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


Mud Larks

When in Devon,Mrs Ogg and I went mud larking, I’ve a fondness for finding bits of pottery, and down on the foreshore of the Salcombe estuary I’d found a  quiet spot where there was plenty.

I think there must have been an old bottle dump nearby, that’s now giving up its treasures to the waves.

mud lark 2

It took a little while to get your eye in, broken pottery tends to look very much like broken sea shells.  I think Mrs Ogg had the best find of the day, I thought it looked like it might  Gothic Revival style what do you think?

crown swan


So what will we do with our treasure trove?

beach finds_

Earlier in the day I’d seen a rather inspiring piece of recycled ceramics. Mr Ogg thought we should cut out the mud and just buy it.

Pot pig_

I don’t think he quiet realised it was pretty much life size (and pigs, in my experience, are always bigger than you think they are going to be). 

But maybe Mrs Ogg and I should set the bar a little higher?


We weren’t the only ones to find treasure on the beach, Spud the dog returned home from his holidays with nine more tennis balls than he started with (and we know how much he loves tennis balls ) he made a nest of them in his bed. Happy dog.

Spud balls


Working with Nature

We’ve been visiting this part of Devon for many years, having our summer holidays here for the last 14 years; with each passing year we’ve noted the village of East Portlemouth  struggled to keep its community vibrant (no criticism intended, we know  a committed team work hard at many events) but the fact is there are less villagers and more holiday homes,  as an older generation passes. Indeed Mr Uphilldowndales aunt N was one of that community

So it was very exciting to see (and hear)  a new vibrancy to the village that has been brought my new tenants of the farm that wraps itself around the village, the aptly named Village Farm. The farm has lain unworked for a number of years and now its not so much being worked, as nourished, regenerative farming ;  delivered with an infectious enthusiasm and acres of passion.  I could try and describe their work, but I couldn’t do it as eloquently or a knowledgably,  So I’ll send you to the website of Village Farm,  do watch the video.

They use a method of grazing called ‘mob grazing’ a large number of animals, sheep in this case, in a small area of land for a short period of time, you’ll have to believe me if I tell you there are 800 in here somewhere…  happily and noisily munching away.

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Here they are coming down the village, with resident neighbours willingly mucking in with traffic and sheep herding (no dogs were used)

Village farm 7

They can move at quite a pace

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A view from the other side of the estuary gives an idea of what’s involved, this field, which will house the Field of Light, later in the year was grazed over three days

Village farm 11

Then it was time to move on to pastures new, with the sheep back off up the village again.

Village farm 3

The photographs on Village Farm’s facebook page are gorgeous, the sort of work that oozes from knowing your subject, field skills and, as mentioned,  acres of passion .

(We can’t wait to see the pigs next year).

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Welcome Home Ocean Valour

Salcombe gave a warm welcome home yesterday,  to two young me, Tom Rainey and Lawrence Walters, who had been at sea since May, rowing across the North Atlantic, from New York to Salcombe. It’s a long way in a small boat, that’s them in the centre of the shot

Ocean Valour 5

There were about 200 boats out on the water to escort them into harbour, Mr uphilldowndale was amongst them.. He is easily identifiable in the photos as the only small sailing dingy in the flotilla,

He assure me he wasn’t as close to the lifeboat as he appears to be

Ocean Valour 2

Mrs Ogg and I joined the  watching crowds on dry land, and whilst we kept our feet dry, our eyes were not;  it was very moving.  Tom and Lawrence, set out on this epic adventure, in memory of Tom’s Dad, Luke, who died of a brain tumour and to raise funds for The Brain Tumour Charity. They broke two world records en route, for the youngest pair to row the north Atlantic and for the distance rowed in twenty four hours

Ocean Valour 7

I can’t start to imagine how good a nights sleep might be after such a voyage, but I’ll bet they slept well, and that their families, especially, Tom’s mum, slept just as soundly, knowing they were home safe.

The expression on Tom’s mums face, (in the white jacket) say’s it all.

Ocean Valour Tom's Mum_

Donations can be made to The Brain Tumour Charity at Tom and Lawrence’s Just Giving page.

Ocean Valour 9

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the press with the Royal Marines

Ocean Valour Press boat_

A seaside assortment….

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Ocean Valour 13

Ocean Valour 12

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On the tide

An elegant arrival in the harbour yesterday afternoon.

Tall ship 3

A ship with presence Mrs Ogg and I decided, galleon like we thought (you can tell we are the none ‘boaties ‘ of our party). Which in turn brought to mind to our minds  the Joyce Grenfull’s sketch


Tall ship 2

It is the Stavros S Niarchos, part of the Tall Ships Youth Trust, signing up on ships like this can be life changing events.

In has a draft of over 15 feet, so there is not  a lot of space to spare in the harbour. She was deftly manoeuvred into place by the crew and two harbour launches

Tall ship 4

This afternoon Mr Uphilldowndale and I walked around the coast path, just before high tide she glided out, past Bolt Head, back out to sea. 

Tall ship 5


Sea and Sand

We’re back again, in south Devon, for the 14th consecutive summer. Its just as beautiful as ever

East Portlemouth ferry

Mr Uphilldowndale snapped these fish on his way to get the morning paper.

fish in the sea_

As ever we have joined with a large extended group of family and friends, our children are growing up now, they come and go, but they all want to get here if they can. Which is just lovely.

silver light_


Delivery Failure

I glibly promised more posts then disappeared off the the blogosphere.

All is well with us, but our Internet access has been rather dire.

Spud the dog is concerned his fan base might be diminishing. So I’ll post a laid back photo of his Devon Holiday.


Return to normal connectivity is anticipated next week. Watch this space.


I’ve Never Seen

A seahorse, I used to think they only lived in  warm, tropical seas, but apparently they live here, amongst the seagrass  beds in Salcombe harbour (when the tide is in, obviously, when the seagrass would be all floaty and a nice place to hang out if you were a seahorse.)

Seagrass beds 3

The other thing I couldn’t manage to capture on camera, were water spurts, from razor fish, shooting up in front of me, from the sand, some twelve inches or so high. They  hide in the sand at low tide, all that was to be seen was the hole in the sand. Not very exciting is it…

Seagrass beds_

I tried to find a video of such a thing, but I couldn’t see that either. I did manage to find a little more about them though.

However some folk have for more success at capturing natures more elusive moments. Watch and enjoy.


Oh and here is another animal that has been elusive, Spud the dog, enjoying the sea, wearing his smart harness, purchased to replace the one trashed in the sledging foray.  It’s an all together beefier little number than the previous one; Spud thinks it makes him look like a proper working dog, even on holiday

Sea Spud


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