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


Thirty days wild. June 17th

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_17

The best thing that you can do for nature is too make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild… ‘

I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust,  with the aim of blogging each day, a little bit of the nature of my world.


Hawthorn of a pink hue,

Hawthorn pink_


My dad wouldn’t let us bring hawthorn flowers into the house, he said it was unlucky.

Its a superstition that is rooted into a time when people were more in touch with their senses,  than we are today, I don’t imagine many of us would recognise the scent of   trimethylamine?


‘In Britain it was believed that bringing hawthorn blossom into the house would be followed by illness and death, and in Medieval times it was said that hawthorn blossom smelled like the Great Plague. Botanists later learned that the chemical trimethylamine in hawthorn blossom is also one of the first chemicals formed in decaying animal tissue, so it is not surprising that hawthorn flowers are associated with death.’



Thirty Days Wild. June 5th

TWT 30 Days Wild_countdown_05

‘The best thing that you can do for nature is to make it part of your life. That’s why we’re asking thousands of people to make room for nature in their everyday lives this June. Please spread the word amongst friends, colleagues and family and get them to sign up, too! After all, all our lives are better if they’re a bit wild… ‘


I’ve signed up to 30 Days Wild with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust,  with the aim of blogging each day, a little bit of the nature of my world.


Spud the dog thinks this thirty days of blogging is a splendid idea.

DW30 spud_

The apple blossom is almost over, 

DW30 apple blossom 2

only a few clusters remain, however there looks to be plenty of fruit set, for future apple crumbles, if that’s not too depressing a thought…

DW30 apple blossom

Thank you to the helpful people at Derbyshire Wild Life Trust, for access to the fab graphics.


Bring Back my Bonny to me, to me

Take a look at this, post. What powerful images.

Town Mouse

I went into Bigtown on one of my biennial shoe shopping trips and found rather more than I had bargained for

shoes representing missing schoolgirls

More than 200 pairs of girls’ and womens’ shoes, placed there in solidarity with the kidnapped girls in Nigeria. You were supposed to take a selfie, I think, and tweet it or facebook it, but I stuck to photographing the shoes and talking to a few of the folk who were doing the organising.

I’m not 100% sure what I think of these sorts of campaigns – taking a selfie and sending a tweet doesn’t seem calculated to acheive much of anything except making ourselves feel a bit better about something, rather than helpless (you could say the same about pedalling on Parliament) and ‘trending on Twitter’ is not the same as ‘actually liberating 200+ schoolgirls from a horrible fate’. But then again, I do find it encouraging that…

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Toe by Toe

‘Exceptionally fantastic!’ That was the response of Joe’s podiatrist, when he saw his x-ray.

He was referring to the lump of bone on his big toe, that shouldn’t be there. To give it it’s proper name it is, or was,  a subungual exostosis

Joe Uphilldowdale Subungual exostosis

and apparently it is a fine example (I’d actually prefer it if my family would stop having things wrong them that arouse the interest of the medics,  I like to think of us as a healthy family, but honestly, you’d not think so reading this blog.)

All this came about as a reaction to Joe stubbing his toe, last year,it wasn’t really a big deal at the time, in fact no one can  quite remember what it was he stubbed it on, or when, including Joe. We were all waiting for the nail to fall off, which it didn’t,  and I must admit I thought Joe had developed a fungal infection under nail, so it was a bit of a shock and a bad parenting* moment to discover his toe would need surgery (in my defence, remember, I’m married to a fell runner,  men with ugly damaged toe nails are the norm).


Two weeks off his feet, with his leg elevated for 55 minutes in the hour,  and compression stocking. School was off limits, but fortunately Joe was able to schedule the procedure for the start of the Easter holidays (his request the thought of trying to catch up his A level maths lessons was a motivator, this from the boy who hated school). 

It did mean however that Joe was pretty much ‘housebound’ for our holiday in York, luckily part of Joe’s specification for our holiday let, was that it was too have an internet connection, so at least he was able to to keep in touch with his mates and occupy himself with some gaming; here he is in holiday attire.


Something of a fashion statement, do you not think? I’m rather proud of Joe, he was a stoical and patient through out, after two weeks he was able to return to school, with us ferrying him too and fro, and with him being careful to keep it out of harms way and elevated as much as possible.

We’ve learnt that foot surgery is no stroll in the park. You need to take care tootsies I’ve heard many a gruesome tale of long and painful healing by those who have tied to side step the post op care instructions.


Joe gives his consent for me to share the photos of his toe as a work in progress. He says he doesn’t mind who looks at his toe, so long as it isn’t him! It’s not pretty. You could look at the sweet kittens



and then click away. Or if you’re curious….

six days after surgery


Big toe 2

The nail was removed a week later,

Big toe 3

which made things look a whole lot better! Here we are 18 days after the procedure.

Joe toe


*Bad parenting moment, when Tom came home from school with the news that the school nurse said he was under weight and needed his eyes testing as he couldn’t see the blackboard.


Toe by Toe, how Joe laboured through this book, but he got there in the end, and it was a great help

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The Further Adventures of Spud the Dog November 4th 2013

Not sure why I’ve included the date, as this post is a bit late, the photo comes from last month, and as far as Spud is concerned the whole subject matter is way, way to late for him! sorry Spud, we nipped that in the bud.


A van we spotted at the Motorway services, we were curious,

dog bus 3


and a little amused by the obvious fun of the graphic designer had with their brief.

dog bus-2

Some of the text is a little difficult to read, from my phone shots

Dog bus

So from their website


Semen collection & freezing
– Sperm analysis
– Semen storage
– Cytology, culture & progesterone testing
– Artificial insemination with fresh semen
– Transcervical insemination
– Surgical implant
– Export & import of semen
– Specializing in reproduction problems


I notice from their website,  the breeding of greyhounds is an important part of their work, and whilst I’m not trying to link  this company to irresponsible breeding and  ‘disposal’ of dogs that don’t make the grade,not at all. I’d like to say I’m often saddened to see the number of greyhounds rescue charities at country fairs, looking for good homes for greyhounds that simply don’t run fast enough. But then the breeding of  all dogs and dog welfare is a debate that should have been running a lot longer than it has.


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High and Dry

When I walked east along the path from East Prawle, Mrs Ogg walked west, this is what she found.

High and Dry -1

As you can see Mrs Ogg has a sharp wit, and a keen eye for the absurd, she also has a fledgling new blog for her beautiful art, Spud  the dog is there already

I’m hoping she is going to post one of her life drawings, that she made when we attended a couple of life-drawing classes whilst we were away.  Mrs Ogg coaxed and cajoled me into going, there may have been wine involved in the negotiation: you see I’d never tried my hand at life drawing before, and I’ll admit to being a little uneasy about it all, not the nudity* you understand, I can handle that, so long as it isn’t mine!  No I was more concerned about displaying my own embryotic drawing skills in front of the other attendees, that idea made me feel very exposed indeed.

I could have turned on my sandaled heels and fled when we  first arrived, a little late (as Mrs Ogg and I have no concept of time or tide when we are immersed in the delights of Devon) and the matriarchal  class organiser announced as I peered from behind  Mrs Ogg’s shoulder ‘Right ladies, you’re new here aren’t you? Right, we’ll have a few quickies first  and would you like a donkey?’ .

I really enjoyed myself and any worries I may have had about doing a half decent job of drawing  of what I thought might be ‘the most challenging parts’ of the anatomy were nothing but a smudge of charcoal by the time I’d tried to master the nose, hands and feet of the models! I may have to find another class, and Joe and Mr Uphilldowndale could make me a donkey of my very own.

* Mrs Ogg told me later, that even by life-class standards, the male model was something of an exhibitionist, which was reassuring to know, I did think the stretchy exercise he did were a little over the top!.




Armistice Day

Slapton Sands Tiger-1

I’ve posted about this spot before

In the early hours of the 28th of April 1944 eight Landing Ship Tanks (LST’s), full of American servicemen were in Lyme Bay, off the coast of Devon, England. Their purpose to take part in Exercise Tiger, the realistic rehearsals for the D-Day landings in Normandy. The night turned into tragedy as a group of patrolling German e-boats discovered and attacked them. At the end of Exercise Tiger 946 American serviceman had lost their lives.