Something is missing…..

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Flash Back to Last Year

Let me say right at the start….we are not creatures of habit. There are though somethings that do go along, each year, according to the seasonal cycle.

At this time of the year, before Spring bursts upon the scene we enjoy the sight and scent of an array of indoor bulbs.  Crocus,  Daffodils, Muscari, and of course Hyacinths….bringing the outdoors indoors.

Not this year….don’t know why.  We were enjoying a morning coffee in the conservatory when we suddenly realised, that apart from a Cyclamen that arrived before Christmas, we didn’t have a bulb in the house.  No excuses….. not one, we just hadn’t given the matter of planting the bulbs back in the autumn a second thought. Shame, but there we are.

The good news is that Spring is on the way and our Garden bulbs will soon provide there special glow of colours.

20th February

(C) David Oakes 2018


Moody Monday…. another Grey Day


Low cloud, grey and a day of drizzle… so I suppose it is the perfect Moody Monday.

We are now past the mid point of February.  By reputation February is wet hence the old country rhyme….

February fill the dyke,
Be it black or be it white;
But if it be white,
It’s the better to like

But I have to tell the truth….this year February has on balance been sunny and dry for the most part, then when it has rained it has indeed rained. Rain filling the dykes, flooding meadows, creating muddy tracks for walking and of course swelling the rivers so they run fast.  So much for the black stuff, as for the white well we had (so far) one day with some snow.

But there are still 9 days of the month left and the forward forecast is not good.

19th February

(C) David Oakes 2018

It was a Cold but Bright Start..


Dawn over Allestree Lake

It was a cold start though the ice on the Lake was thawing….the sky a frosty clear blue laced with vapour trails from the early morning flights to warmer climes.

Sadly that early promise didn’t last and it became damp and overcast.  That’s the BAD News……

The Good News is that by the afternoon the blue skies returned and me were blessed with some fine late afternoon sunshine…


So not all is bad weather news

17th February

(C) David Oakes 2018


The Day just got better…..But was still very cold



Hathersage and Longshaw Moors

Perhaps you joined us yesterday when we climbed up past the cascades in the damp, dark wooded Padley Gorge. Today we continue that trek in what would seem a very different world.  Indeed it is a marked contrast to the dark sided gorge, out onto the open moorland.

On the distant horizon there is a Gritstone edge, an Iron Age Hill Fort , a site later taken over by a Roman garrison as a look out post.  The Gritstone is the underlying rock, it is easily worked so no surprise that there are signs of many small artisan quarries.

_DO84595bbBut there are other contrast.  The wide open moorland in more recent centuries has experienced attempts to tame it.  The Steel City of Sheffield is only a few miles away and the success of that City brought much wealth to a few.  That wealth was used to establish large houses in there own private estates or parklands. Longshaw Moors is one such estate.  Whilst the edges of the moors are cloaked in trees the moors were bare, so in amongst all the boulders in a rather hostile environment Pines were planted and along with Silver Birch have created a new style of moor for this part of Derbyshire…


It is a struggle, illustrated by the many jaunty angles of the trees that have battled against strong winds in this exposed location….


This was indeed a bonus day for us….certainly cold with a sharp wind that added to the chill….and after the shade of the gorge we were glad to take advantage of the bright sunshine, the long shadows and the contrasts in views.

As the day came to a close the clouds began to roll in from the northwest and with them came hints that winter still has away to go….


17th February

(C) David Oakes 2018



Sunny but still Dark on the Peak


Padley Gorge, Dark Peak, Derbyshire

Thursday, a much brighter day than of those of late.  The sun shone but through a hazy sky that dimed the brightness just a tad. First stop was Padley Gorge, a deep wooded gorge strewn with rocks over which water constantly tumbles even in the driest of times. We were keen to see the cascades in full spat after the recent rains, indeed it was full but we had forgotten the high winds of late so rather surprised to find so much wind damage and fallen wood….it is going to need some hard work clearing…

_DO84552bb The Gorge nearly always has a shadow moving over it, always damp, the Beech, Oak and rocks all covered with a wide variety of moss and lichen….  all adding a unique character to an old woodland…


Search amongst the rocks and you discover the occasional abandoned Gritstone Millstones.  In days gone bye these woods and surrounding area were alive with quarrying and stonemasonry crafts.  The Millstones were carved in situ from suitable sized rocks then transported to the nearest bridleway for transport across the UK.


Why are so many found abandoned….. simple an alternative means of manufacture was discovered (by the French) and the trade of Millstone Mason disappeared.

The legacy is a tranquil wood, with cascades and a place for nature to thrive..

16th February

(C) David Oakes 2018