Wednesday 31 August 2016

Neither a Lad nor a Dad

I was very unhappy to miss my Saturday cricket game due to eruptive body sickness. But, feeling a bit better on Sunday morning, I broke my quarantine to answer an emergency call to turn up at a "Lads versus Dads" match that was being run down at our HQ.

It was already well underway by the time I got down there, and presuming that I was to be a dad, despite the fact that there is not fruit of my loins - at least that I know about - I was immediately told to pad up by a skipper seemingly surrounded by small white creatures about the height of the stumps, that on closer inspection turned out to be children.

We were getting thumped, as usual.

Barely getting a chance to get my cap on before I was required to bat, I resolved there and then to play a big innings. I was thus very suprised to be unmercifully booed as I gently paddled my first ball around the corner for 4.

"YOU BULLY!" came a cry. And that was from one of my team mates.

I resolved to be more gentle after that, apart from slogging my Sunday captain back over his head for a boundary. To be honest, I found that even 11 year old bowlers were a test for my batting, so I'm happy to take the 16 or so I made as my best score of the year. Even if my bat was bigger than they were.

As for bowling, I was allowed to bowl flat out as the two opening bats were first team players, and indeed, I had the aofrementioned Sunday skipper caught behind early on. But the others were much more resistant, and we went down in the last over.

Even bowling off two paces, I still bowled a wide. Dear lord.

Anyway, it was genuinely a lot of fun to play in, and we got hot dogs afterwards!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 31.08.16 psst I'm in them too

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Where did all the Butterflies Go?

It's been a frankly rubbish summer for most species of butterflies.

The spring flyers were ok; I remember seeing a decent number of brimstones early on, and there were far more orange tips this year than last. Holly blues have always been as chirpy this year as last, always fluttering past my window to my holly tree, but otherwise, terrible.

Peacocks have been scarce, red admirals likewise, the first flight of speckled woods very thin - although the second has done far better - and small tortoiseshells not very numerous. Common blues have been non-existent round here, I haven't seen one.

The very wet June and early July has obviously done for a lot of species. The only species that have done well have been the high summer grassland species - the meadow brown and the ringlet, and particularly the small skipper which was practically in clouds in the grasslands by where I work.

However, the warm sun of recent days has brought a few beautiful small tortoiseshells into view; possibly third flighters although I have no idea how. These specimens were watching the cricket with me yesterday, enjoying our much admired pavilion flowers.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.08.16

Monday 29 August 2016

Back from the Sick

Aploogies for the absence, but literally while on my bicycle ride to work on Friday I started to feel very ill, and in the end was sent home with some form of norovirus or other bug.

Heaven only knows how I managed the ride home, but I did, then had a really nasty day feeling terrible and my body doing terrible things. Luckily, it was only a 24 and a bit hour virus, and I was able to go into town for supplies by Saturday afternoon, but I was very annoyed at missing a game of cricket on Saturday.

Luckily I was able to masquerade as a father for the "Lads versus Dads" match the next day, which was a lot of fun, and today, I found myself doing a reconaissance of the route I've worked out for a charity cycle ride I'm arranging with work.

To be honest, I didn't feel up to it at all, but I needed to get it sorted out before the event.

So, I found myself out and about on a lovely day, making my way through the cricketing villages of South Notts - Car Colston, Flintham, Syerston etc - with all their churches, and village greens grazed by animals, and wildflower meadows.

The most bizarre sights, however, were at Screveton, a village I've never seen in my life, where cycling towards FLintham, I was suddenly confronted with a giant green statue of a woman doing something "farmy".

There seems to be a few of these in these fields, made of a substance akin to, butchers grass and a handy information board was in place to tell the visitor about them.

In virtually the same place, was a memorial for the crews of two aircraft that crashed into each other during World War 2. There were a lot of incidents around here, as a lot of airfields in the area were involved in training and heavy bomber conversions. This was one of the worst, however.

In the end, I did nearly 40km, and saw more village signposts than I ever have in my life.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.08.16

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Urban Sunset

I've been walking the last couple of nights, in nights that are arriving sooner and sooner despite the great heat in the air. It makes it pleasant to stroll in just shorts and a T-shirt, with the wind having dropped away from the bluster of the weekend.

The river is beautiful if now surrounded by footballers in the park. But it's still the cricket season!!!

Near to home is the locally famous - if for a lot of wrong reasons - Pokestop and mural of a nice fellow who is the town's hip hop performer. It's suddenly become utterly overgrown with buddleia and hairy willow herb, and now the bees buzz around in the obscurement of Mr Lyricist's face.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.08.16

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Young Willy Wagtails Everywhere

At work, in the park, in the markey square, along the streets.

