Uphilldowndale

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


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Grave Matters

It’s no secret that on our travels, I’m often to be found in grave yards. I find them a fascinating social history, and wildlife refuges.

Whilst on our trip along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, we thought we’d look up some Mr Uphilldowndale’s ancestors

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Frustratingly, given that we’d already been in about 20 graveyards ,and some of them were very impressive, I have to say; this is Kilmacduagh dating back to the 7th century 

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we found the one we wanted in Edgesworthstown to be locked.

Edgeworths town church.jpg Ahh well, we’ll make an appointment next time.

 

The Irish, take dying very seriously, it’s not  a topic they shy away from. My holiday reading for this trip was ‘My Fathers Wake’ by Kevin Toolis, how the Irish teach us to live love and die  it helped me to read the graveyards in a different way.

You’d never see a sign like this in an English graveyard.

Grave Matters

In England the  neighbours of the bereaved might bring flowers, offer their condolences, but would they offer to dig the grave? No.

The artefacts left at graves, also told a story, and were very different from what you might see in most of the UK, apart perhaps from areas where there is  a large Irish Catholic populations.

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We were a bit worried about Mary, it was 25c, it must be very hot in there.

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And when the Irish talk about family graves, they can go back a few generations, with newer  memorial stones added.

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Makes you think, doesn’t it.

the greatest sin

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Skibbereen

We touched on Ireland’s Great Famine in the last post,  It’s difficult to comprehend, it needen’t have happened. Greed, arrogance, indifference and even ‘fake news’, that monies sent to help the starving would be used to buy arms, now where have we heard that?

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There’s always a bit of a dilemma when you’re travelling, how long to stay in one place how far to push on, have we seen everything we want to see, is there something else just around the corner?  We’d decided with this trip along the Wild Atlantic Way, ‘we’d get as far as we get’ there was no final destination, we’d a ferry home booked from Dublin, we’d  travel around the  south west coast and get as far north as we wanted, then hack east across country to catch our ferry. I’m glad we did this because otherwise, we could have missed spending time in Skibbreen, and finding the Skibbreen Heritage Centre, diminutive in size, it packs a punch, it caught me a little of guard to be honest. Some of its material is harrowing. Time spent there, informed the rest of our journey.

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Here in this communal grave are  the remains 9,000 men women and children, many more died along the roads, or trying to fee to safety emigrating to America in the ‘coffin ships’.

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The grave is the two areas of mown grass, near the wall, next to the now busy road

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We paused to reflect on what we’d seen in Flanders earlier this year, and how the human race can think its self so clever; and yet it never learns, history repeats itself, and is in so much danger of doing so again

 

 

 

 

 


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Daily Bread

Continuing our journey along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

Altar church

Altar Church, beside Toormore Bay on the Mizen Peninsula, near Ireland’s southernmost point, is also known as Teampol na mBocht, the Church of the Poor.

It was built in 1847, at the height of the Great Famine.

Before we set off on our journey, knew a little about Ireland’s Great Famine, we knew a little, but we didn’t comprehend its enormity nor its horror.

This church was built, to provide work for the starving.

During Black ’47, The Illustrated London News reported that in the village of Schull, five miles from Toormore, an average of 25 men, women and children were dying every day of starvation, dysentery or famine fever.  At nearby Cove, the population fell from 254 in 1841 to 53 in 1851.

 


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A brief moment in time

I walk down to the dentist this morning, not something you’d  normally leap out of bed for.

I took the old railway incline down into the village, it was part of the Cromford and High Peak Railway, that brought limestone down from the quarries to the waiting narrow boats in the canal basin. It’s now used as a path, and has been planted with trees (less controversial that current trees V railway issues)

I caught the cherry trees, at just the right moment,

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If the wind had picked up, or if it had rained, it just wouldn’t have looked the same, clusters of blossom were hiding in plain sight

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So glad I decided to walk, rather than drive; on the way back it got even better

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I think this might be the same beautiful animal I saw in the field a few days ago, I think it is a roe deer, not something we’ve seen here before, red deer occasionally from off the moors, but not roe. I felt a little sorry for it, it looked like it might be happier in a herd (but its OK,  it seems they are solitary animals).

