I've already mentioned that my home ground, that I haven't actually played on yet and probably never will being a member of the lowly third team, is quite a delightful little spot, where chiff chaffs sing and swallows swoop low over the greensward and butterflies flutter past the pavilion, in no danger at all of being hit by one of my non-powerful slogs.
Well, I've now played three away matches, and have found it interesting to compare what I've been able to see on the field of play while we have been spanked out of existence.
Ruddington is a small little municipal park ground, the cricket pitch mixed in with bowling greens and football fields, and a wicket that looked emerald from a distance and like an Emerald Isle peat bog at close quarters. The wind was the chilly north-westerly that has been a constant factor the past month, and of animal life there was little to be seen aside from a few hopping starlings on the outfield, and gulls riding the turbulent air.
Any bee or butterfly foolish enough to emerge would have been icicled as soon as it appeared.
The next week I was at Balderton, where the early promise of sun gave way to more wind, and cheeky children bantered us as they kicked footballs around beyond the boundary flags. This is an urban ground, and sparrows chirped happily from the dressing room eaves as they watched our painfully slow batsmen grind their way to 117-9. But nothing much else was around.
Last weekend, we were playing Ellerslie, a club lucky enough to have two grounds. The two third teams were dispatched out to Clifton to play in a nasty looking part of Nottingham on a council park ground. The facilities were dire - the dressing rooms made of concrete the colour of the inside of an intestine and the lavatories something a wild dog would turn up its nose at using. The ground itself was uneven and none too closely mowed.
Yet, here we were on the outskirts of the city, and on one side of the ground a nettle banked stream guarded the root to open fields of oilseed rape, and other growing crops.
And the birdsong! As the match went on, the two note cries of the chiff chaff and the great tit battled for supremacy with sweetly singing blackbirds making the most of the sun up in the tree tops. More staccato chaffinch calls were also heard.
Crows strode the outfield. I pointed them out to team mates, making them into omens. Best of all was what I saw while fielding at mid off after picking myself up from a fairly decent diving stop. A buzzard was making its way up slowly from the top of a tree, and as always when at the vulnerable pre-soaring stage of their flight, it was being mobbed by a crow as it desperately tried to sweep air behind its great wings.
A little like us, as we tried to haul ourselves back into the game from double figures all out. We failed. I never saw what happened to the buzzard.