Wednesday, 21 June 2017

How Many Spots, Mr Burnet?

A walk around our conservation and garden areas at work today has revealed that spotty burnet moths, these fairy tale creatures from a child's book, have erupted out of their hiding places and are making merry among the thistle and ragwort on our campus.

I came across them while on a photographic expedition at work - well, it wasn't really, I was crossing the site to collect a parcel that turned out not to be for me, but it was a wonderfully serendipitous thing.

No pretend parcel, no nature spectacle. And these moths are a spectacle, fluttering slowly around like storybook creations, wings a-blur until they settle to reveal an irridescent sheen against which the red spots stand out like rubies.

But how many spots???

These photographs would tend to indicate that these are 5 spot burnet moths - don't go there with that "narrow bordered" stuff that's above my pay grade - and when the teasel flowers, that's when they'll go mad.

I'm waiting.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.06.17

Monday, 19 June 2017

Heat Anaesthetic

Again my cricketing exploits in 28 degree heat over the weekend led to me being really tired, but it was only during and after my 10km run today that I began to feel it - I was too tired to take photographs - and then when I got home I fell asleep with my mobile phone in my hand.

A 90 minute bath helped, reading about Chris Bonington's mountaineering expeditions. Feel non skanky for the first time in a few days now the day has cooled.

Neighbour's flowers very impressive at the moment, especially the black petunias.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.06.17

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Back in the Sun, Back in the Wickets

A much better day today, as I led the Sunday XI to an enjoyably glorious defeat against a powerful Burton Joyce side.

As usual I lost the toss and we soon found ourselves bowling - I don't mind this as it means I can eat a big tea - which meant 2 and a half hours fielding on a hot day against a team of players who on Saturdays play at least 10 divisions above most of us.

I think they thought they were onto an easy one with us, they came out swinging and after my first over was taken for three boundaries, their skipper was so annoyed when I got him out a little later that he threw his bat into a hedge. More bat throwing followed later when I bowled their star batsman (whom in my initial researches I thought was a woman because of their name) with a beautiful inswinger for 11.

We took regular wickets - most gratifyingly with our juniors to the fore -  after that until progress was stilled by a couple of big hitters targeting the bowling green - and hitting it too - on the short straight boundary. I managed to get one of them caught behind, then we had some direct hit run outs as well, more great stuff from our younger players, leading to more bat throwing. 229-8 they got, a good effort by a team of low division players.

Tea! Love my teas!

The batting was another story. We had some irritated the opposition by not allowing them to score the 340 we overheard they were expecting, and they took it out on us by sending in their fastest bowlers, the quickest I have encountered all year - to bowl at our 13 and 14 year old batsmen. Luckily my Saturday skipper, who they said was "shit" scored a few boundaries through the simple exponent of hitting with his eyes closed, and their rather mouthy fast bowler who cleaned me up second ball had the ball smashed into him by one of our tailenders, who got his best ever score today, much to their irritation.

They were hard players to be fair, and that's why they've won every division they've played in on Sundays. But I think they played us a bit too hard, although they appreciated our junior efforts. We were clearly never going to be any kind of threat.

Perhaps it was karma we forgot to pay for tea.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 18.06.17

Saturday, 17 June 2017

I am a Dog Mess Cricketer

Today was another of the rubbish ones.

I was actually expecting a day off today, the 3rds didn't have a game, but a few drops outs meant that I was drafted into the 2s for the first time this year.

Sweat was pouring off me just cycling down to our ground, let alone after doing a few warm ups. We fielded first, and after a fairly controlled start, the opposition coasted to 261 for 2 off 45 overs. We fielded really well, even my own usually stiff as a board self was good today, with no mistakes made at all.

Unfortunately against higher standard batting my bowling was rubbish, although to be fair no-one else's was very good at this point in the game apart from our two juniors. Couldn't bowl with the big follow through I need to succeed after my confidence was dented by an umpire's warning for full tosses.

Darn umpires. They are always having a go at me, I feel persecuted!

Still got a few past the outside edge of the bat, but a dead slow wicket like this was take's all my effectiveness out of the game.

When we then batted, I took as many of my clothes off as I thought I could get away with, and lay down on the boundary to do a not very good sketch of the opposite view of the ground. Meadow brown butterflies were out in the meadows, and also a banded demoiselle drifted by. The big spot however, was a brown hawker dragonfly, wings glinting brassily in the sun, patrolling the dog rose hedgerows.

After a super knock from our opener, we subsided, and muggins here after trying to bat straight and properly, managed to knock the ball onto his stumps viat the bottom of his bat.

Really in bad form at the moment, and utterly luckless. Another chance tomorrow. When maybe I won't be dog droppings.


All text and images copyright CreamCRackeredNature 17.06.17

Friday, 16 June 2017

Our Unmowed Lawn at Work

While progress with the wildflower pictorial meadows has been slow, just leaving what was supposed to be a 90m, but has ended up nearer double that, stretch of grass verge unmowed has proved rather quicker in giving up bounty.

We've got thick beds of clover, bee orchids, wild sedam, little pink flowers, self heal,  perhaps another orchid species, corncockle, thistle and heaven only knows what else. I'm not a botanist.

Basically it would appear than rather than risk mowing the wrong bit, they've just decided to leave the lot of it, and by golly gee it has worked!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 16.06.17

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The linnet

Photographed this lovely lady at work, where she and her fellow are nested in a thick hedgerow somewhere.

We've been making good progress with our campaign for a greener campus; our unmowed area has turned out to be almost twice as large as we first envisaged, and has rewarded us with bee orchids, self-heal, birds foot trefoil and enough white lover to cover a football pitch.

The red tailed bumblebees love it.

Next week we seed our second wildflower meadow, and we have some herbs to plant in a herb garden we extended. Looking forward to it.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 15.06.17

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Just a Colourful Garden

Nothing much to say, just colour and brightness. That's a helpful little bit of what you need.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 13.06.17

Monday, 12 June 2017

Bees and Boats

Oh boy, am I a stiff old man today. As ever, Monday is a day of being knackered and sore, and it made my run an extremely slow and laboured one. All I wanted to do was get round, rather than nature hunt.

Luckily I'd already had a walk around town in the morning, and got a few nice shots of bumblebees at work on the library park geraniums, to go with a few shots of working boats on the river. I always think it's cool that our stretch of the Trent has such working boats on it, even better when you see them dredging or working on locks.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature