P is for Poppy

D-Day Commemorations take place today the 5th of June and tomorrow the 6th which was the actual landing day on the beaches of Normandy, 75 years ago.

Respect for ALL who took part in this moment in history

5th June

(C) David Oakes 2019


Petal Power……


Tissington Well Dressings

It is that time of the year when some very talented folk create some great works of art with which to ‘Dress’ the village Wells.


Hands Well

It has long been the tradition in the Derbyshire village of Tissington, that for Ascension Day the village Wells are ‘Dressed’ with floral decorations and on Ascension day itself a Church service is held in St. Mary’s Church. Following the Service the Congregation then proceed to visit each Well in turn and Bless them to ensure both purity and continuity of the water.

It is a tradition, rooted in a Pagan custom, later adopted by the Christian Church.  It was given added importance following the Black Death 0f 1348. It should also be mentioned that Tissington like so many of the Derbyshire villages is built upon Limestone. Limestone being porous allows water to ‘vanish’ below the surface…. so any location that had a natural spring soon became a well and its waters protected.

Well Dressing has become a skilled and creative artform.  Each well has its own display boards, boards that have been used for many many years.  The boards are covered in local clay onto which the design is etched in outline.  Then petals, leaves and other natural materials are ‘pricked’ into the clay, each overlapping the other like tiles on a roof. As for the Design, well obviously there is a religious story but also a different theme is chosen each year.  This year it is Nursery Rhymes and Children’s stories.

 Hall Well and the Children’s Well

Yew Tree Well

(celebrating 50 years since Woodstock)


Town Well

Coffin Well

So named not for its shape, but a place on the ‘Coffin route’ when folk had to carry their dead to Church for burial, a journey over fields, dales and some times long distances. It is here that the Coffin was laid on a flat stone whilst the mourners rested prior to entering the Church.


Saint Mary’s Church, Tissington

Standing on a hill in the centre of the village, the Norman church of St. Marys still casts a watchful eye over its village. Tissington remains a small village and is part of the wider Tissington Estate that has been in the ownership of the FitzHerbert family since the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1.  Little has changed, cottage and farms, gardens and meadows,  a couple of shops and of course a Tea Room…. all overlooked both by St. Marys and Tissington Hall.

 For 7 days the village is packed with visitors, then the boards are stripped, cleaned and safely stored till next year….but the thinking of what designs to use will start at once.

4th June

(C) David Oakes 2019

An Ancient Treasure Trove….. and its Free !


Another treat for all of us here in Derbyshire.  Following the da Vinci Exhibition in Derby, the tiny Museum and Art Gallery at Buxton, in the heart of the Peak District, has been honoured with a Visit of ‘The Hoards of Ancient Britain”. It is thanks to the British Museum and Salisbury Museum who have lent some of there Treasures to create this very special temporary Exhibition.

All the artefacts of Coins, Jewellery, and Torcs, many a rich glistening Gold are all so close at hand. The Exhibition is described as ‘the hidden treasures’ of Britain and indeed they once where. All the items have been discovered on professional Archaeological Digs, by Amateur Detectorists, but many by pure accident.  Many items have remained undiscovered since many centuries before the Roman invasion of Britain covered in mud carefully cleaned to reveal such splendour.   Many items were everyday objects such as coins, many rough and ready, but others like the Golden Torcs are works of craftsmanship that would be please even todays best jewellers.

For too many years it has been necessary if you wished to see such Treasures and Works of Art, that we would have had to travel to London.  Occasionally collections would be lent to other major Cities such as Birmingham, Manchester or Edinburgh…. but Derby and little old Buxton  – not a chance.  So we do hope that this is an enlightened trend that will spread to all other parts of the UK… and hopefully back here on home ground again. It has been a real treat and it has also been FREE… don’t get much better than that.

But before signing off for today…. please read the first paragraph of this display board.

I think you may find the message rather familiar today…  Yep, the wealthy few!


18th May

(C) David Oakes 2019


Silent Sunday…… Off to a Very Different Church


The Nether Largie Standing Stones,  Kilmartin, Argyll

We are not visiting a conventional Church this Sunday but none the less a place where over 5000 years ago, in the Neolithic era, people gathered for communal ceremonies.  Burial and Tribal occasions plus celebrations and worship related to the seasons.

The Standing Stones are covered with what are known as “Cup and Ring”  marks. Many theories relate to there interpretation but none seem definitive.

Nether Largie is just one of over 350 ancient sites in an area no bigger than 6 miles around Kilmartin…. and part of Kilmartin Glen.

Standing Stones, Burial Cairns and Kist’s can be found all across this Argyll Peninsula that pokes out into the Irish Sea.


Temple Wood Burial Cairn and Standing Stones


Kilmartin Glen and Nether Largie

The Religious significance of Kilmartin has continued through the millennia from those early Neolithic times. Over the centuries the changing generations have sought to discover Religious solus in Kilmartin and the surrounding Glens.

Today many visitors seek out Kilmartin Church and the nearby Visitors Centre.  The Church itself is also  host to a number of carved stones from a different age. Intricately carved Crosses and  elaborate Memorial Stones dating  from before 1300AD through to the 1600’s AD.  Many are in the open within the Church grounds whilst the most precious have been taken into shelter.


 Kilmartin Church is still the Parish Church and retaining the link through religious time back to the Neolithic worshipers.

Even in todays busy world Kilmartin Glen is a place of tranquillity and peace.

14th April

(C) David Oakes 2019