Makes a Very Welcome Change


Allestree Lake , an Early Morning Start

A very rare occurrence this May, we woke to a clear blue sky and a sun that was actually warming… the air was still, so an early start was indicated.  After all, with our dismal May weather record, it was best to be safe rather than sorry and possibly miss out.

The banks around the lake are flourishing with an abundance of new growth, it all augers well for the insects and birds that will feed here through the summer. Even our Swans were taking advantage of the warm sunshine to preen and relax before the days activities..


It was also great to see that our venerable Furlong Oak has made it through another winter.  Nice to see all the new healthy leaf growth which once again enhance this near skeleton of an Oak.


It is also a great place to sit and take stock of the day ahead. Thankfully a well placed bench is available, much appreciated by those of us of senior years…… and a viewpoint from which the world looks a very much better place  🙂

Maybe summer will arrive with June…we wait and see.

Please Remember ….

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

27th May

(C) David Oakes 2021

Against this years Spring trend



Going against this springs curve, the Blue Ceanothus has actually flowered on time.  A very welcome sign in a year when the spring norm has gone out the window.  No doubt all will catch up in due course… I guess it just adds to the variety of habitat and weather watching.

Today, the 25th May, we have been told that May has been the wettest May on record….  and we still have 6 days of the month left.

A brief change in mood this afternoon…..  Yippeeee!!!


Blue skies and sunshine have indeed been rare across the whole month. So this afternoon we have enjoyed a brief respite from the rain. 

Whatever your weather

Please Remember ….

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

25th May

(C) David Oakes 2021


A Springtime Treat….


Lea Rhododendron Gardens, Lea, Derbyshire

Spring, each year, we head to Lea Rhododendron Gardens for a spring fix of colourful blossom.  For obvious reasons that was not possible last year, so a 2021 visit was a welcome treat.

The Gardens feature Rhododendron and Azaleas, all set in a steep rocky valley surrounded by trees.  Every visit is the same… but also different.  It all depends upon what the winter, then the spring weather has delivered. Most visits I describe as Spectacular.  This year they are just fabulous.  The late frosts and heavy rains have taken their toll.  The Rhododendron for the most part are now in full bloom. The Azalea have yet to flourish, though frost has also had some effect.

So this spring the visit was just a little less spectacular but just as pleasing, and refreshing, on this very sunny May day..


Storms are again on the agenda…. so we will chalk this visit up as a spring bonus

Please Remember ….

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

20th May

(C) David Oakes 2021

Mix and none Match Weather…..


The River Derwent, Darley, Derbyshire

Looks tranquil enough but don’t be deceived .  After all the heavy rains of the past week, the river is running fast, about 3 ft to 4ft higher and very murky.  As there was much more rain up stream in the county, I expect it might rise a little further.  The weather has been a real mix-up for a few weeks now.  No day is stable, one minute blue skies and sunshine, the next torrential rain, gone are the mellow showers. So first stop today was to check on those water levels.  The weir that was built long ago to provide power for the Darley Mill complex was indeed running high but some way off flood levels.

The river has been a backdrop on many of our walks this past year.  Covid and lockdown restrictions have limited our options.  I do feel that we are very lucky in our location.  Whilst we are on the outskirts of the City of Derby, we do have a number of local green space options… Public Parks – for whom we have to be grateful for generous benefactors, donating these spaces to the City and its people. This of course happen many many years ago.  They were established for the “wellbeing” of the local people…..  a healthy idea, long before we invented the terms such as Wellbeing Space, Woodland Bathing, Green Gyms, etc.

These wide open spaces have been a real blessing in what has been restrictive times. So let me share some highlights of the locality from the past two days….  enjoyed whilst dodging the so called showers!

The Trees are now heavy with leaf.  But there is one that is still bare…. in fact many who pass by mistakenly think that it is dead.  But it is in fact a Mulberry Tree (some say Bush) of the famous “Round and Round the Mulberry Bush Rhyme”.


It will probably be another few weeks before it springs back into life, cover itself with leaves and in September produce its Mulberry fruit, which of course is not to be eaten.  I will bring you another picture once it decides to turn up for the summer.

There has been a conservation initiative this spring to encourage us    1. Not to mow our lawns as often.  2. Adopt a “No Mow May”.   All to encourage more wild flowers and thus help the insects and ultimately the birds.

I have to say it is not going down too well.  But take a look at the next picture.  The Cricket Pitch has been regularly mown as per usual…. but the meadow surrounds have been left to get on with things….. you can see the difference.


The above images are either in Allestree Park or Darley Park….. the later can most certainly be described as a urban oasis.  Surrounded by housing and industry. Darley Mill Complex (a UNESCO Site) at one end and a mini Tower Block at the other.

But still a tranquil green lung to enjoy…


We are indeed lucky and we do know it,  of course we still do need to show caution….

Please Remember ….

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

18th May

(C) David Oakes 2021