Sunday, 20 August 2017

Up on Swallow Heights

it was our last Sunday game today, and we found ourselves out at Oxton, a ground we played at last year with the world's most ramshackle pavilion that was wetter inside than out in the rain, and sheep baa-ing right up to the boundary edge.

Well this year a new pavilion has appeared, with nice tables and a nice kitchen and dressing rooms you aren't at risk of drowning is, but of course progress means we means a bit of charm.

It's still a sunning setting, above the Tolkien sounding Green Dragon pub, with the constant twitterings of swallows and house martins as they feed up for migration around the ground. THere are trees and open fields, people going for walks, and a dog who decided to field the ball for us and cover the ball with slobber.

Oddly enough our young leggie bowled his best ball of the day after that.

As ever, it was a long old slog in the field, but our heads never dropped. As captain, like I was today, I'm not bad at this aspect of the job, although I'm tactically probably quite hopeless. Our Under 15s had a lot of energy today. Ah, I wish I was young again.

So, they got 290. Ahem.

So we batted, and I did my nature walk. Not much to see, apart from a giant parasol mushroom one of our team insisted I took a look at. It was markedly warmer than yesterday, thank god.

We batted well, for all our 40 overs. One our number, our only senior team player, got 64, and even I hit a boundary in scoring 6. Slightly annoyed by my batting partner running me out trying to give me the strike though. That was my highest score since May.

Great day though, enjoyed myself, and the Oxton chaps said we were a credit to our club. Can't say fairer than that really.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 20.08.17

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Autumnal Cricket

Brrrrr, shiver shiver shiver.

Let's how we felt today, as we went out to Dale Field to play Whatton and Aslockton, a jolly bunch of chaps who like to take cans of beer to games, and indeed turned up today with what appeared to be an old style Watney's Red Barrel Party 7.

We were much more pro. We just ate jaffa cakes and ate Sensation crisps while waiting to bat.

For bat first we did, and on a super wickets, we did well to get to 168-6 off 40. Of course, I didn't bat, so I dressed up warm and walked the ground. The trees at the allotment end are laden with big, red apples, and sweet chestnut trees are similarly fruitful.

Autumn lurks, and today we felt its cold hand upon our bodies as it blasted us with a freezing wind. At least it blew the showers away.

We bowled superbly of course, to leave the opposition 56 all out. All our victims were bowled, but I was disappointed to only take 1 of them, despite the fact I was swinging the ball around a lot. I just always had the best batsman to bowl at, the one who scored a century last time. Although I got the other good bat out with a Wasim Akram style inswinger (at a tenth of the pace!).

Three victories for our teams today, a major major day.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.08.17

Friday, 18 August 2017

Marathon Crowds

This is a taster for when the Tour of Britain comes to town in a couple of weeks - gosh so soon!

Ive managed to lobby work to support my idea we should have a PR and recruitment stand there, which I'm pretty pleased about, and I'm trying to get some outgoing folk at work to act as "Race Makers" - i.e. marshals. One of them is my Tourette colleague - we set each other off like mad - but he has a much more outgoing personality.

Isn't hard.

He's also better looking.

Isn't hard either.

Anyway, big time for me, hope it works out for me.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 18.08.17

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

More Weeding and Wondering

Managed to get out for 90 minutes to carry on digging the weeds out of the herb garden area at work - sheesh, dandelions are sods. Their roots seem to go down about 6 feet! And when you get rid of them, there's plenty of small, easy to remove but ultimately just as back breaking little plants with feathery root systems.

Found a cockchafer larva yesterday, ugh, what a horrible thing. Like what the evil bioscience company owner in "The Fly 2" ends up looking like.

I'm surprised no robins have come over to watch me dig, I am unearthing quite a few grubs and worms and ants nests. The best bird visitors I have are dunnocks who come and visit the other half of the garden, eating spillage from the feeders from the ground.

No kestrels hovering today!

Weeding going much faster now I'm using a spade, which I admit is a bit clodhopping but I've got nothing else. Been offered use of a fork tomorrow by an engineer however, that might help a lot.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 16.08.17

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Athletes, sun and cricket

My only fixture of the weekend today, a 2pm starting hime game so plenty of time for pottering today!

It was the Newark Half marathon today, and I was able to to go down and watch the finish of the race for a bit - I felt so bad for not taking part and will do next year, it looked amazing, with a really nice finish area - with Prosecco van! - and running shoe shop. Lots of harebells still in flower too, and down by the river, big migrant hawkers were, er, hawking, as they do!

Had a good cup of tea, talked enviously to a few of the runners, was told I was looking good by one of them. Doesn't happen very often.

Then over to the cricket ground, on a cool but very bright and pleasant afternoon, to play Long EAton, who had mercy on us by sending over a less powerful team. In response, as the swallows flew and a lone swift migrated over the ground, we produced our best bowling and fielding of the year to keep them to 170-7 off 40 overs. I bowled ok myself without luck on a horribly slow wicket, but it was at the other end where spin did the damage, with one of our number taking 4 good wickets.

He wasn't done either, as he opened the batting and scored 70 odd. Sadly, he didn't get much help, although some youngsters did a good job at staying in with him. Not me myself though, I only got to face one ball before my partner got out LBW, ending the game.

