

It is a town stuffed with sea faring history, with a heritage of whaling, exploration and was the recruitment centre for The Hudson Bay Company, the knowledge and skills of the seamen of this town being highly sought after.

Stromness 10

 

I found this enchanting little film, made by the primary school children in Stromness, I’m sure I recognise the cat that makes an appearance, the film will tell you all about the history. I wanted to show you the crow-step gables, a feature of Scottish architecture

Stromness crowstep 

At every corner, a route down to the quayside, back in time there would have been wooden piers built to cope with the influx of mackerel boats and so many boats moored here, you could walk across them.

Stromness 11

The museum is full of quirky artefacts, and slightly scary mannequins (which did seem to be a feature of the museums we visited)

Stromness 9

But maybe the biggest surprise though was The Pier Arts Centre, a vibrant gallery, of contemporary art, including over 20 works by Barbara Hepworth, what a gem of a place. 

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More Memory Please

Here I am.  Mr Uphilldowndale has set my computer free from its festering mire of  data, and uncovered the truth, that my new Samsung phone really doesn’t like ‘sharing best pictures’  with Lightroom, it was nothing personal.  To get things moving again I’ve even had more memory installed, sigh, I wish that was personal. Especially if it was short term memory, it’s something I’m always a bit short on.

I’ve had a lovely time this weekend, I took myself off to a  mixed media workshop, by the fabulous Mrs Bertimus. Look at her lovely work.

Mrs B 11

So much to aspire to,  so much fun to be had,

Mrs B 1

so much care and preparation given to  the making of our day, we couldn’t have asked for more.

We were at the studios of Hope and Elvis,

Mrs B 9

I not the sort of girl, that would fancy a ‘spa day’ but the kind of hospitality  received at Hope and Elvis, is the creative equivalent to a spa day, a warm welcome all the materials you could ever need delicious food and very importantly as much tea as you can drink. I can’t believe I’ve got this far through the post and not mentioned the cakes

Mrs B cake_

The eating of cakes was a serious matter, there were even written instructions. You can’t argue with that.

Mrs B 8

I’m off to my girl shed to have some fun

Mrs B 5


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A Mothers Place is in the Shed

 

I’m the proud owner of my very own girl shed, workshop, studio, call it what you will: once it was a stable, and whilst we never kept a horse in it, we did keep a cow. Then it housed the lawn mower and Mr Uphilldowndale’s tools, and such like: now it has light, heat, hot and cold running water. The walls are smooth plaster over super cuddly insulated plasterboard.  Mr uphilldowndale has sourced a very nifty device which uses surplus electricity from our solar panels to heat it. I’m as snug as a bug in a rug, and very content.

The idea is that it  is my space for anything creative, my sewing machine, fabric and wool, the paints, inks and pencils that I seem to spend more time choosing than using.

I’m not fully settled in yet, but I had to unpack some treasures I’ve had stashed away since we cleared Mums house, a tobacco jar from my Dad’s garage, button boxes and bobbins, sort of a little still life arrangement, cum mothers day shrine, if you will; with some beautiful catkins. 

Mothersday collection

It was soothing to arrange a few things, simply for the pleasure of it, an antidote to the kitchen perhaps? (Heather would understand)

Kitchen Spud and Jammy 

I’m really not sure what I shall do in my new space. But I shall get creative and enjoy myself. (Did anyone watch The Big Painting Challenge on BBC2 tonight? Ouch those judges were savage… probably put more people off trying art than it encouraged. Shame.)


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Made in Cley

Mrs Ogg and I visited the pretty village of Cley-next the Sea,

Cley next the Sea

We didn’t see the sea, but we did many beautiful things.

I was very keen to visit the Pink Foot Gallery, I’d admired  from afar the work of wildlife artist Brin Edwards, and was keen to view.  There were so many beautiful things in the gallery, Mrs Ogg challenged me to chose my favourite, money no object*  what would be my take home piece. I was hard pressed to select, but Ithink it would have been one of Anthony Theakston’s ghostly owls (I’ve had the odd run in with owls before).

Over the road was Made in Cley, a wonderful place full of hand made ceramics, and  art. The shop in its self, (the yellow building, left of shot, was a delight, worn, polished floor boards and original fittings.

Cley

Like most of the shops in Cley, it came complete with a large cat perched on the counter (Flighty, there’s yet another delightful book shop too).

Around the side it had its own private railway…

Cley 2n

One more Norfolk post to come. Then I’ll head for home.

 

(*And you would need quiet a bit: it was noted there seems to be quiet a bit of disposable income sloshing about this part of Norfolk, or at least the places to spend it, the two aren’t necessarily the same.)


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Gilding the Lily

Lilies do not need gilding, nor do orchids really. But I couldn’t quite stop myself  from adding this art deco brooch to an orchid plant. The colours are just magnetically drawn to one another.

gilding the orchid

I‘ve spent the afternoon, surrounded by magazines and scraps of paper and glue, in an arty collage workshop event, I had a lovely time. I do need to play out more,things have been far too serious of late.  I need to feed my soul.

 

I’m told it is my blogs seventh birthday today, my blog would like me to play out more too.


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Friends Old and New

Happy New Year dear blog buddies.

I don’t know about you, but it’s  a while since I’ve seen a  nice sunset, here is one from stock,  just to tide us over until this relentless wind and rain abates.

three trees december

 

I’m delighted to see that our dear friend Gerry has reappeared on the blog scene, I’ve missed her  wisdom, musings and whimsy so very much.

 

WordPress provided me with their  annual number crunching review of my blog, the gist of the ‘feedback sandwich’ was that 2013 wasn’t a vintage year for my blog. But then, I knew that.

 

I’ve been missing my blogging opportunities, and have resolved to ‘do better’ in 2014. Not because blogging is something I ‘should do’ but something I want to do,  my life is richer for it. I’ll need to get out more, in real world mode and in blogging mode.  So with that in mind, this weekend I’m aiming to zip off into Manchester, to catch, an exhibition by the skin of its teeth (it ends on 4th of Jan, just missing an exhibition is a reoccurring theme in my life). It’s ‘no photography allowed’ but as it  entitled  ‘Brains. The Mind as Matter’ I’m sure it will give me something to think about.

 

I’ve taken stroll out around the blogging world too, over the holiday, and fell upon this delicious blog, enjoy.