August has arrived…..


The first of August, the year moves along at a pace. Now I do know that many folk still have to take their summer holidays and August is a key month for tourism, it is though for me the month when we start to see some very early signs of autumn.

The flowering Mombrecia with it delicate bright orange flower heads is one key indicator of this change.  I also admit that Mombrecia is one of my favourite flowers…. it can be a little haphazard in the garden but a habit I am more than willing to put up with…it also loves wilder locations, loch side edges in the West Highlands is where its at its best.   Nor should one confuse it with the ‘posh’ Crocosmia with its fire red flowers.


No, the humble Mombrecia are the August blooms for me….


Another sign that autumn is on the way can be found on the Oak trees…. it does look as if we are going to get a bumper crop of Acorns this season. That of course is still dependant upon the weather, and squirrels,  between now and autumn proper.


1st August

(C) David Oakes 2019

Climate Change….


Wind Turbines, Derbyshire

Wind Turbines and the multi installation Wind Farms have been a bone of contention since they started to appear in the British Countryside and Coastal waters.  Love them or hate them I guess they are here to stay.  Do they despoil the countryside, well that is again a question of view point.  I think what has appalled some folk, myself included, is the mass concentration in restricted areas.  It reminds me of the mass Conifer forestations that were a planted between the wars.  Trees so close and dense nothing grows beneath, no light penetrates and they become mono cultures of Conifer. Thankfully time and science has shown there is a better way to re-forest the countryside.

Back to Wind Turbines…. well, spread well apart I am not sure that they spoil the countryside, just change the view.  With space between, birds, plants, farm animals and wildlife can go about there business without much danger.  As for the view above…well in centuries gone traditional Windmills were spread across this part of the world, one old stump, without its sails can be seen in the image. Nor is it any wonder that so many projects have been subject to Public Enquires when so many of these ‘farms’ were to be dumped upon vital wild habitat, reducing further our bio-diversity of large areas.

It is my view that so many folk hate windfarms is that our Government just forced them upon us. They relaxed planning restrictions and gave big grants for investors to construct the sites…Investors who by all accounts have walked away when returns were not as great as hyped, but after they got their grants!  Not part of a master plan but a fad.

The Windfarms in Coastal waters are stand alone features. Surely thought and development could have ensure that apart from wind generated electricity, wave power generation could have been incorporated into the location with the same infrastructure used for bringing the power ashore and its distribution. Maybe even the environmental impact could have been helped by creating under water reefs, providing habitat for sea creatures and young fish stocks

Climate Change is very real and life will change for all of us. Nor am I concerned that folk like you, me and our families will fail to respond to the challenges and changes ahead.

What does concern me is that Governments and most certainly the UK Government has so far failed to do any real ‘joined up’ thinking. Main infrastructure programs seem to just stumble from one fad to another. Fossil Fuel replacement hasn’t happened in a substantial way, Nuclear Plants are closing and major new ones that were announced with such hype are stalling. Farming, Housing and Industrial building require a strategic land use plan.  Potential water shortages and the opposite threat of major flooding with rising sea levels and coastal erosion all require a positive programme to address the issues. But these need a coordinated policy not disjointed actions going in different directions.

As for infrastructure, well we have the HS2 High Speed Rail Link.  Set to destroy hundreds of ancient woodlands, vital habitat, along its route. OK! they say they will plant several thousand new trees.  But how do you replace ancient woodland with a new tree? not possible.

New trees yes please, we need them to help the climate change balance but in addition to and not in replacement of.

Following the Climate Messages of this last week I get both annoyed and depressed that Government reaction is to suggest that we the public have to do our bit…so to help us, new restrictions and controls will be introduced. Yet so far I have yet to hear them define what actions they are going to take to secure our collective futures in this changing climate.

And that is my real fear.  It is not what you and I will be doing to make a difference … but what Governments are failing to do.

10th May

(C) David Oakes 2019




WP Weekly Photo Challenge – Seasons

Seasons…a big topic for this Weeks WP Photo Challenge

So I read the small print and honed in on the following statement….This week, let’s embrace the season: share an image that embodies the world or the weather where you live.

First-Signs-of-Spring lg

Old and New

Old and New…well I guess this image fits the Seasonal brief.  It encompasses Autumn, Winter and Spring. 

The Autumn leaves that covered the woodland floor have slowly decayed adding nutrients back into the soil and providing a warming blanket over Winter for the Spring bulbs that are now today forcing their way into life heralding a new Spring.

I have never been sure just where our cycle of seasons starts and finishes…if it ever does, but perhaps now is one defining time in our seasons.

See what others have submitted by following this link:-

21st February

(C) David Oakes 2016

The Sun DID shine……and brought us all new life

The sun did arrive as forecast and we all want to know ‘for how long’. The warmth was welcome but oh boy! how it made the woods shine. New growth was everywhere from this bold new Beech tree…….


to this frilly Fern.  The old leaves drying and slowly disintegrating back into the earth adding much needed nutrients….


It is just amazing how the trees have so quickly changed from bare skeletons to wearing their summer cloak of leaves, the trail to the woods looks both very different and even more welcoming…..


Our woodland is a real English mix of trees, Pine, Oak, Chestnut, Birch, Beech Cherry, Hazel, Hawthorn and Sycamore……..


and my favourite in the spring is the Sycamore (much to many conservationists disgust)…who can fail to love these leaves..


The leaves are forming their canopy.  The sun still manages to dapple the woodland floor as it seeks a way through the leaves, other parts are now heavily shaded……




The Bluebells have suffered in the rains and now loosing their fight to retain their flowers and are dying back as the season ends.…..


A lone clump are still striving to provide a last flourish of deep Blue…….


My two woodland companions love these morning walkies…even though Carla does like to just stand and stare at times…


While Buster much prefers to forage for who knows what in the lush carpet of leaves….


I to will stop…but it will be to listen to the spring song of the birds.  The woods have for so long been silent but now they are a multitude of calls….soon to be replaced by the cheep, cheep, cheep of new chicks as another year progresses through the seasons.


16th May (B)Mug

© David Oakes 2013