Friday, 20 October 2017

The World of Ceramic Butterflies

I don't know how big a world it is, but the local women's wellness centre at the hospital has some lovely ceramic butterflies on the entrance. They are actually species accurate, and rather less vandalised than you would expect.

I can imagine them falling off the wall, and hitting the ground and shattering with a gentle tinkling sound. Which reminds me of something I've been working on while cycling this week, the gentle and expressive use of the bell.

We have a lot of shared cycle and pedestrian spaces around my workplace, and as the mornings and nights get darker it gets harder and harder to not have wee contretemps with them, especially as a lot of them are listening to Polish Rap-Rave at a loud volume.

Shouting at people is very undignified and rude, especially given the endless DAily Mail driven bad press cyclists get. So I've fitted a bell, just a cheap supermarket one, but it is very responsive to the force you tinkle it with. It can be strident, it can be quiet. It can be a punch in the chops, or a kiss on the lips.

I will keep practicing.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 20.10.17

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Common Carders still Active

When the sun isn't looking like it's about to turn red giant and devour the earth as a cloud of dust threatens to clog the lungs out of bodies, insect life is still around.

Thanks to the late blooming lavender on the library gardens, a few honeybees but particularly common carder bumbles are still feeding off the flowers. They move fast and don't settle much, so are hard to photograph, but I managed to snap a couple of them yesterday and it was most gratifying.

They must enjoy having their golden furry coats, because they are among the earliest bumbles you see in the spring, and definitely the latest still active in autumn. The colours of the carders has been glorious this year, some of them are so orange as to actually look like little furry oranges.

Oranges that fly.

Red admirals are still on the wing, but not seeing any hoverflies now. The dark times of the year are now upon us, where things go to sleep one by one rather than wake up.

January, and the cycle will repeat, and I can't wait.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 17.10.17

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Ophelia Sun

Well, did we ever have such an odd sort of day today.

I noticed as soon as I was out of the house mid morning that there was something not right with the sky, but initially I thought it was just a weirdly hazy morning, with perhaps some sugar factory or power station smog just giving it a bit of an orange tinge.

After that, I wasn't too surprised to see that the sun was a very sunset colour even at 1130am, so striking I took pictures of it above the market place and Asda. But it was only when I looked online on my phone to see that my Instagram feed was full of pictures of what looked like a bloody peach hanging in the sky that I caught on that there was something going on more than a bit of local smog.

Apparently it was Saharan dust dragged up by Hurricane Ophelia causing these strange skies - ironically a chapter in the Arthur C. Clarke "Mysterious World" book I had just been reading - although as the day went on and the number of pictures EVERYWHERE increased, Portugese wildfire ash had been added into the mix.

The sky went really dark at about 230pm, a sickly salmon pink colour, and the sun was obscured. But as I went running at 3pm I noticed that the sun had come back out, and you could see a blue band in the south west where the dust cloud ended.

Gradually, the apocalypse cloud passed over, and I recorded it on my phone, to be replaced by cloudless blue skies.

Radio 6 listeners too had been tracking it across the country; Radcliffe and Maconie were even more entertaining than usual!

How glad I was to have been part of a such a phenomenon!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 17.10.17

Sun Shots

Another lovely day today, but I felt a bit useless because 1) I fell asleep while watching "The Force Awakens" on my sofa for two hours and 2) I cooked too much for my tea.

I did have a couple of nice walks to the park, going a different way each time, and enjoyed a cup of tea each time. Small pleasures! I really don't know why people drink coffee, it has no refreshing qualities whatsoever.

In the afternoon the sun burnt all the clouds out of the sky, and my second walk was into bright sunshine. Some good views to be had, the river glittered and the horses stood haloed in their shelterless field.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 15.10.17

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Autumn Colours in a Nutshell

Or rather in the local gardens to me. Spotted it fluttering down from the cotoneasters, and hoped it would settle long enough for me to get a pic.

It did, but not for any longer, and that was after having to do some daft gyrations to avoid casting my shadow across it as I approached from 15 metres away in a low sun casting a shadow like a striding giant.

I was getting some strange looks I can tell you. Unavoidable when you are a nature spotter sometimes. It's beena glorious day, so I didn't care.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 14.10.17

Friday, 13 October 2017

Shots of the Lowering Sun

Our work buildings are not terribly pretty places, but I'm rather proud of the campus that surrounds them. There are a variety of nature habitats; grassland, trees, waterside, and cultivated garden areas.

When the sun is fed up of being over the yard arm and is making his way to bed, it sets over the south western end of the campus, and creates beautiful light over the grounds.

If you are lucky, this is the time that barn owls hunt.

I am trying to make the rest of workplace realise how special it could be. It is getting there, but slowly.


