A Second Glance

Amidst all that must be done after a bereavement, I have managed to slip away for a day of good company, delicious food and a little creative play time, it was such a tonic. My destination was near the Derbyshire village of  Sheldon. I hadn’t realised, approaching Sheldon from the direction of the village of Ashford in the Water, just how close I was too Magpie Mine, which seems to be a place I always stumble upon rather than a destination (although I have promised Mr Uphilldowndale I’ll take him there on one of our Friday excursions when we mange to get them back on our radar).



I paused by the farm (to let the moths out of my camera bag,it feels such a while since I took photos for fun!)

The cows were curious

Curious cow

and the farm cat had no option but a cold tin roof.

cat on a cold tin roof


Old time readers may remember my story of the bears in the belfry, well this story in the press today, totally upstages my furry flying friends. All thanks to the deliciously named and refreshingly successful Raspberry Pi  Well done you Pi makers.

Winter Walk

Nothing finer than a  winter walk for  the restoration of equilibrium, Mr Uphilldowndale and I were both in need the other afternoon. We went down by the river, always a good move.

Riverside walk-1

Up through the woods and across the fields.

late afternoon walk-1

Spud had a high old time, you can just see him here, heading off  towards a rather handsome wall, that’s topped with snow.

late afternoon walk 1-1

At the moment freezing rain is hammering against the windows and the rising wind has been piling snow back into the lanes this afternoon. The forecast is for the weather to get warmer over the weekend and for the snow to melt; we’ll be glad to see the back of it for a while I think. The weather conditions have led to tragedy.

We walked back past the church, not a bat or a bear in sight.

late afternoon walk church -1

I saw some photos of ‘ zombie snowmen’ in the press this week, I had to admire the skill in their making, their location was described as a disused graveyard in Bristol,  it led me to wonder, how can  graveyard be disused? Its not like a factory is it? Isn’t always going to be ‘in use’ by its residents?

Here, There and Not Quite Everywhere; Yet

We’ve been bouncing around the country like a pinball this week, the trusty family estate car (station wagon) clawing through the miles*, since the wedding in Oxford last weekend, destinations have included, Aberystwyth which is as difficult to get to as it is to spell, London, Manchester, Bakewell, Matlock and Bangor. And it’s not over yet, Stirling and two trips to Manchester have still to be chalked up this week.  Whilst we’ve had some rainy trips, we’ve managed to avoid the worst of the flooding that has blighted great swathes of the country, it is all to do with the Jet Stream apparently

At dusk tonight Spud  the dog and I went out for a spot of bat watching, no hope of capturing them on camera I’m afraid  they are too swift and agile for me to manage anything other than admiring them.

Another summer evening pleasure to my mind is the scent of the garden, however this year, to my nose the honeysuckle’s perfume seems rather diluted by the lack of good weather,


but closer inspection of an image taken with flash shows that as far as insects are concerned the honeysuckle is as attractive as ever.

woodbine -1

*We tried to travel by train, but the cost of fares and scheduling of trains put the mockers on that plan.

A Magical Place

Frosted lane-1

I think this lane is a magical place, all year round; in the summer evenings it’s perfumed with honeysuckle and its charcoal darkness is pierced with darting bats. At dusk you might be lucky enough to see a woodcock, scuttling around in the leaf litter. In the depths of winter acid yellow hazel catkins, bluebells in spring and at any time of the year a barrelling sparrow hawk  will sweep ahead of the car as you drive it’s steep  narrow and  twisting contours.

It’s steepness and narrowness make it unpopular with most drivers, which is just how we like it.

All That Remains

Hands up who wanted to see the mummified bat?  Well here it is, with a sewing thimble to give you an idea of the scale. He/she looks as if they are sleeping peacefully, the bones are so tiny and delicate, is that the pelvis, bottom left?

Bat 1-2 

As it’s Halloween and we’ve covered the origin of the festival before, I’ll continue with a ghoulish themed post, below a bird I found in my mums garden, it was only when I set it up at home to take the photograph and I looked at it through the long lens that I could see maggoty things emerging from it, yuk, I really should wear my glass more often.

bird 1-2

Tom was mystified with my little collection  skin of bones, ‘Why Mum? Why?’ he asked. I can only think it goes back to my school days I loved ‘nature walks’ and collecting ‘things’ and at secondary school we had an art teacher with a fine collection of animal skulls for still-life drawing (or should it have been still-death?) I’m not sure what animal this one is from, but if you want to do some research, start here.

Skull 1-2

One of my favourite photographs  by my favourite photographer, Murdo McCleod  features a ravens skull and Roy Kean 

And I mustn’t forget the frog or is it a toad? It can be best describes as desiccated, we found in a bucket of sand.

Frog Toad-2

There I think that is every ‘body’, Oh no, I forgot, there’s the little moles bones way back on this blog. Hummm, oh dear, I can think of a couple more, but I think this is enough for one evening.