Uphilldowndale

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


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Home Improvements

ShalX 1-1413

Now, I know, in the scheme of things (especially for North American readers) the snow and cold we have here in the UK at the moment, isn’t such a big deal, but it is unusual for the whole country to be so snowy and cold at the same time, so forgive us for going on about it, we like to talk about the weather at the best of times. 

There has been a flurry of discusion about ‘bad winters’ past, of 1947 and my fathers adventures (and I came across a tragic bit of local history about  the winter of 1947 the the other day, lives were lost).

Snow 1947

I can even dig a photo out of the shoe box of some serious snow in 1901

Snow 1901

I was around for the winter of 1963, in my fetching knitted snow suit.

Jane snow 1963

But given that we know there was a house on here, as far back as 1606,

Map 1606

which was during the Little Ice Age we can only  try and imagine how tough it must have been to keep warm and fed.

On that time line, our 26 year living here, is but a blip, but with a new roof, (so good not to have scrabble up there to dig out the snow that had blown under the slates) ground source heat pump, double and a dash of triple glazing and a new door that both keeps the snow out and is thicker that a single piece of plywood. Trust me we are very, very grateful for our warm and snug  home.

Spud and his feild-140701

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Four birds in the bush

And so it snowed, at first light the birds were on a foraging mission. There were four beautifully plumed thrushes in my precious pink rowan tree.

Thrush_

I’m very happy to share the berries with these gorgeous  birds. Their markings always make me think of spotted dick pudding. But then who wouldn’t think of a steamed suet pudding on a snowy November day, or maybe I’m just a little odd…

There was more snow, and its hung around longer, than I expected. The air temperature has hovered just above freezing, plus a sharp wind chill;  the sheep in a neighbouring field lined up to harvest the sun’s warmth against the drystone walls. Wise sheep.

sheep warming_


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Iced Plum Jam

The deep freeze continues. But there are buds of hope. Jammy the kitten-cat would like to show you, look he’s pointing.

Jammy and buds-1

Tiny blossoms are lying in wait.

wild plum -1

Here is the same tree on the 28th March 2011  it looks a little different, frosted granted, but not marooned in snow and ice. I think it’s wild plum, look I’ve even found a recipe for a recipe for wild plum blossom ice cream, written by Blanche Vaughn (I really couldn’t line up any more snowy, white  icy themes if I tried).

The snow isn’t going anywhere fast, here is the lane to our house.

snow filled lane 2-1

Here is Jammy tip-toeing through the snow.

Snow kit-1


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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog 10th February 2013

Poor spud the dog has been upstaged by his feline friends this week. Spud can’t really see what all the fuss is about  with snow,

snow Spud -1

It’s tricky these days to take a turn around the field  without the company of the cats, whether Spud and I like it or not.

The kitten-cats however are less keen to get their paws to deep in the stuff. They prefer to tiptoe along the wall wherever possible.

pole cats 4-1

They only came down to play when I pulled the mono-pod out of the bag, then quite frankly they were a pain, the idea is it helps steady the camera, not when it has two cats trying to run up and down it, doesn’t.

pole cats -1

It is quite frankly enough to drive you up the pole.

pole cats 2-1


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Winter Walk

Nothing finer than a  winter walk for  the restoration of equilibrium, Mr Uphilldowndale and I were both in need the other afternoon. We went down by the river, always a good move.

Riverside walk-1

Up through the woods and across the fields.

late afternoon walk-1

Spud had a high old time, you can just see him here, heading off  towards a rather handsome wall, that’s topped with snow.

late afternoon walk 1-1

At the moment freezing rain is hammering against the windows and the rising wind has been piling snow back into the lanes this afternoon. The forecast is for the weather to get warmer over the weekend and for the snow to melt; we’ll be glad to see the back of it for a while I think. The weather conditions have led to tragedy.

We walked back past the church, not a bat or a bear in sight.

late afternoon walk church -1

I saw some photos of ‘ zombie snowmen’ in the press this week, I had to admire the skill in their making, their location was described as a disused graveyard in Bristol,  it led me to wonder, how can  graveyard be disused? Its not like a factory is it? Isn’t always going to be ‘in use’ by its residents?


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Not So Blue Monday

It was more white than blue around here; well, white with a dollop of grey. I walked to work.

Walking to work-1

This view is never blue, the myth of today being blue Monday can be explored here.

Walking was easier and safer than driving, I was passed en-route by one of the local farmers who is contracted to go out and plough the lanes. (He is straight talking about those who drive the lanes when they should know better)  I thought he might offer me a lift but he ploughed by with a cheery wave, but then he’d probably assumed I was just out with the camera having a photo jolly rather than commuting, it’s an easy mistake to make.

But I was grateful for his work, it made the walk easier, that and my Yaktrax

Walking to work 2-1 

I passed by a flock of sheep, who seemed reluctant to rise from their slumbers, maybe they think it is blue Monday?

Some had hunkered down in the lea of a bank.

sleepy sheep-1

All were snowy

sleepy sheep 2-1