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


Happy Christmas

From all the Uphilldowndales, and especially Spud


Spud Christmas paper_

Who just loves a nice bit of wrapping paper. He’d also like my nomnom chocolate a present from Tom, but he’s not having it.


nomnom chocolate_


Wishing you peace, health* and happiness.


*judging by how many  search hits I’ve had this last week looking for ‘Mr Muscle sore throat’ I’m hoping those who have cleaned their ovens in preparation for Christmas dinner, are well enough to enjoy their turkey…



On Christmas Day

Happy Christmas dear blog buddies, wishing you good health, peace and  happiness for 2013. The uphilldowndales are still here, all is well, but a little exhausting, but once we’ve recovered from the gluttony of Christmas day, blogging service will resume to something  that resembles  my idea of normality.

larch cones -1

Normality is looking very attractive. Spud the dog sends his love.


The Collectors’ Eyes

My blog lies unattended, my RSS feed is bulging at the seams, I’ve been absent without leave yet again. And it going to get worse before it gets better.

Last summer I decreed I was going to have a clear out, the boxes of ‘stuff’ that had come out of the loft the previous year when we had the house reroofed, and that were now languishing in the barn, were going to be sorted once and for all.  Some of the ‘stuff’ might once have been described as bric- a- brac ,  some of it I knew had a value but I didn’t know how to go about selling it; but now thanks to the world of eBay  it is ‘stuff’  that can be  found a new home.

Previously the Uphilldowndales have been shoppers on eBay, not sellers, I can tell you it has been a bit of an adventure and it has taken me six months to actually settle down and ‘just do it’. It has undoubtedly taken up swaths of time, energy and parcel tape*( the village post office is my new best friend). But what has been an unexpected bonus is some of the nice people that I’ve ‘met’ , not unlike the people I’ve met here in the world of blogs actually. I’ve particularly enjoyed hearing why people collect certain things and what make an  item a  ‘good ‘un’ **

I’ve sold things that I  whilst I appreciate the craftsmanship of,  I don’t necessarily want to share my life with. It has been rather cathartic, letting go, sending them off to new loving homes. OK, it has been fun too.

It has made me think what is not for sale too,  what is precious to me, for all sorts of reasons. For starters there are my vintage Christmas tree lights which I now know would sell for a pretty penny) and  then there is what my mum tells me is a ‘bread mug’; a large earthenware bowl, crudely made, a tad on the wobbly side but I’m simply fond of it.

Bread mug 1-1

What I love is the hand print in the glaze, made by the person that crafted such a utility item.

Bread mug 4-1

Today it has various uses, none involving bread: sometimes it is full of house plants others it might  be home to my most recent collection of fir cones and beach finds, sometimes it hosts only a spider.

Bread mug 3-1

One of the objectives in this mammoth clear out was to fund a new carpet for the lounge. I’ve achieved my goal,  and now I have to put some elbow grease where my money and my mouth is. There is an awful lot of work to be done before the carpet fitter can arrive.

Spud the dog will be along later to hold the blog fort, whilst we replace skirting boards, plaster walls and sweep chimneys. Spud may well have a paint brush tied to his tale.

*don’t buy Tesco parcel tape it smells of vomit.

** Mr Uphilldowndale say’s I should post a link to our eBay account then you could leave your comments whilst you did a little shopping


Christmas Left Overs

Like the rest of the country we are eating up the contents of the fridge, I relish the left overs more than the original Christmas dinner, as it provides a series of ‘easy teas’ with minimum input from me, and that sounds very tasty; but somehow there never seems enough of the right food to hit the spot for teenagers. Despite tins of chocolates, boxes of biscuits littering the house and the remains of a  large dead bird in the fridge, ‘I’m hungry; what’s to eat’ is still the cry reverberating through the house.

All day breakfast-1

The image above is a ‘left over’ photo from our holiday in Wales. It’s of  the  strapping ‘all day breakfast’ at the world famous ‘Pete’s Eats’ in Llanberis. I had a slightly more modest toasted cheese and tuna sandwich and very tasty it was too.

I read the section entitled ‘Pete’s Bistro’ on the  Pete’s Eats website, as a one time self-employed person, it chilled my spine. Brrrrrr