Monday, 11 December 2017

Old Cars on a Cold Day

As part of the rather disappointing Christmas Market - a lot of stalls pulled out on account of the weather apparently - East Midlands Classic Car Club turned up with some nice pretty cars to look at.

Now I am far from a petrolhead; I don't drive and I don't suppose I will ever learn now, it's my way of keeping the people of Britain safe. But I love the days of cars with character, cars with faces, just like you don't see any more.

These cars were also decidely of a non British-Leyland bent, the company designed to destroy the UK car industry by making some of the most appalling and ugly cars ever made. I think East Midlands Car Club have virtually all of the working Austin Allegros left, you see those at the summer festival. They were famously more aerodynamic when travelling backwards.

These beasts were much sportier; rally looking Escort mark 1s and Capris, the sort you used to see doing rallycross on Grandstand in 1982, the classic vehicle for "Kev and Sharon" green plastic strips at the top of the windscreen.

If you want to be super-stereotypical, perhaps even a pair of fluffy dice as well.

Soon, you might even see my stepfather's Peugeot 205 cabby there, his pride and joy!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 11.12.17

Sunday, 10 December 2017

It's Winter Cliche Time!

So yes, when I awoke today I could look out the window and see the snow on the roof tops, see the small flakes like spindrift falling out of the sky. It wasn't a heavy fall with big fat flakes, but it had settled.

Good. It wasn't a work day, and it gave me a chance to try out my new Karrimors (weatherproof, supposedly) and take some nice winter shots, same as everyone else does. I was out for 3 hours in the end and enjoyed every second of it - apparently when some kids of a certain background came into Rumbles cafe and behaved like animals - and got some nice shots.

There were my first winter thrushes too - a few redwing berry hunting along the cycle path - as well as a happily chubby female bullfinch, drawing attention to herself with a burlesque flash of white rump. Mixed flocks of tits tweeped through the bare trees, and that pink footed goose was still by the blue lake. My Karrimor's behaved well, had been worried after a bit of pinching on the top of my foot, and they are certainly warm.

The snow kept pricking down, on the revellers at the Christmas Market being sold overpriced hog roast or wood fired pizza. I ate and slept all afternoon.

It was a nice day.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 10.12.17

Saturday, 9 December 2017

The Most Wasted Building in Town

After my tiring as heck week, I've barely had the energy to move today. Woke up. Fell asleep. Woke up, went shopping. Fell asleep. Went shopping, fell asleep. Bath.

While I was shopping, I did two things of note. One was buying a new pair of Karrimor (actual) walking shoes, as I need something weatherproof for my winter walking, and had a look around the Buttermarket, the high end shopping development.

The shoes are pinching my feet on the top a little bit, and may have to go back which is ridiculous as I am really a size 9 and these are a 10, I've just been trying to bend them in a bit.

The Buttermarket isn't doing much better. Part of the town hall complex, it is actually a wonderful space. But the rents and rates on the premises seem to be so high that at best a few years ago, half the units were filled. Now, less than a quarter still seem to be in use, the popular bookshop has long since relocated, and a lot of the units seem to rotate between candles, computer bits and bobs and novelty T-shorts with none of them lasting more than a year.

Many many years ago, before the building was refurbed, there was a popular indoor market here; I dimly remember it and its stall selling bits of model train sets. Unless my memory is playing tricks with me. That market thrived, and local people continually compare it with the ghostly nature of the current development.

Rumour has it a Primark might be on the way...


All text and images copyright CreamCRackeredNature 09.12.17

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Herb Garden in Winter

Presumably because it got planted so late, our little workplace herb garden is still flowering with lavender and some sort of sagey bloom blooming. There's even a weed that has found its way in, with pretty little white flowers. Wonder what it is.

Obviously there are no bees visiting now and it's too cold for even the maddest of red admirals. The weather has now snapped colder again, with snow forecast but thankfully not on a work day, and I fancy there might be some good walking to be had of the weekend.

I might even try a gentle run. There can be no doubt that since my ankle injury I've put weight on, and I'm rather unhappy about that. The fact that food is one of the things that makes me happy doesn't help either. Either way, exercise bikes and walking don't seem to be cutting it.

I promise you, dear ankle, I'll be gentle.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 07.12.17

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

24 Hour Party Squirrels

Sorry for the lack of exciting (!) updates over the last couple of days, I've had a bit of a major event taking place, and I'm utterly exhausted.

We've now had the 24 Hour Static Bike Race at work.

We started at midday on Monday, with four intrepid riders sat on their noble, if immobile steeds, in two trailers supplied by our nominated charity, and ran right the way through until midday today.

I was there at the start, and I was there for the finish, with local media attending, after working a twelve hour stint from midnight this morning, during which time I rode two one hour stints myself.

The highlight was setting the greatest distance by a male in a one hour period (38.00km) although as an organiser I don't get to win a prize, the low point was having the trailer doors thrown open (at a very cold and windy 6am) in an attempt to clear the facility of the combined man-stink of me and another rider.

You'd have thought our combined pheromones would have been desirable.

I managed to stay awake for about 28-30 hours continually, apart from a sneaky 5 minute nap in the warm - gosh how I needed that - and was really ready for bed when I cycled home at 130pm.

(That cycle home that tired wasn't very nice, I do not recommend it).

Going to bed however was delayed by the appearance of squirrel in my little oak tree, whom I noticed pick a substantial twig up from the ground before taking it up onto a bough to seemingly strip of something. Until it caught me watching it, at which point it dropped the twig and scarpered.