Gosh I was mad at that. Shouldn't be batting 11 in a team I'm vice captain of. Still, I'm captain next week so I can open the batting if I want (I won't! I'll bat myself at 9, as I psychologically like to). I will open the bowling, hope it isn't as slow as today's wicket was.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 13.08.17

Saturday, 12 August 2017

The Runner's Friend

Found myself out running late last night; it was deep twilight as I ran along the cycle track with a following wind, making a decent pace for a change; I ended up doing about 25.30 for the 5km.

What may have helped was having a pacemaker. As I approached the railway station, I noticed that I was being raced by a small, low slung entity about 10 metres ahead of me.

I've never seen a hedgehog run so fast - it took me a few seconds to catch up with it! Specimen in good nick too.

Always pleased to see them about, safe away from roads.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 12.08.17

Friday, 11 August 2017

The Common Blue on the Litter Pick

Been doing a bit of what I suppose counts both as work and community service today, organising a litter pick on public land adjoining work that a large number of our lazier co-workers think is a landfill for throwing away old cans of Red Bull and Relentless, and McDonalds coffee cups.

What is actually is, is a really good brownfield wildlife habitat, full of burnet moths, cinnabars, and the usual grassland butterflies. Kestrels fly over head, looking for rabbits although preferably fresher than the stinking maggot infested dead bunny I came across today and nearly trod in. Surprised the buzzards haven't taken it.

While fag packets and tin cans was the main harvest, soke odder things turned up as well. A car tire, a pair of socks on the A1 bridge. Several separate piles of stripy drinking straws.

We actually had proper litter picking sticks - very difficult to use of left handed FFS it's 2017 - and plastic bags that were impossible to keep open whenever the breeze got up, which meant I kept having to pick up packets of Polish Marlboro about three times before I could get them into the bags.

Luckily my colleagues were far more organised, and far less crap.We filled about 8 sacks up with stuff, and even I have to say the place looks far better. Why folk felt the need to take their socks off and leave them on a pedestrian bridge is beyond me however, although I appreciate the thoughtfulness of someone who decided to put their cans of Monster in a bin bag before throwing them down a bank.

Amid all the detritus, I spotted this smart male common blue, which eventually posed for a single photograph after having been very skittish before that. Perhaps it was scared of the enormous pincers my litter picker had!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 11.08.18

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

A Darter in the Garden

There always seems to be something around whenever I go out into my dinky little unkempt nature garden at home; hoverflies on the dandelions, bees on the buddleia. BUt the other day, I walked out and just as I got to the gate, a glitter in the breeze slowed down, circled, and alighted on the top rail of my iron fence.

It was a female common darter, perfectly happy to pose for a photography with her enormous eyes, those dark brown globes. You wonder what she is thinking of as she sits so still, does she wonder who this giant creature is that waves a strange black object before her?

She didn't stay long. Not liking what she sees, I've no doubt.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 09.08.17

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Knapweed Land

I've been having a good, but very slow trot around yesterday, running painfully slowly after bowling 18 overs this weekend. Tere's a lot gone to seed - the teasels are over, the thistle heads have turned into clouds of fluff - but running up the steep drag off Clay Lane up to Beacon Hill there's a lot of knapweed in flower, and a lot of blackberry in fruit.

I did munch a couple, carefully selecting them from above urinating dog level. Very nice too. Must collect some for my parents. Blackberries that is, not dog urine.

The Beacon Hill reserve also has a fine collection of knapweed growing, but disappointingly it wasn't offering much in the way of butterflies or bees. Warmer weather and you'd find it covered in large and small skippers, I'm sure.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Operation Shellacking

Today saw us playing...Fiskerton and Thurgarton again! We've only just played them yesterday, but while that was the Saturday 3rd team, this time it was their Sunday first team we were up against.

Equivalent - Division N standard, to Division C standard. And our team only had one player who wasn't Division N standard. We were very outmatched. And as ever for these sorts of games, I ended up being captain again.

But at least we were playing at Thurgarton Priory, the most beautiful ground I've ever played on and apparently voted the 6th most attractive in the country. Since we played before in May, flowers have been planted around the charming pavilion, and it was very noticeable how as the afternoon wore on, lots of people arrived to use the ground as a social facility.

We were there for business, the business of playing cricket.

We bowled first, to make sure we got our money's worth for the afternoon, and we made a good start; good bowling from myself, for a change, and our other main bowlers. We had them 4 wickets down for not very many.

Then there was a small partnership of about 600 which did for us, the two best batsmen on the team, and they took the game miles away from us. We needed some overs from the fill in bowlers, and sadly the fill in bowlers got filled in.

Nothing you can do. Just keep on trying to enjoy it. If you can enjoy 294-6.

A tea which was helpfully illuminated with flags telling you what you were eating, and was also very nice, followed before we went out to bat. I put myself at 9, mainly because I like the number, and let better batsman get on with it. Things went ok for a while, and after a spell operating the electronic scoreboard, had a walk round this ground, a ground where I had walked with a girlfriend when I was 17.

The bees were driven wild by the flowers! Loads of them nectaring off the...whatever they weres. Swallows were all over the ground when the weather was warmer, then the flocks of wagtails took over, mummies, daddies and youngsters. THe beauty of the ground has a drawback though. it's hard to see among the trees.

That's my excuse anyway. I was out for 0 again. I am so desperate for runs I just can't relax and actually score any. Driving me mad. I haven't scored more than 1 since May. AARRGGGHHH. Again! And the team was all out for 77. AAARGGGH yet again.

Still love it though. And I dived a few times today, making a complete mess of it on each occasion.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 06.08.17