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


Spud the dog, an update

You may remember, Spud the dog is recuperating from an operation to remove a lump from his shoulder.

The good news is the lump was nothing sinister, and he has been taking his recuperation very seriously

spud 2

However the wound wasn’t healing well, so he’s had his stiches removed and after weighing up all the options it was decided the best bet for Spud was to leave the wound open to heal. It’s not been pretty. But he has been a very good patient and has allowed me to bathe the wound in salt water and apply an ointment containing Manuka honey *  The good news is that  it is healing, its not weeping now and  the hole in skin has gone from hens egg size to small plum size in the last six days.

We’ve found a  protective collar that is more comfortable for him and us, a Buster collar

Spud Buster

it just about stops him from reaching the wound, for as you can imagine a combination of salt and honey is as near a salted caramel as he’s going to get, and smells very tasty! So he is keen to give the area a good lick.

He’s in reasonable spirits for a Spring Spaniel under house arrest, nothing wrong with his appetite though.  Here he is fancying a rather delicious egg custard that Mr Uphilldowndale isn’t willing to share.

Spud Buster 2 

He’s waiting and waiting to play ball…



* I think the vet may well have prescribed the Manuka Honey as a placebo for me, the ‘first-aider’ in me has struggled with the concept of leaving the wound uncovered.


Sick of Snow?

Most people seem to be so, there’s still plenty of it about; there have been beautiful bright days; the sort of thing that would normally send me scurrying for my camera. snow landscape 3

But there have been a bit of a problem. Joe and I have had a nasty bout, of what we think was Norovirus,  not nice at all, I can tell you.

Joe was first down, in the small hours of Sunday morning. I followed on Monday night, I certainly don’t feel up to par yet. What can I tell you about Norovirus? Stay close to the bathroom, really work and get fluids down and I mean work, a pack of rehydration treatment in the medicine cupboard would be a good idea.

I went into quarantine in Tom’s room, rough as I felt, I did still love watching the light move across the snowy hills and the beautiful moonlit nights (I didn’t draw the curtains).


and I did have some company.


Spud and squeak were as interested in  warmth, sleep and comfort as I was.


Longer Days

Taxal Moor

The days are getting a little longer, the nights a little shorter, lovely.

I do struggle with the dull short days. Goodness knows how I’d fair in a Scandinavian country; I’m guessing that very grumpily,  and whilst stuffing my face with comforting ginger pudding and custard,  that I’d come to a grinding  halt. It’s no wonder Scandinavian countries make such a celebration of mid summer

This photo was sunset last Thursday. Rain on Friday cleared the snow and the weekend has seemed pleasantly mild. The forecasters say the cold weather will be back with vengeance this week  (hopefully not like areas of the USA though)


A Quiet Christmas

Seasons greetings to you all. We’d planned a quiet Christmas at home, just the four of us; which was just as well as Mr Uphilldowndale, Tom and I have all been unwell, coughs, achy limbs, headaches and fever.

Last night it started to snow, bringing the sort of dawn today that I’d normally leap out at all blue sky and crispy snow clad trees.

snow fields 2

But I didn’t feel like venturing far from home.

icy twiggs_

Just around the field

snow fields_

The garden, where the trees looked particularly elegant.

snow trees_

And a peek down the lane.

snow lane

For those of you missing Spud the dog, here he is, after a burst wrapping paper shredding on Christmas day.

Spud Christmas day


Visiting Time

We are off to Wales to see Tom tomorrow. It is rare for us to venture out on the roads on a bank holiday weekend, but Tom hasn’t been home over the Easter holidays as he’s been to Greece climbing, and we are keen to see him (Spud the dog is coming too).

I’ve a heap of photos I’ve not published from our last visit (I hasten to add Tom is living in student accommodation at Bangor, not as this photo might suggest a cave).

Tom Wales_

He took us to Dinorwic slate quarries,  the second largest slate quarry in the world, where part of Clash of the Titans  was filmed, it is certainly has an other worldly feel about it.

Tom Wales 2

The scale of the place is mind blowing.

Tom taught me, his techiphobe mother to take a panorama shot on my phone.

Look, see.


Of course we had to make a visit to Pete’s Eats’ as students are always hungry and keen for parents to buy them food.


I’m sad and shocked to report another of Mr Uphilldowndale’s running/cycling  friends has landed in hospital, following an incident with a heard of cows; very nasty indeed. (And  I’m afraid to report ‘G’ remains  still very poorly in hospital).



On Saturday one of Mr Uphilldowndale’s running buddies (I’ll  not publish his name, I’ll just call him ‘G’) was seriously injured when he was in a road traffic collision whilst out on his bike. We’re all sending  our thought’s, love, good wishes, prayers or what ever we have to give, to G, his family and those who care for him. Worrying times and we feel impotent, we wish we could do more.


I came across G a while back here.

Change in the  weather 4-1 


We were both on our  way to work, he had stopped to admire the view,  whilst I more likely, had stopped to catch my breath. We chatted, he was in reflective mood. I told how  him how Mr Uhdd was frustrated at not being race fit and was niggled by minor injuries. G offered this advice. ‘Tell him to eat more pies, he thinks he need to keep his weight down but he doesn’t, he need to eat more pies; I know I’ve done it myself.’


So I’m sending pies, or at least the metaphorical health giving properties of pies, its all I can do.


Heather x


How Time Flies

I’ve been busy decorating, I’ve set myself a bit of a deadline, I’ve invited the neighbours round for a bit of a do, its in a good cause.   The British Heart Foundation is a charity close to our  own hearts, especially in memory of Daz H.

The invites have gone out.

ramp up the red

But it does mean there is no time for dawdling, but more haste can mean less speed: this is an old house, no wall is true, no plaster smooth, (I did succumb to a little plaster envy the other day) exposed  oak beams may brim with ancient character but they  are a fiddle to decorate around. Here is one on the landing.

oak beam

And this is my favourite beam, in the lounge, I love its rough and ready, vernacular style and wonder why a load bearing beam was placed over a window opening?

forked oak beam_


One day we’ll find out how old they are.


I was so busy at the weekend,I forgot about the The Big Garden Bird Watch.

Take a look at these birdy videos, mesmerising I really want to get to see a murmeration of starlings.