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Too think, I nearly didn’t take the camera with me.

 


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Always in the kitchen at parties?

More from our visit to Burghley House

It seems kitchens have always held an attraction, warmth, food, drink, what’s not to like.

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You’ve noticed the skulls? Turtles.

Now every piece of meat that passed through this kitchen would have been ‘headed up’ by a skull at some point, but obviously turtles were note worthy. In the 17th century turtle soup was  a very prestigious  dish to set before your guests. So much so, you’d have had a special dish from which to serve it.

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Turtles were shipped live to the UK, in specially built tanks and barrels onboard ship. I thought that must have been a bit grim. But  then a lot of things were at that time. 

It’s amazing that a new cook didn’t come along and say ‘for goodness sake, get those  ugly dusty old things out of my kitchen!’

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We don’t know how this chap arrived.

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We stayed in a holiday let on the estate, The Dairy, we were quite a crowd,  the Dairy can accommodate up to twenty guests; we were celebrating a special birthday.

Now think what an old dairy looks like, even if it is one on the estate of a stately home.  Now think again.

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No one minded being in this kitchen, well actually there were two kitchens…  an heir and a spare of kitchens!

Sumptuous, and Spud the dog was a model guest, he took one look at the sofas and realised he hadn’t a cat in hells chance of being allowed on one, so he sprawled on the under heated floors instead and was content.

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The Cross country course for the Burley Horse trials runs straight past the garden, you can hire The Dairy then if you like, and you can afford.  

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After three nights of excellent company food and wine, none of us were quite ready to go home to our own kitchens.

 

 


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Tulip Mania

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Tulips under a skylight, at Burghley House

After swooning over barn owls, we moved on to Burghley House,  the plain walls and unadorned surfaces in the image above, were not the norm, opulence is the house style.

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A few fresh flowers make a house a home,  but I would say that.

The tulips seemed especially suitable, I’m sure a passion for tulips must have passed through this house before, a costly game. 

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That could cost you your home however stately.


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Generous Hospitality

Continuing our visit to Flanders Fields

The people of  the beautiful town of Ypres, were warm and welcoming.

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The town was completely restored after the Great War, it had to be.

Photo, City of Vancouver Archives

At the centre of the market square is the Cloth Hall,  the clock tower was having a bit of maintenance.

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I thought it a very slender scaffold tower, glad to see it was well tied in to the building. It’s a long way down for a comfort break!

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I’m more used seeing building sites like this secured, I’m sure if you tried this at home, some likely lad, would think it a blast to scamper up after a few pints!  The footings looked quite relaxed too…

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I’ve hardly any photos of the town, my planned day of  mooching around the streets, camera in hand was scuppered by a dramatic drop in temperature that left us scampering between coffee shops and museums  dodging the icy winds, others have done better than me

Such a shame the day before had been a beautiful spring day, Spud the dog who came along for his first overseas trip had been lapping up the sun and watching the world go by from his favourite spot in the van

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Spud had to have a visit to the vets whilst in Ypres, to have a worming tablet, a statutory requirement if he was to allowed back into the UK and to be marked on his pet passport. We found the vets online before we left home,  the appointment was made by email and it was all very straight forward, and for Spud who has seen more than his fair share of vets over the last few months,  he thought it rather swish and he was more than happy to escape with just a tasty tablet. 

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We were a bit perplexed the evening before, when we looked down the street where we thought the vets was located, it was all very traditional and looked residential rather than commercial, but in the daylight when the shutters were up we discovered that to accommodate the need for more modern space in such a carefully protected townscape, the façade of buildings are preserved, meanwhile  the walls within are a totally reworked space across several buildings, here at the vets, a carpark is on the lower floor with a sweeping ramp up to the glass walled offices and consulting rooms on the first floor.

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I wondered what it was like to live in a town with the legacy of remembrance tourism, tricky sometimes maybe?

But the hospitality we received was generous to say the least, here is a chicken pie, that we ordered ‘to share’  between two of us.

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It goes without saying that Belgium beer is good, and the  chocolate is divine, the scent of which wafts along the main square,

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judging by the state of this  last photo, I  obviously took it after the beer,