Tuesday 28 November 2017

My first day with Tresspass Handwarmer

I picked up these a few months ago in the Tresspass in Newark that pretended to be closing down for 6 months before it, er, didn't. They cost £3.99 I think, and I'd been waiting for a really cold cycle to work to try them out.

You see, I supper from horrendously bad hands in cold weather - possibly Reynaud's Disease - and when they get cold on my handlebars the agony can be near unbearable. Wearing two pairs of gloves doesn't seem to help; indeed it may make it worse if circulation gets restricted. So the idea of trying these reusable hand warmers seemed like a godsend; no more purple agony hands when riding in the cold winter we seem to be heading for.

You fire them up by bending a metallic disc in the middle of a transluscent greenish gel. Immediately it begins to cloud over, and generate heat.

It is very warm, and not uncomfortable, and I was able to slip them into the palms of my gloves. However, they do make holding the handlebars a little bit awkward. They also struggle to get the heat out to my fingertips.

They also don't last quite long enough! My commute is about 15 minutes, and they seemed to last about half the trip. The left thumb was starting to get really sore by the time I arrived, but it at least put the agony off for a bit.

You recharge them by boiling them in hot water for 15 minutes until the gel clears. But I haven't tried that yet.

I will report back!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.11.17

Sunday 26 November 2017

Strange Skies and Squirrels

So, I've been out for a while again today, a 7km or so walk through my beloved Grange Road fields where flocks of chaffinch and goldfinch flitted along the hedgerows. It's interesting, you'd think the goldfinch would be more skittish, but it is the chaffies that take flight at even quite distant human approach, their white tail and wing bars flashing against the ploughed earth.

Meanwhile the goldies quite happily let you walk underneath the trees you are sitting in.

I've met two squirrels today, likewise one of which was ok with having its picture taken, and then a real furry little git in my garden who sat their munching ivy berries for ages with me watching just underneath, them ran off as soon as I (very slowly) lifted my phone up to take a shot.

Over on the park, where I had one of winter's great pleasures in watching a flock of long tailed tits working the blackthorn above me. There was also a game of woman's football happening, don't see that too often on the park.

In town, the Christmas lights went on today, I always like walking through, but never stay to watch. Even though you can buy Prosecco cocktails from a horsebox.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 26.11.17

Saturday 25 November 2017

Sun and Moon

Had a really tiring day at work yesterday, running around like a maniac sorting out Black Friday stuff for our staff. It really caught up with me; I just could not wake up this morning and ended up falling asleep in the bath.

Luckily with my head above water.

My time outside consisted of shopping, and getting my hair cut; really was rather untidy looking. And the Cadfael bald patch is rather too evident unless I keep it short. Oh well, I'm 6 foot 1 so if I stand up all the time people won't notice.

The moon in the sky is better than the moon on my head.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 25.11.17

Thursday 23 November 2017

More Neon Funs

I have a had a long day at work and a late finish organising charitable things, so I don't really have anything much to offer you, other than some more experiments in tablet scrawling.

I think it's entirely appropriate that I should be using an app designed for children.

I've been doing a lot of work on an exercise bike to rest my tendonitis - now I have a sore knee instead. Seeing as my new phone helpfully tells me how many steps I'm doing, I've been researching into how many I ought to be doing. Normally on my three days off, I go well over 15,000 steps which apparently is around 12km and represents a good level of activity.

Sadly none of that is running at the moment. I really want to look after this leg of mine, but it is very frustrating. I just feel bloaty and awful. A lot of foods just don't agree with me at the moment, the latest being granola which I love, but my body doesn't.

Maybe I should become one of those gluten free fraudulent types and go on about coeliac disease to anyone that will listen.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.11.17

Monday 20 November 2017

Riverside Walkings

It had rained overnight, and it did so again today.

But it was light, and curiously refreshing rain, so I rather enjoyed it as I walked out towards Farndon, and came back in along a river reflecting dramatic cloudscapes as various weather fronts moved over.

There wasn't anything amazing to see, just the boats parked up in front of the houses that back onto the Trent. A few gulls sat ornamentally on various vantage points, and noisy mallards squawked their way around the watercourses.

