Uphilldowndale

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


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Apple Tart

We know when it is truly Autumn, its when Spud the dog’s ratio of tennis balls to windfall apples, that he leaves lying around the house is 2:1 in favour of apples.

Apples 2 1 (2)

They are something of a health hazard, one of these days, it will the incident with the toy fire engine all over again, which  as I painfully remember resulted in a very bruised coccyx, rather than a cox

I’ve turned into a something of a mad apple lady, we have so many, the branches are straining under the weight of them and we’ve four trees.

I don’t seem to be able to make any inroads into them at all.  I’ve become obsessed, everywhere I go I have a  basket or box of apples with me. Please take my lovely apples  friends, colleagues neighbours, the ladies at exercise class,  no one can say no. (I could try standing on street corners I suppose, a bit like  like the man with the yards of lettuce).

Apples basket

Mind you, picking them is not without its hazards (Spud has to stay indoors, he runs off with them, and no one seems to keen on apples with canine teeth marks) On trying to reach the biggest and rosiest apples, for my friend Mrs McN,  the ones right from the top of the tree, one hit me in the face, I’ve an apple green bruise on my cheek… it’s ripening nicely

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Spud on tour

Did Spud the dog enjoy touring Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way? (Well, the small part we managed, so much to see, do, and enjoy, we’ll be returning). Yes he did.

Spud beach

It’s twelve months now, since he broke his elbow in three places.  You can see his stance in this photo, it’s not perfect

 

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but he can steam around with all the enthusiasm you’d expect from a Springer, his mobility is far better than we could have ever imagined at the time of his accident. Surprisingly (to us, at least) his biggest issue from his accident has been his hip, which causes him some discomfort, we’d noticed just before his accident that he’s been running with a bunny hop and seemed to find stairs difficult, we discussed only days before that we perhaps ought to be taking him to the vets.  As it happen we’ve been to the vets a lot since then!

Spud has hip dysplasia, as do so many dogs. After his accident and surgery he had to have ‘crate rest’ for six weeks, and many months of little or no exercise, during this time he lost quite a bit muscle tone, and he’s struggles to use his leg as he should and keep its mobility. ‘Use it or lose it’ doesn’t really work for a dog, so he has physiotherapy and hydro-therapy, he’s less keen on the latter, He occasionally falls asleep during his physio sessions though, once the ‘uncomfortable’ bits are done. He’s a model patient.


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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…

scaffold

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

Ypres spud

 

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.

chicken pie to share_

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

 

Ypres 4

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


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AWOL

It’s been a while since I tended my blog, the main reason has been, that Spud the dog has been in a bit of bother.

It started innocently enough, a game of ball in the field, we know he loves a ball.

New balls

It’s something  we’ve done thousands of times.  This time though, Spud the dog was in big trouble.

Spaniel Elbow

Mr Uphilldowndale, threw the ball and turned back to what he was doing, he heard Spud yowl, and looked up to see him on the ground.  His leg was limp like a ragdoll’s.

We rushed him to the local vets, who instantly knew what had happened. This my friends is Spaniel Elbow, who ever knew of such a thing, in layman’s terms, it’s a weakness where the bone in the elbow fuses, so that if it fails, the  resulting pressure on the bone  causes it to fracture, in one or, worse case scenario two places, a Y fracture, this is what happened to Spud. 

He spent the night in the care of the local vets, the surgery he needed was a specialist procedure, and we were referred to the Pride Park  veterinary centre  in Derby.  He was operated on the next day, its a procedure we were told, that is about ‘as complicated as canine orthopaedic surgery gets’. If he didn’t have surgery, the legs would have been amputated.  Here he is when he got home after three nights at the ‘hospital’

Ben Post Op

He’s had six weeks of crate rest, heavy weight pain relief and just short lead trips out to the garden to relieve himself ; tricky for a Springer, but he’s been a model patient*. His follow up x-rays show  the bone has now healed and he can now start to get moving again, to build up some strength in what his vet calls ‘his chicken leg’, he’s lost a lot of muscle tone.  He’s started having a course of hydrotherapy, which loosens him up a treat, he’s supposed to be tired after it, but he just gets giddy, I think it is because it makes him feel more like his old self, he wants to play again. 

Ben Hydro

Reading this post, I can see I’ve sifted out a lot of the emotions we’ve been through. We were all very upset as you can imagine.  Everyone has been so kind** and skilled. There are two things people want to know, was it expensive? Yes it was, and were you insured? No we weren’t.

* Spud scared the living daylights out of us all, when he tried to leap onto the vets examination table, just a few days post surgery! Ironically we’d been shown into an empty consulting room, so as to keep him quiet and still, away from the busy waiting room!

** When Mr Uphilldowndale rang me to ask me to say ‘get home quick’ I was in the middle of a shopping at Waitrose. I abandoned my trolley full of shopping, calling to a member of staff as I fled the store.  A few days later, I returned to try again, I saw the member of staff and apologised for leaving them to sort out my shopping, and explained what had happened.  As I was paying for my shopping, a dog bone came down the conveyor, amongst my shopping, I was confused, I hadn’t put a bone in my shopping? Where had it come from? The supervisor appeared at my side, ‘A bone for your dog, with the compliments of Waitrose, we hope he is better soon…’  


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Saddle Up

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Thirty Days Wild,  thirty posts throughout June (and July, I’m tardy) something that is grounded in our wild world. This year posts are from our travels around the  north coast of Scotland  on the North Coast 500 route and a visit to Orkney. Stand by, for lots of sky, sea, wildlife, history, Spud the dog and random musings.

Mr Uphilldowndale took his bike with him on our grand tour.  It was good for him to get out for a ride every now and then, a bit like Spud the dog, he needs to stretch his legs.

We opened the blinds one morning, to a sight designed to lure the  sleepy cyclist from his bed

Bike view

We got into a bit of a routine, he’d set off on his bike and I’d follow along a little later to meet up at a prearranged point.  Leaving me with time to potter about with the camera, win,win.

Orkney Orchid

Everybody happy, well except Spud


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Cat on an Ice Cold Wall

We’ve had three days of bright blue skies, what a treat. It’s been cold though. I took a turn around the field this morning, Spud the dog  and Jammy the cat came too.  Jammy  took his preferred route

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along the tops of the walls,   however he was soon complaining of cold snowy  paws and wanted ‘a carry’; he can be quite demanding.

please carry me

Last week we took Jammy and Dodger to the vets, to be micro chipped, for their new cat flap.  Oh my what a din they made!