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
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.
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.
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.
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.
And as we continued along Beggars Walk the snowdrops were much
A closer look showed the petals of the Candlemas Bells were still,
in the main, tightly closed.
Returning to the old Coach Road, we continued towards Nottingham
Lodge and found several more patches of the Candlemas Bells.
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.
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.
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.