Uphilldowndale

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


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Three Wise Men

They didn’t come from the east, more of a south westerly direction.

Cutting and sticking away at Christmas cards in my girl shed the other day, I thought I heard voices, not from above you understand; but from the field below: and low, it came to pass that three wise men had decided that the old slurry tank in the field would make a great bench for a winter picnic lunch. It seems quite fitting, as my girl shed was once a stable.

Just a quick snap, I didn’t want to disturb them, they looked very contented, with their bales of butties and flasks of tea.

Three wise men_

When they were rested, they set forth, following yonder star, and probably in search of a swift half of beer in the next village.

On Christmas eve, I was more in need of a shepherd than a wise man; the grass being greener on our side of the drystone wall, we had unscheduled visitors .

Sheep Christmas Eve_

We are have a quiet and relaxed day, just the four of us and Spud the dog of course, he exhausted himself with his wrapping paper shredding fest, as is traditional.

Spud Christmas day

Have a lovely Christmas, wherever you may be, especially those who don’t have the chance t rest and relax and have to work.

We liked this decoration, spotted in our local hospital, definitely making the most of what comes to hand to raise a little festive cheer.

Seasons Greetings_


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Cut, Muck and Roll

The field was mown, and basked in sun, once it was rowed up and baled there was haste to get it wrapped and off the field, we’ve had some dramatic storms and torrential rain.  The contractors worked through the night, it was about four thirty AM when they came into our field.

bales_

My patch of meadow flowers in the foreground is left for Mr Uphilldowndale to cut with his precious scythe, when it has fully seeded.

Today the field was mucked, Spud was delighted.

spud rolling_


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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog 6th April 2014

 

Have you missed Spud? Here he is, his leg is much better, but not quite right yet.

IMG_8558

 

He got a bit excited today, Jimmy the farmer turned up in his big red tractor, with blade harrow in tow, to do a bit of remedial work on the field, where the pipes for the ground source heat pump were laid*.

big red tractor

 

Jimmy  jumped out of the cab for a natter, leaving the engine running. Time passed we carried on, nattering , putting the world, and the meadow to rights. When somewhat startlingly, the big red tractors engine went ‘Vrooooom, vrooom as only the engines of big red (and possibly green) tractors can.

‘Ahhh’, said Jimmy, knowingly,without missing a beat, ‘the dog will be ready for off then’.

big red tractor dog

Just as well, that as bright as they are, border collies can’t quite mange the clutch and the handbrake as well as the accelerator. A working dog has no time for idle chat and needs to put his paw down firmly from time to time.

 

* I will eventually get around to telling the full story of our magical heating system


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April 1st 2014

This advert was always going to capture Spud the dogs heart, dogs just want to have fun.

 

 

BMW announced a new system that puts the thrill back in to driving for April Fools Day 2014. It claimed that the Force Injection Booster works by “extracting kinetic energy from the car’s engine and converting it into positive g-forces”. The effect being that drivers can experience the thrill of high speed driving even at modest speeds of just 20mph.

Additional BMW ‘AirNet’ technology works to keep occupants hairdos in tiptop condition while all this is going on. In the press release Professor Mika Notbetrü, Head of BMW Innovation, described FIB technology as “Mind-blowingly unbelievable”

 

Read more: http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-news/86388/best-april-fools-day-jokes-car-companies#ixzz2xeUUz7UG


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Wet Monday

We are adrift in a sea of mud. The captain has a chart and a compass, it will be OK*. It’s would be helpful if it stopped raining though.

 

Spud the dog loves mud.

Spud mud_

Jammy and Dodger the kitten cats are displaced, their usual home in the utility/porch is no more than a  muddy hole in the ground.

They’ve taken up squatters rights in Spuds bed, it’s  feline Yin and Yang

Feline Yin and Yang_

Occasionally they are willing to share (note Spud’s windfall apple)

IMG_7099

*I’ll save the full story of the ground source heat pump for later posts. 


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Land of Snow and Ice

A selvedge of snow still remains, banked up against the drystone walls, it lies in dips and gullies (or ‘gips’ as I used to call them as a child, no point wasting words when you can blend).

April snow -1

There are lanes  that are still full to the brim, some with cars still entombed! Our lane was cleared  of snow this afternoon, by man in a JCB digger.

Tom has returned home from a geography study trip to Iceland*, it has been warmer there all the time he’s been away than it has here. How silly is that.  On his return he said how ‘green’ everything looks at home, but this is only in comparison to Iceland, not ‘as it should be’, at this time of year, in this part of of the world. It is dire for livestock.

Here are Joe and Spud on our walk on Sunday

Spud Joe and Trees-1

Mr Uphilldowndale wanted to show me some mine workings that have ‘opened up’ recently: as a child I used to play no more than a stones throw from here.

mine shaft -1

My Mum has said for over fifty years that she is convinced the loud crash she and a friend heard one summers evening could only have been to do with the old  mine workings, of which there are many around and about, both coal and lead.  It’s not really what you want at the bottom of the garden.

Making them safe is the remit of The Coal Authority.

mine shaft 2-1

* I’ve been envious of Tom, I went to Iceland in the early 1980’s with my friend Bob’s-mum; it seemed a bit off beat for a holiday destination back then. I loved it, however unlike Tom, I didn’t get to swim in The Blue Lagoon, or see the Aurora Borealis… sigh.


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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog, March 24th 2013

Well you can guess who has enjoyed this weather, Spud the warrior dog with his icy  breast plate.

Snow warrior -1

The rest of us may be finding it all rather difficult, not Spud the adventure dog

MJB 3-1

I know that in many parts of the world, this amount of snow is not a big deal. But it is here, and so late in the year,  I’ve not seen this much snow in the lanes since my childhood

Snow girl 2

(which wasn’t 1947 since you ask).  It is the winds that have caused the drama, Tom  and Mr Uphilldowndale spent hours digging out the lane yesterday, it was all back again in a few hours. As Tom wryly noted, it won’t stop filling in until every field east of here is empty of snow or the wind drops.

We went to visit Mrs Bee and her boys, they are not  very happy. Mrs Bees road is worse than our lane, it is not going to plough out, it will be a snow blower, digger or a long wait for it to thaw.

SPB 6-1

We took emergency supplies of cheese and wine (essential do you not think?) and Tom helped carry a bail of hay for the farmer whose sheep are in the next field. Brownie points all round.

The space between these two drystone walls is the road, the walls are about five-six foot high at this point, full to the brim.

Snow filled lane -1

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