Just over half an hour’s drive from us is the village of Ilam, it’s very close to Dovedale and you can easily walk to there from the village but Ilam is so much quieter, especially fairly early on in the morning. We wondered along the river side, the banks lush with wild garlic, dog’s mercury, sorrel and some early bluebells just showing through, then crossed back over the fields towards the Youth Hostel and National Trust shop. Fortified by coffee and scones at the Manifold tea rooms we strolled by the pretty church and down to the village to have a look at the memorial on the cross roads by the bridge. We'd passed it by so often and thought it was some sort of village war memorial but a recent article in the Local History Magazine revealed that it is in fact an Eleanor Cross type memorial, placed there by Jesse Watts-Russell, for his wife Mary Watts-Russell, who died in 1840. The architect, John Macduff Derick, in the full flow of Gothic revival, based it on the Eleanor Cross at Waltham. There is, in fact, a charitable trust set up in order to raise funds for its restoration. Later, driving towards Ashbourne we passed through the parklands covered in grazing sheep and lambs, the cars had come to a halt because there were sheep in the road, as we stood waiting to move on we saw an ewe with two new born lambs, they were still wet and bedraggled and they struggled to walk as she encouraged them away from the road’s edge, just as we moved on they began to suckle. Up on the hill there was a Good Friday service taking place around a wooden cross. So, Easter and Spring, a time of new life, renewal, abundance in the countryside and also a time for quiet reflection.
Highlight of the day - has to be the sight of the new born lambs, although I worry for their safety on that busy road.
Today’s gripe – I’ve gone caught a cold just in time for the holidays, oh well!