2021 - A Strange Year
w/e 02 January 2022

All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

It's been a strange year. Around the end of December and the start of January each year I usually look back over the previous twelve months and select images that have not been seen before for a review of the year. I was in two minds about whether to do that this year as many events were cancelled or scaled back due to restrictions put in place because of the pandemic. Several times during the year I was forced to delve back into the archives and select images from previous years to ensure a regular weekly update. But I persevered and this is the result.

Erewash Canal

We started the year with a look at our
Christmas decorations at home and followed it with a short walk along the Erewash Canal in cold and frosty conditions. With the requirement to "stay at home" in force we were unable to make our January jaunt to Wollaton Park so that meant a first delve into the archives. Towards the end of the month another short walk took us after a winter storm to Victoria Park in Ilkeston for the first time. We were to enjoy many similar walks throughout the year on canal towpaths and in various parks but had to end the month with another archive selection from a previous visit to the Bluebell Arboretum at Smisby.

Our walks in February again took us to parks, canals and we added cemeteries to the list too as we began the search for
early signs of spring. Crocuses appeared early in the month and became more abundant as time went on but in between a walk along the ice covered Nottingham Canal took us close to numerous hungry robins grateful for the food we offered.
Town Centre/Park Cemetery/Swan Lake

There was little sign of a change to the restrictions in March so during the first week I took photos of some of the
town centre signs and followed this with another dip into the archives for some photos from a visit to Alton Towers in 2003 and then a walk in Park Cemetery to view the daffodils that were now blooming. At the end of the month we began a Walking For Health route to Swan Lake which had to be abandoned part way through due to the ground conditions. It still provided enough images for one week in March and the first two weeks of April though. We later returned to complete the missing link in June. Who would have thought that a three mile walk would provide enough photos for five weeks?

Chaucer Old Park

The Christian Walk of Witness at Easter was another casualty of the COVID restrictions in April so another Walking For Health route, this time in
Shipley Country Park, sufficed for another two weeks' worth of photos. Then it was back to the parks and streets of Ilkeston to view the blossom on the trees like this one on Chaucer Old Park ('Illy 'Oleys) at the beginning of May.

The restrictions were eased during May and our first trip out of town acted as a substitute for our missed walk in January as
Wollaton Park beckoned again and the following week we headed in the opposite direction towards Derby for a look at Borrowash. The May weather was changeable and I got caught in a heavy rain shower whilst taking photos of bluebells in Shipley Wood so the following week I stayed at home and just took photos of the flowers in our garden. At least if it rained I didn't have far to go to shelter!
Ram Trail/Shipley Gate/Swan Lake

One event that was put on this year was
The Ram Trail in Derby and over a period of three months, June, July and August, I took photos of all thirty sculptures around the city centre. As already mentioned, two weeks in June were taken up by the missing link of the Health Walk which took us again to Swan Lake and the fourth week saw us make a short trip to Shipley Gate.

Victoria Park

It was back to parks and flowers in July with a walk in
Bramcote Hills Park and a look at the Ilkeston's colourful flower beds which obviously meant another visit to Victoria Park. We spent a lot of time during the year in Victoria Park, it's in the open air, it's very pleasant surroundings and the coffee from the "Barefoot In The Park" refreshment kiosk housed in the Bowling Green Pavilion is always welcome. West Hallam's annual Well Dressing Festival in July was scaled back and although the wells were dressed as usual, the entertainment and dancing displays were pushed back to a Festival Day in September.
Matlock Boating Lake

In August and September we were able to get out and about more and as well as visits to Nottingham's
Highfields Park and a walk through Mapperley Village we made our longest trip for a long time with a forty mile round trip to Matlock. After being advised to stay close to home for so long the change of scenery was a tonic. We followed that with a look at the Headstocks Nature Reserve at Brinsley.
Codnor Park Reservoir

September of course also saw the return to the calendar of the Autumn Footprints Walking Festival although it was much scaled back on previous years. As a consequence I didn't do as many walks as usual but I did manage the
Launch Walk in Shipley Park and later, used images from Crich and Codnor Park walks in October.
Charter Fair

Also in October we went to one of the few events at the Erewash Museum that survived albeit later in the year than usual. This was the
"Return of the Forties" day and of course October also saw the return of Ilkeston's Charter Fair. Even so the cancellation of Nottingham's Goose Fair meant many more people turned up in Ilkeston and the crowds made social distancing impossible so our usual Thursday night visit was cut short.
Remembrance Day

More crowds gathered in the Market Place in November for
Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday Services and the Switching On Ceremony for the town's Christmas Lights but with coronavirus still all around and new variants becoming a cause for concern we returned to the old favourite for a walk along the Erewash Canal.
Stanton By Dale

And so to December and during Advent we made a
tour of Erewash to the surrounding towns and villages and also made a brief shopping trip into Derby to see some of the Christmas decorations but also approached the end of the year as we had started it by feeding the birds, this time back in Shipley Park. Yes as I said, we spent a lot of time in various parks and gardens this year. With the virus still a cause for concern, we can only hope that 2022 is better for all of us. We wish you all a healthy, peaceful and happy New Year.
2021 was a strange year.

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