Silent Sunday…… and a New Year


The Old Man of Calke

The Old Man of Calke, a venerable Oak.  Bruised and battered, the weather has taken its toll.  Yet, the Oak is still standing after well over 1000 years.  His winter skeleton looks bleak and lifeless, but come the spring, he will sprout a new head of bright green Oak leaves, and celebrate another year.  The Old Man has been witness to much in his long life and with good fortune will see much more.    

 We all know that the past year has been both strange and tough.  This though is the first Sunday of our New Year a time to look forward. 

As for what the future holds for all of us this New Year, is still unknown.  What we must do is have hope that some form of normality will return.  

Just like the Oak we need to cling to our roots, our foundations, as best we can.

We can also help ourselves and others ….

Please Remember ….

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

3rd January

(C) David Oakes 2021


A New Year and a New Day…… Hope

NORTHER-LIGHT-N18_00014 no name

Welcome 2021…….  It would be nice if we can have a Fresh Start.   

If there are such things as favourable Spirits, I do hope they can bless us all  

Peace and hope be with you all. 

As always…….

Please Remember ….

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

1st January

(C) David Oakes 2021

A Cold….but Sunny finish to 2020


The last day of 2020, gave us a little flourish of sunshine as its farewell.  It was though rather cold.  So far we have missed what snow there has been. No snow, but we have made up for it with freezing temperatures and frosts. With no wind overnight the waters of the Lake were still and froze.


It was not a complete ‘ice over’, some areas remained ice free and as the sun rose the melt soon started at a pace.

Interesting behavior from a pair of Mute Swans.  They found a small area of ice free water, then set about maneuvering their bulky bodies against the edges of the ice…. and a small pool became bigger in a very short space of time. Feathered Ice Breakers


The Black Headed Gulls are always a law unto themselves…. they obviously must find it warmer to stand on the ice, rather that float on the water.  They do though, hop from one leg to the other quite often!


Yep, not a bad finish to the year.  I just hope that 2021 will eventually prove to be better for all of us.

Please Remember to….

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

31st December

(C) David Oakes 2020



Come on in….Be the First to Cross The Threshold

New Years Eve….  or, as my Scottish ancestors name this last day of the year  “Hogmanay”.

At the end what has been a strange and difficult year for all, it would be very appropriate to embrace the Hogmanay tradition of First Footing.  

Once again 2020 has conspired against even this tradition being celebrated.  As UK Lockdown has been strengthened again, such activities are not permitted. 

So what is First Footing ?

I don’t think anyone knows for sure when this tradition started.  Some say its a mix of Gaelic and Norse traditions.  Whilst associated with Scotland and those of Scottish heritage, it has been practiced in parts of Northern England and some Scandinavian Countries.

The act of First Footing itself requires that the first person to cross the threshold, after midnight has struck, on Hogmanay, can if carrying the right gift, bring good luck to the House and those within. 

The gifts are defined by tradition as being….. A Coin, A Piece of Bread, A Pinch of Salt, A Lump of Coal and a Dram of Whisky.    The gifts represent….. Prosperity, Food, Flavour, Warmth and Good Cheer.

But rules of this Scottish  tradition don’t end there.  The person bringing the Gifts must not be in the House when midnight strikes….  (now this is where we get sexist and selective)….  The First Footer, as he is known must be a Man.  He must have dark hair.  If someone with light Hair, Redheaded or Female should cross the threshold first, after midnight, they bring with them bad luck.  Likewise a Doctor or a Minister are not welcomed as First Footers for their association with Illness, Bad News and Death.

So as 2020 moves into 2021, a year when we could all do with a visit from a First Footer and the luck they bring, CV19 conspires against us….. a great shame. 

But we can all play our part in making the future better for all if we all…..

Remember to….

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

31st December

(C) David Oakes 2020