Monday 29 February 2016

Dreams of Adventure

Not last night, but the night before, I had a dream expressing all my subconscious desires.

I found myself on an island that seemed to be calling itself "Arran" despite the fact it was much too small - I visited there when I was a child and can vouch for the fact it can't be walked around in a morning. I have no idea how I got there, or what I was doing there - the movie "Inception" tells us that is always the case with dreams - but when I got there, I found I had two tasks.

The first, was to work in some kind of relief capacity at a Doctor's surgery, where for some reason everyone had to wear barrier medicine gear and so found myself doing admin work on a computer while wearing gloves and a hygiene hat thing.

That was the boring bit. My job the next day, despite the fact I at no point went home to bed or anything like that, was some kind of patrol. I was to wonder the coast, half in the morning, half in the evening, and record the state of all historic buildings I encountered. I had to check in at the life boat station at some point, to show that I was doing my job properly.

My sister joined me at some point, and we cheerfully wandered the beach, before finding a listed brutalist public lavatory of a scale so large it incorporated a casino. Later I came to the village of "Levar Burton" - the actor who played Geordi Le Forge in Start Trek the Next Generation! - inspected a ruined castle several hundred metres high one wall of which had collapsed and was leaning on another one.

Some friends of mine were in a pub having a meal. I went to talk to them, and then rather sadly woke up. Never got to see the other side of the island.

What I was doing of course, was expressing a desire to escape, and have an adventure, do something I haven't got round to doing yet. In April, when I have some time off, I have a crazy plan to just grab a tent and some walking shoes, and head off literally from my front door. I might head West, for Derbyshire, or perhaps South, for the Vale of Belvoir. The idea is to see how far I can get in 5 days, then get a bus home.

I shall have a clockwork radio, a clockwork lamp, and an e-reader. I wonder if I will be brave enough to do it. If I do, hopefully, I won't have to rely on a shelter like this one, that I found next to the River Devon in Sconce Park yesterday.

Ray Mears has been about, evidently.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 29.02.16

Sunday 28 February 2016

We have Reached Peak Crocus

I've had a busy day today, I can tell you.

After a lazy, blank sort of day yesterday, I started off today - after waking up from a long and wonderful dream about surveying buildings on a Scottish island - with a 7km walk, enjoying the flowers in the cemetery, and then walking across the Grange Road fields, taking in the periwinkles before having a well earned cup of tea at where else but Rumbles cafe.

The afternoon found me out on my old bicycle, chugging along on the Cotham-Thorpe route, seeing if I could find that cattle egret again on the dyke near Thorpe village. It wasn't, but there were plenty of buzzards about, all of them desperately looking for thermals to soar on, and finding none despite it being a lovely bright day.

One individual though about posing for me on an electricity pylon, but flew off as soon as he heard my camera turn on, I swear.

The cemetery is now carpeted on purple and white crocuses, which are now at their peak there. It feels that the cold snap has slowed spring down a little but, but everything still seems to be rather early. Nettles and red dead nettles are now in flower, and I noticed the trees had a strange red budding going on towards the bottom of their trunks.

A lot of colour around today, and I feel refreshed for having been out in it.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.02.16

Friday 26 February 2016

Steampunk Funs!

Last night was the monthly meeting of the town Steampunk Association, of which I am a founder member despite not really having much of the clobber because money. And lack of making things abilities.

The group has been going strong for just over a year now, being recognised as a strong and creative unit on the (yikes) "scene" and our social events are always well attended. Last night, visitors from the Lincoln group, the spiritual home of Steampunk, came over and told us of Parasol Duelling, and other esoteric things. And Mr Frisby told us of the joys of bone playing.

I so need a pair of goggles to put round my hat!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 26.02.16

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Disaster in the Garden

I was just putting away my bicycle last night, when I noticed that something about my garden just wasn't looking right. Being dark, I couldn't immediately figure it out, until I was standing in the doorway.

My buddleia had been hacked down.

This is the tall, lovely buddleia that my sparrows sat in a chirped outside my window while using it for feeding and nesting material, that a seven spot ladybird was hibernating in, that butterflies and bees visit in summer, and one day a glorious migrant hawker sat on the purple flowers like the lord of all.

And now it's gone, chopped down presumably by my Polish neighbours for reasons of overhanging their garden, or blocking their sun. It would have been as well, alas, but they could have asked me!

They've been there over a year now, we've never had a problem, and we've always been friendly. Maybe their landlord told them they could. I don't know.

They dumped the remains between their garage and my shed.

