All Alone…well nearly


After several days of stormy weather, the sun made a welcome return. Not that our daily walk was without us getting wet.  But overall the temperatures are a little higher and it was a lovely spring walk…..  a walk we had very much to ourselves.

_DOI1549qqq Down by the Mill the first Daffs are starting to show. The cricket field has started to be prepared and the shadows through the trees added to the feel that the year is moving on.  But as a reminder of the storms the River is running high though not yet at its peak.


Nice as the morning was, there were no takers for the benches…. benches with a great view on a day when the day could breath after the storms…



Please Remember to ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

12th March

(C) David Oakes 2021

It might have been very different….


Charles Edward Stuart   —-   Bonnie Prince Charlie

Standing in the shadow of  Derby Cathedral*, is this statue to commemorate the visit to Derby of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745.  I say visit, but really it was his Army’s Occupation (all be it briefly) of the Town of Derby.


It was all to do with the Jacobite Uprising in Scotland in 1745….known simply as the 45.  It started in August at Glenfinnan, when Prince Charlie started  to amass a Jacobite Army in Scotland.  The plan was to march to London and retake the Crown of Britain for his Father Charles Francis Edward Stuart, who expressed Claim to the Throne.  Support was substantial and he marched south.  Taking Edinburgh, defeated English Troops at the Battle of Prestonpans.  Crossed the Scottish border into England secured Carlisle Castle and marched on south. Prince Charlie arrived in Derby on December 4th 1745.  Not a bad achievement for a large army that had to travel by foot.

It was here in Derby that things changed.  Many suggest that if Charlie had stuck to his plans the History of the British Throne could have been so much different.  But his pause at Derby allowed time for his advisors to gather up-to-date intelligence of what might lie ahead for the Jacobite Army.  True, the British Army was being organised and a fighting force built to repel the Jacobite’s.  Maybe Charlies advisors were correct in persuading him to rethink his plans, maybe if he had gone forward his Jacobite Army could have overcome that anticipated resistance. Who really knows what that outcome would have been.

What we do know is that 2 days later on the 6th December 1745, Prince Charlie made the decision to return to Scotland.

It was along slow return journey.  His army became demoralised.  The slow progress gave the British Army time to build and pursue the Jacobite’s.  They caught up with them at Culloden.  On April 16th 1746, The Duke of Cumberland engaged the Jacobite Army. It was by all accounts a massacre.  The British Army had superior numbers, they had Cannon Power and highly maneuverable Cavalry.  The Battle of Culloden was won by the stronger British Forces. The Jacobite Rebellion was over.

_DOI0577qqq Despite the bloody and crushing defeat, Charles Edward Stuart has remained in the hearts of many.  Despite the blood shed and failure the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie has been and still is romanticised…. folk lore, legend, tragedy and the real history all blending together… the lines of truth becoming blurred.

I say, romanticised as Bonnie Prince Charlie is immortalised in the famous Scottish Ballard… ‘The Skye Boat Song‘.

” Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,
Onward! the sailors cry;
Carry the lad that’s born to be king
Over the sea to Skye “


So Charles Edward Stuart made his escape.  The British Army began building extensive defences across the Highlands to deter  a further uprising. Those tensions around identity continue today.

  •   I mentioned Derby Cathedral.But in 1745 it was called All Saints, Derby’s Parish Church.  All Saints was only made a Cathedral in 1927.

Please Remember to ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

23rd February

(C) David Oakes 2021

In Town Today…… So Quiet


This mornings Lockdown exercise took Buster and I into Town for a change (walking on muddy fields and paths had become a bit of a chore)…..  and it did make a pleasant change. It was quiet, and that alone is a novelty for Derby, and we could walk without having to take avoiding action when meeting the occasional fellow walker.  Add sunshine and even the modern, stark Hotel Tower looked rather grand.

A much smaller hostelry (obviously closed at the moment) is the Old Silk Mill


The real Silk Mill is situated adjacent to the Inn.  One of the original mechanised industrial revolution Mills, one of several in this World Heritage Location.


In recent years, it has had a chequered and uncertain museum history.  Right now it is undergoing major renovation and the creation of a new museum (thanks to lottery money).  Exterior restoration is near completion and by the noises from within work continues at a pace.

It was here, in 1833 that a Lockout of the Mill Workers occurred.  It lasted till 1834.  As a result of this action the foundations of the Labour Movement were set in motion. A mural on the side of the Inn is a reminder of those trouble times…


Troubled times continue today.  Today it is the challenges of  CV19 and Lockdown restrictions.  As we are now finding out there are folk that are not coping.  I found it very sad, that along this bridge leading to Sant Mary’s Church, notices have been a fixed,  messages of hope, for those who are perhaps contemplating taking drastic action.


Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

4th February

(C) David Oakes 2021

October a New Month….. and Summer Fades Away


October…many say the real start of Autumn.  But there are still many signs that summer is trying its best to hang on with us.  The delicate flower heads of the Chives attracting spiders and insects all searching for food before the weather takes a turn for the worst.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

1st October

(C) David Oakes 2020

The Hydrangeas…… provide a garden of delight.


Tomorrow is August the 1st and here at one of the National Heritage Hydrangea Collection it will be an ‘Open Day’.   The Collection is open everyday during the season but tomorrow there will be guided walks and volunteers available to tell folk  about the collection, both for Hydrangea care in general and also historical background to this walled garden.

For the volunteers this year it will be one of mixed emotions.  Every years since the team started the restoration and establishment of the collection, they have spent hours  producing a spectacular display for visitors to enjoy.  This season they have had to work extra hard over the past few weeks trying their best to make the gardens look anything like what they would really like.  The winter and spring took its toll. Heavy rains,  a period of drought and a very late frost followed by high winds would have made life difficult in any year……  but add the CV19 factor, lockdown and  other restrictions and those dedicated volunteers were unable to take prompt and continual actions, to mitigate the problems.

So whilst the Collection may not be having one of its best years…it is still a very worthy display.  White blooms seem to have survived the best.  There are still many dead flower heads and even seed heads from last year, however hard the team worked they were never going to achieve several months work in just a few weeks. So full credit to all.


The Collection can be visited at Darley Park, on the banks of the River Derwent in Derby.  The National Heritage Collection is open till September.  An approach area is open  with  both Hydrangeas and Herbaceous borders all year ….. and its all free.  🙂

I should add that today has been blistering hot….35c this pm.  Certainly had people heading for the shade.  Every shadow  was occupied 🙂   Thunder on the way.


Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

31st July

(C) David Oakes 2020