Wednesday 30 November 2016

The Lights go on, the Temperatures go Down

Newark's Christmas lights went on on Sunday; I was just on a pretty decent long run, 10.5km in when I turned into town to see what was going on, and found myself running into a solid jam of people packing out the market place listening to One Direction cover acts on the stage, while hogs were roasted, porks were pulled, and funny spinny lighty-up things were sold to excited children.

I've never seen the town so busy for such an event, and although this was pleasing indeed, it wasn't my scene at all. A lot of tat and fairground rides, and far far too many people. But hey it gives me colour to show you! And that can't be bad.

Since then, the temperature has been dropping until the last two nights it hit about -6 and -7, which has made my morning cycles to work utter agony; I have Raynaud's syndrome and my left hand in particular has been telling me how cold it has been by means of the scale of agony.

"Bullshit was that -1" I announced yesterday, referring to the weather forecast, and my left hand was right.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.11.16

Tuesday 29 November 2016

The Bender in the Wood

Very long term readers may recall me writing about a guy who was camping out in the copse that lay near the British Gypsum site at the edge of town off the cycle path; he had a dome tent, a fire, a sort of lean-to comprised of sticks and a campfire.

What he also had were trees festooned with empty cans of Lech and Tyskie, the Polish beers of choice. The police moved him on in the end.

Well I was running along the cycle path, as you saw, on Sunday, an came across evidence of another impromptu living arragement about 50 metres along from the original encampment. There was a ground sheet, a bit more evidence of fires, various bits of kitchen stuff fly tipped around, and this time the trees were bearing Stella Artois fruit, indicating a different nationality of inhabitant.

The centrepiece was a so called bender, an impromptu shelter made out of black plastic sheeting with a couple of plastic chairs sat underneath it. I didn't at all look a comfortable place to live by any stretch of the imagination, heaven knows what drives folk to live out here.

It is commonplace in cities, where EU workers finding themselves out of work choose to live rough, but you wouldn't expect it here.

There's plenty of work too.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 29.11.16

Sunday 27 November 2016

Some Sights by Dusk

I have chosen to have two twilight runs in the past couple of days, by choice obviously, and not just because I just couldn't get my shit together in time to get out there running before the sun began to set.

Today was better than yesterday, in that regard. I ran 8km yesterday, on a very grey evening where there was no sunset to be seen, while today the sky was clearer and lighter and I did a very satisfying 11.5km.

In either event, they were both extremely nice runs, in cool but not cold conditions. THere hasn't been a whole lot to see nature wise, no winter ducks or thrushes around, but highland calves, and a lovely view of sugar beet harvesting were.



All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 27.11.16

Saturday 26 November 2016

Astronomy Funs

I really have neglected my astronomy this year, I keep saying that I know, but I've been so tired and my eyes so wobbly that late night observing sessions have really not happened.

So, recently, I've been trying to get a few more in, post midnight, in the quiet time that I love, hiding from the streetlights up my dark drive, taking in what beauty I can in the diamond pin cushion over my head.

At the moment, it is all about the winter constellations, with Orion standing shield and club raised athwart the southern sky. I took in his nebula in all its green glowing glory in my 10x50s, before taking in the star fields to his left and above his shoulder, the milky way constellation of Monoceros, the celestial unicorn.

Sadly there was a little bit of haze around, so I wasn't getting super amazing views. But they were good enough. The beehive cluster in Cancer as ever looked really good in binoculars...the seven sisters were a display from a jewellery shop.

Above my head, Perseus wielded the head of Medusa, and Kemble's Cascade tumbled down the borders of Cassiopeia.

The silence was wonderful. The freexing cold less so.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 26.11.16

Wednesday 23 November 2016

Cod Philosophy By Night

No nature hunting, as I'm now in the time of winter when it is dark both as I leave for work, and when I get home.

But I do get to see other things, walking along, sticking my curious head into various nooks, crannies, allies and follies.

Like this ping pong table, a reinforced structure that sits sadly unused outside a bar I frequent, where by some miracle it hasn't been turned into a giant ashtray. It never gets ping-ponged upon, even in summer. But in winter, with a thin rime of damp and frost upon it, it became an irresistible magnet for crap philosophy, for writing things upon it that look really good when you instagram them.

