For Better or the Worse…..


Heage 6 Sail Windmill, Derbyshire

For better or worse, this year’s Harvest should be safely in.   The weather has been, let’s just say strange and unpredictable this year.  Reports sound as if overall it has not been anywhere near a bumper crop of cereals.

The magnificent Heage Windmill with its 6 sails is in full working order.  Lovingly restored with challenging work for volunteers and fund raisers…..  a true labour of love.

In none CV19 times it is open to the public.  Then it is worth taking a step back in history to view a Windmill, which just like the Harvest, is dependent upon the weather.  The name Heage is derived from the Ango Saxon word  Heegge  which became ‘High Edge’…. easy to understand as you stand beside the mill on top of a high hill. 🙂

Please Remember ….

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

10th October

(C) David Oakes 2020

Silent Sunday…… Off To Church

It is some years since I started the occasional Sunday ‘Off to Church’  postings.  When I started I made the point that it was not as a result of any religious commitment  nor would I make any religious comment.

Churches, in the widest concept, includes Chapels, Abbey’s , Cathedrals, Places of Worship of any Faith….. have and are a part of our communities.  All provide a light on our Historical Heritage.  Building, culture and faith all in one location.  These religious building, probably more than any other construction, provide a direct link back to our earliest recorded history, buildings that today are still used as they were many many centuries ago.

One such Church we visited many years ago, is the very tiny Church of Saint Boniface.


The Church is located on the Isle of Wight in the village of Bonchurch.  There has been a settlement here almost since time began.  Stone Age settlements and Roman occupation have been recorded.   The Domes Day Book records the name of Bonercerce.   It is in the 8th century that Saint Boniface arrives on the island. Saint Boniface built a strong following in the area and in the 9th century a wooden church was built.  It is believed to be an older site of worship.  This first church was dedicated to Boniface.

It is on this same site that  in the 11th century a small stone church was built.

That church still exists and is used today….  a direct and continuous historical ink.

Over the centuries there have been some modifications.  A Bell Cote with Bell were added in the 16th century.  Then in the 19th century a Porch Doorway was added.

What hasn’t changed is  that services and weddings can be held by candle light as no electricity has been added.  Yes, the Church is still in use today.


The Church is also referred to in Bonchurch as ” Old Saint Boniface Church”. That definition is important.  As the population and importance of Bonchurch grew and NEW Saint Boniface Church was built and opened in 1848.  There followed some talk of demolishing the Old Saint Boniface, thankfully common sense prevailed.  Special occasional services, including weddings, continue the link between Saint Boniface’s and the community.


To stand in this nave and look around, you stand in history.  You stand in the shadows of so many that have come before you, to stand in this very spot.  It may well be small by comparison to say a Cathedral,  but  it is equally as inspiring and full of a special aura.


If you ever visit the Isle of Wight, and amongst all the island treasures and beauty spots, do find time to head to Bonchurch.  Find the narrow  wooded lane that leads down the hillside and discover this little gem of history.

Maybe, no matter if you are religious or not,  spare some time to evaluate the times we currently live in today…

Please Remember ….

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

31st May

(C) David Oakes 2020




Wordless Wednesday….Another Favourite Place


Location :-  Warkworth Castle, Northumberland

(I know this is Wordless Wednesday…but here are a few notes on Warkworth)

Warkworth Castle has been in the ownership of the Percy Family, more formally the Dukes of Northumberland, since the 11th century.  Originally a wooden structure, but in troubled times proved impractical, despite a high defensive position.

So it was replaced in the 13th century with a solid stone construction.  What you can fine today is a square outer wall with look out towers on each side and central to all this very solid Central Keep.

Apart from playing an important strategic role over the passing years, it was also a popular retreat for leisure in peaceful times.

The Castle is now in the care of English Heritage

We too must take care….

Please Remember ….

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

13th May

(C) David Oakes 2020

VE-day 75……… Hope


There has to be Hope for the Future

Sunrise, Sunset……. both symbolic of new starts to come. 75 years ago, today it was VE-Day. Whilst people paid respects to those who had suffered loss and experienced sever trauma, they also expressed Hope and Optimism for a Brighter and Better future.
Maybe today the World is trying to come to terms with a not dissimilar Global tragedy….. Yet signs of Real Hope for the Future have yet to be expressed. For now, the desire is that progress will be made to find a Vaccine, and that ‘some form’ of normal life will return. A NEW NORM is the phrase used but yet none of us know what that New Norm will look like.
Maybe we will never get back to what was normal. I am fairly sure the world, and that includes you and I, will have to adapt to new ways, new challenges.
But we should also pause and remember those traumas of 75 years ago.
Their Hope and Optimism remain the key words for today

Please Remember ….

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

( The image above is of the Derwent Valley Reservoirs where the Dam Busters Trained for the Bombing Raids – Tranquil today but a permanent reminder of trouble times )

8th May

(C) David Oakes 2020


A Postcard from Holy Island….


Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island, Northumberland

A few weeks ago I posted a single image of Lindisfarne Abbey together with a few comments about its history.  There were several enquires asking if I had more images of these ruins. As the Abbey (originally a Priory) is just one part of a very special place which is called Lindisfarne and more commonly Holy Island, I thought I would send you a Postcard to include a little more of the Island as well as the Abbey.

As space is always restricted on a postcard here is a very brief resume of the Holy Islands history.  From 635AD when Saint Aidan (pic below) founded the Priory Lindisfarne became the centre for the rise of Christianity in the North of England. Saint Cuthbert and Saint Oswald added to the Islands Religious importance. It was here that the Lindisfarne Gospels were written and illustrated which are now housed in the British Library.  The Priory and late the Abbey also had trouble times.  It was re-established following the Norman Conquest circa 1069AD but was later destroyed on orders of Henry VIII during the dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century.

The Island today seems idyllic and indeed it is a special place.  Isolated from the mainland at high tides it is in a world of its own, today only disturbed by visitors. But its history has been far from tranquil.  The religious calm was first disturbed by a very brutal Viking invasion in 798AD..  A castle became an essential. The Islands location close to the Scottish Border ensured it was embroiled in Border Raids and The Jacobite Rebellions.  Much late its location was an important defence post during the World Wars.

Although the Island is very small it has enjoyed a busy commercial life.  Fishing is the most obvious industry, later Limestone was excavated and a substantial series of Limekilns built near the shallow sloping beach which became a harbour to transport the Lime to much of the North of England.

Lindisfarne Castle, strategically built on the highest point of the island in 1570AD., just at the time the Priory was falling into disuse. It is an imposing castle but the one you can view today (it is now a National Trust Property) is the result of 20th century modifications by the famous Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, its interior very much in what is know as the Arts and Crafts style.

   The only violence today comes from winter storms, so visitors during the rest of the year can enjoy some peace that only a small island can provide…. a time to stroll the islands coastline, the dunes and the beaches… perhaps even build your own monument to Lindisfarne the Holy Island.


Here is the link to the earlier blog:-

As this is a Postcard there is much left untold and much truncated. If you need to find out more then the usual www search engines can add to the story


28th December

(C) David Oakes 2019