Uphilldowndale

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


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Shooting the Sun

Point and shoot obviously, I wasn’t going to look directly at a solar eclipse

Eclipse 

Whilst the light changed, the birds carried on about their business,

Eclipse blue tit

it didn’t seem as dramatic as the one in 1998 which I watched with Mum,

Mum in the Moon

it was the shadows I remember most vividly on that occasion.

 

It made me think of a favourite poem, by Roger McGough

 

Everyday eclipses

Roger McGough

 


The hamburger flipped across the face of the bun

The frisbee winning the race against its own shadow

The cricket ball dropping for six in front of the church clock

On a golden plate, a host of communion wafers

The brown contact lens sliding across the blue iris

The palming of small change

Everyday eclipses

Out of the frying pan, the tossed pancake orbits the Chinese lampshade

The water bucket echoing into the well, well, well

The lifebelt spinning past the open porthole

The black, snookering the cue ball against the green baize

The winning putt on the eighteenth

The tiddlywink twinking toward the tiddly cup

Everyday eclipses

Neck and neck in the hot air balloon race

Holding up her sign, the lollipop lady blots out the belisha beacons

The foaming tankard thumped on to the beer mat

The plug into the plughole

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Two thin slices; first salami, then mortadella

In the fruit bowl, the orange rolls in front of the peach.

Everyday eclipses another day

Goodbye bald patch, hello yarmulke

A sombrero tossed into the bullring

Leading the parade, the big bass drum.

We hear cymbals but cannot see them

One eclipse eclipses another eclipse

To the cold, white face, the oxygen mask.

But too late

One death eclipses another death

The baby’s head, the mother’s breast

The open O of the mouth seeking the warm O of the nipple

One birth eclipses another birth

Everyday eclipses.


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Domestic Upheaval

One of these days I’ll give you the full story, which must run to  a couple of dozen posts, but for this evening I’ll just say there has been a lot going on around here, especially for the last week; so much so that Dodger the kitten cat left home for three days, in disgust. His belly led him back, just as I’d drafted the ‘lost cat’ email to the neighbours. We are relieved to see him.

There have been moments of great beauty,  rolling mist framed by alpine blues, ebbing in and out of the valley

trees mist

 

Branches, twigs, encased in ice

oak apples

Oak apples

Ash tree ice_

An ash tree, where the ash keys once were.

But for the most part, it has been grey, muddy; and oh yes, very dusty. There is nothing quite like ancient dust, it has a  penetrating power of its own. The haze in this photo, is not poor image quality, oh no, it is dust.

This is the kitchen.

dusty kitchen_ 

can you see why my blog lies unattended?


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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).

20150203_104427

and I did have some company.

20150203_185550

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


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Snow Surprise

Well it wasn’t a surprise, because it was forecast.  The amount that landed is generous by UK standards, but honestly, I feel the need to get on my snowy soap box here, why we do get our knickers in a twist over bad weather in this country. Severe weather is inconvenient to all, but why do we think the we have some divine right for all roads and paths to be magically cleared, so we can keep on with our day without so much as snowflake impeding our progress.  The weather, mother nature or the snow god,  call it what you wish;  doesn’t give a toss about our hectic schedules get over it.

sheep skull

Social media was full of ranting this afternoon, about the poor job the council were doing clearing the roads. I imagine if we want the sort of set up for snow clearance that countries who routinely get great dollops of snow, then we’d better start paying more for our services (how much do snow ploughs cost?) Sigh.

 

Look the trains were running on the Buxton to Manchester line.

 

buxton Manchester train,_

 

I could write about some of the shenanigans that have gone on in the lane today, it’s steep, andwhen it’s icy, it catches people out, it’s happened before. But lets just say if you pay an awful lot of money for a car, it doesn’t mean to say you know how, or more importantly  when to drive it.

As Tom would say ‘all the gear and no idea’.

lane_

Spud has had a great day

snow springer

Mr Uphilldowndale enjoyed himself too

this much


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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)

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