Uphilldowndale

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


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Buzzards and Bramblings

How lucky am I to be able to sit and watch birds great and small from my window. I think these are bramblings, a bird I can’t recall visiting us before, there are greenfinches and goldfinches too.

Finch feeding_

We’ve moved the feeder, closer to a hawthorn, and it seems that with feeding wild birds, as in retail, the three most important things are position, position and position, there have been upwards of 40 birds visiting  at any one time, the hawthorn shimmers with them. But hard to try and capture in an image, especially when it is snowing, as illustrated here..

many birds in a bush

This afternoon a buzzard was soaring over the field against a blue sky, always a treat, it used to be rare to see to them here: and last week we had several sightings of a raven, much bigger than a rook and being mobbed by them, it was his distinctive call and a check with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust members on social media that confirmed our suspicions.

Saturday’s weather lifted everyone’s spirits  after a week of snow ice and rain: even if the  mood of the day was tempered by the news that after eight days without a telephone connection,  thank you Doris, we now face at least a week, probably more, before can expect to be reconnected, as the repair involves new cabling,  requiring traffic management, cherry pickers and cable drums.


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Share Nicely

Spud the dog and Bubble the cat,  settle down for the night.  There is no such thing as an empty box with a cats in the house.

Share nicely

Storm Doris has raged around us today,  I think we’ve  escaped lightly, the barn doors broke free of their bolt, but thankfully the doors and hinges survived without damage. The lane is currently blocked by a fallen tree,  but I suspect that Derbyshire County Council have far more urgent cases than our tiny lane, and we can take an alternative route,  I’m very glad not to have been traveling today, it was a bumpy ride for many.

I wrote this  post last Thursday, the 23rd of February, shortly before our telephone and Internet connection disappeared. It’s now the first of March and I’d really like them back now. Our mobile data is disappearing fast.


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Early Doors

We were down in London last weekend. We took some time out to visit Kew  Botanical Gardens, it was three days after my annual pass expired. Sigh.

As we renewed the pass one of the staff commented ‘You’ll need that, you’ll be wanting to come to the orchid festival’

Yes, I thought, that’s why we’re here today. 

It starts tomorrow’ she continued. I was crest fallen, I’d really been looking forward to seeing it, I’ve often managed to ‘just miss’ finding out about  exhibitions, I’d never managed to arrive before one started before! I really should pay more attention…

And whilst the staff were in the throws of the final ‘set dressing’ of the displays, we could still access the glass houses, so all was not lost.

Kew orchid 9

a floating wheelbarrow, how cool is that. Some of the displays certainly took me back to my days worked as a florist (this one reminded me of a funeral tribute we made for a traveller family, it was so big that after we’d finished it we realised we couldn’t get it up the stairs from the basement workroom!)

Kew 13

The scent of this stephanotis, was a flash back to the 1970’s and many hours spent  as a junior  florist wiring the individual florets to be used in bridal bouquets

Kew orchid 8

And there were delicately strung dried helichrysum blooms, waiting to be artistically draped, what a labour of love.

Kew 16

But enough of them, we’re here for the orchids

Kew orchid 6

we were not disappointed,

Kew 15

they were everywhere even strung from the roof.

Kew orchid 4

Another floristry flash back, cymbidium orchids, the ‘go to’ flower for the mother of the bride in the 1980’s, not one bloom but two, as my colleague used to say, ‘that’s not a corsage its a ‘bustenklamper’.

Kew 14

I think this slipper orchid was my favourite

Kew 10

Or was it this one? I like growing orchids, it always seems like I’ve achieved something clever when they flower, although it’s not magic on my part,

Kew orchid 7

I do tend to guild the lily a little sometimes. But the greatest orchid thrill was the wild orchid that randomly, just popped up in the lawn a few years ago,  sadly it’s never made another appearance.

We may have missed out a little on the final flourishes of the festival, but that really didn’t matter.

* Early doors


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Sharp

A sharp frost and a foggy morning, and more than a little black ice.  I must be getting to be a grown up, because I chose to travel the road more travelled, not less, where I could be more confident of some salt on the road. I managed to find some pretty things though.

Frosty Taddington_

These burrs look much more attractive on the plant, than they would entangled in Spud the dogs fur.

Frosty Taddington 2

The seed heads of the cow parsley looks poised for the insertion of ice diamonds

Frosty Taddington 3


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Lock Down

Our chickens continue their enforced confinement , due to the risk of them contracting Avian Flu from migrating birds, they have to stay in their run.

They’ve adapted pretty well to this change of circumstances, I’ve tried to give them things to entertain, as well as replace the amount of fresh grass  and vegetation they normally graze.  And  I’ll confess, that without thinking about it, that for a few days, I was taking them an armful of windfall apples each day, which they loved (we’ve had a prolific year for apples).

windfall 2

That was, until it occurred to me, that the migrating birds I was trying to keep away from the chickens had probably been grazing on these apples. So much for bio security!

I hasten to add that these apples are very much more munched  than back at the start of the lock down in mid December , when they were whole apples with unbroken skin

windfall