Thursday 30 July 2015

Newark's Pagan Temple

This former chapel, built in 1556 and standing close to the modern day Newark and Sherwood College, is a building that has always intrigued me.

To be frank I've always wanted to live in it. It's a simple, one roomed building of stone, with a raised sort of altar at one end. I always thought that you could get a bathroom and kitchenette put in it, and then create a mezzanine affair to act as a bedroom, it would be a fabulous and convenient place to live, notwithstanding the ghastly rough pub not too far away. A very artistic sort of place to get some writing done in.

But now, it has been court, and converted into an "Odinist Temple" for local followers of a Viking - Pagan cult based on nature. More information can be found here!

Odinist Temple

I think it's a fantastic building, different as can be from the town's Masonic Lodge. The stipples on the stonework are a connection to men of a different age entirely.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.07.15

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Buddleia Living

Today had one of my better, less painful runs that I've had in a while. Felt like I was going really well, trainers made of a bouncy substance moulded by the Gods in Olympus, until I looked at my GPS app and found that I'm still not able to do sub 6 minute kilometres, when I can do under 5 on a 10 km run when I'm in best shape.

Which to be fair, is still hardly world, country, county or even street beating. 

Ah never mind, just enjoy it!

So, I headed today for what I always refer to as "The Butterfly Park" on Beacon Hill Reserve. It's a brownfield bit of land that has been colonised by huge clumps of buddleia, and on nice days acts as a magnet for many species of butterfly, especially peacocks. But after a promising burst of sunshine in the afternoon, the clouds came over again, and the butterflies decided to stay in bed.

Luckily there were a few interesting bees to capture, and some hoverflies too. I've managed to find a way of sorting out the autofocus issues on my mobile phone, so hopefully photos will be clearer now. They couldn't be any worse, after all.

After the slight butterfly let down, I carried on my run down to the river, and was treated to the sight of two common terns seemingly having a slight aerial scrap. As well as being much smaller than gulls, their call is very different too. It's a rather plaintive and quavering cry, a sort of mewling sound like a souped up mega-swallow.

A very pretty end to my run!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.07.15

Just bumming around

Thistle restaurant

Bee mimicking fly I think

Upside down

On opposite sides of the globe

I've never known what this is!

Inside the butterfly park

Another view

Monday 27 July 2015

My Flitting Friend the Goldcrest

I was having a walk into town to buy the sort of necessities you never want to be seen with - toilet paper, bleach, a copy of the Daily Mail hidden inside an adult magazine - when my happily attuned eyes noticed a rustling in one of the holly trees in the front of what I still call Lilley and Stone School.

It has some ghastly new "academy" type name now.

Closer inspection revealed a very tatty looking little goldcrest at work on the twigs, never stopping in one place for long, and emitting a little "Eeeeep" whenever it took off again. Occasionally it missed its landing and would hover like a humming bird for a moment, before finding its landing site.

The remarkable thing about the encounter was the bird's complete lack of fear of me. I was astonished when the bird came up to a metre away, my feeling when it settled on a twig 30 centimetres from my face could not be repeated in a public place.

I was certainly all the "Es" myself; entranced, enchanted, and enthralled.

At close range I could see that its beak was stuffed full of spiders and insects, and I'm presuming this worn out looking bird was still looking after nestlings somewhere.

Eventually the goldcrest, striped crown blazing among the shaded leaves left the tree, landed directly between my feet, and then made off to another tree out of my sight. But once again I had had an encounter with nature 5 metres off Newark's busiest road, that few people would have even noticed, but most would have loved.

If only they kept their eyes open more.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.07.15

Sunday 26 July 2015

The Cheeky Owls of Kilton

Back again! No introduction necessary to regular readers, and it would seem no major new additions to the collection. But I just love being able to get close to the huge radar face of the northern great grey owl!

And everybody loves the little scopps owl.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 27.07.15

Harris hawk

Unco-operative eagle owl

The stunning great grey owl

Tawny owl

Sweet little scopps owl

Saturday 25 July 2015

Kelham Hill Adventure

With my cricket team not even able to raise a full side today, despite the riduculously low talent requirements, I found myself with a free saturday afternoon and decided to burn off more calories than a day trundling around a cricket pitch would do.

I've been planning a tram up the hill at the back of Kelham Village for a while, and finding online a couple of Kelham circular walks utilising parts of the TRent Valley Way gave me inspiration for a 7 mile route to follow.

After I'd already run a couple of miles to Kelham.

As it happened, the route proved impossible for me to complete for a couple of reasons; firstly, the fact that some parts are too overgrown to be passable, and secondly, I'm navigationally useless. But I still had an enjoyable trip out, up steeps hills, past remote farms, and photographing bees, butterflies, and the view from about the highest part of this chunk of Nottinghamshire.

In the end I ran 17km, rather less than I was expecting to, but still a good run nonetheless, and hopefully when I get an OS map, I'll be able to do the route properly!


A nice busy bee to start

Path through a barley field

Ran on part of this route

Oil seed rape after the flowers have gone

Bohemian cuckoo perhaps, on rosebay willow herb


Followed this ringlet for ages to get this shot

Viking ship at Cold Harbour Farm

View to the power station

Now across to the sugar factory

Windy miller

Friday 24 July 2015

A Newark Poppy Compendium

The day is so grey today, and it is probably as rotten for you as it is for me.

Therefore, let me bring a bit of colour by remembering our poppy storm, now sadly over; the fields have returned to their normal grey green state. But this beautiful scarlet ocean will not be easily forgotten by anyone who was fortunate enough to see it.

Here is every photograph I took of them.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.07.15 

Wednesday 22 July 2015

The Suicidal Slug

Was having a sneaky pint the other night, when I noticed this fellow making his way across the slightly stereotypical beer barrel table in order to have a bit of a feast.

Now I'm no gardener, but I'd always assumed that slugs and salt don't really go together; indeed, sprinkle salt on a slug, and a rather nasty sounding process called "exosmosis" causes water to be leached out of the unsuspecting invertebrate and cause it to die a rather painful death.

So why this specimen was carrying out the slimily-trailed version of a trip to Dignitas by getting stuck into some salted peanuts. What was it up to? Life in a pub beer garden gotten too much for it? Lost all its life savings to a fake African slug Prince? Made redundant from the local lettuce eating business?

We shall never know.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 22.07.15