Uphilldowndale

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


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The Day After the Guns Fell Silent

I’ve tried to imagine what it was like as the troops started to come home. To a landscape that had changed forever.  And wondered what those who came home, brought home with them.

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Memories so horrific, that they could never be spoken of, so horrific that they haunt the subconscious twenty four hours a day. Shattered lives, broken bodies and minds, the camaraderie of shared experiences, disbanded.

Peace Poppy Cornflower

Flowers of remembrance, Flanders Fields Museum Ypres Belgium

We went to the local park, its a memorial park, with a war memorial, we gathered round at 11am, for an act of remembrance and of course two minutes silence. The rain stopped, a wind shook the trees, and a drifts of amber coloured beech leaves drifted down on us, it was easy to think of them as poppy petals.

It was special, and a lot of people had worked very hard to make it so. As just a few weeks a go a mighty oak had fallen and smashed the memorial, it was  quickly made safe and temporary repairs put in place (fortunately they panels inscribed with names, survived the impact).

There has been a lot to learn about the Great War. I’ve been discussing and reading about how  those grieving (and there can’t be many who weren’t) coped in the aftermath of WWI. It seems that it  many ways, open display of grief was suppressed as it seemed like the only way of coping. Maybe its something we’ve made a habit of?

It made me think of the other fallen oak I’d seen this year, in the Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres

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The dark stains are caused by the wounds of war

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I’ve heard grief described like this, as rings within a tree, grief is not something that goes away, or is ‘got over’; its wounds stay there, inside, time passes, but the wounds, like in the damaged rings of this tree, are there, deep within and hidden from view, but always there.

Lest we forget.

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Sewing a Seed of Remembrance

It was almost by chance we saw the installation of poppies at the Tower of London that marked the hundredth anniversary of the start of WWI, they both moved us and captured our imagination,

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we managed to buy a poppy, and plant it on the map, just one of the 888,246 poppies that were made

It was the start of a journey, that amongst other things led us to visit Ypres in Belgium and listen to the last post at the Menin Gate We saw so many young people there, so important.

Menin Gate School

Some of the poppies  were retained from the tower, and have been exhibited around the country. We’ve managed to catch up with them in a couple of locations.

Here at Carlisle Castle, the number of poppies here are roughly the same as the number of men who signed up to serve in the war,

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within these walls, and never returned.

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to the city and surrounding villages.

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Lest we forget.

 

 


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Beautiful Blackwell, a Second Look

Shall we feast our eyes on some more of the craftsmanship of Blackwell House? You seemed to enjoy the first course.  I’ve updated the header, to put the house in the context of the landscape.

Stained glass

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Textiles

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The Simpson family, certainly met that brief,

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with exquisite embroidery and woodwork  Rowan berries take centre stage, in carvings

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And iron work

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And of course mother nature provided both inspiration and the perfect foil.

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Beautiful Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House

Blackwell House is somewhere I love to return too, it’s my favourite period house, it seems I’ve not posted about it before, not sure how that happened.  I first visited here not long after it had been restored and opened to the public in 2001, its just south of the town of Windermere in the Lake District

Blackwell ext-1225.jpgBuilt in 1890, by the Holt family who had made their fortune in Manchester, and designed  architect Baillie Scott, it must have been a blast of fresh air after the dark heavy design of the Victorian period.  This is the white drawing room, that looks over lake Windermere, its so fresh and feminine.

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It’s a party house with its large spaces and mistral gallery

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It is full of glorious details,

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With wealthy industrialists coming to the area, to build their new homes away from the smoke of the cities, there was a ready market for the crafts and arts of the Keswick School of Industrial Art 

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Such delicate window latches

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Gorgeous textiles, rowan berries are a recurring motif ,

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It’s always been a place that encourages you to relax, sit in the window seats, play the piano (if able) the National Trust are moving towards this kind of experience, but Blackwell seems to do it best.

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On the upper floor there is a gallery space, that  hosts contemporary exhibitions and displays collections of period arts (these miniature Lancastrian pottery vases are my favourite, Mr Uphilldowndale, says I only want to take them home so I can feed them up)

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Speaking of food, the cafe is to be recommended too.

 


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Hundred Year Stone

We stumbled upon this beautiful sculpture during a visit to the Lake district last weekend.  It’s by Peter Randall-Page, I’ve fallen for his work in the past

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Commissioned by the National Trust in its Centenary Year supported by the National Trust’s Foundation for Art, Northern County Council and National Trust Centres Associations. Sculpture is situated on the shore of Derwent water between Calf Close Bay and Broomhill Point looking across to Brandlehow, near Keswick, The lake District, Cumbria.

I’m indebted to the two German gents, who spent quite some time with google translate, looking up  this art work on their phones, they rather obscured the view, but had they not done so, I wouldn’t have had the added extra of geese flying through the shot. All ways a bonus


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Away with the fairies

Onwards into south Wales, Joe is living and working in Cardiff , on his placement year, part of his university course. We brought a van load of ‘essentials’ and helped settle him into his new abode.  We took the opportunity to head on to our favourite spot on the Gower peninsular, Nicholaston camp site, as well as  the joys of underfloor heating in the shower block, it has easy access down on to the beach. The path takes you through ancient woodland, with many autumn delights

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Once through the woods, the path laces through the dunes,

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that have abundant flowers

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so much for snails not liking sand and prickly things

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I felt a little guilty that I hadn’t brought Spud the dog down to the beach with me, but the plan had been for a medative kind of meander, that was led by the eye, not the tennis ball; walking three Springer Spaniels must be a whole different ball game

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There was much  beauty hiding in plain sight

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A reminder of the lunacy of British politics flashed up every now and then.

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The tide sorts the shells by size, the waters draining from Oxwich marsh,

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sweep them out to sea again.

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