Sometimes a little magic flies by

We’ve been away, we’ve been to Rutland Water for a couple of nights in the campervan.  we had a lovely time, I hired an electric bike, such fun! I went wheeeeeee!

I’ve not ridden a bike for many many moons.

After that we went on to the nature reserve, and watched nature in all its Spring busyness.feed me_

From a hide we watched the osprey, they were a little too far way for my camera, but we were much closer to them than we had been before, in addition there was a large TV screen showing live footage taken by cameras looking directly into the nest.

Now that sound like an excellent day, doesn’t it? We settled down for the evening, with a glass of wine and some tasty Long Clawson stilton cheese.

And  then the magic arrived

Barn Owl Rutland 4

A barn owl flew in across the meadow, next to the camping field, quartering, searching for prey,  it swooped past us time after time

Barn Owl Rutland 3

It’s the first time I’ve seen a barn owl in the wild, I’ve had other owl encounters.

Barn Owl Rutland 2

It went on and on, taking prey off to its nest

Barn Owl Rutland

and returning, to our delight.

Barn Owl Rutland 5

The next morning, Mr Uphilldowndale went out on his bike at about 7:15 am, for a proper bike ride, one with pace and miles and without me going wheeeeeee all the time.

After he had gone I contemplated making a second cup of tea, I sat up in bed and peeped around the curtain and there it was again.

Right in my face, this time carrying its breakfast.  I’m such a lucky girl.  Barn Owl Rutland 7

All the photos were taken through the tinted privacy glass of the van, the last image with added condensation…

A Thing of Beauty

September sunrise-2

A  transient September sunrise,  it’s titanium patina lasting  just about long as it took to get the camera out of the bag.

Another thing of beauty, is the new plaster on our walls (I’m sure it will be longer lasting. Oh what a joy, smooth as silk and whilst not as strong as titanium in comparison to what it replaces, it is golden. Joe’s bedroom walls now cry out to be painted rather than me shedding tears of frustration as I spend days to get anything to look half decent and failing.

Here we are playing a game a kin to those tile games you used to have as kids as we try and get the house back in decorative order after the roof was replaced in the summer; some of the work is as a direct result of the roof works, (i.e the 2 holes in our bedroom ceiling!) whilst a lot  of it is decorating jobs that have been put off for a long while we muttered the mantra ‘no point doing that till the roof’ has been done.’  So we are moving furniture and chattels from room to room with a wash of emulsion paint following in it’s wake. Meanwhile my blog remains unkempt, comments un-responded too and the camera rarely out of the bag. Sorry.

I’ll try and rustle up a chicken tale, in between  coats of paint, or maybe some shots of the roof, I can do that from stock…

The Core of Eden

My favourite part of the Eden Project was the Core building, it is the arts, education and events hub. It’s design is based on the geometry that defines plant growth, or as it is known to its mates, phyllotaxis

Core 1

I totally fell in love with ‘the seed’ a 70 ton sculpture  hewn from Cornish granite that sits at the centre of the building (regular readers will know my affection for lumps of rock.)

seed 1 

The impact  of the seed seemed magnified somehow by the small circular room in which it nestles, hidden, gestating waiting to burst out (this also makes it difficult to photograph) for me there was something going on about, the vastness of nature and the littleness of the human race, I have to add I don’t have a clue what I am talking about here, I can only tell you how it made me feel

For a sense of scale

seed 2

And texture

seed 1-2

It is based on a sunflower and was designed by the sculptor Peter Randall-Page.

I enjoyed the video* of the making of ‘the seed’ from the selection and blasting the rock, the sculpting and it’s journey on a very large truck through the narrow lanes and the nail biting crane lift as it was carefully lowered through the central oculus** into position. The journey, or maybe it was more of a ceremonial procession, filmed from the cab of the truck, seemed to encompass all life, passing on the way babies in buggies, children playing,  right through to a funeral cortège (forgive me, but I can just imagine the films creative directors glee at capturing a hearse on film, ‘Yes! birth, death, the seed, the core, gedit? regeneration, life’s journey, the cycle of life.’

Oh forgive me I’ve come over all eco-arty, I’ll have to nip out side and hug a tree and caress a cauliflower.


*One teeny weeny moan, the entrance to the little theatre area where the film was shown, was next to the screen, so the light falling on the screen rather took the edge off the viewing quality of the film, I still watched it twice though!

** Oculus, got to love that word, not sure how often I could chuck it in to a conversation though.


Bollington Festival 2009


Joe and I went over the hills and crossed the county boundary into Cheshire last Saturday, we went to Bollington to watch the Carnival Procession that is part of the two week long Bollington Festival.