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

A Touch of Classy Interior

So, around on my travels recently - not today, I have been landlocked at work until the rain began at hometime - I came across a nice old car, a Singer Hunter, with a nice figurehead and glorious wooden interior, full of interesting looking knobs and switches.

It was sat outside the old Triple 3 garage, which when I was a child I thought meant that you could only have 3 cars in it at once so it wouldn't be much good for making money.

Perhaps they felt the same, because sometimes you can buy potted plants there in case you want to bring a green touch to your freshly MOT'd Toyota Yaris.

Diversification is where it's at!

Great car too.


Monday, 9 October 2017

A Flower for my 45th

So yes I'm another year older, certainly no wiser about anything, but a lot lazier. I've done nothing today other than have a couple of gentle walks around town seeing if there was anything I wanted to buy myself.

There wasn't so much as a sausage. Actually, if I'd seen a nice sausage I might have bought one, but there wasn't even that.

When you want to buy yourself something, you never actually do.

Any good ideas for £20 worth of something for an outdoorsy type to buy himself other than a new waterproof running jacket. I also have love to shop vouchers, Argos has a camping mat, but the sleeping bags have terrible reviews.

Either that or I'll just buy myself a large bottle of rum.

Really, have done nothing today, it hasn't been special, and it won't be until midnight either!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 09.10.17

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Fishing on the Goose Lake

Bit of a lumbering sort of run today, on a day that turned out to be surprisingly warm but not terribly interesting apart from the large numbers of honeybees with full saddlebags on the ivy.

There's a few queen buff tail bumbles low down looking for hibernation nests too. Single white butterfly. No echelons of noisy pink footed geese like the one I saw the other day.

The geese around in town today were of the canada variety, big honky beasts that make running rather tricky as they decorate every inch of footpath with nasty green and brown droppings, as if someone has sat on an avocado.

I hate those as well.

Lots of fishermen on the blue lake today, casting their lines out between the flotillas of waterfowl. THe fishermen here are angry as there are proposals to use the lake for teaching sailing and canoeing. Go for it, say I. So do the fish I suspect.

Overhead a green banana flew - the motor-paraglider who some people accuse of being some sort of aerial voyeur.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 08.10.17

Saturday, 7 October 2017

At Last the Eco Pods

So, after an aborted start to my run due to nothing pleasant, I completely changed my direction of run today and headed NOrth to the edge of the town, past the marina and on the godforsaken path through cowpat fields towards the concrete bridge.

I had last run along here during my marathon a couple of years ago, I think. It was horrible then, far muddier than it was today, but as I crossed the bridge it became less plesasant, for the air suddenly filled with the organic back of the throat odour from the sugar factory chimneys - Sulphur Dioxide based if I remember right - before the funker smells of farmyard and sugar factory joined in to create a bit of a miasma.

After crossing the bridge I could see the scrapyard swine hadn't blocked the path here, so I was able to walk along the river - welcome chemical smell of weir whipped water - and along to the fishing Eco Pods I had wanted to look at before.

For "Eco Pods" read "Unglamorous Undecorated Sheds".

I had thought they would be more glamorous and chi-chi somehow. They really weren't but I don't suppose the hardened anglers don't mind as they dangle their bleeping posh rods over the Trent.

It's not a glamorous setting, this post industrial part of town, but the gardens of the North lock cottage were being tended to as I went under the bypass bridge. How the owner drives here I've no idea.

The river runs North. Beyond is where my longer run met up with the Trent Valley Way. on the way back, a man sailed his boat under the bridge without taking his mast down. Oh dear.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 07.10.17

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Sugar Factory Sunset

I had an entirely silent run last phone, no DAB radio, just me running in a strong wind. I felt odd to just have my breath and the noises in my head accompanying me as I ran on my old school slog past the colleague to the railway station, then back along the river and home. 5km. Done in about 30 minutes, but I've no way of knowing to be sure!

Spectacular sunset on the way home from work, illuminating the smoke from the sugar factory and blessing this building in a golden glow. The powers that be are giving their blessings to our great sugar making process, and wishing that they could ditch their manna or ambrosia for a few teaspoons of Tate and Lyle.

Alright, it's brown lumpy things being made into white powder. But it looked good tonight.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 05.10.17

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Another Crackin' Owd Bike

Brought to you by the Legends of the Heron, Raleigh themselves.

This bike showed up today in our work bike shed next to mine; I had never seen it before and was immediately fascinated by it, the sprung seat, the huge bell, the gears.

I wouldn't want a bike like that to ride to work, but somedays I'd love a Steel framed classic bike to go to Eroicas...look good in retro kit, sail my glitteringly painted steed in an elegant Sportive, and then relax in the village with an esperesso or two.

Never happen. I don't have the hands to maintain a bike like that, and all strong coffee does to me is cause panic attacks and trembles. But is a dream, and it is always fun to enjoy nice old things.

Enjoy the photographs!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 03.10.17