Juvenile pied wagtails are everywhere at the moment.

I caught these birds down by the posh houses near the marina; fluttering and scrapping, tails bobbing, picking at the grass on the communal lawn. The pictures are a bit dark - fast shutter speed and 400ISO has made them a bit grainy; the birds were a ways off as well.

But it's a while since I snapped a bird, so, I'll take it!


Monday 22 August 2016

A Few Bumbles for 100,000 Views

I've now got through the 100,000 reads barrier, which may not seem a lot to some of my fellow bloggers here, but feels a lot to me, especially as once upon a time I thought I'd never get to that kind of number of views.

No money made out of blogging for me then!

So, after a very stiff and sore weekend of playing cricket, I've just managed to fit in very slow runs and a few walks, seeing what was about on a dull, mizzley day but with a strong, warm wind blowing. You can feel the heatwave building for later in the week.

Because the weather has been dull, not many butterflies about; they've not done well this year have they? But lots of bees of various species have been around on the various flowers I encounter, with common carder bumbles being very numerous.

The local urban farm on Clay Lane seems to be getting busier and busier; not sure what the deal is here, but there are more and more calves, horses, ponies and donkey / mules down there...quite the menagerie now.

Here's to the next 100,000 readers!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 22.08.16

Sunday 21 August 2016

The Joy of Farce

Today's cricket adventure took us out to Ellerslie, a rather more charming locale than yesterday's grim fight club at Stapleford as it was in West Bridgeford, near the Trent Bridge cricket ground.

The "Little Bounds" ground - cute name! - was a green oasis surrounded by large Victorian terraced housing, protected from having their windows smashed by a very large fence. It was also very small - even I could reach the keeper from the boundary with my feeble throws - and so a run fest was always on the cards.

Again we bowled first, and as with last Sunday, the skipper let me open up the bowling with his far more able than me brother, who was running in practically from the boundary. We both bowled a good first over, but then the gulf in ability opened up like a Grand Canyon on amyl nitrate - he carried on bowling well, while I lost my head a bit and got thrashed by a first team batsman who plays in division A of our league structure; I have played mainly in division J and frankly division Z would probably be too good for me.

Banished to the field, I then made a horrible, ground-please-swallow-me-up misfield and felt the familiar rising panic that I was indeed totally rubbish and an utter embarassment and should probably impale myself on a stump while pleading with the skipper for forgiveness.

Then the sound of steel drums and carnival music started up from the Victoria Embankment, the sun came out, and I resolved to stop being rubbish and get my head together. Cricket is supposed to be enjoyable, and I decided that even with my renowned mental fragility I would do so.

After that I was fine. I fielded well despite having so many muscle strains I feel like an enormous blood clot, and was able to enjoy watching our youngsters and older hands bring us back into the game against superior opposition, although my suggestion that one our less athletic players should get into the festival mood by putting on a head-dress and nipple tassles didn't go down so well.

I was even allowed to bowl again at the death, and this time did far better with the star batsman, by now 130 not out, unable to hit me into the Trent as he wanted to. I bowled straight and full, and all was well.

The real fund occured in the last over, when one of our "less heralded" players responded to suggestions that we should put fielders in the surrounding boroughs, got the big batter out, nearly had another one, then finally off the last ball a quick single resulted in our diving wicket keeper sending a batsman flying as he ran in, only for his partner to call for another single, realise all of a sudden that the guy at the other end was trapped under 13 stone of keeper, enabling us to run him out as he stood stranded at the wrong end.

We were still laughing as we ate our very hearty teas. Hot potato wedges for the win!

Sadly the carnival was too far away for me to explore when we went out to bat, but a sparrow-hawk flap flap glided over the ground in that characteristic fashion of theirs. WHen I say "we went out to bat" I mean of course our proper batsmen. I wandered off to see what I might see, ending up talking to an Ellerslie bowler who like me is interested in photography but rather than nature compiles books of photographs of graffiti from all over the place. I then explained the importance of our youth policy to another friendly chap, who no doubt understood that I was subtly making excuses for us losing.

All the while it was getting darker and darker as wickets fell, until as an echelon of geese flew overhead to roost, this number 11 batsman realised that I was going to need a searchlight to bat with, having already explained to various team-mates that the red marks on my bat were from killing moles rather than hitting the bat. Indeed when I did go out to bat, I asked the umpire for a headlamp, before making the usual dreadful shot and getting out second ball again, just before the rain started to fall that might have got us off with a draw.

So we lost, but it wasn't cataclysmic against a much stronger team, and I had a great day out there against a nice bunch of lads.

Last game of Sunday cricket this season. I shall miss it.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.08.16