Sorry, nutkin!!! But it was a nice interlude before a bit of (not enough) sleep.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 05.12.17

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Unusual Visitors on the Lakes

I wore the running shoes again today, but this time it was to go for a walk. I thought I'd take a tour of the two lakes, to see if the cold weather had brought in any winter ducks onto my local ponds.

It hadn't, but there were other oddities to see.

As I started walking around the Balderton Blue Lake, the omens were good. A goldcrest put on one of its best hummingbird impressions in the waterside willows, and a little way round the corner, a flock of long tailed tits - always one of winter's most attractive sites - seeped and zupped among the branches, even the slimmest twigs easily supporting their weight.

ALong the next side of the lake, a flock of canada geese were grazing on the grass, but it was a huge greylag goose that caught my attention first. Even though it was a different species, it seemed determined to show it was the boss, honking loudly like a donkey and puffing up its throat to show its dominance. But after this, I caught sight of a much smaller interloper.

It was a pink footed goose, a bird I have only glimpsed thousands of feet up in their huge skeins.

You'd have thought it would be a rather wary wild bird, but it wasn't. It fed happily with the more domesticated species, and I was able to approach to about 5 metres to take some shots.

Then, after twenty minutes walk to London Road pond, I could see a mile off there were some very large ducks on the water. Although black and white, I was able to tell quickly from the bodyshape they weren't goosander. And no goosander would ever come sailing towards me expecting some bread.

It was a couple of big ugly muscovy ducks, probably escaped from a farm for some R and R!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 02.12.17

Friday, 1 December 2017

Trespass Helme Trail Running Shoes

I actually bought these running shoes by accident a week ago in a local Trespass clearance outlet - I actually thought they were lightweight walking shoes, of which I do need a new pair.

Having said that, despite feeling rather stupid, I do need a new pair as my Decathlon traillies have got holes in the micro mesh top, something I always do to running shoes. So I thought today I'd give them a go, hoping my ankle was rested enough.

I've not run for a while.

As it happened, I made a decent enough start, as usual finding trail runners a bit stiff in the soles when running on tarmac. But I'd made a decision to head out to the fields off Grange Road, which were bound to be a bit squidgy after the flurries of sleet and snow we had yesterday, and I found it to be perfectly ok.

However, back on tarmac after 5km my toes began to hurt a bit, perhaps a consequence of the stiff sole but not something I've felt before.

My other worry is the material, when just wearing them in while walking out in the cold, they feel very very cold, as if the mesh is very thin and might give way quite easily. We will see.

As for the scenery, well we had a nice lowering sun, but no winter thrushes in view yet. It was good to run again, even if my fitness is a bit down, but my ankle is sore again tonight.



All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 01.12.17

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

My first day with Tresspass Handwarmer

I picked up these a few months ago in the Tresspass in Newark that pretended to be closing down for 6 months before it, er, didn't. They cost £3.99 I think, and I'd been waiting for a really cold cycle to work to try them out.

You see, I supper from horrendously bad hands in cold weather - possibly Reynaud's Disease - and when they get cold on my handlebars the agony can be near unbearable. Wearing two pairs of gloves doesn't seem to help; indeed it may make it worse if circulation gets restricted. So the idea of trying these reusable hand warmers seemed like a godsend; no more purple agony hands when riding in the cold winter we seem to be heading for.

You fire them up by bending a metallic disc in the middle of a transluscent greenish gel. Immediately it begins to cloud over, and generate heat.

It is very warm, and not uncomfortable, and I was able to slip them into the palms of my gloves. However, they do make holding the handlebars a little bit awkward. They also struggle to get the heat out to my fingertips.

They also don't last quite long enough! My commute is about 15 minutes, and they seemed to last about half the trip. The left thumb was starting to get really sore by the time I arrived, but it at least put the agony off for a bit.

You recharge them by boiling them in hot water for 15 minutes until the gel clears. But I haven't tried that yet.

I will report back!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.11.17

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Strange Skies and Squirrels

So, I've been out for a while again today, a 7km or so walk through my beloved Grange Road fields where flocks of chaffinch and goldfinch flitted along the hedgerows. It's interesting, you'd think the goldfinch would be more skittish, but it is the chaffies that take flight at even quite distant human approach, their white tail and wing bars flashing against the ploughed earth.

Meanwhile the goldies quite happily let you walk underneath the trees you are sitting in.

I've met two squirrels today, likewise one of which was ok with having its picture taken, and then a real furry little git in my garden who sat their munching ivy berries for ages with me watching just underneath, them ran off as soon as I (very slowly) lifted my phone up to take a shot.

Over on the park, where I had one of winter's great pleasures in watching a flock of long tailed tits working the blackthorn above me. There was also a game of woman's football happening, don't see that too often on the park.

In town, the Christmas lights went on today, I always like walking through, but never stay to watch. Even though you can buy Prosecco cocktails from a horsebox.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 26.11.17

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Sun and Moon

Had a really tiring day at work yesterday, running around like a maniac sorting out Black Friday stuff for our staff. It really caught up with me; I just could not wake up this morning and ended up falling asleep in the bath.

Luckily with my head above water.

My time outside consisted of shopping, and getting my hair cut; really was rather untidy looking. And the Cadfael bald patch is rather too evident unless I keep it short. Oh well, I'm 6 foot 1 so if I stand up all the time people won't notice.

The moon in the sky is better than the moon on my head.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 25.11.17