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


Fish Supper

Given that the tea order maxed out at seven during the installation of the ground source heat pump, you’ll appreciate there has been more folk  milling around the place than usual. Which is probably how Dodger the kitten cat was spotted by one of the guys, nonchalantly strolling along by the pond, with a fish tail dangling out of his mouth, the tail was still flapping! Something we’d never seen before.

It seems, unbeknownst to us he is a bit of a fisherman, and that the biggest ones don’t always get away. 

fishing cat_

When I found a dead fish by the pond a few weeks ago, I’d blamed the heron (sorry heron) This is the closest I’ve got to catching Dodger in action.


fishing cat 2

There are a lot of fish in this pond, I’m not sure I could stop Dodger from his antics, and I suppose  he’s never going to manage as much carnage as mother nature did a few years ago.


Buds, Birds and Blue Sky.

Darling buds of March seems a little premature and the frosty mornings have served as a little reminder that it is still early in the season. But we shall make the most of what we have. It’s beautiful.

Buds and blue sky-1

Spud has been getting hot and bothered, yesterday whilst Tom and I were sat by the pond, he took a cooling dip, and swam right through the gloopy remnant’s of the ‘frog spawn jelly’ before clambering out.  And what do dogs do when they get out of water? They shake. Bleuughhhhh SPUD! You revolting dog!


Spud on Sunday Part LXVII

Spud has had a high old time this afternoon, for it seems spring has arrived in the pond. There has been much croaking and splashing around going on.

frog search 5-1

I could find the cause, with a softly, softly sort of approach. But Springer spaniels are not built for stealth. Crashing around in the undergrowth is what it is all about.

frog search-1 

Interestingly he wasn’t for leaping in, in his usual style, just wading in the shallows.

frog search 1-1

Then he went for a better look, leaping on to the floating island; this is something that started out 10 years ago, when we built the pond as a couple of sheets of polystyrene, stitched into a piece of pond lining fabric, which has now been colonised  to such an extent it has its own eco system including a couple of young willow trees and drifts up and down the pond at the whim of the prevailing wind.

frog search 3-1

However it isn’t very stable, Spud wisely decided it was not the place for a bit of frog spotting, and made a giant leap for dogkind to get ashore. We were impressed he made it.

frog search 4-1


Spud on Sunday Part LVIV

Spud is having a Sunday off,  actually he’s had most of the week off, it has been half term holiday for the boys, and whilst Spud has had much to entertain him there have been no big adventures (he even managed to come back from getting his coat trimmed in reasonable shape) everyone has been chillin. So for those needing a weekly fix of all things canine, take a look at some sub aqua dogs, photographed by Seth Casteel



There are plenty more to view on his website too and you can buy a print if you so wish.


I’d love to bring you such a photo of Spud, but I doubt the visibility is as good as this in the garden pond


Call Off the Search

We’ve looked high and low, checked and double checked the barn, the shed, the stable, even  considered dredging the pond. Dandy the cat has been absent without leave since Wednesday morning.

In yer face

He is sixteen years old and getting rather geriatric in his ways, he’s not been further than a couple of yards from the back door for months. He’s never missed a meal in all those sixteen years, his routine is eat, sleep litter tray; eat, sleep litter tray. So you can see why we were worried. He’s got himself into mischief before and frankly we thought he’d done that cat thing of going off to die.

So when I returned home this evening and found him sat in the porch demanding to be fed, I was both surprised and  delighted and scooped him up to take him indoors to delight  Spud, Tom, Joe and Mr Uhphilldowndale.  Maybe, as Inspector Gadget had already suggested (he knows about finding lost things) Dandy was off out and about soothing his old bones in the warmest September/October weather in the UK for over two decades* We will probably never know, I’m just glad he’s home, and if he could mange in future, to keep his bottom inside the litter tray, I’d be especially pleased.


*18C at 8am, 25.5C this afternoon, it feels quite tropical this evening, what with the early, swift sunset, very odd, well odd for the UK


Spud on Sunday II

It has been a wild, wild week, storms have raged, rain has beaten a tattoo on the roof,  the lane is braided with mounds of sodden leaves and the yard is a muddy mess. Indoors there have been stormy debates about whose turn it is to bring some some more logs in and why no one has sent Dandy the cat out for a pee. Dandy you see,  is a fair-weather cat when it comes to his toilet habits and I’m afraid, seeing as he’s 14 years old we don’t expect him to improve with age. So  boys it is wise not to dump your games kit on the porch floor, because it can smell worse than it does already, just.

Rosehips and stormy ky-1

Spud however has not missed a beat when it comes to taking his  dip in the pond (so the kitchen smells of pond weed, am I painting an attractive picture?)

Spud on Sunday 11-1

Maybe Spud thinks he’s an otter, I can see a resemblance. If you missed Spud on a Sunday part I, it’s here


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