Uphilldowndale

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


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Early Doors

We were down in London last weekend. We took some time out to visit Kew  Botanical Gardens, it was three days after my annual pass expired. Sigh.

As we renewed the pass one of the staff commented ‘You’ll need that, you’ll be wanting to come to the orchid festival’

Yes, I thought, that’s why we’re here today. 

It starts tomorrow’ she continued. I was crest fallen, I’d really been looking forward to seeing it, I’ve often managed to ‘just miss’ finding out about  exhibitions, I’d never managed to arrive before one started before! I really should pay more attention…

And whilst the staff were in the throws of the final ‘set dressing’ of the displays, we could still access the glass houses, so all was not lost.

Kew orchid 9

a floating wheelbarrow, how cool is that. Some of the displays certainly took me back to my days worked as a florist (this one reminded me of a funeral tribute we made for a traveller family, it was so big that after we’d finished it we realised we couldn’t get it up the stairs from the basement workroom!)

Kew 13

The scent of this stephanotis, was a flash back to the 1970’s and many hours spent  as a junior  florist wiring the individual florets to be used in bridal bouquets

Kew orchid 8

And there were delicately strung dried helichrysum blooms, waiting to be artistically draped, what a labour of love.

Kew 16

But enough of them, we’re here for the orchids

Kew orchid 6

we were not disappointed,

Kew 15

they were everywhere even strung from the roof.

Kew orchid 4

Another floristry flash back, cymbidium orchids, the ‘go to’ flower for the mother of the bride in the 1980’s, not one bloom but two, as my colleague used to say, ‘that’s not a corsage its a ‘bustenklamper’.

Kew 14

I think this slipper orchid was my favourite

Kew 10

Or was it this one? I like growing orchids, it always seems like I’ve achieved something clever when they flower, although it’s not magic on my part,

Kew orchid 7

I do tend to guild the lily a little sometimes. But the greatest orchid thrill was the wild orchid that randomly, just popped up in the lawn a few years ago,  sadly it’s never made another appearance.

We may have missed out a little on the final flourishes of the festival, but that really didn’t matter.

* Early doors


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Sharp

A sharp frost and a foggy morning, and more than a little black ice.  I must be getting to be a grown up, because I chose to travel the road more travelled, not less, where I could be more confident of some salt on the road. I managed to find some pretty things though.

Frosty Taddington_

These burrs look much more attractive on the plant, than they would entangled in Spud the dogs fur.

Frosty Taddington 2

The seed heads of the cow parsley looks poised for the insertion of ice diamonds

Frosty Taddington 3


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Gale Mill

Dark and Satanic*, or Warm and Welcoming?

I can’t quite make my mind up. This is  the wonderfully restored and  preserved, Gale Mill in the Yorkshire Dales;  it was late  afternoon in November  and the light was fading.

Gayle Mill 2

There had been heavy rain the day before, and the river was thundering by.  The roads were awash.

Rivers were not to be messed with.

Langstrothdale

And then there was the snow, we’d chosen quite a high route to get to Gale and Hawes, but traveling in the campervan, we decided discretion was the better part of valour, turned around and took the low route instead!

20161117_134144

In the end the snow didn’t become a problem, but the local highways department were in a state of preparedness…

Gayle 2

I was glad we were in the campervan and not camping!

Not camping_

I’m also glad we spent money on  a diesel heater for the van,  rather than spending the money on a van in any other colour than white, which comes at a premium. We were snug as bugs.

snow van 2

* Dark and satanic mills, might not be what I always thought they were!


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And so to work…

Back to work tomorrow. I have a beautiful commute.

Late for work, again

It’s 14 years since I worked in retail, but the novelty of being able to have a long break at Christmas and New Year has still not worn off.

Tomorrow I think an extra layer of clothing may be in order, our office can be chilly on a summers day. Two weeks of the office heating ticking over on thrifty frost setting, may mean there is an unseemly dash for the fan heater, first thing. Lets call it an office huddle, we can at least try and look like we are back in harness.


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School of Magic

Amongst the many events of summer;  Tom graduated…. 

Grad bears

Tom’s graduation was a lovely day, we can’t quite believe how quickly three years have passed, its all been rather angst free for Mr Uphilldowndale and I.

Bangor University is in a lovely part of the world, the older buildings do have a Hogwarts look about them. Tom has found a it a magical place to study climb’ surf and ride!

Bangor uni_

He has plans to go traveling, New Zealand and Canada are high on his list. For the moment he is closer to home, we’re not sure where though, just some where, in our camper van


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Unidentified Emotions

As a friend put it on Friday, in the wake of the EU referendum results ‘I’m experiencing emotions I can’t name, I certainly haven’t felt them before’.

Politics isn’t something I’d normally mention here, but the referendum and  decision  for the UK to leave the EU is to big to walk on by.  I’m gutted. Horrified. Sad and bitterly disappointed for my boys. A few of those unidentifiable emotions my friend mentioned are swilling around in the mix too.

A conversation I overheard, seemed to me, to capture the fact that many folk hadn’t got a handle on the chain of events voting ‘leave’ would set in motion.

First women. ‘My son says Nando’s are leaving the UK because of Brexit

Second women. ‘Oh my god, you’d think it was the end of the world, all we did was put a cross in a box on a bit of paper!’

I wasn’t sure if to laugh or cry, so I  just stood in front of the newspaper stand in crushing bewilderment.

Mr Uphilldowndale and I were set to go to Loweswater, in Cumbria on Friday, in preparation  for Daz’s Memorial  fell race.  We didn’t like going and leaving Joe home alone, he’d been up all night watching the results come in and was as down as we were; but Spud the dog stayed at home to keep him company, as ironically Tom is away, in Europe, working (we cast a proxy vote on his behalf).

 

We stopped by at Dodds Wood and climbed up to the viewing point to see the osprey’s  this  and a walk in the woods did us good and soothed our souls a little.

What now

The next day I had chance to contemplate the hills and some of the many emotional events of the last few weeks, and some of those emotions spilt out. The sheep was my confidante .

Don't ask me. I didn't vote._

What more can I say.

Tek Care


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Time and Tide Part II (and a little bit)

Yesterday Gerry asked what the view was like looking inland, from the site of the wreck of the Helevita, ‘would it be this isolated or would it show a cheerful holiday destination?’

I don’t think much can have changed since the night of the wreck, although there might be more bracken (which is what is being burnt off, left of shot)

Rhosilli Bay 2

The house, the Old Rectory, is  owned by The National Trust and is available for holiday lets.

Rhosilli Bay_