Uphilldowndale

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


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Reflections on a Picnic

We have a tradition on holiday of going by boat for a picnic,

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this year we had to be a bit flexible as we are an inflatable short so we couldn’t get everyone safely on the water at once (we usually fix an outboard motor on the back of a sailing dingy and tow the inflatable behind it, you can spend an awful lot of money messing about with boats, but we are definitely  at the economy end of the market)  Our party numbered 16 in total, so some went by road, which was a bit of a shame because it’s just not the same, we go to a little village called South Pool, it’s chocolate box pretty.

 

The planning of the expedition goes on all week, it’s all very ‘Swallows and Amazons’) you have to catch the tide right, to get as far as possible up the creek, thus avoiding the mud and arrive at  a time when the pub is open, as a beer or a cider is found to enhance the picnic, for the grown ups at least.

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Below is ‘Glebe Farm’ you can find farms of this name all over England, it’s a name that was given to land which belonged to parish, the revenue from the farm  contributed towards the income for the parish expenses

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The children had great fun trying to catch the leaping fish as they came up the creek on the tide, they were unsuccessful in catching them, just as I was in trying to photograph the silver flashes of fish.

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Goose

Blue and orange, complimentary colours, how could they fail to be pleasing on the eye.

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A handsome family, although the parents were a little hissy if you got too close, geese can be aggressive and are sometimes used to guard property, on the Hebridean Island of Islay, they protect the distilleries, I feel sure McNoddy would approve

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these domesticated geese were very much part and parcel of the small holding, but large flocks of wild geese can be a nuisance, in the USA you can call in the Geese police to deal with them, Moss the dog would consider this as a good career move.

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On the subject of baby birds, Tom Reynolds, has his own little fluffy pigeon chicks to deal with are they cute or vermin? depends on your perspective I suppose and whether or not you have to clean up the poo.


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Keep the Receipt

I bought Tom some board shorts in anticipation of our summer holiday, here he is in action, skim boarding and looking as slim as as a stick of liquorice.

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Having got them home we found that the metal security tag was still attached, not wanting to damage the fabric, trying to prise the thing off, I decided I would ‘Nip them back to the shop.’  A day or so later arriving in town, I glanced in the bag, to check I had got the receipt, only to find I hadn’t got the bag containing the board shorts, but a bag of old socks and underpants,  that I culled from the inner depths of Toms chest of draws….. Oh dear, that was close, well at least I didn’t stride into the shop and tip the lot out on the counter, now that would have been embarrassing.

So I try again, back to town, this time I double check: board shorts, check; receipt, check.  Confident I stride into the store, beep, beep, beep, beeeeeeeep goes the stores alarm as I pass by, heads turn. At the counter I tip out  the contents of the bag ‘Could you remove the security tag please, I’ve got the receipt’, then out of the folds of the shorts, scuttles a large spider, the shop assistant makes a vertical take off and shrieks far louder than the security alarm, it’s not so much that she doesn’t like spiders, this is more a phobic sort of reaction. ‘Oh dear, very sorry, it must have sneaked in whilst the bag was hanging around the house’ I explain, I scoop the shorts and the spider back in the bag, (I am concerned the assistant might be heading for a panic attack) ‘I’ll just take the spider outside shall I?’ I ask. I hurry back out of the shop, beep, beep, beep, beeeeeeeeep goes the alarm, heads turn. Outside I shake the spider off the shorts and it legs it off across the polished marble tiles of the shopping precinct, never have I seen a spider look more vulnerable than at that moment, it simply had nowhere to hide.

Back into the store, beep beep, beep, beeeep goes the store alarm, heads turn. The assistant  is still locked to the counter with a white knuckled grip and she is taking short, rapid, gasping breaths, ‘I’m very sorry about that, its gone now, honestly’ I explain. At arms length and handling the shorts like an unexploded bomb, she manages to pass the security tag over the device that releases it, ‘It’s OK, I’ll put them back in  the bag shall I?’ I offer helpfully. Quickly taking the shorts, the bag and the receipt I head for the door, thankfully, this time there is no beep beep beep. Now that was embarrassing


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Bears in the Belfry

An unusual approach to fundraising for a parish church,

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Take money off children and then throw their teddy bears off the top of the bell tower, it’s all in a good cause you understand.

