A Small Start….Maybe Spring will arrive ?


The very last day of January……  another January day that didn’t wake up.  It has been a month that will be remembered here for the rains, floods and an occasional flurry of snow.

So, I was delighted to find my first clump of Wild Snowdrops in the woods.  Not many I admit but at least it is a start.  

Yellow Catkins were the other welcome sign that Spring is getting nearer. Again a small sign but none the less very encouraging on such a grey damp day.

Apart from the damp it was cold, cold enough to freeze the Lake once more. I do hate these damp cold days, maybe it is another reminder that I am getting old, as this damp cold does seem to leach into my bones..


The Grey Squirrel has obviously raided his winter larder, so busy chopping away that he ignored Buster and myself. (and where was my Long lens when I needed it – at home keeping warm)


So I will wave January goodbye. If you were describing the month, you would say it had been wet, but not really Winter.  Wicked, I know, to wish time away but this last month has certainly drained the spirits. 

But, whatever February has in store for us….

Please Remember ….

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

31st January

(C) David Oakes 2021

Best Laid Plans….. don’t always work out


Early on a Winters Morning…  our first real winters morning with our first snow.  It started with a flurry of snow on Sunday afternoon, by evening it was depositing a respectable layer. By night fall proper it had stopped and there was to be no further snow overnight… next morning there was a crisp blue sky and crisp snow to match…

No time to waste. So off to the Lake and our Local Park.  The snow just had to be crisp and even as I would, with luck, be there before anyone else.  What I hadn’t bargain for was the resolve of people to head out late evening and last night…..must have been all the pent-up lockdown frustrations being let loose.

At the Venerable Furlong Oak there was evidence of much frolicking in the snow….so gone was my dream of that ‘crisp and even’ snow….


But, Hay Ho..the sun shone, it was, dare I say it, quite warm.  So lets just enjoy our first snow of the year.  The Lake was frozen, but as the morning woke up there was a thaw in parts.  The stark white and black skeletons of trees contrasting with the near crystal cleat blue sky.  A great change from the dark drab days that have been the signature of this winter.


The thaw looked as if it had the upper hand and was beating the ice and cold in submission.  The receding ice on the lake, making new ever changing shapes and creating clear waters for the Geese and Ducks…


Late afternoon and cloud rolled in, grey and threatening.  More snow perhaps?  No, just a cold night that froze what was left of the snow.  Tuesday brought about another change, by lunch time the rains had started and those snows are washing away.

It looked pretty…. but spare a thought for those who were flooded last week.  Bad enough trying to cope with water through their homes and businesses – now add frozen water and it is hard to imagine what life will be like for them.  Nor can the snow melt be positive news, it must add to the river levels.

I am also aware that for many of you snow is no novelty…. sorry,  but what little we do get we do seem to adore.  Well for a short while, the novelty soon wears-off  🙂

Please Remember ….

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

26th January

(C) David Oakes 2021

Winter Woodland…

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Even on a cold January morning… if you just add a touch of sunshine, the woodlands can still look majestic.  Maybe a little stark and lonely but maybe that just adds some mystery to the magic.

Please Remember ….

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

23rd January

(C) David Oakes 2021

More Sunshine….. Two consecutive days


Yes, sunshine again.  Nor did it have any problems melting the overnight frost, not that we have had many frosts this year.   I don’t think that I was imagining it but the sun actually felt rather warming. Despite the warming  rays, the Lake still looked forbidding, dark and cold.  But no ice!


Just in case this marvelous sunny start wasn’t going to last, we made an early start.  Maybe that is why there were so few folk sharing this sunny morning in our Park….. I think they missed the best of the day.  After all what could be better than a blue sky, long shadows and a bright sun.


It was though still a surprise to feel some real warmth from the sun, not do I think that I am mistaken in thinking that the buds on the Birch have swollen.  Maybe Spring is not that far away…..   I am feeling optimistic despite the rather dire weather forecast for the coming weekend – it may only be a Blip!


As always, whatever the weather and whatever you are able to enjoy…

Please Remember ….

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

22nd January

(C) David Oakes 2021

It was Inevitable……. Floods


After all the rains it was only to be expected that at some point the River Derwent would overflow.   Overnight, the waters crept over the river bank and started to engulf one of our local parks.

The Children’s Play area is definitely not to be used today.

The Park and the fields on the opposite bank have always been part of the Derwents flood plain…so I guess they are now doing exactly what they should.  Slowly but surely as the morning went along those waters were still rising…. and there are more waters heading our way  from higher in the Peak District.

I wonder just how much further the floods will encroach on the Park by tomorrow


I guess we have been lucky in this corner of the middle England. There are places not that far from here that have suffered far worse than just a flooded park.  I can’t think of many things worse than having your home inundated by muddy flood waters.

Please Remember ….

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

21st  January

(C) David Oakes 2021