Ilkeston & Shipley - Candlemas
w/e 07 February 2016
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

February 2nd was Groundhog Day which many people will know from the 1993 movie in which the main character lives the same day over and over again. The images on this page come from two locations we have visited over and over again, the first being Victoria Park in Ilkeston and the second Shipley Country Park. That makes this page a worthy contender for Groundhog status.

February 2nd in the Christian calendar was also Candlemas, the festival day marking the ritual purification of Mary forty days after the birth of Jesus and the presentation of Jesus by his parents in the Temple. The term Candlemas came about as this was the day of the year when all the candles used in the church during the following year were blessed.

There are several superstitions associated with Candlemas Day as it also marks the midpoint of winter, halfway between the shortest day and the spring equinox. One of them is that it was believed that the weather for the rest of winter could be predicted by the conditions on Candlemas Day and this is recorded in an old rhyme that reads:
"If Candlemas Day is fair and bright, Winter will have another flight;
But if Candlemas Day be clouds and rain, Winter is gone and will not come again."

A similar sentiment is expressed in an old German proverb as "The badger peeps out of his hole on Candlemas Day, and, if he finds snow, walks abroad; but if he sees the sun shining he draws back into his hole." When crossing the Atlantic to the Americas, the badger transforms into the woodchuck or groundhog, hence the name Groundhog Day.
In Victoria Park

Another old rhyme says "The snowdrop in purest white array, first rears her head on Candlemas Day." An alternative name for the snowdrop is the Candlemas Bell and being given a heads-up by a council worker that giant snowdrops were flowering in Victoria Park, we sought them out and found them at the foot of a tree.
Giant Snowdrops

There are many different varieties of snowdrop and this one in the shelter of the tree was indeed a giant variety being about three times larger than other varieties close by.
By The Steps

Seeing the others in Victoria Park in flower we thought a look in Shipley Park where we know the snowdrops usually grow would be worthwhile but we found these by the steps to Beggars Walk not quite as advanced as those in Ilkeston.

Climbing up the steps though we found several clumps of the flowers beginning to open.
From Beggars Walk

And as we continued along Beggars Walk the snowdrops were much more plentiful.
Candlemas Bells

A closer look showed the petals of the Candlemas Bells were still, in the main, tightly closed.
Old Coach Road

Returning to the old Coach Road, we continued towards Nottingham Lodge and found several more patches of the Candlemas Bells.
By The Suffragette Wall

The flowers stood out brightly in the sunlight among the dead leaves and were best seen looking back from the Coach Road over the Suffragette Wall, Lodge Walk and the grassy parkland towards the Visitor Centre.
Above The Lake

We made our way past Nottingham Lodge to the hillside overlooking the lake and if the superstitions are to be believed, then the "fair and bright" weather foretells of more winter weather to come before spring arrives.
Lonely Daffodils

On the same hillside a couple of lonely daffodils were braving the elements but most of them were taking heed of the sunshine and the German proverb to "draw back" to await the onset of spring properly. And when that happens the snowdrops and daffodils will be replaced by bluebells and we'll probably be back to relive another groundhog experience.

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