Uphilldowndale

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


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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog, 12th May 2013

Poor Spud, he has sensitive skin

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After the first day that resembled spring, one which Spud spent charging around the field  overnight he developed a sore looking patch on his neck, about the size of a 50p piece, it was troubling him, it was obviously very itchy. So Mr Uphilldowndale took him off to the vets. Where they shaved the fur off around the patch, Mr Uhdd said Spuds skin coloured up and started to swell in a flash. Poor Spud.

Spud came home with steroid cream, antibiotics, a fish oil supplement for his food and an £80 bill.

Dodger the kitten-cat decided after that upset, what everyone needed was a nice cup of tea, so he put the kettle on.

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The kitten-cats have, by their measure a very productive week, amongst others, we’ve got up in the morning to find a dead jackdaw (I’d have liked to see how they got it through the cat flap!)

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and a poor shrew that ended up with its head stuck in the mop bucket, not a nice way to go.

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I can report Spud is looking much better and adores the fish oil on his food. We just hope that unlike me, Spud is not allergic t the antibiotics.

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Iced Plum Jam

The deep freeze continues. But there are buds of hope. Jammy the kitten-cat would like to show you, look he’s pointing.

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Tiny blossoms are lying in wait.

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Here is the same tree on the 28th March 2011  it looks a little different, frosted granted, but not marooned in snow and ice. I think it’s wild plum, look I’ve even found a recipe for a recipe for wild plum blossom ice cream, written by Blanche Vaughn (I really couldn’t line up any more snowy, white  icy themes if I tried).

The snow isn’t going anywhere fast, here is the lane to our house.

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Here is Jammy tip-toeing through the snow.

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Snow Spectrum

It’s March for goodness sake, not even early March come to that, frosts and snow showers are acceptable but not blizzards.

I’ve been feeling a bit better today,  I felt inspired enough (from the warmth of my desk) to get the camera out of the bag  and capture  the snow, as seen through a bowl of iridescent glass baubles

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I was less keen about Jammy the kitten-cat and a bowl of baubles though.

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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog, March 3rd 2013

Spud the dog, retrieved a toy Landrover  from the rock pile* today . Goodness know how long it must have been there,  it must be years,  it’s a long time now since the boys played with such things.  It must have been pre Spud, which is just as well, seeing Spuds enthusiasm for  trying to chew the tyres off  it this morning.

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‘Back in the day’ there would have been endless opportunity for Spud to have devoured all sorts of toys. I can’t but wonder what made him dig it out today, for he must have passed it a thousand times before.

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Just as the boys specification for toys has changed, its all mountain bikes and computer games these days, so has the families idea of a suitable car. Our trusty family estate car, age 17, and with generous 290,000 miles on the clock will be off to pastures new any day soon.

I know, this post is a day late, I’m afraid  toothache got the better of me last night.

* All the stone, we’ve ever dug up,  or pulled down, since we moved here over twenty years ago. We have aspirations to make it into something more than a cairn, one day, one day.


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Spud and Ice

Not really the further adventures of Spud the dog, but we thought you might be pining for him, so here he is surveying the state of play of any remaining snow.

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A little left under the walls. But the temperature remains chilly.

Mr Uphilldowndale tipped me off that there were some very blog worthy icicles over the hill.  In fact he insisted we go take a look this morning before breakfast.

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Tucked away in a deep clough, that sees not much in the way of sunshine at any time of the year. The icicles have formed from water that oozed from between the rock and roots,

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dripping on to vegetation they seem to defy gravity at times; the Circ Du Soleil of the icicle world

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as the growing weight of ice shifts the centre of gravity.

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And the icicles head off in a different direction.

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Splashes of water on moss, freeze before they have chance to soak away.

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I feel this one has a touch of the Dale Chihuly about it.

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A Walk in the Park

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park to be precise. I walked further than I expected, but it wasn’t a problem, the day was bright and crisp.

I was bewitched by an ‘intervention’ by David Nash.

Seventy One Steps

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Made from oak that is charred and oiled they follow the lie of the land. The steps are set into 30 tons of coal, they will weather and erode into the landscape.  Climbing them, they felt were quite magical. They are no ordinary steps.

I thought the woods at the top of the steps were rather magical too.

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I loved the gnarled roots. I’m sure I heard somewhere that 90% of a trees roots are in the top two feet of the soil?

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Duncan obviously like it here, once upon a time.

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Behind the Bling

The  third and final post about the John Rylands Library in Manchester

I started out calling this post ‘Behind the Bling’ but that felt a little uncharitable. I’m not sure The John Rylands Library in Manchester ever ‘set its barrow down’ to be ostentatious, more a philanthropic sharing of knowledge, the gift of education  and a celebration of art, architecture and craftsmanship. (Oh and the fact northern money was as good as southern!)

An on the hoof  exterior photo as we dashed for our train, in the fading winter light

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Within  the building is a spectacular collection of historical documents and books. painstakingly catalogued and preserved for posterity.

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it is the third largest academic library in the United Kingdom, and the Deansgate building houses over 250,000 printed volumes, and well over a million manuscripts and archival items.

Many  are painstakingly shrouded for  their protection

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I looked at these books and carefully stored documents

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and thought how I would be a disaster working in this field

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(as disastrous as I’d be as an air traffic controller! each to their own!)

I hope you’ve enjoyed our tour around, pop over and have a look at the secrets of a more modern building over at VWXYNot? Fascinating.