I didn't do any geocaching, but I did find a different sort of treasure. At Sconce Park, they have have had children paint up some stones and hide them around the grounds, and today I came across one in the charming sign for the mini reserve of Hawton Holt.

I wonder where the rest are? I hope I find a few more, I like being able to come across things like this.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 20.11.17

Sunday 19 November 2017

Sunset Committee

I've spent the afternoon at my cricket club AGM, and am thus rather too full of diet coke for this time of the evening. Hopefully a pint of Reverend James later will clear those jitters.

I've had a bit of a lazy day today, wanting to get some reading and watching of movies. I didn't really enjoy how cold it was today either, as I went to buy some milk.

I was out looking for Leonid meteors last night; I didn't see a single bloody one, despite the excellent conditions. Ach the Leonids, a very erratic shower at best, especially away from one of their periodic maxima such as that in 1966, where virtually no meteors were seen in the UK, while thousands lit the sky PER HOUR in the USA.

Still I had my binoculats so was able to have a bit of a general stargaze. Lost my bearings, and thought Gamma Andromedae was a nova at one point. Silly boy.

As ever, the river looks beautiful in the last light of the day.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.11.17

Saturday 18 November 2017

That 70s Show

Done my usual pootling around today without a whole lot to be found apart from a 70s exhibition in the local library.

"Do you recongnise any of this stuff?" asked the librarian and indeed I did, I had the very same "Lou Reed Greatest Hits" cassette and Scrabble with Turnbtable I could see prominently on display. I also loved Scalextric, but never actually owned one myself - I had a much smaller Matchbox system that sat in my bedroom, used properly for a while by 6 year old me, before inevitably becoming a series of attempts to make the cars jump over things.

I did have a train set, but only the basic track and engines, I didn't have anywhere to put it up properly.

Really, there should have been Warlord Annuals, Spangles, slimfones and spacehoppers present to make it the 70s I remember.

And Starsky and Hutch. Where the hell were they.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 18.11.17

Friday 17 November 2017

Stargazey Pie

So, we've had some clear skies recently, and so Mr Si has been out there with his 10x50 binoculars, taking in the sky.

In many ways, it is the best time of the year for it. The skies can be magnificently clear, unlike summer they are properly dark, and there are many interesting sights as the milky way crosses the constellations of Cassiopeia, Perseus, Auriga, Monoceros and Gemini.

Orion too has some stunning starfields, and of course the great nebula, you can sweep about and just love the stars there.

If I were to wait until dawn I'd see Venus and jJpiter blazing down. But I can't, as it is sooooooo coooold! Even a couple of rums wouldn't keep me out there for more than hour.

But I love doing it. It is silent, it is beautiful, it is contemplative.

And it is free.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 17.11.17

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Good Evening Mr Snail

I don't know about any of you my dear readers, but to me one of the saddest sounds I hear is when on a wet night, I walk up my dark driveway and feel the horrible crunch as I tread on an innocent snail.

Even if I am quick enough to take the pressure from my relatively titanic boots, the equivalent of us having a bus dropped on our heads while minding our own bloody business while walking along the street, it's almost certainly too late for the snail.

Even if it isn't dead, it's damaged shell will render it an easy target for the local thrush population.

So I was very glad to see this character hauling itself out of damp danger up my door frame. Well done, Mr Mollusc thing!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 15.11.17

Monday 13 November 2017

Of Sundials and Guinea Fowl

No running today, and it being very cold it was very hard to get started today. But eventually, after buying the usual load of uninspiring lunch things for work this week, I struck out for Hawton, across the fields, with the hope of doing a little geocaching there too.

The wind had dropped today, so it was a rather more pleasant day to be out but still cold and crisp. Not enough sun to make the sundial in the cemetery work, but nice all the same.  I thought I might run into some winter thrushes out in the Grange Road fields, but there was nothing apart from a heron investigating the freshly ploughed field. Meanwhile I listened to 6 music, happy as ever.

My mother always asks me where do I go, and why. I tell her it doesn't really matter. I love to listen to the radio while I'm outside.

