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


Shooting the Sun

Point and shoot obviously, I wasn’t going to look directly at a solar eclipse


Whilst the light changed, the birds carried on about their business,

Eclipse blue tit

it didn’t seem as dramatic as the one in 1998 which I watched with Mum,

Mum in the Moon

it was the shadows I remember most vividly on that occasion.


It made me think of a favourite poem, by Roger McGough


Everyday eclipses

Roger McGough


The hamburger flipped across the face of the bun

The frisbee winning the race against its own shadow

The cricket ball dropping for six in front of the church clock

On a golden plate, a host of communion wafers

The brown contact lens sliding across the blue iris

The palming of small change

Everyday eclipses

Out of the frying pan, the tossed pancake orbits the Chinese lampshade

The water bucket echoing into the well, well, well

The lifebelt spinning past the open porthole

The black, snookering the cue ball against the green baize

The winning putt on the eighteenth

The tiddlywink twinking toward the tiddly cup

Everyday eclipses

Neck and neck in the hot air balloon race

Holding up her sign, the lollipop lady blots out the belisha beacons

The foaming tankard thumped on to the beer mat

The plug into the plughole


Two thin slices; first salami, then mortadella

In the fruit bowl, the orange rolls in front of the peach.

Everyday eclipses another day

Goodbye bald patch, hello yarmulke

A sombrero tossed into the bullring

Leading the parade, the big bass drum.

We hear cymbals but cannot see them

One eclipse eclipses another eclipse

To the cold, white face, the oxygen mask.

But too late

One death eclipses another death

The baby’s head, the mother’s breast

The open O of the mouth seeking the warm O of the nipple

One birth eclipses another birth

Everyday eclipses.


A Mothers Place is in the Shed


I’m the proud owner of my very own girl shed, workshop, studio, call it what you will: once it was a stable, and whilst we never kept a horse in it, we did keep a cow. Then it housed the lawn mower and Mr Uphilldowndale’s tools, and such like: now it has light, heat, hot and cold running water. The walls are smooth plaster over super cuddly insulated plasterboard.  Mr uphilldowndale has sourced a very nifty device which uses surplus electricity from our solar panels to heat it. I’m as snug as a bug in a rug, and very content.

The idea is that it  is my space for anything creative, my sewing machine, fabric and wool, the paints, inks and pencils that I seem to spend more time choosing than using.

I’m not fully settled in yet, but I had to unpack some treasures I’ve had stashed away since we cleared Mums house, a tobacco jar from my Dad’s garage, button boxes and bobbins, sort of a little still life arrangement, cum mothers day shrine, if you will; with some beautiful catkins. 

Mothersday collection

It was soothing to arrange a few things, simply for the pleasure of it, an antidote to the kitchen perhaps? (Heather would understand)

Kitchen Spud and Jammy 

I’m really not sure what I shall do in my new space. But I shall get creative and enjoy myself. (Did anyone watch The Big Painting Challenge on BBC2 tonight? Ouch those judges were savage… probably put more people off trying art than it encouraged. Shame.)


Frosted Fizz

A sharp frost overnight gave the great outdoors a bit of a boost this morning.

frost fizz

The garden was lifted from its damp decay.

frosted mahonia_

And the field effervesced

frosted leaf 

The remains of the field maple glowed in the cold.


And a spiders web was frosted filigree

frosted web

Whilst the hedgerow was barbed with ice.

frosted hedgerow-2


As a family we’ve come close to hibernation over the last couple of weeks,  I think we all needed it. I’m feeling torn now, between wanting to regain some semblance of routine back to my life, or staying in my cosy little world. Sigh.


The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog December 8th 2013

Just in case you are wondering, we are still here: buffeted and battered by high winds and a world full of ‘stuff’. We’ve been doing many things, but little blog writing.


Spud the dog has been supervising the delivery of photovoltaic panels for the barn roof.

He’d have been on this truck given half a chance.

spud and PV

Hats off to the truck driver who managed to get his tuck down and, more challengingly,  back up the lane, he  was patience and professionalism, personified.

spud and PV 2


It’s been  Dodger the kitten-cat who has been having the adventures. He jumped up, on to my desk and singed his fur on a lit candle! There was a flash of flame, a puff of smoke and an awful smell*…

He didn’t seem to realise what was happening, I had to scoop him up, he was stood astride it!

Please note singed fur…


He’s also had a sore eye and chunk taken out of his ear, there seems to be a territorial battle going on in the neighbourhood: it’s not easy being a kitten-cat.


* Yes I know the joke;

Q. ‘How do you make a cat go woof?’

A. ‘ You set him on fire’.



Tomorrow men and machine arrive to start the groundworks for the ground source heat pump. You might remember we had some serious digging going on in the field last year, after that job was completed we wanted to sow some seed, to heal the scars, we didn’t want to just use pure grass seed so we purchased some general purpose meadow mix from The Conservation Volunteers website


A little seemed to go a long way, which is a relief as it is not a cheap option. I’m just loving the flowers that have flourished,

meadow daisy


The seed contains fifteen native wild flowers and six species of grass.


I wondered if in a way, we were tinkering with the balance of plants we already had in our meadow, which is, I think we established is a wild meadow.


oxeye daisy_

But one of the flowers that has flowered is yarrow, and I remembered that years ago it used to flower in the field, but somewhere along the line, it has disappeared unnoticed, possibly subsumed by more bullish plants? So welcome back yarrow.



Edit, for Rupert, to show Spud is alive and well.



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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