Uphilldowndale

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


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The Christmas post

If Christmas is a little bit messy, that’s OK.

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I’ve enjoyed  making some of my Christmas cards from stack of vintage postcards I found in a second hand book shop inKeswick, they are reproductions of stamps issued by the post office in the 1970s and 80s. Some had a Christmas theme, like the one above, published in 1981 I wonder what Samantha Brown is up to now, I hope she is still having as much fun with paint as she did back in 1981?

There were some very pretty ones. Christmas card golden apple 1980

This was a favourite

Christmas card 12p 1980

Some were not seasonal at all. I just chose them because they had a link to interests and hobbies of the intended recipient.

We’ve a friend. MR, who is a postal historian, I was delighted to find a postcard for him that celebrated postal history.  Spot on, couldn’t be better.

Every year we always await eagerly  the arrival of MR’s Christmas card to us, as we are curios to see what combination of  stamps he has used,  they are never recent issues, and often include 1/2p  denominations, I guess they must raise an eyebrow or too in the sorting office, they make us smile, we try to reciprocate, I’ve even added a Greenshield stamps   to his card before now, along with the correct postage, of course.

I wasn’t very quick off the mark, making or sending these cards this year, I didn’t start making them until after my brothers funeral.  

One card I was delighted to find was of an old English Sheepdog, it was the perfect one for a friend who is mourning the loss of his own dog of the same breed.

Meanwhile our card from MR landed on the door mat, bearing the very same postage  stamp as the postcard I’d just written and was about send.

OES

Shall we calculate the odds on that happening? Or shall we stick to stamp collecting?

Happy Christmas one and all.


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Crab apple way

A few nights away in Cumbria, nr Ullswater, at one of our favourite sites, The Quiet Site (not sure why I’m telling you about it, every one will want to go, what with it’s swishy new zero waste shop an’ all   In the morning Mr Uphilldowndale had been charging around the hills on his bike, I put the kettle on to boil, to sustain my needs for tea and curled up under the duvet with a book, what a treat. Spud the dog snoozed contentedly.  In the afternoon we took a gentle walk along a track near the site, whilst the surface has been sealed at some time it looked little used by traffic.

Apple walk 3

We were surprised by the number and variety of crab apple trees we passed. I know that south Cubria is famed for its damsons, in fact the Westmorland Damson Association, celebrates them in every way.  

But I’d not seen so many apples before, It must look very pretty when they are in bloom, and a source of food for wildlife through the seasons.

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They are hardy looking trees, that don’t give up when they are down

Apple walk 2

So many colours, bronze green

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acid greens,

Apple walk

honeyed yellows

Apple walk 4

rusty red

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rich plum shades

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We don’t see crab apples in our hedgerows here in north Derbyshire, I tried asking a local, about how come there are so many varieties in just a mile or so of track, they weren’t very forth coming.

Apple walk 5

They can hardly have germinated from an apple cast aside by a passing car or (cart) can they?

The trees arising from discarded cores are genuine wildings, each one unique and with the potential to contribute their characteristics back into the apple gene pool, 

 

The apples had out paced the blackberries, the devil had seen to that.

Apple walk 6

Spud the dog usually like to bring home an apple or two, but these seem to have been a little too tart of his tastes.

Apple walk 12

 

 

 

 

 


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Beautiful Blackwell, a Second Look

Shall we feast our eyes on some more of the craftsmanship of Blackwell House? You seemed to enjoy the first course.  I’ve updated the header, to put the house in the context of the landscape.

Stained glass

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Blackwell glass 5

Textiles

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The Simpson family, certainly met that brief,

Blackwell textile 8

with exquisite embroidery and woodwork  Rowan berries take centre stage, in carvings

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And iron work

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And of course mother nature provided both inspiration and the perfect foil.

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Beautiful Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House

Blackwell House is somewhere I love to return too, it’s my favourite period house, it seems I’ve not posted about it before, not sure how that happened.  I first visited here not long after it had been restored and opened to the public in 2001, its just south of the town of Windermere in the Lake District

Blackwell ext-1225.jpgBuilt in 1890, by the Holt family who had made their fortune in Manchester, and designed  architect Baillie Scott, it must have been a blast of fresh air after the dark heavy design of the Victorian period.  This is the white drawing room, that looks over lake Windermere, its so fresh and feminine.

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It’s a party house with its large spaces and mistral gallery

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It is full of glorious details,

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With wealthy industrialists coming to the area, to build their new homes away from the smoke of the cities, there was a ready market for the crafts and arts of the Keswick School of Industrial Art 

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Such delicate window latches

Blackwell Interior 7

Gorgeous textiles, rowan berries are a recurring motif ,

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It’s always been a place that encourages you to relax, sit in the window seats, play the piano (if able) the National Trust are moving towards this kind of experience, but Blackwell seems to do it best.

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On the upper floor there is a gallery space, that  hosts contemporary exhibitions and displays collections of period arts (these miniature Lancastrian pottery vases are my favourite, Mr Uphilldowndale, says I only want to take them home so I can feed them up)

Ceramics Blackwell.jpg

Speaking of food, the cafe is to be recommended too.