Hawton Church, with its carved faces on either side of the doorway, perhaps Thomas Molyneux and his other half, is the site of a geocache, a so called church micro which are usually placed nearby rather than on the church itself. I narrowed my search down to a park bench just the other side of the wall, but yet again I lucked out.

I'm a a bit hopeless at this new game of mine, alas.

Still, the church always looks splendid, I wish I could catch one of their little markets in summer.

Just along from the church, I noticed that the bizarre flock of guinea fowl I'd come across before was clustered in the entrance to a large house off the main road...aha, an ornamental flock. They are very strange looking birds, with huge (and tasty?) bodies relative to the tiny head.

Two were sat on the gate like edible sentries.

More mysterious goings on were taking place in a beet field on the way back into town. A couple of chaps were looking at a laptop mounted on a sort of trailer with prongs, towed by a quad bike. It was probably some farming related mundanity; the more excitable part of me hoped it was an archaeological geophysics investigation.

After that, it was off to Rumbles for a well earned and very large cup of tea!


Sunday 12 November 2017

Low Level Light

Yes, I've been on two walks again today, sore leg or not, and while the first one was pleasant, if very cold, the second one was far more picturesque.

I deliberately waited until 330pm to head out again, so I could take advantage of the setting sun.

I headed through the cemetery, where a squirrel seemed to become fixed with embarassment when it got caught with a conker in its gob. I had no idea they ate conkers at all.

Perhaps they don't, and this was just a really stupid squirrel.

Evidence of the remembrance ceremony that had taken place earlier on was in place; the candles were still burning despite the wind. Around the lake, the sun although part obscured by errant clouds, still lit the water in gold. Love it love it love it.

Another mission I had was to see if any winter ducks had arrived on the lakes - sadly none yet. Hopefully we will see goosander, pochard and shoveler at the very least in town.

Here's hoping!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 12.11.17

Saturday 11 November 2017

Back to Gentle Running

I really thought I'd gotten away with it too, but no my ankle has decided to start aching afterwards, even though I've rested it for a month.

It had gone so well, although the cycling jacket is not going to work as a running jacket. Not breathable enough. I don't mind winter running, as I've said before it can be rather refreshing, and the views in a low sun beautiful.

The black headed gulls have returned to town for the winter, black heads now molted away to leave the two little spots they sport for winter. On the flipside of the coin, the local mallards are resplendent and acting like it's breeding season already. I walked along the River Devon this morning and there is a lot of quacking and scrapping going on already, stirring up splashes in the glittering river.

Getting home the local friendly cat was pleased to see me, unlike the other local cat who I caught skulking past with a mouse in its gob last night.

I realise I haven't used my bridge camera for a long while; I just never got the results I wanted with it, my bird shots were usually awful and very soft. Shaky hands, and could never get the hang of the manual settings. I really must try and work it again.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 11.11.17

Wednesday 8 November 2017

The Invented Bird

I've been messing about with a kiddy doodling app my sister showed me on her little Amazon Tablet, and now finally I've got it on mine.

While my sister is a very competent artist, I am not, but I still love doing the odd scrawl. The stylus I've borroed off my mum is like "My first infant school pencil" in being the width of tree trunk, so that makes things even trickier for captain clumsy here.

Still, it's fun to scrawl in bright colours without getting paint all over the place. I remember making a blue tit out of papier mache at school when I was about 6 and in Mrs Thompson's class. I rather overpainted it.

That's what I was thinking when I drew this bird. That and worrying about having eaten too much haggis tonight.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 08.11.17

Tuesday 7 November 2017

The Warrior of the Wet

It's been a little while since I've had a wet ride home, and indeed as someone I spoke to today said, it really doesn't happen very often.

It also meant I had a chance to try on the Ridge waterproof I got with my love to shop voucher, in an actual wet cycling situation. I thought with it being rather shorter than the unsexy kag, I'd end up with water running off the back of it down the back of my equally unsexy waterproof trousers and give me a wet and cold backside.

Luckily it didn't, and it wasn't as sweaty as I worried it would be. It wasn't mega rainy however, but at least at this level it kept me warm and my buttocks dry. A bit of good news for winter.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 07.11.17