Hard Times…… a great read( and re-read)

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 Blogged as part of the https://wordpress.com/tag/acoffeeandabook theme

The sharp eyed will spot I wasn’t sipping coffee, but Whisky seems more appropriate for this great collection of writings.

 “If the Corncrake Calls”

It is an evocative title to a historical collection of writings about life in the Wigtownshire  and its surrounds in the South West of Scotland.  It tells of a way of life, the hard life of the farm workers thru the 1920’s and 30’s and their close link to seasons and nature.

It is a collection of first-hand writings by Ian Niall (who also has work published under his own name John McNeillie ).

What also makes this book rather special that this collection is compiled by his daughter Sheila Pehrson.

It is a book that can keep you involved so that you read it in one sitting.  But also a book that you can go back to and dip into at any time when one wants a meaningful distraction….  and that is exactly what I did this weekend.

Enjoy and escape into a very real world…..  now long gone.

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

6th April

(C) David Oakes 2020



What ever floats your Boat…… in Lisbon


The City of Lisbon is a mix of ancient and modern architecture.  Built over seven hills, it is a city  with some fabulous palaces, ancient castles,museums, more modern buildings and lots of areas to explore.  But for me the most memorable of sights was at the Maritime Museum.

Portugal was for centuries one of the leading adventurers in nautical travel…I guess explorers may be a better word.  The nations close association with ocean travel enabled it to build up trade across the world.  Its nautical heritage lives on today.


But preserved and so well displayed in this purpose built museum is the fantastic display of  ” Royal Barges “.   They must really have created a dramatic colour packed,  spectacular flotilla as they sailed up the River Tagus…. the oars men in uniform and the Royal passengers in their royal regalia.  At least we are given to opportunity to visualise those long gone days with these very special Barges

With 38 oars this barge must have moved at a pace!  ….


The colour and skill of both the boatbuilders and painters are clear to see, but I hope that you do get a good impression as to the shear size of these rather special vessels.

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

6th April

(C) David Oakes 2020

A Privilege….and not taken for Granted


Early Morning at Allestree, Derby

It is Sunday the 5th of April…. and it is a day full of Spring promise.  Early morning mist is lifting,  clear blue skies and a sun that really is starting to provide a welcome warmth.

I am one of the luck folk with somewhere to take my exercise.  I am also very much aware that many are unable to take advantage of an open air walk. It is a privilege.

So here are a few images from todays walk to share and I hope bring you just a little of the spring that is now starting to shape up rather well.


Trees are still bare, the Oak on the top of Burley Hill as stark as on many a winters day. The Silver Birch, that borders the Golf Course which is closed for the duration, waves it ever so fine top branches reaching up for warmth to encourage its leaves to burst…


But new growth is appearing, growth that over the next week will flourish into new clothes for the trees….

The Blossom on our Cherry Tree is also starting to show, but it is a few weeks later than usual….


The First of our ‘last’ batch of Daffodils has arrived alongside our first Camelia of this Spring.  So change is progressing at an increasing pace…

The more delicate flowers of the Wood Anemone are, for a short while, taking over the woodland floor, a carpet of white stars dotted with yellow buttons…


Colour is coming throughout the garden in front the Old Hall, it is the perfect compliment to a rather fine Sunday morning……

If you are one who cannot enjoy stretching your legs, even for a short while, in the sunny outdoors, then I hope these images help provide some virtual flavour to you of a sunny spring Sunday in these difficult times.

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

5th April

(C) David Oakes 2020