2008 - Looking Back
w/e 04 January 2009
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Who knows what the New Year holds in store? Where will we get to? What will we see? Which events will we cover? Those questions will be answered in the fullness of time but we'll begin this year of 2009 with a look back at each of the previous twelve months and see a few of the images that didn't feature first time round in 2008.

Wollaton ParkA favourite topic of conversation of course for many an Englishman or woman is the weather and although there have been some lovely days, 2008 as a whole will not go down as a vintage year. In January we made what is fast becoming an annual pilgrimage with a walk around Wollaton Park (right) on a bitterly cold and overcast day and on another day in the same month we got drenched whilst capturing the images for the final two parts of the Historic Nottingham series. The month ended with the start of a Sentimental Journey to Cossall on another dull day - not a very auspicious beginning to the new year!

Cossall Marsh

February did show some improvement in the weather and the whole of the month's latest images all came from several more excursions to Cossall and Trowell as we added more parts to two Sentimental Journeys. On one of the outings, we returned home after a bright crisp morning walk to Cossall via the area known as Cossall Marsh midway between Ilkeston and Awsworth.
Good Friday Walk

In March the blossom began to make its presence felt along with the spring flowers which were also putting in an appearance. By the third week the population of the town turned out in force too to welcome back the Mercian Regiment from a tour of duty in Afghanistan and the following week with Easter falling early, another large body of people celebrated with the annual Good Friday Walk of Witness.

Darley ParkTwo emails, one from Australia and another from Manchester, from former residents of the area prompted another couple of Sentimental Journeys in April. One concerned a walk home from school along the old Nottingham Canal at Trowell whilst the other also brought back memories of schooldays on Cavendish Road in Ilkeston. The rest of the month the "Latest Images" featured a three part series looking at the village and park (right) at Darley Abbey near Derby. Overall the weather wasn't too bad during April but I suppose at best it could be described as changeable.

Bramcote Hills ParkMay was a much better and more colourful month with some glorious blooms putting on a wonderful display all over the local area. There was pink blossom still on the trees and of course it was the season of bluebells too. There was nothing better than a walk in the countryside like the one we enjoyed at Mapperley under a warm sun or a pleasant stroll through Bramcote Hills Park to sit a while among the flowers in the Holocaust Memorial Garden (left). Was this the prelude to a hot summer season? Unfortunately not as it turned out to be one of the wettest in recent years.
Shipley Common

We began the second half of the year with a return visit to Wollaton Park hoping to capture the rhododendrons bushes in flower but I don't know whether we were too early or too late as the displays were few and far between and not as plentiful as I had hoped for. A selection of "shapes" - crescents, squares, circles and a triangle - took care of another week but a visit to Ripley for the unveiling of the Well Dressing was again tinged with disappointment as wet weather marred the opening ceremony. I couldn't have wished for better weather though early in the month when I took a solo walk across Shipley Common (above). Ilkeston was blessed with a fine day and a bumper turnout for the Annual Carnival in the middle of the month and it was also very pleasant as we wandered through the Cathedral Quarter of Derby.
RisleyIn July we took advantage of some fine days to explore some quiet corners of the district with a couple of visits first to the Langley Mill Canal Basin and then to see the olde worlde charm of Risley (left). Busy main roads run close to both of these places but it is surprising just what lies but a few steps from all the traffic. There was a fair amount of cloud about during the third week of July but this did not detract from the summer plants on display to the public in Ilkeston and by the fourth week, the skies had cleared by the time we started our monthly visits to Stapleford for the latest in the Village Trails series.


In the August of 2007 I had spent a lot of time in the garden resting an injured ankle and I remember the weather being warm and sunny. There were far fewer days like this in 2008's August which was much cooler and wetter. There were some good days though like the one when we went to Derby (above) and it was probably one of the hottest days of the year when we were in Heanor's Memorial Park. But on the other hand a fine drizzle and a cool breeze were not the best conditions for the owl display at the Erewash Museum and the images for the second part of the Stapleford walk were captured under some threatening clouds. Clouds were also the predominant weather feature for one of our Days Out to Mount St. Bernard Abbey at the end of the month.
Kirk Hallam

For a variety of reasons, we didn't go away on holiday in 2008 but we did pull in a number of days out like the one to Mount St. Bernard. Another one we undertook in September was to the Tuesday markets at Melton Mowbray when it rained, in fact it poured! It wasn't all bad news in September for we chose a fine day for our second look at Ashfield's Hidden Valleys with a visit to Annesley; the first visit had been to Bagthorpe in early August. But one of the highlights of September, and probably of 2008 as a whole, was the Erewash and Amber Valley's Autumn Footprints walking festival from whence came the above image taken near Kirk Hallam lake.

Rutland Recreation GroundThe festival ran for fifteen days and the first seven were blessed with some glorious weather. The second week was cooler and mainly dry but ideal for walking. I featured pictures from a dozen of the walks taken during the festival at the beginning of October on the Latest Images page and the third week saw Ilkeston's Annual Charter Fair taking centre stage. The Fair too enjoyed good weather throughout its four day stint and blue skies were well to the fore for October's instalment from Stapleford. It was raining again though when I captured a few shots on the Rutland Recreation Ground (left) of the autumn colours.
Attenborough Nature ReserveIt has been said that the wet summer was responsible for the prolonged and vibrant autumn colours and these were visible right through November as evidenced by another day out to Rufford Abbey Country Park near the end of the month as well as a fleeting visit to Attenborough Nature Reserve (right) earlier. Earlier still another set of images had come from Ogston Reservoir on a bitterly cold day but it was much milder when the statue of Brian Clough was unveiled in Nottingham. In another week in November I captured several "Men at Work" in Ilkeston in varying weather conditions.

Ilkeston Market

The first snow of the winter arrived at the beginning of December but it melted quickly along with any dreams of a white Christmas as the weather turned relatively mild for the time of year. There was a sting in the tail though when New Year's Eve meant 2008 finished with a day of freezing fog. In between we had seen protests on the Market Place, Santa arriving at the Co-op and also how Mansfield had decorated for the festive season before ending both the month and the year with the sixth part of the Stapleford walk.

So to answer those questions at the top of this page, no-one really knows what the New Year holds in store or where we will get to or what we'll see. As to the events we will cover, well I plan to complete the series from Stapleford later this month and hopefully be at the regular events throughout the year such as the Carnival and the Fair but beyond that I suppose it will be pretty much the same as before. There will be good days and others not so good but this time next year I hope to look back on 2009 with more memories of the former rather than the latter. At times it is good to look back and revive some of the memories of times past but it has been said that we don't really remember days at all - only moments. Looking back at the images from 2008 has revived many of those "moments" for me but I also realise that those moments are gone forever and I can do nothing about them. Today I can also look forward to another new year but for all my plans, hopes and aspirations for 2009 I can only do the best I can with each day as it comes and until each day comes, that's all they are. I haven't made a New Year's resolution but if I did, it would probably be to get the most out of every day - whatever the weather!

Then have no care for tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Take the trouble of the day as it comes.
Matthew 6:34

To see more of the places referred to on this page see the Pick A Picture page for 2008.

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