Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Obliterators of the Unexpected Journey

So, it was the long drive out to Goosedale Lane today, to take on Notts and Arnold Amateurs Vs. I know. It's a big club, with a big quotient of juniors.

The ground itself, a huge, wide open and slightly sterile facility  is the scene of some awful hammerings for the Sunday side, against the NAA top players. But today it was their development side, up against our one, on a pitch like plasticine.

We bowled first, and ripped through them. Bowled them out for 26 as their batsman committed hari-kiri on a pitch which like a few recently, has done some very odd things for slower paced bowlers. Our skipper hit the stumps, while our even older than me keeper threw himself around like a 16 year old catching them out as they played colossal heaves against me that would have been suicide on the surface like a billiard table.

One of their naughtier batsmen failed to walk after nicking the cover off the ball for the keeper. The umpire (and his coach) ordered him off the field and after the game was seen being told he was dropped for the next match.

To be honest, I took 3 wickets and two of those were off my two worst balls, including the heroic 12 year old Hobbit batting who ended up their best batsman. Roughly about the size of the stumps in high heels, he seemed a very long way away to bowl to, and you had to pitch the ball on his toes to avoid the ball bouncing head high for him to hook.

However, I got him in the end. One does not simply walk out to bat against me!

We did our best to torpedo ourselves when we were batting, but managed to see it home three down.

We've been defeated like this a few times, it is horrible, and it seemed odd to be doing it to someone else. It's inspired the skipper to write more poetry that he wants me to put in this blog, but I don't want to break the Geneva Convention.

Always like watching the remote control aircraft flying club next to this ground!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 22.07.17

Friday, 21 July 2017

Our Natural Campus

At work, 200 odd metres of verge is still unmowed, and things have changed. The two species of orchid, the forget me nots, the gentian, the wintercress, the self heal, well that's all gone although the self heal is still visible in its gone-to-seed form.

What we have now on our campus is rosebay willow herb and teasel flowers in enormous quantities. The burnet moths that loved the teasel have died, but there's lots of bees visiting and small and green veined white butterflies.

The main field is a yellow mass of ragwort, with meadow browns and ringlets down in the long grass.

I've even seen a single silver y moth!

We've given the local wildlife a bit of a help at work.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.07.17

Thursday, 20 July 2017

The Harebells on the Sconce

I find it sad that everything this summer seems to be happening so fast and so early, it feels like we are in autumn already. There is no more bird song bar the screaming of excitable swifts and even that will soon be gone. Spring flowers are a memory and the wildflower margins of the public parks have been cropped back to nothing.

Another sign of these rapid fire summers is the early appearance of harebells up on the Sconce. I swear that a few years ago it was late August before these little pastel beauties appeared. But here they are in the middle of July, clustering as they do on the sun facing slopes of the Sconce Earthwork, bells jingling in the wind.

Even a hardened cynic like me thinks they are pretty.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.07.17

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Buffets and Butterflies

Well, everyone at work never seems to get ill, and so is deemed worthy of a mighty reward.

A piece of paper, and a buffet of the canteen's greatest treats.

I've had to go to every one, and because I'm a sucker for free food - I'll be very very honest and say that eating is one of the very few things that makes me happy - I'm happy to tag along, although I swear to god my body is crying out after the massive carbohydrate overdose it has withstood over the past few days.

My back has still been painful, so sitting at my desk is rather uncomfortable and I feel far better keeping on the move, so I've been a busy sort of messenger boy today. But after checking the kitty traps - apparently we caught a black and white kitten yesterday - I had a wander over to our garden area, to see if there was anything prettier outside than in.

And there was, the scabious attracting a small skipper and a green veined white (or small white???). Excellent little 5 minute interlude.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 18.07.17

Monday, 17 July 2017

Vintage Rally Shenanigans

First up, what the hell is a shenanigan anyway? Sounds sort of Irish to me.

So, I had a really painful night, repeatedly awoken by these pretty sharp back spasms, and indeed they were still bothering me this morning. I rested up on bed all morning, and even then when I tried to go into town I was still having twinges, oh by jingo!

But the worst thing you can do with these sorts of conditions is to just lock yourself away in your bedroom. It's been a lovely day as well. So, I made sure I took pain killers, and rode into town, and to the library, and made sure I moved around. Eventually I was able to get about ok.

Just about.

So, later on I decided to have another potter, and got into town to see what appeared to be a stopover point for some kind of vintage car rally. Three small, shiny and extremely noisy little vintage sports cars, complete with older folk who looked pretty much like the sort of folk you'd expect to see driving such a car, were sat being admired by the townsfolk.

Two of them were GNs, which apparently is a "cyclecar" type light sports car from the 1910s-20s, powered by V twin cyclinder engines. Made in Hendon and Wandsworth, London, they were apparently very popular models at the time, although not if you lived next door to one, I fancy.

Not exactly milk floats in terms of noise level. But a lot of fun to drive, I'll wager.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 17.07.17

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Victory, but at a Cost

I've had two games of cricket this weekend, but only played in one!

All went well yesterday, where we played Ellerslie IV at our home ground. We had beaten them away, in the match I won with the bat in a nervy finish. Yesterday, they only turned up with 9 players - like us, the Test Match at Trent Bridge had lured away a large number of players, but we had a full 11 and we were determined to use them.

