Sunday, 24 September 2023

Life on the Sedum

 There's nothing at work but bristly ox tongue, but on Sconce Park there are still plants in bloom that the pollinators love. 

The deep pink sedum that grows in the "Mini Sconce" in front of the cafe is proving particularly attractive to honey bees, and after I have had my cup of tea and old school can of Barr's lemonade, I like to go over and have a look and see who is having dinner there.

This post then, is just an excuse to put up a lovely photo I managed to get of two bees. I hope you like it.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.09.23

Thursday, 21 September 2023

Some Butterfly Studies

 I've started properly running again, to burn up some of that excessive Tourette and ADHD energy and for the good of my mental health. It is certainly proving to be more helpful in this regard than cricket has been; my bowling has sort of sine waved from awful to good and back to awful again. 

But cricket is over now, and I'm trying to capture what ever buzzers and flutterers I can before autumn takes a proper grip and everything goes to sleep until spring. 

So enjoy these studies I've taken of a couple of butterflies that were obliging enough to give me a good luck as they warmed themselves up in the sun. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.09.23

Wednesday, 13 September 2023

Saved by the Lightning

 Our last home Sunday game of the year was against Attenborough - the third time we had played them this season - on a day of tremendous humidity where we fully expected the weather to finally break after a blisteringly hot week.

They had a strong side of hungry young players. We had ten players, one of which was my sister playing her first ever game of cricket. I was confident she would be ok having had a bit of a practice with her the day before. Upon winning the toss, I was confident also that we would be able to make a decent fist of things despite only having ten players. 

Well gee whickers, was I wrong. 

It started as badly as it did against them last time we played them, when we were 1 for 3. That time, someone bashed 94 to keep us in the game. This time he wasn't able to repeat this miracle, although he did try his best. 

Within 10 or so overs, we were five wickets down, batsman diddled by good bowling and some rather strange shot making in a couple of cases. Now, this is not the sort of thing that is supposed to happen on a Sunday, and it certainly doesn't happen on my watch when I'm captain. We want a full game of it for everyone, for our batters and bowlers, and for the opposition batters and bowlers too. 

You don't keep the good bowlers on, hotknife-through-butter through the batting while cheering and celebrating like maniacs as if you were playing Australia at Lords. So I felt slightly aggrieved, and so did others on the team. 

I sent my sister into bat ahead of me, and she managed to lay bat on ball a few times, before dollying a caught and bowled. No shame there! I went in and batted for thirteen balls without scoring a run, so honours even for us. 

Forty-nine all out in about 18 overs. Jeez. 

"Right then" I thought. Young kids or not, they were going to get a reminder that we could play hardball too.

Opening with our two fastest bowlers, we gave them a pretty torrid time as well, having them three down for not many, before I was glad to get their somewhat, not-happy, captain out LBW, while the chairman got a wicket during a fine spell of bowling too. 

41 for 5. The sky was grey. It was raining heavily. The plan, such as I had one, to spin the game out as long as possible so that weather could intervene, relied on one thing. That a flash of lightning would be seen, which by ECB rules means we have to get the hell off the ground pronto. 

All eyes were trained to the sky, apart from by the players on my team who were rather shamefully trying to pretend it was too dangerous to play by deliberately falling over in unconvincing ways. 

A few minutes passed. Then, FLAAAAASSSSSSH! It happened. 

Some of our players made it to the dressing room faster than Usain Bolt. 

This lightning rule states that you can't go back out there for at least half an hour after the last visible strike. But in truth, although I told the players to be respectful, there was no-way anyone was going back out there. To be fair, all our white kit was soaked, and I can't blame them. I didn't either. 

The groundsman and I made a show of inpecting the ground, which lightning or not was a near mud patch. 

When we told the captain, he looked like he'd been told his home had exploded. A bit excessive for a Sunday game. But, it was that kind of day.

At least I was very proud of my sister. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 13.09.23

Saturday, 2 September 2023

Autumn Views

 We never had much of a summer did we, and now it's September and it's seemingly starting after it has ended. 

There's very few flowers in bloom at work, with bristly ox tongue being the main food plant for pollinators at work. 

It is berry and seed season, and now the goldfinches are flocking again, ransacking the teasel heads and making a heck of a racket while they are at it. 

I'm enjoying whatever colour is left.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 03.09.23

Friday, 25 August 2023

There was Quality in there Somewhere

 On Sunday, it was time for our return visit by our friends from Cropwell. For once, through no fault of my own, I was late for the game, and batting first we were already 88 for 1, with our opening bat just cracking a four to bring up his 50 and his enforced retirement as I arrived. 

We carried on batting rather serenely at about five runs an over, until with about 8 overs to go our other bat, now on over 200 runs in three games, also reached 50 and had to retire. 

This led to a passage of cricket that was, shall we say, a challenging watch. As ever, the problems of scoring runs against slow lob bowling on a slow wicket on our deck became very apparently, and there wasn't a lot of quality on view, with some ferocious swinging of the bat resulting in minimal ball movement. 

Hey, it's Sunday, it doesn't matter! All good. We still had 152 for 4 on the board.

