Ilkeston - At Winter's End
w/e 08 March 2015
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

I hesitate to say that spring is here with a chilly wind blowing across the town but with a couple of days that, according to the TV weather presenters are "less cold", it is perhaps well on the way. I suspect though that there may be a sting in the tail before we eventually see the back of winter.


There are often daffodils to be found on the Erewash Canal bank as spring approaches so one bright sunny afternoon we made our way down to Green's Lock to see if any had flowered this early. There were one or two surprises waiting for us as we crossed the footbridge at Green's Lock, the first being to see a narrow boat moored just south of the bridge. We are used to seeing one on the opposite side of the canal a little further down but that is were dredging was taking place - that was the second surprise.
Green's Lock

We turned the other way to pass Green's Lock and follow the towpath towards Potter's Lock. The third surprise was that there were no birds on the canal here where swans (among others) can often be found at the by-pass channel carrying water along the other side of the lock.

A little further along however we did see some ducks sheltering from the wind under the opposite bank and balancing on the partially submerged branches of a tree.
Canada Geese

Then there was yet another surprise. We have often seen swans, ducks, coots and moorhens by the canal and sparrows and robins are also easy to see. A blackbird landed briefly of the towpath as we walked along but took off immediately and we have been told previously that kingfishers have been seen although we have never spotted them ourselves. I think too, that this is the first time that we have seen Canada geese on this part of the canal.

As we neared Potter's Lock a more familiar sight greeted us when three young swans almost transformed from the ugly duckling stage swam gracefully towards us. Two fully grown swans, probably the parents of these three, were on the canal on the other side of the lock.
'Illy 'Oleys

The following day we were on Cantelupe Road and from near the entrance to the Chaucer Infants School it was obvious why the hills and holes caused by mining for minerals many years ago gave rise to the local name of 'Illy 'Oleys being adopted for Old Park. But it was here that signs of spring were visible with purple and white crocuses coming into flower.

But they were overshadowed by the more colourful beds of crocuses along the edge of Cantelupe Road.

The "hills" and "holes" stretch all the way up from the River Erewash and the canal through Park Cemetery and Chaucer Old Park to St Mary's Church on the Market Place. In the churchyard are several clumps of snowdrops - I'm never quite sure whether they are classed as a late winter or early spring flower.

Also, thanks to the Friends of St Mary's Churchyard, there is a border in the churchyard with a selection of plants and flowers including primulas and even a few daffodils that are mainly still in bud.
Lonely Daffodil

Nearby however, is one lonely daffodil in full bloom seen here backlit by the sun's rays. Hopefully there will be many more soon but I just wonder if the final surprise will be that sting in the tail of winter.

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