Thursday, 21 June 2018

A Tale of Two Gardens and a Feline Visitor

After messing up my chain yesterday, I had to get going early this morning in order to get my rickety old Jupiter Trailblazer pumped up and ready to go. But as I stood there in my comedy helmet with the sun trying to rise over the trees, I had time to snap a few photographs of my little potted community, waiting to get warmed up and get doing that chlorophyll thing.

Today at  work was spent trying to book morris dancers and owls for a work summer fete - with a few fire engines and cake stalls thrown in - before I cycled home, past our  orchid verges and the wasteland where the ragwort, thistles and teasels grow and the rabbits munch, to meet my sister to go round to mum's to celebrate her birthday.

My sister, taking a break from rock singing for a few days, had been telling me than the neighbourhood cats, about 6 in total, had been regular visitors during the sunny afternoon, and indeed while I looked around for bees next doors slinky tabby female appeared for a fuss from us.

The cats, knowing there is no native cat here any more, are bold now, and use the garden as a glue sniffing dragon chasing hangout. Probably.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.06.18

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Orchids at Work

Once again, asking to leave the verges unmowed at our massive campus has borne fruit.

Or rather, borne orchids. Once again, we  have two species of orchid growing at work; bee orchids and pyramidal orchids. More bee orchids than last year in fact.

Now I just have to stop the facilities department mowing them down. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 20.06.18

Monday, 18 June 2018

Running Round the Nature Reserve

I'm determined that no matter how stiff I am after cricket, I'm going to  go running every Monday this summer, just to see if it will relieve any of the problems, and improve my mobility a bit.

I'm fed up of struggling to field at weekends. I've lost any semblance of sprint speed I had, which wasn't much to begin with, and my body co-ordination is terrible at the moment. I just feel clumsy and rubbish, at fielding and batting. The bowling has been ok, apart from yesterday, but the wickets haven't been happening for me.

I want to be better!

I also wanted to have a look at Beacon Hill park, to look at the scabious, and what was feeding off it.

So stiff or not, I ran 7km on quite a warm afternoon, snapped the bees on the scabious - I mean photographed, rather than actually physically snapping the bumbles - and wondering where the butterflies were. No insects on the Ladies' Bedstraw either.



All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 18.06.18

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Broken Bodies

Today it was a Sunday match at home to Walesby, and we had a strong side - even the first team captain was playing. Unfortunately, there had been one or two heavy  nights enjoyed by our players - we had one player "indisposed" on the sofa under the TV in the pavilion, while I myself had been awake until 7am discussing Tourette's Syndrome at an annual summer party.

I woke up 20 minutes before that match started. I don't think the Skipper was pleased with me, because we were bowling first, and I thus didn't get much of a bowl and when I did I was so slow, unable to get my shoulder into the action and feeling stiff as a board after yesterday's match.

My fielding was so bad I got to field at slip, the position where the rubbish fielders are traditionally banished at our level. Fair enough. I have no sprint speed in my legs at all at the moment. And I don't feel I have any co-ordination either.

Still I'm only one man (arguable), and the rest did well enough to keep Walesby to 104-8 off 40.

I then ate a very hearty tea, and watched football for a while. I wasn't needed to bat at all but had to pace around nervously in my pads  for 40 minutes. No-body was reassured by my presence. Nobody seemed that engaged in the match full stop actually. At least we won, on a grey, dreethy sort of day.

Next weekend, I will be better.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 17.06.18

Saturday, 16 June 2018

The Warriors at Hoveringham

Found myself playing at rather too high a standard today, subbed up into the second team due to a lack of players in the club today. Everyone is on holiday today, or working, or on a Virgin Galactic flight to Mars for all I know.

What it did mean was that I got to play at a lovely ground at Hoveringham, with the pub on the boundary supplying tea, a paddock filled with insect attracting thistles, and house martins swooping about looking for food.

Low fields of wheat surrounded the ground on two sides, giving the illusion that the ground was some kind of "Field of Dreams" for very short old cricketers. Perhaps the disgraced Hansie Cronje would walk out of the corn in the manner of Shoeless Joe Jackson, and bring a few players with him; Jack Hobbs maybe, or Don Bradman. We certainly could have  done with them, as we only had ten men under today's skipper, the Love God.

We batted first, and while I photographed bees in the lovely wild paddock, or operated the boingy scoreboard, trying to flip bits of elasticated plastic about to make recognisable numbers. We started well, continued well and finished ok thanks to our straight batting opener, who made 57 not out. I went out to bat with him, snicked my first ball for a single with 4 left in the innings to give him the strike as instructed - and he missed every ball. Oh well, he can be forgiven for that.

Batting first of course means no tea enjoyment, but no 8 stone weight gain. But I was hoping to be a bit more mobile  in the field today, felt a bit less stiff. Of course, being more mobile didn't mean I'd be any less clumsy.

With 167 on the scoreboard, we fancied our chances and indeed  we started pretty well - our very  bulky and quick 2nd team opening bowler removed one opener before the wides started creeping in; by way of contrast our other opener is 15 and a third of the weight but doesn't spray it around as much. He took a wicket too.

Then it was my turn. Being average at best, I'm always a bit nervous about bowling at second team level, but I started ok, swung the ball in the breeze, and had a catch missed. However, that was soon made up for, and I had a wicket as well.

Unfortunately this brought the Hoveringham skipper to the crease, a rather powerful hitter. It took him a while to get going - I bowled well at him to start with - but when he did, the boundaries flowed. I kept beating the edge of his bat, but he wouldn't nick the bloody ball, and eventually he took me for 14 in an over and I was off. Everyone was bored of looking for the ball in the corn.

He didn't like the rather cheeky run out we did of his partner, but it was out! No ball doesn't mean dead ball! This probably spurred him into hitting the ball into a posh garden next to the ground, and that was it really.

As ever, defeat bites, but only for a short time. Not like last week...


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 16.06.18

Friday, 15 June 2018

Goose Invasion

Recently, the Blue Lake has become goose central, with an influx of greylags arriving to breed to go with the usually honking canada residents, who themselves have become hissy and quarrelsome because of their own breeding.

They look very majestic, when out on the water like a fleet of galleons, but on land they are a bit more  of a nuisance. A canada goose is a substantial bird to try and jog around, let alone when there are 40 of them.

And then there are the droppings. They are everywhere, hard to avoid, these goosine deposits of coquille st jacques everywhere, making you hop and skip and take awkward strides. Ugh.

I enjoy their honking though, and they look amazing when they take to the air en masse.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 15.06.18

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Nature Friendly Garden 2 - My Parents' Place

So, visited my folks' house today, with mother telling me the lobelia has got all the bees going crazy.

This wasn't the case by 730pm, but there were still a few about on that rampant trailing plant. It was the tall, delicate dark blue flowers that were getting the most customers however, as common carder bumblebees flocked in for an early evening drink.

However, these bees decided that walking up the stems the other side from me was the way to go, and even their weight was enough to set the blooms swaying so much they were hard to photograph.

It's been a lovely evening, at least I am trying to make the most  of the warmer months.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 12.06.18