 


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Hundred Year Stone

We stumbled upon this beautiful sculpture during a visit to the Lake district last weekend.  It’s by Peter Randall-Page, I’ve fallen for his work in the past

Hundred Year Stone_

 

Commissioned by the National Trust in its Centenary Year supported by the National Trust’s Foundation for Art, Northern County Council and National Trust Centres Associations. Sculpture is situated on the shore of Derwent water between Calf Close Bay and Broomhill Point looking across to Brandlehow, near Keswick, The lake District, Cumbria.

I’m indebted to the two German gents, who spent quite some time with google translate, looking up  this art work on their phones, they rather obscured the view, but had they not done so, I wouldn’t have had the added extra of geese flying through the shot. All ways a bonus


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Weather Window

Last week we took a couple of nights away, in the Lake District. It’s hard to believe looking at the weather today.

We’ve got the campervan geared up for cold weather, it has a very effective diesel heater and we’d chosen a site with a hook up for power. The Quiet Site,  was perfect for our needs, one of those neatly run sites that keeps everything running smoothly with out being too officious about it and a very toasty shower block was always going to win me over. 

Another bonus was that the site bar was open, being ‘out of season’ we weren’t expecting that . Winter campervanning can be snug and cosy, but it does get a bit tomb like, so a nice beer in front of a roaring fire, just a few yards from the van was as welcome as it was sociable.

 The Quiet Site-194846

Mr Uphilldowndale entertained himself with a bike ride up The Struggle and over Kirkstone Pass the highest major road in the Lake district,  I mooched  around with the camera; we were equally content.

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Ullswater

We both took a stroll by lake Windermere,  having visited the wonderful Blackwell House,  I’ll post about it.

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Windermere

Did you know  that lake Windermere had not one but two very early airfields?

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The The start of seaplane flying in Britain can be traced to Lake Windermere, where H. Stanley Adams first became airborne in the Lakes Waterbird floatplane on 25 November 1911.

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One man and his dog, Windermere


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Unidentified Emotions

As a friend put it on Friday, in the wake of the EU referendum results ‘I’m experiencing emotions I can’t name, I certainly haven’t felt them before’.

Politics isn’t something I’d normally mention here, but the referendum and  decision  for the UK to leave the EU is to big to walk on by.  I’m gutted. Horrified. Sad and bitterly disappointed for my boys. A few of those unidentifiable emotions my friend mentioned are swilling around in the mix too.

A conversation I overheard, seemed to me, to capture the fact that many folk hadn’t got a handle on the chain of events voting ‘leave’ would set in motion.

First women. ‘My son says Nando’s are leaving the UK because of Brexit

Second women. ‘Oh my god, you’d think it was the end of the world, all we did was put a cross in a box on a bit of paper!’

I wasn’t sure if to laugh or cry, so I  just stood in front of the newspaper stand in crushing bewilderment.

Mr Uphilldowndale and I were set to go to Loweswater, in Cumbria on Friday, in preparation  for Daz’s Memorial  fell race.  We didn’t like going and leaving Joe home alone, he’d been up all night watching the results come in and was as down as we were; but Spud the dog stayed at home to keep him company, as ironically Tom is away, in Europe, working (we cast a proxy vote on his behalf).

 

We stopped by at Dodds Wood and climbed up to the viewing point to see the osprey’s  this  and a walk in the woods did us good and soothed our souls a little.

What now

The next day I had chance to contemplate the hills and some of the many emotional events of the last few weeks, and some of those emotions spilt out. The sheep was my confidante .

Don't ask me. I didn't vote._

What more can I say.

Tek Care


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Thirty days wild. June 15th

The best thing that you can do for nature is too make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild… ‘

I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust,  with the aim of blogging each day, a little bit of the nature of my world.

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When the weather doesn’t know if its blowing hot or cold, I suppose half a fleece is better than none.

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Thirty days wild. June 14th

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_14

 

The best thing that you can do for nature is too make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild… ‘

I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust,  with the aim of blogging each day, a little bit of the nature of my world.

 

Daz’s delightful little nice made a posy of wild flowers with her Nanna, a simple pleasure.

posy


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Thirty days wild. 12th June

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_12

 

The best thing that you can do for nature is too make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild… ‘

I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust,  with the aim of blogging each day, a little bit of the nature of my world.

 

I’ve got some catching up to do.  We’ve been away, to the Lake District, what we didn’t know when we booked, back in March, the reason the choice of accommodation was limited was the fact that  ten thousand swimmers were also going to be in Ambleside this weekend, for The Great North Swim, so much for a quiet weekend away.

It seems fitting therefore to have a fishy  wildlife observation.

Can you see it?

trout_

Once you had ‘got your eye in’ there many to be seen, trout I presume (I know its not a stickleback!)  I’ve cropped and tweaked the colours here, to help,

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there is something so sparklingly fresh and healthy about these fish.There were lots of too, in Stock Beck, by Bridge House

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