Uphilldowndale

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


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Flashes of Light

How it has rained, and rained this week. The occasional burst of sunlight was very welcome.

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I can report that the  neighbouring lambs are ‘growing up with the grass’, or in this case the nettles, as this nettle bed seems to be a favourite haunt.

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This morning the sun brought out the bees, to the vetch ( in my head I could hear the theme to 633 Squadron as this bee swooped in)

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And the winberry flowers 

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Remember I was given a Trophy Cam for Christmas? Well its only taken us five months to actually set it up (blame the DIY) but look what we ‘shot’ on the second night.

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Brock the badger, we’ve always thought he was around, from the scrape marks and poo pits in the field; but other than one sighting in the lane (which must have been many years ago now, because Mr Uphilldowndale and Joe were coming home from Beaver Scouts) we’ve never seen him (or her) in the flesh.


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New Neighbours

We’ve new neighbours bouncing around in the field next door.

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They are as playful as spring lambs should be, doing their level best to do jumps with vertical take off; Tom commented ‘it’s just as well fully grown sheep don’t bounce around like that; the countryside would be mayhem’.

I always think their fleeces look two sizes too big for them at this age, a bit like the jumpers of school kids returning for the Autumn term.

I took these photos last week, when the sun shone, briefly.

sheep and lamb

This evening we have a weather warning for high winds, and rain is lashing down.The lambs have taken shelter in the lea of the walls, the ewes keep on with their relentless grazing, backs to the driving  rain. There are mouths to feed.


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Fortunate Finds

I’ve been squirreling away any little pieces of old crockery that have emerged during the building work (much to the amusement of some of the builders). I’ve had a fancy for a couple of decades now (you can’t rush these things) to make some sort of mosaic from the bits I’ve found…

Whilst most of it has been  Victorian blue and white pottery plus quite a lot of earthenware; some pieces stood, out as looking earlier.

slipware

I did a bit of rummaging around (AKA research)and found this delightful blog (which is sadly ‘resting’  as it is full of fascinating posts to be enjoyed) which would suggest it is indeed from the 17th or 18th century.

If I see our local museum is having a finds day, I’ll take them along and see what I can find out (they do write an interesting blog).

 

I’ve mentioned before that it is quite tricky to know just how old our house is. However a neighbour made a chance discovery, that a map of this area, from 1606 (yes sixteen hundred and six) rests in the National Archives at Kew.

He ordered a copy. It is delightful. I was so excited to see it, it was far more decorative and detailed than I imagined.

Map 1606

The detail, the trees, the gates and the fields (the boundaries of which we can still recognise) are carefully included. We can’t be sure our house is represented, as some of the detail doesn’t quite match up, but there were certainly homesteads nearby at that time. Maybe that is where the pottery out of ‘trench one’ came from. Who knows?

Map 1606 2

 

I think maps from this time must be quite scarce , apparently that this one survives results from the area, albeit in Derbyshire being part of the Duchy of Lancaster,  the map was drawn up in a land dispute, and forms part of their archives.

It has certainly whetted my appetite to try and find out more, when the dust settles.


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Bless This House

One of the reasons I’ve been absent from blogging  of late, is that we’ve had quite a big building project going on. I’ve no complaints about the guys working here, they’ve been great, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs and you certainly can’t knock an old house about without some disruption, noise and dust. It’s a scheme of works we’ve been planning for a long time

Construction gets in your head space, making decisions and sourcing everything from light switches to windows, gobbles up a vast amount of time  energy and money.

We’ve tried to chose our building materials carefully, recycling where ever possible,

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trying to do justice to the existing building. In addition we’ve been bringing insulation up to a higher standard.  Here is Rocky the cockerel checking out the acoustics and the under floor heating ( which is heated by  ground source heat pump).

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I was pleased when I found that we got to the ‘soft stuff,’  curtains, furniture, pot plants even. I went shopping at Ikea, at the checkout, I helped the Chinese couple in front of me in the queue to find the ubiquitous and ever useful Ikea ‘big blue bags’ I must have earned myself some good karma, for in return they explained that the house plant I had in my trolley was good feng shui for our home, and that it would bring us good fortune.

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All I can say is it certainly seems to be flourishing

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and I am indeed fortunate to have such a beautiful space, Spud and Jammy agree.

Ben Squeak_


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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.


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More Snow Forecast

It was heading for dusk when I drove over Peep o’ Day today. It remains cold and icy around here, and the forecast is for snow again tonight.

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Time to tend to the livestock and head indoors, the lights were already going on across the valley.

 

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The delightful name of Peep o’ Day, comes from the name of the farm house at the top of the hill, named I’m told because of it’s small window, that faces due east, and catches the first rays of the morning sun, at peep of day… that’s what my mum told me so it must be true. (You can stay there is you like). Oh and if you do come to stay; do this

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