Uphilldowndale

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


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The Colour Orange

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There is something very appealing to me, about these  seakale forcing pots, is it the colour, the orange and the blue grey of the leaves? I do like a blast of orange, more photos from Westbury Court Garden

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Strong

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Zesty.

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Lovely.

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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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Mizen Head

Ireland’s most southwesterly point, and home to the Mizen Head Signal station, as you can see, it’s an isolated spot that is enhanced by modern paths and an essential bridge (to my mind)

Mizen head view

We didn’t need telling more than once

Dangerous cliff

We were keeping to the paths.

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Which had their own attractions

Mizen Head orchid rock

 

Mizen Heasd chain

We are duty bound to photograph such feats of engineering, as Joe is studying civil engineering, and like to see a nice bridge.

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The signal station is now a museum, much of its original equipment remains,

Distress_

Mizen_

Along with documents,

Mizen Head Telegram

which kind of looked a bit haphazard, but one hopes they’ve been catalogued

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This was my favourite, an inventory of  tubes and fuses, who need an Excel spreadsheet eh? I like the faux alligator skin print of the cover

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Working here must have been an isolated life, you weren’t going to see a lot from the window, and certainly not the next landfall of America, it does feel like the edge of the world.

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and before the bridge was built, there were only a few ways of leaving.

Mizen Head Rescue

We had the luxury of walking off, although Mr Uphilldowndale, was keeping to the centre of the bridge, and not looking down.

 

Mizen Head Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Conor Pass

The Conor Pass is one of the highest and most scenic roads in Ireland.  The day we drove over, the conditions were good, and traffic was light.  Mr Uphilldowndale had ridden his bike to the summit the previous day, and had not seen very much at all.

Conor Pass

It’s narrow and steep, but whilst I wasn’t driving, I didn’t think it wasn’t as arduous as Hardknott Pass  in Cumbria or Bealach na Ba in Scotland  (I’m sure the weather helped)

Conor Pass rocks

The view was stunning,

Conor Pass sumit

I loved the birdeye view of the ancient croft and sheep pens down in the valley.

Conor Pass walls

 


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Brandon Creek

Brandon Creek, on the Dingle peninsula, part of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. It was a benign little natural harbour the day we visited, but it obviously has history, the weather was such that we never saw the big Atlantic rollers that hit this coast line.

Danger Waves

If the waves don’t get you maybe the bracken will?

There is something very pleasing to the eye about the butterfly sticker on this warning sign, it’s the symmetry I think, but it doesn’t detract from the message.

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This was the home of St Brandon the Navigator, allegedly.

He is known as the “navigator” for the legendary journey he made by boat which some have claimed was an account of an early discovery of the North American continent. Unfortunately, like many Celtic “saints”, there is considerable doubt over his true identity, whether his life story is a merger of several lives and legends, or indeed if he existed at all

The clouds hugged the hills

Cottage for sale

The cottage in the photo was for sale, if you fancy a little project, I don’t imagine it has much in the way of services (or a damp proof course for that matter).

DIY challenge_

If you take a closer look at the first photo of the cottage you can see, in the foreground, the muddy, bank? That’s a landslip, the harbour eating its way inland,  so I’m guessing insurance might be an issue, buyers may have to offer up a prayer to St Brandon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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N is for nurse

For me part of trying to understand the Great War is about trying to understand the social norms of the time. 

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And what was ‘the norm’ seems  strange and sometimes abhorrent now.  Attitudes to gender, race, class,  the fate of those that were shot at dawn, for cowardice, for what now would have been recognised as shell shock.

Both Mr Uphilldowndale and I have family that were either medical orderlies or medics,  my great uncle is on the far left of this photo, I’m assuming he would have served with the Sherwood Foresters regiment, but I’m not sure. (If any passing reader can tell me anything about when and where this photo was taken, please do, as there is not detail written on the back).

WW1 Medical

It was when I saw the bunker at Essex Farm Cemetery  that was used as am advanced dressing station the grim reality of the conditions hit me. Confined and claustrophobic,  the stream of catastrophically wounded soldiers that passed under its gas curtain is an unbearable thought. 

It is the grim reality that adjacent to the advanced dressing stations were the hastily dug graves, that became the last resting place of many of the casualties. I suppose at least these guys had a marked grave.  Small mercies.

Women weren’t allowed this close to the front, they were further back in the evacuation line, which was all things considered very sophisticated, and necessity being the mother of invention the Great War led to many medical advances that we take for granted today. But at such a cost.

Nurse Nellie Spindler was one of only two women to be killed and buried in Belgium during the Great War, she was a Yorkshire lass.

Watch and listen here


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Weather Window

Last week we took a couple of nights away, in the Lake District. It’s hard to believe looking at the weather today.

We’ve got the campervan geared up for cold weather, it has a very effective diesel heater and we’d chosen a site with a hook up for power. The Quiet Site,  was perfect for our needs, one of those neatly run sites that keeps everything running smoothly with out being too officious about it and a very toasty shower block was always going to win me over. 

Another bonus was that the site bar was open, being ‘out of season’ we weren’t expecting that . Winter campervanning can be snug and cosy, but it does get a bit tomb like, so a nice beer in front of a roaring fire, just a few yards from the van was as welcome as it was sociable.

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Mr Uphilldowndale entertained himself with a bike ride up The Struggle and over Kirkstone Pass the highest major road in the Lake district,  I mooched  around with the camera; we were equally content.

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Ullswater

We both took a stroll by lake Windermere,  having visited the wonderful Blackwell House,  I’ll post about it.

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Windermere

Did you know  that lake Windermere had not one but two very early airfields?

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The The start of seaplane flying in Britain can be traced to Lake Windermere, where H. Stanley Adams first became airborne in the Lakes Waterbird floatplane on 25 November 1911.

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One man and his dog, Windermere