Sunday, 19 January 2020

Well that was Bloody Freezing

This morning was a rare bitter and frosty one by this winter's standards, and a hat and gloves were very much needed as I walked around the park admiring how finally the puddles had iced over, and the grass' hair had gone grey overnight.

I was profoundly glad not to be cycling to work this morning, that's for sure.

This evening saw our first cricket net practice session of the new season, at a rather impressive new facility at a local school where the ball bounces higher than ankle high for a change. Not for me alas, as my bursitis hip told me as I ran in that I wasn't allowed to bowl today; it gave way straightaway, and although I was able to bat, albeit with discomfort, I couldn't bowl any more that horribly ineffective left arm spin that 12 year olds were able to smash around the hall.

However, on the positive side I only got bowled when I had three balls left and tried to play a shot by walking a yard to the offside and missing it completely.

My reverse sweeps didn't get a much better result, or response either from the amused onlookers. But it was a well attended session, with some new players to boot!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.01.20

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Winter Colours for You

It's been a very cold but savagely bright day today, and I've been about three and a half hours outside today, taking my bursitis hip and cervical radio-something neck and heel blister out for a couple of walks.

The aconite and the snowdrop are now at peak, and crocuses are starting to open up like palms to the sun, although there aren't many around as yet. The sun was dazzling bright off the surface of the blue lake, where 6 smart drake goosander glowed crisp and white.

Children fed the gulls, I listed to a superb adaptation of "Animal Farm" on Radio 4 as I strolled along. This is one of my better mental states to be in, the thought of doing it for ten hours or more on The Race to the Stones is a wonderfully gruelling thought.

Have to look after my mind and body first.


Monday, 13 January 2020

Sunset Murmurations, or not

Starlings are not the only birds to exhibit the typical starling behaviour of murmurating. At work, and yesterday in Riverside Park, I've been observing similar behaviour, albeit on a smaller scale, by other songbirds.

I think the birds involved are linnets, and they follow the starling pattern of flying around, looking to settle in a tree to roost, only to change their mind at the last minute and fly off again. The flock a work that has been doing in at work is only about 25-30 strong, but the flock, or "parcel" apparently, of linnet I observed doing it yesterday numbered around 200 birds.

They don't make a very good photographic subject for a mobile phone camera, you'll have to make do with the sunset over the river for that, but they are a charming watch, tweeping away as they circle around in a skittish fashion.

I was a very tired boy yesterday, and didn't really get a lot of practice in, but today I've had about two hours of walking done. Hopefully as the weather and light improves I will be able to get three hour walks in most days.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 13.01.20

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Running Through an Unseasonal Landscape

Decided to upgrade my walk today into a very gentle run, one I kept purposely very gentle.

Still hurt my hip though, thought I'd left it just long enough to recover.

Springtime in winter is accelerating. I reckon we are now three weeks ahead of the season in what has been a very mild wet and windy winter so far. Today in the cemetery I saw the first crocuses had emerged, and that down by the London Road Pond lesser celandine had emerged in one patch.

Only a single duck goosander on the Blue Lake, but the mandarin drake was there, pretending to be a mallard as it normally does despite being about half the size.

So yes, I have entered "Race to the Stones", the 100km two day ultra marathon along the Ridgeway west of London finishing at the Avebury stone circle. I'm as excited for seeing some wonderful heritage sights like this and the Uffington White Horse as much as I am for the challenge of the event.

I'm also hoping that the training will help me lose weight and as ever, the long walks and gentle runs will hopefully be a big help with my mental and neuro health. Long rhythmic exercise is a big help with my Tourettes, and I love listening to the radio as I make my way through the countryside. Today's Radio 4 play was surprisingly engrossing for a period piece.

And yes, it's in honour of my mother. It seems like a good way of making something good happen from an awful event.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 11.01.20

Friday, 10 January 2020

The Rising of the Wolf Moon

The moon seems to be many things these days, blue, blood, and now wolf, and I have no idea what any of them are. What's a wolf moon? Is it hungry like the Duran Duran song? Does it cry like A-Ha sang it did? No bloody idea.

I didn't even know it was a wolf moon when I was incredibly lucky to see it rise exactly as the sun set this evening, and get some rather ropey photographs. Later on it became the "Wolf Moon", and my stepfather had a crowd of folk looking at it through his theodolite on the street - pop up astronomy!

There has also been a penumbral eclipse, although to be honest I doubt anyone could really tell the difference!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 10.01.20

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Discovering the Bogs of Farndon

Yesterday I found myself on a 6 mile walk around and abut Farndon, where I flushed a tawny owl and stumbled into a bog in fading light and ended up shin deep in the water.

Despite all this, it was a highly satisfying trot, with great stuff on Radio 4 to listen to, including a wonderful half hour programme on Suetonius, the most gossipy and risque of historians and writer of saucy biographies of the first 12 Roman emperors.

There was good stuff on modern day eating of algae.

We won't talk so much about Beyond Belief, which to me is a programme that seems rooted firmly in the 8th century.

I carry on with trying to increase my fitness as much as my body will allow. I also aim to improve my mental health, and also while you are walking, you can't be stuffing yourself!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 07.01.20