...if not on a personal level.
Today we were at Kelham Road again, on a warm but rather cloudier day than yesterday. We batted first again, giving me plenty of time to explore. Having covered the ground itself yesterday, I decided to venture further afield today, haring off into the fields around the ground, where small skippers and meadow browns were fluttering up from the red clover, birds foot trefoil and other low level flora.
Pity the rumbling traffic of the Newark bypass ruined the tranquility of the scene, but then I suppose it is hard to have Laurie Lee type rustic idylls in the UK of 2016.
I then found a country lane protected by a broken gate I could step over. Another part of town I've never set foot on before, even after 35 years in this town I can still find them! It led to an empty field, a pasture with no crops growing. As I turned around, a shrew streaked across the ground in front of me, and a meadow brown patrolled its patch its thistles.
Meanwhile we were getting off to a good start, a start that turned into a good middle and a fantastic finish. 201 for 8 off 40 overs, including a brilliant 80 not out from one of our first team players. I was busy being shown frogs by an ex teacher of mine. I wasn't required to bat, I just strapped my pads on and thankfully I wasn't needed. I'd have been given out lbw even if the ball hit me on the head the way things are going for me.
Then into the field, and we went at it brilliantly despite wrongly booting out their opening batsman for hitting the ball twice. Ouch. Luckily it didn't really matter in the end. Even I fielded like a demon early on, swooping on the ball and being referred to as a "gazelle".
As it turned out, I did indeed have hooves instead of hands, as later on the ball started slipping through them seemingly every time it came, and I then fell over while attempting to field another ball. Luckily I was able to try and divert my colleagues' attention away from this by pointing out two wildly piping oystercatchers fighting in the air as they flew over the ground.
But my head had gone, and when called upon to bowl I was terrible, my run up gone to pieces having been perfect in the morning nets. I wished the batting crease could have swallowed me up.
Luckily everyone else was superb, and closed out a 70 run victory on a match played with great humour in the field. My first victory for over a year. Thank god.
All text images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.07.16