I Tip my Hat to my Scottish Friends….


Sundown over the Isle of Arran,  West Coast of Scotland

For a great many of my Scottish friends, both in their home of Scotland or indeed now abiding on foreign shores…. tonight will be special…

It is of course Burns Night.

The annual celebration of the Scottish Poet Robert Burns, more affectionately known as ‘Rabbie Burns’.

Robert Burns had a short life.  Born this day in 1759, he died in July 1796.  A short  life of only 37 years, during which Burns proved to be a prolific poet and writer leaving a legacy of literature still admire , studied and respected today over 226 years later.

Burns Suppers will be held not just In Scotland but across the world, where ever Scots have gathered.

There will be a Piper, the Haggis ceremonially presented to the diners and of course many a toast.

But before all the Selkirk Grace will be said….

Some hae meat an canna eat,

And some wad eat that want it;

But we hae meat, and we can eat,

And sae the Lord be thankit.

It is also possible that after two rather strange Covid years, Burns Night 2022 may well see the celebrations, let’s say… just a little bit more spirited….. so even more reason to…

Please Remember ….

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

25th January

(C) David Oakes 2022

I always pause for thought……


Magpie Mine, Sheldon, Derbyshire

Derbyshire is a fabulous county for those who love the outdoors.  Walking, climbing or simply enjoying Derbyshire’s wildlife and its varied countryside.  Despite being a tourist destination it can still be a very quiet peaceful destination and a place to explore.

On many of my walks, I regularly have to stop and pause for thought. The deceptively peaceful countryside just cannot  hide some elements of its busy industrial heritage.

High on the White Peak area of Derbyshire you will probably stumble upon the ruins of a Lead Mine.  Magpie Mine is perhaps one of the largest. The chimney stack, winding shed and other buildings are a familiar icons of our mining heritage.  Magpie is very advanced compared with its predecessors, of which there area many.  Most of the mines were simple holes in the ground or a tunnel into a limestone hillside.  Mining was intensively competitive.  Underground disputes and robbery added to the already tough mining life……  protecting many of those simple ‘holes in the ground’ was often solved by building a house over the hole and living on site!  Truth is many miners were actually Farmers, securing a second income.

Many areas of Derbyshire are now sparsely populated, and despite regularly pausing for thought, it is hard to visualize just how well populated the area once was. Ruins of old farms, barns and small cottages, spoil heaps and mineral waste now overgrown, are dotted across the Peak, each a reminder of busy industrial/farming communities….. still very hard to put a number to the population it once supported….. it now just looks so quiet.

Times change, the economy has changed from industry to tourism.

Pausing for thought in a busy day or relax….. Please..

Remember ….

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

25th January

(C) David Oakes 2022

A Memory….. of Snow.


10pm on the 24th January 2021. This was the first snow of the year. 24 hours later it was all but gone.

This memory came up on my Facebook reminder. It brought to mind just how ‘rare’ snow falls are now in our part of the UK have become. We moved into this house on the 21st January 1979, the snow that day was very much deeper. It had started to snow the previous 1st December, froze and was regularly topped up just about daily till mid March. The Team from the Removal Company had previously struggled up a snow covered Motorway for over 125 miles, then manfully cleared parts of the Drive and carried everything into our new house very carefully….. they deserved and got a big Tip.

43 years on and we have not seen snow like it since. Each year the snow events have been for fewer days and not as deep, then soon melts away. Even frosts are fewer.

I guess in its own little way it is another marker that the climate has and is changing.

I also find it a strange British phenonium that we have a love affair with snow. We anticipate it with love, a thing of beauty….. fun for the first day (maybe two)…. then we cannot wait for it to go.

Whatever the weather, wherever you are……

Please Remember ….

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

24th January

(C) David Oakes 2022

Moody Monday…. Storm Clouds Hover


Storm clouds building over the Firth of Forth at Anstruther, Fife, Scotland

Mondays keep coming around, maybe moody, maybe not….. as always…

Please Remember ….

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

24th January

(C) David Oakes 2022

Silent Sunday…… Off to Church


January sunshine illuminates the Cathedral Church of All Saints, Derby.

All Saints was promoted to Cathedral status in 1927, so fairly new as English Cathedrals go, but the original religious heritage was established in the 10th century.

The Cathedral is also the home of the famous Bakewell Rood Screen, a masterpiece of the craftsman’s art in iron.


All Saints Church was also the chosen final resting place, of perhaps the second most important Elizabethan Woman in England after Queen Elizabeth I….  namely Elizabeth, countess of Shrewsbury (c1522-1608) more popularly known as Bess of Hardwick.


Whatever you are doing this Sunday and indeed for the rest of the week….

Please Remember ….

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

23rd January

(C) David Oakes 2022