However, we know Cropwell. Every time we have played them, their opening bat has always come in and slammed 50 very quickly before retiring for a beer, and ensuring Cropwell got the runs they needed. This time, however, our young opening bowler got him quite early on, and it was in fact his partner who started slamming the ball around, hitting one bowler over the pavilion twice. 

Their run rate was climbing rapidly. The skipper, desperate not to lose again, decided to deploy some first team bowling, including the division's leading wicket taker. This is generally regarded as being a bit "Un-Sunday-Like" and the Cropwell captain, himself a good bat as well, thought we were being a bit naughty, especially as the quick bowler seemed to be about twenty miles per hour for the Cropwell bats to even see. 

I did apologise, as they took four wickets between them in eight overs and killed the game stone dead, as Cropwell's remaining batters were clearly not up to much. Thankfully, friendlier bowlers were brought on for the the last 12 overs as we chipped away at the remaining wickets. 

I bowled some gentle filth myself, claiming another wicket with my speared in quicker ball, even if it was a full toss. 

There was time for a bit of peak village at the end, where our umpire allowed my last over, the final one of the game, to go on for about ten balls so the playing wife of one of the Cropwell players could score a run. 

She got one, from a ball I bowled at her left handed. Yes, it got to that level. We won by about 50 runs. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 25.08.23

Friday, 18 August 2023

Rudbeckia and Echinacea Time

 Late summer and these two flower species are getting all the love from the pollinators, who pay a visit and end up thickly dusted in yellow pollen!

The last swifts have left my skies a couple of days ago, but we still have swallows and house martins. It is the time of the year when they find the cricket grounds I play on particularly attractive as an insect hunting ground. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 18.08.23

Thursday, 10 August 2023

A Day of Days - not by me of Course

 Sunday saw us taking on a strong young Attenborough side, a rather stronger one in fact that the one we beat earlier in the season. We batted first under generally grey skies, with me umpiring, and within about ten minutes we were 1 for 3 on a pitch that our groundstaff had done brilliantly to get in any way playable at all after the weather we'd had, but was still rather tricky. 

Our first team opener was brilliantly yorked, our other opener  tried to pull a ball that bounced and stopped completely and hit the back of his bat, while our number four could only fend off a ball that was suddenly up by his shoulder. 

Enter our number three, who had usually opened this year and had struggled for runs. Our number 5 was also in good form, and somehow they managed to build a massive partnership of over 100, scoring runs when they could while avoiding the nasty balls brilliantly. 

I forgot to say, I was captain on the day, our regular skipper stepping down generously to allow a younger player a game on a weekend where all Saturday cricket was washed out. 

Eventually the partnership was broken with about 120 on the board, and the lower middle order struggled once again. But not our number 3, who had long since got past 50 and was into the 90s with 8 down. 

As number 11, frankly I was rather crapping myself hoping I didn't need to see him through to his 100. I knew I wasn't going to last any time at all on that wicket against decent bowling. 

Sadly, finally he got a ball with his name on it that stopped on him, and he could only chip it to mid wicket. He was on 94. I was gutted for him after a brilliant innings. 

So, now was the usual farce of me having to bat, and it lasted three balls. The first one spat from a length and jagged away, the second one spat and cut me in half, and the third bounced up and his the bat I was trying to get out of the way, and bobbed up to mid on.

Surprised it made it that far, actually. But as ever, it left me wondering what on earth I was doing out there. 

Closing on 172 all out, I then had the job of trying to win us the game, when tactically I don't really know what I'm doing as well as I'd like. But our opening bowler did the job for me early doors, taking two quick wickets before being confronted with a young batsman about the height of the stumps, who he didn't feel comfortable bowling at. 

So I turned to the chairman, knowing as ever he would bowl well, without ever having to go to nets. Meanwhile myself, who has come to nets every week and had been bowling well at senior batsmen. However, as against Cropwell, when I brought myself on I couldn't find a length and was battered absolutely senseless, going for 27 in my first over and feeling just utterly bereft. 

I had my revenge next over, when I actually got my tormentor caught with my quicker ball which I always land where I want for god knows what reason. 8 wickets for the Sunday season now. 

After these two overs I took myself off. 

We had them four down, then five down, but another young county player came on, and went on to score 50, with my captaincy unable to stop him. It was Attenborough's turn to put on a big stand and get ever nearer our total. At least I was managing our bowers ok, despite being hamstrung by my uselessness and, er, another bowler's hamstring. 

Things were getting tight, but our number 3 suddenly flung himself high to his left to make a one handed grab off our opening bowler to remove the lad on 54. I was astonished, and rather envious having fielded with hopeless clumsiness as ever. 

Game back on!

Another amazing catch by another of our young players then followed. 9 down, with about 10 needed! But a four was hit, then another. I was probably not being defensive enough to be honest, but as captain I'm always loath to have too many guys out on the boundary for some reason. I want to take wickets!

A couple of balls left. Scores level. But our tall bowler pulled off a low catch, and it was 172 all. Match tied!

A brilliant game of cricket, but I felt terrible afterwards. I've no idea what happens to my bowling, and it's left me feeling rather despondent. But I guess there is always the hope that something will click. 

Always that hope. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 11.08.23