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But only after adding a parachute;

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it caused some tense moments

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But it was Ok in the end

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No soft toys were injured in the raising of this dosh, although some bears were a little ‘hefty’, they never the less made a safe decent.

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It wouldn’t be a church belfry with out bats ( I love and champion bats, well some one has to, they are very ugly) however a rather beautiful velvety bat glove puppet made an elegant decent before reinforcing the myth, that bats get caught in you hair,

Bats do NOT get caught in your hair, OK

they don’t; well not real ones, their echo location if far to sophisticated for such an error

There has been a church on this site since the 12th century, one of the bells, still hanging in the tower but no longer rung, was cast in 1506. I love to hear church bells across the valley . The clock doesn’t seem to work, but never mind, it’s just marking time and that passes with or without a clock; take a look at the window (now blocked up) from a much earlier period than the clock, and gargoyles that surround it, they have been watching the passing of time for many years now.

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Potential

The seeds of next years ‘honesty’ (Lunaria annua), all neatly stored in a ‘blister pack’

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Honesty flowers attract butterfly’s, I like its silvery seed pods (a favourite with flower arrangers) that will develop as the summer progress, I suppose that’s where it’s Latin name originates from, they look rather moon like; it grows on a pile of rocks at the bottom of the yard.

(Note to self, to try and get some established  in the garden.)


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All Roads Lead to the Lake District

We’ve been in the Lake District this weekend; Joe’s school had an activity weekend in Brrowdale, Mr Uhdd had a fell race to run and Tom’s school had a choir event in the South Lakes. I played out with the camera.

The Sunday morning dawned bright and clear, Mr Uhdd woke early and felt the need to share this information with me, in fact he was more direct he said ‘You need to get out with the camera, NOW!’ So at 06:00hrs on Sunday morning I was at the Summit of the Honister pass, it was a special place to be.

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Despite the ridiculous time, it was so still and tranquil

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Well it was tranquil until, I came across a quartet of cockerels at the Honister Slate mine, they were cock a doodle doing as such birds do at sunrise, (take a look at the mines web site for some excellent aerial photos of the area.)

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the sound reverberated for miles down the pass, (Kingmagic, you would have been impressed.)

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I’ve another busy week ahead, before the children break for half term holidays, so I might just drip feed you Lakeland scenes, watch this space.

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Loitering with Intent

The local herons have been spending  a lot of time by the pond, eyeing up the fish. I don’t think they manage to take many as our pond has steep sides and herons won’t step into deep water they will only wade in from the shallows. I like seeing a heron by the pond and don’t begrudge them a few fish, we have more than enough and I think the golden orfe are now too big for the herons to tackle.

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How ever Inspector Gadget explains that doing what comes naturally (to a heron) is reportable offence

‘Theft of Goldfish from Pond – main suspect – local Heron’

 

I disturbed a heron yesterday, it flew off  and perched in the sycamore tree, they do look rather ridiculous sat in a tree, there is something about herons that doesn’t seem to add up, as though there was a miscalculation at the design stage, herons legs look like they might snap and their beaks look too heavy, (I’ve yet to manage to get a photograph of one, so I’ll cheat)

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the ability of herons to catch fish led to a belief  that their legs must produce some magical substance that attracted the fish, this resulted in anglers scattering pieces of herons legs around the fishing ground, in an attempt to attract fish, now don’t try this at home because

In Great Britain the heron is protected at all times under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, with fines or prison sentences available for anyone killing or attempting to kill one

 

and such a fishy incident will result in even more paper work for Gadget.

I adore our pond, you can see why,

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We built it six years ago, we borrowed a mini digger and a dumper truck and Mr Uhdd set to work, it ended up a different shape and a  bit bigger than the original plan (not unlike the heron) and the liner cost as much as the new sofa we planed to buy at the time, six years on we still haven’t bought a sofa, but I have no regrets, the pond investment was the right one and the old sofa will be fashionable again soon. The pond is spring fed and whilst it doesn’t run all year round it is a big enough body of water not to need topping up. We were amazed by how quickly wildlife just turned up and took over it, (treat of treat has been a visiting kingfisher) This summer I will be on a mission to get more photographs of some of the visitors, this is the best I managed last year

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I think I shall make a mug of tea and go up to the pond, bliss.