We won the toss, our rather our junior vice captain did, and it enabled us to bowl first. I lurked around for the first half, I tend not to bowl with the new ball these days to let our juniors have a go. We started strongly, not conceding many runs, and neither did yours truly here, taking 2 for 17 off 9 overs.

But me oh my, the humidity! It wasn't sunny, it was overcast and heavy, but the effort of bowling left sweat pouring off us, although how the opposition's top scorer, an enormous Billy Bunter of a fellow, felt is anyone's guess.

We kept them to 102 for 6, which felt a little ominous, and sure enough, it was. We struggled again, just like we did last week, but one of our junior players who having had a fine day with the ball, won the match for us withe the bat.

A major issue of note. Our experienced keeper had his 72nd birthday yesterday, and his son and grandson both played too, making it a mega family day!

All three of our teams won, prompting some of the skippers to launch into a poetry festival entirely worthy of William Topaz McGonagall, or the poem by Wordsworth where he speaketh of his pond;

"I've measured it, from side to side
Tis three feet long and two feet wide".

Such poetry would be welcome now, as I struggle with pretty agonising back spasms which entirely ruined my match today. All I did was reach into a plastic bag.  How I managed to field for two hours today is beyond me, I couldn't bowl or bat! SAdly we didn't beat them, as we don't like them very much, but we hit some big old sixes!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 16.07.17

Friday, 14 July 2017

Fred the Kitten

Well, we have only caught the one kitten at work so far, but what a cute one!

Fred is named after our facilities worker who has been here a million years doing all sorts of things and is rather a legend. He helped the cat care lady when this feisty little fellow tried to make a run for it out of his trap.

He's now being fostered and accustomised to human handling so he can be rehomed. He is very lucky. We've not caught any more, and the cat care people on site have been told by night staff that there is also a vixen and four cubs, and also a family of weasels and that they between them may have taken the other kittens, which is heartbreaking, but not unexpected.

Let's hope Fred can find a good forever home.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 14.07.17

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Gold Glows the Fields of Barley

Is that a Sting song? Who knows.

Yes, a gentle run tonight, more for guilt at having eaten a huge buffet at work today - and another one tomorrow - to commemorate inmates of long service without getting any sicknesses. I tried to compensate by only having a small supper, but no, with my back feeling relatively OK I thought I needed to get out there.

It doesn't have to be super warm to be a glorious evening - it was one tonight even though there was a slight ambient chill. But the sun gave just enough heat without causing discomfort, and I made the most of it.

Tonight I set off across the grange road fields, listening to Sussex playing cricket on the radio, looking over golden fields of barley as Sting would have it - pretty sure it's wheat actually - over towards Hawton Church, and wishing there was someone selling lemonade from the roadside stall much beloved of those HSBC adverts featuring the snake loving child.

Non-such alas, but at least idiots on quad bikes or scramblers weren't charging about and the path was reasonably clear of the excrement of Welsh cobs for a change.

Take pleasure in the small things.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 12.07.17

Monday, 10 July 2017

Retro Dining by Bike

I haven't done much pleasure cycling this year; cricket and the perpetual fear of punctures seems to have kept me off it. I've been trying to run instead and doing pretty well at that, but now this back niggle I've developed has kind of meant I've had to ease down on that.

So today I set off with on my bike with the vague idea of finding the retro styled "OK Diner" American diner on the A1 at Cromwell village.

I had no intention of cycling on the A1 - I like living - but I'd been told about a cycle path that leads to it from North Muskham. I wasn't in any hurry, so I had a lovely ride through Kelham, Little Carlton and Bathley, the little villages where old style housing and barns means that house martins and swallows fill the air with their forked tails and twitterings.

I made it to Muskham, and did indeed find the cycle path, which ran actually alongside the A1 which was a bit kind of weird, and to actually get to the diner I had to ride along the A1 sliproad for a short way.

The diner itself looks very much as you'd expect from any 50s set US movie or TV show - a low silver building with lots of neon illuminations, although the genuine article probably wouldn't have a cardboard cutout of a cop holding a stop sign just inside the door.

I was guided to a corner seat, and now felt rather stupid - I hadn't actually thought about going in the place, just wanted to take pictures. And now I was ordering something, I didn't want to be all cheapskate and just have a cup of tea. So I rather daftly ended up having a diet coke and a bloody great artery clogging milkshake for £6.50.

It was a mint choc chip milk shake, and I loved eating the choc chips with  a spoon! Very thick. Very American. Lots of folk seemed to be having them - it was surprisingly busy for 330pm on a Monday.

I will go back - it's a nice 25km bike ride, all told.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 10.07.16

Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Comma on the Comma

No cricket today, our match was cancelled, which I'm not as upset about as I'd normally be as it was the not terribly friendly team who thumped us in the first Sunday game of the season. This meant it was a day of hot baths, long walks around the park, and buying bin liners and shorts and other essentials.

The running shorts I wore yesterday have been classed by the team as "too revealing". Bollocks to that.

Commas are very plentiful at the moment, as soon as I left my house this morning one was sat on my garden fence before heading off to sit on a nettle. Later on, after 3 hours spent walking through the park and buying air fresheners and other really exciting things, and also trundling through a garden centre looking for bee friendly plants for the rest of our garden area, another one sat on a library park lobelia and gave me a great view of its comma!

Does a comma have an Oxford comma?


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 09.07.16