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


Less Sky

Three birds

My three willing model birds, with less sky.

For the twitchers amongst you I also saw, great crested grebe, mallard, heron, wren and pied wag tails



Little Bird

After the most unpromising of weeks, four and a half inches of rain since Wednesday, today has, after a very wet start turned into one of those perfect autumn days, the sort you want to put in a bottle and save for a rainy day in January. A photogenic day and plenty of photos in the can, to play around with during the week. Mr Uhdd went out first thing, in full foul weather gear,thermals, waterproofs, boots and wooly hat, to attend a course on building dry stone walls, he will have been hot! But far better that than being pulverized by horizontal rain and sleet whilst learning how to do a three dimensional jigsaw with lumps of rock on a windswept hill (he was snowed on on Friday, when he was out running on the hills.)

Has anyone got any idea who this is  please?

Little bird 2

A wee sweetie of a bird, who was flitting around rose bush, whilst BiL (my brother in law) and I were sat on the steps having a mug of tea in the afternoon sun.

Little bird 3



I’ve been feeling unwell for a few days, yesterday the only time that I crawled  in a slothful way, out from under the duvet was to pick up a prescription from the doctors. In the car park my legs didn’t much feel like they belonged to me, but rather a giraffe, they were sort of gangly and not quite going in the direction I wanted them too, maybe it hadn’t been such a good idea to come out: an elderly lady was being helped from a  car into a wheel chair, her legs looked stick thin and  brittle, like those of a fawn.

In the Chemist, I slumped on the the ‘waiting chair’, what is it about the ‘ritual’ of dispensing chemists that makes reaching a packet of antibiotics off the shelf, slapping a sticky label on them and giving them to the customer such a big deal, the chemist took the prescription from me, entered it to her computer then proceeded to make two phone calls before, having the grace to come back and OK the box the assistant has reached off the shelf and hand it to me, I was feeling like a bear with a sore head, I just wanted to go back to bed.

Driving home I glanced in the rear view mirror, it was completely filled by the word VOLVO and the snarling radiator grill of a stone lorry, it was clinging to the back bumper like a limpet; maybe I was driving at a tortoise like speed, but no, on checking my speed it was the stone truck who had the issue with the new 30mph speed restriction not me. Back home I found my glasses (I’m getting as blind as a bat without them) I read the leaflet that came with the antibiotics, a list of possible side effects that’s enough to make you feel as sick as a parrot; but at last, I could go back to bed and curl up in my hibernating hedgehog pose. (not my photo folks)


I’m feeling much better today, well better than yesterday, it’s just as well because Mr Uhdd has been at home today, rattling around the house like a flea in a bottle and he has just taken a chisel to the kitchen wall, so it’s just as well my thumping headache has gone.

The weather has at last been beautiful (whilst I’ve been in bed, typical) so I did go and sit by the pond for a wee while this afternoon, this dragonfly was flitting around, they are tricky blighters to take photos of, they wont keep still; I think they have something a ‘prehistoric monster’ look about them, or maybe that’s the medication

Dragon fly


Born to Run


Lurcher racing at the country show, you can read the musings of a lurcher here

I know little about this sport, save to tell you it was a lure they were chasing and not a hare; but it would seem from this photo that it important to propel your dog off the start line, (take the dogs out of the shot and you could be forgiven for thinking they are playing crown green bowls.)

Born to run 1

There was such a lot to see we couldn’t cover it all, but I could kick myself though, for missing out on the ferret racing and I only got to see a little of ‘Cyril the Squirrel and his Racing Terriers’. I think it is time to show you the photograph that I didn’t get, it’s supposed to be of one the fearless terriers jumping through a hoop of fire, the dog was fast and I was a bit slow with the shutter finger, I missed it and the dog didn’t do an encore.

Dog gone

Cyril invited children to bring their dogs into the arena, for a race, it was pandemonium and impossible to do justice to in a photograph first he had the dogs chasing a lure in one direction

Then he would change direction, mayhem ensued, people and dogs in every direction

Dog gone 3

Everyone seemed to get their dog and child back in the end.


A Bird in the Hand

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, so the saying goes

Bird in hand 5

The falconry display at the Country Fair was very good indeed, it was by CJ’s birds of prey

Bird in hand 2

I would never have thought a bird of prey could be such a delicate shade of peach, quite a nice colour to decorate the bathroom, you could stride into your local branch of B&Q  bird in hand and ask them to mix a  2 litre tin of paint ‘just this shade please; egg shell finish, obviously .’

Bird in hand 4

If this were my ear I am not sure I would want it quite so close to this beak

 Bird in hand 3 

It might end up a little more than pierced

Blink 2

I think when we watch a display like this, we are almost waiting for something to go wrong, the fact that the birds are in essence wild and the nature of the work means the handler has to let go, and let the bird fly free. Will it come back? do as it’s been trained? or will it take wing off over Chatsworth house, never to be seen again or perhaps  more entertainingly for as blood thirsty crowd;  take out someone’s pet West Highland terrier, from the edge of the arena, fly to the top of the nearest tree and have a raptor lunch, as  little wisps of coarse white dog fur drift across the arena, there can be no doubt that this  Steppe eagle is capable of doing such a thing, for goodness sake look at the legs on it, powerful or what. A ‘toy’ breed of dog would be a mere snack,  a small deer main course, not sure what the Duke would make of that.

Bird in hand

That’s why the handler kept the eagle on a line  (it was the birds first ‘flying’ performance at a show)


Falconry is an ancient sport, and some of its terms have entered the English language, here the eagle is displaying a defensive/protective pose, known a  ‘mantle‘ as in, cloak, mantelpiece or gas mantle. (see, as educational as the Archers this blog, an every day tale of country folk.)


If  I was going to hold one of these birds, I’d want an extra long gauntlet thank you very much, just as well they have sold out of my size then.


I leave you with a couple more shots of this majestic beast, no wonder they are symbols of power.

 Don't mess with me 

Big bird


In the blink of an eye


Do you know, I took this photograph, today at the Country Fair at Chatsworth Park?

Isn’t digital photography awesome  (yes, OK, awesome is an  overused word, I know, but look, it’s no more than point and shoot!) The event is on tomorrow Saturday, and Sunday, you too could get up this close and personal to a raptor or two, go on, it’s a hoot.



Needless to say, I took a skip load of photographs, enough to keep the blog running for the rest of the week at least.


Open mouth insert foot

What you don’t want to hear your dentist say, as he’s preparing  to do a root canal procedure and he accidentally knocks the tray of implements on the floor.

Opps, so sorry about that, I am having such a bad day!

Actually as root canal treatments go, it was a piece of of sugar free cake, as he had knocked out the infection in the tooth and put a temporary dressing in it two days before I went on holiday. Afterwards we had a laugh about his choice of words, he said it was just as well I was a calm patient, little does he know I get plenty of practice at appearing calm when nothing is further from the truth.

Also on my travels today I saw a young women, about twenty something I suppose, with a butterfly (wing span of about 4 inches) tattooed across  her throat; how attractive is that going to look when she is about sixty and somewhat more wrinkled and saggy than she is now? I could never have a tattoo, I can’t even chose a stair carpet that I am not bored of before it has worn out; let alone something ‘decorative’ and indelible, that I have to spend the rest of my life with.

On the subject of butterflies, does anyone know what species this is? spotted in Devon, the wings were white on the outside and this lovely ‘Persil’ blue/white on the inside, very pretty.

Butterfly blue