My mum and sister have reassured me that it will grow back quickly, with renewed vigour, but still! Where are my cheery little spuggies going to perch on their way up to their nests? I'm not going to be able to watch them in the morning any more.

All for a bit of bloody sun.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.02.16

Tuesday 23 February 2016

I Didn't have a Leg to Stand on

So yes, as you have been able to tell by my writings from the last few days, I've done myself yet another physical mischief.

As opposed to the regular calf or back twinges, I've managed to do something far more exotic to myself.

You probably can't see from the picture, but the outside of my leg from just below my knee down my shin, is rather swollen and red, and very sensitive to the touch. When it wasn't being fiddled with, the ache was continuous, and occasionally very sharply painful.

A bit of research indicated that it was an issue where the top of my admittedly rather nobbly fibula ends just below the kneecap, and was probably something to do with a strip of ligament called "The IO Band" irritating the peroneal nerve that runs along the outside of the leg. I've either done this running, walking, or cycling, which really narrows it down.

There's various youtube videos showing how you can ease the injury by performing a sort of double handed pull centred around the back of the fibula; I did manage to do this once without falling over.

The pain has eased today somewhat, but it is still tender, and I'm left wondering how gentle I'm going to have to be with Mr Knee, and for how long.

My beloved Oliver Sacks had to go through this when he busted his leg skiing. He managed to get a whole book on neurological function out of it, called "A Leg to Stand On". I very much doubt anyone is going to want to read a book about my leg, let alone one that has pictures of the wretched thing in it.

I have a lot of adventuring to do. I hope my leg won't stop me.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.02.16

Monday 22 February 2016

Naughty Swans and Irridescent Ducks

I'm still nursing my leg, my swollen, red, painful leg; my fibula-compromised leg, my IO-Band damaged leg, my old, glue factory ready leg.

Luckily I've stil been able to walk the last few days, if well dosed with Iburprofen, and it was on a walk along the River Devon in Sconce Park that I was able to make the acquaintance of a few birds.

The swans were, as ever, over tame and over privileged, expecting handfuls of food from every passing visitor and harassing those that were empty handed. The two mutes that found me offering only photo-opps rather than baked goods were full of hisses and grunts, wings raised in the threat gesture apparently known as "busking".

One of them was so annoyed, it started biting the metal rail of the platform I was snapping from, as if it was hoping to tear it down and drag me into the water.

Amidst all the cygnular aggression, various mallards cruised rather more peacefully along the river, although one of the friskier drakes was giving it a fair bit of quack and was trying to nip the tail of a passing duck.

The mallard drakes are probably at the peak of their condition at the moment; beautiful plumage, and their heads boiling with glittering irridescence in the sun. At last I had light to try and take some decent photographs, and I hope I succeeded in capturing at least a little of the birds in this glorious state.

And if I didn't, at least I wasn't killed by a swan.


Saturday 20 February 2016

Birding at Newfield Dairy

I've never made it out to Newfield Ice Cream parlour before, but after my parents told me about the incredible array of birds they had visiting their feeders, I was all for getting my bike over there with my camera.

Alas either way of getting there on a bike - the A616 or A617 - are really horrible, dangerous roads to cycle on, and no amount of fiddling on google maps could find me a route that could avoid this. So, it was either not visit, or scud along a busy yet narrow road with 32 ton lorries brushing my shoulder as they go past.


So, when my folks suggested a trip over there today, I all but bit their hand off, which would have been unwise and not left much room for ice cream or cake.

When we arrived, they all piled into the cafe of course, leaving me to head towards the feeders with my bridge camera. Sadly, the people pointing loudly at the birds from nearby was scaring them all off into the trees behind the feeders, so having managed to snap a blue tit sitting on a twig, I headed in for an admittdly very nice piece of cake.

After I'd eaten and had my tea, I went back outside and hooray!; all the people were gone. This was, however, due to the fact that it was now lashing down with rain. I got a few shots, then hid in the car pointing my camera out the window like some kind of avian papparazzo.

As usual, I'm disappointed with the shots I got. The birds were plentiful, but the rain and light were so bad by now, I just didn't get the photographs I wanted. There was water on the lens, and I ended up with very soggy legs, not helping the swollen fibula I seem to have picked up one little bit.

One day I will get the light, and produce some decent shots. I promise.

Hen pheasant

Cock pheasant in full regalia

Sparrow has a nibble

Sparrow posing in the rain

Great tit

Having a look around

Coal tit

The coal tit visits were so fleeting

Coal tit's behind

Blue tit on the peanuts

The blue tits were only interested in the peanut feeders

Having a breather

Blue tit and coal tit

Three up!

I'm sure it's around here somewhere

Classic pose