Monday 31 October 2016

Window Vignette

Wood pigeons were feeding happily away on the rich crop of berries on my holly tree. I do sometimes get redwings and fieldfare visiting, but only if the weather is cold and snowy enough to drive the birds into town.

I realised there was a cat watching them from the Polish garden long before they did! And as soon as they did, then FLAP! - they were gone.

I do hope I get some decent avian visitors before the pigeons scoff all the berries.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 31.10.16

Sunday 30 October 2016

A Little More Sketching

A horrendously dull drizzly day, on which not a lot of was done other than a trip to the Sconce to do some sketching.

As you can see, I got the proportions of the fortification rather wrong, but nothing will help other than lots of practice!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.10.16

Saturday 29 October 2016

It's Taken a While...

...but autumn is finally happening. All of a sudden, leaves are all over the ground and the colour is now starting to change.

The projected frosts next week should finish this job.

It certainly looked rather pretty when I was out running today, past the London Road pond where there are now two shoveller drakes circling around, beaks down in the water, then up the Clay Lane hill where even on the dull dull day we had today, I still loved the views out over Balderton and past Claypole.

A kestrel was on the hunt at this point, taking a long time to find the ideal spot for a hover, about halfway up.

The berry laden trees in the Reserve nursery have now turned a beautiful rose gold, berries ready for any passing bullfinch to eat, or runner to photograph.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 29.10.16

Thursday 27 October 2016

More Walking for Wellness

I posted this one last week, a walk for wellness around Sconce Park. I do love being able to write this sort of thing at work.

Monday 24 October 2016

Twilight Time

Got a good 10km run in this evening, out to Hawton Vilage as the sun set mainly unseen behind thick grey cloud, my neon yellow arms must have stood out like beacons as I ran through the field at the back of Grange Road.

LAte season flowers are out, lots of astors in folks' gardens, and i that Grange Road field, a lot of some species or other that came in both yellow and white flavours. I kept going on, scaring up little birds that just became dark brown shapes in the fading light, before emerging from the fields in Hawton, and a lovely encounter with a barn owl as it flew low over the field next to the River Devon where it flows through the village.

Came back into town through Sconce Park, which was full of people out dog walking into the darkness. Being a runner I am always wary of off the lead dogs, as there are many local twerps who insist their darling staffy should be allowed to be off the lead everywhere, but luckily these were all good dogs.

I ran along the river, enjoying the lights reflecting on the water as always, but also seeing bats flitting about underneath the bridge! Late in the year for them, but if the nights aren't too cold, well, they will be about apparently.

I'd forgotten the joy of a twilight run.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.10.16

Sunday 23 October 2016

Sketching in the Wild

So, today was the day I decided to have a crack with the pencils and sketchpad I bought for my birthday, and took myself off into the wilds to draw at North Muskham Lake.

OK, it's not really terribly wild at all, but I cycled there the long way round through Little Carlton and Bathley, before riding past all the Sunday horse riders across to the village itself. I was a bit overdressed on the bright day, and enjoyed getting shed of my jacket and gloves when I arrived at the lake.

Resisting the temptation to do any cliche holding pencils up to my eye routines, I set up on the little boardwalk in the reedbed at one corner of the lake - if I say they were reeds (and horsetails too) now you won't have to struggle to identify them from the drawing.

I can't draw at all, although with my shaky hands, I draw better than I paint. Clumsy clumsy clumsy. I thought the best thing was to go at at quick like an impressionistic sketch, like the lady in the 70s Flake advert.

This also meant I didn't have to make much of an effort with the trees and water, which I also find impossible.

I sent the results to my sister, who did however say they were acceptable and as a proper artisdt,  she'd know.

That's the only reason you are seeing it now!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.10.16

Saturday 22 October 2016

A Shoveller amid the Toadstooling

After a slightly lazy morning where I overslept Parkrun and then went to the park where nice policemen gave me a new D-Lock for my bike and painted a postcode on the bottom bracket, I went out for a run this afternoon to hunt some toadstools.

I've seen so many colourful pictures of toadstool on Instagram, I figured it was a good time to head into the woods in Beacon Hill Reserve and see what I could find. Never mind cutting out the dead wood, I was actively seeking it.

But while on the initial runout down the cycle track, my eye was caught through the reeds by flashes of unfamiliar looking waterfowl out on London Road Pond. I went through a gap onto the bank to take a look, and there out on the water was a shoveller drake, swimming furiously around in tight circles with its head under the water.

Apparently this is how they feed in large groups to disturb prey items.

I've never seen one at close range, and certainly it's a bird I've never spotted out on this water before, so although a relatively common bird I was still pretty excited to see it. Did I have my good camera on me? No, of course not. Really annoying!

So, up the hill and onto the reserve, and a trip under the trees to see what was about. And the answer, in a fungal sense, was nothing exciting. A few king alfred's cakes, a few slimes of some description, and some plain white bracket fungi. No fly agarics or scarlet elf cups for me!

Still, I needed the 9km run, but laziness meant I didn't have time to deploy my new pencils and sketch pad on anything. The world will have to wait for my artistic talents a little longer.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 22.10.16

Thursday 20 October 2016

The Wagtails have Returned

I don't know whether it's because of the time of the year, or whether it is because my work schedules have now synced up so that when I live it is just past sunset, but suddenly, after wondering where they have been this autumn, I've gone through the big glass door that brings me back into the outside world, and there they are.

A flock of well over 100 pied wagtails, skittering about in the air above the car park and the great metal building I live in, their characteristic undulating flight marked with a flutey "phee-weeep" call as they reach the top of the arc unmistakable even without a close view of the birds.

We have a big communal roost in some trees on our campus, and that is where they keep warm and safe in the colder months. I've seen such roosts in some strange places; the line of illuminated trees outside The Bell pub in Nottingham is a great spot to find them, their little bodies lit up by the coloured bulbs.

But our roost is my favourite one.

The flight and sounds are exactly the same as this...

You keep warm too!


All text copyright CreamCrackeredNature 20.10.16

Monday 17 October 2016

Another Walk for Wellness I Put Together

I seem to be making a regular Friday feature of these; I will have to do more and more walks to generate more copy!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 17.10.16

Sunday 16 October 2016

Raintime Funs

I awoke this morning to grey skies and puddles on the driveway being battered by further rain.

Oh dear, not a great start. But, as you know, I love being out in the rain, and I quickly got my fetish kag on and my equally unsexy green hiking trousers, and headed out into the wild weather.

I regretted it pretty quickly, I mean I enjoy being out in the rain, but not super heavy, penetrate all clothing and leave you soaking type rain. Not until I get some waterproof trousers to go with the kag. But I resolved to trot on, enjoying burning a little energy when not many other folk were brave enough to be out, and ope that my legs didn't get too wet.

As it happened, the rain had eased a little by the time I got to the park, and having had an enjoyable trot around along by the river and through the old wood, and amused myself watching some bedraggled football activity, I had a cup of tea while watching a sharply defined line of blue sky approaching from the south; the weather front was passing over.

By time I'd finished my tea, the sun was out and the dog walkers and child wranglers had made their way back outside.

After such an aqueous morning, the afternoon was a bright, warm delight so I headed out to run a gentle 10km, rather stiff after yesterday's Parkrun thrash. Bare legged, I ran round the two lakes, and enjoyed another cup of tea at the park!

Ooh, living it!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 16.10.16