My magic finger wrote, I felt smugly artistic.

For a very short time inded.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.11.16

Monday 21 November 2016

I Tweak the Tail of Rain

So, as soon as I woke this morning, it only took but a second to look out the window and see the rain absolutely blattering down on the driveway, splashing up from the puddles already formed overnight.

Sometimes you get woodpigeons having a good old rave up in these pop up birdbaths, but not today.

Well, I thought this was a good opportunity to defy the weather and get out in my neon kag and Decathlon waterproof trousers, and so I did, loving the feeling of being out and about and relatively dry.

Sadly my gloves and shoes weren't up to this as well as the rest of my gear. But hey, the rain wasn't so bad. At this point.

So, I had a turn around Sconce Park, watching a heron stealthily make its way along the marshy edge of a flooding Devon Pasture, presumably on the look out for frogs. Blue tits were scrapping in the trees of the old oak woods, easier to see now the leaves have fallen, and a mute swan decided to flap its tail from side to side as if irritated by the rain.

Later on, unable to run in the bad weather, I went out walking, and the rain really pelted down. It was black dark by 2pm, but at least it was exercise, of a sort.

My feet squelched in the water filling my shoes. Note to self, get waterproof ones some day.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.11.16

Sunday 20 November 2016

Market Day

I have been out today, but it was so grey and dark I could barely see anything! I did my 20km on the bike on my Cotham-Thrope type route, and was pleased to see my first redwing and fieldfare of the year out on the Sustrans 64 pathway, but you could barely see them against the sky and so photography was pointless.

Likewise the peregrine - or perhaps more likely a sparrowhak - I came across sat on a telegraph pole on a farm.

I'm keeping my eyes open for whooper and bewick swans in the fields now, as they are being reported in the area, hiding in feeding flocks of mute swans. But I didn't see any today.

What I did see were a fair few of my fellow cyclists, enjoying the chill weather as I was.

So, in the event with no worthwhile shots taken today, I shall show you what a full market day in Newark looks like. The market is reputedly struggling, but it still has stalls 5 days out of 7. SAturday is the big one, and as you can see it is the premier spot to buy mutilated animal remains for your dogs, eggs, endless bloody vaping shit, bird feeders, hippyish clothes, and er, ladders.

I've never seen a ladder stall on any market before, and I had no conception that this was a thing. Some of the ladders were very tall, and confusingly you could buy strange rocking bird feeder platforms at the same stall.

I wasn't tempted.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 20.11.16

Saturday 19 November 2016

The Walk that Became a Run

Lazy start today, very tired as ever when I finish my shift, especially when there was a lot of Children in Need running around going on - but at least the Radio Controlled Car racing I helped organising was awesome, despite not raising mega money.

So yep, my big long run was immediately cancelled as soon as I woke up too late, which seemed irrelevant in any case as I had the knitting needle pain of sciatica in the right side of my lower back, with the needles and pins down my right leg.


So, after a nice morning doing some economic and sensible shopping for a change, I went home fully intending to have a walk and a sketch when I went out; indeed I dressed sensibly and headed out to mooch over the Grange Road fields, and perhaps do a distant sketch of Hawton Church across the fields. But as I started walking, I found this to be far too slow, and started to jog a little way before walking again, running, then walking, then running all the time.

My first stop was to have a chat with this friendly, if yowly, three legged cat.

Could do with losing a little weight, this kitty was rather struggling a leg down!

So, leaving the cat behind, I crossed the fields behind Grange Road, and eventually came to the bench on which I was going to sit and sketch this view.

But I then realised by the time I was done, it would be dark, so postponed the high art for another day, and headed on, until I reached Sconce Park. I'd heard a chain-saw artist had been at work there, and found the charming fruit of his labours the moment I went in.

Isn't it great! It's going to be a bench, although I would advise against sitting on that hedgehog.

Only a kilometre to go until I reached Rumbles, and decided to have a cup of tea, enjoying sitting outside in the chill.

Bigger adventures tomorrow I hope!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.11.16