Brass band refelctions 3

Bollington is a long sinuous town, three villages sewn together the building of cotton and silk mills, it has more than a touch of Wirksworth about it, you take a look for yourself on the Bollington web cam. It likes to be known as the Happy Valley and it has none of the pretentiousness of the neighbouring  ‘gold triangle’ Villages of Prestbury, Alderley Edge and the town of Wilmslow.

Powder blue

The procession was as home grown and local as it is possible to get and the town has a strong sense of community; you can listen to the local radio station, Canalside Community Radio here

Be Green

We liked the garden in a wheelbarrow

Bollington community garden

Brass band music it’s a generational thing

Brass band reflections 2

The festival program is stuffed with events, I may have to return, Joe wouldn’t let me follow the artists open studio trail ‘You’ll be aaages’ he said. He was probably right, I have a master plan to return, alone, to indulge in the exhibitions and galleries this weekend.

Three Girls

You can imagine how smitten I was with the felt wall sculpture displayed in the library

Felt wall

I’d have happily taken it home with me.


Or maybe I should make my own, it can’t be a big job, I’m sure it wouldn’t take long.


Anyone for Tennis?


Anyone for tennis

A tennis ball ice bound in the pond.

We’ve all been to a very nice Bar-B-Q this afternoon, it was a fell runners event, so a bit of cold weather wasn’t going to stop them in the pursuit of such an out of season activity. Mr Uhdd did a bit of a orienteering  race, and the boys and I did a more modest one, except Tom got a bit ambitious and raced ahead, leaving Joe and I map-less, not to worry, we knew our way back to the BBQ and we had a nice amble around, just what we needed after the excess of New Years Eve.

Some photos from our ‘race’ and I use the term very lightly

Farmstead circa 1700

Farms and buildings dating to about 1700

Farmstead, yard

When your fabric is that old, bits tend to give way, here the lintel has broken over the door

What no lintel

The other elevations don’t look so good either.

Oh , dear, looks like a big job

Some rather handsome sheep, who must be used for showing because they were very tame and obviously used to being near people

Handsome couple

A gate post with a history,

Gate post

A delicate and elegant packhorse bridge, thought to date from 1700 or so, the packhorses were led by men known as Jaggers

Pack horse bridge

Riverside 1

Not on the Agenda

I was in a meeting the other day, in a first  floor office when I spied, out of the corner of my eye, an owl, it was roosting under the eves of the neighbouring building. I was very excited, my colleagues less so.

Night flyer, sleeping

It’s a tawny owl I think, according the the RSPB website it’s the size of a pigeon, well its a bloody big pigeon, to give some scale to the shot the pipe it’s perched on is a standard size overflow pipe, I’d have said it was more the size of a small chicken. (a friend tells me that ‘owls are like duvets, all fluffy and puffed up’ So maybe that’s the answer, this is all fluff and no substance: now I have a mental image of the RSPB lining birds up for an identity parade, feathers off, golden eagle to the left of line, goldcrest to the right.

Down below the snoozing owl the street was busy, workmen were using a pneumatic drill a few yards away, it seemed unperturbed ruffling it’s feathers occasionally and having a look around every now and then. It was a bit of a distraction, for me  at any rate, but then I’m easily distracted from any agenda. Obligingly the owl was sitting out the day in his/her somewhat exposed roost site so I was able to sneak back later to take these photos,

Night flyer, sleeping 2 

They’re not the best, but I had to be a little discrete, leaning out of the first floor window brandishing a long lens would not have done me any favours with security, as it is I’ve already got a bit of a reputation.

Where Do I Begin

We are back home after an adventurous week in the Lake District, after retrieving Mr Uhdd from Cockermouth where he found refuge from the atrocious weather that blighted the Original Mountain Marathon, we went on to spend a week in Wasdale, bliss; we’ve had some great weather, no Internet and no mobile phones, it’s done us the power of good. I’ve enough photographs and things I want to post about to last me a month of Sundays.

Today the Lakeland fells were bathed in Sunshine, the highest peaks dusted with snow, the landscape looked delicious, good enough to eat with a spoon,

From Corney Fell, this morning

a stark contrast to last Saturdays weather (McNoddy has pulled together some of the best video clips here)

Many thanks for all your comments and enquires about Mr Uhdd well being; I’m fighting my way through the inbox, (it may have been a mistake on my part to go away, leaving a Google News Alert running on the Original  Mountain Marathon, as I’ve returned to an inbox that  is somewhat over crowded) I can’t see the wood for the trees; add to that the stack of dirty washing that came home with us, the AGA throwing a moody and refusing to be relit and the bread maker blowing an element, it’s back to earth with a bump; I’ll be back in a bit when I’ve sorted myself out.