Saturday, 16 July 2016

Orchid Spotting at the Cricket

Today we were out at "West Bridgfordians" - another very posh sounding name for a club, and indeed one we could have if we wanted to go all pretentious and call ourselves "Newarkians". Or perhaps "Newarkian Amateurs".

They were West Bridgford. Plain old West Bridgford.

I was with the second team today, which saved me from playing from a third team that got taken for 344 off 45 overs. But it meant I was with far better cricketers than I, and frankly I was nervous about the whole thing.

Luckily, the club chairman dangled a very large carrot under my courage deficient nose. He told me it was at Holme Pierrepont, and was a ramblers paradise.

So, after bowling like a drain, and feeling very stiff while fielding - not to mention the dropped catch none of my team mates will have known about, until now - I was happy my too high batting position of 11 meant that I would have plenty of time to explore. I'd already seen plenty. I was watching a butterfly minding its own business, when suddenly one of the numerous swallows swooped down and took it 6 inches off the ground, before somehow dropping it before scything round to try and catch it again.

Not sure my colleagues were all that keen on me pointing out an overflying cormorant, however.

So after we began to chase 220, I set off to explore alone.

The ground was sat directly between the River Trent and the rowing course at The National Watersports Centre; all around the cricket ground were parked up skiffs on trailers, and teenagers with legs like trees and backsides cast from iron.

There was a regatta on, casting my mind back to when I had been paid to marshall a similar event back in the summer of 1990, and also the British Powerboat Grand Prix that same year. My favourite ever job, that one.

I made my way to the river, passed a flottila of canada geese, and walked along the path. Both the near and far bank were swamped with the triffid like flower heads of himalayan balsom; an invader yes, but the bees were loving them.

But it was amongst the green alklet at low level that something unusual caught my eye. Flower spikes about 18 inches high, half covered in small pink flowers.

I'm sure they were orchids of some description, and a cursory search indicates that their appearance, combined with their riverside habitat, means they might be marsh orchids of a northern, or southern persuasion. A species I've never seen before.

At least, allow me my moment of glory before one of you shoots my id down in flames and tell me it's a common bungleweed or something.

I was away from the game for a while, but it didn't matter as our batting was proceeding like sedated sloths sexing. Our opponents were rather cocky apparently, and winding us up, and this approach seemed to displease them the most, however.

Sadly, it meant that when I got into bat, there was only one over left, and my team "mate" decided to bat it out dead, so in the end I had what I think is known as a "fresh air game".

But still. Orchids!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 16.07.16

The action kicks off

The pavilion with its posh balcony

The team

Orchid spike?

In closer

Closer still

Sailing past the balsam

Triffid face

Common soldier beetle, not having sex for once

Balsam bee

Lots of this around too

More orchids

Boat central

National watersports centre


  1. The rugby team of former pupils of St Albans school is known as the Old Albanians which always paints a colourful picture in my imagination - lots of little men with fur hats and luxuriant grey moustaches perhaps. Even more entertainingly Soham Grammar School old boys are called the Old Sohamso's.

  2. Welll I must say Si that it does look like an orchid, but I am no expert. If you really want to know then send the photograph to Donegal Wildlife (Stuart) in Ireland - he will identify it for you - he is a real pro on all things nature.

  3. Ha! Albanians!

    Sadly those flowers turned out to be marsh woundwort

  4. Hi Simon, lovely to see these but I have no isea what they are! Blogger has just gobbled your comment on Foula, so thank you. Seem to have lost the update function too!

    1. Thanks for visiting! Photographs I take tend to be very random in quality