Uphilldowndale

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


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Two for the price of one, part one.

A potpourri of posts, about our adventures and experiences of the last few months whilst I’ve  been a lax blogger. 

August. Two galleries in one weekend.  First stop the Harley Gallery,  at Welbeck.  Welbeck and the Portland collection was somewhere  completely off my radar until I stumbled upon a workshop by the very gifted Mrs Bertimus, which was hosted in studios of Hope and Elvis, part of the creative complex of studios in the grounds of Wellbeck.

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I came home to tell Mr Uphilldowndale all about it; so we decided to visit.

As well as the collection and the gallery, with it’s changing exhibitions.

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The neatly landscaped gallery had some interesting fruit trees, this is I’m told a medlar, I’d not heard of  them before, maybe that is no surprise

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and a golden pear.

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There is a farm shop too, oh my, meat out of the league of the average supermarket.

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We pitched our van on the Welbeck campsite, it was quite, we were the only visitors.

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The Road North

Thirty Days Wild, a post each day throughout June, something that is grounded in our wild world.

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I’m up for this, I’ve done it before, I’ve a bit of a cop out on the delivery though this year.  Mr Uphilldowndale and I are on the road, with Spud the dog of course. We’re taking a three week tour in the campervan, a week visiting  the Orkney Islands, and driving the North Coast 500 route around the northern coast of Scotland. Daily delivery of posts may not be possible,  there are so many variables, when I find an Internet connection, expect a flurry of posts. Posts will not be exclusively ‘wild’  as there is so much to share, but nature will be here in all its glory.

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Post box, Isle of Sanday

First of all how did we get here? It’s a long drive from Derbyshire (over 500m),  we waved as we tootled along past Tootlepedal’s patch, and broke our journey by calling to see the magnificent  Kelpie sculptures at Falkirk, I’d wanted to see them ever since I saw the video of their construction. I was not disappointed.

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How skilful to get such shape and tone to the muscle structure out of sheets of metal.

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Mr Uphilldowndale wanted to know the nuts and bolts of their construction

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The Kelpies were having a little grooming

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We then went on to call, unannounced, on M and J in Kincardine,  M used to work with me in my ‘wee flower shop’, in Alloa, some 26 years ago, we had not seen them since then. We had a lovely evening with them, and camped out on their drive for the night, their kindness and generosity was just as I remembered. A wonderful start to our adventure

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As we travelled north we were struck by the gorse, it was prolific

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and its vivid colour and perfume,  sweet with notes of coconut, swept along with us.

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Kew Palace

We’ve been to London, not see the Queen, but to see family, and whilst we were there we did two things, we went to the National Archives, to take a look at the war diaries of the time my father spent in Burma, during WWII  with the 864 ME  Coy Royal Engineers.  It was an emotional experience.  And deserves a blog post of its own. I need a little time to bring my thoughts together first though. 

Afterwards, to decompress, we went to Kew Botanical Gardens, a favourite place.

We’d not been to Kew Palace before (which stands within the gardens) its a gem of building. Imbued with history, its been a home to the Royal family as far back as 1729.

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But what we liked about its that for the best part of two centuries it stood empty,  which meant many things were left unchanged, it escaped the passing fashions of the time.

I thought the soft light and the colour of the clerks of the kitchen’s office rather special. 

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The dinning room  is set for the first meal King George was allowed to eat with a knife, as he recuperated from a period ‘of madness’ at Kew

In 1788 the whole nation was thrown into turmoil as the King was declared ‘mad’ after the onset of a mysterious illness, probably porphyria. This is a hereditary blood disorder that can cause temporary mental derangement.

Roast rabbit was on the menu, I think you might wish to take a knife to it!

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They were not the only delicacies…

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The top floor of the building is unrestored,  we liked seeing the way the building was put together,

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I’m always drawn to a little sparkle though

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The room guides were as imbued with the history as the building itself.  We’d have missed the detail and craftsmanship of this  original window, were it not for the guide

Kew Palace window

And who knew the Royal Palaces have a sash window expert that maintain these troublesome devices so they can be lifted with a finger.


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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.

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

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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,

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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

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

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

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Where the wind blows

We are still awaiting the return of of our telephone connection, storm Doris seems such a long time ago now.  We’ve all been juggling with our mobile data quota, I have a long to-do list on my desk.  Mr Uphilldowndale has spent a lot of time listening to the  ‘music’ whilst awaiting a conversation with Plusnet. Their service isn’t what it once was.

We left it all behind and went to south Wales to see Joe, and spent a couple of nights on the Gower, we’ve been there before.

Looks like they get proper windy weather, all the time.

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We had a lovely walk along the coast path to Rhossili 

Coast path Rhossili

and enjoyed a welcome beer over looking the bay. I thought it might be a bit cool sat outside with Spud the dog, but the wind dropped and the sun broke through warming our backs. It was delightful.

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Turning water into snow

We zipped over to Bangor in Wales to visit Tom yesterday. Spud  the dog came too, of course. 

Tom is the epitome of the hungry student, so we took him for a suitably large fry-up at Pete’s Eats in Llanberis, before  a stroll by the lake it was a damper day than the weather forecast would have us believe.

Tom told us the autumn colours have been very vibrant, and even after a spell of stormy weather, there are leaves still to be found, there is a bit of of a chocolate lime vibe going on here.  .

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Of course you can’t get such lush moss without a water laden climate

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Or reflections without pools

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So we don’t mind the rain too much, that said it was less fun on the M56 on the way home during the rush hour.

Today the temperature has dropped like a stone, it has been so wet and gloomy the chickens retreated to their run by about two thirty.  Tonight we expect the first snowflakes of the season. Watch this space.


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The Up’Ards and the Down’Ards

I don’t think I’ve ever brought you post about Ashbourne, I  really should, it has some very interesting buildings and history, that deserve a closer look than a cursory glance as I drive through (The A515 is not my favourite road, we have history, that road and I).

The nearest neighbour I’ve blogged about, is probably the lovely snowdrops at Hopton Hall which will be looking splendid, right now I guess.

 

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or  the rather eerie Magpie Mine.

Ashbourne has a very famous shrovetide football event, played by the Up’Ards and Down’Ards; it is not for the faint hearted. It laughs in the face of health and safety assessments.  Here is the history, and here is a contemporary account, from BBC RadioDerby.  I’ll stick to snowdrops.