Are You looking at the Sky?

‘Are you looking at the sky?’ Asked Mr Uhdd as he poked his head around the door this morning, ‘ Look at the colours, you need to be outside.’

‘But it looks pretty good from inside.’  I protested

go outside!-1

I donned boots and coat over my dressing gown ( a fetching  sight eh?) and Spud and I strode out down the field, it was nippy, very nippy.

Those shepherds knew a thing or two about sunrises (and sunsets for that matter) Things are on the change, we’ve not been having cloud formations like this for weeks (and certainly not as spectacular in colour as this mornings.)


But the light show got better and better.

Outside 2-1

I think there may be snow heading our way.

Outside 3-1

Watch this space.

Outside 4-1

Today is Sunday, where is Spud the dog? Well like the rest of us at Christmas, Spud hasn’t a clue what day of the week it is,  he needs to catch up, he’ll be along later.

More of the Same

More snow flurries,

walking home-1

fill the valley; more icy roads and drifting snow. There is no horse ridding off into the sunset this week

snow filled lane 1-1

but there is always a cold footed sheep

lone sheep-1

Looking for the next feed

sweet sheep-1

There is no sign of any change in the weather on the horizon.

blowing snow-1

Just more of the same.

Suspended Animation

A hawthorn bush, at the side of a road, add a large puddle and days of sub zero temperatures,  repeatedly douse the hawthorn in  the spray from passing vehicles as they speed through the puddle, and this is what you get.

Ice Hawthorne 3-1

It looks rather magical,

Ice Hawthorne 1-1

What caught my eye was next years buds, at the tips of the twigs, caught under the ice.

Ice Hawthorne 5-1

I had to watch my back a bit, it didn’t seem prudent to get caught up with a fast road and a large stretch of ice, just for the sake of a pretty tree,

Icy patches on roads-1

but it was early on Sunday morning, not many people were out and about so I was able to pick my moment. The snow queen flashed by in her white Porche, but I missed the shot.

Snow queen on wheels -1

But not the magic

Hawthorn 6-1

A Feast Fit for a Finch


My tree hugging  fest continues, this time it the turn of a pink berried rowan tree. Planted in 2004, purchased from Weasdale Nurseries, ‘growers with altitude’ as they like to describe themselves. Very nice people to do business with and how they pack the  trees for dispatch to the customer is nothing short of a work of art.

pink rowan -1

The variety is ‘Pink Pagoda’  and it seems to go down well with everyone.

Finch feast-1

And as a view from my ‘home office’ window goes, it is hard to beat day, or night.

Moon and Rowan Berries-1

For the Love of Larch

I’m rather fond of larch trees, I like the soft zesty lime green tufts of new needles in the spring, as much as I like the gold haze they proffer in the autumn and a jug of branches laden with cones never goes amiss in the winter either.


If I remember rightly this is a Japanese larch Larix kaempferi,L. leptolepis but don’t quote me on that, as Spud the dog ate the label, so I can’t be quite sure.

This is the top of the trunk

larch bark 1-1

a little lower down it starts to darken

larch bark 3-1

And the oldest wood, is a gunmetal grey.

larch bark-1

We’ve got one tree in the garden, but across the valley in the Forestry Commission woodland there are great swathes of larch. Mighty fine they look too, in the setting sun at this time of year.

larch 1-1

I may have to go in search of a photo or two, time and weather permitting.

A Taste of Things to Come

I interrupt this broadcast of photos of our holiday on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal to bring you a glimpse of the future.

Err, well; what I mean is the future in terms of the forthcoming  season, I actually took the photos last Monday, the 25th of October, in the grounds of where I work.

Enjoy, winter weather  is not all bad.

Monday morning 6-1

There had been a very sharp frost, the air was perfectly still and leaves were raining down from the trees like poppy petals at the Albert Hall

Monday morning 1-1

The light was crystal clear

Monday morning 2-1

Splashes of water had glazed the  ornamental grasses.

Monday morning 7-1

and late season revellers in the flowerbed had a second blast of beauty

Monday morning 3-1

The clocks have changed*, dark evenings have descended, but there will be light.

Monday morning-1

and glorious things.

Monday morning 4-1

*we won’t mention the pickle Mr Uhdd got in with the clocks today, it may have been due to the early hour he set out for a run on the hills, or as a result of low blood sugar, but what he thought was afternoon tea was in fact an early lunch: that’s all I’m saying.

After City Lights

I’ve been to not one, but two cities this week, Wednesday saw me entombed for the day in a Manchester hotel and over the weekend I’ve been staying in Leeds city centre. I’m so not used to being downtown on a Saturday night. I (and my colleagues) suddenly felt very old and parochial.*

After city lights-1

It didn’t bode well when we arrived at our hotel to find reception swamped by hen parties booking in for the night. We just knew that they are going to have far more staying power than us and would not go quietly, into, or out of the night.

I was lucky my room overlooked Tetley’s brewery, some of our group had rooms that over looked a night club and plaza, a plaza that was still teeming with life  and booming with music at 4am. If I looked bleary eyed this morning it was due to my over indulgence (we had a very nice meal and ‘some wine’ at the Arts Cafe) other were wearied by the excess’s of other revellers. 

I was very happy to get home this afternoon and sit and watch the leaves float by on the pond, it’s been been a beautiful sunny day. It was about as much dazzling colour and excitement as I could cope with.

After city lights 1-1

*OK so we might have been just a tad envious of their youthfulness; as we wallowed nostalgically in tales of  clubbing and parties past (especially those who frequented the Hacienda) I’ve never been much of a clubber, but I am fond of a dance and a party

(Lloyd Spencer’s photography captures Leeds nightlife perfectly)

Red October

October has arrived, with driving rain and gusting winds, in contrast to yesterday, which was altogether more mellow:

Red October-2

more of sublime September than obnoxious October.

It was nearly dusk before the rain cleared away to the west and I ventured out from my den of Dulux, whereas last night I came out for a turn around the field with Spud, to find 3 buzzards circling over the top field, the setting sun rather poetically lighting them under the wing, a jay poaching acorns* from the oak and a conker coloured wren delivering its machine gun chattering call as it wove through the crevices of a drystone wall and a rainbow arcing across the valley.

Tonight I just went to Tesco’s. No comparison really: but there are time to feed the soul and times to feed the (ever hungry) family.

*Can anyone tell me what is wrong with our acorns, they are deformed (but only on one tree) is it a virus? a gall?

Mutant Acorn-2

Trees of Distinction

A wooded, ancient lane that leads down to Mill Bay.

Millbay track 3-2

It’s proved nigh on impossible to capture the magnificence of these trees (I think they are lime trees*)

Millbay track 4-2

Whilst I was faffing around with the camera, a passing walker suggested I Photoshop in some fairies to help capture the atmosphere of this special place. Another asked if I’d ever been here in the spring, when the lane if flanked by primroses, I haven’t but I’d like to see it then.

Millbay track 5-2

Ferns, mosses and badger tracks are abundant,


Spud loves it down here, in places there are steep banks, he came running off the top of one bank at full pelt, it was was about 7ft high, he hit the ground legs out, forward and aft,  but still with forward momentum, he shot straight through my stride, a fraction of a second either way, he’d have he hit me: he’d have taken me off my feet that’s for sure.


(*but don’t quote me on that, I’m on holiday, I’m not spending my time Googling trees; and look how wrong I got the bee stuff)